Hope, Riches, Power

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Probably the most dangerous thing about college education, at least in my own case, is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract arguments inside my head instead of simply paying attention to what’s going on right in front of me. Paying attention to what’s going on inside me. As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head. Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliché about ‘teaching you how to think’ is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: ‘Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.
— David Foster Wallace

The Vendor's Invitation

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Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.
— Tim Keller

The Spirit Intercedes

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The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for, as a sanctifying Spirit works and excites praying graces, as a comforting Spirit silences our fears, and helps us over all our discouragements. The Holy Spirit is the spring of all our desires and breathings towards God.
— Matthew Henry

Hearing God's Story

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Those of you searching for something larger, faster, and more significant, who feel that if you could just be somewhere else doing something else as somebody else, then your life would really matter—Jesus has come to confound you.
— Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus
In Christ, you are accepted. But that acceptance no longer has to be earned or maintained; it is granted by grace and guaranteed in Christ. This doesn’t mean you stop working, but it does mean you now work in a totally new way. You no longer work for approval; you work from approval.
— Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ

We Have Access

But here’s the thing: pretty good people do not need Jesus. He came for the lost. He came for the broken. In his love for us he came to usher us into his foundness and wholeness.
— Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
From beginning to end, the Holy Scriptures testify that the predicament of fallen humanity is so serious, so grave, so irremediable from within, that nothing short of divine intervention can rectify it.
— Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ

Praying for a Pardon

Confession affects the heart with sin, and engages the heart against it. Every confession of the evil we do—is a new obligation not to do it any more. Confession of sin shows us more clearly our need of mercy—and endears God’s mercy more to us. How good and sweet is mercy—to a soul that has tasted how evil and bitter a thing it is to sin against the Lord.
— Joseph Caryl, 1645, “Confession of Sin”

Guest Sermon: 1 Peter 5:6-11

I have ascended to the highest in me, and look, the Word is towering above that. I have descended to explore my lowest depths, and I found Him deeper still.
— Bernard of Clairvaux
When we begin to glimpse the reality of God, the natural reaction is to worship him. Not to have that reaction is a fairly sure sign that we haven’t yet really understood who he is or what he’s done.
— N.T. Wright

Note: The recording of this sermon is currently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience!

The Authenticity of Prayer

Prayer is a natural and authentic substratum of language. But there is irony here: prayer, language at its most honest, is also the easiest form of language to fake. We discover early on that we can pretend to pray, use words of prayer, practice the forms of prayer, assume postures of prayer, acquire a reputation for prayer, and never pray. Our ‘prayers,’ so called, become a camouflage to cover up a life of nonprayer.
— Eugene Peterson
These practices of prayer do not just shape our prayer lives or worship styles, they shape us.
— Tish Harrison Warren

Leaven

Big bubbles in the crumb are a sign of all the other qualities: You can’t get an open texture if you overwork the dough, if the starter’s too sour, if you haven’t cut the loaves properly, if you don’t steam the oven. When I see a loaf with big holes, I can already tell it was made well without tasting it.
— Chad Robertson

Marveling

The resurrection of Jesus creates and makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit. This is a foreign concept in our ego-centric, do-it-yourself, control freakish society. However, the Christian life is a Jesus-resurrection life, a life in us that is accomplished by the power of the resurrection, the Holy Spirit.
— Eugene Peterson