The Prayerful Community

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Consider the impossibility of what the early Christians attempted to do. They wanted to unite Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free. They wanted an international movement that united cities in a common mission. Our mission is just as impossible. To build community in Christ, our hearts have to be united at a deep level. Every sort of barrier stands between us and that goal: busyness, desires, personalities, and not least sin. In today’s sermon we will see that we can only achieve this goal through prayer.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.” Sermon Notes 1-25-15

A Life of Shared Service

Flight deck personnel work together whil -rigging a -aircraft barricade during flight deck drills aboard th -Nimitz-class aircraft-carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Flight deck personnel work together while rigging an aircraft barricade during flight deck drills aboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Image via Wikimedia Commons

How do people come to Christ? We tend to think of evangelism as either a big event, like a stadium filled with people for a concert or an evangelist, or we think of it on a very small scale, one person alone with another person trying to convince them of Christ.

In today’s message we will see that what brings people to Christ is the community of believers around them—a community that shows what the love of Christ looks like. Paul’s letter to Philemon shows us how to build a community that wins people to Christ through a life of shared service.

To follow along with sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 1-18-15

 

Foundations for an Open Life

Jewish Market on the East  Side, New York, NY between 1890-1901. Detroit Publishing Co. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Jewish Market on the East Side, New York, NY between 1890-1901. Detroit Publishing Co. Courtesy of Library of Congress

When people lock their doors and windows, there’s trouble in the neighborhood. But when the neighborhood is safe, people open their doors. What are the foundations for this kind of openness?

Here at Chico Grace Brethren we’re building community through Real Life Groups: small groups that make the gospel real. Our model is Paul’s letter to Philemon. One look at this letter shows how important the small group is in the life of the Church, and also how the early churches were characterized by openness. In today’s message we will look at three foundations for building an open life which can be seen in this story.

 

Please note: the audio quality is somewhat poor for the first minute of the recording, but improves after that.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 1-11-15

 

Community in Christ

Mulberry Street, New York City, Library of Congress. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mulberry Street, New York City, Library of Congress. Image via Wikimedia Commons

What do you think of when you hear the word community? Maybe you imagine a barn-raising. We can all imagine how great it would feel to be supported that way by a whole community, and how great it would feel to give that kind of support as a way of life. Maybe you imagine a neighborhood in a big city. They wouldn’t raise a barn. But watching the kids, identifying strangers, and guarding the street was something the whole community participated in.

What we’re seeing as we study Philemon is a Christian community in action—the first generation of believers making the gospel real in their daily lives. Our focus in this series is on building that kind of community. In today’s message we begin by asking, what does the Bible think about community? The biblical definition starts with a word everyone seems to run from—church.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 1-4-15

The Missing Power

Sunlight on a Stormy Sea, by Bonaventura Peeters. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Sunlight on a Stormy Sea, by Bonaventura Peeters. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Many believers today are troubled on two levels. They are troubled by the degradation of our culture. What can we do?

Many are also troubled by their personal barrenness in the faith. Why can’t I overcome anxiety or depression? Why can’t I get through to my kids? Why don’t I see the power of God in my life?

Both of these problems are severe. They are at the root of a disillusionment among evangelicals that is more profound than at any time in American life. The Bible has the same answer to both problems: the community of believers must be rebuilt in the power of the Spirit.

Today we begin a series drawn from the book of Philemon which will show us how the power of God is experienced through the community of his people.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 12-28-14

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