There are some gifts that everyone needs but no one gets too excited about. Instead of the gift that you had been hoping for, you find socks and underwear - a gift that you really need, but it is not the one you were hoping for. This is true of the first Christmas, because Jesus is the gift that everyone needs, but He wasn't the gift that everyone wanted.
In John 17 Jesus makes a startling claim that He had ‘completed the work [the Father] gave [Him] to do’ – and this was prior to His death and resurrection. If the cross had not yet come, what work was He speaking of? He was referring to the work of establishing a group of apprentices who would be able to carry and embody His vision and His message out into all the world. As a faith community, we are seeking to grow as apprentices of this one who knew how to live the life we were designed for and empowers and enables us to live with God right now.
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus confronts false narratives that keep us from experiencing life abundantly and offers another narrative, another path towards a life that leads to fullness and joy (“You have heard it said...but I tell you...”). This great sermon is Jesus’ public declaration of His intentions, beliefs, and vision for life in the Kingdom of God.
Paul Simon famously wrote and sung the words “I am a Rock, I am an Island” and while 100’s of thousands of people have sung along with him, the simple fact is that it isn’t true. None of us is an island unto ourselves – we are all linked to one another by God’s design. One of our prayer priorities as a
church family is that we might take greater ownership for one another in relationship leading to a greater experience of biblical community. In this series, we’ll explore what it means to be linked together and the responsibility we have to each other as a result of God’s master-plan.
Every Sunday we as a community, send each other out with a simple statement of intent - that we would be the Church in our everyday life - where we live, learn, work and play. We know that the Church is not simply a religious service that happens for an hour on Sundays, but rather a people who are learning to express the life of Jesus everyday. What does this look like in practical reality? What does it mean to be the Church everyday?
One of our 2017 Prayer Goals is that we would learn to take greater ownership for one another in biblical community. We all find ourselves in a network of relationships with people at all ages and stages of life. The cultivation of these social networks is essential for vibrant community life. What does it look like to engage in mutual and mentoring relationships in life's journey? How do we invest in the next generation? How do we honour, celebrate and learn from those who have gone before us?