This weekend in our gatherings, teaching pastor Sean Palmer reminded us of the importance of community and how we are not meant to follow Jesus in solitude. Our invitation is to know others and be known by them, allowing the depth of our relationship, service, and hospitality to grow. May we all accept this invitation to greater communion with one another.
Pastor Chris Seay shared his reflections on the film and story of Les Misérables, which depicts God's welcoming arms and loving mercy with truth and beauty. We are recipients of radical and undeserved grace. Will our hearts harden in shame like Javert, or like Jean Valjean will our lives be transformed as we turn our will over to God, humbled by the enormity of this gift?
Our deep gratitude to Josh Carney, who shared a number of stories from his family life and taught through the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. In Christ, we are recipients of extravagant, cosmic forgiveness. Can we truly receive that love and mercy as a gift, and will it transform our own capacity to forgive others?
Pastor Sean Palmer asked us to consider what the psalms of lament and the film Bruce Almighty have to say about the nature of prayer and our relationship to a Creator who invites us into intimate friendship. Whether in rejoice or in anger, we are called to relate to God in honesty as a Divine Friend; a friend who knows our needs better than we do; a friend who longs for us to align our prayer and actions in joyful submission toward God's redemptive movement.
It's always a joy to have Scott Erickson back with us. He shared a beautiful and personal message about the dangers of comparison, the vitality of true contribution, and how loving God, loving others, and loving ourselves with genuine abandon can be infectious.
We were overjoyed to welcome Pastor Ed Seay (Chris' father) this weekend. Ed invited us to return to the familiar and vital parable of the Prodigal Son. Whether we have squandered the goodness of God's provision, or are holding on to rigid resentments, all of us are welcomed back into the Father's loving embrace, and a seat at the feast.
Pastor Chris Seay shares with us about the importance of embodying our six Rhythms of Ecclesia globally. As a church we believe in being a community in Houston that is real, kind, seeks God, seeks beauty, serves others, and is hospitable. Pastor Chris shares stories with us about the ways Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are living out the Rhythms in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Our guest and dear brother, Dave Gibbons, joined us to share a word of profound encouragement about our identities as image bearers of God and those called to sacrificial service. From thoughts on freedom, fatherhood, healing, and the Holy Spirit, Dave invites us to embrace the power granted to those in Christ.
Pastor Chris Seay invites us to consider what the Sermon on the Mount and The Princess Bride teach us about the great challenge of loving our enemies. Jesus calls us to end the cycles of anger, violence, and retaliation in the world; laying down vengeance in favor of the kind of forgiveness and blessing that can transform our communities, relationships, and our own hearts.
Pastor Sean Palmer taught on the "Hero's Journey", and what Batman has to do with spiritual formation. God has given his people a call to action and to discipleship; modeled to us by a Savior who came to us incarnate in a most unassuming and unremarkable form.