The Colors of Christmas

What color is your Christmas? Whether you're feeling blue or dreaming of white, we're spending the 4 Sundays of December experiencing the sounds and story of Christmas!

White Christmas

December 10, 2017 | Matthew 2:1-12 | christmas

What is it about this song “White Christmas” that stirs us so? Isn’t it the desire to have the perfect Christmas? To experience the wonder and expectation that we once felt as a child? Don’t you desire to have the perfect Christmas? Don’t you feel the pressure to make it happen? To spend more money than you have in order to give your kids everything on their list? You decorate your house. You cook and clean. Because you want a “White,” a “Perfect,” Christmas. This longing for wonder and beauty, this longing for the eternal is in every human heart. It’s what moves us to dream of something perfect and lasting. It’s what moves us to worship.

In the book of Matthew the story of the birth of Jesus was told within the political backdrop of the times. Jesus was the one prophesied to be King, but He came in the most unexpected way. And from the beginning there was a battle between His Kingdom and the false king that usurped His Throne. The challenge for us is to remove our worship from the false king and to put our worship on the true King, Jesus Christ. After all, it’s His birthday we’re celebrating. Not ours.

Blue Christmas

December 3, 2017 | Luke 2:25-35 | christmas

Let’s be honest. While many are singing “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” some are humming the blues. While houses and stores are all aglow with Christmas lights, some of us see only darkness and gloom. While the Christmas season beckons us to see everything in green and red, some of us see only blue.

Maybe a loved one has died and there’s an empty seat at the table this year. Maybe there’s been a divorce and Christmas brings back too many painful memories. Maybe your family is a dysfunctional mess and Christmas just reminds you of it. Maybe you’re feeling homesick for a home that’s too far away or maybe no longer there. Maybe you’re out of work and you don’t know how you’re going to pay for groceries, much less for Christmas gifts. Maybe there’s just something about the shorter days and the longer nights and the ongoing struggle you have with depression just seems worse at this time of year. Maybe, just as the song says, some of you will be “doing alright with your Christmas of white,” but others are looking at having “a blue, blue blue blue Christmas.”

Would you like to get some real help with the blues this Christmas? I think a fresh look at the Christmas story could help us all. Let’s look at Christmas through the eyes of an old man named Simeon. He waited his whole life to see the Messiah.


Set Free: An Exposition of Galatians

The gospel frees us by grace. This simple yet powerful message is unpacked in the book of Galatians. During this series, we go verse by verse through the whole book of Galatians.

Set Free by the Cross

November 19, 2017 | Galatians 6:11-18 | exposition

In Paul’s last chapter to the Galatians, he summarized his letter by reminding them that the only way to be set free is by believing and boasting in the cross of Christ. It is believing and boasting in the cross of Christ that sets us free.

Set Free to Do Good

November 12, 2017 | Galatians 5:26-6:10 | exposition

Being set free from the law and the flesh changes our motivation for doing good. Formerly, we thought we could earn salvation by doing good, but we ended up either judging others from a mindset of superiority or feeling like a failure from a low self-esteem. Trying to be good in our flesh actually revealed our own selfishness, and a tendency to take credit for the good others have done for us. So, how can we be set free to do good?

The apostle Paul told the believers in Galatia that they had been set free in Christ to do good. We can be set free in Christ to do good.

Set Free in the Spirit

November 5, 2017 | Galatians 5:16-25 | exposition, fruit of the spirit, legalism

Don’t you wish you could do what you really want to do? What if you could start your life all over again. Would you do anything differently? I’m not sure that people really set out to do something bad or stupid. They just kind of slide into certain habits and behaviors that get them into more and more trouble. Then, they feel stuck by their mistakes, enslaved by their bad habits. They want to change, but they have no power to change. Some try to make new rules for themselves to change, but they end up breaking their own regimen. Others just give into their habits and desires, deciding to just go with the downward flow. But Paul knew a better way…

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he warned that the only way to continue to live in freedom was by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can live in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.

Set Free to Live Free

October 29, 2017 | Galatians 5:1-15 | exposition

What is the value of freedom? Someone has rightly said, “Freedom isn’t free.” It costs something. Whether it’s political freedom, physical freedom, financial freedom, freedom of speech or thought… There’s a price to be paid to get free. And there’s a continual responsibility to watch out for threats that would steal our freedom.

The same is true for our spiritual freedom, the kind of freedom that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Do you know this freedom? The freedom from guilt and shame? The freedom from earning and effort? The freedom to rest in the grace and acceptance of God through faith in Christ? If you don’t, I want to tell you how you can have this freedom. And if you do, I want to help you keep it!

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he urged them to continue to live in the freedom Christ had given them by recognizing and avoiding the threats to their freedom. We can recognize and avoid the threats to our freedom in Christ.

Set Free from Religion

October 22, 2017 | Galatians 4:8-31 | exposition, religion

Of all of God’s creatures, only humanity seeks answers to questions like: “Who am I? What is my purpose? Where do I fit in? Where do I belong?” We have a deep-seated need for identity and relationship. We want to know and be known. And we ask questions about our future, like: “What is my destiny? What happens when I die? Is there life after death?” Some have said that religion is our attempt to answer these kinds of questions.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, he reminded them that they had been set free from man-made religion through faith in Christ. We can be set free from man-made religion by living according to faith in Christ.

Set Free by Adoption

October 15, 2017 | Galatians 3:26 - 4:7 | adoption

The apostle Paul wanted to teach the Galatians how to be set free from that same bondage. He wanted them to know how to be set free by adoption. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul told believers that they were set free by spiritual adoption through faith in Christ Jesus. It is through faith in Christ Jesus that we are set free by spiritual adoption.

Set Free by Promise

October 8, 2017 | Galatians 3:15-25 | grace, law

That our freedom and salvation depend on God’s promise, not our performance is good news to those who know they are enslaved by sin and want to be set free, but it is challenging news to those who either feel they are already good enough or don’t agree with the Bible’s morality. Since they don’t recognize themselves as a sinner, they don’t feel any need for a Savior.

It is this tension between grace and law, promise and performance, that Paul addresses most clearly today. In chapter 3 of Galatians, Paul taught the Galatian churches that while God’s law had its purpose and place, salvation had always depended on God’s promise, not human performance. It is only by believing God’s promise that we are saved and set free.

Set Free by Faith

October 1, 2017 | Galatians 2:11 - 3:14 | exposition, faith

Freedom is connected to our faith. The word “faith” appears 12 times in today’s reading. Paul emphasized that it is faith in Christ that truly sets us free, not our own works of the law. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches, he told them that true freedom came not by works of the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus alone. Faith in Christ alone is the only way to experience true freedom.