In this week's passage, James encourages the churches by writing a harsh condemnation of their wealthy oppressors. Yet in his blunt judgment of non-Christians there is a warning for Christians then and now. Because how we steward our wealth reveals our spiritual health. Do we see ourselves in his description of the wicked wealthy? How should our faith change our view of our money?
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In our passage this Sunday, James says it's possible to be a Christian atheist--to claim belief in Christ but to live like God doesn't exist. We make plans and decisions about our relationships, study, and work without acknowledging the Lord. This is isn't just unwise, James says. It is sinful! We'll see this week why this is so serious and how we can remember the Lord in our words, plans, and lives.
The local church is supposed to be a caring community that reflects the love of Christ. Yet sometimes this dream is far from the reality, even in our own church. Why is strife and fighting so common among believers--and what can we do about it? That's what our passage is about this week as we continue to strive to put our faith into action.
Do you ever doubt your own salvation? Where do you find the confidence to say that you're truly a Christian? This week we'll explore one of the foundational, and revolutionary, beliefs of Protestant Evangelicals: Christians can have assurance of our salvation.
Being evangelical doesn't mean we vote Republican, or deny evolution, or believe that America is a special Christian nation. It means none of these things, contrary to popular culture. Instead, one of the foundational tenets of evangelicalism is an emphasis on the Bible as God's word and guide for our churches and lives. This Sunday we're going to explore why we believe in the authority and power of God's word and why it is crucial to our church and lives as Christians.
"What must I do to be saved?" This is a question found on the lips of the Philippian prison guard in Acts 16:30, but it has been on people's lips from the beginning--and even still today. This Sunday we're going to explore what Christianity believes about salvation and this doctrine's practical implications in our lives and our church.
Democrats and Republicans. Socialists and Capitalists. Americans and Armenians. Barack Obama and Donald Trump. How do we wrap our heads around Christianity when all of these people (or at least some from these groups) claim to be Christians? As we begin to explore Ruggles' old and proposed new statement of faith, we're going to explore what it means--at the foundation--to be a Christian.
During the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the cheers always begin at the climactic ending: “O’er the land of the freeee...” Freedom is at the very heart of Americans and many immigrants that come to the United States for study and work. But in the midst of all this “freedom,” do you really feel free? Are we truly free? We’ll explore in Sunday’s scripture text how Jesus comes to bring true freedom to our lives.
Advent is a season when the church remembers Christ’s first coming as we long for His second coming. One way to recognize that the Christmas season is upon us is the lights—lights on homes, in windows, on Christmas trees, and more. This has become part of our culture each year, but there is deeper meaning to all of these lights. Christmas is truly all about a dark world that is longing for Light.
This week we come to the final chapter of Jonah: the climax of the story. Jonah finally gets honest--and angry--with God. It is in this short exchange that we see clearly the true character of the God of the Bible, and of ourselves.
Our mission is to invite people into a life-changing relationship with Christ and his church. Finding salvation in Christ isn't only about intellectual belief, but about tangible action--what God's word calls repentance--or turning to him. This Sunday, we'll see an incredible picture of surprising repentance, and from not only the wicked Ninevites, but from the wayward prophet Jonah and even from...God himself.
Are you ready? Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). Either as a consequence of our own sin or simply the fallen world around us, we will all experience times "in the depths." So what will you do when these times of "distress" come? From "the pit"--for the first time in this book--Jonah prays. This Sunday we'll learn from Jonah about why prayer, even an imperfect one, is so powerful especially in times of trouble.
How did you become a Christian? Some of us were raised in the church for many years, while others came to Jesus at a later age with little previous understanding of Christianity. Our passage this week makes clear that both religious and irreligious people need God's grace. The Lord in his mercy will not leave Jonah to run from him, even as the religious prophet persists in his proud, hypocritical rebellion. And yet we're also surprised by the irony of God's grace at work in the pagan sailors whom Jonah encounters. This Sunday we'll see in depth the consequences of sin but also how neither hypocrites nor pagans are outside of the reach of God's amazing grace.
Jonah is not about the fish. There is a fish in the story, of course, but this little book is really about God--and us. This is one of the most riveting, shocking, and penetrating narratives in all of Scripture. It shows us the depth of our brokenness, and the even greater depths of God's grace. We dive in head first this Sunday, as Jonah's flight away from God raises the question for us: What happens when God's command contradicts our own deepest desires?
Did you know that Jesus talks more about money in the Gospels than he does about heaven and hell? Our finances are intimately personal and extremely powerful. Money is a crucial sign and source of our spiritual growth! This Sunday is Stewardship Sunday, which is the annual day we intentionally explore the topic of our finances. Our hope is that we all would "excel in this grace of giving" together.
This Sunday, we conclude our Vision Series about our strategy for living out our inviting mission: Rhythms of Grace. We've explored how worship recalibrates our hearts, and how God's power works when we connect in community. Finally this week, we'll see that to serve is evidence of God's grace at work in us and through us--and of course a place to invite others. Worship. Connect. Serve. Invite.
This Sunday is Vision Sunday! It was 148 years ago this month that representatives from dozens of churches all over Boston gathered to celebrate and affirm us as "a regular Baptist church." This weekend we'll reflect some on our past and look toward our future. We know our mission is to invite Boston and beyond into a life-changing relationship with Christ and his church. But the question we'll explore on Sunday is: How? How do we accomplish this big mission? What is our practical strategy?
After the Elder John's introduction and his command for the church to love one another, this Sunday we come to his warning about false teachers. How should we respond to false teaching and teachers? How much disagreement should we tolerate among those who claim to be Christians? Is it ever loving to reject, divide, or disassociate from people because of their teaching? This week we'll see one more time in 2 John how God's word brings truth and love together.
In light of the division and attack from false teachers in the church at Ephesus, John the Elder now comes to his primary purpose for writing. It's a gentle command to those who are still faithful to Christ: Love one another. But how does their love for each other relate to resisting false teaching? According to John, what does it look like practically for us--Ruggles--to love one another? We'll explore these questions and more as we continue our series in this short but powerful letter.
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.