The “vertical” dimension of worship has a tension between reverence and immanence when we are in the presence of God. It can be difficult to know the right way to intimately express our pain to God without crossing over into disrespect. Habakkuk is a short book, but it shows a prophet struggling with God about the destruction and suffering that is about to take place. We will look at the worship song that ends the book to get ideas on how to encounter with our pain—and to use a short template to do it well.
John wants us to see the conflict that will result in Jesus’ arrest, mistrial and murder. However, we can become too familiar with these stories. We want to recapture some of the shock these events should have. In all of this, we will continue to see John’s emphasis on how different parties respond to Jesus, such that we may respond with belief.
The Bible has a picture of devotion to God which impacts our entire being. We are called to pursue a Christ-like way of being human; a reestablishment of what God wanted when he created us. But how do these big ideas play out in the normal rhythms of life? What does it practically look like? Answer: Worship — it forms us — it shapes what we love. Because Worship isn't just something we do, it does something to us.
We look at a Psalm of Ascents to consider what it means to gather for corporate worship. How do we relate the practices of ancient Israel to the modern church? We will see that the centrality of gathering together marks us as pilgrims on the road to the New Jerusalem.
Many people experience anxiety around a sense of self and purpose. It’s often said that a Christian should find one’s identity “in Christ”. But, what does that really mean? We are also aware that we should take our concerns to God in prayer. But, how do we experience God’s direction for our lives if he doesn’t speak audibly? How do I separate God’s leading from my own desires? We might just find these answers somewhere between the garden of Gethsemane and Wreck-It Ralph.
In the closing text of Genesis we see two very similar deaths both looking forward to fulfillments of God's promises to future generations. These narratives close the section of the patriarch's and leave Israel in Egypt - setting up the Exodus, Sinai and the Promised Land. While Genesis leaves us "in flight" within God's larger redemption of Israel it shows us the type of faith "not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar". Every generation of Christians, until Christ returns, will live and die in this same expectation of promise - which we can learn from these faithful men and trust based on the record of God's mighty deeds.
The sons of Israel are born out of the conflict of two sisters which will continue with this family all the way to Egypt. However in the most puzzling moment of this text we can already see the great promise of God, that those who are grieving will be rewarded.
The covenant sign contributes as God confirms the promised son will come from Sarai. Laughter will follow Isaac, beginning with his very name, but Abraham trust against all doubt that God's promises are sure. God initiated as a promise and established as a covenant;now Abraham has responded obediently to mark his subservient relationship.
In Genesis 5 we see God’s great patience while sin increases on the earth. And continuing on into Genesis 6 we examine a difficult text and learn from Noah who found favor in the eyes of the Lord in the midst of an unfathomably corrupt and violent generation.