Advent | Comfort | Isaiah 40: 1-11 | Week 2

December 14, 2017
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"Turn with me to Isaiah 40.  We're journeying with the prophet Isaiah as he points us to the coming Christ, in this Advent season.  We're using lectionary passages, passages the church universal has decided on, in a given year, to lead us to the birth of Christ.  This Sunday's passage is Isaiah 40:1-11.  

As I was reviewing it on the plane back this week, I had an experience come back to mind.  I was a backpacking guide throughout my college years.  One night we were in the wilderness outside of Crested Butte.  There were high schoolers packed in next to me in our fly.  There was a sound out in the field.  It was a sound that could only be described as heinous and death!  If you've been in the wilderness at all, you know you hear everything.  There's some things you don't want to hear and that was one of those things.  I was lying there, packed in like a sardine and I hear a mauling going on in the field near me.  I snuck deeper in my sleeping bag, trying to give the aura of confidence to the high schoolers who were with me.  As I slid my feet down to the bottom of my bag, I encountered a little plastic bag that I had slid in there, and it had beef jerky in it.  I'm like, "I'm about to be the beef jerky!"  I said to everyone in my tent, "Hey, guys, good news-bad news.  Good news is you're going to get a snack.  Bad news is you might be a snack if you don't eat it quickly.  Hurry!"  I gave out the beef jerky because I did not want to get mauled by whatever I heard earlier.  

Wilderness can be a scary place, can't it?  If you spend much time out there, you know that you're at the mercy of the weather, you're at the mercy of the wild, you're at the mercy of the animals, and that can be a nerve-wracking place.  The Israelites knew a little about wilderness themselves.  They knew about the wilderness of being slaves in Egypt.  They did that wilderness for 400 years.  After they got out of that wilderness, they crossed through the Red Sea and wandered around in the wilderness for another 40 years.  It was during that season of wandering that the Israelites were solidified as a nation.  It was in that wilderness wandering that they grew to trust God, they grew to know God, and they were given the commands of God, solidifying them as a people and a nation....."

Advent | Presence (sermon from Africa) | Isaiah 64: 1-9 | Week 1

December 5, 2017
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"{Recorded at Denver International Airport on the way to Ivory Coast, Africa.  Ryan Paulson and Aaron Bjorklund went to help at a leaders' and pastors' conference.}

The English word 'advent' comes from the Latin word 'adventus.'  It means coming or visit.  It's a four-week season in the church calendar where churches all around the globe prepare for the birth of Christ.  It's a time that's epitomized by three postures of the soul.  One of those postures is intentional waiting.  We remember that there's a certain transcendent longing within us for something more, and we allow ourselves to hope.  The second posture is anticipating.  This emptiness that we sometimes feel in our soul?  We expect that God will come in and meet us and fill us.  Then there's this posture of preparation.  We take some inventory of our life, we take time to think and we invite the Spirit of God to work in us and move in us that we would become little bit different people, over the course of the next four weeks.  

No one really knows when the season of Advent started.  The church universal has been practicing it since 567, at least.  It was that year that a number of monks decided to undertake a season of fasting leading up to the birth of Christ.  Their practice of fasting was adopted by the church to eventually become the season we now know and celebrate as Advent...."

Dwell | Dialed In | 1 John 4:1-20 | Week 5

November 20, 2017
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Listen as Pastor Ryan Paulson continues in the Dwell series with "Dailed In" taking from 

1 John 4:1-20. 

Dwell | Our Great God and His Glorious Goal | 1 John 2:28-3:10 | Week 4

November 14, 2017
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Listen as Dr Wenig shares with us in week 4 in our Dwell series with his sermon "Our Great God and His Glorious Goal" taking from 1 John 2:28-3:10.

Dwell | Booths and Tables | 1 John 2:15-27 | Week 3

November 7, 2017
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"

The Israelite people were a people committed to memory.  They were committed to remembering the journey that they'd walked as a nation and as a people.  They had wired into the rhythm of their year certain mile-markers that they'd cross that were reminders for them....to not forget the story.  One of those mile-markers is called The Feast of Booths.  It would happen around late fall, every year.  The command came out of Leviticus 23:42-43.  You shall dwell in booths for seven days.  All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.  Every year, an Israelite family would build a booth.  It was a temporary structure, one that they would decorate with some of the fruits of Palestine.  They would make these booths---they would call them tabernacles or, in Hebrew, Sukkot, which is the name of the festival or celebration.  They would take them into the wilderness and they would camp for a week.  And they would remember.  Remember when we were enslaved in Egypt and God miraculously brought us out.  Remember when He parted the Red Sea.  Remember when we walked through on dry ground.  Remember when He preserved us for forty years in the wilderness.  Remember.  

Can you imagine being a little kid with your family, your parents and your grandparents, and building a booth and going and putting it in the wilderness, and sitting around the fire and recounting the stories?  Telling of the faithfulness of God?  When I was growing up, my family and I did a few camping trips, not too many.  I can remember each of them.  I can remember sitting around a fire outside of Lake Tahoe.  My dad, with his guitar, taught us the song "It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going."  I was wondering, at the time, why it was taking us so long to get OUR fire going, but that's a whole other story!  I can remember it.  You have to think of yourselves as....back in their shoes....they were so committed.   These are going to be things that we pass down from generation to generation.  These are going to be stories that we tell.  We refuse---the nation of Israel said---we refuse to forget the faithfulness of God.  Because there's going to be times that it could happen.  There's going to be times when His provision in the desert seems like it's a really, really, really, long way off.  There's going to be times when it feels like we're running out of water in the parched land.  It's going to be these stories that preserve us....."

Dwell | Guarding the Goal | 1 John 2:3-14 | Week 2

October 31, 2017
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"

In 1918 the United States government finished the construction on Fort Knox.  Fort Knox is where you want to go if you're interested in stealing 5000 tons of gold.  It's the only place in the United States, or in the world, that you could do that.  But here's the problem---if you tried to break into Fort Knox, you would find that the sides have granite walls that are four feet thick.  This would prevent you from getting into the sides of the building.  If you say, okay, I will tunnel my way in.  I'll dig under, then dig up.  Good luck!   Down underneath it is a number of feet of concrete.  After you get through the concrete you have ten feet of granite that this building sits on.  Let's hypothetically say you made it in.  Once you got in, you'd find a vault.  The vault itself has a 22 ton door that blocks the way to get into that 5000 tons of gold that you're looking for.  If you say, "Well, I'm not going to break the door down, I'm just going to pick the lock."  You would need ten employees who work at Fort Knox, and each one of them have A portion of THE code that allows you to get into the door.  None of the others know the other parts of the code, they just know their own.  You need all ten parts of that code.  Let's say, hypothetically, that you actually made it into the vault, in order to get out, you would have to get passed the 30,000 military people who are stationed there.  Good luck!!  There's a reason why that at the beginning of the second World War most European nations stored their gold here.  The Magna Carta was stored there.  The Declaration of Independence was stored there.  The Crown Jewels from the United Kingdom were stored there. The vault is said to be atomic bomb proof. 

We protect the things that are important to us, don't we?  We guard the things that are important to us.  It's the reason that it takes an hour to get through the security line at the airport.  We guard the things that are important to us, don't we?  We put a hedge around them and we protect them.  Here's the thing, if you're a follower of Jesus this morning, the Scriptures are going to talk to us about guarding the things that are most important to us.  If you're not a follower of Christ this morning, you get to look in on what OUR Fort Knox should be as followers of Christ.  We've made it a lot of different things.  If you were to do a straw-poll --- What's the most important.....what's the thing we're suppose to guard above all else, as followers of Christ?  You'd probably hear....well, it's important for us to guard good theology.  Totally agree.  It's important for us to guard having the right world view.  Totally agree.  It's important for us to guard the religious liberties and the rights that we have.  I agree.  But it's not our Fort Knox.  It's not the thing that we're called to guard above all else.  If you want to find out what it is, open with me to 1 John 2....."

Dwell | Touching the Light | 1 John 1:1-2:2 | Week 1

October 24, 2017
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"

There are times when it's hard for us to believe that the authors of the Scriptures actually were real people.  That they lived real lives.  They had real struggles.  They had real joys and real successes.  The author of 1 John is a man by the name of John.  He was a real person who had some pretty unique experiences in his life.  He was one of the best friends of Jesus while Jesus walked the earth.  He was one of the twelve disciples, but he seemed to have been in the inner circle.  He had access to things that not everybody got access to.  The evening Jesus was betrayed, he had his disciples around the table.  They would sort of lounge, in those days.  John was the one who leaned right on Jesus.  Pause for a moment and imagine what that might have been like.  To smell Him.  To have Him rub up against you.  To hear Him laugh.  To hear Him chew (maybe with his mouth open).  John goes on to write in that same chapter of his gospel that he was the one that Jesus loved.  Evidently, the Apostle John and Jesus had a fairly unique and deep and meaningful friendship.  

In fact, it was John in John 19:26-27 who records the words of Jesus as Jesus hangs on the cross.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved {He's talking about himself here.}  standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"  Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"   Here's what's going on --- Jesus is hanging on the cross, dying for the sin of humanity and he looks down at his friend, he looks down at his mom and says, "Hey, John, from now on, you're taking care of my momma!"  John takes this seriously.  I almost expected to read, "Um, excuse me, could you repeat that?!"  What would somebody have to do to let their mom move into your house?  Probably die for you!  But even then, some of you are going, "Well, I'm not even sure I'd do it then."  But here's what John does:  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.  From that moment on, John is caring for the mother of the Messiah.  Do you think he heard some stories?  Moms love to tell stories about their kids; if you think Mary was any different, you're wrong!  To hear the stories about what Jesus was like when he was a little kid.  To hear the stories about the way he frustrated her.  Can you imagine telling somebody, "Oh, that Jesus really frustrated me one time!"  Can you imagine what John has seen and what John has been through?  The fact that Jesus says, "Hey, John, will you care for my mom?" tells us something about the character of the person who's writing this letter...."

Freeway | Freedom | Luke 15:25-32 | Week 6

October 17, 2017
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"Over the last few weeks we've been living in the parable of the Prodigal Son that's found in Luke 15.  We're in our last message of this series that we've been doing.  Remember, a parable literally means 'to throw alongside of.'  In this parable, it's Jesus taking the story of a father and his two sons and he throws it alongside of the reality of the world we live in and the kingdom that Jesus came to inaugurate.  We said earlier that a parable presents a picture for us to climb up inside of and explore.  For us to ask questions about ourselves and about God.  It's a way for us to ask the question are we living in the way that Jesus created us to live and designed us live? Are there maybe some things that God would press on us to say, "You've pictured me in one way, but I'm different than you've ever imagined?"  Over the last four weeks, we've been exploring this through the angle of the younger son...."

Freeway | Acceptance | Luke 15:19-24 | Week 5

October 9, 2017
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Freeway | Acceptance | Luke 15:19-24 | Week 5

Freeway | Forgiveness | Luke 15:19-24 | Week 4

October 3, 2017
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Pastor Larry Boatright continues the Freeway Series, using Luke 15:19-24 to share about forgiveness.  

Freeway | Ownership | Luke 15: 17-20 | Week 3

September 26, 2017
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"Certainly we can relate to the feeling of pursuing freedom and finding ourself in cages.  That song (Cages) by NeedtoBreathe poignantly points that picture of the place we often find ourselves in.  It's the place that the prodigal son found himself in.  He believed he was on the pathway to freedom, but he found that he was actually on his way to confinement.  We're going to pick up that story again today.  If you have your Bible, turn with me to Luke 15..."

Freeway | Discovery | Luke 15:11-16 | Week 2

September 19, 2017
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We have all of the DNA of freedom, yet we often find ourselves in confinement.  Everything in us cries out that we were designed for something more and something bigger and something better, and yet, we look at our lives sometimes, and our lives defined by a fear that we can't get over, a guilt that we can't shake free of, and a despair that seems so prevalent that it defines our everyday reality.  We look at ourselves, we look at our own hearts and our own souls and the desire is in us to go, yeah, I was made for freedom.  All of us know it.  It's a transcendent, human reality.  We know that we were designed for freedom and yet, we also know that there's things in our life that keep us enslaved.  There's things in our life that confine us. There's even decisions that we've made that turn that more and more into a reality....

Freeway | Awareness | Matthew 13:10-17 | Week 1

September 12, 2017
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"I always get excited about a new series beginning and this one is no different.  As I've had the chance to study over the last few weeks and look through, hopefully a fresh lens, the story of the Prodigal from Luke 15, it's once again captured my heart and reminded me of the story that we find ourselves in as human beings.  Specifically, and uniquely, as followers of the way of Jesus.  My hope is that over the next six weeks this story would be an invitation to you back into the greatest story ever told.  Sometimes we need that invitation and we need that reigniting of our faith, so when we sing "awaken my soul," it's not because we've never been awake before, it's because sometimes we get caught in the monotony of life, don't we?  And the every day.  And the pain and the hurt.  Sometimes we need that invitation from God.   That's my intention and hope over the next six weeks...."

Screaming in the Streets | Enlarging Your Word | Proverbs | Week 10

August 29, 2017
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As we continue our series on Proverbs, this sermon was on generousity, drawn from multiple texts in the book of Proverbs. 

Psalm 121

July 25, 2017
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A sermon by Nirup Alphonse