It is always a profound gift to be taught by our dear friend and brother, Dr. Dan Allender. As a people shaped in part by experiences of trauma and betrayal, we often resist opening ourselves up to receive comfort. Dan offers us a beautiful reminder that God has bled for us, engraving our names in his palms, promising the kind of love that will never forget or forsake us.
Pastor Sean Palmer taught from the story of King David, and shared about many of the ways God has provided in abundance as we have sought to eliminate the debt at our Downtown campus. This freedom allows our family all the more opportunity to seek God’s will in serving our city and communities around the world. In times such as these, we are called to jubilant celebration.
Ericka Graham taught through Jesus’ Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, and shared vulnerably from her own experience of coming to the knowledge and acceptance of grace during a time of deep trial and shame. Grace is humbling to accept because God meets us in our sin and unworthiness, calling us beloved, just as we are. In receiving grace, we are ignited from the source of all love, to carry that flame and share it wherever we go.
Pastor Sean Palmer invites us to consider our view of leadership, and what it requires to become someone whose example is worth following. As we learn from Moses (and Black Panther), leaders are driven by burden rather than bluster, leaders are called to choose courage, and that each and every one of us is called to embrace the unique responsibility of leading in our circles of influence.
Pastor Chris Seay (with assists from Schindler’s List and Dr. Maya Angelou) asked us to consider what a life is worth. When we truly see ourselves as God has declared us to be, the way we care for our bodies, the ways we work and give, and the ways we are called to remind others of their importance to this world are all radically changed.
Pastor Sean Palmer reminds us that God's story is, and always has been, a love story. Sean shares the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, and pieces of the film based upon their marriage, to illustrate the kind of patient, tough, and expansive love to which we are called as a people in Christ.
This week a year ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston. In this message, Pastor Chris Seay leads us in reflecting on the many ways Ecclesia responded to love our city, in the midst of their pain and trauma. Through the stories of our community, we are able to witness the local church be the hope of the world.
It was a great blessing to welcome our brother, Dr. Richard Beck, to teach a rich and important message on the true nature of spiritual warfare. The "devil" exists in many forms; in all that opposes loving kindness, in the empty promises of the world, in the idols of our own hearts, and in the voice of accusation that seeks to keep us mired in shame. Our choice is whether to succumb to that story, or to place our trust and allegiance in the transforming grace of Christ, our perfect advocate.
Pastor Chris shared reflections on one of his favorite films, Steven Spielberg's Amistad, and asked us to reconsider how we engage with scripture. Are we reading the Bible solely to learn "facts", or are we immersing ourselves in a rich and living library that is overflowing with story, poetry, and shared history? Through his word, God tells us who we are, and invites us to embrace our truest identity as beloved children, that we would faithfully live out our part of the story.
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.