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God of the Unseen: Colossians 1.15-17

Colossians 1:15-17 is part of an old song, a hymn.I’m reminded of a visit with my parents when my nieces discovered an old record player.They didn’t know what it was!I had the privilege of showing them how to use it and it was interesting to listen to it.There’s something nostalgic about the crackling sound it makes.This song, Colossians 1:15-17, is over 2,000 years old.As we take communion together today this is a sacred moment for us.We do this with our brothers and sisters around the world.This song was sung by the earliest believers.It’s a song about who Jesus is.It’s an early hymn.Jesus is our Creator.In creation God is visible.15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16For by him all things were created,How can we know a God that is invisible?This seems crazy!If you tell someone that you have an invisible friend what will they think of you?We think of imaginary friends and then virtual friends that we can see.We worship a God that we cannot see but a…
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Growing in Grace: Colossians 1.1-14

Psalm 84 is an image of people going to worship together and as they go it’s raining.As they approach Jerusalem the rain reminds them of God’s strength.May the rain remind us of God’s peace and strength today.A couple of weeks ago I ordered lunch and it came.Everything was in order but there were 2 milkshakes we didn’t order!We didn’t pay for those.We got more than we deserved.That’s grace!God has given us so much more than a couple of milkshakes.In Colossians 1:1-14 Paul is writing from prison. As he writes to the people of Colossae he reminds them of the grace and power of God. Paul was in prison for several years, quite a long time. God spoke to him and he wrote these letters.If Paul wasn’t in prison we wouldn’t have these letters today.In our imprisonments, in our times when we aren’t doing what we think we should be doing, God uses these times.Growth begins when we embrace grace.Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed …

The Great Commandment: Luke 10:25-37

The great commandment is also found in Mark 12 when a question is asked, "How can I  have eternal life?'  This is also in Matthew 22:34.  The parable we'll examine this morning, the parable of the Good Samaritan, probably comes in second place to the parable of the Prodigal Son.  It's a close second.  This is an important reading for us.  When I study the Bible it helps for me to check three boxes:1) I need to be careful to read the passage in its entirety.  I need to observe the text in it's context.  Who are the characters?   What's the context?  This is a familiar story we are examining this morning and because it's familiar we can lose it's meaning.2) The second box I check when I read Scripture is interpretation.  What's it mean?  Where is my curiosity stirred?  What questions come to me?  What does this passage teach me about God?  About humanity?  About who Jesus is?  What does God want me to know and do?  First I make observations and then …

God’s Plans: Genesis 45.1-15

As we gather this morning we are reminded we gather as a broken people who are forgiven; we live in God’s grace.This week we will end out time in Genesis and next week we’ll start Colossians and look at the grace of God.Next week you’ll have a treat from the one who will bring the Word: Mark will preach.I look forward to gathering and sitting with you.In Genesis 45 life has not gone as planned for Joseph.Have you ever tried to rake leaves in the wind?It doesn’t work!The wind wins.Maybe you feel like that today?Maybe things aren’t going as planned?Joseph had many of these moments.When life isn’t going like we think it should we have the opportunity to ask, “What is God doing in all of this?”There are some surprises in this passage that ties it all together.We already know the end of the story and that can cause us to overlook some things.This is where it clicks for Joseph.It’s a fun moment.God surprises us with love. It’s been 22 years since Joseph has seen his family, 22 years since h…

A Dream Restored: Genesis 41 (ESV)

Think about a weird dream you’ve had.Sometimes we try to make sense of them and wonder what they mean.Today we’re looking at a couple dreams with Joseph and remember the dream Joseph had as a teen is still in the background.We all have wild dreams sometimes like we’re driving a school bus on the beach and Beethoven in playing music on the piano and that’s all I remember.It’s hard to understand our dreams.Sometimes we ask if God is trying to tell us something.For the Egyptians, dreams meant something.They had a group of educated people who would interpret the meaning of dreams.Our world faces challenges. Pharaoh’s dream was a big thing he was concerned about.There were healthy cows that were all eaten by ugly skinny cows.8So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.Last week we learned the Egyptians had this whole school of peop…

Hitting Bottom: Genesis 39.21-40.23

Nothing says fall like college football!The leaves are now turning and there’s pumpkin spice everything.A reminder it’s fall is the comic strip where Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown.We wonder if maybe this year he’ll finally kick the football.Charlie Brown always ends up at the bottom on the ground.Joseph is at the bottom.The rug is pulled out from under him again.Even at the bottom there are some good things.We get our hopes up and the football is pulled right out from under us.There is love at the bottom.God is with the brokenhearted.To recap, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and he becomes Potiphar’s slave.He’s accused by Potiphar’s wife and is thrown in prison.Life keeps getting worse.There’s a surprise here in verse 21:21But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.The Lord was with him.The Lord shows Joseph steadfast love.Even though Joseph was crushed he finds a love that never fails…