57 episodes

By God’s grace, we want to see Jesus transforming lives and renewing the South Bay. But how?
As most clearly demonstrated on the cross, the love of Jesus meets us in our weakness.
That love was evident throughout his entire life, death and resurrection.
And that love transforms how we think, feel and live.

Pacific Crossroads Church South Bay Pacific Crossroads Church South Bay

    • Christianity
    • 5.0, 1 Rating

By God’s grace, we want to see Jesus transforming lives and renewing the South Bay. But how?
As most clearly demonstrated on the cross, the love of Jesus meets us in our weakness.
That love was evident throughout his entire life, death and resurrection.
And that love transforms how we think, feel and live.

    Capturing Your Imagination

    Capturing Your Imagination

    We come to the second commandment: "no graven images." That seems so... ancient. Why would that matter to us now? Well, in a day filled with headlines over statues being torn down, maybe it is much more relevant than it would seem at first glance. With political debates erupting over art and imagery, our society seems to know instinctively that the way to change a culture is to “capture our imagination.” God pressed that thought into his people long ago. What does it mean for us today? What does God want with our imagination?

    Discussion Questions:

    Hank Willis Thomas states "monuments are critical tools in shaping the values and identity of society." How so? Why does it matter what images we choose to preserve and celebrate as a society? How might that connect with God's concern around "graven images" in the second commandment?

    How does the second commandment differ from the first? In what ways does our theme (i.e., "The Rescue came before the Rules") change how we understand this commandment?
    image (eye vs. ear)

    Our society is the most 'visual' in history. What are some pros and cons of being so increasingly visual? Consider the golden calf episode (Ex.32). What are the problems with reducing God to a graven image? Considering few of us have ever carved such an image, what might be parallels to the golden calf for us now?
    Did you have an imaginary friend in childhood? Describe that "relationship." While fun for a time, why did that relationship end? Considering past real friends, what are some reasons to prefer an "imaginary" one? What happens when our "imagined" assumptions about friends are proven wrong? Why would that be even more problematic with God? How has God disappointed you, and do you still think you were justified in thinking so?
    graven (carved vs. living)

    Read Isaiah 44:12-19. What is the irony Isaiah is drawing out?

    Do you have a mental "image" for God? To what degree is that image a composite of your preferred notions? Where are you at fault for picking and choosing the make-up (constitution, essence, character) of God?

    Read Genesis 1:26-27. Why does it matter that humanity is made in God's "image"? What hope is there to heal that corrupted image? (Col.1:15; Heb.1:3) If Jesus is the image we were meant to be, is that helpful or just a crushing standard for you? 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that those under the New Covenant are being transformed into the image of Jesus. What does that mean and does any of that happen now?
    jealousy (worldly vs. godly)

    What does it mean that God is a "jealous God"? How would you explain this idea to a child or a skeptic? Why could it be offensive to say God is jealous? Do you embrace and celebrate this attribute of God, or not so much?

    Tim Keller said: "worldly jealousy is love gone extinct (hate); godly jealousy is love fighting extinction (love)." Explain this in your own words. What’s the difference between self-centered love and others-centered love?
    God then gives a stark picture of both his justice and mercy (v.4-5). How does the cross answer this seeming contradiction?

    Final thought: Are there any mental statues of God currently that this commandment is directly calling out? What would it look like for you to strive to remove them and know the true God more deeply?

    • 44 min
    First Things First

    First Things First

    Keeping "First Things First" is exceedingly difficult and surprisingly controversial. It rapidly exposes what we value most and especially what we value wrongly.

    Discussion Questions:

    Fear, shame, and guilt can be effective ways of changing our behaviors, but only for a time! Can laws and rules change heart-motivations? Why would God give us these laws?

    A new heart changes behavior, yet the flesh has old habits. (Jeremiah 31:33, Galatians 5:16-17) Talk about being changed from the inside out, over time – not overnight. How has this played out in your own life?

    The Ten Commandments sounds like prohibitions, but they also describe the positive character of God. Take one or two of the 10 and flesh that out. How do the commandments lead you to God’s best? (Exodus 20:3-17). Why might the emphasis of “no” here in the Ten Commandments be a more effective way of instructing us, as opposed to giving us positive ways to live?

    Humanity has repeatedly made gods in its own image. If your god never disagrees with you, who is the real god? Why is it important that we have a God who can contradict us? Can you change without someone confronting where you are wrong? How much must someone love you to confront you on something that really matters, and yet still stick around to endure your wrath at being called out? Can you think of a recent example when God confronted you?

    The Old Testament repeatedly affirms there is only one God (Deuteronomy 4:35; Psalm 86:10; Isaiah 44:6). So why does God feel the need to say "you shall have no other gods..."?

    "There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships." (Wallace) As an atheist, what does he mean? Does it matter what we build our lives around? CS Lewis said if we build our lives around secondary things, we not only lose first things but ironically, we lose the secondary things as well. Have you found that to be true in your own life? Share if you are comfortable.

    Do your answers to these questions unearth your deeply-rooted false gods? What do you daydream about? What makes you mad and what’s behind your anger? What devastates you? Fill in this blank: When ____ is good/bad, life is great/awful! What choices have you made to expose what you say you trust does not truly match how you function daily?

    "Idols cannot be uprooted, they can only be replaced." (Chalmers) What does that mean? What is he saying about the "vacuum" of the human heart? How is the goal more than simply "emptying" our hearts of idols? Read Ezekiel 11:19-21.

    The Preamble to the 10 Commandments stresses what God has already done for Israel. How might that change the way we read "no other gods before me"? What is God revealing about the nature of His desired relationship with us? State this first commandment positively and passionately!

    When Iris Murdoch looked out her window at that kestrel, all of her anxiety faded. She wrote: “In a moment, everything is altered. The brooding self, with its hurt & vanity, has disappeared. There is nothing now but the kestrel. And when I returned to thinking of the other matter that was so bothersome to me, it seemed so much less important…” How can looking at the cross do that for us?

    • 44 min
    What's the Use?

    What's the Use?

    The 10 Commandments is not merely a list of commands or even principles to be applied - instead, we see the very character of the God we worship. But how is that any help? What is the use of "the Law"? Considering some protesters are currently calling for the defunding of the police, that seems a very relevant question to ask. So, before we go through the 10 Commandments one by one, let's answer that question out of Exodus 33.

    Discussion Questions:

    Jesus is not the Law, but he embodies the Law. Police officers are not the law, but they are supposed to embody the law. All analogies break down at some point, but is this a fair analogy? In our democracy, how is the law a reflection of our societal values?

    John Calvin said the biblical Law exposes our sin, restrains evil, and leads us toward being transformed into God's holiness. Which of these three uses is most or least apparent to you?

    In our passage, God's holiness gets contrasted with the humanity of Moses. Many in our society think people are generally good and getting better. Do you think that? Is our society progressing or regressing? Are we catching up to the holiness of God or moving further away? How would you explain your biblical view of this with a person who thinks that people are generally good?

    Why is it offensive to hold a mirror up to ourselves and call out the truth (James 1:23-25)? Are you more inclined to beat yourself up over sin or feel pretty good about yourself - thinking you’re better than most and not as good as some? What does it mean to be conformed to the image (mirror) of Jesus (Romans 8:28-29)?

    Why might some people be offended by the notion that God puts a "fence" around Moses? How does our society tend to respond to being fenced in? Think about a pet; what is the purpose of a boundary set by love? Give a personal, specific example, where God lovingly gave you a good boundary.

    Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” How is this image similar to Moses' need? Today more than ever, we need direction, wisdom, and a pathway to a better place. Do we or our leaders have enough light? Do you need more light? What does this really mean for your spiritual life?

    It takes seeing the One who embodied the law - even dying in our place - to begin to resurrect dead hearts like ours. Is that the fulfillment of Moses’ request to "show me your glory"? Does hope for heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12) and hope in the meantime satisfy you (2 Corinthians 3:12-18, esp.v.18)?

    • 43 min
    The Law of Love

    The Law of Love

    We are starting a new series on the 10 Commandments called, “The Law of Love.” After God rescues his people, he brings them to the mountain to give them "the Rules" - but to what purpose? There's a lot of debate in our society to that end, including whether or not they are relevant at all. And yet this week, throughout America and even the world, people have taken to the streets yearning for more laws that would ensure justice. How might God's Law be more relevant now than ever?

    Discussion Questions:

    Today we see people yearn for more laws? In a society that normally stresses personal freedoms, is that a contradiction? Talk about a rule or law that was good for you.

    Can we be rational and honest about our need for the Ten Commandments, or do we explain it all away, leaving us effectively lawless? Why?

    What comes to mind when you hear "The Ten Commandments"? What sort of images does that invoke for you? Is there another LIST that's become more important to you than this one? (select amendments, greatest of all time…, bucket…, shopping, your achievements, etc.)

    God told Pharaoh (through Moses) to "let my people go, so that they may worship." Is that what happens at this mountain? (v.17-20)? What are they hoping for that keeps them there, through all of the fire, smoke, and noise? Do you tend to keep God at a distance, or can you get closer, even though it can be overwhelming?

    What do the people want Moses to do and what role does he play (v.19-20)? How might all of this be a foreshadowing of Christ?

    In the preamble to the 10 Commandments, God says who he is and what he has done (v.2). Why would he do that? How does he frame the laws before giving the laws? The rescue came before the rules. Why give them these laws if they’ve already been delivered and redeemed?

    Jesus famously summarized the Law with the two greatest commandments as "love God - love others… On these two commandments all the Law depends." (Matthew 22:34-40) Briefly read through the 10 commandments. How could these be "laws of love"? Pick one of the 10, where this “law of love” affects your life the most these days. In other words, which of the 10 is like a gift to you right now, and how?

    If "God is Love" (1 John 4:8,16), how might these laws be revealing who God is to his people? If law alone does not change someone's heart, what is God's greater agenda here?

    What did you need to hear in the sermon?

    • 44 min
    The Rock

    The Rock

    This has been a heavy week. In addition to the pandemic, there have been heartbreaking images of tragic injustice. Our world is broken and our souls cry out, "Where are you Lord?!” That is exactly what the people ask in Exodus 17: "Is the Lord among us or not?" They are worried they will die of thirst, so they bring charges against God. But how God responds... is simply incredible. It's not just that he provides water miraculously, but how he responds to their charges yet again shows what sort of character he has. That is the real water they needed - to see who this God is - and it is the same water we need today. As Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow streams of living water." How do we get that in our daily lives?

    Sermon Discussion Questions

    Israel has been grumbling for a while now (Ex.15:24, 16:3) now it’s time to quarrel. The Hebrew word for quarrel carries a technical sense of "bringing a legal charge." Moses says the people are "about to stone me" (v.5). There are people on the streets now quarreling. How do you yourself demand justice when there is none?

    Exodus is a compressed history of Israel's rescue from slavery. When we read through it this way, God's provision and patience seem clear - but that is not how they lived it. How do we equally lose sight of the "birds-eye view" of our own lives? Why do we suffer from spiritual amnesia so readily? Talk about a long process of spiritual growth that is easier to look back upon - but during it felt like an eternity.

    The top of a big rock is the least likely place in the desert to find water. Why does God tend to bring grace in the least likely places of life? The cliché goes: "You'll never know God is all you need until God is all you have." Have you ever been in that place, where God is all you have – nothing else? Did you push him away, ignore him, or fall into him?

    Modern humanity sits in judgment over God, rather than the other way around. Where do you see this tendency in your own life, to judge God’s actions? Why do we often miss the power of God saying "I will stand before you" (v.6)?

    Paul said, "Christ was the rock" (1 Corinthians 10:4). How does the cross answer the difficulties of this passage - especially the need for justice and the cry for mercy (water in the desert)? Give real examples from your own life of when you were satisfied by this grand truth and when you were not. What did you feel and do in both extremes?

    2020 continues to be a surprising year - and, for the most part, in a difficult way. How is God leading you through this desert? What are the places where you are tempted to bitterness? Where are you passionate, but possibly not in a godly way?

    With all of this in mind, if Mayor Garcetti gave you a chance to speak to and calm the people (like he did with various faith leaders on Saturday) – what would you say to the people of Los Angeles?

    • 44 min
    The Bread

    The Bread

    God rained bread down from heaven to provide for his people in the desert. If you have found it hard to remember where God is providing currently, this is a great reminder... and a hope for our horizon. Let's run to Jesus, who said "I am the bread that comes down from heaven", and remember how he is providing for us.

    Discussion Questions

    We’re all tired of quarantine, yet they spent 40 years in the desert eating manna. Does that make you more compassionate with how quickly the people complain (v.3)? How could they be so quick to grumble after all God has done to bring them out of Egypt? What are some places currently in your life in which you find it hard to be thankful?

    God does not call us to be thankful for everything, but to give thanks in all situations (1 Thess.5:18). Is that a distinction without difference? What is so bad about thankless people? Why would thanklessness among his people be a serious concern for God? How might this time in the desert be a way of healing his people (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)? How about for you during this time in quarantine?

    Why do you think God chooses food as a graphic depiction of our relationship with him (Matthew 4:4)? Consider the graphic reality of how food affects our body (digestion, getting "hangry", etc.). What are some parallels in our spiritual lives?

    What is God's primary goal in providing for his people (v.12)? Considering God is omnipotent, and could provide for his people in any way, what does the manner in which he provides show us? Why require people to gather the manna rather than simply appear on their table or in their bellies? What is he cultivating in his people? What are some parallels in our spiritual lives?

    God says that he is testing his people (v.4). How is this a test? And who does it benefit? Does God need to test people because he doesn't know? If he does know, what is he revealing about his character? Is this just a "read the directions carefully" sort of test? How might this be similar to the Socratic method of teaching (i.e., primarily interrogative)?

    The Israelites live off this ongoing miracle for 40 years (v.35). Considering not everyone could gather food daily, how would this become a communal event? What would it say about the community if some were malnourished? How might that be a commentary on spiritual malnourishment among Christians? How could we have a communal form of feasting that drives the reality of what God has done for us deeper & deeper into our hearts?

    God also commands them to set some aside a jar for future generations (v.32). What does this say about God's long-term vision for his people? How is this miracle for those who were not even there? In John 6, Jesus repeatedly says he is the Bread that came down from heaven. How does his life, death & resurrection become a feast of joy for us - people who also were not there when it happened?

    Why would God give a grace that cannot be earned by our works, yet still want a people who participate in his work?

    What did you need to hear in the sermon?

    • 43 min

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