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Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

In his message today, former associate pastor Neil Harris draws some powerful lessons from the stories of Esther and Joseph:

1. Life is hard!

Both Esther and Joseph were taken from their homes and found themselves in foreign lands, subject to the whims of those in power. Their stories (and their lives) could have ended much differently if they had not applied the following concept to their situations:

2. Grow where you are.

Esther learned to navigate the system of hierarchy and protocol at the palace and made the best of it. She proved herself to be a person of exceptional grace and presence of mind, and the people who had been placed in charge of her took notice. They helped her learn what she needed to know in order to become a worthy candidate for the position of Queen.

The administrative skills possessed by Joseph led to one promotion after another. And even after being thrown into prison for resisting the advances of his former master's wife, he kept learning and applying himself at every step of the way. Eventually he too had proven himself to be so entirely competent and trustworthy that was chosen for a powerful position, second only to Pharoah.himself.

What's the common thread between these two stories? In a word, it is that they made the most of whatever came their way. Esther and Joseph made themselves ready for God to use them, in His time.

"Maturity is the result of a lot of time spent moving in the same direction." Even in the midst of the daily grind, the constant challenges of life, it is choosing every day to follow God that will lead to maturity.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

 

At the start of every year many of us make a resolution of some sort: eat less, exercise more, start a daily Bible reading regimen, whatever. These are all attempts to make ourselves better people in one way or another.

It's also an acknowledgement of the human condition: we are all weak in some areas, broken in others.

The Bible describes the human condition quite accurately in both the Old and New Testaments:

Psalm 14:3: "All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one."

Ecclesiastes 7:20: "Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."

Romans 3:22a-23: "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

And the "answer" provided by every religion except Christianity is some variation of the same theme: "Be a better person and you'll find yourself in heaven."

But in Christianity God says, "The only way these creatures are going to get better is if I do it myself."

He knows we were born with a sinful nature, so he accepts us as we are: with all of our weaknesses and imperfections, our bad attitudes, our fears, and our insecurities.

Thankfully, he is also in the restoration business. He takes what is broken and makes it whole again. You see, he loves us as we are, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. He will make us like Christ (Romans 8:29).

For the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the sermon notes, click here.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

 

The Incarnation: God becoming flesh.

Jews and Muslims don't accept Christianity largely because to them, the idea that God would become man is blasphemy.

But this concept is the very center of God's plan, the pivot point where renewal begins in this fallen world.

Someone had to do something. Death, a common experience of all who walk the earth, is the result of a broken relationship with the Source of Life.

And since humans broke this relationship, a human had to fix it.

In the Incarnation, the Maker becomes what he has made. This is a difficult concept to comprehend, and through the years terms like "hypostatic union" and "kenosis" have been developed to represent the inconceivable: God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man.

Inconceivable for us, true: but God's thoughts are much different than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

As a man, Jesus emptied himself ot the attributes of Deity (Philippians 2:6-7): he experienced emotions like grief and fear. He was tempted in every way we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). 

As a result, he understands temptations far better than we do. We usually give in well before we experience the full strength of a given temptation.

And as a man, he died. But then he did the impossible: he rose from the dead.

Jesus has pased through death and into life! And he promised that those who follow him will do the same. (See John 20:31.)

For the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the sermon notes, click here.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

 

Today we completed our review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

 

The focus of today's sermon is on the final component of our vision: Expression.

Expression = To communicate the life-changing gospel through word and deed as individuals and as a church. 

This is demonstrated by believers expressing the transforming love of God by actively serving others and speaking truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

If you are a Christ-follower, your life-story has the power of God flowing through it!

 

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

 

Today we continued our review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

The focus of today's sermon is on the two more components of our vision: Authenticity & Community.

Authenticity = To seek a life where our actions match our words, free from pretense, hypocrisy or deceit. 

Living a life of Authenticity means being honest about our struggles... because we all have them.

 

Community = To extend ourselves eyond personal relationships into broader interactive community; the body of Christ, united by the gospel.

"True community is not something that is discovered, it's something that is built." Author James A. White

Community demands intentional commitment.

One of the main things God desires is that we learn to take our focus off of ourselves and turn it towards others.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

 

Today we begin a 3-week review of our vision as Grace Bible Church:

Our Action Statement is Inviting Your World to Experience God's Grace.

How to we do that?

Through Growth + Relationship + Authenticity + Community + Expression = GRACE.

The focus of today's sermon is on the first two components of our vision: Growth & Relationship.

Growth = To live a life increasingly characterized by faith, hope, and love. 

In other words, living a life of Growth is the same as being called to become a disciple of Jesus.

A disciple is one who is committed to learning. Jesus' 12 disciples spent years with him, learning from the greatest example of love, wisdom, and godliness who ever walked the earth.

Relationship = To build genuine and meaningful relationships with God and others.

Godly love is not a feeling: it is based on action.

Loving God: There is one definition throughout the Bible of love for God, and that is obedience. Jesus said "If you love me you will obey my commands." (Jn. 14:15)

Loving your neighbor (friend, family member, co-worker, even your enemies): Spend time with them. Jesus didn't just serve as a mentor to his disciples; he shared life with them.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

 

Jesus said: "Unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins."

And if he truly rose from the dead, as hundreds of people who knew him claimed, then we should pay close attention to his words.

The good news is that, like any other historical event, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus can be investigated.

There are at least three points on which the vast majority of scholars agree, be they skeptics or believers, theological liberals or conservatives:

  • Jesus died by crucifixion
  • His tomb was empty
  • His disciples claimed he appeared to them

What is the most likely explanation for these points of evidence?

And once you have looked into this and found it to be true, as did Lee Strobel in "The Case for Christ", what are you going to do about it?

Surrendering your life to Christ is the only rational response.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

 

Last week Pastor Dave built a strong case for the historical integrity of the Bible: what we hold in our hands today is virtually identical to the original manuscripts.

But how do we know the right books wound up in the Bible? What about the books in what is known as the Apocrypha, or the so-called "banned books of the Bible" such as The Gospel of Thomas or The Acts of Peter? Why were some books included and others were not?

To download today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

 

In January of 2015 Newsweek ran a cover story titled "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin." In it the author wrote, "At best, we've all read a bad translation: a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times."

Is that true?

The answer is a resounding "No!" The most charitable thing to say is that the author was engaging in willful ignorance. The archaeological and textual evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the accuracy of the Bible.

To download the audio from today's sermon, click here.

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