Audio: The Prayerful Community

lightstock_62225_smallHow the Gospel Becomes Real Philemon 4-7, 21-22 Matthew Raley (1-25-15) Consider the impossibility of what the early Christians attempted to do. They wanted to unite Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free. They wanted an international movement that united cities in a common mission. Our mission is just as impossible. To build community in Christ, our hearts have to be united at a deep level. Every sort of barrier stands between us and that goal: busyness, desires, personalities, and not least sin. In today’s sermon we will see that we can only achieve this goal through prayer.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.” Sermon Notes 1-25-15

Audio: A Life of Shared Service

Flight deck personnel work together whil -rigging a -aircraft barricade during flight deck drills aboard th -Nimitz-class aircraft-carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Flight deck personnel work together while rigging an aircraft barricade during flight deck drills aboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Image via Wikimedia Commons

How the Gospel Becomes Real
Philemon 8-22
Matthew Raley (1-18-15)

How do people come to Christ? We tend to think of evangelism as either a big event, like a stadium filled with people for a concert or an evangelist, or we think of it on a very small scale, one person alone with another person trying to convince them of Christ.

In today’s message we will see that what brings people to Christ is the community of believers around them—a community that shows what the love of Christ looks like. Paul’s letter to Philemon shows us how to build a community that wins people to Christ through a life of shared service.

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Sermon Notes 1-18-15

 

Audio: Foundations for an Open Life

Jewish Market on the East  Side, New York, NY between 1890-1901. Detroit Publishing Co. Courtesy of Library of Congress
Jewish Market on the East Side, New York, NY between 1890-1901. Detroit Publishing Co. Courtesy of Library of Congress

How the Gospel Becomes Real
Philemon 8-22
Matthew Raley (1-11-15)

When people lock their doors and windows, there’s trouble in the neighborhood. But when the neighborhood is safe, people open their doors. What are the foundations for this kind of openness?

Here at Chico Grace Brethren we’re building community through Real Life Groups: small groups that make the gospel real. Our model is Paul’s letter to Philemon. One look at this letter shows how important the small group is in the life of the Church, and also how the early churches were characterized by openness. In today’s message we will look at three foundations for building an open life which can be seen in this story.

 

Please note: the audio quality is somewhat poor for the first minute of the recording, but improves after that.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 1-11-15

 

Audio: Community in Christ

Mulberry Street, New York City, Library of Congress. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Mulberry Street, New York City, Library of Congress. Image via Wikimedia Commons

How the Gospel Becomes Real
Philemon 4-7
Matthew Raley (1-4-15)

What do you think of when you hear the word community? Maybe you imagine a barn-raising. We can all imagine how great it would feel to be supported that way by a whole community, and how great it would feel to give that kind of support as a way of life. Maybe you imagine a neighborhood in a big city. They wouldn’t raise a barn. But watching the kids, identifying strangers, and guarding the street was something the whole community participated in.

What we’re seeing as we study Philemon is a Christian community in action—the first generation of believers making the gospel real in their daily lives. Our focus in this series is on building that kind of community. In today’s message we begin by asking, what does the Bible think about community? The biblical definition starts with a word everyone seems to run from—church.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 1-4-15

Audio: The Missing Power

Sunlight on a Stormy Sea, by Bonaventura Peeters. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Sunlight on a Stormy Sea, by Bonaventura Peeters. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

How the Gospel Becomes Real
Philemon 6
Matthew Raley (12-28-14)

Many believers today are troubled on two levels. They are troubled by the degradation of our culture. What can we do?

Many are also troubled by their personal barrenness in the faith. Why can’t I overcome anxiety or depression? Why can’t I get through to my kids? Why don’t I see the power of God in my life?

Both of these problems are severe. They are at the root of a disillusionment among evangelicals that is more profound than at any time in American life. The Bible has the same answer to both problems: the community of believers must be rebuilt in the power of the Spirit.

Today we begin a series drawn from the book of Philemon which will show us how the power of God is experienced through the community of his people.

To follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 12-28-14

Audio: The Emperor and the Newborn

The so-called Blacas Cameo. A portrait of Emperor Augustus wearing a gorgoneion and a sword-belt. Three-layered sardonyx cameo, Roman art-work, ca. 14-20 AD.
The so-called Blacas Cameo. A portrait of Emperor Augustus wearing a gorgoneion and a sword-belt. Three-layered sardonyx cameo, Roman art-work, ca. 14-20 AD.

Christmas 2014
Luke 2:1-7
Matthew Raley (12-21-14)

A striking man, strong with clear eyes, sits in an imposing room surrounded by servants, dignitaries, and soldiers, all attending to his will. He seals a document with his ring and men start to move. Riders gallop away. The document is one of many delivered to regional governors ordering a census. The man’s image on his seal sidelines all other documents, and tables all other issues. Functionaries all over the world begin work. Every family is to return to its place of origin to be registered.

This is Augustus, the most powerful man in the world. The heir of Julius Caesar, a victorious general, a skilled politician, he has already governed Rome about 30 years, and will rule for more than a decade more. Nothing threatens him. He builds lavish projects. When he dies, he will boast, “I found a Rome of bricks; I leave you one of marble.” After sealing his decree, he goes off to the baths.

This is what power looks like. What would you do with such power if you had it?

In today’s Christmas message we see how Jesus chose to use his power.

If you want to follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select “Open link in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 12-21-14

Audio: Zechariah Ends His Silence

William_Blake_-_The_Angel_Gabriel_Appearing_to_Zacharias Public Domain Wikimedi Commons
The Angel Gabriel Appearing to Zacharias, by William Blake. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Luke 1.67-79
Matthew Raley (12-14-14)

The birth of John the Baptist set the stage for the coming of Christ. On the highest and holiest day of Zechariah’s life as a priest, the angel Gabriel announced to him that his personal prayers and the nation’s prayers would be answered in the same event: the birth of his son John. Zechariah didn’t believe it. So Gabriel silenced him until John was born.

What do you do if you can’t talk for nine months? What comes out of Zechariah’s mouth when John is born gives us some idea of what he had been doing: he had immersed himself in the Scriptures to rediscover God’s purposes.

In today’s message we will learn from Zechariah what it takes to overcome the unbelief and bitterness of our own hearts.

If you want to follow along with the sermon notes, right click on the link below and select, “Open in new tab.”

Sermon Notes 12-14-14