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Introduction

My friend sat across from me nursing a sour, beaded African tribal bracelets circling each tanned wrists. His face lit up when he talked about his recent magical wedding in Bozeman, celebrated by friends from three continents. But it also showed weary from a work travel schedule that’s grueling even for someone with his youth and kinetic energy.

As we caught up over a picnic table at Puritan, he described the fear he shares with many of his closest friends. They’ve all left the evangelical fold they grew up in, trusted and then watched dissolve into scandals and frail fundamentalist fictions that fell apart in the world outside its insulated and gate-kept bubble.

Pascal’s Wager is a theory that outlines the argument for belief in God as the most rational approach to life. Its main premise is that if God really does exist, the potential reward of belief outweighs the potential punishment for the lack thereof; if God doesn’t exist, the upside of unbelief isn’t that big a win over living as if God does.

While I think it’s a strong rational argument, it really doesn’t do much for me. I want to live for something, not just hedge my bets. For me, that’s what following Jesus means. I understand and accept I may be totally wrong, but what I’ve come to find about the Way of Jesus is something I understand and experience as good and true and beautiful. I see it as something that can build a healthy community, that allows for the fullness of my humanity and the humanity of others, that offers durable hope and meaning in a world where those are rare and fleeting.

But that isn’t easy. The main work I have, other than nurturing this faith in my own fickle heart, is fighting to disentangle it from all the B.S. and toxic corruption, willful ignorance and monstrous co-opting of the words and images of Jesus. I don’t have it all figured out by any means, but I have a good idea what it’s not. 

The book of Hebrews, which is more of a sermon than a letter, helps us all with this struggle. It helps us recenter Jesus as the Way and the way through. Let’s dig into this book and see what we can find. 

Grace and peace y’all,

John Ray and the teaching team

Big Idea

Jesus is the reason y’all.

Take Away

We have been given everything we need not just to preserve but to flourish through our apprenticeship to Jesus. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

Text

Hebrews 1:1 (NET) After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, 2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. 3 The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

How does this fit with Belong, Become, Believe?

At Grace, we believe the all encompassing work and message of Jesus is sufficient for us to love without condition, to welcome without prerequisites. This fuels our practice of inviting others to belong and join with us in the practice of becoming more and more like the one we follow. Our confessions of what we believe both form and inform these practices.

 

What’s Next?

What do Angels have to do with all this?

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Grace Church of Northwest Arkansas is a nondenominational community of Christ-followers committed to loving others, living out the Gospel and serving in Jesus’ name. We stand with the marginalized and welcome folks of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.

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