We Value Love

Vision & Vales Sermon Series
 
A Summary of Rob’s Sermon for Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community,Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love
 
 
We Value Love: We are committed to loving others, seeking their well-being with compassion and mercy.
 
Texts: Colossians 3:12-14, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 1 John 4:7-21
 
  1. Read through the texts together. What things jumped out as you read? What do you notice about how love is defined?

  2. What do you think Paul means when he writes, ‘over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity?’

  3. How does love work at binding together all of our values (Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love) in perfect unity?

  4. In what ways do you struggle with being loving or showing love? What is one area of ‘love’ that you would like to grow in?

  5. What is one thing your small group could do collectively to show love in our church community or the broader community of Saskatoon?



We Value Justice

Vision & Vales Sermon Series
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
We Value Justice: We are committed to extending Christ’s reign by paying attention to issues of injustice, advocating for the poor and powerless and working toward healing and reconciliation in our community and the world.
 
Texts: Philemon, 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:1
 
This morning we talked about our role is God’s justice for humanity. The justice of God is one that transcends the dictionary definition of being just, impartial and fair to one that longs for reconciliation.
 
The sermon focused on the book of Philemon and the powerful expectations that Paul places on Philemon in welcoming back the runaway slave Onesimus. Paul doesn’t just expect Philemon to be just, impartial and fair, but for the two to be reconciled as brothers. This is true biblical justice. Paul makes a profound request, but a request that the Gospel demands!
 
We are called as God’s agents of reconciliation to be found in situations of injustice, being Christ in those situations, as part of God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself.
 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your thoughts and feeling regarding the value of justice? 
  1. Who do you resonate with in the book of Philemon? Paul, Philemon, Onesimus?  Why might this be the case? 
  1. How are you presently engaging in justice in your life? 
  1. Are there specific issues or situations you are passionate about that God might be calling you to engage with to enact God’s justice? 
  1. How might Emmanuel Baptist Church foster this value of justice more fully in Saskatoon, Canada and around the world?

 



We Value Outreach

Vision and Values Sermon Series (Fall, 2015)
 
Summary of Brendon’s Sermon, November 8, 2015:
 
 
Text: Genesis 12:1-3; John 20: 19-22
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We value Outreach: We are committed to engaging the community beyond ourselves through actions and words that communicate the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
 
Our God is a missionary God. God is on a mission to rescue and restore his creation, and he invites us to join him as partners in his mission.
 
God is committed to working in flawed human beings to renew and restore his image in us, and then he sends us out to partner with him in bringing healing and restoration to the world. He sends us to demonstrate and display his renewing and reconciling power, and to announce to others that the grace and power for such healing and reconciliation and renewal can be theirs as well.
 
Week by week, as we gather for worship and then scatter, we are sent again into our communities to represent Christ and his kingdom, to bear witness to his love and mercy and grace. The quality of our work bears witness to Jesus, whether in the office or in the shop or in the classroom. The nature of our relationships, with our neighbours or colleagues or classmates, bear witness to Jesus. Our interactions with customers or clients, with our teachers or students, or families or friends, all bear witness to Jesus and his love. Wherever we find ourselves, day by day, is our mission field. Wherever we go, we are on mission for Jesus. I feel we should be should be praying for all of us as we go, not just for those who go overseas on mission trips.
 
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” – Charles Spurgeon
 
Like the Mission Impossible movies, Jesus offers us our mission. The question is whether or not we will choose to accept it. And if we don’t, can we really say we are following him as he wants us to?
 
An Invitation to B.L.E.S.S.
  • Begin with Prayer– We begin by asking “God, who would you like me to bless today? God, where are you at work and how can I join you there?” And then pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit.
  • Listen–We take time to listen, intentionally and attentively, to the people we interact with, our neigbours and friends, our colleagues and classmates. We take an interest in them, we ask questions to get to know them better. Questions like: “What excites you?” “What matters most to you?” “What challenges are you facing?” “Do you ever think about God?” “How do you feel about Jesus?” Those last two may come later, but those sort of questions can open the door to conversations about faith.
  • Eat– We look for opportunities to share a meal. We invite people over for a meal and we invite them to join us for coffee. Sharing meals help to deepen relationships. The walls we often put up are lowered and opportunities for richer conversations increase.
  • Serve– As we pray and listen and eat together, we look for opportunities to serve them. We offer to help in whatever ways we can.
  • Story– And when the opportunity arises, we tell our story – the story of Jesus and the story of how we found our way back to God through Jesus.

 

Questions for Discussion (For Small Group and Others):
 
  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of Outreach? 
  1. How do you respond to the comment by Spurgeon that “every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter?”
  1. When have you seen outreach being done well? What has been your experience in telling others about Jesus? 
  1. How would you feel about taking up the invitation to B.L.E.S.S others? Consider engaging the strategy to B.L.E.S.S for the next month, and share your progress as a group.

 



We Value Creativity

A Summary of Rob’s sermon from November 1st, 2015.
 
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We Value Creativity: We are committed to affirming the role of the imagination and the arts in our community and to exploring and expressing the life of the Holy Spirit in new and fresh ways.
 
Questions for conversation…
 
  1. How do you define creativity? How do you see creativity unfolding in your life? In what ways would you call yourself creative?

 

  1. What do you think Genesis 1 & 2 tell us about creativity? What do you think it means for us to be created in the likeness of God when it comes to creativity?

 

  1. Read Exodus 31:1-11 and Exodus 35:20-25. What jumps out as your read the passages? Why do you think God cared so specifically about the construction of the Tabernacle? What role do you think aesthetics should play in the life of the church?

 

  1. Read and discuss the following quote by Makoto Fujimura. What role does creativity play in telling the story of God?
If theology is a way to illumine how God is to be understood, then visual theology is illumination of the Biblical words as expressed by God. Do images reveal what words cannot? The Word of God is generative, and gives birth to faith. Illuminations, then, should do the same.
 
I am not arguing here to replace or compete with the Word of God at all. One can have the Word of Life at the center of discussion, and the role of visual design as the lens to see through. The Word of Life gives birth to sensory experiences and intuitive, tacit knowledge.
 
Visual theology is energized by the Holy Spirit and happens when we engage the scriptures with the fullness of our imaginations.
 
  1. Read the lyrics to the Sara Groves song “Add to the Beauty”. What jumped out as you read? What do you think it means to ‘add to the beauty’? In what ways can Emmanuel (and you) use creativity to tell a better story?
 

“God has invited us, as mere human beings, to add to the beauty of his plan and creation.”

Add to the Beauty (Sara Groves)
 
We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold
 
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are
 
And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 

It comes in small inspirations
It brings redemption to life and work, to our lives and our work
It comes in loving community
It comes in helping a soul find it’s worth, a soul find it’s worth
 
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

 

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 

And this is grace, an invitation to be beautiful
And this is grace, an invitation

 

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out our best

 

And I want to add to the beauty
And I want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

 

Add to the beauty
I want to tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 



We Value Community

Summary of Chris’s Sermon from October 25th, 2015
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We Value Community: We are committed to being a community where all are welcomed, known and loved.
 
Texts: Matthew 9:9-13; The Book of Ruth
 
 
Today we talked about the powerful community dynamic in the book of Ruth by considering the various relationship dynamics, with special emphasis on Ruth and Boaz. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi were part of the most vulnerable in society: widowed and childless women. Boaz exceeds the expectations of the law in his care for them.
 
Ruth, having already experienced exceptional warmth and welcome from Boaz, risk being truly known and requests Boaz to extend grace and protection to her. He does whole heartedly recognizing that he is the one who experiences Ruth’s love (Hebrew: ḥesed). The community joins in celebrating Naomi, Ruth and Boaz’s joy.
 
The calling of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13) also brings this dynamic to the forefront. Jesus invites Matthew to follow him, but Matthew also invites Jesus into his life world allow Jesus to truly know him.
 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of community? 
  1. As you consider the book of Ruth, who do you identify with? Why do you think this is the case? 
  1. What other lessons about community can we learn from the book of Ruth? What other biblical stories come to mind? 
  1. Are you currently experience this type of community? At EBC or in a different context in your life? 
  1. What are ways that EBC can live into the value of community? Who are those around us who need to experience being welcomed, known and loved?


We Value Diversity

Summary of Brendon’s Sermon, October 18, 2015
Text: Genesis 1:24-31; Revelation 5:6-10
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
We value Diversity: We are committed to honouring the uniqueness of one another in mutual respect, love and hope for human wholeness.
 
Diversity is a great gift from God. God’s creation is diverse in its beauty and beautiful in its diversity. We worship a God of unity in diversity. God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!
 
While diversity is a great gift, it is also a challenge. Distorted by sin, human diversity is experienced in divisive and destructive ways. Rather than celebrating the diversity of genders and cultures and races and nations, we distort the differences and divide humanity on the basis of how we look and speak and think and act.
 
Segregation in the church is a great tragedy! The church should be leading the way in cultivating communities of diversity. We serve, Jesus the Slain Lamb, who redeemed people from every tribe and language and people and nation. In Christ, there is no longer Jew nor Greek, male nor famale, slave nor free; we are all one in Him (Galatians 3:28).
 
We are free to express our diversity without creating divisions. We are free to celebrate and honour the uniqueness of others without expecting them to become like us.
 
Scot McKnight, in A Fellowship of Differents, describes the church as “the most radical social experiment in history” (p. 109).  
 
Diversity enriches our experience. We all bring different gifts to the table. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Paul speaks of the diversity of gifts given to the church through the Spirit. As we offer those gifts to each other, as we are open to receiving them, we grow together toward maturity in Christ.
 
Embracing and respecting diversity can be hard work. But diversity is essential; it is foundational to a healthy, flourishing community.
 
As a church our theological beliefs defines who we are and sets parameters on how we live. But even there, we need to extend grace to everyone in our community, especially those who see things differently from us. We need to create space for good, generous conversation, where we listen well, where we seek to understand each other, where we can begin to confess our sins to one another, and where we assure each other of Christ’s love for us and our love for each other, even when we may come to different conclusions. And we need to remind each other that God’s work is ongoing in each of us, that he is never finished with any of us, and that his Spirit is generous and patient with us as he works in all of us, to renew us and to bring us into alignment with all that Jesus wants for us.
 
Questions for Discussion (For Small Group and Others): 
  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of Diversity? 
  2. How have you experienced the challenge of diversity, personally and in the church community? How have you witnessed diversity as divisive and destructive?
  1. How have you experienced diversity as a gift and means of growth? What do you think of Scot McKnight that “the church is the most radical social experiment in history”?
  1. What practice(s) have you found most helpful in engaging diversity and fostering unity in community? 
  1. Consider reading the article by Ron Sider: Homosexuality: A Better Approach. What are some “take aways” from it for you personally?   What should we be considering from it as a community?


We Value Generosity

Values:  Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love
 
Reflections on Rob’s Sermon from Thanksgiving Sunday, October 11th, 2015
 
 
We Value Generosity: We are committed to being a generous community, giving freely and cheerfully of our attention, abilities, resources, time, and spiritual gifts.
 
Texts: 2 Corinthians 9:10-15, Matthew 25:31-45, Mark 12:41-44, 1 Timothy 6:17-19
 
A Few Questions to Consider:
1. Read through the four texts together. What things jumped out as you read? What do you notice about generosity?
 
2. How is generosity both an attitude and an action? In what ways do you see God producing a great harvest of generosity in your life and in the life of Emmanuel? What are things that are hindering generosity?
 
3. How does having an attitude of gratitude change the way one lives, especially in respect to living generously?
 
4. In what ways do you struggle with generosity? What is one area of generosity you would like to grown in?
 
5. What is one act of generosity you could do collectively as a small group?


We Value Prayer

Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We Value Prayer: We are committed to cultivating a life of prayer through which we pay attention to the Holy Spirit, pursue Christ’s Kingdom, and submit to His lordship.
 
Texts: Matthew 6:9-13, Psalm 130
 
 
Summary of Chris’s message – October 4th, 2015
Today we talked about taking captivity small moments for prayer to encourage us to cultivate a life of prayer. Prayer will help us to see, hear and sense the Spirit’s leading in our lives to pursue Christ’s kingdom and submit to His lordship.
 
In Matthew 6:9-13, when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray he is giving them more than a model of how to pray, although certainly this prayer can serve that purpose extremely well. Jesus, by teaching them the Kingdom Prayer, is inviting his disciples to participate with him in his conversation with God and by extension into the announcement and enactment of his kingdom in the world.
 
Prayer is vital, through the leading of the Spirit, to allow us to see how the kingdom is unfolding in the place we find ourselves. Read more…


We Value Scripture

Summary of Brendon’s Sermon, September 27, 2015:

Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
We Value Scripture: We are committed to living under the authority of Scripture, allowing it to form our imagination, inform our identity, transform our living, and to communicating its truth and relevance in our current context.
 
Why do we value Scripture?
Because we value God. God reveals himself in Scripture. We would not know the Triune God without God’s revelation in Scripture.
 
Paul says all Scripture is inspired by God. Those who composed Scripture did so under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Scripture reveals truth about God and ourselves and our world. Scripture rebukes and corrects and instructs .
 
The basic message of Scripture is accessible and understandable. But Scripture is also a complex collection of documents. Historical distance and cultural differences makes it challenging to interpret Scripture well. Read more…


A Fresh Vision: God-Dependent, Jesus-Rooted, Spirit-Led

September 20th, 2015 – Brendon Gibson

A Fresh Vision: God-Dependent, Jesus-Rooted, Spirit-Led.

Mission: To fully love God and all people for God’s kingdom, pleasure and glory.

Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
Text: Ephesians 1:3-14, 22-23; 2:19-22
 
A Summary:

Vision informs Values; Vision is expressed in Values;

Vision and Values guide Mission.

Trinitarian Focus – God the Father, Jesus the Son, Holy Spirit. We contemplate and celebrate God in three persons, blessed Trinity. We consider and cooperate with the Triune God in the work he is doing in the world. Read more…