Living in Brokenness and Vulnerability

Brokenness and vulnerability are two traits that are not only part of being an emotionally healthy person, but also to following Jesus. While our culture may say that resumes of success matter most, the resumes of Scripture tell a much different story. Some of the most influential leaders–like David, Moses, and Paul have had their fair share of failures and brokenness. Listen as Pastor Rachel explores how Paul saw his weaknesses as opportunities to rely on God’s strength and power, and how that invitation is available to each of us today–even in the midst of our thorns and setbacks.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

 

The Formation of Prayer

The purpose of prayer is not to get God to do what we want Him to do. The purpose of prayer is to be formed. To be formed we need a robust liturgy. Jonathan invites you to download his daily liturgy by seeing his 4/2/17 post at his FB page at www.facebook.com/jonathanfosterauthor.

Scripture: Romans 8:28-29, Acts 2:42

The Lost Art of Lament

Most of contemporary church worship music is high energy, uptempo, happy-go-lucky praise songs. So, one is shocked to hear that the most common genre of the Psalms – ancient Israel’s and Jesus’s worship book – was lament (a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.). The most common theme of the Psalms is lament. Yet, virtually zero of the top 150 worship songs played in churches right now include lament – grieving, mourning, etc. Over and over again, the Psalmists are brutally honest with their grief, doubt and anger with God.

Jesus, too, used this very same Psalm of lament as he was dying on the cross. Not only, then, does he model this for us, but he also comforts us when we do not feel the presence of God in the midst of suffering because that’s exactly what he himself went through on the cross – he was abandoned by his own Father.

Meaning, God is not only the God of the sufferers, but the God who suffers. As one author puts, “Instead of explaining our suffering, God shares it — because He knows mere answers are cold and His arms are warm.”

Fascinating, though, is that most of the psalms of lament (including Psalm 22) end with hope and praise. Just as we can follow Jesus in grieving, we can also follow Jesus in grieving with hope.

May we honestly express our grief to God knowing that because of the cross He is a God who is with us in pain and because of the resurrection He will eventually rescue us.

Scripture: Psalm 22; Mark 15:33-34

The Body You Always Wanted

After correcting the Corinthians denial of the resurrection of the dead, Paul now anticipates their (and probably ours, too!) next question: “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”

By using multiple analogies, Paul shows them that we see the possibility of physical resurrection all around us- specially in how a bare seed is planted into the ground and then come up as a new, beautiful plant. So, goes the future resurrection of our own bodies.

Paul then reminds and encourages the readers how the continuity and discontinuity of their future resurrected body changes the way they view death and live now. Understanding death to be the last enemy to be destroyed, we grieve at death but as those not without hope because we know that we’re getting our bodies back. Furthermore, not only our bodies, but also our service for Jesus will even be resurrected.

This is why Paul ends this dense, abstract, but spectacular 58 verse chapter with these closing words: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

The Prayer of Faith

It’s interesting that the book of James starts with the author, James, calling Christians to pray! In the fifth chapter, he says to pray in times of struggle and in times of joy. Prayer is needed in all circumstances on life and God’s Word is a constant reminder of that. No matter the season or why you find yourself in prayer, gratefulness is the key to healing and living a life in the way God would want us to live. The opposite of gratefulness is grumbling – and that’s a sin – and that leads us far from God’s best for us.

Scripture: James 5:13-20; Roman’s 8:26; Numbers 11:14, I Thes 5:15-17; Psalms 106:1

Joy

Joy is one of those words we are too busy and stressed to really understand and pursue. Biblically we are called by God to choose in all circumstances. This means choosing to be in Gods presence. We need to Give him thanks for all that we have. Happiness is simply being excited about good circumstances, but joy comes through trials. Lets choose to fight for Joy.

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3, James 1:2-4, Psalm 16, John 15:11

Ingredients for Life

The writer of Philippians, Paul, shares words thanksgiving that comes from his mind, heart and prayers. We are also reminded that in questionable and heart breaking circumstances that God still moves and can give us joy. We will look at Paul’s Chains, Critics and Crisis and how God moved. We focus on the chains we all have in life and will be reminded that God loosens those chains.

Scripture: Philippians 1:3-26