Awakening Services -- Wednesday April 10, 2019
Text: Colossians 3:1-17 -- Title: The Marks of a Resurrected Life
Speaker: Daniel Rudy
As we come to the end of this Awakening series on resurrection, there are several themes running throughout this series with I have hinted at but may not have been as clear in my expression of as I could have been. The first of these themes is that God is in the business of breaking into our tired living with resurrection and renewal. We are not the first people in need of this, nor will we be the last. Second, renewal and resurrection come from the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in individual believers and in the church. Based upon that understanding, I believe we must start by living in the power of the resurrection within the church. When we attempt to govern others, both inside and outside of the church with rules and structure, it not only shows a lack of trust in the power of God to transform lives, it also harms our witness. When the church places its hope and trust not in the power of God, but rather in the power of human institutions, we show that we do not believe that we have something to offer that is of lasting treasure. The resurrection of Christ happened right under the nose of the ruling authorities as God’s power was revealed in its fullest form. If our goal is sharing our hope in the transforming power of Christ, it is time for the church of Jesus Christ to stop investing its resources in fighting a culture war that was doomed from the start and get back to the business of living as God’s resurrection people brought from sin to newness of life by the death and resurrection of Christ.
Awakening Services -- Tuesday April 9, 2019
Text: I Corinthians 15:12-32 -- Title: Resurrection Faith
Speaker: Daniel Rudy
In speaking of resurrection for two evenings, we have built to this point Sisters and Brothers. We have come to the topic that is at the heart of our hope and trust in Christ. As I listen to the discussions of Christians today, there is a part of me that wonders do we really believe what we say we believe? When so many of the public representatives of the Christian faith are more fearful of federal court decisions than the actual persecution of fellow Christians around the world, do we truly believe in the resurrection of Christ? When so many Christians are indistinguishable from those around us in the pursuit of money, power, status and earthly pleasure, have we truly been touched by the resurrection of Christ? When we are so fearful that we cannot practice our faith outside of the comfortable cultural trappings that so many of us grew up with, is the resurrection of Christ Jesus a lived reality for us, or just something that we pay lip service to every Easter before returning to a world where the power that is really active is death?
Awakening Services -- Monday April 8, 2019
Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14 -- TiTLE: Dry Bones and Holy Marrow
SPEAKER: Daniel Rudy
“Mortal, can these bones live?” This question from God to the prophet Ezekiel is one of the most poignant questions in all of scripture. Can these dry bones, skeletal remains that have been removed from mortal life so long that the flesh has decomposed live? Can dry and decaying institutions that have the outward form of life, but inwardly have long since lost the drive that made them live again? Can we, when all hope is lost, not only for us as individuals, but also as the church be restored to hope filled life? This is the question that drives our interaction with the Holy Spirit today.
Awakening Services -- Sunday April 7, 2019
Text: Acts 9:32-43 -- Title: Tabitha, Get Up!
Speaker: Daniel Rudy
Throughout my seven plus years as the pastor of Ninth Street Church of the Brethren, Awakening services have been one of my favorite times of the year. They provide us an opportunity to reconnect with Sisters and Brothers from around the district. They generally allow us to hear, in our local area, gifted leaders from around the denomination who come to share the gospel message with us. This gathering is one of the great gifts of our area, something that in my formative years in the Mid-Atlantic district that we could only dream about.
Title: Responsible Use of Gifts and Abilities
Author: David K. SHumate
“Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’” Matthew 25:24-25 (NRSV)
The "Parable of the Talents" (Matthew 25:14-30) is one of a series of "accountability" parables. Jesus taught that all of us are accountable to God for what we are and what we have. From this particular parable the word "talent" became descriptive of human gifts and abilities. In Jesus' day, however, a "talent" was a certain weight of gold worth fifteen years of ordinary labor.