God Of The Lowly
Matthew 1:1-17 • December 24, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
What does the genealogy of Jesus have to teach us about our place in this world? On this Christmas Eve weekend, Pastor Léonce unpacks the beauty of the "raggedy" lineage of Jesus. In doing so, we discover that we matter because we matter to the only one that matters. Ruth | God Of The Lowly | Matthew 1:1-17
Ruth 4:1-22 • December 17, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
As the final scene of Ruth comes to a close, we are left with an overwhelming feeling of the goodness of our God. How nearly complete devastation in someone's life can be restored to the full. The question we must ask ourselves is while we perhaps believe this for others, do we believe it for ourselves? Or is there some areas of our lives that we believe to be unredeemable? Join us this week for the conclusion of Ruth as Pastor Léonce unpacks the restoring power of our God in the book of Ruth. Ruth | Restored | Ruth 4:1-22
Ruth 3:1-18 • December 10, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
Naomi was intent on overcoming Boaz’s inertia, so she hatches a plan. But before we get to this very dangerous, and very daring plan, we have to ask the question… Why? There are a number of reasons. She feels responsible for Ruth, we know, not just because she is her daughter-in-law, but because she loves her and she wants a good life for her. She wants to display to Ruth the same kindness that Ruth has displayed to her. She wants a husband and a home for Ruth. But, standing out among these many reasons is one—she is anxious. She wants to ensure provision and protection for her sweet daughter-in-law. She is concerned about her future and the vulnerability in which they exist—and we, many of us, can identify. We all know what it is like to feel vulnerable and anxious about the present and the future, and we often find ourselves afraid not only of the outcomes, but even the feelings themselves. Is it unfair to say that We are afraid of being vulnerable in any way? Ruth | Resolved | Ruth 3:1-18
Ruth 2:1-23 • December 3, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
At the centre of this story is a woman, formerly known as Naomi, Pleasant and plump with life, but now known, at her own instruction, as Mara, Bitter, broken, gaunt, and hollow. She has suffered greatly, and that suffering has revealed a fischer in her faith. It is not as strong, perhaps, as she’d presumed, and she blames God for all her losses. “Full I went,” Mara says, “but empty YHWH brought me back.” Some pain seems unrecoverable. This is where we left off in Naomi’s story. Her suffering showing what is beneath the surface of her person. Her life seemingly void of Hope. And I believe we can identify, which is why I asked the question. When faced with mounting difficulties we so easily lose hope, ceasing even to be able to dream beyond the point of our pain. Our vision becomes myopic. We lose sight of any sense of a future. Yet, if we are attuned to what is happening around us, even through the ordinary means of God’s hand at work, we will see the little glimmers of hope He hands us, even in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations. Ruth | Hopeful | Ruth 2:1-23
Ruth 1:6-22 • November 26, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
If we are honest, I think we can admit We have a tendency to respond to suffering from bitterness. Now, I know you are thinking, well no… I get sad… angry… frustrated… confused… hurt… yes, and there are a myriad of other emotions that can be captured with other words, but all roads lead to bitterness if we are not careful to immediately address how a hurt has impacted us. If we believe God to be on our side, then difficulties will only drive us deeper into His arms, and make us more secure in His care. But... Suffering embitters us when we believe God is against us. This we will see proven true today in Naomi’s story, perhaps by exploring her story, we can avoid it in ours. For the most part, particularly in the West, when we need food we go out and we buy it. In fact, these days, rarely do we even prepare it, as the average number of nights people eat out in our country has been increasingly on the rise for decades. Four to five times a week people in the U.S. eat commercially prepared meals. That is about one every other day over the course of a month. Because of this, the idea that God must make it rain for the ground to produce a crop, and for that crop to be harvested, in order for a meal to hit the table is a foreign concept to most; foolish to some. God’s providence in providing for us is often lost in the midst of our modern amenities. Ruth | Hollow | Ruth 1:6-22
Ruth 1:1-5 • November 19, 2017 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.
Ruth was written for several reasons, and careful reading will produce several sub-themes, but the author has a central aim, though it is the most subtle, to affirm God’s absolute control over the affairs of this world and his providential involvement in the lives of people. God is not absent, even when He seems far from us. His plans will go forth, even when we cannot interpret the nature of their unfolding. In the midst of it, He is kind to take His own from emptiness to fullness, often in surprising and unpredictable ways. Closely related to this central theme is the idea of Hesed. Ḥesed is one of those Hebrew words whose meaning cannot be captured in one English word. It is a strong relational term that wraps up in itself an entire cluster of concepts, all the positive attributes of God—love, mercy, grace, kindness, goodness, benevolence, loyalty, covenant faithfulness. So, when you see terms like 'loyalty,' 'faithfulness,' or 'kindness,' it's probably this term. Ruth, in the end, is an edifying short story, taking shape as a brilliant Play would. It is a human story that reveals its characters in every layer of their humanness. The author presents Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz as models of covenant devotion for his readers to emulate, amid varying trials, pain, grief, and wavering faith and faithfulness. It is a testimony to the blessing that comes to those who live in faithful covenant relationship with God and one another. Ruth | Unanticipated Crises | Ruth 1:1-5