We Are a Shattered and Redeemed People

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

Shattered. Shattered is a word that requires a specific kind of situation to be useful. If shattered is an appropriate word, then the situation it is applied to is a negative one. We are never thrilled and overjoyed when we shatter a piece of china, a baseball shatters a window, or we read of a shattered marriage. We don’t describe a Superbowl or World Series win as a shattering experience. When shattered is useful, other words also come to mind: shambles, tattered, broken, useless, beyond repair. Genesis 3 reveals to us a shattering.

Genesis 1 and 2 are the creation account. Over and over again through Genesis 1 the Word of Scripture repeats the refrain, “and it was good.” And the account culminates, after the creation of humanity, “and it was very good.” Genesis 2 describes a life in a beautiful garden, Adam and Eve surrounded by a place where they could find fulfilling work for eternity, where they could be completely and perpetually perfectly provided and cared for, and where they were free to live in perfect and continual communion with God. Just as God designed and created them.

But then comes Genesis 3. You know the story. Enticing but forbidden fruitful tree with the mysterious title of “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” A serpent. The woman wandering through the Garden looking for something to eat, alone. The known command to avoid that mysterious tree. A suggestion that that’s not what really could have been said. An implication that God was afraid of what we might become. A temptation. A surrender. A bite. Fear. Death. Expulsion. Barred reentry. Pain. Genesis 3 is a shattering. What was beautiful torn asunder irreparably.

“You shall not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for in the moment you do so, you shall surely die.” Die? What’s death? They had no concept. But they learned about toil and hardship. Wearing the skins of animals about them, they learned the personal fear of death through Abel. And the world has not been the same since. Ten generations from Adam to Noah. Ten generations for God to say, “I’m done with this.” For God to be grieved in His heart for ever having made man or created anything. And the story doesn’t improve from there.

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Seven Words of Worship: Experience

Text: Psalm 24

We are coming now to the end of our study of the Seven Words of Worship that we began back in July. We have looked at worship through the lenses of Creation, Grace, Love, Response, Expression, and Presence. Today we come to the seventh and final word of our study: Experience. In this word of worship, we are reminded that worship should above all else be both an experience of God and an experience with God.

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Seven Words of Worship: Create

Based on the book Seven Words of Worship: The Key to  Lifetime of Experiencing God by Mike Harland and Stan Moser

Text: Psalm 139:13-16

We are continuing this week in our series on the Seven Words of Worship, a study from Lifeway focused on the idea of having a lifetime of experiencing God, rather than scattered moments here and there in our week or life. We focused last week on the idea that we are worshippers. It is who and what we are. That is the introduction to the series. For each of the next seven weeks – including this morning – we will look at one of seven different words that speak clearly to the idea of worship that is so central to our faith.

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Sermon: “The Heart of Worship”

Text: Revelation 4

Some things we just seem to take for granted. You know what I mean. We live with them, even depend on them in vital ways, without giving a thought as to how they work or whether we can do better by them than we currently do. We take for granted, at least sometimes, things like breathing, food in the pantry, the effects of gravity, that we will be around tomorrow, and that family will always be there for us. Of course, some of those things are more dependable than others. But we live our lives around them as if they will always be there, like a comfortable pillow that is only missed when it suddenly isn’t there.

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Imagineering: Evangelizing the Lost

Romans 10:8-15

At the top of the resume that served as my introduction to the pastoral search committee here at Monte Vista, I listed what I called my “Summary Statement of Ministry.” This Summary Statement said this: “As a minister and pastor, my calling is to empower the Body of Christ to: Evangelize the lost, Disciple the evangelized, Equip the discipled, Send the equipped to evangelize the lost. As we work through this process of Imagineering church and discovering what it means to be the church here in our community, I want to take the next four weeks to examine these four circular ideas that flesh out what I believe we should be doing as we seek to live out of faith as a community of believers.

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