The Empty Chair: Rejoicing & Weeping

Romans 12:14-16
If we are truly living our lives in any kind of relationship worthy of the name with those around us, we will come face to face with both the joys and the sorrows of those lives. If the love we have for those people is sincere, we just aren’t pretending that we love them but we actually do, that love demands a response from us. If love is sincere, we just can’t nod and say a few appropriate words. Paul tells us that if love is sincere, we will rejoice in their joy and we will weep in their weeping. I don’t know about you, but I am not sure that I can or want to do either. But what we think or feel isn’t the point; it is their joy and it is their weeping and our Father wants us to be part of it because He wants to be part of it. Sharing in our joys and our sorrows is one of the fundamental reasons that He sent His Son to walk this earth and pay the price for our sin.

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The Empty Chair: Blessing & Cursing

Romans 12:14-16
‘Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse’ (Romans 12:14). To bless someone is to speak well of them, literally to eulogize them. To curse someone is to wish them ruin. In between these two actions stand those who persecute us, those who are actively pursuing us with the intent to bring us ruin. At the heart of this command is the battle between Love and ourselves, between what we see as love and hate and what Father reveals to us what love and hate actually are. Our natural, gut reaction to persecution is to curse, to return in kind the ruin that our persecutors are doing their best to bring about. Yet, not once but twice, Paul says here to bless. If love is sincere, if our lives really are a reflection of Christ’s Love, our natural, gut reaction is reversed; we no longer curse those who persecute us but rather we bless.

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Holistic Small Groups

The Empty Chair – Week 5
September 14, 2014
Speaker: Rob Yanike

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The Empty Chair: Value & Honor

Romans 12:9-13
If you happen to glance up from your computer and notice that Billy Graham is ringing your doorbell, it is quite likely that you will scurry to answer the door and give him a warm welcome. This is partially due to the fact that Billy Graham holds a place of esteem, honor and respect in American society. Many Americans understand the value of the contribution that Billy Graham has made to our society over the span of his lifetime. It is likely that most Americans would welcome Rev. Graham into their homes with great care and attention. We value Rev. Graham and we would show him our honor.

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Loving Relationships

The Empty Chair – Week 4
September 7, 2014
Speaker: Bart Wilkins

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The Empty Chair: Gifts & the Spirit

Romans 12:6-8
When I pastored a small church in the late 80s, we had no musicians. As such, I had to fill that role. My fingers just don’t seem to be able to do string instruments very well. The F cord on the guitar especially frustrates me. But I had an old, beat up guitar and I prayed to God that He would enable me to play it. I spent four years playing that guitar, usually without any problems although nowhere near as good as our Flatland musicians. After the need was gone, my guitar playing also seemed to go as well. I still have my natural abilities to play the guitar, I know what I am supposed to do, but my fingers just don’t want to do them. I would love to play the guitar but it is not a gift I have, except for those four years.

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