Culture of Giving
January 21, 2018
In America it has become a cultural norm to worry about finances, to view what we have possessively, to spend everything we make and, in some cases, to spend more than we make. Americans consume more than any other nation on the planet. Sadly, many of God’s people have gotten squeezed into that pattern of over spending and have become shoddy in their giving habits. Scripture says a lot about the way we relate to money and this message looks specifically at passages urging our giving to be cheerful, faithful and in secret. We must not allow the materialistic spirit of American culture to conform us. We are called to march to the beat of a Different Drum. We are called to give generously. Scott gives some plain thoughts at the end of the message to help overcome some of the root obstacles that keep people from giving. Ultimately, faithful giving flows out of realizing God’s generosity toward us and that God can be trusted with our finances.
Culture of Prayer
January 28, 2018
In American society prayerlessness has become the norm. Especially in New England there is a fierce independence that feels prayer is not really needed. Even those who do pray can fall into praying small prayers, dead prayers or mechanical prayers. God wants His church to be marked by a culture of not only prayer but audacious prayer. We are called to pray without ceasing and to believe God to do the impossible. God promises to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask or think. Scott shares some of the ways Ren has prayed audacious prayers through the years and how God has answered in miraculous ways. This is a message aimed at fusing the church together in collective faith to believe God to transform the city!
Culture of Grace
February 4, 2018
The church should be more than just nice and doing nice things. The church is called to have an otherworldly quality of grace. Grace is an overused word in society and even amongst Christians is often defined narrowly as simply “unmerited favor”. Grace is a dynamic word in Scripture that could be described as the freely given life of God flowing from God to us. Grace is God’s wisdom and power and love all wrapped up together. It is God’s sufficiency working on our behalf. The beautiful thing about grace is that it is available and accessible to all. Grace can be welcomed or rejected, neglected or received, which is why some churches are graceless and others are grace filled. Grace is given to those who pursue it. God gives grace to the humble. This message is a strong encouragement about our desperate need for grace and what we need to do to grow in grace.
Culture of Service
February 11, 2018
Jesus, even though he is the Son of God, came to Earth to serve humans, not to be served by us. As we attempt to do this too, we quickly discover that we cannot make it work in our own power, and merely performing acts of service for others is not enough to make us like Jesus. The culture of service that is to mark the Church requires the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and it results in a heart change in us so that we become servants, not just people who sometimes serve. Rachel describes the qualities that are to mark Christian Service, the reasons we are to serve, and the impact it has on the Church and our own hearts.
Culture of Gratitude
February 18, 2018
The world around us can be so negative and discontent. It’s quite common for people to complain about things. We cannot allow this ungrateful spirit in culture to suck us into its current. The call of the follower of Jesus is to be overflowing with gratitude. We are called to practice praising God, not just when everything is smooth but at all times. This message delves into several passages of Scripture about this great call of being thankful. The message transitions with some plain thoughts on how to become more thankful, and then finishes with a crescendo of things we can all be thankful to God for.
Culture of Mission
February 25, 2018
There may be no greater way in which Christians are to be countercultural than in the call to spread the Gospel. Modern American pluralistic society has made it clear that no one should try to convert anyone to his or her religion. There is much pressure exerted upon Christians today to be quiet about faith. God, however, calls us to not be quiet. He calls us to go everywhere and tell everyone. He calls us to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. He calls us to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. That doesn’t mean we should be brash or insensitive in our efforts. This call also comes with a challenge to be wise and skillful in our approach. Scott ends the talk with several practical encouragements on how to go about this great commission to spread the Gospel in a way that is natural and relationally sensible. He warns against the adverse effects of being like a pushy salesman about the faith, which nobody responds well to.
Culture of One
March 4, 2018
In John 17, Jesus prays over and over for His followers to be “one.” Clearly He desires for the church to be a healthy family that gathers together and loves one another. But is there more going on in the prayer for one-ness? Does being one stop only at our interaction within the church? Or is there a mission attached to being one? In this sermon, Ren minister John Michaelson explores these questions and expands the answers to include being not only one with the church but also one with God. He concludes with prayer tips and practical ways to live into this prayer of Jesus for His followers.