Sermons

Below are past sermons listed by title, series, speaker & passage. There is also a brief description of each for your convenience. Sermons are posted by the end of the day on the Wednesday following each Sunday. We provide audio & written files along with a pdf of the slides used. Each sermon is color coded in the text to correspond to slide changes. Enjoy!

03/09/2014

God the Giver

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV) Read...
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This week we begin a new series, 40 Days of Generosity, about cultivating a lifestyle of giving. We begin by looking at our model, God, as Giver of the ultimate gift which is spiritual life in Christ. In order to understand how this spiritual life is a truly extravagant gift from God, we must begin with the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1-3. He makes it clear that before God came in Christ, all of us were dead - spiritually dead - in our sin and rebellion against God. But God... But God is a God of mercy and love who wants us to be in relationship with Him. God wants to save us - to *give* us life! This is what happens in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and we call this action *grace*. God is a Giver because God is a God of grace. We can be generous because God is generous and God has made a way for us to be in life-giving relationship with Him.

03/02/2014

Rule of Life

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV) Read...
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As we come to the end of our series on Sacred Rhythms after exploring nine different spiritual disciplines, we are left with one question: how do we need to live in order to be the people we want to be? This is actually a two part question. The way we live our everyday lives reveals what we hold as our ultimate reality. Do Jesus and God's Kingdom the ultimate realities in our lives? If so, we should be living in sync with Jesus and the ways of God's Kingdom. This leads us to the question of desire because, on most days, we generally do what we want. Do we have a desire to be like Christ, to enter and receive God's kingdom? If so, what we need is a rule of life. This "rule" is simply a plan, a process, which arises from our desire for Christ-likeness and provides a structure by which we weave the practice of spiritual disciplines into our everyday lives. Our "rule" won't save us - God has already done that in Christ - but it does represent how we "press on" in our faith as Paul writes in Philippians. What changes do you need to make in your life in order to pursue Christ-likeness? What does spiritual maturity look like? How will our faith community be a part of the process?

02/23/2014

Sabbath

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
audio
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Ever feel like you're too busy - or that *everyone* is just too busy? Or over-stressed? Or maybe anxious about all the various dimensions of life they're managing? If you feel this way, you're not alone. The words "stop" and "rest" are not being heard very well by most in our day and age. We all love vacations of course! But, for many, life just careens from one extreme to another. Where is our sense of rhythm, of balance, of tension? This is what the Sabbath is all about: tuning our lives as individuals in community to the life-giving ways of God our Creator who, after 6 days of hard work, took time to stop and enjoy the beautiful creation. God did not just enjoy this day though - God made it holy! Because the Sabbath day is holy, it is a day set apart for the purposes of God in our world - for God's Kingdom - which means Sabbath is a day devoted to the renewal and restoration of life! It's so much more than a "day off"! Much much more than following a set of do's and dont's! Sabbath is an invitation to let God be God in our lives and world; we can stop, rest, and be renewed because God is for us, with us, and in us. Will we take the time to honor God as Creator and Lord? Will we release our grip of control on our lives - for just one day?

Check out the activity this week for more ideas on what kind of things and activities to include and to exclude from your Sabbath day. Remember, this is an invitation to new life! Let's not make it into rules and rob the day of its joy. Let's Sabbath together.

02/16/2014

Discernment

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Read...
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Life is all about choices, right? We face choices every day of our lives - some seem big and others don't seem important at all. How do we make decisions? Do we just do what feels right? Do we just ask what others think? Do we just pray and hope God gives us an answer? All of these questions relate to the spiritual practice of discernment. Discernment is the process in which we sit with God along with whatever decision we may be facing and listen for God to communicate to us. As we sit with God and listen, we may hear the words of scripture or discover a personal sense of direction. However, discernment does not end here. We take whatever we hear or sense and share it with our trusted friends and open ourselves to the wisdom of our faith community. We search the Scriptures to see if what we hear aligns with what God has already said to us. We continue to pray and seek God's direction. We need this habit of discernment to guide us and keep our desires focused on God and God's Kingdom coming in our lives and our communities. God is speaking to us and wants to guide us. Discernment helps us to hear God's voice above all the others.

After reading or listening to the sermon, check out the activity this week for more detailed instructions on how you can begin to practice discernment.

02/09/2014

Self-Examine

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
Psalms 139:1-22 (NIV) Read...
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What does knowledge of self have to do with being made into the likeness of Christ for the sake of others? Isn't spiritual formation more about knowing God than about knowing about myself? Yes and no. As we position ourselves well for God's transformation, we need to know and be aware of the unique and personal ways in which we resist God's love and struggle to receive God's grace. This is where self-examination comes in: it's a time of sitting before God and letting the light of God's love shine into the darkness of our hearts - places where even we are scared to go sometimes. We have no reason to fear self-examination because we know that we are loved perfectly by God and there's nothing about ourselves that surprises God - He already knows! Self-examination is a daily process where we take time to review how God was present with us throughout the day and how we responded to what God was doing in us and around us. It also includes a time of confession where we express our reliance upon God's grace to hold and keep us and lead us deeper into how God is healing us and making us whole.

Check out the activity for this week for details on how you can practice self-examination on your own! Let's take the time to be opened up more completely to God's love all around us.

02/02/2014

The Body

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
John 1:14 (NIV) Read...
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Do our physical bodies have a role to play in our spiritual formation? Does what we do with our bodies really matter to God? Are our bodies good? Since the very early days of Christianity, the church has struggled with how to relate to the physical world, including our bodies. Some - a group known as the Gnostics - believed that physical matter was evil and only spiritual things like knowledge were good. As a result, they said Jesus only "appeared" to be a real human because the supreme spiritual God could not possibly stoop so low as to become flesh and blood. This line of thinking continues for us today even though we usually don't realize it. Anytime we ignore our bodies, mistreat them, or act as though they really did not matter, we perpetuate Gnostic thinking and are unable to experience the complete healing and transformation God's wants for us. Jesus *was* a real human body and his body remained even after his resurrection. If we are being made into the likeness of Jesus, what does this mean for the way we treat our bodies and the bodies of others? What might it mean for our sexuality and our relationships? Can God speak to us through our bodies?

Check out the activity this week for instructions on how to practice prayer in a way that honors your body as God's good creation and as an essential dimension of your spiritual formation.

As a special treat, <a href="https://vimeo.com/85950622">check out our interview of Pastor Jason about the connections between spiritual formation and the body</a> which he has experienced personally over the past several months.

01/26/2014

Prayer

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
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Sometimes in our prayer life we feel limited, stuck - as if our brains can go no further in the connection we desire to have with Jesus. As if what worked in the early days of our faith journey doesn’t work any longer. In the beginning of our walk with Jesus we tend to communicate a lot with him. We pray constantly. Words fill the air. We speak *at* Jesus. Is that all prayer is - "speaking at Jesus"? No, there's more: prayer is intimacy, an act of love, more than communication and definitely more than just making requests. Prayer is connection and listening, being vulnerable, a response to the Spirit's leading; prayer is an act of communion with God. Has prayer become nothing more than a "crutch" in your life, something you turn to when all else has failed? How do we move beyond this "safety net" understanding of prayer that speaks *at* God and begin practicing the kind of intimate, every day, life-changing prayer that speaks (and listens) *with* God?

Our activity this week describes a form of personal prayer that can help deepen our relationship with God by incorporating prayer into the hustle and bustle of every day life. It's called "Breath Prayer." Download the activity for a more detailed description of this form of prayer and for instructions on creating a personalized breath prayer and practicing it throughout your week.

01/19/2014

Scripture

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) Read...
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The words of God in the Bible are central to our formation into the likeness of Christ for the sake of others. Scripture is a love letter, but do we read it that way? Being a part of a society which places such high value on cognitive analytical thought, we’re slowly pulled away from the reading of Scripture as romance; we’re convinced to ‘study’ it strictly for information. However, our purpose in reading a love letter is not necessarily to gather information and master a subject to win arguments. It’s to gain relational connection at a deeper level with the writer. It’s the difference of reading to be transformed, rather than to be informed. How can we read the Bible in a way that transforms our hearts? How can we let God read us through the Bible?

One ancient method for reading Scripture as a love letter is called Lectio Divina (divine reading). You can find a full explanation and instructions on how to practice Lectio Divina in the activity for this week.

01/12/2014

Solitude

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
John 15:5 (NIV) Read...
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There's one thing all our lives have in common: NOISE. The majority of us feel trapped, from the moment we wake up, we’re ‘on’. The first priority may be email, then Facebook, then we stumble through our day answering phones, and succumbing to the myriad of tugs on our sleeve for attention. In the midst of all this noise, do we ever turn off the noise - the voices, responsibilities, expectations, distractions, & interruptions of life - in order to commune with Jesus? Solitude is the opportunity to interrupt our cycle of noise so that we can hear and be honest about our loneliness, our disconnection to God, and others; to allow our longing to have a voice and be answered in the only relationship it can be - with Jesus. The truth is, if the noise continues we will be deformed instead of transformed. Can you imagine how different our community would be if we all practiced solitude?

Be sure to check out the activity for this week which includes a plan and directions for practicing solitude throughout the upcoming week.

01/05/2014

Desire

Speaker: 
Jason Guynes
Passage: 
Romans 7:14-25 (NIV) Read...
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What do you want? We find Jesus asking this question three different times in the gospels. But each time he asks it the answer seems completely obvious - so why ask in the first place? Jesus knew the central importance of desire in our lives. In Romans 7, Paul struggles with desire: on the one hand, he desires to follow God but, on the other, he finds another desire at work which causes him to do evil. We can all relate to Paul's struggle. What are we to do with our desires? How do our desires relate to our formation into the image of Christ by the work of the Spirit for the sake of others?

How we answer this question - what do you want - matters to God. Be sure to check out the spiritual activity for this week and use it to bring yourself and your desires before God. Take time to walk in and by the Spirit and allow your desires to be re-oriented to the only One who can fulfill them.