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Jeremy Duncan

When in Rome IV

When in Rome IV

We return this year for a penultimate swing through Paul’s letter to the Romans. We’ve been working our way, chapter-by-chapter, through this monumental letter. And this year, we pick up where we left off last spring starting in chapter 9.

Romans is full of heavy theology, but underneath it all is the tender heart of a disciple who wants to communicate the story of Jesus. What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can we experience it? What will it mean for our future? And what does Jesus have to do with our everyday lives?

It’s these fundamental questions that form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes but always pointing us back to Jesus.


Chapter 1-8 Recap - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are starting our year four in Romans by doing a brief overview of the first eight chapters of the letter.

Bonus Material

For those interested, here is a more detailed breakdown of the major schools of interpretation when it comes to reading Paul.


Part 2 - The Sovereignty to Love - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are diving into chapter 9 to learn about Paul’s internal conversation with the Israelites and what the sovereignty of God looks like.

Bonus Material

One thing we have to keep in mind when reading Romans is that Paul does not experience the world through the same hyper-individualized lens we do. He experiences life through a much more communal set of categories.


Part 3 - The Righteousness Problem - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on what happens when God chooses us, and we defiantly choose to walk away.


Part 4 - Finding God Everywhere - John Van Sloten

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on how God can be experiences through everything we see and do.

Bonus Material

Paul’s double entendre in Romans 11 reminds us that there is not such thing as a story that God has not been at work cultivating.


Part 5 - So What Now - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

Today we wrap up our fourth series on Romans and discern how to move forward.

Bonus Material

We're finished with Romans until next year but we need to make sure we get Paul's heart. Good thoughts only get you so far. What really matters is how we live and love in community.


Friendship

Friendship

Best friends. Old friends. New friends. Kind friends. Weird friends. Hilarious friends. Sad friends. Forgotten friends. Facebook friends. Forever friends.

Let’s really think about our friendships across a lifetime. Who was your best friend growing up? How did your friendships shape you in your twenties and thirties? What do you hope your friendships will look like in your forties, fifties, and beyond?

The terrain of friendship is well- travelled by some, and less familiar to others. There are days when you just know you wouldn’t make it without your friends. But other days you find the rules of friendship shift right under your feet.

We’re asking what the Creator’s intention is for friendship. How did Jesus extend radical welcome and still hold his best friends to a high standard of love and loyalty? Why do we need friends to find the Spirit at work in our lives? Bring all your experiences to the conversation on friendship and be reminded why this work of love matters so much in the end.


Why Friends? - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we look at the place friendship occupies in our social world and the role it played in the life of Jesus.

Bonus Material

Sometimes the Gospels invite us to read between the pages in order to encounter the fullness of Jesus.

We’ve also created a page with links to some of the research cited in the sermon.


Vulnerability - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes
Today we are talking about vulnerability and how it shapes both us and our friendships.

Bonus Material

The fact that Jesus has to learn who he is, speaks to the fact that your journey of self-discovery is holy and sacred as well.


Forgiveness - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes
Today we are talking about what to do when you are sorry and why it matters.


Unfriending - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes
Last week we talked about Peter’s denial, today we will see Peter’s transformation and talk about new chapters in friendship and the option to unfriend. 

Bonus Material

Forgiveness is what we do for our own health. Holding on to bitterness and anger eventually becomes toxic. Reconciliation though, requires both people to come to the table and when the other person isn’t willing to do that you need to remember that you can’t control that.

Unexpected

Unexpected

Christmas is packed with personal traditions. Every year we hang up the same tree decorations. Every year we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the same big holiday. Every year we try to come up with a creative gift for someone special and basically get the same gift we did the year before.

So the question is, can the story of Jesus in a manger really surprise us one more time around? Can Christmas hold more meaning than all the ornaments, intricate family meals, and presents wrapped under the tree?

Advent is a time to return to the story of Jesus’ coming. And in returning, we find that we aren’t the same person we were even a year ago. The Divine’s coming to us in human flesh is charged with the unexpected. There’s the unexpected way an old story becomes new. There’s an unexpected baby who holds the mystery of the universe. There are unexpected angels sent to declare that heaven has come to earth and nothing is the same anymore.


Advent 1: The With-ness of God - Jeremy Duncan

DIscussion Notes

Today we are looking at how in the birth narratives both Luke and Matthew draw inspiration from and transform the text of Isaiah.


Advent 2: The Magnificat - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

Today we are looking at how the songs of Hannah and Mary expand our imagination of God and speak to our deepest needs.


Advent 3: The Flight - Scott Wall

Discussion Notes

Today we are looking at Matthew’s creative use of the prophet Hosea’s words, while reflecting on what it means to practice holy remembering during Advent and how God does not sidestep the costs associated with being human.


Advent 4: Full Filled - Jeremy Duncan


Christmastide - Yelena Pakhomova

Joseph

Joseph

Over the past few years, we have been seeing what the Bible has always known: that human stories, when viewed through the lens of faith, teach us how to live. Together we have explored the stories of Abraham and Jacob. This year we come to the story of Joseph.

The journey of Joseph’s complicated relationship with his brothers will be our focus for this fall season. This is a common and extraordinary tale: sibling rivalries, dreams of destiny, acts of betrayal, realizations of loss, sudden reversals, acts of kindness, restored peace. And in this whole mix, there is God. In fact, like any really good story, there is more going on here than at first meets the eye.

Joseph was a person in process, just as we continue to be. We see him grow up from a despised younger brother to a respected leader, from one presumed dead to the centre of life and action. And if we pay close enough attention, we might see what perceptive readers have always noticed: that Joseph’s story carries an uncanny resemblance to the story of Jesus himself.


Joseph 1: But First… - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We will not do justice to Joseph without remembering where he comes from. When the Hebrews called their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it was their way of rooting their identity in their experience of God and their history as a people. 


Joseph 2: Big Dreams, Bad Timing - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Nahum Sarna describes the story of Joseph as “set forth by a master storyteller who employs with consummate skill the novelistic techniques of character delineation, psychological manipulation, and dramatic suspense.” You are invited to pay attention to how this beautiful narrative is put together and to listen to those particular moments when it speaks to us about what it means to be human.


Joseph 3: Brothers Gone Bad - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we’re looking at how the brothers’ hurt that has not been dealt with turns into rejection and sets off a series of events that will eventually shape Joseph into a person of welcome. 


Joseph 4: #metoo - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we follow Joseph to Egypt and see how the presence of God manifests itself in small and big ways in Joseph’s life and creates an alternative reading of reality that exposes the imbalances of power.


Joseph 5: In the Pit - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

So far the intent of the story was to get us to listen to the voices we do not usually listen to and to pay attention to the more complex and nuanced perspectives of the world. Today we are talking about what it feels like to be stuck and forgotten, and yet never outside of the Divine presence and grace.


Joseph 6: Smart v Wise - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Last week, we were invited to pause our conversation after the chief cupbearer forgot all about his friend Joseph and left him in prison for another two years. Today we are looking at more dreams and what it means to speak peace in wisdom.


Joseph 7: Plan Well - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we are moving from smart and wise to strategy, and we will consider practical plans for big problems. 


Joseph 8: Who Moves First - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we are bringing the story to a close by focusing on the reconciliation of Joseph and his family. 

The Problem with Prayer

The Problem with Prayer

We can be honest. Prayer is hard sometimes. And yet, prayer is perhaps the most precious and most under- utilized gift we have. For a multitude of reasons, people who follow Jesus often struggle with it. And the more capable you think you are, sometimes the more significant the struggle becomes. Perhaps this is because we fail to see the profound practicality of prayer, the deeply connected way it can reorder our lives. Perhaps we need to look at life, and ourselves, in a new way.

In this series, we want to imagine the Lord’s Prayer as a series questions we can ask daily. We want to take the practice of talking to and being with God, and see this way as something solid and tangible, something daily, something that matters to our experience of life.

If you have grown a little stale in your personal prayers, this series promises to re-energize what is most basic. Prayer is more practical than you ever dreamed.


Part 1 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This past Sunday we acknowledged the problem with prayer, talked about learning the language of payer, the role of liturgy and imitation of the “masters” in our prayer life, and the call to align our prayer with God’s vision of us and of the world.


Part 2 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we looked at the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer - “Our Father…” as pointing us both towards God and towards one another. We were reminded that our prayer is an expression of intimacy with God to the extent it engenders the expression of God-like care extended out of us to those around us.


Part 3 - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

In this last session on the Lord’s Prayer, we’re looking at a series of questions, sometimes called petitions, that Jesus gives as a framework for prayer. And, hopefully, they can become tools for your own creativity in prayer or will help you to say and to hear the Lord’s Prayer differently.