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The great land owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away...

—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

We live with wealth. And not just money. We have time and resources and talents and opportunities that surround us here in Canada. And so the question is not so much whether wealth is good or bad but instead how we will steward such wealth— comparatively slight as it may seem at times—into channels that serve the Kingdom of God on earth.

Walter Brueggemann writes, “a study of the various biblical texts on money and possessions makes clear that the neighbourly common good is the only viable sustainable context for individual well-being.”

Our challenge then is to explore what
it means to enjoy our blessings, to plan wisely for our individual needs, all while contributing to the common good around us.

May we be wealthy well.

No Coveting

Discussion Notes
Today we are exploring the connection between memetic desire and the promise of God to set us free.

Bonus Material

Sometimes wealth is as much about perspective as it is about bank accounts.

Generosity and Justice

Discussion Notes
Today we are looking at the relationship between generosity and justice.

Bonus Material

A scarcity mindset can make it hard to celebrate with those we love but it can also steal from us our motivation to change the world for the better.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Discussion notes
Today we’re looking at wealth and our experience of happiness.

Bonus MaterialS

This weekend was also Pentecost Sunday. You can read through the liturgy we created for the day here.

Year Five

Year Five

September always feels like a new start. School is back in session, the pause of summer vacation has come to an end, and there is a fresh focus on moving forward with renewed vigour.

It’s no different for us at Commons. So every year we like to start September with a reflection on the central concepts that guide our community.

Intellectually honest. Spiritually passionate. Jesus at the centre.

Can’t wait!


Launch Sunday

Moses: Tales from the Exodus

Moses: Tales from the Exodus

Moses, Moses, Moses.

One of the most fascinating characters of the entire Bible. So fascinating in fact that Director Ridley Scott and Actor Christian Bale have decided it was worth spending almost $150 million dollars making a movie to tell his story. But before Hollywood turns it’s creative engines toward the story of Moses we thought we would take some time this fall to explore his story through the biblical lens.

No character has had as deep an impact on the shape of the Jewish scriptures as Moses. He speaks face-to-face with God, heads a revolt against the Pharaoh, leads his people out into the wilderness, and is credited by some with authoring Torah (the first five books of the Bible). And yet, somehow, Moses remains a very human character accessible to all of us.

Over the next eight weeks we will follow Moses from his ignominious beginnings as a baby in a basket through to his destiny as the leader of a fledgling nation. Hang on.

Baby Moses: Exodus 1:1-8

The Nile river that was supposed to kill baby Moses becomes the means for salvation and blessing.
Here we find that not only does God work in mysterious ways, the truth is, sometimes he works in ways that seem down right counter intuitive.

Now we can’t be simplistic or naive about this. We can’t pretend that every difficult thing we experience will eventually land on some great blessing on the other side. Life doesn’t always work that way.

But we can remember that not only is God aware of our struggle, he is somehow also actively engaged with our story, working in the midst of our struggle, acting to bring us through to where he wants us to be. 

Discussion Notes

Mistakes Were Made: Exodus 1:8-2:14 

Moses is impulsive and impetuous and he makes a mistake and he runs from his people. Yet God in his graciousness prepares him and shapes him and moulds him for the moment when he will come full circle and his lead his people to freedom.

Perhaps you have a sense that you were meant to contribute to God’s story but right now you’re not sure how.

Trust that God is not done with you yet. 

Discussion Notes

Say My Name: Exodus 2:23-3:15 

If the God of the burning bush had said to Moses, tell the people I am, the good shepherd, the father of all, the creator of the world, the source of breathe and life and all that is good, it might have sounded great, but he could have been mistaken for any number of glorious named, angry, petty, small gods, who demanded unblinking devotion all while supporting systems of slavery and 

oppression just like what the Israelites were suffering under.

The beauty of what this God says, is that names are important to you, not me, because I can’t tell my name until you get to know who I am. That’s why “I am who you will discover me to be”. 

Discussion Notes

The Turn Around: Exodus 4 and 5 

The status quo has enormous gravity to it and it pulls everything back in line. This is why starting something new is hard. It’s why changing something that already exists is sometimes even harder. It’s why turning the trajectory of something heading in one direction toward another is almost impossible– but that does not mean it’s not worth doing if God has called you to do it because the God of resurrection is in the business of bringing what is beautiful and good out of what is broken and dark.

Change is hard but it’s part of joining God in the renewal of everything. 

Discussion Notes

Hurry Up and Wait: Exodus 14:5-31

In our own faith stories we vacillate between these two tensions all the time - God is saving, yet we are required to do some acting... there is almost always cooperation required. The question we are left to wrestle with is: are we in a season of waiting for God's voice, or are we supposed to be acting and moving on our own?

God’s grace is very present in the cooperation because he understands us, he cares for us, and he wants us to know how faithful he is... 

Discussion Notes

For Better or For Worse: Exodus 16:1-7 

What God is looking for from us is not some unqualified gratitude that always looks on the bright side and ignores struggle, that slaps on a cheery face every morning regardless of what’s going on in our world. 

Remember, God did not asking the Israelites to pretend they were full when they were hungry.

What he is looking for is an honest, open, mature relationship, where we name what’s wrong and ask for help, where we notice what is good and celebrate his generosity for what it is. 

Discussion Notes

Golden Calves: Exodus 32:1-6

The real problem of the golden calf is not just about replacing God with something else, it’s about boxing him off and confining him down to very specific areas of your life.

That’s what the Israelites are doing here. God represents blessing to them, so they represent him with an image of blessing, a golden calf.

God says, No, you’re not supposed to make an image of me because I’m not interested in being one small part of your life.

In fact that’s why I already gave you my image and put it somewhere it couldn’t be ignored.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness” Genesis 1:26 NIV11 

Discussion Notes

The Decalogue: Exodus 20:1-17 

The 10 commandments have to come at the end of the story of Moses because they only truly make sense when we’ve already learned what it means to trust that God is for us and we only truly understand that not through his rules but when we see that he comes to save us. 

Discussion Notes