Life In Exile

Under-shepherds of the Chief Shepherd

Life in Exile • April 18, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

In this Sermon, Pastor Ben will share a report on his recent ministry to missionaries in Kenya, Africa. We will also take a brief look at 1 Peter 5:1-5 and the vital role elders play in the local church, especially in times of crisis and suffering. This passage presents a timely opportunity for us to commission the four new elders our church family recently affirmed. Please join us for this important moment in our church's life.

The Unwanted Gift

Life In Exile • April 11, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

Have you ever received a gift you didn’t want? Maybe it was practical, but not exactly enjoyable. You wanted fun, but you got functional. Suffering is the gift no one wants, but it is one of the most important ways God prepares us for blessing in this world and glory in the world to come. In 1 Peter 4:12-19, we not only learn what Christian suffering is and the benefits it brings, but also how to respond to suffering and experience God’s best.

Living A "Last Days" Life

Life In Exile • March 28, 2021 • Pastor Matt Erdmann

“The end of the world is coming soon.” Did that get your attention? In light of the inevitable reality that the future of the world will end, our focus needs to be on how we are living today and on the needs of those around us and ultimately bringing praise, honor, and glory to God because of our relationship with Jesus. Peter, was fully aware that, at some point, the world would be no more, so he takes the opportunity to challenge his readers to continue living their lives with a “last days” perspective, and staying committed to the things that matter most and making the most difference in the midst of the “now”, with an eye and heart towards the “later.” Read 1 Peter 4:7-11 as we examine this passage and learn how to live a “Last Days” life.

Divine Purpose In Suffering

Life In Exile • March 21, 2021 • Pastor Sandy Park

Several years ago, renown author Lee Strobel commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they’d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The number one response was “Why is there suffering in the world?” Though there are no easy answers to that question, in this sermon, as we continue our study in the book of 1 Peter, may we find encouragement and hope in seeing God's divine purpose in suffering even as we grapple and struggle with the "why". Read 1 Peter 4:1-6 to prepare.

Sweet Vindication

Life In Exile • March 14, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

A vivid memory, growing up in rural Montana, was a time when my Dad was unfairly treated. It really troubled me, but with a slight smile he said, “It’s okay, Ben. My day is coming.” And sure enough, Dad was vindicated. Those who wrongly treated him were exposed. In a far more profound way, Jesus was vindicated, after being mistreated and murdered. The good news is, those who know him and are treated like him, will be vindicated as well. Peter reminds us that our day is coming in 1 Peter 3:18-22, one of the most fascinating passages in all the Bible.

Blessed Suffering

Life In Exile • March 7, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

Life is hard. Hurt can run deep, especially when it’s intentionally inflicted by another person. Suffering plays a central role in the life of a Christian. It’s essential to our spiritual development as followers of Jesus and can be the source of great blessing for us and others. In our text in this sermon, Peter shares several insights that reveal how we can have a blessed life, no matter how much it may hurt. Read 1 Peter 3:13-18 to prepare.

To This You Were Called

Life In Exile • February 28, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

Pew Research surveyed 10,000 American adults over a 20-year period (1997-2017) and found that the polarization of our society in 2017 was at a 20-year high. The division is even greater today. Jesus called his people to be peacemakers—to stand in the gap of conflict. Today, Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to bless one another and their host communities (as spiritual aliens and exiles) with a clear and compelling picture of what Jesus' love looks like, in the midst of intense conflict. Please read 1 Peter 3:8-12 to prepare for this sermon.

Submitting In Unhappy Marriages

Life In Exile • February 14, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

It’s not surprising that the most primal human relationship in God’s creation—the loving, life-long, one-flesh union of one man and one woman in the sacred bond of marriage—is the source of such dehumanizing pain. The world, our flesh, and the devil have so badly misconstrued the majesty of marriage, we cannot read Peter’s instruction about godly submission in marriage without it raising our hackles. Ironically, this sermon was preached on Valentine’s Day, and, once again, we will see what Peter does and does NOT teach about Christ-like submission in a broken world. Please read 1 Peter 2:21-3:7 to prepare

Submitting To Unjust Masters

Life In Exile • February 7, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

Peter’s next point on Christian submission to authority is especially difficult, not because of what he says, but because of what he doesn’t say. If we are honest, we would have to admit that a passages like 1 Peter 2:18-20 is confusing, if not embarrassing. We believe the Bible is God’s word, so why doesn’t Peter emphatically denounce slavery as an insidious evil? Good question. In pre-civil war days, pastors in the south preached from passages like this to justify the enslavement of Africans—a very dark and heinous time in American history. In this sermon, we will answer this troubling question and see what Peter is and is NOT saying in this passage.

Submitting To Ungodly Authorities

Life in Exile • January 31, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

There are parts of the Bible a preacher would just as soon skip. This next section in 1 Peter (2:13-3:7) qualifies. He starts with submission to political leaders, even the ungodly ones, then slaves submitting to their masters, even the harsh ones, and finally wives submitting to their husbands, even the disobedient ones. All kinds of hot buttons, here! As a 22-year-old pastor in my first church, I will never forget the elderly lady who walked up to me after a service. I could tell she wasn’t happy. She said, “Young man, I enjoyed your message, until you got to meddlin’. Peter begins meddlin’ with us in his letter. In this sermon, we will focus on submitting to governmental authorities in 2:13-17. Oh boy…

The Enigma of God's People

Life In Exile • January 24, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

Those who know and follow Jesus, are an enigma to those who don’t. We are God’s children with his very life in us. We are God’s holy priests capable of offering up spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him. Yet, we are still at war with sinful desires within us and capable of committing great evil. At best, we are a mixed bag. What is more, even at our best, we will be repudiated by the world which is unable to make sense of us spiritually. Yet, some who initially repudiate us may be drawn through our good deeds to faith in Christ. But this conflicting response to us is not surprising, because Jesus himself was an enigma. In this Sermon, while reading in 1 Peter 2:11-12 and 20b-25, we will learn a central truth about following Christ’s example that helps us respond well to hostile authorities, a difficult marriage, and society in general over the next two chapters. Please meditate on these two passages in preparation for the message.

Your Honor

Life In Exile • January 17, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross

From the beginning, God wanted all of humanity to be holy priests serving him on earth. Adam and Eve were commissioned to care for and keep the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), terms used later of the holy work of priests at the temple. After humanity fell in sin, God chose Israel to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), but they refused. So, the sacred privilege was bestowed on a single tribe within Israel—Levi. Through Jesus Christ, God’s original plan for the priesthood of all believers is being realized in the Church (1 Peter 2:9). In this sermon, we will explore the honor and privileges we bear as holy priests in God’s kingdom and how the local church should be the most safe, healthy, and personally esteeming community on earth. To prepare, please read 1 Peter 2:1-10.

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.