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Beneath the Surface

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Bottom Line: Jesus is the One before whom we are both completely vulnerable and completely loved.

As humans we have limited sight. That's the way it is. And only able to see the exterior of things we're left to make sense of our world and other people based on what we can see. But while people judge one another based on externals, God looks straight into the heart. This understanding has the capacity to both comfort us in our weakness and challenge us in our pride. Ironically, it's in confessing the parts we'd rather not allow anyone to see that we are able to be loved most fully.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 51:10-12; Our Gospel reading was John 7:14-24.

This Week's scriptures here.

A video we played prior to this week's message: 

Different cultures have different conceptions of the human heart, what it is and what it does, and the biblical authors are no exception. In this video we'll explore the ancient Hebrew words for "heart" as well as the different ideas of what our hearts represent.

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Take the Call

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Bottom Line: Following Jesus can be boiled down to hearing & doing

The life of faith has always been about hearing God's words and trusting them. But often we are content to merely hear them without acting or to act, doing lots of things for God, without paying attention to what He is saying. This week we look at a story of a young boy, still new in his faith, and his faithful response to God's call against the backdrop of priests who literally have God's words written in stone and yet cannot or will not hear.  

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3; Hebrews 1:1-2; Our Gospel reading was John 20:19-23.

You can search and find scriptures here.

*Re-recorded due to technical difficulties.

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Day By Day

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Bottom Line: A growing faith means a shrinking fear. 

We are made by God, in the image of God, for relationship with God, built on trust in God. And He wants a more robust, more free, and less fearful life for us than we settle for. But fear has a way of turning us back around as we romanticize the things we gladly left behind. As we see in the story of the Hebrews, once they're liberated from slavery in Egypt, the road to a better life is paved with small commitments to trust in God and deny their fear.   

Scripture: Exodus 13, 14, 16; Deuteronomy 8; Our Gospel reading was John 6:25-35

This week's scriptures here.

 

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Let's Go Together

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Bottom Line: God chooses to work through people, even in their disabilities, in saving and healing the world.

Pain and bondage are not new in our world nor is God's desire to set people free. In this week's message we look at Moses - yet another unlikely hero through whom God did just that. But we'd do well to notice that the outcome & the strategy weren’t up to him. In fact, Moses wasn’t required to have the name, knowledge, reputation, skill, or even the desire… all he needed was willingness. And look at what God did through him.

Scripture: Exodus 2, 3, 4; John 8. 

This week's scriptures here.

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I'm Here Too

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Bottom Line: The best stories involve the b-team, brokenness, and the birth of something better.

Jacob was left running scared from his enraged brother - fearing for his life. He knew he had blown it, was all alone, and with only a rock to rest his head on, and that’s where he really experienced God. Jacob was so amazed that God met him there that he exclaimed, “God is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!” The scriptures are filled with terribly ordinary characters. If they are extraordinary it might be most for making extraordinarily bad decisions. Good thing God is in the business of blessing people just like Jacob - just like you and me.

Scripture: Genesis 27, 28, 32; Psalm 139, John 1 & 5. 

You can always search and find Bible content here.

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Trust Me

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Bottom Line: God has always been after our hearts - not our sacrifices.

Whatever we place great trust in will have the power to direct the course of our lives. Our question then is not if we will trust but what we will trust and what or who has proven worthy. This week we looked at an incredible story from the life of Abraham, an ancient ancestor of Jesus. It's a story of faith, longing, impatience, surprise, and provision that, in the end, turns out to be not only about the testing of Abraham’s trustworthiness but the proving of God’s.

Scripture: Genesis 12, 21, 22; John 1; Romans 4.

You can always search and find Bible content here.


Links & Extras 

A wonderful synopsis of the 2nd half of the Bible's first book. Helpful for framing today's story in the context of the wider narrative.

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Come & Rest

Bottom Line: Jesus didn’t offer us 10 steps to manage our chaos, he offered himself.   

We've all known chaos. Sometimes we're in it, other times we bring it. This week we looked back at the beginning in order to make sense of Jesus and his invitation to a more restful life.

Scripture: Genesis 1, John 1, Matthew 11

You can always search and find Bible content here.


Links & Extras

 

Check out this introduction to the first half of Genesis from the folks at the Bible Project.

The Bible Project has made a deep catalogue of fantastic videos to help you understand and dig deeper into the scriptures complete with study guides, reading plans, and group questions. Check them out here! They are pretty great.

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In the Storm

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Bottom Line: When you can't see the end of the storm, take refuge in God not from God.

The scriptures witness to a God who never abandons his people even in the heaviest moments life can bring. In fact, there are certain truths that become visible when we cannot see the end of difficult times as we turn to God for refuge and strength. 

Scripture: Psalms 46 & 91, 1 Thessalonians 4, John 16.

You can always search and find Bible content here.

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Heartbeat

Over 5 Sundays we're looking at what makes our church tick. It's a wonderful time to join us as we dig into our "5 G's" (Grace, Growth, Groups, Gifts & Generosity) - core values that make us who are. Check back here for weekly sermon podcasts and join us from wherever you find yourself this summer. 

Bottom Line: We want to be a people of grace known and of grace shown.

In the message Tim told a story by Shane Claiborne. You can read about it in an editorial piece here.

We also sang a song called "Your Grace Finds Me" and mentioned some info available about the mission priorities of our denominational family, the Evangelical Covenant Church (find links below).

Scripture: Romans 3, Ephesians 2.

Bottom Line: You can grow. You will grow. What you grow is up to you.

When we're kids growth is expected - inevitable even. But in our adulthood many of us seem to believe that we're stuck as we are. While the idea of "growth" may sound like a challenge, it is also an invitation to hope - to recognize that life can be more and that we don't have to be held back by the things of the past.

Scripture: Ephesians 2, Matthew 13.

You can always search and find Bible content here.

Bottom Line: Groups are relationships that optimize life change.

If we want to participate with Jesus in this world we have to intentionally trade the mentality of "me" for the mentality of "we". Jesus called, trained, sent, and empowered his followers together. Even the scriptures were, for the most part, written to be read and lived by people... together. Groups can be difficult because no two people are the same and conflicts are inevitable but at Renew we celebrate the diversity among us, accepting it as a God-given gift and a vehicle through which we learn to give and receive grace.  

Scripture: Hebrews 10, 1 Corinthians 10 & 12, Romans 12.

You can always search and find Bible content here.

Bottom Line: You haven't only been gifted with but you’ve been gifted to.

God has given each of us gifts. These include our possessions (things, talents, abilities), passion (things we get excited about), position (age, marital status, geography, etc.), and personality. These aren't given to us, for us, only for personal enjoyment but also for the blessing of others to the glory of God. In the scriptures the church is described as a "body" of people with each person playing a vital role in the health and life of the whole. That means that you are needed and in need of others if you are to be and do all you were created for. Recognizing our unique gifts can keep us from becoming too self-conscious or too self-important. At Renew we believe that the spiritual life is a team sport.

Scripture: Matthew 9, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12.

You can always search and find Bible content here.

Bottom Line: Generous living has more to do with where your focus is than what your situation is. 

We might be tempted to think that the most generous people are the ones who have it all - generosity produced by excess. But so often this is not the case. Some of the greatest acts of giving and kindness come from people in the greatest need. Not only do we see this in current event but it's evident in letters written in the 1st century about a collection taken for a starving community and how it was the poor who showed the most incredible generosity born of "overflowing joy and extreme poverty". In our church we want to be known for generosity and not only with physical resources - with all things we've received from God including grace, hospitality, forgiveness, mercy, wisdom... just to name a few. What if the church was a generosity incubator where people of all kinds knew they could come to find refuge?  

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, Isaiah 32.

You can always search and find Bible content here.


Links & Extras

Learn More About Your Gifts

Through the links below you’ll access two tools. One is a spiritual gifts assessment* based on the scriptures we looked at in church (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 & Ephesians 4). The other is a personality assessment.

Now, you may be wondering why a personality test?? The basic answer is because every gift you have is used by you. Your personality shapes all of your relationships, the way you understand the world and how you function in it. You may find that this is the more helpful of the two tools.

Some notes before you begin:

1) These tools aren't perfect. They're not straight from God but created by people. Further they're self-assessments - YOU answer the questions for yourself.

2) They aren't exhaustive. Like Paul himself, they do not list every single position, possession, passion, or personality.

3) They don't define you. If you disagree that's great! But ask why.

4) They don't determine what you do. For seasons of life we're called upon to perform duties inside and outside our comfort zone.

The purpose is to make you think & help you pay attention to how you’re wired.

Have fun!

*Spiritual Gifts Assessment used with permission from Connexus Church. Thanks, guys!

A Song We've Learned.

Learn more about 2017 Mission Priorities of the Covenant Church here:


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BLESS

We wrap-up our first summer series with Callie who shares about personal growth, drama, and wearing your faith.

For the past 5 weeks we've been looking at helpful steps for sharing our faith in ways that are natural and Christ-like. Simply put, Jesus did these things, taught his followers to do them (in word or practice), and we'd do well to take note. We can...

Begin with Prayer (acknowledging that the power to transform lives resides with God alone)

Listen with Care (showing up and listening deeply to people Jesus loves)

Eat Together (creating opportunities for intimacy and vulnerability where friendships grow)

Serve with Love (displaying genuine care and love for others)

Share Your Story (because your story matters & can inspire growth in others) 

We heard Callie's story and reflected on how sharing our faith is about passing along to others what has been invested in us. Check out these words from the Apostle Paul to his protegé, Timothy.

Learn more in this short video and in on the Covenant website here.

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Rewind/Remix

6 Areas of Life Where a Remix Could Produce New Knockout Hits. 

Perception is reality - this is certainly true in the ways we relate to our parents. How we see them impacts our relationship to them. This is also true of the perspective we have on our relationship to God. In this podcast we cover 3 statements Jesus makes about our Heavenly Father and that many of us want to be true of our relationships with our friends & family. 

Scripture: John 15

You can always find & search Bible content here.

We all have a desire to be seen, heard, and valued but often our ambition, our need for approval, and our appetites drive attitudes and behaviors that could use a remix. By looking to Jesus' example of self-giving love we see a better way in which we can lovingly invest in the people we encounter. How do the people in your life experience you?    

Scripture: Philippians 2

You can always find & search Bible content here.

God could choose to carry out his work in our world through any number of methods and, surprisingly, chooses to use people. When considering our usefulness in God's hands we often have a hard time seeing beyond our past, we wonder if we're really needed at all, and we assume failure when the results of our service aren't what we expect.  

Today's message began with the video below. Enjoy.  

Scripture: Isaiah 6

You can always find & search Bible content here.

The pain in the world around us can be overwhelming and yet Christians are called to acknowledge it and maintain hope. The scriptures paint a picture of a God who sees sending a savior who sees and calling a people who will see. Have we enough margin, compassion, hope and honesty to look at the brokenness around us and to engage it?

Scripture: Exodus 3, Micah 6, Luke 4, 1 Thessalonians 4.

You can always find & search Bible content here.

The Christian church has long seen God as Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer - taking a wider view of the larger story pointed to in the scriptures can provide needed perspective (and lead to greater hope) as our crazy world reveals its instability. As individuals we are also invited to gain perspective on where we are in the journey of following after Jesus. The apostle Paul encourages each of us to "be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind" - surely we haven't yet arrived yet... have we?   

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4, Romans 11 & 12.

You can always find & search Bible content here.

Community Covenant Church, Menominee, MI. Home of Green Bay Packer fans and unparalleled hospitality. 

Community Covenant Church, Menominee, MI. Home of Green Bay Packer fans and unparalleled hospitality. 

Often people try to boil the life of faith down to a set rules to be obeyed or statements to be believed. Perhaps it would be easier to deal with God if these were viable options but the scriptures remind us that a right relationship with God has always involved both faith and action. Through Jesus we have been invited to follow God and Christ-like obedience is the fruit.  

Scripture: Ephesians 2, Mark 10, Luke 10.

You can always find & search Bible content here.

 

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