Advent 2014

Advent 2014

We have entered into Advent, the time marked off in the Christian calendar when we pay attention to the miracle of the incarnation. Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming or visit. Advent means that God has come to us in the person of Jesus. And that is not all, for the first advent anticipates the second advent to come. Jesus has come and is coming. If hope has a history, it also has a future.

But let us not move too fast. Before the coming there is the waiting.

Advent is this season in the year when we realize the importance of waiting, watching, and paying attention to what God is doing. Waiting is inherent to the Christian story, just as it is deeply at the core of human experience. The point is to learn how to do it well.

The point is to learn to wait with hope. Advent is this blessed realization that although we deeply depend on how this story turns out, we are not in control of it. But that is more than OK with us, for this is God’s story to tell and to complete.

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


Religion Remade

Religion Remade

Perhaps we need to re-learn our Christian vocabulary once and a while. First, grace. Was there ever a more comforting hope? But what does grace intend for us? And then, freedom. Was there ever a more captivating vision? But what does freedom look like as we follow Jesus?
While we know these words, and love what they represent, we want to push beyond what we already know:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.
[Galatians 5:13-14, MSG]

Here we head into the heart of an enduring controversy. For a long time now, people have wrestled with freedom and grace, law and identity. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a primary example of this, a letter written in the white-hot heat of argument. Perhaps, at times, you too  nd yourself con icted, gravitating either towards dutiful rule-following, or towards inattentive casualness.

Our hope in this series is to capture, along with Paul, the radical reinvention of religion he experienced in Christ.



There is no denying the sheer largeness of our Biblical faith. There is a lot to know: story and truth and history. But in the middle of all this largeness stands the simple, the basic, the essential, the pure: “love God and love your neighbour”.

We want to begin our year together by going back to the basics in order to help answer those frequently asked questions that inevitable arise when something new begins.

Who are we?
By what do we de ne ourselves?
How will we live together as community?

We know not every question can be answered in three weeks. In fact, many of our questions can only be answered in the long story of being church together. But here we want to put some stakes in the ground–some de nitional ideas that will guide us into our future together.
So come. Join in. Share what you have and take a piece of what others around you are offering. We want these times to be accessible to anyone and everyone, wherever they are at on their own spiritual journey. We want to see people who have pursued God for years and others who are just starting out or questioning, seeking God side-by-side, together.