Rhythms Sermon Series: Recreate

Last Sunday we looked at the Biblical reality of recreation, and how it is not only ok for us to pursue recreation and play but that it is a gift that God gives us and one of the ways we behave most like him. To listen to the sermon follow this link.

Here are the connection questions from the sermon for further reflection.

1. What is something you enjoy doing?

2. How often do you to this?

3. What allows you to do this, and what keeps you from doing this?

4. Do you sense any kind of connection with God when you are able to pursue this? If so please describe that connection.

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Rhythms Sermon Series – Slow

We spent this last Sunday, October 26th, exploring a biblical and life reality of slowness. Here is a link to the sermon if you missed it or want to go back and listen to it again.

Each week end our sermons with some questions for further reflection. Here are the questions for this mornings sermon:

1. What did we explore this morning that resonated with you?

2. Do you feel like your life is moving too slow, too fast, or some mix of the two?

3. How do you respond when your life feels too fast?

4. What is one thing you could realistically do that would help you slow down?

We used a clip from a documentary television series called “The Long Way Down.” You can find it for rental on Hulu, or at Amazon.

Here are also a couple of good books that I can recommend for more insight on this topic:

Slow ChurchJohn Pattison, C. Christopher Smith

In Praise of SlowCarl Honore

Rhythms Sermon Series- Sing

We spent this past Sunday talking a bit about why we sing. It’s a profoundly unique act, especially since we live in a western culture that doesn’t place a huge priority on singing as a cultural norm.

If you missed it, you can listen to it here.  (Launch the media player and select the sermon. You can also download it for later.)

We also had a clip of a song that you can get on iTunes here.

And a video clip of the piece “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre that you can watch here.

And as an extra goodie, here’s an article that talks a bit about how our brains react and respond to music. Fascinating stuff.

Lastly, we ended with some singing and some questions to respond to as we sang together in light of some of the things we explored.  Here are the questions in case you want to revisit them.

  1. As you sang, how you feel, physically, emotionally, intellectually? How did you respond?
  2. As you listened to others around you while you sang, what did you hear?
  1. We hit on a few big points on what singing does.

– it unifies our whole person. Our bodies, intellect, and emotions are all brought into conversation when we sing. We connect with something deep inside of us, in almost a primal way when we sing. We use our bodies to make the tones, our intellects to process the words, and our emotions make what we sing matter.

– it makes us look outside of ourselves. When we sing, we cannot make pure tones.  Even our individual voices are collections of tones, overtones, and harmonics.  When we sing together, we listen to ourselves, each other, and the space around us, as well as the Song that is the Triune God that we are singing along with.

– it unifies us as a collective of individuals, walking together with Jesus.  A couple weeks ago, we talked about worship, and used the illustration of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit playing together to create the song- the rhythm section if you will.  And we are invited to play with them, to improvise within the context of the song, but to sing and play along.  When we sing together, we join in that song as the communal body of Christ that is the Church.

What of these points hit you? What did you find fascinating and want to explore more? What bothered or unsettled you? Where does the conversation go from here?

Blessings, friends, as you wrestle, explore, and discover.

Rhythms Sermon Series – Celebrate :: Rejoice

This weeks sermon from our Rhythms series was on the practice of CELEBRATION & REJOICING

If you missed it you can listen to it HERE and below are the reflection/connection card questions to ponder.

CONNECTION CARDS…

As we end I’d like to invite you to pull out your connection cards & invite the worship team forward.

We are at the SO WHAT component of our time. What do we do with this? How do we incorporate this rhythm into our day to day life? What does this look like?

Think about something important to you that had once been lost but then later was found. How did you react? My guess is you celebrated! You rejoiced. You told people. Just the other day my daughter Gladys found her mp3 player that she had gotten for Christmas. She had been looking for it for months. When I walked in the house that day she screamed from up stairs DADDY I FOUND IT. She came running down to show me and was singing and dancing and you couldn’t help but join in!

QUESTION:  What if we celebrated more openly our foundness and our carriedness?

When we get lost driving someplace and eventually find the place we are looking for. We are more prone to help others find it and not get lost too. Right maybe a bunch of people you know are trying to get to a wedding out in the middle of nowhere say like Woodinville or Everett and you finally figure it out. You then started texting or calling your friends making sure they don’t turn left, but right or that they follow this road vs. that one. You want to help them not be lost too.

QUESTION: What if we shared with others the turns we made in our life towards God and finding him and the difference it makes?

When you are at a party that is incredible where the food is perfect, the setting is beautiful, the people are interesting, the music is moving, etc. and you know that others could be there YOU WANT TO INVITE THEM.

I remember a couple of years ago back at our previous building we had a public indoor play space that we ran for the community and quite often Dave Matthews son came with the nanny which was cool. But one day Dave brought his son. He stayed for like 2 hours and you initially wanted to start taking pictures and telling everyone to get over here to see and participate in this. And this was just to see someone kind of famous. It wasn’t even a party.

QUESTION: What if we who have experienced the celebration and the rejoicing of the party that God has for us actually told others about it and even better invited them to check it out?

As we end I’d like to ask you to answer a question or two on your connection card…

  1. What part of our conversation did you connect with most? The idea that we are all lost, that God is not mad at us, that God is pursuing us, or that the party is for everyone who is lost [which is everyone] and it is happening right now and why?
  2. What’s keeping you from turning towards God and experiencing being found, carried, and celebrated?
  3. Who might you be called to invite to this party?

Encounters With God – Philip & The Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-40

philipandethiopianeunuchToday we looked at a story in the Bible that I think often gets glanced over.  It’s a story we may have heard and may have even read it, but also may have missed it.  This has been the case for me preparing for it.  It’s a story that has more of its content somewhat hidden in it deeper below the general read.  Today we looked at another encounter with the Holy Spirit and it involves Philip & The Ethiopian Eunuch as found in Acts 8:26-40.

There’s a lot of very interesting things in this text so in summary I’ll just point to some of the points and lead us towards our connection card questions.

Context…

As a reminder again we are now in a stage in the life of the church where the followers of Christ, the disciples, are trying to spread the good news.  So they are going to these dense population centers which is what one would naturally want to do if you were trying to get the word out to the biggest amount of people as possible during this time.   The Holy Spirit speaks to Philip, a little known disciple/apostle, and Philip is told by the Spirit to go on the dessert road on down to Gaza, and Philip says OK and goes, and heads down to Gaza.  Now Gaza at the time was the city that had been destroyed about 100 years earlier and would not be rebuilt for another 30 years after this moment, which means that Philip was being sent to a city that effectively no longer existed.  It was basically a ghost town and with that it was about 50 miles away southwest of Jerusalem.  Which means it’s about a solid two day walk.  In other words, the only reason Philip would go here is because he’s listening to the Spirit.

So first off we saw that is something interesting about how the Holy Spirit works.  Sometimes he will plant in us and give us a vision or an idea or some hunch or inclination that we are to go somewhere and to do something that maybe doesn’t make a lot of sense in the world.  And then the really funny thing that the Holy Spirit likes to do sometimes is that he basically says go there and you are like gosh I got to go to Gaza and then you realize about half way through that it has nothing to do with Gaza its actually about the road on the way to Gaza.

The person that Philip is led to we are told is a Ethiopian eunuch and he serves in the treasury of the Queen of Ethiopia.  Now what do we know about this Ethiopian?

1st  We know that he is what we might refer to as a God – fearer – which is someone who ISN’T Jewish because he is from Ethiopia and probably wouldn’t be Jewish.  But he somehow finds the Jewish religion and the Jewish description and discussion of God very appealing and so he went to worship in Jerusalem.  And what we also know is that this eunuch acquired somehow one of the scrolls of the Old Testament which was the scroll of Isaiah.  As a God-fearer he’s reading it out loud on his chariot.

2nd Thing we know about this Ethiopian is that he is a eunuch.  And there really is no delicate way to describe a eunuch other than to simply say that he has been castrated.   What’s interesting about eunuch’s in the ancient world is that sometimes more often then not they were voluntarily castrated.  We learned that there is a reason for this.  And that is that in the ancient world especially in Ethiopia, which is where this person comes from, Nubian Kings were considered the offspring of the sun god.  And because they were the offspring of the sun god it meant that they were too holy to do any of the actual work of the king.  Very convenient right?

Which left the actual work of ruling to the Nubian Queen.  So she actually had to do all the work and as a result she had a lot of servants.  And what happened was if you were going to be welcomed into service to the Queen and if you were a man you would be castrated so you were not a threat to her power in any way shape or form.   Now these eunuchs would then because of the loss of certain body organs their hormones would begin to change the way they looked.  They’d take on more feminine attributes and in fact many eunuchs began to even dress more and more like women and more feminine.   Eunuchs are considered a 3rd gender and as a consequence they don’t fit in many places and they are not highly regarded.  The same would be true of eunuchs of the ancient world.  And just like today if you don’t quite fit into a category that culture tries to put you in you often sent out into the margins of society.

And this whole story about what Philip does with this eunuch is really really interesting because in the book of Deuteronomy 23:1 it says specifically that eunuchs will not be accepted into the assembly of God.  It literally says…No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.  So with a strict prohibition that says a eunuch will not be allowed in the assembly of God it is very very interesting that Philip is sent by the Holy Spirit and goes converts this person and then the man, this eunuch, says “what would prevent me from being baptized?”  The answer is simple…well you’re a eunuch you don’t get to be baptized.  Sorry.  Being a eunuch is not exactly something you can undo or repent of anyways so you’re kind of done… right?  But that is not what Philip says instead Philip basically says nothing is stopping us.  I’ll baptize you… Here I’ll baptize you right now.   And Philip by the power of the Holy Spirit went and baptized an Ethiopian which means he welcomed him into the kingdom of God even though scripture says not too.  AND HE NEVER ASKS THE EUNUCH TO CHANGE ANYTHING

Then things get even more amazing with this text…See 2,000 years later this very day in this area of Ethiopia roughly 65% of Ethiopia is a considered a Christian country.  65% and of that the vast majority of that percent are native indigenous Christians of Ethiopia a part of an Ethiopian Christian church.  Not western transplants, not missionaries that came from somewhere else, AND they trace there origins back to his very eunuch. What that means is the Holy Spirit not only went out of his way to send Philip to some random place to interact with this eunuch, to give him the gospel, which then converted him, and then he became the carrier and the catalyst that gave birth to an entire new world of Christians and followers of Jesus in Ethiopia.  TALK ABOUT A MOVEMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Now there is something else the storyteller is doing here.  He mentions that the eunuch is carrying the scroll of Isaiah.  This is a very important scroll because the scroll of Isaiah in chapter 56 says something fascinating that would be very very relevant if you yourself were a eunuch.  It says this…Isaiah 56:3-5 And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever.  This is the story.  This is a direct contradiction of Deuteronomy 23:1 and what this shows us is that in the Bible itself we have the story of a God who begins with a narrower covenant and then constantly helps his people and his children widen and expand and evolve and unfold that covenant until it’s bigger and wider and wider and it includes more and more and more people.  So that you understand that the original covenant that God gave I’m pretty sure not any of us in this room would be included in.  And yet as this covenant begins to unfold throughout the story of scripture more and more people get included and that means that WE ARE INCLUDED.  THIS IS SO GOOD!  So the story of Philip with this eunuch is the same story.  It’s an amazing story of an unfolding wider embrace of “the other” by the ever-loving God.  It is the Holy Spirit reaching beyond all the barriers and boundaries and things that are not appropriate and all the categories that seem to make sense and he goes, YOU KNOW I’M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN ANY OF THAT.  I ACCEPT YOU JUST AS YOU ARE.  I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO BE SOMETHING DIFFERENT.  I’LL START RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.

The truth of this passage…THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS PASSAGE – IS THAT IT TEACHES US THAT GOD EXTENDS LOVE TO ALL WHO ARE THIRSTY NOT JUST THOSE WHO ARE WORTHY.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit…

1.  Moving us to places we would never go to on our own

2.  Talking to people we would never talk to on our own

3.  Giving us courage to do things we wouldn’t try to do on our own

4.  Giving us compassion to those we normally don’t have compassion for

5.  Helping us accept our own stories & the stories of the other in a way that shows Gods love

With all of this we wrestled and pondered some other questions… but you get the picture at this point.  This is a powerful story that speaks of the amazing grace, love, acceptance of God and the call and invitation to us by the power of the Holy Spirit to love others in the same way.

TO MAKE THIS PERSONAL HERE ARE SOME CONNECTION CARD QUESTIONS…

1.  What have you found yourself demanding of yourself that God does not?

2.  What have you found yourself demanding of other people that God does not?

3.  How has the grace, love, and acceptance of God effected the way the Holy Spirit is moving to expand his covenant towards others in your heart?

 

 

 

 

2014 Summer Calendar

ImageHey all,

We are very excited for you to get our new 2014 Summer Calendar.  This we not only are we highlighting events that we have planned as a church BUT we are also highlighting awesome events put on by our community that would be great to check out!  Lots of great activities for everyone to enjoy from BBQ’s, to movie nights, to concerts, camping trips, and more.  Click HERE to download it now!

Connection card questions from Peter and Judas Sermon

One of the things we are trying to do each week is to post the connection card questions from our sermons. This past Sunday we looked at the encounters that both the disciples Peter and Judas had with Jesus and how those changed and transformed them. If you did not get a chance to hear the sermon you can watch the livestream video of our service at http://onelifeseattle.com/#/see-hear and then follow the link. Here are the questions:

 

1. What label/labels have you been given?

2. What label/labels have you given to other people or yourself?

3. What new name or word might Jesus be speaking to you today? 

4. What would it look like to live into this new name?

 

Happy New Year Vision!

Happy New Year OneLife Community Church!  We wanted to thank you all once again for all your time, service, giving, participation, worship, prayer, presence, voice, questions, joys, etc. it has been an amazing year!  As this year comes to an end and the new year arrives we wanted to remind you of some categories to ponder over – to reflect and resolve over.  Hopefully you got to hear the “All Things New” sermon on Sunday where Rich led us in a time of reflection and resolve for us as a church and as individuals and tied it to our vision.  

The categories we discussed were…

OneLife | Community | Church

Gods Story | The Story Of Place | My Story

one | & | all

Image

As you can see God is at the center of all of this.  We can’t wait to see what God does in and through us as a Church, as Individuals, and within our Community.  Have a great and very Happy New Year

ADVENT.wk.02 – PEACE

As we are over half way through week two of ADVENT, let us continue to dive into the theme of PEACE. Here is a song/prayer/poem/text to encourage you today. May you experience the PEACE/SHALOM that comes from Christ. The savior born in a manger.

“Open Up” by The Brilliance

You heard the cry of our hearts, and you came down

Freely you gave us your love, showing us how

Make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is darkness, let me shine light

May your love cause us to open up, cause us to open up our hearts
May your light cause us to shine so bright that we bring hope into the dark

All that we do without love, it means nothing
Grant us the courage to give as you’re calling

Make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light

Hope for the hopeless, your love is
Strength in our weakness, your love is

May we love as you love

What is hope?

hope1

 

Here is that section/quote that Rich used during his sermon last Sunday on hope.  would love to hear your thoughts on the sermon, this quote, or simply your answer to the question – what is hope?

Hope is circular.

It comes in waves, and then recedes back to the ocean. When it leaves, I am left wet—cold and shaking—not knowing what to do next. I start to hope for hope, that like high tide it will come again and wash over me. And maybe the next time it will stay, and I will float in the gentle bob of the current, and let hope take me where it wills.

But I have never had hope hang around like that. It always pulls away and leaves me at low tide.

Faith is the evidence of things unseen and love is the greatest of these, but what is hope a sign of? St. Paul wrote that character creates hope, but he stops there. Tell me Paul, what is the product of hope?

There is a trinity of actions Paul prescribes to us—faith, hope and love—and they each have their role to play. Hope, I feel, is the most fickle of them, always supported by faith or love. Faith is the substance of things hoped forand love always hopes, so in the end hope is built on a foundation of faith and love.

I long to always be hopeful, to see the bright side of things, to be constantly cheerful, joyful, fun-loving and gregarious. To be hopeful no matter my place in life or circumstance. I always feel hope fail my grasp like sand running through my fingers, and then wonder how do I hold onto something that constantly shifts. How do I sustain hope?

I can start turning back to the foundations of faith and love. If hope fails let me have faith. If faith and hope both fail me, then let me continue to love until faith finds its way back to me and hope follows with it. Only then will the waves of hope come crashing back, and I can find my home in the warmth of living waters.   By Thom Turner  http://sayable.net/?s=hope+is+circular