Straight Out of Context

The Secret

Out of context, Philippians 4:13 is used as a blank check promise for whatever is desired – hitting a homerun, running a marathon, scoring well on a test. But in context, it’s a verse about contentment as Paul writes that in both the good times and the bad times he has learned the secret to finding contentment – not looking for it in himself or in his circumstances, but in Jesus alone. Really, Philippians 4:13 is about God’s strength enabling us to live in contentment in whatever situation is before us – particularly the more troublesome ones.

Hence, readers are left asking: Do you believe Jesus is enough for you?

Scripture: Philippians 4:13

For I Know The Plans…

One of the most popular but commonly misused Bible verses today is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A verse that we usually think to be about a bright future is actually in context more about making the most out of a difficult, present situation. In 597 BC, Israel had been taken into exile to Babylon. A false prophet had wrongly declared that God would bring His people back home shortly. In contrast, while God ultimately promised to rescue Israel out of exile if they turned to Him, He shockingly tells the exiles to settle down in Babylon for the time being–the next 70 years.

Like Israel 2,600 years ago, rather than solely focusing on God bringing us out of desperate situations or into the next season, we should be present-minded and Kingdom-impactful in every season of life. Asking: what or who is your Babylonian exile now? How can you be seeking the shalom of your current community and relationships, even the ones that are not easy?

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11

Thou Shall Not Judge… Oh Really!

Have you ever been judged unfairly? Chances are most of us have, and yet one of the biggest complaints from young people (and older people too) about the church is that they feel ‘judged’ all the time by people in the Church. People who are no better than they are and who also have ‘issues’, therefore making them hypocrites. Maybe you’ve been made fun of because of something with your appearance, how you speak, where you live, what school you go to, where you shop, if you drink, smoke, etc. These are all behaviors that the Church has cast judgement against others despite what Jesus appears to be saying in Matthew 7:1-2.

Listen to this sermon to see if you find yourself in this same story. Listen to see if Jesus is really against judging.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6

Ask and It Will Be Given To You… Really?

Have you ever questioned God as to why some prayers go unanswered? “Ask, seek, knock and it will be given to you”, right? This Bible passage used out of context turns God into a vending machine. We put in our ‘spiritual coins’ (the good things we’re supposed to do: give, pray, help, and show up on Sundays) and according to this verse God is supposed to answer our prayers. If it was only that easy. This sermon gives the context for these inspirational Biblical verses and tells us how God’s presence is the gift we are looking for.

Scripture: Luke 11:9-10