As we get closer to lent Pastor Evan shared this week in our series Loved to Life: Anger to Justice. He looked at the kinds of anger, where some can be good and some can be bad. There are three main types of anger he describes. The first emotional anger is minor annoyances, the second type, becomes a vice when it's deep rooted in who you are, and the only way to ease that is through some form of vengeance. In our minds with this type we might believe if we got restitution then we would feel better. The third kind of anger this holy anger. It tells us that something is not right and we need to do something about it. Justice is on the other side of anger, but the definition is sometimes misguided We get the definition of justice wrong in our culture all the time. God's understanding of justice has to do with making things right and reconciling all things onto himself.
As we get closer to Easter, Pastor Preston shared on the journey from Envy to Courage. He explored how envy clouds our vision, and how God’s love leads us into new life. Envy and courage hinge on how we relate to the goodness in others. there are at least three evil components to envy: the deep discontent that comes when I see that another person has what I want; the desire to have it for myself; and the desire for it to be taken from him.
When we talk about gluttony and lust there are a couple words that immediately come to mind: food, alcohol and sex, but actually there are a lot more to those words. God gives us desires and God actually believes desires are good things and they are given to us as gifts. As we work through what it means to see something in moderation and temperance sometimes the desires of our hearts can consume our minds and can control our actions.
What does it look like for us to be the people of God, who enters into our story and He does it not to take things away, but to allow us to fully enjoy those things. Let's not be the kind of people who give in to consume each other, but to be like the grace filled example of Jesus.
Every Sunday through out the season of lent we're looking at a virtue and a vice. This week Pastor Preston explores the path from Greed to Faith by looking at the story of Abram and his nephew Lot. Lot's life had led him to a life of acquisition and living a life of greed. The story becomes hopeless. People who are overcome with greed are filled with doubt, they feel like they lack what they need. They aren't able to draw close to people, it breaks things down. In the story, Abram was a man of hope. Hope is more than expecting something good will happen, that's just optimism. Hope is rooted in a person, God is working to make good happen. Hope believes that wealth and greed will not satisfy, but it's usable to get to the goodness in our lives. Hope does not need to conquer or control.
We continue on our "Loved to Life" sermon series where we are exploring God sending his son, Jesus to enter into the story in a place of tension. Each week we'll explore a different vice and virtue and examine the journey. Pastor Evan shares on what it means to move from sloth to faith and move through the tension between. In today's culture sloth is defined as lazy or an inability to get moving. It's so damaging in our context. We would say laziness is one of the worst things in our culture because we are obsessed with productivity. What if there is a different definition? What if the definition was about a deeper sense of not feeling worthy. If you don't feel worthy enough then why would you try and work hard? Jesus enters into the story and begins to teach our value and worth. The spiritual work for us is to learn from Him what it means to be receptive to the great divine gift God has given to us.
Pastor Evan kicks off our sermon series for Lent titled Love to Life. During the season of Lent we are reflecting on how the story of Jesus's love leads to life. From vices to virtues, this story changes the landscape of our lives. Pastor Evan shared on pride and the journey to the virtue of humility is wisdom. Pride has a tendency to give us the impression that all things revolve around you. The difficult thing about pride is that we start to the stories and all the things happening around us through our lens. In pridefulness our soul essentially turns away from our Father in heaven and to ourselves. And the antidote to pride is true wisdom. It lives in the middle of pride and humility. True wisdom comes as we seek to understand who you are and who's your are.
Pastor Evan kicks off the year with our new sermon series on Ambition. Why ambition? it's challenging each other to bring out the best in each other. To fully live into what it means to be ambitious - and being authentic about that. We do not see our faith or our relationship with God as a one dimensional thing, we believe this God and this faith we have that it bleeds out into the different categories or life.
It's important to think about the definition of ambition and your perspective on it. Motive then becomes this defining word we use to understand if our ambitions our healthy or unhealthy. Pastor Evan unpacks the story of Peter walking on water to help us understand having an ambitious faith and the motive behind it.
Pastor Evan shares the story in our sermon series and explores vulnerable love. It's a Christmas story about a baby and all that is small, holy and near. Join us on Christmas Eve for our service and the final of our Advent series on Vulnerability.
Pastor Preston explores the Christmas story from the perspective of vulnerable joy and the story of the Shepherd's. It's a story of shepherd's and all that is welcoming, unexpected and warm.
Pastor Evan explores how peace is experienced in choosing to trust that God has included us in this great, big, grand story. We look at Joesph's life and story and walk through the tension he must have felt in how to handle the news Mary had shared. It's not a fame and fortune story. The characters in it are choosing to believe and have faith in the larger story of God. It was a choice. Joesph chose to believe in his dream. Chose to believe in this crazy story. Will we chose to believe we are a part of the story of God, when it's not popular? Will we choose to do our best to pay attention to when God is inviting us to do something specific?
We often don't celebrate vulnerability too much in our culture. During Advent we are exploring the main characters of the Christmas story from a lens of vulnerability. Pastor Preston shares on the story of Mary in Luke 1. We're introduced to families and some specific women in her story. This season of advent is about hope for God. Hope reminds us that our story is not over. That God is in control, and we are not adding Him to our story, but in fact it's the other way around. Join us on our journey this advent season of exploring the theme of vulnerability.
Pastor Evan wraps up the sermon series on the Church as a Movement on what it's like to be a part of the movement of God. It's not always easy to communicate how you're doing in your faith. It's actually important to communicate that to each other because we are the people of God. And sometimes there are moments when your faith is just your faith. And sometimes it's a little harder to experience Jesus. We can assume being a part of the movement of God is like a connect the dots activity from 1-2-3. When really the history of the church demonstrates it never seems to be sequential in the way that God works out the movement. It can create a sense of confusion and unsettledness that's like, "is God really doing something here in my life?" Yet, what we need to remind ourselves of is that God is drawing a great picture.
Conversations almost exclusively come alive around a meal. In sitting around together there is a huge vocabulary we have to discuss faith. The church is built on conversation and Jesus modelled this. Jesus comes on the scene to show us how to have a relationship with God and talk to him and relate to him. Jesus broke the boundaries of conversation to show us the shaping way conversations influence and open our hearts.
Pastor Preston discusses affinity bias, which basically means we all want to be with people who are like us. Sometimes this happens in the church, we work to make sure that we make sure everyone who comes into our church is the same. It's tempting, but an issue for our community. Learning in affection for other people creates growth within us and we become the humans God intended us to be.
God is shaping the spirit in you and you are being transformed. God continues to do this shaping work in us. Pastor Evan explores the story in Romans of Paul's teachings on the activity of following Jesus at that time. For them, even the name of the church was describing a moving thing: they were people of the way. The movement of the church is about the people of God caring for each other and caring for our world. How can we be the kind of place that creates a safe environment where vulnerability is allowed?
Dr. Manno is a good friend of Lake Ridge Community and the main person in Haiti who helps to guide our larger body of churches in their support of projects in Haiti. He was here in Canada for a few weeks sharing stories on the projects we support, but also helping us to learn more about the lives of our Haitian friends. Listen as Pastor Evan interviews Dr. Manno on his life and work in Haiti. You might be surprised on what you learn.
The last message in our sermon series Eat this Book Pastor Preston shares the story in Luke 15 about how we come to every story in the bible with a particular set of views. People did this in Jesus' day too. Did you know that? But Jesus offers some views that are a bit different from that. The son in the story believes the notion of less love. That there was a love that an up and down flow and he lives that way. We worry sometimes we will love others too much, give too much and somehow deplete ourselves. In reality we are missing out on the depth of love that exists.
We continue in our sermon series of Eat this Book with Pastor Evan sharing the story in John 9. He discusses the way we make our way through change. The goal of this story is to realize where are the places that God is in this story and in our story. It is in the context of your story that God is shaping and changing you. What if the chaos and fears in change are the beginning of God building something new?
The authors that wrote scripture wrote them with a purpose and were writing to someone. It's valuable to know the history and the time. Pastor Evan explores the stories of John that reveal to us John's ability to notice and reveal God. It takes time and reflection, and studying to notice God working in your everyday life. John had spent time to practice this. We want to become the kind of people who notice God in our community.
Sometimes we are more comfortable with the black and white or the "this, then, that" box. When we read the bible sometimes we read it with this lens on. Pastor Preston explores the choice how when life gets complex and messy do we chose simple or face something real.