Jun 7, 2015
Spiderman: The End of Revenge
UntitledToday as we kick off our “God on Film” message series, we delve right in to a very serious topic – revenge. Revenge is serious, because in reality, it represents a failure to forgive. In view of Scripture’s teaching concerning forgiveness it seems that the stubborn, persistent refusal to forgive others is evidence of a blind and hardened heart which lacks a real understanding of and faith in God’s forgiveness in Christ (from the LCMS.org FAQ’s). For us to understand revenge then, we must understand forgiveness. As we prepare ourselves for worship today, may we ask God to prepare our hearts to understand the depth and breadth of His forgiveness for us in Christ – and to receive that forgiveness of sins in our sharing of the Lord’s Supper today.
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  • Jun 7, 2015Spiderman: The End of Revenge
    Jun 7, 2015
    Spiderman: The End of Revenge
    UntitledToday as we kick off our “God on Film” message series, we delve right in to a very serious topic – revenge. Revenge is serious, because in reality, it represents a failure to forgive. In view of Scripture’s teaching concerning forgiveness it seems that the stubborn, persistent refusal to forgive others is evidence of a blind and hardened heart which lacks a real understanding of and faith in God’s forgiveness in Christ (from the LCMS.org FAQ’s). For us to understand revenge then, we must understand forgiveness. As we prepare ourselves for worship today, may we ask God to prepare our hearts to understand the depth and breadth of His forgiveness for us in Christ – and to receive that forgiveness of sins in our sharing of the Lord’s Supper today.
  • May 31, 2015A Kingdom Torn in Two
    May 31, 2015
    A Kingdom Torn in Two
    GBUThey say “things happen in threes.” Have you heard that? Today in the church calendar is Trinity Sunday – where we celebrate that we have one God in three distinct persons – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. As the Athanasian Creed states – not three gods, but one God! Because of this mystery of the Trinity, three is considered a significant number in the Bible. This is perhaps the root of some of the intrigue with the number three. In The Story we have just finished the period of the united kingdom of Israel. For this period of approximately 120 years, Israel was united under three successive kings. But following that third monarch - Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was torn in two. Even in the midst of this foolish behavior, however, God remains faithful to His people.
  • May 24, 2015The Kind Who Had It All
    May 24, 2015
    The Kind Who Had It All
    GBUThe King Who Had It All learned that nothing of this world could fulfill God’s role in his life. Don’t you often wonder what life would be like if you had more? “More what,” you ask? More ANYTHING! For some it’s more money … for others more time … for others more prestige or influence. You name it, and we think it will make us happy –even content. But one man who had all of those – literally – discovered that they each were their own dead end. He learned that nothing in this world can satisfy the longings of the heart. He also learned that nothing in this world is as important as what we do to bring God glory. To do that, however, requires that we surrender ourselves to His will.
  • May 10, 2015Shepherd to the King
    May 10, 2015
    Shepherd to the King
    GBUWhat is your concept of God? This is important because your concept of God determines everything. What many of us do is make a box for God, maybe without even realizing it. We’ve created a box that is manageable, a box that isn't too big for us to get our arms around, and that's where we’ve put God. We want a box that we can carry comfortably, a box that fits where we need it to fit. And we've said, God, here's the space we've made for You, so you’re going to need to fit in here. But if your God fits in a box, then your God is too small. This week we are in chapter 11 of The Story, "From Shepherd to King", and we read about the life of David before he becomes King David. As we study this together You will see some things that will likely “blow up” your box!
  • May 3, 2015Standing Tall, Falling Hard
    May 3, 2015
    Standing Tall, Falling Hard
    GBUIsrael was under the oppression of the Philistines and the Ammonites, and there didn't seem to be any end in sight for all the wars and struggles with other nations. It seemed to everyone like the problem was that there was no king. So the people tell their priest and leader, Samuel, that's exactly what they want—a king. God tells Samuel, "It's not you they’ve rejected; they've rejected me" (1 Sam. 8:7), and God tells him in 1 Samuel 8:22, "Listen to them and give them a king." Israel chose a king over God. And the choice isn't quite that straight forward even though it seemed to make sense. But the reason it seemed that there was no better option was that Israel was too nearsighted to see the big picture of what God was doing in the world.
  • Apr 26, 2015The Faith of a Foreign Woman
    Apr 26, 2015
    The Faith of a Foreign Woman
    VictoryWEBThis week we are in chapter 9 of The Story. If a video camera was rolling through this chapter you would find many different expressions: anticipation and joy, disillusionment and disappointment, anger and bitterness. The story takes places during the period of the Judges, but it’s not about a judge and really doesn’t appear to be about the nation of Israel. On the surface it doesn’t seem to make much sense as a book in the Bible it appears to be a story of a random family with a husband named Elimelech and his wife named Naomi. It’s not long before a couple of sons are born, and the story seems to be going as planned. But then a famine strikes, and this family is forced to move to the land of Moab. Once they arrive, the two sons marry two Moabite women Ruth and Orpah. But it’s not long before Elimelech and his two sons die, leaving three widows.
  • Apr 19, 2015A Few Good Men and Women
    Apr 19, 2015
    A Few Good Men and Women
    The Bible says that the nation of Israel followed God faithfully throughout the life of Joshua and the elders who succeeded him. But when that generation of leaders died out, the Israelites spent the next 400 years in a cycle: disobedience, punishment, repentance, and deliverance (Judges 2:10). So the new generation began to worship the pagan gods of their new land, until God finally used those pagan nations to punish them. God would punish them by allowing them to be oppressed by one of the neighboring tribal nations. They would cry out to God in repentance and beg for deliverance. During those times of punishment, God would raise up Judges political, military, and spiritual leaders to lead Israel back to Himself. There were several Judges, but a few of them capture the cycle of the entire 400-year period.
  • Apr 12, 2015The Battle Begins
    Apr 12, 2015
    The Battle Begins
    We often try and avoid situations where courage is required. We prefer to play it safe, to avoid the risks, to stay within our boundaries. In the swimming pool of life, most of us try and stay in the shallow end. But there are moments—defining moments—in our stories where we will be called upon to be men and women of courage. They may not be as dramatic as a shielding your children from a tornado or running for help in a life and death situation, but we will all have moments that will test our courage. In chapter 7 we read about Joshua who was a man of great courage. He is leading Israel back to the Promised Land that they refused to enter 40 years earlier (Num. 13:27), and in Joshua 1:1-7, as God prepares Joshua to lead the charge, He urges him to "be strong and very courageous (v. 7)."
  • Apr 5, 2015Living the Victory!
    Apr 5, 2015
    Living the Victory!
    Series: (All)
    Victory550Of all the things in life, one is number one. Of all the teachings in the Bible, one is primary. Of all the things in the world, one is prime. The apostle Paul names what this is in His letter to the Corinthians. He calls it “of first importance” when he says: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). The Gospel of Jesus, our Savior, is what is of first importance. This Easter, we celebrate that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is of first importance. Knowledge of this one thing changes our perspective on everything else. What could be more important to know?
  • Mar 29, 2015Wanderings
    Mar 29, 2015
    Wanderings
    Victory550Once Israel was delivered out of Egypt, the plan was to get to the Promised Land—a land "flowing with milk and honey"—which means it was a beautiful, fertile, prosperous place. And there was a route they could have taken from Egypt to Canaan that Isaiah calls "the way of the sea" (Isaiah 9:1) because it followed the Mediterranean Sea. That would have been the direct route. Here are few things about this direct route: It was the shortest distance, the most scenic route, and the most popularly traveled. But God doesn't take them on the Direct Route. Instead, Israel wanders in the wilderness for 40 years. Let’s define "wandering" this way: Living in the space between where I started and where I want to be. The question is this: How do you live in the space between?
  • Mar 22, 2015New Commands and a New Covenant
    Mar 22, 2015
    New Commands and a New Covenant
    HopeintheDarknessAfter the people of Israel were delivered out of slavery in Egypt, they came to the Sinai Desert. In Exodus 19:4-6, God reminds them of what He has done, and He asks them to obey Him and keep a covenant with Him in return for His continued provision. God is saying to His people, I want to advance my plan to get you back. I want to give you some guidelines to live by, and I want to come down and dwell with you again. Chapter 5 is a huge transition in the story. God is not going to just interact with certain individuals or families; He will share life with all of His people for the first time since the Garden of Eden. But God says, in effect, “For me to do this, there are some things that have to be worked out." And the throng of Israelites says in one voice, "Everything the Lord has said we will do" (Exodus 19:8; 24:3).
  • Mar 15, 2015Deliverance
    Mar 15, 2015
    Deliverance
    HopeintheDarknessWe have seen that God uses an unlikely cast of characters to tell His story, and this week is no different. God will showcase His power through the weakness of a man named Moses. If you know Moses' story, you know that he's fortunate to be alive. He grew up in Egypt when Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew boys be killed, but by his mother's ingenuity and God's sovereignty, he survived (Ex. 2:3-6). Moses discovers that he has Jewish roots, and eventually he ends up fleeing Egypt because he came to the aid of an Israelite slave (Ex. 2:15). But then one day—in miraculous fashion—the Lord speaks to Moses and uses Him to deliver His people.
  • Mar 8, 2015Joseph: From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh
    Mar 8, 2015
    Joseph: From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh
    HopeintheDarknessAll of us start off thinking our story will be written a certain way, but it never quite goes how we had planned. We start off with dreams, but at some point reality wakes us up. Joseph takes up a lot of real estate in the Old Testament. His story is covered from Genesis 37 through the rest of the book. Joseph is the son of Jacob, the grandson of Isaac, and the great grandson of Abraham. Here’s what we are going to see in Joseph’s story: he starts off with a dream but then experiences incredible disappointment.
  • Mar 1, 2015God Builds a Nation
    Mar 1, 2015
    God Builds a Nation
    HopeintheDarknessIt wasn’t Abraham’s credentials or qualifications that got Gods attention, but there is something about Abraham that explains why God used him to build a nation. Abraham’s story was a story of faith. His life takes up about 13 chapters in Genesis, and we learn what faith is from reading his story. It’s because of Abraham’s faith that God chose to use Abraham as such an integral part of the story.
  • Feb 22, 2015The Beginning of Life As We Know It
    Feb 22, 2015
    The Beginning of Life As We Know It
    HopeintheDarknessThe Story is a book of selections from the Bible, arranged chronologically, that reads like a novel. During this 31-week experience, we will discover how our story is found in God’s story! There are some big themes to cover in Chapter 1 of The Story—events and concepts that have been studied for centuries and dissected for decades appear in this chapter. We are going to see a cycle that will repeat itself in each story that we encounter throughout this entire series. It could be expressed as: An earthly dilemma which begs for a heavenly solution…