Jesus prepares to leave the disciples and gives them one last command- a mission. For that mission to be successful, Jesus can’t remain here in the flesh. He must move on to be with the Father. It’s that ascension that detonates the “bomb” of the gospel. It unleashes the power that God has for and in all believers.
As 2018 begins, we too begin a new series looking at the Book of Acts. As we kick this book off, we consider what drove the early church and take a look at where we (Providence) are as a church- and where we want to go.
As we wrap up 2017, it can be easy to look back over the year and think about how bad things got in the past year. Truth be told, we could do that every year. In a world full of sin and brokenness, there is no shortage of reasons to lament and fear. Yet God comes to us and tell us that we have nothing to fear. Why? It’s not because we can handle it, but because he can.
Fear not. 2 words with simple instructions. Yet following those instructions may take an entire lifetime. Joseph and the shepherds were given this simple command and their response was one of obedience. What is our response when we are told, “Fear not!”?
We’ve been told that the “center of God’s will” is the safest place to be, but is that really true? What if the “center of God’s will” is really a dangerous and difficult place? What do you do then? Well, if you’re Mary, you trust God’s plan, put your focus on him, and sing a song of praise.
Fear is something we all feel, but at times it can overwhelm and overtake us. It can war against our hearts and rob us of blessings that God intends for us to enjoy. The battle of fear vs. faith isn’t a new one and the Christmas story is full of these moments. Will our fears lead us or will our faith?
The Protestant Reformation may seem like it happened a long time ago – 500 years in fact. But it’s still happening today, anytime we stand for the truth of the gospel. Throughout scripture and with the lessons of history, God tells us to remember. We risk losing the greatest gift of all – the good news that Christ came to save sinners – if we forget again.
The overarching theme of the Reformation, the end goal of the other solas, and the end goal of our lives: The glory of God. God’s glory is all over the pages of scripture, but too often we can misunderstand how God’s glory works. The way humans are glorified is different than the way God is glorified. He doesn’t need us to “give” him glory, simply for us to recognize his glory. Our task is not to elevate God to a new level, only to recognize, reflect, and find satisfaction in who he has revealed himself to be.
Sola Fide is one of the key pillars to what we believe; that God saves on the basis of faith alone. It is the object of that faith that saves us, not the faith itself. Cam Smith leads us well as we look at this key doctrine.
Most would agree that Jesus is a pretty important person, but just how important? The conviction of the reformers was that Christ wasn’t just a big piece of our theology- he was the hub, the goal, and the essence of our faith. Is this how we approach our faith today? Is Jesus enough? Or do we feel the need to add just a little bit more to Jesus- you know, just to be safe? The teachings of scripture and of the reformers was that adding to Jesus didn’t give us more. Instead, it took away, watered down our faith, and robbed Jesus of the glory.
Amazing Grace is one of the most beloved and well-known songs in the English language. What is it that we mean when we sing about “amazing grace”? What is grace anyway? What makes it amazing? Far too often grace isn’t that amazing to us; in fact, it’s often pretty normal, expected even, as though we deserve it. The storyline of scripture is one of continual grace given to sinful man- over and over and over.
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.” A song for children that would’ve been an almost unthinkable idea prior the start of the Reformation. The shaping principle of the theology of the Reformation was that the Bible was the supreme authority and no one should sit above it. And what drove the spread of that theology was the daring idea that everyone should be able to read the Bible for themselves in their own language.
500 years ago the world was turned upside down. This event, the Reformation, was one with widespread implications, but what does something that happened in 1517 have to do with 2017? More than you might think. This is the first in a 7-week series looking at the people, the theology, and the lasting impact of the Protestant Reformation.
Perspective is a powerful tool. It can take all the things in our lives and help us sort through the things that mattered and the things that we only thought mattered. Solomon gives us a gift in the closing passages of Ecclesiastes. He helps us sort through the tensions and frustrations in our lives. He helps us appreciate the time we’ve been given. And he helps us prepare ourselves for the only thing that really matters.
Injustice has always been a problem and always will be. Solomon knew that, and it made him full of sorrow and heartbreak. We would do well to follow Solomon’s acknowledgment of injustice, and let it produce the same kind of sorrow–and then work to correct. Just because injustice has always been a problem, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to address it. In fact, Christians must work to address it because injustice isn’t primarily a political problem; it’s a sin problem. The remedy for sin has never been politics; it’s always been the Gospel.