"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." We continue in our Vision Series about our strategy for living out our mission: Rhythms of Grace. This week, we'll observe how the early church valued and leveraged fellowship with one another--another simple rhythm that is powerfully able to bring life-change.
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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.
This is the fourth installment of our series on the Gospel of John entitled "Life-Changing Encounters With Jesus." It tells of the third "sign" that John writes about in his gospel in order to demonstrate that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. An encounter with Jesus changed the life of a paralyzed man; could it change ours as well?
Work is a significant part of all of our lives, whether you work in an office, a classroom, a lab, or at home. Does God have anything to say about these many hours we spend working? Yes! Psalm 127 shows us two ways to approach our work: one that produces frustration, stress and anxiety; and one that produces joy and contentment. Let's look at how we can work according to God's design.
We're on week 7 of our Psalms of Ascent series, and Psalm 126 is all about joy. How can we maintain our joy amidst the ups and downs of life? We also recognize that this has also been a difficult week in our nation, with the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers. We hope this sermon will be an encouragement to you if you feel afraid or discouraged, as well as a time to pray together for justice and unity in our country.
Where do you turn for help? Psalm 121, known as "The Traveller's Psalm," recognizes that things can get difficult on our journey through this life. The psalmist encourages us to turn to the Lord as our ultimate source for help and assures us that the "Maker of heaven and earth" is watching over our every move "both now and forevermore."
Why did the Lord bring you to Boston? Maybe you came here for school or for work or because your family is here. Yet God's word is clear that he didn't bring us here just to take from the city but also to contribute to it. This morning, we'll look at God's heart for Boston and how we should play a role in doing justice for the vulnerable here.
Have you ever been discipled? Has someone ever intentionally invested time and effort for your personal, spiritual good? Jesus says in his Great Commission that being one of his disciples means making other disciples. In other words, disciples disciple. Followers of Jesus help other people follow Jesus. And this should be happening in the church! Today’s sermon is all about what discipling looks like, and how we can start to build a culture of discipling in our church community.
Have you ever wondered why we pass the offering plates at each Sunday service? Yes, every church needs to pay its bills. But the offering is for so much more than bill paying? Jesus' teaching in our passage this morning shows us that giving in the church is about much more than simply fundraising; it's about our hearts. In this teaching on money, Jesus offers us a timeless principle and a certain promise.
Have you ever wondered why we preach sermons every week? Why do we have to listen to a long monologue? Why not have discussions instead? Or maybe we should skip the sermon altogether and sing more songs. As we'll see from Nehemiah 8 this morning, preaching God's word -- and hearing it preached -- is one of the most significant activities that the church does. In fact, biblical preaching is one of the biggest reasons the church is the dearest place on earth.
What is the greatest threat to the local church? What would most prevent the church from being The Dearest Place on Earth that God designed us to be? Is it Satan? Division and conflict? Hypocrisy? No, there is something deeper than any of these things. The events from Acts 6:1-7 not only shows us our greatest threat, but also how we can overcome it through Christ-like servant-leadership in the local church.
Have you ever wondered why we show up week after week to worship the Lord together? Aren't there some Sundays that you would rather sleep in? Well, today we're going to observe the prophet Isaiah's astonishing encounter with God, and examine why weekly corporate worship is vital to the local church if we want to be the dearest place on earth. Are you feeling like today is just another Sunday morning? Then today's sermon is for you.
Does church membership really matter? Is it any different from being a member of a club or other organization? This morning, we're going to explore Christ's design for membership of his church from his famous, and controversial, statement to the Apostle Peter in Matthew 16 about the keys of the kingdom. Then we'll see why, if you're a Christian, you — yes you! — should join a church as a member.
Have you ever wondered what we're doing here at Ruggles? What is a church? Is it a building? An institution? A weekly event? Is it optional? Where did the church come from? And what is it for? We're going to answer all of these questions today and more as we explore the doctrine of the church and see why it should be the "dearest place on earth" to us.
In our fast-paced world today, it seems like there is always too much to do and too little time. With our limited time, attention, money and energy, we make decisions every day that reveal our true priorities. In our passage this morning, the Lord delivers a tough message through the prophet Haggai, exhorting us to “consider our ways “ (1:5) to make sure we are prioritizing our relationship with Him and His church.
This week is about the significance of Christ's presence with us. Yes, hopefully you will receive presents this holiday season, but Christmas is truly about God's presence. But what's the big deal about God's presence? Isn't God omnipresent, all around us? Why was the birth of Jesus, Immanuel, "God with Us," so significant and what does it matter to us today? This is what we'll be exploring together today.
This Sunday’s sermon will wrap up our Galatians series. The Apostle Paul concludes with a recap of the major themes of his letter to the Galatians, including the importance of right doctrine and teaching, the church’s connection with the Old Testament, and a final exhortation to walk with the Spirit and keep the gospel central in our lives.
God’s word for us this week shows that a huge battle rages within every Christian, and it exhorts us to obedience with a list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Yet truthfully, it seems impossible to “keep in step with the Spirit” and live out the fruit of the Spirit all the time, or even some of the time! So how are we actually supposed to live a life of Gospel Character? The answer is that yes, it’s about the fruit, but it’s also about the root — the “desires” of our hearts.
The gospel is something altogether different than either religion or irreligion. It is free and free-ing! The gospel is free: we don’t have to earn salvation by our works. But the gospel is also freeing: it frees us to love and serve one another. Or, as the Apostle Paul puts it, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” That’s what the gospel is all about: Faith expressed through love.