Break the Power of the Past

Good or bad, painful or joyful, we all have a past of some sort. It’s a common thought and pretty true that ‘we all bring our own baggage into a relationship and even into church’. Rather than use the word ‘baggage’ I prefer to use the word ‘story’ or ‘history’. It feels a little safer to say I have a story, or I have a history vs I have baggage. In order to break the power of the past, it will be helpful to identify it. While it’s easy to leave painful experiences in the past and buried deeply, it’s also very dangerous in our relationships and places of work.

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Scripture: Exodus 20:5-62 Samuel; Genesis 12-50; 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Rethinking Parenting

The role of the Church isn’t to be the primary spiritual influencer in the life of your child – that’s the parents responsibility. Parenting can get confusing these days. It’s natural to want to get the best things for your kids, provide them inspiring vacations, and to help them participate in events that will allow them to grow and test their skills. Yet Paul, in Ephesians 6:4, reminds us what’s most important, “Parents do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Our top priority is to be a disciple maker of our children and of those that the Lord brings into our sphere of influence. Ephesians 3:32 reminds us how we fullfil that calling, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Scripture: Ephesian 6:1-4; 3:32

Making Sense of Marriage

In our Western culture, reading the words “submission,” “wife” and “headship” in the same sentence may make you cringe — and even be suspicious of what the Bible really has to say about marriage.

While no doubt there has been a ton of misunderstanding and abuse of this passage, Paul shocks his listeners in prefacing the command for wives to submit to their husbands with the suprising command to submit to one another- amidst a hierarchal culture of patriarchy. Paul goes even further in telling husbands to love their wives, which had never been said up to that point in history!

In all of this, though, Paul says that gender roles in marriage are ultimately to point to Jesus and his loving sacrifice for the Church. Whether you are single, dating or married, we can all learn to “play the Jesus role” in our relationships with sacrificial submission and leadership.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-33

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

Gendered Lives Matter

Dubbed the most challenging portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is Paul’s response to a controversial practice within the worshipping body at Corinth: women and their head coverings.

Paul reminds both the Corinthian Church and us today to maintain worship practices that bring honor and order while avoiding unnecessary distraction or shame. It is within this context a healthy congregation can stay focused on the God they worship, rather than distracting issues of dress or hairstyles.

But is Paul’s point simply about how a woman should and should not cover her head? We find it is much deeper. Paul reminds the Church in Corinth of the deeply Biblical importance of retaining distinct markers of gender. Why? Because central to being made in the image of God is being made as gendered beings–male and female. While our world has blurred the lines of gender and abused submission as an intended healthy part of the creation order, Paul leaves us with challenging words for a functional equality of gender. Find out what it means to “be a man” and “be a woman” in such a way that our gendered lives can reflect the full image of God.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Ephesians 5:21-28

Single Lives Matter

In our culture (especially in the Church), many people feel the next step from adolescences is into young adulthood and then naturally into marriage. But what about those who never marry? Is there something wrong with them – personality disorder, social awkwardness? Are they running from something – maybe a lack of commitment? Do we pressure our kids or grandkids to marry because ‘it’s what everyone does’?  Paul – the writer of 1 Corinthians – tells us that married people are not necessarily in a better place in life than single people. Marriage is hard work. It takes intentional effort and energy. Paul says God made us all with certain gifts and abilities. If marriage is not one of them for you that does not mean you are a second-class person or missing something. Listen in on how Paul tells us to simply be who God created us to be…

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

Marriage and Divorce

In our church culture, it’s easy to drink the kool-aid that marriage is next to godliness and many believe marriage needs to be the primary goal in life. Neither singleness nor marriage makes us more holy or more loved by God. Paul – the writer of I Corinthians – talks to the church he started and loves about the value of both the single and married life. Marriage is a blessing: it’s part of God’s design for many, many people and it’s also a reflection of God’s love and redemptive power. It reminds us that we are selfish, while also allowing us to extend kindness and grace over and over. It takes hard work for a good marriage. It’s a sacrifice that we experience in better and worse times, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health. This sermon digs into the subject of marriage – what it is – and how God honors marriages in our society.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:8-16

Adultery & Divorce

In recent years many churches have blown it when it comes to divorce. While we are certain God hates divorce, no where in the Bible does it say God hates the divorced person? The support given to someone who looses a spouse is often so much better then the support given to someone who is going through a divorce. So why do so many churches pick divorce as the unpardonable sin? Selfishness, gluttony, arrogance are also sins and God gives grace to people who have those behaviors. Let’s take another look at divorce and let those of us without sin cast the first stone.

Scripture: Matthew 5:27-32