Waiting and Watching

Many of us have heard the Christmas story
our whole lives. To some of us, it may be a
new story. But whether we have grown up
alongside it or are just getting to know it,
let’s try in these next couple of weeks to
look at the story of Christmas in a different
way. This week we will look at the
Christmas story from the perspective of
Mary, and hear how Mary’s unexpected
news led to her waiting and watching for
God to work both in her own heart and in
the world.

Luke 1:26-39; 46-55

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Spirit Centred Living

It’s our desire to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit’s direction as the comforter, teacher, and guide, who goes ahead of us. We pray that God would be involved with everything we do, helping us live naturally supernaturally.

As we plan, prepare and make decisions, we know that God is working in our midst. Because of this, we are not averse to change, and in fact welcome new challenges with faith that God is with us.

We don’t want to divide life into the spiritual and the non-spiritual and instead prefer to acknowledge that all of life is permeated by the presence of God. This helps us to avoid separating ‘matters of faith’ from ‘ordinary life’ and frees us to live one life centred in God. It is in God alone that we can experience life in its fullest.

Shared Responsibility

Our Key Values – Shared Responsibility

While each of us assumes primary responsibility for our own spiritual growth, we have discovered the significant role the church plays in this process as a rally of support, inspiring and equipping us as we follow Christ together.

We support Elevation and its mission by participating in the life of the community and taking ownership for the corporate aspects of the church. The entire body benefits as we give generously of our time, abilities, and finances, putting the needs of others before ourselves.

We also have an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impace in our city, our nation, and our world. We are committed to acting with compassion and generosity, seeking justice for the oppressed, and extending mercy wherever it is sought.

1 Corinthians 12:1-27

Journey Mentality

We want to be present with people at whatever part of the journey of life they find themselves on, whether they share our faith or not. In the spirit of honest dialogue, we will ask our questions openly and listen for new ideas from others, respecting our different backgrounds and celebrating diversity.

We will invite people to experience the eternal kind of life that Jesus offers, walking with one another through times of questions and struggles, as well as times of answers and celebration.

With the understanding that each one of us will grow in faith at our own pace, we will encourage one another to become true disciples, raising the standards in our lives, always fighting against the urge to slow down in our pursuit of God.

John 4:4-26

Life Together

Our Key Values – Life Together

At its heart, Elevation is a community of people who consider these four values central to becoming the church we long to be…

Faith isn’t something that is meant to be done alone. With this in mind, we accept the call to follow Christ in the company of others. We see great value in coming together to worship Him and in seeking his guidance collectively.

We are committed to deepening relationships within our community of faith, encouraging one another to live transformed lives, as well as really getting to know our neighbours and the people we interact with every day.

We want to be ‘real’ with one another – to live with integrity. As a result, there’s no need to put up fronts or hide our shortcomings. Our challenge is to be honest with ourselves and inspire others to do the same.

Romans 12:1-18

Is Google the New God

Technology is the fastest growing religion in the world. It has more people addicted. It consumes more of our time. And it has our worship. It is time for the Christian church to get a grip on its opportunity and idolatry.

Hebrews 12:1-3

One in Christ Jesus

One in Christ Jesus

People in first century middle-east were often divided into sharply defined categories, and quite often, one side would thrive at the expense of the other. But the early Christians, following the example of Jesus, went to work on a new project that sought to break down these barriers for the sake of something much better.

Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 4:1-6

Neither Male Nor Female

From the beginning of time, God’s strategy for getting things done in the world was for His image bearers – male and female – to service Him together. While history tells the long, unfortunate story of a breakdown in this alliance, we can be part of writing a better story as we live alongside one another for the sake of the world.

Genesis 1:1-2, 26-28, 31; Galatians 3:26-28

Neither Slave Nor Free

The absence of a clear-cut rejection of slavery in the Bible is problematic, but this is by no means a stamp of approval on abusive power structures or dehumanizing behaviour. Whether we’re talking about the 1st century or the 21st, God continues to call His people to higher levels of respect and love for one another.

Galatians 3:26-28; Philemon :1-25

Neither Jew Nor Gentile

In our diverse world you don’t have to look too far to understand that tensions exist around issues of race, gender and creed. “Diverse” can be made to mean “divided”. But, differences need not become barriers. Instead, when handled well, they offer opportunities to build bridges toward true community.

Galatians 3:26-29; Luke 10:25-37

Historial Perspective

Historial Perspective

At times we focus so much on the future that we can forget about the past altogether. Sometimes forgetting the past is a healthy thing to do, but most often we do ourselves a favour by learning from it and giving a voice in the present to those who have gone before us.

Jeremiah 6:16-19; Matthew 5:17-20

Character Formation Over the Long Run

IT’S ABOUT TIME

Who we are today is a combination of so many factors, including our genetics, the home we were raised in, and the decisions we (and others) have made along the way. But what about who we are tomorrow? How do we become that person?

Proverbs 3:1-18; Matthew 7:24-27

The Tyranny of the Urgent

IT’S ABOUT TIME

The Tyranny of the Urgent

On the other side of Labour Day, our schedules tend to shift and change, making it a fitting time to talk about time. Whether we’re dealing with timetables or deadlines, early alarms or naptimes, the clock is always looming, and it can be difficult to keep up the pace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Matthew 11:28-30

Samson the Vulnerable

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges. We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Samson The Vulnerable

As our summer series winds to a close, we’ll explore a life that was going oh-so-well until everything fell apart. The mighty Samson provides us with a reminder of the vulnerability that we all share and offers hope on the other side of even the most drastic failure.

Judges 13:1-5, 24-25a; 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Deborah – A Leader of Leaders

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges. We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Deborah – A Leader of Leaders

Deborah led during a deeply troubled time in Israel’s history. She didn’t create the problems but she was called to resolve them. What can we learn for our lives as we are impacted by the consequences of others’ choices and actions?

Judges 4:1-14, 5:6-7; Hebrews 11:32

Joshua – The Conqueror

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges. We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Joshua – The Conqueror

God had been making promises for generations – promises of a homeland and of freedom from oppression. Finally, Joshua was ready to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River. What happened next is as troubling as it is inspiring…

Joshua 1:1-9; Philippians 4:8-10

Moses the Reluctant

Self aware, or selfish?

The Response of Moses to his call from God can be interpreted in a few different ways. We will reflect on our own response to God’s calling as seen through the character traits and attitude of one of the most important characters of the Old Testament.

Exodus 4:10-17

 

 

Joseph The Dreamer

 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are going to be looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges.  We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Joseph the Dreamer

Any time you tell your siblings that you had a dream about them bowing down before you in worship, you know trouble is looming.  The events that would unfold between Joseph and his brothers put everyone’s character to the test.  Conflict has a way of doing that.

Genesis 37:1-11; Matthew 5:38-42

Jacob the Deceiver

 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are going to be looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges.  We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Jacob The Deceiver

Jacob was a troublemaker right from the start, quite literally.  But despite the ways he deceived and took advantage of others, Jacob also demonstrated extreme loyalty and was ultimately used by God in significant ways.  And that’s good news for us.

Genesis 25:19-26a; Ephesians 4:22-24

http://podcasts.elevationwaterloo.org/Jacob%20the%20Deceiver.mps

Hagar the Mistreated

 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are going to be looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges.  We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Hagar the Mistreated

How do you react when you do a significant favour for a special someone and then get abuse from them. And how does God respond to you being mistreated?

 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are going to be looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges.  We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Abraham – The Called

Out of nowhere, a man named Abram hears the voice of God calling him to leave his father’s household and head to a foreign land with the promise that he would be a blessing to “all peoples on earth.”  Would you have believed it?  Would you have left?

Genesis 12:1-5; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12

Adam and Eve

 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Over the summer months, we are going to be looking at a number of characters featured in Old Testament stories, from Genesis through Judges.  We’ll pay attention to how their interactions with God and the people around them both revealed and shaped their character, and how our own character is revealed and takes shape over time.

Adam and Eve – The Originals

Steve Tulloch, Community Care Pastor*

*Due to technical difficulties, only the last 20% of the sermon was recorded.  Still worth a listen though!

 

Confession

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Like the Queen in Snow White, our concern with what others say about us can be all-consuming.  This month, we’ll explore some ways to help us learn about and become who God has created us to be, regardless of other what others say, and even regardless of what we may want to hear.

Confession

A significant challenge along the journey of faith is balancing God’s acceptance of us with His desire to see us live the way He has created us to live.  The long-lost art of confession welcomes us into the sphere of grace and sends us out with hopeful expectation.

1 John 1:5-9

Continuous Prayer

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Like the Queen in Snow White, our concern with what others say about us can be all-consuming.  This month, we’ll explore some ways to help us learn about and become who God has created us to be, regardless of what others say, and even regardless of what we may want to hear.

Continuous Prayer

Perhaps the most difficult challenge the Bible puts to us is Paul’s encouragement, “Pray without ceasing”.  How is that even possible?  If all we did was pray, how would we have time for anything else in life?  Well, let’s find out…

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Imitation and Mentorship

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

Like the Queen in Snow White, our concern with what others say about us can be all-consuming.  This month, we’ll explore some ways to help us learn about and become who God has created us to be, regardless of what others say, and even regardless of what we may want to hear.

‘Monkey See Monkey Do’

Imitation and Mentorship

Although a life of faith is deeply personal, it should never be purely ‘individual’.  We need the mentorship, support and accountability of others.  Who better to help us see ourselves for who we really are than the people who care about us most?  Of course, we have to choose to truly let someone in, so let’s take a look at what that might look like.

Matthew 4:18-22 and 1 Corinthians 4:15-17

Silence and Self-Awareness

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Like the Queen in Snow White, our concern with what others say about us can be all-consuming.  This month, we’ll explore some ways to help us learn about and become who God has created us to be, regardless of what others say, and even regardless of what we may want to hear.

Silence and Self-Awareness

If you want to pay attention to something – I mean really pay attention – it helps to remove all other distractions.  Making space for uninterrupted time with God is a key stop on the path to a better understanding of ourselves.

Psalm 63:1-8; Mark 1:35-37

*Please note that the first 13 minutes of this sermon (which was not recorded) was silent.

 

Waiting

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

Like the Queen in Snow White, our concern with what others say about us can be all-consuming.  This month, we’ll explore some ways to help us learn about and become who God has created us to be, regardless of what others say, and even regardless of what we may want to hear.

Waiting

At Jesus’ instruction, his first followers waited together in an upper room for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.  What does the story of Pentecost tell us about how we are called to live?

 

Leaving-Benediction

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Leaving-Benediction

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever stop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays, along with the rest of our week, will be even more significant as a result.

 

2 Corinthians 5:11-20

Discussion and Conversation

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever stop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays, along with the rest of our week, will be even more significant as a result.

James 1:19-25

Scriptures and Sermon

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Learning: Scriptures and Sermon

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever strop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays, along with the rest of our week, will be even more significant as a result.

Colossians 1:24-29

Giving and Receiving

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Giving and Receiving:  Offering, Announcements and Communion

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever stop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays, along with the rest of our week, will be even more significant as a result.

 

Romans 12:1-13

 

Singing – Worship and Music

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Singing:  Music and Worship

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever stop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays, [along with the rest of our week] will be even more significant as a result.

This morning we will base our service around music and the spoken word.

Colossians 3:1-4; 15-17

Gathering-Call to Worship

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Gathering:  Call to Worship

Every Sunday morning, we come to this place and do similar things from one week to the next.  But do we ever stop to think about why we’re doing these things?  Well, for this series, we will stop to think – and hopefully our Sundays [along with the rest of our week] will be even more significant as a result.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

During the season of Lent, we listened in on a number of conversations that Jesus had on his way to the Cross.  Now, on the other side of his resurrection, we will eavesdrop on one final dialogue between Jesus and two men who were on their way home from Jerusalem.  They had heard rumours that Jesus’ crucifixion may not have been the end of the story after all, but could such stories be true?

Jesus Talks to Two Men

Luke 24:1-35

Jesus Talks to a City

 

PALM SUNDAY

Along his long journey to the Cross, Jesus stopped to engage in a number of conversations that give us insight as to why he came, what mattered to him, and what hopes he had for those who would follow in his steps.  During the season of Lent, we have been listening in to these conversations as we, too, make our own journey to the Cross.

Jesus Talks to a City

Luke 19:28-48

Jesus Talks to a Religious Person

Fifth Sunday of Lent

 

Along his journey to the Cross, Jesus stopped to engage in a number of conversations that give us insight as to why he came, what mattered to him, and what hopes he had for those who would follow in his steps.  During this season of Lent, we will listen in to these conversations as we, too, make our own journey to the Cross.

 

Luke 15:1-32

Jesus Talks to Two Sisters

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

 

Along his journey to the Cross, Jesus stopped to engage in a number of conversations that give us insight into why he came, what mattered to him, and what hopes he had for those who would follow in his steps.  During this season of Lent, we will listen in to these conversations as we, too, make our own journey to the Cross.

 

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus Talks to a Tax Collector

 

Lent 2017

Conversations with Jesus

Along his long journey to the Cross, Jesus stopped to engage in a number of conversations that give us insight into why he came, what mattered to him, and what hopes he had for those who would follow his steps.  During this season of Lent, we will listen in to these conversations as we, too, make our own journey to the Cross.

Jesus Talks to a Tax Collector – Luke 5:27-32

Spiritual Fatigue

If it’s a good idea to think about the spiritual life as a journey, then it only seems reasonable to expect some fatigue along the way. Sometimes we get tired of doing good, tired of resisting temptation, and even tired of praying. But what are we supposed to do when the will to pursue a life of faith is waning? Who can we turn to when even God seems distant and uninterested in us?

Readings:  Ecclesiastes 12:1-8; Matthew 11:28-30

Warming Up To Each Other

The chill in the February air often finds its way into relationships.  Increased financial pressure, lack of sunlight, and numerous other factors may contribute to increased relational conflicts that occur during winter months.  An intriguing section of Biblical material provides great insight into the critical skill of living in harmony with others.  Learning to become healthier individuals, work and relate within our unique personalities and giftings, manage our emotions, develop our communication skills, and become more forgiving, will help us reduce and resolve relational tensions.

Readings:  Ephesians 4:1-5, 32

Workplace Tension

Workplace Tension

In the words of the illustrious Michael Scott, “An office is a place where dreams come true.” While that may be pushing it, our place of work and the work we do there does tend to affect the satisfaction we experience in life. But what do we do when our “workplace” (whether an office, the home, or a classroom) is more about tension and trouble than about satisfaction?

Readings:  Ecclesiastes 3:9-13; Colossians 3:22-24

Surviving The Seasons of Anxiety and Depression

Surviving the Seasons of Anxiety and Depression

(with Shawna Percy)

These cold, dark winter months we’re in the thick of tend to reflect the way that many people feel about life in general. While for some it’s a seasonal lull, for others it’s something much more than that. As we launch into a series on the February Blahs, Shawna Percy will help us open up the conversation about some of the darker places we find ourselves and the possibilities that are there for us to find.

Readings:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Philippians 4:6-7

Stretching Our Social Sphere

As we continue to explore some of the key areas of our lives that could use some stretching, we’ll consider what it would look like to expand our social circles. Whether it’s for our own sake or for the sake of others, widening our spheres of influence gets to the heart of who God is calling us to be.

Readings: 1 Corinthians 8:4, 7-13; Matthew 5:43-48

The Wallet

Martin Luther once spoke of three conversions that are necessary in the Christian life: the heart, the mind, and the purse. While finances are often a private theme, they’re not so personal that we can’t talk about them at all. In fact, there may be a closer tie between our bank accounts and our spiritual lives than we think.

Readings: 2 Corinthians 8:1-12

 

The Body

If you started off the new year with a resolution to get in shape, it’s probably right about now that you’d be ready to give up – after all, it’s been two whole weeks! Our bodies may seem like the least spiritual part of us, but that’s far from the truth. So how do these bones and muscles and organs of ours figure into a life of faith?

Readings:  1 Cor.6:12-20; Romans 6:12-13

The Mind

The way we think about the world, about ourselves, and about God, gives significant shape to how we actually live our lives. Becoming the people God calls us to be will require some cerebral stretching and an openness to some new ways of thinking and understanding.

Readings: Proverbs 4:1-9; Romans 12:2

The Will

There’s nothing like the flipping of a calendar to convince us that we can change and become better people than we were last year! Since any true change is bound to involve some willpower, we might as well start there. But how does our will even work? And how do we get it pointed in the right direction?

Readings: Romans 7:15-25a

This Will Be A Sign To You

The signs indicating that this is the Christmas season are everywhere.  They are inescapable.  But, those signs are nothing like the original sign that the Christ had come to earth.  What kind of sign would appropriately indicate that Christ is still present on earth today?

Readings:  Luke 2:1-12

The Lord Is With You

Mary was a recipient of the unexpected. No one expects angelic visitors, no one expects the laws of nature to be bent backwards in her womb, and maybe no one even expects that God will take a humble life and use it for great things. But it happened to her, and just maybe, it will happen with us, too.

Reading: Luke 1:26-38

You Are My Son

Jesus lived from a place of love. Before he had done anything that would change the course of history, he heard words of love and acceptance from his Father. So it shouldn’t surprise us that when Jesus spoke to his followers about how they should live, he started and finished with love.

Readings:  Luke 3:21-22; John 15:9-13

A Voice of One Calling

As the season of Advent begins, so does our anticipation of Christ’s arrival at Christmas. We start with a vision given to a man named Zechariah, which found its fulfilment on the banks of the Jordan River some thirty years later where people much like us were called to “Prepare the way for the Lord.”

Readings: Luke 1:5-17; 3:1-6

Savior/Judge

Depending on who you talk to (or what verse you have open in front of you) God has a couple of different ways of dealing with our shortcomings. At times, He comes across as a Judge who is ready to mete out punishment, while at other times, like a Saviour who will get us off the hook. Can He possibly be both?

Readings: 2 Timothy 4:1-8; John 3:16-17

So Close Yet So Far

 One of the great mysteries of faith is that people around the world claim to have personal relationship with God, without ever seeing or being able to fully or consistently describe this God.  Theologians and philosophers use the words ‘Transcendence’ and ‘Immanence’ to describe this tension between God’s sovereign distance from the material world, while maintaining vital closeness to it.  This is more than a theological/philosophical discussion however, so we’ll spend time fleshing out the practical implications of these two essential Divine qualities.
Scriptures- Exodus 33:12-23

Liberal-Conservative

With our neighbours to the south about to participate in an election for the ages, there seems like no better time to talk about politics! Followers of Jesus on either side of the spectrum (and everywhere in between) like to think about God as being just like them. So the big question is, which side is right?

1 Kings 19:9b-18; Galatians 3:26-28

Cultural Stories – The One About Ourselves

The One About Ourselves

As we wrap up our series exploring Cultural Stories, we’ll turn the focus to our identity: Who am I? How are we taught to think about ourselves, and how similar (or different) is the story that God tells us about who we are? So much of how we live in the world flows out of having a proper understanding in this key area of life.

Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Luke 4:1-13

Cultural Stories – The One About Death

The One About Death

There aren’t many themes more harrowing than this one, but the inevitability of the experience makes it a topic we can’t afford to ignore just because it’s uncomfortable. When it comes to the end of life – whether our own or that of someone we love – how does the story that God tells help us navigate our way?

Readings: Isaiah 61:1-3; John 11:17-27

 

Cultural Stories – The One About The Planet

The Story about the Planet

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . . and God saw that it was good.”  “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth”.  From the first page of the Bible to the last, the story of the planet (and entire Universe) is inextricably tied to the story of God’s Creative and Redemptive activity.  We can’t separate the story of People from the story of the Planet.  That has a lot of ramifications for the way we think and act, and we’ll discuss some of those on Sunday.

Scripture reading- Psalm 104:1-31

Cultural Stories – The One About Stuff

The One About Stuff

There’s a modern proverb that claims, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Even if you don’t approach life as a materialistic game, chances are you’re still enamoured by the wide array of ‘toys’ out there on the market. What does this say about us as a culture, and are there really any other options out there?
Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 6:19-21

Cultural Stories – The One About Sex

The One About Sex [PG-13]

Whether you’re listening to the radio, watching Netflix, or doing just about anything online, you’re bound to walk right into the captivating story our culture tells about sex. But does sex simply mean whatever someone wants it to mean, or is there a deeper, more foundational purpose out there for us to discover?

Reading: Malachi 2:10, 13-15a; Matthew 19:1-6

Cultural Stories – The One About Other People

The One About Other People

We can’t get very far along in the world without getting along with other people. But what it means to get along with people varies depending on who you talk to. Is it any of our business how other people live? Do we have a responsibility for the choices people make or the circumstances they find themselves in?

Reading: Ezekiel 33:1-9; Matthew 7:1-5