Sunday Recap | February 24, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:
When I observe the families where parents seem to be doing a good job of living the Christian faith in relation to their children, it is readily apparent that actual practices vary widely. Particular rules, techniques of discipline, variations in strictness and permissiveness—they run the gamut. One thing stands out: parents, seriously, honestly, joyfully follow the way of Christ themselves. They don’t define adolescence as a problem and try to solve it. They are engaged in vigorous Christian growth on their own and permit their children to look over their shoulder while they do it. – Eugene Peterson

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 28:10-22

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus! - Adoration
Jesus, the Lord, My Shepherd Is - Adoration 
He Leadeth Me - Grace
We Will Feast in the House of Zion - Response
Jesus, Lead Us with Why Power - Communion

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out Design Patterns in Biblical Narrative.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Suggested Resources:
Next Wednesday marks the start of Lent for many churches. In anticipation of which, I wanted to pass on a number of resources that some of you may find useful.

1. Redeemer Lenten Devotional
2. Death on a Friday Afternoon by Richard John Neuhaus
3. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Streams of Living Water Flow

He left His Father's throne above, 
So free, so infinite His grace! 
Emptied Himself of all but love, 
And bled for Adam's helpless race. 
'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
For O my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me! 
Amazing love! How can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills.  Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Please forgive us and help us to believe that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
 
Romans 3:21-22

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: Family Dynamics

Sermon Text - Genesis 26:34-28:9

Sermon Outline:
1. Family dynamics
2. The God who brings life out of death

The Heart of the Message

Genesis 27 is about a family: a mom and a dad with two boys. It’s a dark chapter about sibling rivalry, marital dysfunction, and parental favoritism. Each member of the family exhibits behavior that contributes to the disintegration and breakdown of this family. And yet, this is the story of a family living under the promises of God to bless them and through them the world (re: Gen. 26:24). The times are different, the circumstances are different, but the family dynamics are no different than we live with today. Every one of us lives within certain family dynamics, some beautiful, some terrible. Either way we are in danger of losing our bearings. What led to the dynamics we see in Isaac’s family? On a horizontal level we might answer fear, favoritism, greed, indifference, passivity, deception, etc. However, on a vertical level this family is at best struggling to believe God’s promises and at worst has decided to take matters into their own hands. What hope is there for a family like this? What hope is there for a family like yours? Genesis 27 is a dark chapter, but it is located within a larger story in which God is working out his good purposes to bless his people and the world. Despite what we see in this family, God is continuing to work out his good purposes (Gen. 25:23 & 27:33). In other words, God brings life out of death. Taken in isolation Genesis 27 is hopeless. Taken in isolation the life and ministry of Jesus ends in hopelessness and death. No one expected anything on the other side of Jesus’ death. The only thing that changes Jesus story and gives hope to our story is the resurrection. The good news is God raised Jesus from the dead because death could not keep him. To be connected to Jesus by faith means the same power over death is working in your life and the life of your family. The story of Jesus shines light into our lives from one who knows our darkness and can do something about it in his timing and in his ways!

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. What stands out to you most about this family?

  3. How do you see your family reflected in this story?

  4. How do you tend to cope with the dynamics of your family?

  5. How do you need God to bring life out of death in your family? Can you turn your answer into a prayer for this week?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
 
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.