Avondale United Methodist Church
Saturday, May 25, 2013
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The Bible: The Journey with God
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Comments (0)
The Bible, though it is a collection of stories from across many thousands of years, tells a story--our story--the story of our journey with God. It is a story told through the eyes of ancient peoples who experienced this God calling, leading, blessing, judging, and redeeming them in the course of their everyday lives. While many aspects of their lives are strange to us, the same God is at work today continuing to call, lead, bless, judge, and redeem. This series will trace the overall story of the Scriptures from creation to the Day of The Lord through the lens of the journeys we share with the heroes and villains of this ancient story.
Beginning Sunday, March 3, The History Channel will be airing a visually stunning 10-part miniseries on some of the most significant people, places, and events of the Bible. The miniseries will help these events come to life for us modern readers in ways that are sure to inspire and enlighten. Check your TV listings for show times. The official website for The History Channel miniseries can be accessed by clicking here.
Sermon Series Overview
[The Journey from Death to Life | February 17]
There is much about our life journey that is uncertain. But, the story of the Scriptures reveals that when we trust in God and rely on God, that our journey will be to a fuller life. In the of the Bible God grants life, but human beings choose death. The rest of the Bible tells the story of an eternal God working within the created order to redeem it from its sentence of death.
[The Journey from Slavery to Freedom | February 24]
The powers of evil enslave. This is a perennial reality of life under the sun. But, the God of Heaven, who has created and called all flesh to serve him, will not tolerate his people serving any other pretender to the divine throne. Yahweh is a God of deliverance. The story of deliverance is a central story for the Jews, and it is for us, too. Deliverance is our story, and it should define our lives, our hopes, and our relationship to God.
[The Journey from Dependence to Autonomy | March 3]
Early in Israel's time in the Promised Land the Scriptures suggest that they understood that God was the source of their prosperity and strength. The judges, imbued with God's Spirit, ruled the people with equity and righteousness. But, as they became settled in the Promised Land the people grew delusional and forgot the God who was the source of their strength. They rejected their heavenly King in favor of an earthly king. In this, they rejected God's providence and chose self-sufficiency, and thus they began the journey to apostasy. Our lives often parallel this journey. When things are well, we forget why they are well. We become delusional. We neglect, then reject God. The higher we elevate ourselves, the greater will be our fall.
[The Journey from Sin to Judgment | March 10]
In the period of the kingdoms, Israel built its life on a stack of lies and deception. They assured themselves that they would be ok if only they protected the temple, if they practiced their religion, if they said their prayers, and if they gave their offerings. Meanwhile, they lived lives that boldly and openly rejected God's demands for righteousness, stealing, lying, murdering, adulteration, and sacrificing to other gods. God would not be mocked! God's judgment would come! The temptation to relate to God in convenient ways that we define is all too real. This is sin--instead of striving toward God's demands for righteousness, we aim for a lower standard. But, this mocks God. We can be certain that God will not stand for it and that we will be held accountable for our sin.
[The Journey from Victim to Victor | March 17]
Israel was exiled in Babylon as judgment for their sin. Yet, God relented from his wrath and resolved to redeem them. But, the people of Israel were up against impossible odds. Their redemption would come because "God is able." Israel had come to feel like victims; God was able to bring them victory. Their victory would come through renewed faithfulness to God who had saved them from Egypt and would now save them from exile. No matter how fierce our foe or how deep our despair, God is able to save.
[The Journey from Religion to Relationship | March 24]
In the years since the return from exile, Israel had resolved not to fall into the same patterns of unrighteous living that had led to the exile in the first place. They retrenched into the holiness code and wound up in the same place as they had been before the exile: their religion was a hollow commitment to outward practice, but devoid of any spiritual engagement with the God who desperately wanted their hearts. Jesus provided a new way--a relationship with God that was personal and a discipleship that was based on a religion of the heart. Because of Jesus, we have the power to fulfill God's purposes and live under the divine reign.
[The Journey to the Table | Maundy Thursday | March 28]
One of the surest signs of God's reign is a community living under the unity of the Holy Spirit. God's table provides not only the sign of this reign but also a means to share in it. The Lord's Table stands in contrast to the division and enmity that had existed between God and humans and within the human community from the moment sin entered into the world. It reverses this tragic reality and it enables us to anticipate the enternal communion of God's heavenly kingdom.
[The Journey from Darkness to Light | Easter Sunday | March 31]
The Bible's story begins in darkness and it ends in the full light of God's presence. Life and peace and shalom replace dark chaos. This same story plays out on Easter. The women go to the tomb in darkness, but they encoutner the light of salvation. The promise of Christ is that those who walk in darkness will see light; they will have hope; they will have joy.
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