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Vintage

All Things New

December 31, 2023 • Jason Corder • Revelation 21:1–12

I love music. I've always loved music. But when I started playing a musical instrument in fourth grade, I had (and still do sometimes) a poor sense of rhythm. Each Friday, my mother would drop me off at Mrs. Mooberry’s house for piano lessons, and I can still remember her asking me, week after week, "Are you counting this?" and "You didn't count this week, did you?"   The truth is, counting was something I reserved for math class, and I found counting the rhythm repeatedly while playing the piano very difficult. My mind doesn’t seem to want to do those two things simultaneously, and honestly, I didn't really see the point. I was well into my Jr high school years, before I really began to develop some sense of rhythm.  So, how did I survive all those years of playing recital pieces and playing in a band? I used external cues. I would watch for my teacher’s tapping my foot or listen for a specific note/chord, and then I would know it was time for me to come in.  Over the past several weeks, we’ve been looking at “Vintage” Old Testament Bible stories. Each of the stories has one thing in common: in the midst of the struggles and opportunities that presented themselves, each character is looking forward to something better, a day when God’s plan of salvation would enter into the world. Last week we celebrated that plan. Jesus chose to be obedient to the Father, leaving behind all the glories of heaven so that he might become one of us, teach us how to live, how to respond to a broken world, and ultimately give up his life so that we might have forgiveness and freedom from our own sins.  What makes the gospel extraordinary isn’t just the forgiveness of sin. It’s the fact that God gives us His Spirit that, together with our spirit, allows us to write a new story. The process of writing that new story is often very similar to the process of internalizing a beat. At first, it all feels unnatural, and you end up mimicking others in order to "fit in," but as God does His good work in your heart, what was once externally motivated becomes internally driven because your character and your heart are more and more aligned with the one who was born with a perfect moral rhythm, Jesus.      

God With Us

December 24, 2023 • Jason Corder • Matthew 2:1–12

In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers successfully got their "flying machine" off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas." Katherine hurried to the local newspaper editor and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas."  It’s so easy to miss the most important stories: the night of Jesus' birth, the world was distracted by many things. Emperors and Kings sat on their thrones and ruled their nations in power and splendor. In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth occurred in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. Jesus had every right to be celebrated like royalty, but he chose a humble birth. If only our humility could resemble that of Christ’s.  Someone once said that if our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

Speak Lord

December 17, 2023 • Jason Corder

Have you ever been in the presence of greatness? Perhaps you shook the hand of a world leader. Maybe you got close to a famous athlete. Or you may have had a book signed by a bestselling author. To be near such icons of popularity and prestige can almost take your breath away. You’ve seen them on television or read about them in the newspaper, but now you’re in their presence! It can make your skin tingle. I mean no offense to anyone, but it really shouldn’t. No slight to the world’s top athletes, business leaders, politicians, or prestigious actors, musicians, and authors, but they are all ordinary people. They may have done something great, but they are just like you and me at the heart of it all. In God’s eyes, they are sinners who need the grace of the only One who can truly be called great: Our Almighty God. Isaiah put it best when he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). He had seen the living God and was devastated by the contrast between himself and the Lord. Until God rescued Isaiah, the prophet was powerless. We’re all equally ordinary. But we can be lifted to incredible heights through the salvation God provides. Only an extraordinary God could do that for ordinary people! This Sunday, we will look at the legendary life of Isaiah and gather lessons that will change our lives today.

Living On Purpose

December 10, 2023 • Jason Corder • Daniel 1:8–12

  Life is defined by a series of choices. You may have heard the analogy before that just like great oak trees grow from small acorns, the decisions we make turn around and make us. In many ways, we are who we are today because of decisions and choices we made years ago. Most of the time, we don’t realize how important small choices can be. That’s especially true when we are young. Ironically many of life’s most important decisions are made during our teenage years.  Simpler things like; What music will I listen to? What movies will I watch? Who will be my best friends? Or much deeper questions like; where will I go to college? What will I major in? What career will I choose? Should I get married? And if so, who will I marry, how will I meet my future mate, and when will it happen? Questions like will I drink? Will I take drugs? How far will I go? And that list literally goes on and on.  So much of life’s success or heartache depends on how we answer those questions.    This week in our review of vintage stories of the Old Testament, we find the answer to many of these questions in a passage found in verse 8 of the book that bears his name: “But Daniel resolved …” The King James Version says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart.” Another translation says he “made up his mind.” Really everything else in life flows from this one choice. 

A Man and a Cause

December 3, 2023 • Jason Corder

 Before he died in 1955 at the age of 24, the American actor James Dean starred in his second film Rebel without a Cause, in which he played a moody, troubled son of a middle-class family. Long before James Dean was a rebel without a cause, there was a young Israelite standing on a Judean hillside with boldness and faith to step out when all the others were running back. With only a few stones, a giant would fall, and he would become a hero and rebel with a cause.  Here is one of the best-known figures in Jewish history. A life that was filled with rich happiness and intense pain. He is a leader known by many titles: a conqueror, a man following God’s heart, a sweet singer, a shepherd, and also an adulterer and murderer. Yet one thing remains consistent in the life of David, and that was the cause that he lived his life for. This week we will consider how the cause led a shepherd to become the most famous king in the world.

Standing On Holy Ground

November 26, 2023 • Jason Corder

Niagara Falls is one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world. The roar of 6 million cubic feet of water each minute makes it the most powerful waterfall in North America. Few people, however, know that more than 50 percent of the river’s water is diverted before it reaches those falls via four giant tunnels. This water passes through hydroelectric turbines that supply power to nearby areas in the US and Canada before returning to the river well past the Falls. Some would love to have lives like Niagara Falls— wild, spectacular, and loud. But power without control dissipates into useless energy. Moses thought he could use his royal power to bring about deliverance for God’s people from slavery. He misused his power by killing an Egyptian, which only dissipated his power because he lost the respect of his people, and God had to teach him meekness in 40 years of wilderness. The meek prosper because they are the ones who have power under control. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” You may be trying to live in this world by your own power. Let God teach you meekness so you can live in and depend on His strength.

The Lost Art of Gratitude

November 19, 2023 • Jason Corder

 We take approximately 23,000 breaths every day, but when was the last time we thanked God for one of them? The process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is a complicated respiratory task that requires physiological precision, and all around us, we are faced with miracles of the same caliber that we simply take for granted until the system fails.  If you think about it, few of us have had more setbacks than the Pilgrims, who made seven times more graves than huts, yet they still set aside a day to give thanks. We can’t always give thanks FOR everything, but we can always give thanks IN everything. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  We tend to thank God for the things that take our breath away, and that's great, but maybe we should thank him for every other breath as well!

A Lesson From Suffering

November 12, 2023 • Jason Corder

One of the greatest difficulties in life is coping with suffering when it touches you and the people you love. Popular opinion says: “If you love God and do your best to serve Him, your life will be free from suffering.” This notion has circulated for thousands of years but is dead wrong! Sometimes the opposite is true. Some of the greatest heroes in the Bible endured tremendous suffering.  Suffering can touch our lives in various ways. Our physical health can be taken from us; our most important relationships in life may be lost, damaged, or destroyed; our emotional health may be attacked by stress, grief, or a host of other problems; our spiritual lives may be shaken as we fight spiritual battles. Like Job, his wife, and friends, we struggle with the question: “Why am I, or the people I love suffering?” That’s why the age-old book of Job still speaks to us today. Job addresses the question: “Why does God allow His people to suffer?” Each character offered a reason why Job was suffering, or a response on how he should react, but God alone offered the real answers.

A Partner In Salvation

November 5, 2023 • Jason Corder

One of the greatest difficulties in life is coping with suffering when it touches you and the people you love. Popular opinion says: “If you really love God and do your best to serve Him, your life will be free from suffering.” This notion has circulated for thousands of years, but it is dead wrong! Sometimes the opposite is true. Some of the greatest heroes in the Bible endured tremendous suffering.  Suffering can touch our lives in various ways. Our physical health can be taken from us; our most important relationships in life may be lost, damaged, or destroyed; our emotional health may be attacked by stress, grief, or a host of other problems; our spiritual lives may be shaken as we fight spiritual battles. Like Job, his wife, and friends, we struggle with the question: “Why am I, or the people I love suffering?” That’s why the age-old book of Job still speaks to us today. Job addresses the question: “Why does God allow His people to suffer?” Each character offered a reason why Job was suffering, or a response on how he should react, but God alone offered the real answers.

In The Beginning

October 29, 2023 • Jason Corder

I love the story of the young Indian brave in New Mexico who fell in love with a girl who lived on the other side of the reservation. This created a problem since the distance between them was significant. They revived the ancient tradition of sending smoke signals to communicate with each other. The brave would send smoke signals to his love, and she would reply similarly. After a while, their daily wooing in smoke caught the attention of the whole reservation. It became a pastime for people to sit outside to see what the two of them were saying. While this “renaissance” in communication occurred, the United States happened to test the first atomic bomb. An old Indian man sitting on the front porch with his wife looked up at the massive mushroom cloud and said, “Huh. I wish I would have said that.  So often, the Old Testament is set aside as a discounted and obsolete writing that has no practical effect on our relationship with the Savior; however, that isn’t true. The stories and teachings of the Old Testament lay the groundwork for the explosive event of the birth of the Church and God’s powerful proclamation of love for mankind through his son, Jesus.