Sermon Series: The Thrill of Hope

11/27 - 12/24/2021

It is truly a thrill to see what might be possible through the power of hope, and no season is more filled with hope than Advent and Christmas. Many people see hope as a beautiful and graceful bird, light and airy, making its way into our lives softly and tenderly. But hope is often not experienced as a tender reality. Instead, hope is scrappy, persistent, and stubborn. The world tells us to give up, to forget promises, to embrace cynicism. Yet tenacious hope in God’s presence and promise stands its ground; it will not allow us to take the easy way out.

As we engage with the words of the prophets throughout this series, we will witness the insistent hope of people who should have given up a long time ago. It carried them through the darkest times and enabled them to witness the arrival of God incarnate, Jesus Christ: the embodiment of relentless hope.

Messages

12/23 - 12/24/2021 (December 23/24) | O Night Divine

These events prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Join us online and in-person for beautiful worship that will conclude with the traditional passing of the light and singing Silent Night together.

12/18 - 12/19/2021 (December 18 & 19) | Hear The Angel Voices

A connection can be drawn from the prophet Isaiah directly to the words of hope proclaimed by these angels. After centuries of unfulfilled hope that has stubbornly survived exile, suffering, separation, and heartbreak, God’s people are about to receive hope incarnate. We hold our collective breath and dare to believe that our hopes are about to become a reality . . .

12/11 - 12/12/2021 (December 11 & 12) | The Soul Felt Its Worth

The book of Isaiah spans hundreds of years of Israel’s history, and not of all of those years were happy. Even in the darkest times, Isaiah challenges God’s people not only to worship in God’s hope, but to live in God’s hope. Worship is simply rehearsal for every other part of our lives. This is not an arrogant hope that places us above others, but a loving hope that is centered in God’s grace for the least of these.

12/4 - 12/5/2021 (December 4 & 5) | The Weary World Rejoices

“You will be my people, and I will be your God.” The book of Jeremiah was written for survivors of war and exile, people who had no reason for hope after the pain they endured. Yet in one of the most powerful visions of the Old Testament, Ezekiel witnesses a valley of dry, lifeless bones coming to life. In the hope of God, things that were dead are resurrected. In the hope of God, the impossible becomes more than possible: it is the very foundation of our faith.

11/27 - 11/28/2021 (November 27 & 28) | A New and Glorious Morn

Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of a people returning: returning from exile, brokenness, and pain. This is the story of a people returning to their land, their homes, and their God. In the rebuilding of the temple, the hope for restoration are realized. In the reshaping of Judah’s worship, the hope of relationship with God is known in a new way. Even so, God’s presence will be made even more real with the coming Messiah.

All Series

More Than Conquerors
5/14 - 6/19/2022
In the early first century, culturally speaking, everything was positioned around the idea that a nation ought to expand and conquer to accumulate power and influence. In this way, the movement that began with Jesus was positioned well to be a religion that was focused on going out in the world, spreading its message to new nations, and converting others to this system of beliefs. The world was primed for a religious movement that would respond to the great commission, and in effect, go forth and conquer. Yet, the church was not about conquering. It did not hope to extinguish and assimilate every other person and culture. Instead, the early church grew on the basis that it had the ability to universally speak to the human condition of brokenness and offer hope and promise in the wake of that very condition. The church would be more than the conquerors. Everyone was coming to believe in the promise of God. The Gospel reached into different cultures, differently idioms and languages altogether. In this message, they preached and believed that Jesus would return again, and would return again sooner rather than later. Nobody could have fathomed the idea that 2000 years into the future, we would still be waiting on this return. They were teaching each other lessons and lifting each other up in the hopes that they would be alive to see the grand return. However, those lessons taught have a practicality that transcends any time period. In growing over this time, the church moved beyond the disciples. What was once an effort of individuals and leaders who had all had direct connections to, and conversations with, the risen Lord now transitioned to a movement of different ages, nations, and races of converted believers who had simply heard the Good News of the Gospel. They would lean on their own spiritual experiences of the divine rather than tangible interactions with God Incarnate. What will leadership look like in this new Church? Who can be a part of this faith movement? What will be required to participate? Most importantly, how do those messages speak to us today?
Appeared
4/23 - 5/8/2022
Easter has come, Christ has been resurrected. We have enjoyed the big celebrations, the Easter egg hunts, and the family meals, but we forget that there was more than an empty tomb after Christ was resurrected. There were more visits than the brief encounter of the women in the garden. A fully resurrected Christ is a free Christ. Jesus could have gone anywhere and done anything after the resurrection, and yet he chose to search for the disciples. Jesus sought out the ones who abandoned and failed him more than anyone else. The ones who swore loyalty disappeared. The ones who followed in his footsteps for three years turned their backs on the suffering Savior. The ones who pledged to help transform the world abandoned the mission in fear and shame. Yet the story of the cross and resurrection is true for each of us through the power of God’s grace: we are more than our worst moments. The worst thing is never the last thing. What might those disciples have been feeling after the cross? Can you imagine the deep silence between them? The shared knowledge of their failures? The unrelenting question: “What now?” Brene Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection.” It is not hard to imagine the deep shame of these disciples, one that each of them knew intimately and yet did not want to name. Shame assigns identity based on our worst moments. It thrives on secrecy. It is “the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal we’ve not lived up to, or a goal we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection” (Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart, 137). We see over and over again in the Gospels and Acts scenes of redemption and healing through God’s grace. Jesus could have chosen to abandon the ones who left him at the cross, who pretended they did not even know him, to start from scratch with better disciples. Yet in God’s infinite grace and unrelenting love, the disciples were chosen for connection, relationship, and entrusted with the mission of Christ. Jesus confronts their failures head on. This is the Christian story: our deepest shame is redeemed and we are transformed into world-changing disciples