Into the Wild: Called Out of the Ordinary
Apr 15–The Wilderness (Isa. 6:1–13; Jer. 1:4–19)—The wild is a beautiful and tameless, unpredictable, uncontrollable place. Pain and suffering (aka “The Dark Night of the Soul”) are a given, but they are also necessary teachers. Living in the present is probably our hardest spiritual discipline. Facing our own essential pain of inadequacy and rejection (and finding healing in Christ) will allow us to better understand the meaning of life and more capable of sharing God’s love and hope with others stuck in tough places.
Apr 8–Urban Jungle (Luke 4:14–30)—For Christians living in urban America, the host of systemic problems that need attention is myriad. All manner of community leaders and citizen activists work from the inside to try and improve difficult systems, and many Christians work professionally in those areas. But every follower of Jesus has the opportunity to invest in individual people affected by urban problems, be they poverty, lack of education, racism, job loss, mental illness, substance abuse, or any of the others. Sharing the gospel with people like this means walking with them over time and demonstrating the love of God and the truth of the Gospel by helping them find their way out of systemic or generational dysfunction and into the wholeness of life intended by God.
Previous Sermon Series: Faces of Community
Apr 1–A Community Expectant (Isa 9:2-7, 11:1-5; Jer 33:14-16; Dan 7:13-14; Isa 49:1-7)—Well before the Exile, the Israelite prophets began telling of a future king that would come and reunite all of Israel and extend God’s salvation to all nations. In several contexts, this long-awaited King was described as the next David, one who would be an earthly figure, ruling like a perfect King. In others, the expected leader is given more of a heavenly, mystical quality: he is the Son of Man, the Servant of the Lord, the one who comes directly from God. For all of Israel’s history, the Old Testament ends with the final chapter still waiting to be written. The community was full of expectation that God would send a new King, who would accomplish things even their greatest heroes of old were unable to accomplish. And while there is much debate within Judaism as to that future king’s identity, all of Christianity confesses belief that Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and risen again, is that perfect King, born of man and born of God.
Mar 25–A Community Restored (Ezek 37:1-14; Ezra 1:1-7, 6:14-15; Hag 1:1-9)—It wasn’t a terribly long period of exile for those from the Southern Kingdom, but it was long enough for a couple of generations to come and go. The opportunity to return home was one that had to be seized by Israelites that, for the most part, only knew life in Babylon. And yet, this new adventure was God’s plan of restoration and deliverance for their whole people! It would require courage, sacrifice, and faith, but through that process, the community of God would find not only restoration for themselves, but also for their sons and daughters for generations to come.