Life In Exile

Got Milk?

Life In Exile • January 10, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

One of the most well-researched human motives is our need to belong. God hard-wired us to form and maintain positive, stable interpersonal relationships. When a sense of belonging is threatened, it can lead to destructive emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and jealousy, which only further isolate a person from others. As God’s elect exiles in a world to which we no longer belong, we are not exempt from being enslaved by these destructive emotions that erode our individual lives as well as the unity and fellowship of a church family. In his first epistle, the apostle Peter reveals how we can enjoy a deep sense of belonging even as resident aliens in a society where we are marginalized and viewed with contempt. As God’s redeemed people, we have implanted within us a capacity to grow in a love that enables us to not only survive but to thrive as spiritual exiles. Please prepare by reading 1 Peter 1:17-2:3.

Pure-Hearted Love

Life In Exile • January 3, 2021 • Pastor Dan Collins

Have you ever stopped to think about how many words we hear, read and share during any given day? And how each day there seems to be more words swirling around us than the day before? With smartphones, media and constant connectivity, our daily lives are filled with more and more information; however, increased information doesn't always mean increased wisdom. The complexity of figuring out what and who to listen to can be confusing. The challenge of living out the words we believe in, can make the world we live in feel overwhelming. God knows life can be complex and confusing so He gives a solution, a way to simplify the complexity through His words. As we reset in this new year, let's reset our focus on God's words as we return to the book of 1 Peter. Peter reminds us that the words we live in determine the life and love we live out. So let's choose our words wisely. You can read 1 Peter 1:17-25 as we get ready for this sermon.

Gospel-Centered Conduct

Life In Exile • November 29, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

What motivates you to live the Christian life? To avoid guilt or shame? A creature of habit? To honor tradition? To keep your wife or mother happy? (I know; that’s sexist, but I’m going with the odds, here.) God understands that living as spiritual exiles in this world is a tough assignment. So, he makes a point of emphasizing what should motivate us to stay the course and follow Jesus. In fact, in the Bible, God never commands us with the “what” of obedience without, first, giving us the “why” of obedience, and in a single phrase, the why is his grace in the Gospel—both his past grace and future grace. In this sermon, we will see the power of God’s past grace in wooing and winning our hearts to love him above all else. We will begin with one of the great love stories of all time—the troubled marriage of the prophet Hosea. Hosea’s story illustrates and serves as a touching backdrop to the words of gospel grace in 1 Peter 1:17-21. In addition to these verses, read Hosea 1:1-3:3 to prepare.

Child-like Obedience

Life In Exile • November 22, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

A few years ago, U.S. News and World Report published an article titled with an intriguing question: "Why are people religious?" Their conclusion? "People need superhuman instruments to cope with human tragedy such as cancer, earthquakes, auto accidents and terrorism." Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychiatry, surmised that people invent religion, or God, out of a fear of nature. This may be true for religion in general, but it’s absurd to say such a thing about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is a quality about our God that no person in his or right mind, in an attempt to escape fear, would ever invent him. That one quality of God makes Freud’s theory and the conclusion of that magazine article crumble into dust. This sermon, we will look at this all-important dimension of God’s glory and how it shapes every aspect of our lives as his children. Read 1 Peter 1:13-21. to prepare.

Clear-Headed Hope

Life In Exile • November 15, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

Hopelessness has a deadly effect on the human soul. Without some kind of future goal, we wither and die. This is what makes the Gospel of Christ the best news imaginable. Our hope in Christ is not based on wishful thinking or naïve optimism. Gospel hope is anchored in the historical reality of Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead. It is the confident assurance, expectation, and conviction of God’s ultimate triumph through his Son and our Savior. This is what 1 Peter is all about—restoring hope to discouraged Christians. In our passage this sermon, Peter teaches us what is required to live each day in light of our hope—our eternal reward and deliverance from exile. To prepare, please meditate on 1 Peter 1:13-21

Gripped By Gospel Grace

November 8, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

This Fall, we are in 1 Peter. We are learning that the order of our salvation, from eternity past to eternity future, is the reason we can know joy beyond human expression in even the hardest of times. The Father’s sovereign plan and care for us supersedes anything we may encounter in life. When we suffer in this world, our heavenly Father uses it to refine our faith and prepare us for glory in the world to come. In following the pattern of our Master, the cross precedes the crown. This message, we will see how our confidence in the order of our salvation, so critical to handling hardships with joy, is inseparably connected to our confidence in the written word of God. The Bible reveals the order of our salvation. If the Bible is not trustworthy, then neither is our salvation. Come and learn why we can have full confidence in the divine inspiration of Scripture, that it is not the clever invention of man, but God-breathed truth revealed in human language. Please read 1 Peter 1:10-12 for this sermon

A Living Hope with a Fired-Up Faith

November 1, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

No one is exempt from hurts and hardships in life, The apostle Peter reminds us that this is especially true for God's people. Followers of Jesus can feel life's pain more deeply than others do, and there's good reason for this. Peter also reminds us that, although we may be sadder, we are, at the same time, happier. And there's, definitely, good reason for that! This Sermon, we will learn that hard trials and deep joy are inextricably joined together in the Christian walk. We will also learn how, in even the most painful of times, how to experience a joy that surpasses human description. Please read 1 Peter 1:1-9 as you prepare for this message

Elect Exiles

October 25, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

This sermon we begin our study of 1 Peter. We will focus on the opening two verses (Peter’s salutation) and some of the most soul-securing truths imaginable for Christ-followers who are hurting, disappointed, frightened, and even angry with the way things are at this time. To augment our study, we will be viewing two outstanding videos from The Bible Project. The first provides an excellent review of what we’ve learned in the past two week about “life in exile” as God’s people. The second is an overview of 1 Peter in visual form. You won’t want to miss them! Please read 1 Peter 1:1-2 for this message

Home Away From Home

Intro To 1 Peter Pt. 2 • October 18, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

Over the past 60 years, we have seen a radical shift in American culture. Now, more than ever, the Church needs to have the spiritual discernment of the men of Issachar, “who knew the times and understood what Israel should do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32) This sermon, we will find that the challenges we face in our present cultural moment is not a new moment at all. It may feel new to us, but what we are facing God’s people have faced, and far worse, for millennia.The prophet Daniel, who was exiled to Babylon, provides an excellent example for how to remain faithful to God and at the same time remain redemptive in one’s impact on a society that is far from God. Daniel demonstrates how we can be like Jesus, people of both grace and truth, as he both blessed and resisted Babylonian culture. Please join us in this second of two messages that prepare us for an extended study of 1 Peter, who opens his epistle addressing Christ-followers as exiles and resident aliens in this world.

People of God In the City of Man

October 11, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross

We are the people of God living in the city of man. The Bible describes us as aliens and strangers exiled in a foreign land. The question is, what does it mean to be the people of God in our time and this place? What does it mean to follow Jesus faithfully in a world that is increasingly hostile to our faith? These are questions addressed in the epistle of 1 Peter. To help prepare our hearts and minds for an extended study of this New Testament book, this message, we will explore the nature of our times and the special challenges and opportunities we face as the Church. This is a hopeful moment for us, but it’s also a refining moment. Join us, as we seek the mind of Christ to navigate through this defining moment in history.