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Ponte Vedra United Methodist Church
32 minutes | Oct 14, 2018
"Why the Church?" 6. The Body as HOUSEHOLD
The image of a family farm points to a difference we strive to make real in our church relationships: strong bonds with roots and a clear sense of serving the good of the whole body, with each having an essential purpose and contribution so all works well together - and the family thrives. The scene of fully sharing, close relationships described in Act 2:42-47 can be encouraging and unsettling, inspiring and unrealistic or even off-putting. Why? We are so used to looking out for ourselves and those within a close orbit. We are most comfortable with keeping all others at arm's length and formally separated by relational boundaries. But then the unexpected happens. Shared, unavoidable tragedy happens to the whole neighborhood. And suddenly all those formalities fall away. We more clearly appreciate our common human experience and bonds. We eat and work alongside folks we previously did not know despite their homes standing within a few steps of ours. Hurricane clean up and sharing of resources and news and encouragement can produce such a state. What would it be like if - without tragedy, but also including difficulties - our church sought to build such closeness and ordering of our lives in consideration and friendship with one another? As with the early growing churches, that is attractive and draws onlookers to see what we are about.
22 minutes | Oct 7, 2018
"Why the Church?" 5. The Body as SAFE ZONE
Despite the appearance of complex conflict and irreconcilable histories and preferences, we find the one way it is all overcome. Jesus makes all the distinctive persons one in himself through the cross on which he gave his earthly life. The apostle Paul explains to the non-Jewish recipients in ancient Ephesus: "For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us." (Ephesians 2:14 NLT) By accepting the rescue work done on our behalf, in joining our lives with Jesus we become part of his family. And I do not have the authority to decide who else gets to be my brother or sister in Christ. By virtue of our mutual connection in Christ, we are one. How incredible! I retain all my particular attributes of skin, language, life experiences from my past, and existing human relationships. Yet I become more than all that in adding this greatest sense of identity as part of the whole Body of Christ, the Church.
29 minutes | Sep 23, 2018
"Why the Church?" 3. The Body as HOUSE of PRAYER
Part three in our series focuses on the priortiy of prayer, both as individuals and together as the Body of Christ that is our local church. Pastor Dave uses the phrase “to get back to the original cut” of prayer based on a childhood event told by author Wayne Cordero. The story describes a universal example of not following clear directions from his parent when helping with a major project for the family. In similar fashion, we as the Church of Jesus too commonly lose our way and give importance to activity- doing for God- at the expense of our real priority of spending time with God. How can we know what our path or decision should be if we do not ask our Lord? How can the church follow the Holy Spirit if we do not bother to pay attention to leading? The primary texts are from Luke 19, and Acts 1-2.
24 minutes | Sep 16, 2018
"Why the Church?" 2. The Body as WALK-IN CLINIC
In Matthew's account (chapter 9, verses 9-13), Jesus follows his confrontation with the religious leaders over authority to forgive sins and heal physical damage and deformity. While all are energized and watching, Jesus then simply approaches an unassuming traitor to family, friends, and neighbors - a tax collector named Matthew. Shockingly for the onlookers, Jesus invites this "known sinner" to enter a special mentored relationship as a student and close friend of Jesus! Jesus is the model for us as the Church, the "Body of Christ" in our world today. We learn to approach all kinds of persons as Jesus does, with loving acceptance motivated by loving mercy. Then through invitation to deep relationship, we support their desire for better for themselves, inside out. We provide the group setting for transformation into Christ's character as we all make this journey of discovery and service to our community.
27 minutes | Sep 9, 2018
"Why the Church?" 1. The Body as REST AREA
How does someone respond to Jesus' call to come to Him to find rest and peace for our weary souls? Upon experiencing the conviction of the truth that only Jesus has the offer of personal relationship that satisfies my sou's need, where do I go? Can you possibly believe the answer is...US?! Yes, as we gather in connected friendship led by His Holy Spirit to become fully formed, devoted disciples, we are charged with the responsibility of receiving the broken and weary and wounded who respond to the invitation of Jesus to find rest. By His grace we are capable of growing into such spiritual maturity and unconditional love that we can carry out such a huge assignment. And do it joyfully - not wanting to be anything else! The text: Matthew 11:25-30
28 minutes | Sep 2, 2018
"From Possible to Preferred Life" 4. Engaging God: Effort
We revisit Paul's letter to the Galatians in the earlier section of 2:20-3:7,11-12, where the apostle passionately challenges the error of the disciples there falling from grace back to law; turning their backs on Jesus Christ, the giver of the new covenant in his body and blood - the fulfillment of the first covenant with Israel. They have been pressured to return to relying on human effort to keep the Law given through Moses, rather than accept the gift of grace that is adoption into the family of God. Paul insists those who fall back to Law are denying the benefit of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus did not have to die on the cross, if the Law was all that was needed to bring right relationship with God. Then lest we get more confused and think that grace means we do not have a part or work to do, we are reminded in the words of Dallas Willard that “grace is not opposed to effort, but to earning.” Consider a moment: how does your daily life now reflect your being in the family of God, adopted in love as a true daughter or son of Kingdom? How are you showing Jesus in the choices, activities of your routines that you love him and want to make an effort to live up to your new family identity?
29 minutes | Aug 26, 2018
"From Possible to Preferred Life" 3. Decide What to Want: Desires
In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul reminds the Christians of the surpassing value of the Holy Spirit given through faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus, the fulfillment and ultimate expression of the Law given through Moses, provided the only way to truly live a preferred life. And he offers it as the exponentially superior choice between two paths. We must decide whether we will follow our default path of submission to our sinful nature, ultimately defeated by our woefully deficient self-centered orientation. Or we have a gift we may accept. We can choose the better way of loving relationship with Jesus Christ who alone releases us from the fallout of our sinful nature through the power of His cross to make possible our desiring and capability to follow the Holy Spirit.
27 minutes | Aug 19, 2018
"From Possible to Preferred Life" 2. Prompting Our Action: Senses
Jesus teaches of our inner life's character in Luke 6, contrasting a good heart and evil one. Our activities and spoken connection with others are rooted in our character. Paul later describes the radically reoriented view of human existence in this physical realm. He holds up the value of eternal life, fully realized in our resurrected bodily experience that far exceeds the frail, brokenness of our present bodily experiences. What kinds of "windows of grace" from Christ may we choose to experiences with our senses to move us to the preferred kind of life where God is at the center- in control?
28 minutes | Aug 12, 2018
New Series: "From Possible to Preferred Life" 1. Exposing Our Mind: Focus
In this message, Pastor Greg challenges our church to consider the passive exposure of our minds which determine so much of our outlook, way of thinking, and knowledge of how we are to navigate life as disciples of Jesus in the world. What might happen if we actively engage "media" which grows our life in God, as in the essential spiritual practices? How might a loving accountability agreement between family members or friends make a profoundly positive impact on our outlook and thinking? Romans 12:1-5 is the key text for our response to the abundant grace of God to a broken world, most clearly and finally expressed through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in sacrificial love and authority over all things, including death itself!
27 minutes | Aug 5, 2018
My Soul is Well: 4. River
The fourth and final part of the "Soul" series - how do we care for our whole self (both physical and spiritual)? Jesus makes a spectacle at the climax of a crowded Jewish festival in Jerusalem. John 7 records for us the event where Jesus stands up high and calls out to all who can hear him- to come to him for "Living Water." What does he mean? What do they hear in such a phrase? What is surely understood by those present may escape us with our lack of knowledge of the daily life of the Jews in Jesus' time on earth. Somehow even the character of "Ricky Bobby"- race car winner from the comedy movie, "Talladega Nights" -shows up in the message, providing insight into how we choose to relate to Jesus. And after a quick musical segue, the recording immediately picks up the communion liturgy following the message.
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