This Sunday we begin a journey through one of the shortest books in all the Bible--a pastor writes encouragement and instruction to a struggling church. In the first three verses this Sunday, we'll see not only the powerful love that should characterize our church, but also the foundation--the root--of our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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In this one incident of Jesus healing a young man (told in three Gospels), we hear three conversations about faith and doubt: Jesus' comments to religious leaders who had no faith, a brief but revealing dialogue between Jesus and the boy's father about faith and doubt, and Jesus' de-briefing instructions to his disciples about their need for more faith in prayer. Who will you relate to most?
This Sunday we consider faith and doubt from Peter’s success and failure at water-walking. Peter’s faith was fickle -- lots of “successful failures” in which Peter successfully and courageously stepped out, and then failed miserably. Sound familiar? But toward the end of his life his faith expression is strong and solid. Our purpose Sunday is to study how we can nurture a faith that will endure and become increasingly vital, sustaining us throughout our lives.
This Sunday we begin a 4-week sermon series on the topic of doubt. We begin with perhaps the most famous story of doubt in the entire Bible, the story of Thomas (whose name is so synonymous with doubt, that anyone who demonstrates skepticism is described as a "doubting Thomas"!).
As we look deeper into this story, questions will arise... Does Jesus want us to have "blind faith"? If we ask for evidence, are we showing a lack of faith? Is there a difference between doubt and unbelief? What exactly are we believing in, anyway?
This Sunday, we welcome our good friend and local missionary Jeff Bass back to Ruggles. Jeff was a member of this church in the 1980's and '90's, and was also on staff as Church Administrator. He is currently the Executive Director of the Emmanuel Gospel Center, a ministry position that Ruggles gladly supports as part of our World Outreach budget.
This morning Jeff shares some stories of his ministry to urban churches in Boston, and then he issues a challenge to us as followers of Jesus Christ, in this city, at this time.
This Sunday, we come to the end of the "Roots of Our Redemption" series. The account of Abraham's death includes opportunities to look back at what we have learned in Genesis and to look forward at God's plan for history. Abraham's death reminds us of our own fleeting moments on this earth. It causes us to wrestle with our own life's purpose. And it zooms us out to see our true place in history with a God's-eye view.
The end of Abraham and Sarah's lives will mark the conclusion to our series in Genesis. In this week's passage, Sarah dies first and Abraham grieves his beloved wife. You might think the message of this passage is how to grieve and cope with death, but it is not. There is a much greater message about the cost and commitment to truly believe God's promises, even when they are not yet fulfilled. Are we truly willing to give our entire lives for something--and someone--we haven't seen?
In our text this Sunday, Abraham faces the test of his life. How much does he really trust the Lord? Will he really put the Lord first, over even the dearest parts of his life--even his own beloved son? This passage raises numerous questions for us: Does God test us? If so, how can we prepare so we can pass the test like Abraham did? Join us as we explore the roots of our redemption in this infamous story.
Finally. In Genesis 21, the Lord finally fulfills his promise to Abraham and Sarah "at the very time [He] had promised." God keeps his promises! In this week's passage, the sovereign, faithful, loving-kindness of the Lord rings out--but not just for Abraham and Sarah, even for Hagar and Ishmael, too. On Sunday, we'll be encouraged by God's character and examine how can we grow in trusting his promises.
Do you wrestle with a habitual sin? Something you just can't seem to get past? Maybe it's sexual sin, or a short temper, or anxiety over your finances or future. The good news is we're not alone. In this Sunday's passage, the great, faithful patriarch Abraham blows it again. It's déjà vu from chapter 12. Even though he is decades older and has had numerous personal encounters with God, Abraham falls into the same old sins. In God's word this Sunday, we'll find encouragement and hope for overcoming our habitual sins. But most of all: grace.
In our text this Sunday, Abraham asks a question probably all of us has asked at some time: "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" In other words, is God really just in his judgment? Is he truly fair? The story of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction is perhaps best known for the "fire and brimstone" that fall on the city. God's word for us this week is challenging, but in the midst of all of this sin and suffering, we will see God's patience, kindness, and grace.
Do you ever struggle with doubt? Do you sometimes wonder if God really hears us when we pray? Or, even if there really is this all-powerful, all-loving God we see in the Bible? In this week's text, we see clearly Sarah's struggle with her faith, which seems to have deteriorated into cynicism. This Sunday we'll talk about dealing with our doubts and see where can we find reassurance in our faith.
This Sunday we are pleased to welcome special guest Chip Sanders. Chip and his wife Kathy were members of Ruggles in the 1980's and 90's, and have been missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International for over 20 years. Chip is in the Boston area for the next couple of weeks, and we are privileged to have him preach God's word to us this Sunday.
After a 4-week break for Boy Meets Girl, we're picking back up our sermon series on the book of Genesis: Roots of Our Redemption. In this week's text, the Lord again renews his covenant with Abram--a new name and a new sign of this divine-human relationship. In this ancient narrative we see the importance today of our identity in Christ and our own sign of our relationship with him.
Now we come to the final week of our relationships series. Jesus actually has a lot to say about singleness in Matthew 19. We'll explore questions like: Is singleness a second-class status? What if my singleness isn't my choice? How do I find fulfillment in the midst of singleness? I hope you'll join us.
Jesus' teaching on marriage in Matthew 19 naturally raises the question of how we're supposed to go about getting married. Yet there is nothing in Matthew 19, or really anywhere in the Bible, that directly addresses our modern phenomenon of dating. However, there are some passages that tell stories of people who intentionally move from singleness to marriage. Today we're going to look at 2 of these stories--one that turns out well and the other not-so-well--and try to discern some biblical principles for dating today. And even if you never plan to date or are already married, there is something in these stories for you.
Our culture is fascinated with sex. From politics, to movies, to our personal lives, we think about it, read about it, sing about it, and, of course, do it. In Jesus' teaching on marriage in Matthew 19, sexual activity is the only grounds for divorce. It raises the question: Why is sex so significant to Jesus? Last week, we saw that God is the creator/inventor of marriage. And this Sunday, we're going to explore why God created not just marriage, but sex, too.
We’ve all probably asked for, and given, some kind of relationship advice before. But have you ever asked God for relationship advice? Jesus actually has a lot to say about this! So over the next four weeks, we're going to take a break from our Genesis series and explore Christ's teaching on marriage, sex, dating, and singleness in Matthew 19. We begin this week with marriage. Not just how to have a good marriage, but how all of us--married or not--should think about marriage from a biblical perspective.
This Easter we'll examine whether life is more like a tragedy or a comedy, and why an event from 2000 years ago can and should change our lives today.
This Good Friday sermon calls us to spend time in somber reflection on the weight of our sin and in worship of our Lord's atoning sacrifice on the cross.