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The Big Picture | Learning Guide

February 12th, 2023

10:15am I Facebook Live & Zoom

Watch last week's message here


The Big Picture​


Matthew 5-7(NET)


I just spent a few days in Los Angeles with a good friend and pastor of a historically Japanese Church that also happens to sit at the intersection of Little Tokyo, Azusa Street and Skidrow. Learning the history of the Japanese immigrant community who founded and sustained the church for over 100 years was both inspiring and tragic. Seeing the current plight of the roughly 10,000 people living unsheltered in Skidrow was indescribable. And remembering that the Charismatic movement, now the fastest growing expression of Christianity, got its start in a multi-ethnic Church on Azusa Street is mind boggling. It’s all so complex. It’s all so intertwined. It’s all so overwhelming. Where do we start to make sense of it? Of course you don’t have to go to LA to feel this overwhelmed, everyday life gives us plenty of those opportunities. So what does Jesus have to say about all this? What’s the answer?

Fortunately, we aren’t left to figure it out all on our own. We are given answers, but they may not be exactly what you are thinking.

Join us this week and dig into what is known as “the Sermon on the Mount” and let’s see what we can find.

Grace and peace y’all,

John Ray and the teaching team

Big Idea:

When taken as a whole, what we know as “The Sermon on the Mount '' is a comprehensive, holistic framework for understanding Jesus and the Kingdom He ushers in and rules over.

Take Away:

So much of the problem with how Christians approach being in the world boils down to our insistence on showing up as converters/judges/rulers rather than as witnesses/discerners/ministers. We push for a confrontation or change/submission/victory, rather than with a mindset of compassion/generosity/hospitality.

How does this fit with Belong, Become, Believe?

At Grace we start with belonging, an echo of the welcome we find in Jesus’ “Beatitudes”. This practice is essential to us becoming the types of people Jesus describes as “salt and light”. Through this what we say we believe is both formed and informed.


Practice of the week

Have you ever practiced the Lectio Divina? Maybe give it a try.

What's Next?

We tackle our final “epiphany” of the season, the Transfiguration.

Contact Grace Church NWA here

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