It’s not a Religion but a Relationship (not quite!)

Its not a religion (610x351)

This is our pastor’s newsletter article for the December 2014-January 2015 edition of our congregational newsletter: The Shepherd’s Voice.   We’ve all heard others say it. Maybe, you’ve even said it: “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Christ.” Yes, we live in the age of the sound-bite, where “truths” are distilled into small, […]

Matthew 25:31-46: The Hidden Jesus

Someone in prison (610x351)

What’s surprising about the resurrection of the body on the Last Day is that every physical body ever born will rise. Jesus will show to all that He DID take away the sins of the entire world when He physically died on the cross and physically rose from the grave. That’s why every person ever […]

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life

Making Decisions (610x351)

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life (Or how I learned to stop worrying and make decisions like a real Christian) By Pr Rich Futrell How does a Christian figure out God’s will in his life? Closer to home, how can you know what life choices God wants you to make? That’s the topic […]

Sermon for Bobbie Hansen’s Funeral: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: Remember the Resurrection

Jacopo Tintoretto The Resurrection of Christ (Zoom In) (610x351)

When memory fades and recognition falters, when eyes we love grow dim and minds confused, speak to our souls of love that never alters; speak to our hearts, by pain and fear abused. O God of life and healing peace, empower us with patient courage, by your grace infused. As frailness grows, and youthful strengths […]

Acts, Lesson 22: The Ugly Intersection of Religion and Money

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (610x351)

Paul is still in Ephesus, preaching, teaching, and being an evangelist. Earlier, after three months of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah in the synagogue, many of the Jews there became flustered with Paul. Today, we learn that many Gentiles became angry with Paul, but in a way where monetary income was as important (or more […]

Matthew 25:14-30: A Talent is What?

Gold Bars in Fort Knox (610x352)

In today’s church, especially when dealing with the topic of stewardship, this phrase rolls off our tongue like water: “Time, talents, and treasure.” When we say that, we think that a talent is an ability we have, or an ability we’ve cultivated. But that’s not a talent in the Bible. A talent was the amount […]

The Theology of Suffering

Crown of Thorns (610x352)

Today’s lesson comes from a request to explore how to understand suffering in our lives. How are we to view suffering and, then, based on such a view, handle the suffering that comes our way?   The Theology of Glory versus the Theology of the Cross Before we look into suffering, we need to look […]

Acts, Lesson 21: Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons

Work Aprons (610x351)

Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons By Pr Rich Futrell Paul Serving as Evangelist and Pastor  Read Acts 19:8 In Ephesus, where does Paul first go?   How long does he stay preaching and teaching there?   What does this say about the resistance that Paul first experienced there?   Read […]

Amos 5:18-24, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: The Day of the Lord

Amos--Day of Darkness (610x352)

When we imagine the prophets of old, we often see a fire-and-brimstone preacher breathing out God’s judgment and wrath. And that’s what Amos did in our Old-Testament reading for today. He warned the people of Israel about the “Day of the Lord,” realized in all its fullness when God would judge the entire world. Other […]

The Personhood of the Human

Jesus Mosaic (610x351)

Today’s lesson comes from a question asking, “What’s the difference between a person’s soul and his spirit?” To look at that, we’ll look at how Scripture, primarily the New Testament, describes who a human is in his personhood.   The Soul distinguished from Heart and Mind Matthew 22:37: [Jesus answering what is the greatest Commandment]: “Love […]