The Kingdom of Heaven is not like an Oak | Caleb Schut

Mark 4 has two stories you've heard. The parable of the sower and the four soils and the story of Jesus calming the storm. The four soils is about being the right kind of soil  for the Word to grow. Jesus calming the storm is about trusting in Jesus' sovereignty over all creation. In between those stories are 8 verses that don't fit. They introduce suspicion and mystery into the made-up minds of the disciples. We will look at those 8 verses and consider our role in the Kingdom of God. 

Davin and Charlotte

This is a conversation between Music Director Davin Youngs and a member of our congregation, Charlotte Swanson.

Davin has been leading at Grace Chicago for nearly 15 years. He has been the Director of Music for the last two years. In this conversation with Charlotte Swanson, he shares his views on music in the church, improvisational singing, how music has changed and much more. 

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The Community of Jesus | Bob Reid

The passage for this Sunday (Mark 3:20-35) is full of drama. Jesus’ family is worried that he is “out of his mind”. The religious leaders accuse him of being in league with Satan. But in the midst of all of this distraction Jesus offers a vision of the sort of community that makes for human flourishing. I am looking forward to exploring what Jesus’ words mean for us today: “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”.

Recognizing God's Voice and God's Work | Bob Reid

In the midst of all of the noise in our lives, is there hope to clearly hear from the voice of God? How would you know it was God? Those are questions that arise for me from the passage that calls us to worship (I Samuel 3:1-10). Another question arises form our reading from the Gospel of Mark (2:13-3:6). In this reading, Jesus says, provocatively, that the Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath, prompting me to ask: when does religious practice become an obstacle to recognizing God's presence in our midst?

Nicodemus | Caleb Schut

What does it mean to be born again? Whatever it means, John's account doesn't make it sound very straight forward. Nicodemus is faced with the prospect of being born again, of starting over. All of his professional accomplishments and accolades will look like rubbish in this rebirth. What Jesus promises in this rebirth is not entirely clear, but Nicodemus makes the decision that it is worth everything. What does it look like for us to be born again this week?

The Ascension | Bob Reid

The Ascension is a mysterious story. It opens the book of Acts and is a significant event, as it is referenced through the New Testament. But what does it mean? Why is it significant? Pastor Bob explores what Jesus' ascension means for our own lives (bodies).

Peter, Cornelius, and a Third Thing | Caleb Schut

Peter is preaching. Cornelius and his crew are listening. But a third thing happens. God's Spirit falls. Sometimes where you don't expect it. Sometimes when you aren't looking for it. We believe that God is always doing a third thing and there is great encouragement that God's Spirit can show up when we might think it unlikely. 

While It Was Still Dark | Caleb Schut

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John's Gospel begins the resurrection story with the detail that Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb while it is still dark. Caleb suggests that we ought to bring the darkness of our doubts, the darkness of our griefs and of our disappointments with us to Easter. Secondly, he points out that no one recognizes Jesus at first. It is difficult to see the risen Jesus, for the disciples and for us. Until Jesus calls Mary by her name, and Peter by his (three times!), they do not really believe that Easter has changed the world. 

We Want To See Jesus | Caleb Schut

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Greeks approach Jesus, interested in being a part of his growing movement. Jesus says, "yes, it is time for my glory." But he then goes on to define that glory as requiring death and the cross. In what story does death result in glory? Caleb tells the story of a recent trip he took while in Uganda and encourages us to think about what story we find ourselves in. 

So That No One May Boast | Bob Reid

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This week our text for our homily comes Ephesians, chapter 2:1-10. In this portion of the letter, Paul writes these lines that, through the ages, have been a great comfort to the church: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

We will be reflecting on this simple, yet profound, summary of the gospel. Among the questions we will ponder: why is it so hard for many of us to accept that we have been so radically accepted?

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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