The Story Fort Collins Week 31: The End of Time

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 31The End of Time

The last words on the last page, or the final frame of the movie announces “THE END”. Time to put the book down or get up and walk out. Show’s over! The Story is done.

37 weeks ago we began reading, discussing and worshipping around The Story of the Bible. 21 weeks in the Old Testament Story. 10 weeks in the New Testament Story. In the end we see that it was always one story, a 2000 year story of God’s good creation, our fall, and our redemption through Jesus Christ. The story to end all stories, meaning, the best story and the upper story in which all lower  stories find their meaning.

In the beginning God told us a story of goodness and beauty, a creation spoken into existence which he desired to love and people with whom he longed to commune.

In the end, God’s purpose finds fulfillment in a creation fully restored and a people with whom he will commune into eternity. Eden restored! Hallelujah!

We believe our ending in Christ is but another beginning, a beginning now without end.

John, a disciple of Jesus, now in his last days on earth, is given a revelation by Jesus to share with God’s children then and now. A revelation that proclaims hope and victory to all who find themselves in turmoil, while they seek first his kingdom while yet on earth.

John’s epic word to us all is CELEBRATE! The Lamb of God has won the day. Evil is defeated! Those who walk with Jesus live and reign with him. It is in this spirit, in in this truth that we face each day, each challenge, each opportunity to serve our Lord in word and deed.

This Sunday we worship, we feast and we celebrate.

Thanks be to God!

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 29: Paul’s Mission

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 29Paul’s Mission

As we near the end of The Story, I am throwing you a curve (sorry for the baseball analogy). Chapter 29 of The Story covers Acts 13-20, the story of Paul’s 3 mission tours, and then his trials in Caesarea by the Roman Governors Felix and Festus (great names).  The chapter also includes some of Paul’s letters to the churches. Chapter 30 of The Story covers Paul’s trip, by ship, to Rome as well as  more of his writing to the churches.

Here’s the curve: this Sunday my message will be on Acts 27 and 28, the incredible story of Paul’s trip to Rome. This is Luke at his best! His description is filled with intrigue and nautical details. Luke is telling us an upper and lower story with inspirational brilliance. It resembles a captain’s log, and yet is rich in metaphor for any person wondering what the Christian life is all about. Paul’s faith and courage under fire will inspire and challenge us to deepen our commitment to stay the course and finish well, all to the glory and praise of God.

Next Sunday the message will look at the letters of Paul to the churches, particularly Romans, Ephesians and Galatians.

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 30 All Things Made New

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 30All Things Made New

Two weeks ago I went off course a bit (pun intended) and gave a message on Paul’s Journey to Rome. Luke’s thrilling telling of that story encourages all who find life’s journey difficult, to stay the course, trusting in Christ, offloading everything that hinders our walk with Christ.

This Sunday I am preaching from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. Paul wrote to 7 churches (or groups of churches). I love them all but have always found Ephesians to be a letter that sums up everything Paul was inspired to write about God’s plan (or “Story”) which led up to Christ Jesus and continues in the lives of his body, the church.

Each Sunday we gather to hear God speak to us out of his word. Millions of sermons preached Sunday after Sunday around the world. But at its core, what is it that Paul, or you or I, would say is the heart of the story? What is the main message Paul brings in his writings? I have asked God to guide me in proclaiming that message this week. Ephesians is my source document. The Holy Spirt is my guide and inspiration. Read and re-read Ephesians if you can. Then come and worship!

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 28: New Beginnings

This Sunday at Immanuel

Chapter 28 of The Story includes passages from the book of Acts, chapters 1-12. Beginning with the Ascension of Jesus, Luke, a physician and author of the gospel of Luke, writes about the events in Jerusalem that involved the disciples of Jesus. A reading of these chapters (or chapter 28 of The Story) will excite you with the energy and courage and passion of these first believers. Peter is “on fire” and has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to teach and heal and argue persuasively with both Jew and Roman leaders. This Sunday’s message is based on Acts chapters 3 and 4. A new community is being born and in Jesus’ name they witness with great courage to the deep faith that lies within them. The book of Acts is a gem!

Bible Study Web Site:  http://www.biblestudytools.com

 

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 26: The Hour of Darkness

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 26:  The Hour of Darkness

Chapter 26 of The Story tells the story of Jesus’ passion. Our reading of chapter 26 includes a number of stories that are part of the last days of Jesus on earth. John’s gospel records a longer teaching of Jesus to the disciples recorded in chapters 14-16. These words prepare the disciples for the coming event of his death, but also are available to us as words from our Lord to guide us during all times of challenge and grief and loss. Jesus’ word to us is a word of peace in the middle of our “troubles”. The one facing death, spends time comforting us as we face our trials. What a Savior! This week’s chapter also includes the stories of Jesus’ last supper, arrest, trial and crucifixion which we will focus on at our Good Friday Service.

 

Bible Study Web Site:  http://www.biblestudytools.com

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 25: Jesus, Son of God

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 25:  Jesus, Son of God

Chapter 25 of The Story continues to examine the life and ministry of Jesus. One of the stories is about Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles, one of 3 major festivals of God’s people in the Old Testament through the 1st century when Jesus lived. This festival was held in the fall (late September) and was a time to remember God’s provision of food and water during the time of the Wandering after the people of Israel left Egypt. For centuries they celebrated this great festival by also giving thanks for the recent harvest and praying for the rains to come again so that the next harvest would also be bountiful. John 7 tells us that Jesus appeared during the festival at just the “right time” to present himself as the “Living Water” that God was providing who would nourish not only their crops but also their lives. Deserts long for water, as do people who face the desert experience of spiritual, relational and physical thirst long to nourish an empty soul or spirit. This Sunday’s worship will lead us into God’s promise that in his Son we indeed find the living water that can and does satisfy like nothing else. The River is Here!

Bible Study Web Site:  http://www.biblestudytools.com

Pastor John

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The Story Fort Collins Week 24: No Ordinary Man

This Sunday at Immanuel:  Chapter 24:  No Ordinary Man

 

Chapter 24 of The Story is about the ministry of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. The chapter covers many stories about Jesus, pulling from all 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You will read about the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Sons. Other stories are about Peter’s walking on water, the feeding of the 5000, the Lord’s Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount. My choice for a message is the story of the feeding of the 5000 in John chapter 6, and especially John’s teaching about the meaning of this story for our understanding of Jesus as the “bread” that sustains us every day. A number of Old Testament and New Testament stories include a reference to bread. How can something so common point to someone so uncommon? Come discover the power of this image in our ongoing discovery of Jesus as the one who fulfills everything God had promised during the 2000 year history of his people Israel.

 

Bible Study Web Site:  http://www.biblestudytools.com

Pastor John

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