Sunday Follow-Up: Silence and Receiving Grace

SilenceOn Sunday, September 22, 2013, Pastor Chelsey shared a message from Ephesians 2.1-10 as part of a series entitled “In Christ.” You can listen to the sermon on our current series’ website (or in the archives). We talked about how grace is given to us by God, never earned or “got,” and about how we open ourselves to receive God’s presence, grace, and transformation more than we ought to focus on working to put ourselves in a ‘good position’ for God. Most importantly, we came to the realization that we need Jesus to rescue us everyday.

What is grace exactly?  Read on.

During the message, Pastor Chelsey shared a story about a friend who was learning this truth about receiving rather than working towards God’s grace. Here’s another example of someone who sees God’s grace as the bigger story- rather than what she was able to accomplish: “Eating, Body Image, and the Gospel.”

Finally, one of the ways that we can be open to receiving from God is by practicing the spiritual discipline of silence. Pete Scazzero offers rationale and tips, as well as a video of his worshiping community practicing the discipline, on his blog.

This post talks about grace, the spiritual discipline of silence, and being open to God. It is a follow-up to a sermon preached by Rev. Chelsey L. Harmon at Christ Community Church in Nanaimo, BC.

Photo by Sean MacEntee. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

Reading the ‘Good Book’

boy reading the BibleDon’t think you’re much of a reader? Doesn’t matter if it’s the Bible or any other book? Jared has some thoughts for you.

Have some books of the Bible that you avoid? Maybe Numbers is too boring, Judges too sad, Psalm 119 way too long… What does Leviticus really matter anyway? Jean shares how reading Leviticus changed her.

Do you read a passage, then twenty minutes later it’s gone? Or do the words and concepts seem to make no sense as to why they matter for you, today? Try these “10 questions for better Bible study.”

Want to help kids in understanding Scripture? Check out the ESV Grow! Bible.

 

This post is about Bible reading.

Photo by Imagens Evangelicas. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

Stories of Suffering, Stories of God

The never ending question of “why?”

Our links today won’t answer that question, but they will help you seek God.

This week, Philip Yancey’s book, The Question that Never Goes Away, has been a free Kindle download.

Looking at Romans 8.28, Stephen speaks the bittersweet truth that “Jesus Hates Your Suffering.”

When you suffer, run to Jesus. He too experienced pain, rejection, sorrow, grief, and temptation. Because Jesus suffered, he knows exactly how to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and even deliver you.
Randy shares about learning “The Hardest Lesson:” what God provides to those who suffer.
In suffering and trials of all kinds, globally, locally, or in the inner sanctum of your soul, we pray:
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rom 15.13

 

This post is about suffering.

In Christ: The Letter to the Ephesians

This post is especially for those in our local worshiping community. Next week we’ll be starting a series on the book of Ephesians. Consider reading through Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus at least once this week. Here are a few ideas to help:

1. If you’ve read Ephesians, consider reading the letter in a different translation than the one you normally use. Multiple translations are available online at Bible Gateway.

2. Read the introductory material from a study Bible. Here’s a link to the intro in the NIV Study Bible.

3. Pray for the Church. Ephesians is a letter for the body of  believers. Use the teachings found in it as your prayer topics.

4. Ask questions about what doesn’t make sense to you. What do you want to understand better?

5. As you read, write down key verses. Try to summarize the message of the entire book in one sentence.

Back to School

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September’s here, and for many of us, that means a return to the classroom for some of the ones we love.

Michael shares the prayer he wrote after dropping his kids off for their first day of school.

Christopher’s piece on peer pressure is helpful for parents of teens as well as adults in the workforce as he reflects on how some lessons need to keep being learned. We aren’t so different from our kids after all…

Parents and college students alike may find the College Transition Initiative helpful. The site desires to provide resources that prepare “Christian students and parents to bring Glory to God during some of the most formative years of a young person’s life.” Topics range from social activities to college debt to ways to grow in faith.

This post is for parents and older teens/young adults and provides resources and stories that deal with the transition back to school.

Photo by Jens Rost. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.