What Is a Doctrine?

Why Our Beliefs Matter
2 John
Matthew Raley (1-13-13)

This year, we will take a crucial step in restarting our ministry as a church. We will adopt a document called “Our Beliefs,” a brief summary of our doctrines. Our goal is to state in plain words what we teach.

We are doing this for several reasons. First, we need to know why we attend and serve here, and this summary provides the answer. Second, the summary is a catalyst for unity—which is more than just the absence of conflict but the presence of deep agreement. Third, we need to understand our position in relation to Chico and our culture.  We need to be able to speak to our community with one voice.

We begin this year-long process with the question, “What is a doctrine?” A doctrine is a summary of one part of what God has revealed about himself and his plan in the Bible. John calls the collection of biblical doctrines “the truth.” In today’s message we see that our beliefs are our source of vitality, the root system for life and love.

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Local Giving and Local Testimony

Giving As a Way of Life
Acts 4:32-5:11
Matthew Raley (1-6-13)

Luke and Acts are two volumes in the same work.  In them Luke connects the earthly ministry of Jesus with the explosive growth of the Church worldwide. Since he is writing to a Gentile audience, Luke is concerned to document how Jesus related to the temple in Jerusalem, what the future of that temple was going to be, and how the worship of God shifted from the temple to the Church, in which our text today plays a pivotal role.

As we study these things, we’re going to see what motivated Christians to give in the beginning days of the Church and how those motivations and lessons can be brought forward into the church today.

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  

What We Can Learn From Slavery

Christ’s Counterculture
Ephesians 6:5-9
Matthew Raley (12-30-12)

Today we will be returning to and concluding our series on Christ’s Counterculture.  Our focus has been on the household, and at this point you may be thinking, “I’ve already blown it. There’s no way my life can ever be like this. Can someone whose life is as broken as mine have any role in Christ’s new culture?”

The answer is yes. Christ’s counterculture is based on a new self-concept: I am not valuable because other people love me, or because I am independent, or because I control my own destiny. I am valuable because I belong to Christ. He is my redeemer, protector, and provider. My security and confidence come by faith in Christ.

The rich and powerful will have little use for a Christian self-concept.  This is a self-concept for those who are limited in this world. Christ’s counterculture is filled with those who are disillusioned with the world’s honor and comfort.

We conclude our study of the household by looking at slaves and masters. This is a message for the powerless and the powerful.

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 6:39 am  Leave a Comment  

The Limited Savior

Christmas 2012
Luke 2:8-14
Matthew Raley (12-23-12)

So much of religion today is designed to help us escape our humanity so that we can live a higher life, unbound by the desires and limitations of our physical bodies.  To be spiritual, we think, is to be unshaken by pain, disappointment, and grief, and to rise above the joys and riches of food, friends, and family.  To be super-spiritual is to be super-human.

In today’s Christmas message we will see that there is no escape from our humanity, and that, in fact, we do not need one.  Christ, our Savior,  joined us in our limited state, not to help us escape our humanness, but to make us both fully human and fully godly.

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 6:37 am  Leave a Comment