Today is a daily devotional that helps God's people refresh, refocus, and renew their faith.
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Enduring the Race: Baptismal Remembrance
September 15, 2019
Pastor Michael Kooy
“Remember Where You Belong”
1 Corinthians 12:12-17; Ephesians 4
We need to belong. We were created to be a part of a community. The triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-in its three-in-one-ness is the ultimate expression of community, and we are created in God's image. Scripture says "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness" (Genesis 1:26, NRSV,emphasis added); it doesn't say "let me make humankind in my image." We were created to be in arelationship with others, to live in community. If you Google "the importance of belonging," you will find scientific studies to back up what we intuitively know. However, despite being a society that prides itself in its connectedness through LikenIn accounts and Facebook friends, we are lonely. There are studies that support that too (Google "increase in loneliness") with ominous phrases like "loneliness epidemic."
The good news of the gospel is that we do belong-"body and soul, in life and in death-to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ" (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 1). Following the logic and the truth taught by Scripture, if I am united with Christ and you too are united with Christ, then we are united together. Indeed, in our baptisms we become part of a community of believers. We belong. This is good news indeed!
It might be helpful to point out as well that often in Scripture the belonging happens before the knowing. Christ invites people in, talks with them, and loves them before they make any profession of faith. This is important for how our churches function and how we treat those who are not yet believers. It is also the truth behind infant aptism. God loves us first; our profession of faith is in response to that reality.
Enduring the Race: Baptismal Remembrance
September 8, 2019
Pastor Matt Mulder
“Remember Who You Are”
We hear a fair amount about identity crises, and they aren’t something that affect only teenagers. This sermon provides an opportunity to highlight the reality that through our baptisms we are united with Christ and given a new identity. This identity is our true identity. When we stand before the throne of God, all other identities fade into the background. Our occupations, our stations in life, even our names—nothing is as significant as the identity we gain through our adoption as children of God. As adopted children we are given new names and an inheritance worth more than anything we could ever inherit here on earth. This is the identity that we need to hold on to when others try to label us or when we lose sight of who we are.
the seventh I AM
September 1, 2019
I Am the Vine
Jesus uses the image of the vvineyard and transforms it into a parable of our life together with God. The vine depicts the covenant people of God, planted and tended by God himself that it would produce fruit (see Psalm 80:8-18, Isaiah 5:1-7). "I am the vine" means that Jesus has fulfilled Israel's place as God's vine. God's vineyard has one vine to which all other branches are--and must be--attached. Being attached to Jesus as a branch and grafted into a vine is a powerful image of the interior life of a believer. By remaining in Christ by his Spirit, disciples are alive with his life and bear his fruit. Discipleship is all about attachment to Jesus by faith and fruitbearing by the Spirit of Jesus living in us.
The sixth "I Am"
August 18, 2019
I Am the Way
Jesus is on the threshold of his suffering and departure from his disciples; he is about to go the way of the cross. Jesus had called his disciples to love as a sign of being his disciple; he had also forecast his departure alone and Peter's troubling denial. Emotions seem high.
Jesus' antidote to their troubled spirit is trusting anew in God, Father and Son - who "know how to calm storms and to reach ports" (FD Bruner). The Father has a home - an estate - that his people are heading toward. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus opens the way there. In fact, he IS the way there. His person, his teaching, his actions, his death and resurrection are the way tot he truth of God and his kingdom. His Spirit gives us life, power to trust this way and walk in his truth. The way to life of the world to come is in Jesus.
The 7th Sign
August 11, 2019
The 7th Sign: The Raising of Lazarus
Where Martha's response to Jesus was full of words, Mary's response is full of weeping. While both sisters begin with the same words to Jesus, Mary's words are said with face on the ground and heart weeping. Sorrow and disappointment mingle with her tears. Jesus is deeply moved and cries: Jesus shares in the anger and grief of all those whose loved ones have gone to the grave. Heading to the grave, Jesus is again deeply moved. The struggle against our greatest enemy stirs the heart of Jesus, from which he calls in a loud shout: "Lazarus, come out!" This call anticipates the sound of the archangel's trumpet, calling all from their graves.
August 4, 2019
Job 19:1-27 - Job's Struggles
We welcome Rev. Tim Toeset who will bring God’s word for us and
lead us in a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Job is dealing with great difficulty and challenges God as to why it is happening. God doesn't supply an answer but Job never gives up his faith. He declares: "I know that my Redeemer lives." We, too, are called to have faith in the midst of difficulties because we know our redeemer lives.
The fifth "I AM"
July 28, 2019
I AM the Resurrection
Martha's response to Jesus us a mixture of grief and faith: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Not so much a rebuke (she had sent word to jesus that lazarus was ill, John 11:3) but one of trust in Jesus despite the sorrow death has brought. Our experience is often similar; as we confront death, we express both our sorrow and disappointment to God but also our confidence in Jesus. This passage gives us every reason for confidence. Jesus will not only raise us up at the last day (John 6) but is the resurrection and the life. Everlasting life is found in him. In Jesus, what God promised for the last day has begun: a new kind of life that anticipates the renewal of all creation.