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Beyond Sunday

God's Faithful Strength

Recap

The Pharisees warned Jesus that He was in danger from Herod. They told Him if He didn’t stop doing what He was doing, Herod would kill Him. But Jesus refused to listen to them and continued to do what God called Him to do. Jesus was confident in His Father’s promises, given in the past. Jesus knew that the Father’s faithful strength would carry Him through whatever He faced. In fact, Jesus longed to gather all of God’s people into God’s protective care. But people are stubborn, and they refuse to find shelter in God.

Jesus faced His suffering head-on. In our North American culture, we don’t like to think or talk about struggles or suffering. Additionally, we can strive after things that give us comfort, but in the end don’t really help us at all. We need to face suffering and struggles with confidence in God. God’s faithful strength lifts us up when we are tired and weak. God gives us the grace to demonstrate his loving care, even as we suffer, in caring for others.



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Temptation

Recap

On Sunday, we talked about Luke 4:1-13.  Sunday marked the first Sunday in Lent. We are a people who want things right now and we fall into the temptation of the devil that says we deserve everything.  It’s difficult in this culture to be different and lean on God for everything. As you read your Bible this week and the texts below, think about what God is calling to you to this season of Lent.



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Transfiguration

Recap

Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him up a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying (the disciples fell asleep—foreshadowing to the night Jesus was betrayed) his face changed and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Moses and Elijah appeared with him. The disciples woke up and couldn’t believe what they were seeing! Moses and Elijah encouraged Jesus for what he was about to do (be crucified on a cross to pay for the sins of the world). Then God the Father spoke from the cloud and said, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, who takes away the sins of the world.



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Behaving Generously

On Sunday, we talked about Luke 6:27-38.  Love our enemies? Do good to people who hate us? Bless people who curse us? Pray for people that mistreat us? That is counter cultural. It is probably easier to throw hate back at those who hate us, or repay curses for curses. We like to live in our sinful nature, what Pastor Paul called the old economy. But because of Jesus and his atoning death on the cross and glorious resurrection we are called to live in a new economy, one in which we live out the words of Luke 6:27-38. Is that easy? No way! Take time this week to read through the following text. Reflect on the counter cultural way God calls us to live. 

ICYMI: Watch Sermon Online



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Beatitudes

A few Sundays ago, we looked at how the Holy Spirit transforms us, making us more like Christ. Today, from Luke’s gospel we studied the contrast between those who find delight in God, and those who profess to follow Jesus, but who find delight in themselves, in this world, or in anything other than Jesus.

Walking in step with the Holy Spirit means doing what Jesus did. It means seeking and saving the lost. This is something we do individually, but it is also something we do together, as Maranatha Christian Reformed Church. The danger every Christian and every church faces is “mission drift”. This happens when we forget our primary purpose (love God, love others, make disciples), and start loving ourselves, forgetting others, and focusing on getting what we want, wherever we are.



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FAITH: Held by God

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Recap

Yesterday found me at Southern Alberta Bible Camp with our middle school students. And while I was not worshipping with you, God was at work, and today as you all heard about the truth of being Held by God, our middle school students heard that same thing all weekend long! How cool that God orchestrated that!



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FAITH: Transformed by the Holy Spirit

Today we continue studying the five points of grace using the helpful acronym, FAITH, which stands for: Fallen Humanity, Adopted by God, Intentional Atonement, Transformed by the Holy Spirit, and Held By God. We now turn to Transformed by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 teaches us that the Holy Spirit applies the atoning work of Jesus Christ to us. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand spiritual reality. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts, replacing our rebellious, stone hearts, with obedient new hearts of flesh. The Holy Spirit makes us receptive to God, giving us the gift of faith, and removing our spiritual blindness.

All this is part of the process of salvation, all of which is God’s gracious work in us. Not only does God seek us first, he provides salvation through Jesus Christ, as well as the heart change necessary for our response. This grace saves us and creates in us a love for God and others.



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God is With Us

Life is like a roller-coaster. It is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. You are sailing merrily along when suddenly, the world drops out from under you: you receive a scary diagnosis, a loved one dies, you get laid off. Psalm 139 reminds us that God is with us, always. God knew all the days of our life even before the first one began. God isn’t caught off guard, or surprised by the highs and lows, the twists and turns of life. He not only knows them, He created us for them. And those times where we can’t possibly go on, can’t possibly handle another difficult situation, can’t possibly survive another giant challenge, God is there. The truth is, there are many things that are too much for us to handle. Nothing, I’ll say it again, nothing is too much for God to handle (Luke 1:37).

ICYMI: Watch Sermon Online



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FAITH: Intentional Atonement

Today we continue studying the five points of grace using the helpful acronym, FAITH, which stands for: Fallen Humanity, Adopted by God, Intentional Atonement, Transformed by the Holy Spirit, and Held By God. This week, we’re studied Intentional Atonement. It’s a tough subject that sometimes can make our heads spin. And ultimately, we saw that we as humans cannot always understand the things of God. But we can praise and thank him for sending Christ as an atoning sacrifice to wipe our sins away. We can also give thanks and praise that decision of saving isn’t up to us. It is our job to be agents of reconciliation.

 As you read the passages for this week, you can dive deeper into what the atoning death of Christ is all about and who it is for. 



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FAITH: Adopted by God

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Recap

Today we continue studying the five points of grace using the helpful acronym, FAITH, which stands for: Fallen Humanity, Adopted by God, Intentional Atonement, Transformed by the Holy Spirit, and Held By God. This week, we’re studying Adopted by God. Ephesians 1:3-12 teaches us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world! God planned our adoption as His children through Jesus Christ. The question we should ask, is, why? Why did God choose us? Why didn’t he condemn everyone to what we deserve: death? The answer we are given is that it pleased God to do so. And because he was pleased to lavish on us His love and grace, he did it. He poured out his incredible mercy, love, forgiveness, and grace. He gives and gives, He is extravagant in his giving! What God decides to do, he does. You are reading this blog because God wants you to know that He has chosen you. He wants you to know that His Son, Jesus, paid for all the things you’ve ever done wrong. The debt is paid. Do you know this? Do you trust this? Those who do have the assurance that they belong to God!

ICYMI: Watch Sermon Online



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