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.
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.