Embrace Grieving and Loss

Most people associate grieving and loss with the death of a loved one or a traumatic catastrophic happening. Yet we all experience loss in so many ways: loss of a spouse or friend, loss of a job, career or retirement, the loss of your marriage, the loss of a miscarriage or abortion. Or maybe it’s the impact of a one night stand, your home is sold, your friend got married, etc. But, we cannot be spiritually mature followers of Jesus if we have not embraced grieving and loss.

God created us for shalom – a peace that transforms situations and brings our lives in alignment with God’s desire and design for us. The garden of Eden was a place that was a healthy place for growth and life filled with joy and delight. Yet, as humans we messed that all up and so from the beginning of humanity there was grieving and loss. Unfortunately, the Church usually does a poor job leaning into the emotions that are associated with grieving and loss. This sermon affirms the Biblical need for grieving and supplies some practical advise on how to grieve in a healthy way.

Click here for Tips to Embrace Grieving and Loss.

Scripture: Genesis 2; John 11:35

An Urgent Call

Having spent the first half of this letter to the Ephesians establishing their new identity in Jesus, Paul now urges the Ephesians to live their lives in a manner that reflects this new identity. And to our surprise, Paul doesn’t start with sexual ethics, greed or any other hot-button issue. Instead, his immediate focus is on unity.

Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us today) to keep the unity amongst us created by the Gospel. Unity does not mean uniformity, nor that disagreement won’t arise. Instead, following the example and fulfillment of Jesus, Paul instructs us to keep the unity by being humble, gentle, patient and bearing with one another in love.

When we urgently maintain unity, not only does the Church become who we already are together in Jesus, but we show the world that we are Jesus’ disciples by our love, and ultimately offer a foretaste of when Jesus will unite heaven and earth once and for all.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6

Rescue

We are reminded that we have been rescued from a life lived apart from God. The church is a unique place filled with very different people from all walks of life and naturally has problems. We are encouraged to reconcile, work together and put Christ first. In many ways we have become church centric, but need to return to a Christ centric life. Together, we are being built into God’s dwelling place.

Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-22

Called Into Community

Recently, Fuller Youth Institute released new research in a book called ‘Growing Young’ that identifies 6 important ways churches can engage younger upcoming generations.

In this sermon, guest speaker Rick Zomer (coordinator for Next Generation Engagement in the Reformed Church of America) focuses on one of the 6 aspects of churches that are growing young: empathy.

Through the story in 1 Samuel 3, he discusses how the older generation can help the younger generation discern and live out their calling. In fact, as you’ll see, all generations can relate to one another in discerning our calling.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Storge: Family Love

The Bible gives a lot of direction for families and how we are supposed to live. God also invites us into His family and redeems ‘family love’ in our lives.

Scripture: Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 22:6

Philia: Friendship Love

There are thousands of articles, sitcoms, movies, and blogs about friendship. The Bible also mentions the notions of brotherly love, friendship, and companionship hundreds of times. Yet, for some reason, many people still have a ‘short’ list when it comes to solid, authentic friendships – including people in the church. Perhaps some people feel all they need is Jesus and therefore don’t need friends? Maybe married couples feel, ‘I found my soul mate – therefore we don’t need others that much?’ Whatever the reason, God has given us plenty of encouragement and advice about the value of friendship. This sermon reminds us that we are stronger together and provides some practical tips on how to create strong friendships.

Scripture: Hebrews 13:1, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:5-6, John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, Proverbs 27:9, 1 Samuel 18:1-3

If you want to know how to have strong friendships download the “10 Simple Steps to Stronger Friendships” resource.

 

Agape

Love is a powerful word that illicits a mixed range of emotions – some wonderful, others painful. And often our culture confuses the different meanings of love. We usually think of love as just a romantic feeling. Yet, in the Bible, the ultimate type of love – Divine love – is the Greek word ‘agape’. Agape love is God’s unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional, and generous love. In this part of the Bible, John says when someone is living and giving this kind of agape love you will know they are the real deal – a follower of this Jesus who died for us on the cross giving the ultimate example of true love.

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-12

Created for Community

“I am a Rock, I am an island… ” – while a popular song back in the 60’s, is absolutely contrary to the image of God and how God created us. We have all been created for community and the early church showed us some ways to lean into community. Despite their imperfect ways, we can learn from the imperfect early church 4 main aspects of their community life:

  1. Teaching
  2. Fellowship
  3. Sharing a meal together
  4. Prayer.

As we move forward in 2017, we as a church will implement all of these ‘community markers’ as we start our Rooted Experience.

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47, Genesis 1:27, John 17:22, Revelation 2:4-5

The Power of Your Story

The “Samaritan woman at the well” story reminds us why we are so drawn to good stories in the first place. From this story, we learn:

  1. We all have a story and it matters
  2. Your story finds its place in God’s bigger story and
  3. Your story needs to be shared.

Your story matters because it’s a part of God’s bigger story of redemption, so let this message encourage you to start living into your story and sharing it… just like the Samaritan woman at the well did!

Scripture: John 4

Community Thanksgiving Service

Several local churches united together to give thanks and pray for our city leaders, educators and first responders in Artesia, Cerritos and beyond.

This service was sponsored by The Shalom Project (www.shalomprojectca.org), which is a networking movement of Christian churches and ministries in Artesia, Cerritos and beyond united to bless our cities. To fulfill their mission, The Shalom Project offers community gatherings and services in partnership with our city government, businesses, schools, and churches.