Advent: The Glorious Impossible // Refusing to Settle for What’s Easy to Understand // Kate Murphy

Years ago, artist and author Madeleine L’Engle coined a beautiful phrase that describes the incarnation. “The birth of Jesus,” she writes, “is a glorious impossible. It cannot be explained, it can only be rejoiced in.”

So the question for us becomes how do we embrace and celebrate the glorious impossible? How do we reconcile impossibility come by the glory of Christ’s birth? How do we believe in the truth that God promises the impossible and that it is a good and glorious impossible?

The prophet Isaiah’s prophecy declared that there would come a messiah—a righteous king who would rule with justice and power and goodness. He prophesied that under this new king reality would shift. That, “the lion and lamb would lay together”—all so impossible and glorious that it cannot be explained. It can only be rejoiced in.

Listen in to the message from this Sunday as we celebrate Advent—this season that invites us to relive the anticipation and wait for the birth of our savior. We rejoice in the glorious truth that Jesus’ coming far exceeds our understanding of what is possible.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Sufferings: When a Little Is All We Can Handle // Kate Murphy

If God loves us, then why is everything so bad? Why won’t God fix it? If God is all-powerful, then why is it still not better? 

If we’re honest, these are the anguished questions we all ask in times of deep suffering. This week, our series on the holiness of small things takes an unexpected turn. We’re looking at the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh—a mysterious condition that threatened the health and ministry of the world’s most powerful evangelist. This portion of Paul’s letter to the burgeoning church in Corinth gives us one answer to these universal, anguished questions.

I hope you’ll listen in as we lean into the holy power of small things—even painful small things—to accomplish the glory of God.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Reserves: When a Little Is All We Have Left // Kate Murphy

This month we’re learning the Kingdom truth that God works through small acts of faithfulness done in great love. We’re learning not to despise or discount a person, a ministry, or a gift simply because it is little. We’re learning not to assume that everything that God does is only ever big.

But we also have to learn to actually trust God with what is small. It’s one thing to give a small portion of what we have to God. But what if a small portion is all we have? What if a little is all we have left? Are we still called to trust the Lord with, literally, what we have to survive?

Dangerously, uncomfortably—scripture suggests the answer is often yes.

This week we’ll learn the lesson of the widow at Zarephath—how having only a little neither excludes us nor excuses us from being the source of God’s abundance in a suffering world.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Beginnings: When a Little Is All We Have To Get Started // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we face something about ourselves: we are small.

Yes, God is big. But we are small. And, in America, we think that nothing small is good. We think that only big, popular, powerful things matter. Whether we realize it or not, we think and believe that small is irrelevant; small is embarrassing.

But “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are.”

If we despise small, we reject the way of Jesus, and I’ll be the first to confess to you: I struggle with this holy truth.

The world as we know it—its systems, structures, values—is passing away. And God is ushering in a new reality. A Kingdom in which small is holy; small is powerful.

Small things are catalysts for big transformation.

Listen in as we seek God’s revelation on “The Holiness of Small Things.”

Let Justice Roll Down: The Words of Amos // Hope Inspires Our Hunger for Transformation // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we wrap up our series with the fierce, final words of the prophet Amos. Unexpectedly, these words will be the most difficult to hear. They differ markedly from what came before, so much so that some scholars presume the words must be written by someone else. But I don’t think so. It’s just that Amos dared to do that most difficult thing—proclaim the truth about hope.

The trouble with hope is that we don’t understand it. Hope eludes us. It’s a holy gift we don’t know how to use. We use it to excuse our by-standing and justify our indifference to suffering—our assumption that since God is good, things really can’t be that bad.

But hope wasn’t made to prop up evil. It’s a revelation of God’s unwavering promise to redeem creation—not destroy it. Hope gives us the courage to love life even as it breaks our hearts. Hope gives us the wisdom to discern where and how God is redeeming our neighborhood, even now.

I hope you’ll listen in as we allow ourselves to have hope—not in the way things are, and not in our efforts to control or change them. But in the astonishing goodness of God and his promises.

Let Justice Roll Down: The Words of Amos // Injustice Invalidates Our Sacrifice // Kate Murphy

“Let justice roll down like a mighty river, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

This is Amos’ greatest hit. We love to sing these words; we revel in their poetic power. But, they aren’t art. They are the desperate prayer of a prophet—and they are also God’s answer to that prayer. And to those of us who trust Jesus and love his way, these words shouldn’t sound like a burden or a threat. They should sound like a promise.

This Sunday,  we listen deeply to Amos’ holy, fiery words. We learn why there was a justice drought in his day and ponder the conditions of our own. But most importantly, we learn how to live in light of this promise. Not passively, as if it’s God’s work and none of our business. And not delusionally either, as if we are God and it’s all up to us.

Our Jewish sisters and brothers have been wrestling with these words from Amos for centuries. In a sacred text called the Mishna, Rabbi Tarfon wrote, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”

So friends, listen in as we seek to walk this path together—not to merely love these words, but to live them.

Let Justice Roll Down: The Words of Amos // Injustice Invalidates Our Worship // Kate Murphy

Last Sunday, we met Amos—an outsider prophet who loved God and people enough to tell the truth, even when it was painful, risky, and had very little chance of producing change (you can watch and listen to the message on Facebook Live!). This Sunday, we move from who to what. What was so terribly wrong in Amos’ day? What are the similarities to life today?

Listen in to hear the fiery words of this prophet who speaks into our culture just as clearly as he did to his own. This isn’t scripture that will soothe or settle us, rather it could be the refining fire that cleanses and restores us to faithfulness. They may not be the words we want, but they might just be the words that we need.

The Art of Neighboring // It’s All About How We Do It // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we wrap up “The Art of Neighboring” worship series. But this ending is really a beginning, because it’s an invitation to take what you’ve heard and put it into practice. In your building, on your street, at your job—anywhere you are.

We’re focusing on Romans 12 and teaching about how we neighbor because, at the end of the day, it’s isn’t the what that brings change, it’s the how. There are one million good ways to bless your neighbor, but the way you do those things matters. More often than we’d like to admit, it’s actually possible to do a good thing in the wrong way. Listen in as we talk about our opportunity to create a culture of neighboring that is filled with the Spirit of Jesus.

The Art of Neighboring // It’s Okay To Love a Little // Kate Murphy

We’re deep in our quest of learning how to be good neighbors, and this week we’re learning the importance of loving our neighbors…a little.

Let’s be honest. Most of us end up doing nothing because we are unwilling to do a little.

It’s not that we don’t care! We’re excited to make a difference, change a life, save the day. But loving our neighbors rarely looks like being a hero. It looks like showing up, doing what we can, and sharing what we have. And in the face of the depth of suffering and pain in the world, what we do can often look…little.

What’s the point of that? How could the little that we have to offer even matter?

In John, we see the gospel truth. Our little acts to love our neighbors actually do matter—not because of our power, but because of God’s power.

The Art of Neighboring // It’s Going To Cost Us Something // Kate Murphy

At some level, everyone who is trying to live a little bit more like Jesus wants to be a good neighbor.  But even though we won’t often admit it, sometimes we’re looking to be a neighbor in a way that it doesn’t cost us very much. This week we look back at what God taught the ancient Hebrew people about neighboring and think about how it applies to us today.

Before the Hebrews even entered into the promised land, God laid out boundaries, limits, and customs so that his people would know how to live well together, as a holy community. Through these limits and customs, God teaches his people that good neighboring doesn’t happen spontaneously. It requires intentionality and, let’s be real, it will always cost us something. This week, we learn about the ancient and holy practice of gleaning—and how we don’t have to be wealthy landowners to incorporate this practice into our lives.