Eph. 5:1-14: Relating to Our Growth

Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Feb. 6, 2019. The point of our creation, salvation, restoration is Christlikeness—being fully human, someone who images/imitates God as a dearly beloved child. Our growth into Christlikeness is a process—a walk, not a snap of the finger or wave of the wand. We grow in the light—i.e., in the context of loving, supportive, life-giving and life-saving relationships.

John 1:35-42: Relating To Our Self

Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on January 30, 2019. Who am I? What does it mean to be me? The names we are called (by our parents, on the playground) profoundly shape how we see our self and self-worth. That so much power exists outside of our control freaks us out. In a desire for autonomy and even self-protection, we try to make a name for ourselves. We do this primarily through our performance (e.g., resume building) and/or our preferences (e.g., being authentic). This approach has problems of its own: 1) if we attach our self/worth to our success (and failures) we feel good when we are winning and awful when we are not; 2) we can make ourselves judge and jury of our self/worth but we are our own harshest critic; 3) because we are made in the image of a Triune God, we are (by design) dependent on other voices telling us we are good, beautiful, etc. Attempts to create a sense of self/worth independent of the estimation of others is doomed for failure. This brings us back to square one. We need someone from the outside-in to instill in us a sense of self/worth. That is a lot of power to be sure, so we need to be careful who we cede that power to. Only God should have that right: 1) because he knows us better than anyone else (including ourselves), and 2) he loves us. He calls us child, friend, beloved, “mine.”

Gen. 1:26; 1 John 4:18-19: Why Relationships

Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on January 16, 2019. The quality of our life is best measured by the quality of our relationships—relationships Jesus has come to make healthy, whole and right again—our relationship with God, our self, with others, and with the world around us. In this introduction to our semester-long series on relationships, we ask the all important question: “Why?” Why are relationships so fundamental to our well-being? And if they are so vital, why are we so anxious and afraid of getting close?

Praying In: Deliver Us From Evil

Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Nov. 14, 2018. God leaves the light and enters into our darkness so we can leave the darkness and enter into his light. His first mission is a “search and rescue” mission—”for God so loved the world” that he sent His son into it, not to destroy it but to save it, not to wield the sword but to fall on it. Jesus is both “the bomb” and “bomb shelter.” When Jesus returns, he will rid the world of evil entirely. The only way to be saved is to believe in him, come to him, and seek refuge “in him.”

Praying In: Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Sermon preached at RUF’s Wednesday Night Fellowship on Nov. 7, 2018. The temptation to sin, to forsake God, and forge our own path (“you do you”) does not come from God but from the Devil. Temptation is rooted in doubt and distrust. If we believed God was good, loving, and for us, we’d always heed His voice and do as He says. But we don’t. What is it going to take to convince us that God is good, loving, and for us? How can He lead us not into temptation, which is to say, to lead us out of it, through it, over it? We need to see Jesus, listen to Jesus, and rest in Jesus.