Weekly audio podcast brought to you by the Vineyard Church of the Peninsula, located in Newport News, VA.
The Radical Yes of Christmas
For Israel, the four centuries since Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple had been yet another season of humiliation by foreign powers, the disgraceful influx of pagan Greco-Roman culture, the tainting of their cherished Jewish culture giving rise to an increased nostalgia for the Golden Era of King David. The breaking in of God’s Kingdom set in motion a whole string of radical, risky, no-turning-back commitments that continue in our day. From rural folk, to tradesmen, to the religious elite to the very head of the Roman government, Christmas disrupted everything firmly established, elating many, horrifying more, angering more still and had the audacity to ignore all efforts to stuff it back into the closet, into exile, into the tomb. Status quo be warned!
A. Radical Christmas _________________________
1. Isaiah 9:1-7
2. Malachi 3:1-5; 4:5,6
3. Isaiah 40:3-5
B. ‘Other’ Radical Christmas __________________________
1. Zechariah & ____________________________ & John – Luke 1:1-25, 57-80
2. Simeon – Luke 2:21-35
3. ________________________ – Luke 2:36-40
“It looked like God had forgotten them. No one was coming, it seemed. But then he came. You cannot judge God by your calendar. God may appear to be slow, but he never forgets his promises. He may seem to be working very slowly or even to be forgetting his promises, but when his promises come true (and they will come true), they always burst the banks of what you imagined. . . The Christmas message . . . doesn’t say ’from the world a light has sprung,’ but ‘upon the world a light has dawned.’ It has come from outside. There is light outside of this world, and Jesus has come from it to save us.”
from Hidden Christmas, Timothy Keller
The Thing About Believing
God has made our brains to receive, decode and process a jaw-dropping quantity of information, like sixty bits per second, whatever that is in layman’s terms, but today’s lightning-fast tech developments are blowing past our max inputs with staggering results. This barrage of incoming data has a detrimental effect on our psyches, both in impacting our receptivity for discerning and believing truth (God loves us) and in leaving us open and vulnerable in discerning fiction. So, we may quote Scripture, sing worship songs, pray using the floweriest, churchiest vocabulary and still camp out warily at a distance from the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ love tsunami flowing out from the Father heart of God. The following conviction: ‘I believe it for everyone else, but not for me,’ is, regrettably, birthed out of one of Satan’s most insidious, trust-inhibiting, Ambassador-crippling lies (God doesn’t really love me, doesn’t really forgive me). It’s time to pull back the curtain.
Matthew 7: 7-11
1. Our ‘loves-to-give-good-gifts’ ________________________________________ - vv. 9-11
2. Our ‘ask-seek-knock’ ___________________________________________________. – v. 7
3. Our ‘receiving, finding, opening’ Eternal-God _____________________________– v. 8
In our worship of friend-Jesus have we, in our exalted human imaginings, fashioned a friend-God who has become less than the God of the Bible and at the same time who has been reduced (in our thinking) to a being less powerful, less interested, less loving, even less trustworthy?
The Thing About Judging
In one of his songs, Bill Gaither penned these words: “The One who knows me best, loves me most.” This phrase expresses a towering, intimate truth repeatedly borne out throughout Scripture, and not least in Jesus’ teaching in Matthew chapters 5-7. King David, in Psalm 103:14 (The Voice), says: “You know all about us, inside and out. You are mindful that we’re made from dust.” So, Jesus, looking around at the made-from-dust hearts before him, was moved with the entirety of his divine compassion to unshackle those very hearts from the tyranny of wrongly-directed, dirt thinking, simultaneously straightening the way for them to make their cleared-up-thinking way back to his (and their) Father’s heart to; full fellowship, full worship, full freedom.
1. ___________________ criticizing
2. __________________ focusing
3. __________________ intervening
4. _________________ offering
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” ― Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
The Thing About Worry
The Thing about Worry
Jesus instructed the wearied crowd before him to resist chaining themselves to the decadent ways of the foreign culture that had made great strides in eroding, criticizing and cancelling out the centuries-long, centuries-cherished, Jewish way of life. Persuasive, seductive new lifestyle choices were more and more the ‘in’ thing making the traditions of the Jews seem provincial, even ridiculous. The Greeks felt that maintaining allegiance to one God was silly, archaic, and severely limiting. For the Jews, holding on to truth, to tradition came at a higher and higher price and they were frustrated and angry and sad.
1. ___________________________ . . .
2. Do not worry about ________________!
3. Do not worry about ____________________!
4. Prioritize running intentionally toward __________________________________________
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Corrie ten Boom
“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.”
Corrie ten Boom
The Thing About Treasure
Without exception, Jesus lived out loud the new normal his coming had inaugurated. He spoke, prayed, taught, loved and invited rethinking in the most bizarre, never-before-experienced way. He turned heads, thrilled the broken, the poor, the lonely. He destabilized the status quo, rankled the religious, and terrified the elite and powerful Jewish clerics with his bold demonstrations of the presiding presence of the Kingdom of God. To the receptive heart he was a hero needing to be crowned King. To the hard-hearted he was a demon to be eliminated. Let’s situate ourselves as the former as we peer once more into a slice of Jesus’ big-hearted, joy-filled, Heavenly-Father-obeying message we often refer to as his Sermon on the Mount.
1. vv. 19-21 – Treasure __________________________________________
Job 1:21; Luke 12:13-21
2. vv. 22,23 – Treasure _________________________________________
eyes good = light/beauty/glory/God’s __________________________________
eyes bad = darkness/ugliness/shame/God’s _____________________________
Proverbs 4:23; Isaiah 29:13; Corinthians 6:19,20
3. v. 24 – Treasure located in God _________________________
1 Corinthians 6:12; Ephesians 4:5,6; Acts 8:9-23
A Journey Like No Other
Vineyard Church of the Peninsula
October 25, 2020
A Journey like No Other
Love started this. Love is propping it up along the way. Love will be the refreshment at the finish line, the finish line of this delightful, hard, perplexing, exhilarating journey we’re all experiencing together. Included among God’s dizzying array of provisions there’s an inescapable infilling, an irradicable impartation, an inexhaustible inventory - of his very own perfectly prodigal* love: a kind of divine Personal Protective Equipment in our fight to survive the pandemic of sin that dogs our every step. Paul says, “Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away in God in Christ.” (Col. 3:3, The Passion Translation) The focus on ‘in God in Christ’ is our guaranteen. Hallelujah!
Philippians 3: 8-16
1. ____________________ Line – v.8
2. ____________________ leg - v. 9
3. ___________________ leg – v. 10a
4. ___________________ leg – vv. 10b,11
5. __________________ Stretch – vv. 12-14
6. Sharing the _______________________ – vv. 15,16
*we’ve previously defined ‘prodigal’ as lavishly, wantonly extravagant– an apt definition of the Father’s devotion to all his adopted kids (us).