As Christians we celebrate and proclaim the grace of God. Sometimes, however, we can get preoccupied with trying to outline the limits of that grace. Our assurance of grace is not dependent on the condemnation of others. Perhaps God's grace will reach further than we think. This possibility should make our hearts glad. This message is offered as a call to focus on grace, to celebrate grace, to proclaim grace; and leave the work of final judgement to God.
Early on in the pandemic, when our suspension of in-person services were just beginning, we drew upon the Babylonian exile as a way of speaking about our experiences. As we resume services and schools prepare to reopen, we would do well to think about the experience of those who returned from exile. Things were not as they once were. We are realizing the same is true for us. This sometimes harsh reality can be a cause for grief, yet there is hope for the future.
Today's message looks to the life of Joseph. We find there a message of hope and encouragement, a reminder that we cannot judge our lives by any one moment. The story of our life is still unfolding. Even now, God has a new chapter in mind. Knowing that, we ought never despair; but instead, trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God.
This message explores unity, the call to be of one mind, and the power of agreement. It also touches upon the reality of disagreement and suggests that even in the midst of disagreement we can cling to unity and display the power of God to the world around us.
As he did during his earthly ministry, Jesus still equips his disciples and sends them out to do the work of the Kingdom. Each of us is equipped in a unique way and God is at work in our efforts. We are right to trust that God is at work in our lives. We are right to trust in this even when things are not going as well as we might hope. Even then God is at work and God's purposes for creation will not be undone. Though he is at work in our lives, his hand extends far beyond them.
In the second message on the book of Ruth,214 we explore Mosaic law as a way to better understand what is happening between Ruth and Boaz. While many of these practices may seem strange to us they were very much a part of the culture in that place and time. By understanding these practices we better understand what is meant by calling God our Redeemer. Through Christ, we are restored to the promised inheritance of God.
This message is the first of two focused on the book of Ruth. Like Jonah it may have been lifted up during a time of ideological tension; but also like Jonah, it points us to Christ and the manner in which we ought to respond to the gospel. In this message we discover that Ruth's words can serve as a great model for us. As she clung to Naomi, so too, we cling to Christ.