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June 5th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

As If

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 4: 35-41 (NET)

Introduction

When I was a kid, there was a toy called “the visible man”. It was a model of sorts, about a foot high with a “skin” of clear plastic that let you see the anatomy of a person underneath. You could unsnap the plastic frame and take out the different organs and muscles. Weird toy, I know. I remember being mildly interested in it, but also unnerved. Somehow it felt a little too real. I much preferred my GI Joes with “normal” skin and beards and camo outfits. The GI Joes were an image of who I wanted to be: tough, secure, simple, the “visible man” on the other hand, was vulnerable and complex. 

One thing about Jesus is the closer we get to Him, the more “visible” we are to Him, ourselves and others and this can be profoundly uncomfortable. Let’s dig in this week and see what we can find.
 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team
 

The Big Idea: 

Following Jesus means living conscious of Jesus' presence in every situation. 

Take Away: 

An essential part of following Jesus is “practicing the presence” of God, not in some benign, metaphorical way, but in tangible trust and recognition of the true character and nature of Jesus. 

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

At Grace, we start with practicing radical hospitality that invites belonging as a reflection of our own invitation by Jesus to belong. This is part of our practices that form us, helping us to become more and more like Jesus. These practices also give credence to what we say we believe as well as inform those beliefs. 

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • As you read and reflect on this situation, what is the tone of voice you imagine Jesus saying these words with?

  • What is Jesus trying to get the disciples to see, to teach them?

  • What do you think the faith that Jesus is expecting here looks like?

  • How would you have responded in this situation?

 

What's Next?

Laura Holland lead us through Mark 6

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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June 19th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

Practicing the Way of Jesus

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 7:1-30 (NET)

Introduction

Growing up my family had very specific traditions when it came to celebrating Christmas. Christmas Eve was about time with our extended family, the big Christmas meal (always ham with apple sauce accompanied by Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider), and, of course, presents! Christmas morning was rife with tradition too in the Dere household. The kids weren’t allowed downstairs until my parents were in place with camera and giant camcorder in hand and we had two specific spots coming down the stairs where we had to stop for photo opportunities. Then it was on to the presents from Santa (the best) followed by stockings in a different room while canned cinnamon rolls warmed in the oven. And don’t forget about the scratch off lottery tickets, those were a requirement. Even today, if the “kids” get to go home, these traditions are largely followed. Ask Mark, he’s lived the staircase photo shoot many times now. 

Growing up I could honestly say that I thought everyone’s holiday celebrations involved watching A Christmas Story on TBS, elaborate meals on Christmas Eve, and, over the years this generally did come true, going to the theater on Christmas Day to watch the latest blockbuster. Obviously this perception of the only “acceptable” holiday celebration was way off base. As I moved about, expanded my friendships, and diversified my experiences I came to learn the hard truth: no one puts applesauce on their ham. More importantly, I was able to learn that this world is abounding with amazing and unique traditions, whether they stem from a family’s culture, location, heritage, and personal preferences. And they’re all beautiful and should be celebrated, not compared to my inflexible idea of what a Christmas celebration should look like. 

Join us on Sunday as we dig into Mark 7 and see how Jesus reacts to religious traditions and what we can learn from his responses.

Peace and Grace,
Shannon and the Teaching Team

The Big Idea: 

Freedom in Jesus is better than upholding social norms.

Take Away: 

When we get distracted by acting as the gatekeepers to the way we believe Christians should act or look like, we lose the ability to exalt the voices of the oppressed, humble ourselves before others, and practice the way of Jesus.

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

Coming as you are and being valued is a key component of belonging. Jesus demonstrated this constantly by seeing the unseen, hearing the unheard, and speaking against those who oppressed. Learning from Jesus’ example is the first step in practicing the way of Jesus and ensuring you are creating a space where all belong.

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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June 26th, 2022

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here

 

Title

The Cost of Greatness

Worship Lyrics

Text

Mark 9:33 - 10:16 (NET)

Introduction

Maybe no word is more redefined by Jesus than the word “great”, and that’s saying a lot. Think of the ways Jesus redefines, peace, joy, riches, kindness, fear and love. But it’s “great” that takes the cake. It’s the way Jesus redefined and demonstrated greatness that really tripped people up, really confused and flustered them, got them angry and caused so many to walk away. Let’s dig into our text this week and see if you’re buying what I’m selling. 

Grace and peace y’all, 

John Ray and the teaching team
 

The Big Idea: 

Jesus gives us a new and radically different definition of what it means to be “great”.

Take Away: 

Being great in the Kingdom of God is not like being great in the world. It involves using the power we have for those who don’t, making room for others by giving up our place and making sure those who don’t have a place at the table get a good one.

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

Practicing hospitality is an essential part of serving others, making a space for others to belong. This practice helps teach us what it is to be truly “great” in the eyes of God. Our confession affirms this and it is tested by it.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

  • Think about those people you consider “great”. Would they meet the standard that Jesus uses in our text?

  • How does Jesus teaching on greatness fit with your own idea of what it means for you, personally, to be great?

  • Why do the think the way Jesus taught and demonstrated greatness was so difficult for others to accept or understand?

What's Next?

We dig into Mark 10:17-32 (NET)

Resources:

Contact Grace Church NWA here