A Story To Tell | Elizabeth Poest

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Grace Chicago had the privilege of hosting Rev. Elizabeth Poest on Sunday, February 18. She preached a sermon on Acts 16 where Paul is in prison for telling people the story of Jesus. Stories have an incredible power, and they are what make life interesting. All of us have a story to tell of God's faithfulness, and as we tell our stories, others are encouraged.

Putting on the Mantle | Caleb Schut

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Pastor Caleb breaks down the story of Elijah and Elisha into three scenes. The first is of Elijah's personal struggle where we learn that God uses all people. The second scene is Elisha's calling, which teaches us that when we are given more than we can handle, God provides people to share the load. The final scene is of Elijah's mantle falling to Elisha. God's Spirit is given to Elisha, to Christ, and to us. 

Reading with Paula Carter and Katherine James

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Katherine James book, "Can You See Anything Now," won Christianity Today's award for best fiction. Paula published her first book, "No Relation," in November '17. Grace Chicago had the opportunity to host both authors for a reading and Q&A. After Bob's introduction, each author will read a selection from their books and then there is a conversation between the two about the difference between writing fiction/non-fiction, how faith is or isn't obvious in their writing, and what authors/artists inspire their own creativity. 

First Thing's First

Bob's homily on Mark Chapter 1 makes a simple, perhaps obvious, yet profound point: You can be connected to God, that connection ought to invite others to connect to God. This is a simple, but transformative message. 

Baptism Letter

In this homily, Pastor Caleb writes a letter to his daughter about why she was baptized. It is a brief reflection on the significance of baptism. 

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Reign of Christ Sunday | Bob Reid

Matthew 25 is the familiar passage where Jesus tells followers that whenever they show love to the least among them, they are extending love to Him. God's particular love for the poor and marginalized is on display in this text, along with His justice and judgment. Bob suggests that "oracles of judgment" like the one in Matthew 25 are good news that remind us that God is on the side of justice and peace. 

The Story We Find Ourselves In | Aaron Kuecker

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"In what story," Dr. Kuecker asked, "does Grace Chicago's mission statement make sense?" The story the Israelites found themselves in, which the New Testament picks up on, is the story of being freed from captivity and led to the Promised Land. What does it mean to be caught up in that story? Kuecker's homily provides some answers and provokes several other questions. 

Loving God, Neighbors, Sharing Lives | Bob Reid

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Paul's letter to the Thessalonians is one of the Paul's earliest writings. He refers to himself as a wet nurse, and paints a picture of leadership and authority that causes us to do a double take. In this homily, Bob suggests that the Gospel rearranges the furniture of our minds. It challenges our approach to power and forces us to examine how we love God, others, and live sacrificially in community with one another. 

Political Division | Caleb Schut

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Render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. What does this saying mean? Jesus' response to the conniving pharisees puts them on their heels by insisting on the dignity of all people. Christians are called to live in the middle of division, insisting on the dignity of all people as well. 

The Glory and Honor of the Nations | Bob Reid

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In this homily, Pastor Bob looks at Revelation and the broad sweeping salvation that comes through Christ. The text talks about the glory of God, which is tied intractably to the flourishing and glory of human beings. This homily explores the maxim from the Early Church Father, Irenaeus, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive."

When we worship with Jesus, he interrupts the stories that we settle for, that diminish our humanity and he reminds us that we are made to be glorious and to do glorious things.
— Pastor Bob

Community that Looks Like Christ | Caleb Schut

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Philippians 2:1-13 is an iconic passage. Much of it is actually a hymn. Paul reminds the Philippians of what is more important and the most important things cannot be spoken, they must be sung. Paul's use of worship reminds us that our "being in one accord" (the word we get symphony from in the Greek) has to do with gathering around the person of Christ, who shapes and forms us at our core. 

Community Inspired by the Kingdom of Heaven | Caleb Schut

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When God took on flesh, He talked about the Kingdom of Heaven. The community woven together in Christ has their citizenship in an upside down kingdom where the first are last and the last are first. Caleb explores a parable from Matthew 20 about God's priorities regarding profit, fairness, and people. 

Worship Transforms Us, Part 2 | Bob Reid

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In Romans 12, Paul lists a set of moral imperatives, which at first seem daunting and may even cause anxiety. Pastor Bob makes the argument that these commands are invitations that come from God and can be lived into only as gifts of God. They are Life Giving! In worship, God does the work of making us more Christ-like. 

Worship Transforms Us | Bob Reid

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In Romans 12, Paul pivots from the dense theological material of the preceding chapters towards its application. Paul urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, and he suggests that our minds can be transformed. Pastor Bob points out that for Paul, it is our participation in right worship that shapes us. What and how we worship shapes us and we ought to pay close attention therefore to what we are worshipping.

Joseph Part 2: Bury the Lede | Caleb Schut

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What is the story of Joseph about? There is a lot going on, but what Joseph realizes in the end is that his life is ultimately a story about God thwarting the devastating effects of a famine. This is a tale about how the Jewish God saved Egyptians lives. God is at work to preserve lives. He still is!