Sermon audio from this series
November 20, 2016
November 13, 2016
November 6, 2016
Katie Henry Murad
1 Corinthians 9
October 30, 2016
Philippians 1:27-30, 2:12-18
Pre-Sermon Notes — From the Weekly Gracevine
Gracevine — November 17, 2016
I’m a list person. If I have several things that need to be accomplished I make a list and I keep it close at hand. As I tackle each item, I cross them off one by one. I want to know what needs to be done, what steps I need to take and then I find satisfaction once every item is crossed out. In Colossians 3, Paul begins by making two lists for the readers.
The first is a list of items that he says we should discard or do away with. The second is a list of characteristics and attributes of how we should “clothe” ourselves as followers of Christ. If you are anything like me, you go straight for those lists, checking to see which ones you can cross out and which ones you might need to work on. Taking this “type A” approach might be beneficial when tackling chores around the house, however, it becomes much more difficult when we are called to work on our character as a response to living faithfully.
As much as I want to use the Bible as a black-and-white recipe for how to live faithfully in this world, sometimes it’s not as simple as trying to be more patient, or more kind or to have more compassion for others. Although our intentions are good and the outcome we are striving for is even biblical, many times our efforts rely more on our own strength and overshadow the need for Christ and the root of the problem itself. Thankfully, Paul gives us the “counter-recipe” for true change. It’s subtle and simple, but it requires more of us than crossing off items on our list.
Grace, I am excited to share with you what the Lord has laid on my heart! I ask for your prayers in preparation of this message and I am so thankful for the role this body plays in our family’s life.
I hope to see you all on Sunday [November 20] as we continue to learn what it means to live faithfully.
Gracevine — November 10, 2016
We Are the People
I (early) voted at John Chavis Memorial Park and consider it a privilege to do so. And, for better or worse, I did indeed check my social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — on Wednesday morning. Lord, have mercy.
Our country is deeply divided along party lines and so are many American Christians. I imagine y’all would agree, at least to some extent?
Regardless of where you sit — on the right, on the left, or on the third (?) — I believe this to be of the utmost importance for those of us who follow Christ: Jesus is Lord today and will be tomorrow. And He is the Savior today and will be tomorrow. This simple reminder is what we confess, proclaim, sing and celebrate as the beloved community, especially when we disagree on secondary and tertiary issues. This is also a hallmark of Grace Community Church (!!!) and I think one of our most incredible characteristics as a local expression of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). We collectively choose to press into differences, difficulties and disagreements by dialoguing and not dividing.
If I may speak into this particular moment in our church’s history, I’d like to encourage each of you reading this to be the agents of good news-centered transformation (Romans 12:1-2) that Jesus has called us to be (for some good stuff, listen to Erin Winston’s beautiful sermon from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Let’s do this as individuals and as a community!
As the picture below says: “WE ARE THE PEOPLE.” We’re not just the people who have a right to vote that is guaranteed because of our American citizenship, but, more importantly, we are the people that God is using day-in and day-out to have lasting impact on the world — impact that is influencing both the present and from everlasting to everlasting.
So please don’t let your present situation or circumstance redefine or alter the hope that you have (I confess that I’m reminding myself of this, too!). We are and will be the people that God uses to bring unity where there is division, I think even in the political realm. Maybe this is an important opportunity for our church to be the light of the world and point toward the one thing that remains constant: our message of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the Church is better positioned and equipped than we have thought to engage a post-modern and post-Christian culture and offer them boundless hope … but the question is: where will our primary focus be and where will each of us rise up and press in by living out the message of the gospel daily?
Grace & Peace,
As people of community we desire to meet people where they are. We yearn to have shared experiences with one another. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9 to find any “common ground” to share good news with people. As people of God, we use any means to relate and share life with our neighbors. When we find this common ground, people know us as friends and have the space to respond to the hope we have.
What beauty God as extended towards us. The gift to be constantly growing, trying new things, meeting new people and learning more of the goodness of life. While, at the same time, experiencing the outpouring of blessings from the good news as we mirror Christ in his sacrificial love for others. Like Christ, we don’t stay in one place only knowing our own perspective. Christ came to earth and moved around, met new people, had conversation, laugh, cried…found any common ground he could to faithfully share good news. We should take on his same lifestyle and follow the leading of our infinite and loving Savior.
So next time you learn something new from someone or share in a moment you’ve never had with someone you care about (possibly just because they’re a fellow child of God) seek to find your common ground. When you do, you’ll be stepping out of your comfort zone into faithful living. See you Sunday at Grace.
Katie Henry Murad
Your Life On Mission Matters
This Sunday [10/30] we move into our last series of the year before Advent and Christmas called “Living Faithfully.” Hard to believe we’re just 4 weeks away from Thanksgiving, right? Especially with a projected high of 82 degrees on Sunday!
If we’ve missed you over the past few Sundays, we have been unpacking our community’s mission statement: Loving Jesus, Loving Our Neighbor, Living Faithfully. Each of the three parts of our mission statement are inextricably linked together. We have had some incredible communicators share their stories and passions while illuminating the good news of the Bible during the first two parts. And, in this last part, we hope to learn more about what it means — in everyday ways — to be individuals and a community that live lives that are “on mission.”
My sermon will largely focus on Philippians 1:27-30 and 2:12-18 (if you recall we looked at Philippians 2:1-11 in our “United” series). My hope is to start a conversation in our community (I believe your thoughts, questions and understanding of this passage are important, too…not just my own!) about what it looks like to live faithfully as Christians in North Raleigh in the 21st century.
Often I wonder, and maybe you do too — are we still able to live a life in a manner “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27)? And, if so, what does that really look like in our everyday, ordinary lives?
If you have personal stories about how you live out your faith day-in and day-out, shoot me an email. I’d love to get coffee and chat more because it is critically important, in my opinion, that our simple and honest faith in Jesus Christ is lived out in every situation that we find ourselves in.
See you Sunday morning.
Grace & Peace,