We often view the Old Testament patriarchs as heroes, men who followed God with incredible faith. But in this Sunday's passage, we see Abraham's faith falter. The father of God's people, the one through whom God would bring salvation to the world, becomes fear-driven instead of faith-driven. He fails miserably. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever doubted God? Have you ever acted selfishly and hurt others, even those closest to you? Then this Sunday is for you.
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We conclude our journey in Proverbs on the subject of justice, with two short sayings from King Lemuel. Throughout Scripture, God identifies with and concerns himself with the poor and needy. And this proverb says that it is wise for us to do the same, specially to act against injustice. We'll talk about why this is so crucial, and so wise, and explore how we might apply this wisdom to our lives.
Do you ever wonder: What is God's will for my life? And how am I supposed to know that? Maybe you're wrestling with a big decision: What field should I go into? Whom should I marry? Where should I live? When and how should I retire? Even in the smaller decisions of everyday life, how are we supposed to find God's will? And what if we make the wrong decision? Fortunately, the Lord has a ton of decision-making wisdom to offer us in the book of Proverbs. Join us this Sunday as we continue to submit and search for God's perfect wisdom together in his word.
As you read the Bible, you might find that God's word sometimes raises topics that you might otherwise avoid, like sex. The book of Proverbs isn't shy about sex--it devotes multiple chapters to it, in fact--but Proverbs paints a very different picture of it than the culture that surrounds us. Our proverb this week is mysterious and shocking, but meditating on it and applying it to our lives will bring incredible wisdom in how we can treasure this beautiful and powerful gift that God has given us. This Sunday is for married people and single people, younger people and older people, and for all of us who need God's wisdom and grace and healing.
Writer Annie Dillard famously said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For many of us, a large portion of our days is spent at work. In fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, about 1/3 of their waking hours. Fortunately, Proverbs speaks a lot about work -- both the glories and the pitfalls. How can we be wise workers? That's what this Sunday is all about.
The book of Proverbs has more to say about our words than anything else -- more than money, sex, or family. That's probably because the average person speaks hundreds of times every day. Yet it's not only because of their quantity, but also their power. This Sunday we're going to see why our words are so powerful and how we can use them wisely.
The New Year is a time to reflect on the past and resolve for the future. It's a time when many people aspire to improve their lives. We start diets, pack gyms, make reading lists, and set goals. But Proverbs says that our greatest aspiration for this year, and every year, should be to find wisdom: "Blessed are those who find wisdom...for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold...nothing you desire can compare with her" (3:13-15). So what is wisdom? Why is wisdom so valuable? How can we find it? Join us as we dive into a sermon series on Proverbs this Sunday.
Is there significance to the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth"? You bet there is! This was more than just a title or an address; the fact that Jesus was raised in the town of Nazareth says a great deal about who God is and what He is about. This Sunday we'll wrap up our Advent series, all about the unexpected way in which God became human and entered our world.
This passage shows us the reality of Christmas. Sometimes we think that this time of year is about being joyful and peaceful and ignoring the difficult aspects of our lives. Yet the reality of Christmas is not about ignoring our difficulties, but having joy, peace, and hope in the midst of them. That's what having a "Merry Christmas" is truly about, and that's what we're going to celebrate this Sunday.
Wouldn't you expect the "King of the Jews" to be worshiped by...the Jews? In another unexpected twist to the Christmas story, we see pagan astrologers as the first worshipers of the Jewish Messiah, while the Jewish leaders respond with indifference. What might this say about who Jesus is really coming for -- and also how we should respond to King Jesus? During Advent, as we reflect on Christ's first coming and look forward to his second coming, how are you responding to the King?
Joseph had a very unexpected Christmas. Usually, we focus on Mary's faith and courage during Advent -- and rightfully so -- but Matthew zooms in on Jesus' (legal) father. It is through Joseph's eyes that we see that the salvation that will come to the world will not come cheap. Following in the steps of Jesus is no easy thing, but that's what we're all called to as Christians today.
This week marks the first Sunday of Advent as we celebrate Christ's birth. Advent simply means "coming." Together with Christians around the world in this season, we identify with Israel, who waited hundreds of years for the coming of their King and Savior -- as we also look forward to Jesus' second coming. But even though Israel had expected the Messiah's coming for hundreds of years, we'll see in this series in the Gospel of Matthew how truly unexpected his coming was in so many ways. Indeed, our God delights to work through unexpected circumstances in history and also in our own lives.
What does it mean to be holy? It's much more than just avoiding sin in your life. This Sunday, Ruggles Elder Linda Smith preaches from 1 Peter 1-2 about the meaning, significance, and power for holiness.
We conclude our sermon series this Sunday with perhaps the most famous and extensive Scripture passage on prayer -- Jesus' teaching in Luke 11. This passage summarizes and connects many of the themes from our series: how to pray, why we should pray, and ultimately the importance of relating with our heavenly Father.
A very special and historic moment in the life of Ruggles Baptist Church: the installation service for Joshua Cahan as Lead Pastor.
When things go wrong, is your first inclination to pray? Do you really believe prayer makes any difference? In one of the last passages of the first letters to the early church, James passionately encourages the church to pray for ourselves and for each other -- especially in difficult circumstances.
This Sunday we continue our series on prayer by focusing on thanks. In some ways, saying "thank you" is a simple and easy thing to do, to others and to the Lord. But Luke shows us in this passage that true thankfulness is actually something that is quite rare...and immensely powerful. Join us as we explore how (perhaps surprisingly) vital it is to regularly and sincerely give thanks to the Lord in prayer.
Exactly five hundred years ago this week, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther famously nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in Germany. This moment changed history! It began the Protestant Reformation, which restored gospel teaching to the Church that had become corrupt and wayward in its teachings. In God's providence, on Reformation Sunday, we are talking about confessing our sins to the Lord in prayer--a key theological theme in the Reformation. Can we confess our sins directly to God? Should we confess all of our sins specifically to the Lord? Do we even need to pray prayers of confession if Jesus has already forgiven us? Join us as we explore these questions, commemorate the Reformation, and celebrate our risen Savior on Sunday!
When you're feeling anxious or hurt or depressed, it's always a great idea to turn to prayer. But what happens when praying doesn't seem to bring us any peace? Sometimes the more we talk with God about our troubles and needs, the more anxious and burdened we become. What should we do? As we move toward the conclusion of our prayer series, we're going to look practically at what kinds of prayers we should be praying. This Sunday, we'll examine the type of prayer that can help us overcome the aforementioned struggle with praying, the type of prayer that gives context and motivation for all our other prayers, and the type of prayer that is perhaps the most neglected in our lives.
The Bible commands and models prayer both individually and corporately. But what's the big deal about praying together? Is it more powerful and effective somehow? Why can't we just pray by ourselves?