Grief is the price of love. To love deeply is to grieve deeply when love is bereft. And if you’ve ever grieved deeply, you know how hard it is to avoid becoming bitter. Where does our hope come from, and will there be mercies along our journey? That’s where our story about Naomi and Ruth picks up today. In this sermon, we find four wonders—glimmers of hope—about how God leads us in mercies through the darkness. We learn that grief is only a chapter, mercies are everywhere, God is right here with us, and God’s kindness has just begun.
Three introductory observations about our faith: 1. The Bible speaks of two different aspects of a Christianʼs faith: “Saving” faith and “Continuing” faith. 2. Both are the product of Godʼs grace at work in the believerʼs heart. 3. The Protestant Reformers distinguished three elements of saving and continuing faith: Knowledge, Assent, Trust. The two characteristics of the centurionʼs faith that caused Jesus to “marvel” are: a humble faith, a bold faith. Conclusion: The kind of faith that causes God to marvel—and thus the kind of faith Christians should seek from the Lord—is humbly bold and boldly humble.
Every Christian experiences fear during our lifetime. If we are to overcome our fears, we need courage. How can we have Biblical courage to face our fears? In this message, Pastor Bill shares three points about the necessity of courage in the life of Christian. Courage is acting out of confidence in God, not out of fear from your circumstances. In our walk with the Lord, we learn that obedience to God requires courage.
Grief is messy and leads us through a painful journey. The way out of the darkness is often found through the faithful love of someone in our lives who walks with us towards the dawn. In Ruth’s story, that kind of love is called "Hesed". It means loving selflessness, enduring faithfulness, and forbearing graciousness. God provides hesed love for Ruth in the story, and He offers it to all of us too. But here's where it gets real: Hesed is not just the kind of love God extends to us, it is also the kind of love God calls us to extend to one another. We incarnate hesed for one another, because Jesus incarnated hesed for us.
On Easter we traditionally look at one of the Gospel accounts of that glorious morning when the disciples discovered the empty tomb and realized that Jesus had risen from the dead. But this Easter we break with tradition. In this sermon we explore at an event that took place just a couple weeks prior to Jesus’ own resurrection when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
One of the scariest realities in the Gospels is how close you can be to Jesus and miss him entirely. Chapter after chapter, we see that Jesus was right there with the Pharisees, but they missed Him. He was calling, but they didn’t hear Him. He was shining in glory, but they didn’t see Him. On the other hand, there’s Mary, who, as we’ll see in this passage from John, in loving abandon, lavishly anointed Jesus’ feet with a priceless perfume in adoration, gratitude, awe, and worship of Jesus. Everyone can meet the same Jesus, but there can be wildly different responses. Mary truly encountered the glory of Jesus and it deeply changed her. In contrast, the others did not because their encounter was a superficial exposure and not a true encounter.
Fear is a regular emotion in our lives. When God often leads us into fearful situations, and we feel overwhelmed, how should we respond? In this story from Genesis 32 about Jacob and Esau, we see three biblical ways we are to respond to fear.