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October 12th, 2017

What is the Bible? (Catechesis Bonus Podcast Week 2)

John Chandler continues our Catechesis discussion on what is the Bible with parts that didn’t make it into the sermon, as well as questions and thoughts that came out of the Community Group discussions.

Quotes and Resources Mentioned:

Podcast
October 10th, 2017

Finally: Let's Say What We Think About the Bible! (Tonight and Tomorrow)

What have Christians ALWAYS believed about the Bible?

If you are from “ChurchWorld” you probably have one of two responses to this question:

(A) I love the Bible. It’s God’s word.
(B) I’m not sure I think about the Bible…but I don’t know where I can talk about that.

On top of that, there are a lot of people who want to tell you what the Bible is—or what it isn’t.

As John mentioned on Sunday, many people talk about the Bible using words like “inspired,” “authoritative” and “inerrant.”

What do these words even mean? Does the Bible describe itself that way?

Others want to tell you that the Bible is ancient, useless and self-contradictive. Since Christians have always relied on the Bible, we should be able to answer why!

Do you have a deep love for studying the Bible you want to share? Are you unsure about the Bible and afraid to bring that up?

Good news!

Now is your chance to honestly reveal what you think about the scriptures.

This week’s Catechesis Discussion is all about the Bible. The purpose of the Catechesis series is to discuss how our shared life is birthed out of what the Church has always believed. We can’t have a Catechesis Discussion without the Bible.

So let’s have a discussion.

How to Participate this Week

  1. Download the Community Group Discussion Guide. Before you go to your group, you’ll want to take time to read through it. You may want to pray about the questions and journal through them.
  2. Visit or join a Community Group. You can see a full list here.
October 8th, 2017

Catechesis Week 2: What is the Bible? (2017.10.08 Sermon)

John Chandler continues our eight week discussion series, “Catechesis: What the Church Has Always Believed”, by asking the question: “What is the Bible?”

Quotes and Resources Mentioned


Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

Discuss more in a Community Group

Podcast
October 7th, 2017

What is Belief? Cutting Room Floor (Catechesis Bonus Podcast Week 1)

During our nine-week Catechesis discussion, we’ll have a bonus episode in addition to our weekly sermon podcast. In this episode, Chris digs a little further into why Christian Beliefs are reasonable…at least they can be. He also waxes about a two of his favorite books.

Podcast
October 5th, 2017

What if We Had Women and Men Leading Together?

Growing up, my church experience, except for Sunday school, was all male led.

I watched my dad prepare and deliver sermons every Sunday. Another man led the hymn singing during the worship service. Regularly, my dad met with a team of all male elders. When missionary families visited, the husband would preach and share about their work overseas.

There was no question that men were the leaders of our church. Women’s voices were valued, but only in certain places like the children’s or women’s ministry, or organizing VBS, a potluck, or an outreach project.

What if Women…

Many capable, gifted women leaders were present in my home church, including my own mother, and I wonder how our community might have been different had those women been empowered and free to lead alongside the men.

If women had been invited to preach, lead worship, or asked to shepherd the church community as elders, I think we all would have had a richer, more full experience of God and what the family of God is meant to look like.

Certainly, as a little girl, it would have had a huge impact on me as well as the other children—girls and boys—to have seen women and men leading together.

Leading Together

These experiences for women aren’t limited to the church. There are still many venues where women’s voices aren’t welcomed or held in as high esteem as men’s. But the church can and should be leading the way when it comes to changing how men and women lead together.

SheLeads is a one-day event on October 28 where we can learn, discuss, and imagine together God’s vision for shared leadership in the church and ministry. Last year, many of the women who attended our Austin viewing party were transformed by the experience and began to understand their own God-given gifts and purpose in a whole new way. We heard lots of encouraging stories of how the speakers, panelists, and table discussions impacted the participants.

This year Austin, Texas is one of several regional venues for SheLeads. We are partnering with other churches in Austin to bring the event to town.

If you are a…

SheLeads is for you.

Email me to let us know by SATURDAY, OCT 7 to receive the group discount.

Registration prices go up Sunday! We hope to see lots of you there!

October 2nd, 2017

Community Groups for the Week of October 1

Catechesis

If you want to honestly discuss what you do and don’t believe, then you need to participate in a Community Group this fall.

For the next eight weeks, we’ll be having a discussion we call “Catechesis.” The purpose of the Catechesis series is to discuss how our shared life is birthed out of what the Church has always believed.

According to Michael Frost, “Americans are waking up to the fact that people are sick to death of bad religion.” By, “bad religion” Frost means toxic beliefs that pin people up, and keep them from experiencing the freedom Jesus promises.

Sadly, these toxic beliefs are prevalent in many church communities. There are also political, social and celebrity voices who try tell people what to believe.

If we don’t dig into scripture and history, then we will be at the whim of the voices and agendas in our culture.

What most people do is just keep going. Life is too busy worry about these problems. But the fact is, if we don’t counter toxic beliefs, they creep up on us.

Digging into Beliefs in a Community Group

Imagine having a place where you could say what you really think.

Imagine being able to proudly say “I believe in Jesus, and I want him to take control of my life!”

Imagine being able to proudly say “I am not sure what believe and I don’t like some of the things I have heard the Church believes.”

Imagine a Community Group, where both perspectives, hopeful skeptics and passionate believers, can openly express themselves!

That’s what we hope to cultivate in our Catechesis Discussion Series.

Each week for nine weeks we’ll dig into the topics introduced in the Sunday liturgy. You can listen back here.

Groups will have a discussion guide that will help you to ask difficult questions, and encourage people to honestly share what they think.

If the only thing you get from participating in a Community Groups is a good meal, that would probably be enough.

If the only thing you get from participating in a Community Groups are new friends who you can honestly discuss your beliefs with, that would be even better.

But if you could get a good meal, deeper friendships, and grow in your faith in Jesus, that would definitely be worth it.

Many people will never take the time to truly consider their beliefs. Many people don’t have a safe community to have these difficult conversations. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

How to Participate this Week

  1. Download the Community Group Discussion Guide. Before you go to your group, you’ll want to take time to read through it. You may want to pray about the questions and journal through them.
  2. Visit or join a Community Group. You can see a full list here.
Community
October 2nd, 2017

Catechesis Week 1: What Makes a Belief "Christian?" (2017.10.01 Sermon)

“You Americans are waking up to the fact that people are sick to death of bad religion.” Michael Frost

Chris Morton opens up our nine week discussion series “Catechesis: What the Church Has Always Believed” by asking the question: “What makes a belief Christian?”

Quotes and Resources

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

Discuss more in a Community Group

Podcast
September 27th, 2017

Catechesis // What the church has always believed


This coming week, we borrow an old word to begin a new discussion series called Catechesis. This ancient term describes how essential Christian beliefs were repeatedly taught to help followers of Jesus understand how to live. For us, this is a season to discuss how our shared life is birth out of what the Church has always believed. Each week, these discussion will begin in our Sunday liturgy and continue into Community Groups.

Week of 10/1 // What is belief?
Often, in our culture, Christianity is known as a set of beliefs. The “faithful” get so particular about their beliefs that churches form and divide around variations in these beliefs. We understand, though, that beliefs matter not because believing all the right things makes us right with God, or define who is in and out. Instead, we recognize that what we believe shapes how we live and love.

Week of 10/8 // What is the Bible?
The Bible is a sacred and historical set of texts at the heart of the Christian faith. Yet it is sometimes held in too high regard as being the only reliable source of truth. What authority should the Bible have in our time, our lives and in our church? How should we approach it as a sacred text while not placing it on an equal plane with God?

Week of 10/15 // What does it mean that God is a trinity?
The word trinity is never found in the Bible, yet for centuries, theologians have understood God to be a relational being of three in one. Why does it matter to the Christian faith that we see God as a trinity? What does this relational nature of God tell us about our own relational nature as humans?

Week of 10/22 // What is God’s relationship with creation?
The question already reveals a bit of the answer here — we understand that God is the creator and still at work in creation. What was God’s intent and ongoing hope for creation? If we believe God is good and perfect, why are humans and the whole of creation full of evil?

Week of 10/29 // What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
While we recognize that God is the creator, we also see that humans were given a special place in creation as those who bear the image of God. What does it mean for humans to be represent God in creation in this way? How does our understanding of this “Imago Dei” help us form an understanding of sin?

Week of 11/5 // Who is Jesus?
To understand Jesus is to understand this mystery of God dwelling on the earth in human form, somehow both divine and human at the same time. But to understand Jesus is to also understand how Jesus is active and present within the Trinity both before his human birth and after his resurrection.

Week of 11/12 // What happened at the cross?
Jesus was crucified by Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem two millennia ago. Christians understand that event to be a pivotal moment in history. We understand the implications of that week to be cosmic and personal — and everywhere in between. How should those events from thousands of years ago determine how how we live today and lean in to tomorrow.

Week of 11/19 // Who is the Holy Spirit?
In the final months before he was crucified, Jesus explained to his closest followers that he would be going away, and that it’s as for the best. After that, he explained, the Holy Spirit would come. So, why is the Holy Spirit so important that Jesus would say we are better off with the Spirit than a human Jesus?

Community
September 25th, 2017

Mission (2017.09.24 Sermon)

John Chandler finished our mini-series on our hope to be a people formed into mission through community.

Resource mentioned:
Becoming “Homemakers” in Our Sacred Neighborhoods – Missio Alliance

Questions to consider:

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

Podcast
September 25th, 2017

Here is Your Perfect Moment to Step into Community

Name calling matters.

This past summer, we spent hours in our Leadership Team and with past Midweek Groups leaders at Austin Mustard Seed asking the question:

What words best capture the experience we hope people have in our the smaller groups at our Church?

We landed on the term “Community Groups.”

Seven Traits of Austin Mustard Seed Community Groups

Yes, we know that the term “Community” can be overused, especially in churchworld. This is how we got there:

We asked the question “what common traits do all our groups have?” Even though each group is different, what do we hope they will all experience?

We agreed on seven key traits:

  1. Growing in the Way of Jesus—Groups are united by a desire to better understand who Jesus is, what he taught, and what it means to live those teachings out today
  2. Commitment to the Group—Participating in a Community Group requires a willingness to dedicate time, energy and resources to meeting regularly, communicating consistently and investing in the lives of other group members.
  3. Space for Vulnerability—Groups are hospitable places where individuals can feel seen, known and welcome, no matter where they are in their personal journey and in their faith.
  4. Joining God’s Mission—Groups are driven by God’s Mission and seek ways to join God in making all things new.
  5. Dialogical—Groups focus on honest conversation about each other’s lives, hopes, questions and opinions.
  6. Prayer—Groups regularly pray for each other and for outsiders. They also help individuals grow in their own practice of prayer.
  7. Hospitality—Groups are dedicated to welcoming passionate believers, hopeful skeptics, adults, children, families and the unmarried, no matter what their stage in life or faith.

When we tried to sum these traits up, we couldn’t come up with a better word than “Community”.

What to Expect this Week (9.24—9.30)

This is one of the best possible weeks to join a group.

You can see a list of our current groups HERE.

The goal of Community Groups this week is to articulate a “covenant”. A covenant is a relational agreement between people before God.

Community Group Covenants help set the expectations of each group on how to participate and what to expect.

By helping form these covenants, you will help shape the nature and values of the group.

Are you looking for a group where you can be honest? Put that in the covenant.

Are you looking for a group where you can have fun? Put that in the covenant.

Are you looking for a group that will help you experience a deeper spiritual life? Put that in the covenant.

Led by the Holy Spirit, you are forming these groups together.

What will your group focus on?

Click HERE for the Community Group Covenant Worksheet.