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August 15, 2021

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

Watch last week's message here

 

Title: Belong

 

Question of the Week

Where is one place that you truly feel, or have felt, you belong?

 

Intro

My junior year in High School I switched schools and had to start over making a new group of friends. This culture at the new school was very different from the one I left and I quickly adopted a whole new “persona” in order to fit it. I changed the way I dressed, the music I listened to, the places I hung out. And it worked, to a degree. In many ways I “fit in” but I was never sure I really belonged. 

 

The truth is I’ve rarely ever felt like I belonged, and even in those brief periods where I did, it felt tenuous, fragile, something to be maintained by my constant vigilance and earning. 

 

I thought this was normal. I thought everyone felt this way. 

 

But here’s the thing about God, there is no stopping the relentless work of God the Holy Spirit seeking to include us, to welcome us, to reveal to us our belonging. This is where it all starts and without it, nothing works as it should. 

 

Belonging is the first part of our “Belong, Believe, Become” ethos we practice at Grace. Let’s dig in this week and see what we find. 

 

Grace and peace y’all, 

 

J.Ray and the teaching team

The Big Idea: 

It all starts with belonging

 

Take Away: 

Belonging is rooted in God’s generative love for us. The only reasonable and acceptable response is for us to love each other and come to understand and love ourselves. Love is at the root of belonging, accepting others and coming to wholeness of self.

 

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

Belonging at Grace Church is an expression of the divine hospitality shown to us by God. As Laura said last week, we are a hospitable guest, not the host. This reality focuses our intention on becoming the best possible reflection of the host, Jesus. Our believe is this is the very best way to live a flourishing life not just for ourselves, but for God and for each other.

Relevent Verses:

John 17:20-21

John 4:7-14

What next: Laura Holland dives in what the “become” part of our ethos looks like.

 

Resources

Cute comic

Tables, food and belonging

Contact Grace Church NWA here

 

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August 1, 2021

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

Watch last week's message here

 

Title: Shalom

 

Question of the Week

How would you define peace?

 

Intro

Like so many words, when a person says “peace” they could mean many different things. Most often what they really mean is being left alone to do what they want, when they want, how they want. What they really mean is they are getting their way. 

 

This isn’t peace. It’s actually something better. But what could be better than getting “my way”? Let’s dig in this week and see what we can find.

 

Grace and, yes, peace y’all, 

 

J. Ray and the teaching team

The Big Idea: 

Any understanding of the Good News must be centered in the promise and practice of Shalom.

 

Take Away: 

Reorienting our understanding away from “personal salvation” towards an expansive restorative vision for all of creation is essential to our understanding and proclamation of the Gospel 


How does this fit with Belong, Become, Believe? Our peace is not something we create or achieve, but is a gift from God we receive and practice. That practice begins by welcoming all others who are seeking it, by welcoming “whosoever will”. Through this practice we ourselves are more and more conformed into the image of Jesus who first welcomes us. This practice, experience and the testimony of those who have gone before us forms our confession of faith.

 

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:

Ephesians 2:11

Romans 5:1

What next:

We take a look at hospitality with Laura Holland

 

Resources

Why does the Church exist? 

Lisa Sharon Harper on the Very Good News

Contact Grace Church NWA here

 

August 8, 2021

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

Watch last week's message here

 

Title: Table Manners

 

Question of the Week

What were the characteristics of the best guest you ever hosted?

 

Intro

Growing up in the South, I heard a lot about hospitality, and there were always a lot of rules. There were rules about the order in which to introduce guests to one another, the importance of place cards and proper place settings, and if you were a guest given leftovers to take home you can never return Tupperware empty. We often think about hospitality in terms of what is required of us as the host: What do we need to do to host well and make sure our guests are well taken care of? But what does hospitality look like when we’re not the hosts? What is our role then? What is expected of us?

The Big Idea: 

At God’s table, we’re guests, not the host. We’re going to explore what hospitality looks like as fellow guests.

 

Take Away: 

Showing hospitality from the position of a fellow guest requires us to rethink how we approach invitation, authority, and welcoming in.

 

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

Hospitality is a key component of each element. Hospitality is how those already at the table can welcome others in to show that they belong, the community hospitality creates is integral to becoming, and as part of the lineage of christian faith, embracing hospitality is important for believing as well. 

Relevent Verses:

Luke 14:15-24

What next:

 

Resources

Please take a minute and watch this commercial called "Eat Together."
It's a beautiful lead into our Sunday teaching by Laura Holland. (click)

Contact Grace Church NWA here