Mar 18, 2018
“The Way of the Cross” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Mark 8:31-35
Series: Lent
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Not the typical invitation to follow Jesus we are used to, but this is what Jesus declares to the crowd and His disciples. Jesus had just been teaching that the son of man must endure many things, be rejected by the religious authority and be killed and raised again after three days when Peter decided to pull Jesus aside and rebuke this teaching. Its hard to blame Peter for his response, after all, the last thing you expect to hear form the Rabi you were following for 3 years is that he was about to be killed, and was willing let it happen. Jesus tells Peter that he only has in mind human concerns, not the concerns of God. When you look at the reactions of people following Jesus and the religious leaders, the messiah that they were looking for was along the lines of the judges of the Old Testament, someone to save them from the oppressive foreign ruler and restore Israel to its former glory and right standing with God. This is the difference Jesus means with human verses God's concerns. Peter and everyone else wanted to be saved from Rome, but God desired they be saved from them selves."For whoever wants to save their life will lose it," Jesus continues "but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." Jesus teaching is always accompanied by action, explaining the heart of God and the way of His Kingdom while serving others and providing healing for their sins. To deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him is to live lives of service to others, doing the work of the kingdom here on earth. This is the life Jesus taught us to lead, the life God made us to live; this is the way of the cross.
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  • Mar 18, 2018“The Way of the Cross” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Mark 8:31-35
    Mar 18, 2018
    “The Way of the Cross” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Mark 8:31-35
    Series: Lent
    "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Not the typical invitation to follow Jesus we are used to, but this is what Jesus declares to the crowd and His disciples. Jesus had just been teaching that the son of man must endure many things, be rejected by the religious authority and be killed and raised again after three days when Peter decided to pull Jesus aside and rebuke this teaching. Its hard to blame Peter for his response, after all, the last thing you expect to hear form the Rabi you were following for 3 years is that he was about to be killed, and was willing let it happen. Jesus tells Peter that he only has in mind human concerns, not the concerns of God. When you look at the reactions of people following Jesus and the religious leaders, the messiah that they were looking for was along the lines of the judges of the Old Testament, someone to save them from the oppressive foreign ruler and restore Israel to its former glory and right standing with God. This is the difference Jesus means with human verses God's concerns. Peter and everyone else wanted to be saved from Rome, but God desired they be saved from them selves."For whoever wants to save their life will lose it," Jesus continues "but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." Jesus teaching is always accompanied by action, explaining the heart of God and the way of His Kingdom while serving others and providing healing for their sins. To deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him is to live lives of service to others, doing the work of the kingdom here on earth. This is the life Jesus taught us to lead, the life God made us to live; this is the way of the cross.
  • Mar 11, 2018Silence Please – Rev. Gary Hilton – Ps. 42:1-3, 9-10 & 1 Kings 19:11-13
    Mar 11, 2018
    Silence Please – Rev. Gary Hilton – Ps. 42:1-3, 9-10 & 1 Kings 19:11-13
    Series: Lent
    Life gets busy... and noisy, sometimes to the point that we loose God's voice in the chaos. This was the case with Elijah, the last of God's prophets from 1 Kings. Elijah had people after his life and was so consumed with fear that he stopped listening for God. Instructed to go to the Horeb, the mount of God, God presented himself to Elijah in the most unprecedented of ways. Elijah was met with an earth shattering wind, an earthquake and a roaring fire, but God was not in any of these things, rather the "shear silence" that followed. When Elijah heard it, he knew he was in the presence of God. Have you escaped the noise lately and met God in the silence? If not, this is the perfect season to do so. Take some time and go some where you know that is quiet and away from the noise, find a sanctuary, a spot in the woods. Get away for a moment and meet God in the silence. Easter is the season for renewal and redemption, so go before your God and prepare your hearts for the grace we remember and celebrate this season. Look to the world and simply ask, silence please.
  • Mar 4, 2018“Which Son Am I?” – Rev. Gary Hilton – John 2:13-16
    Mar 4, 2018
    “Which Son Am I?” – Rev. Gary Hilton – John 2:13-16
    Series: Lent
    This passage from John takes us through the account of Jesus clearing the temple in Jerusalem of the money changers and merchants selling sacrificial animals. One of the only times we see Jesus infuriated throughout the gospel accounts, we see Jesus flipping tables, spilling coins and drives the animals out with a whip. This is not just a case of business taking place in the temple, but upon arriving to the temple for Passover Jesus is witness to transactions that take advantage of those who came to worship. Inflated exchange rates and prices for Temple approved sacrificial animals worked to "enslave" the devout worshiper to what had become a corrupt system during a festival that celebrated when God freed them from slavery. Jesus sees the hypocrisy of the temple leaders and the thievery of the vendors and cleans house. In Matthew's Gospel, this account concludes with a parable about two sons; one who refuses to work for their father, but ends up working and the other who agrees to help work but never does. Jesus compares the temple to the second son, and so calls us to reflect upon this account. Individually, do we see religion as a means for personal gain or do we seek to serve others. As a church, are we so consumed with doing "church things" that we end up hurting or neglecting those we have been called to serve. Which son are we?
  • Feb 25, 2018“The Way of Light” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Matthew 5:13-16
    Feb 25, 2018
    “The Way of Light” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Matthew 5:13-16
    Series: Lent
    Salt and light, not the typical way we are used to being described, but a description that gives us direction for how we should interact with the world. So what exactly are we supposed to do to be salt and light? Well, you have heard he phrase "actions speak louder than words," and so our actions should flavor the world with God's truth and grace and provide a light that points people to God's love in the midst of their greatest darkness. We are ambassadors of hope, and the simplest actions can provide hope to people, the simplest actions can provide the biggest changes, and even the smallest light shines brightest in the darkness; for that is the way of light.
  • Feb 18, 2018The Way of Lent – Rev. Allan Brooks – John 15:1-7
    Feb 18, 2018
    The Way of Lent – Rev. Allan Brooks – John 15:1-7
    Series: Lent
    The season of Lent, the time of year of fasting and self denial in order that we may prepare ourselves for Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Lent begins this amazing 12 week journey in the church from self denial before Easter in order to draw closer to God, to anticipating the receiving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost; a wonderful season of drawing closer to God, and celebrating His redeeming grace. This season is the way of lent. This week we are reminded that we cannot do anything separate from God, and so we begin this process of removing the things that separate us from Him. "I am the true vine, my father is the gardener," Jesus says. "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." Let us spend this time to remain close to Christ, to be pruned and cared for by God and bear the fruit of the Kingdom in the world, for this is the way of lent.
  • Feb 11, 2018“What is Your Name?” – Rev. Gary Hilton – Isaiah 62:1-9
    Feb 11, 2018
    “What is Your Name?” – Rev. Gary Hilton – Isaiah 62:1-9
    Series: Epiphany
    Names mean everything to us. They are more than just how we identify ourselves against the rest of the world, they are personal, relational and intimate. If you have ever given something a name, you know that you end up forming a bond with it and if anything happens to that thing, you feel for it. You see, names are how we connect to and understand our world. Our names, whether given names, nick-names or the things we call ourselves or are called based on our actions, are how we establish who we are in the world. We are intimately connected with these names we are given or give ourselves, but all to easily forget the names God gives us. He calls us His beloved, His children, heirs with Christ, and my favorite for Isaiah; "mine." God claims us, gives us a new name, and by doing, gives us an identity that we can stand firm in. We are God's, let us never forget that. Let us live in the brilliance of the names that God gives us and leave behind the ones that weigh us down.
  • Feb 4, 2018“One in Whom is the Spirit of God” – Rev. Gary Hilton – Genesis 41:38
    Feb 4, 2018
    “One in Whom is the Spirit of God” – Rev. Gary Hilton – Genesis 41:38
    Series: Epiphany
    We go through life trying to be as successful as possible, though the results are rarely what we dream them to be. We usually have a few small victories and face many failures, with which we define our successfulness in life. Ultimately, we find the greatest success when we are so passionately following God in everything we do, that people cease to see our successes or failures and only see the God we pursue. We were created in God's image, to reflect His glory, a glory that overshadows our greatest triumphs and our most devastating failures, because this glory is full of grace and life for the world. Where do we find success? In a life lived for God, following His plans for our lives and keeping Him at the center of everything we do.
  • Jan 28, 2018“Newbie World” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Revelation 21:1-5
    Jan 28, 2018
    “Newbie World” – Rev. Allan Brooks – Revelation 21:1-5
    Series: Epiphany
    One of the most incredible, and often most forgotten, promises given to us through scripture is found in the book of Revelation. The culmination of the apocalyptic literature found in this final book of the Bible resounds with the declaration that God is coming to be with His people, dwelling with us on earth. We are so often caught up with getting to heaven, that we miss the repeating theme of God coming to us. God does not require us to find our way to Him, instead He seeks us out, and His grace and redemption is not just for us but for His entire creation. All that He created will one day be fully renewed and God will be with His people. Until that day, we have a lot of work to do, for as God's people we have a part in the renewal of creation. In Christ, everything is a new creation, let the old things pass away, and embrace the noob.
  • Jan 21, 2018“Newbie Church” – Rev. Allan Brooks – 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
    Jan 21, 2018
    “Newbie Church” – Rev. Allan Brooks – 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
    Series: Epiphany
    In Christ we are made new, no longer bound to the old ways of living. Our renewal is God's work of reconciling us to Himself. We are made "newbie people," reconciled to God. Together we are a "newbie church," a congregation being renewed to God's purposes and given a specific job: to participate in reconciling the world back to God. Our world is full of conflict and we have been given the task of extending Gods grace in the midst of it, providing hope and peace in the darkest and most chaotic of places. Little by little we participate revealing God's Kingdom in the midst of our chaos, renewing and reconciling our world back to God.
  • Jan 14, 2018“Newbie Person” – Rev. Allan Brooks – 2 Corinthians 5:11-17
    Jan 14, 2018
    “Newbie Person” – Rev. Allan Brooks – 2 Corinthians 5:11-17
    Series: Epiphany
    Noob. noun. Someone who is new. Around this time every year people start making resolutions to better them selves. "New year, new me" they say, and there is nothing wrong with that. But then the resolution is abandoned and the "new me" slips back into old routines. In the midst of this yearly struggle, we are given this simple truth in scripture, that "if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are made new in Christ, no longer bound to the old ways of living and the parts of our lives that we wish to change. Let go of what you wish to change, cling to Christ and allow Him to renew you in the light of His grace!