Is fear a liar or does it speak truth (sometimes)? Can we trust our fears, worries, and anxieties? Our sermon series is about exploring one of the most frequent commands in the Bible: 'do not be afraid.' Pastor Preston shares on what fear in community can look like. When we are a fearless community because of what Jesus says what it true about God. When we live with a sense of courage we have a potential to be like Jesus in the world.
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In the 40 days leading up to Easter we invite you to join us in exploring what it looks like to trust God and live authentically before him in a community wide reading and journey of exploring the One Another’s. This Lent season we’re going to talk about how God meets us even in the winter seasons of our souls. Join us on Sunday mornings as we explore the biblical ‘One-Another’s’ and discover how God might be using others to show us his love, even in the coldest times.
Pastor Evan begins the two week series on discernment. What does it look like to be healthy, good spiritual discerners? Discernment is the process that we use, whether big or small to make a decision to separate or decide or to come to a conclusion. Reading through the story in John 9 Pastor Evan shares on spiritual discernment. It is the ability to distinguish between good (that which draws us closer to God) and evil (that which draws us further apart from God). We need those around us to help grow a capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God - in the ordinary and the big moments. It’s important to ask ourselves in this process, “what are the barriers that stand in the way of me seeing what God is doing?”
Some of the train wrecks come from outside and some come inside ourselves. There are sometimes hurts or lies that linger inside ourselves. Pastor Preston shares what it looks like for us to pay attention to the train wrecks on the inside of us by teaching from Galatians 5:22. God is very interested of what's going on inside. We have a hard time admitting there are some pieces of destruction or darkness inside of us. We would rather be told how to clean up the pain and mess inside of us. We may want a sermon that teaches us how to follow rules, hurt less and how to make it look better on the outside. God is working to liberate us, love us, free us from the shadows of sorrow, guilt and shame.
As we continue through our Welcome Home sermon series we welcomed guest speaker Gary Hatt who spent some time sharing what God has put on his heart over the last little while.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.