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July 25, 2021

10:15am I Facebook Live & In Person at Vesper Point, Mt Sequoyah in Fayetteville

Watch last weeks message here

 

Title: What’s this all about anyway?

 

Question of the Week

How did you first understand “the Good News”?

 

Intro

This Sunday starts a six week deep dive into why, and how, we practice being a Church the way we do at Grace.  Can I ask you a favor? Please make a commitment to participate these next six weeks, either in person or by watching/listening and responding.

 

We are all still trying to figure out the best ways to practice gathering, serving, being together in a pandemic informed world and to do so faithfully we need to get our bearing straight, to remember (or learn for the first time) why it is we do what we do, why it is we are who we are.

 

So please, make the commitment now to be part of these next six weeks. There is so much here for us to see. 

 

Grace and peace y’all, 

 

J. Ray and the teaching team

The Big Idea: 

“Jesus did not die to change God’s attitude towards us, but ours towards Him”

 

Take Away: The beauty, goodness and truth of the Gospel has to be at the root of every decision, action and attitude of the believer. Any and all other motivations and understandings will lead us away from peace.

 

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

The Good News has to be, truly, Good News for everyone, or it’s not really Good News. All of our belonging is rooted in the Gospel. The experience of the Good News is the experience of being welcomed, wanted and beloved. The more we reflect this as a church, the more we come to reflect the Gospel both in action and in word.

Relevent Verses:

John 14:8-9

What next:

Shalom, Salam, Peace, what’s it all about and why should it be top of our priority list as a Church?

Resources

The Word of God: a person or a book? 

We’ve gotten salvation all wrong

Contact Grace Church NWA here

 

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July 18, 2021

10:15am I Facebook Live & In Person at Vesper Point, Mt Sequoyah in Fayetteville

Watch last weeks message here

 

Title: The Choice is Ours

 

Question of the Week

Part of our text this week reads “They have decided to behave this way;” How do you think about the choices you have in your life? Are you in control of them or are they somehow being made for you?

 

Intro

We’ve all read or seen the story of the collapse of the condo tower in Surfside, FL. I don’t want in anyway to minimize the very real suffering of so many, but there is a lesson here we can’t miss. 

 

Choices have consequences. We all know this, especially looking back, but in the moment, the consequences of our choices often seem much less clear.

 

We are learning the condo board knew there were issues with the building that fell, but kept selling units. After all, prices were soaring and people’s investment in their homes was rapidly  appreciating  as the area gentrified. 

 

But while the prices of the condos was going up, so was the cost of repairs,  an estimated $15 million.  Neighbors and residents argued and took sides against each other, locking the whole community into a struggle over who would take responsibility for the repairs and at what cost.

 

But by the time they’d begun to really understand the situation with Champlain Towers South, it was too late. The warning signs were there for years, so obvious now looking back: cracks growing in the foundation mirrored by the cracks in the social relationships of those living in the building.

 

As the rescue and recovering workers sort through the rubble, is there meaning for us? And how does this connect with our final chapter of Isaiah?

 

Let’s dig in a see what we can find

Grace and peace y’all, 

J. Ray and the teaching team

The Big Idea: 

Choices have consequences.

 

Take Away: God is always offering us so much more than we can imagine, but never forcing or coercing us. The ultimate tragedy of life is not taking God seriously, not responding to God’s invitations, not understanding the reality of our own agency.

 

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

Offering the invitation of hospitality, to belong to a community of Christ followers is the demonstration of our understanding of what it means to be invited by Christ. We are just imitating what we have been shown ourselves. And this invitation and the experience of the welcome we receive is what changes us, forms us, leads us towards what we are to become. As we live into this reality, our faith is transformed from theory to reality, from abstract to concrete.

Relevent Verses:

Isaiah 66

What next:

Looking back at Isaiah and ahead to Romans

Resources

What does our faith have to do with towers falling?

Contact Grace Church NWA here

 

July 11, 2021

10:15am I Facebook Live & In Person at Vesper Point, Mt Sequoyah in Fayetteville

Watch last weeks message here

 

Title: Put down the selfie stick and look around

 

Question of the Week

Think about a time you said “no” to God. What happened?

 

Intro

Now before you think this is another “Boomer harangue” about the obnoxious behaviors of the young folk, hear me out. I’m not anti-Instagram or even anti-selfie. But I’m much more put the phone done and pay attention.

 

For some people this is a matter of life and death. For all of us there is a lesson to learn.

 

I recently read that “The U.S. Forest Service has warned against bear selfies - photos with wild bears in the background. Yellowstone has asked park visitors to take a safe selfie pledge. And this is because people have actually died trying to get the perfect shot to post on social media.”

 

I’ve also seen it numerous times with my own eyes, floating down a gorgeous river or hiking a flower strewn high alpine meadow, inevitably there will be the person precariously perched on some rock trying to get the perfect backdrop and then spending the next half hour fussing and filtering while the beauty all around them waits. 

 

It’s really easy to do, isn’t it? Get so self absorbed we unintentionally extract ourselves from the very place we are physically present. We lose connection with the reality that is all around us. 

 

God has something to say about this to Israel, let’s dig in this week and see what we can find. 

 

Grace and peace y’all, 

 

J. Ray and the teaching team

The Big Idea: 

We can never lose our sense of wonder, our “addiction” to the beauty of God.

 

Take Away: What are you paying attention to? What are you saying “no” to by saying “yes” to distractions?

 

How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"? 

The people of God, the followers of Jesus, by definition will never “fit” with the world. Outcasts, misfits and dreamers value the warmth and welcome of hospitality in a much deeper way than those who feel they earn it. So we extend this welcome with humility and reverence. This practice of radical hospitality is constantly creating in us more and more wonder and attentiveness to the person and practices of Jesus. From this experience our faith is formed and our confession is refined.

Relevent Verses:

Isaiah 65

What next:

Isaiah 66, the last chapter of our study

Resources

Contact Grace Church NWA here