05/15/2022 | “Ordinary” | Exodus 4;27-31

Life is lived in the ordinary.  Waiting on the extraordinary can cause us to miss life’s greatest blessings. God does not despise the day of small things. Neither should we. He uses ordinary means to save and grow us.  Join us Sunday as we examine Exodus 4:27-31 and consider how God uses ordinary means of grace to save sinners and grow His Church.

05/08/2022 | “Signs and Seals” | Exodus 4:18-26

How important are covenant signs?   Are they means of grace to be diligently used or nostalgic rituals to be casually employed?   The story of Zipporah and the ‘bridegroom of blood’ is no literary detour from the exodus, but gets to the heart of our faith.   Join us as we examine Exodus 4:18-26 and consider the importance of covenant ‘signs and seals.’

05/01/2022 | “Ascended into Heaven” | Luke 24:50-53

Every week Christians profess their faith in the Apostles’ Creed. Among its central doctrines is a profession that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  Yet many have never considered why the Ascension is such an important doctrine.   Listen as we examine Luke 24:50-53 and consider the hope and comfort we receive from the Ascension. 

04/24/2022 | “The New Normal” | Luke 24:36-53

After Jesus’ Resurrection, his disciples faced a new normal. For 40 days, Jesus comforts their fears, commissions them give the world the gospel, and promises His presence through the Holy Spirit. The end of the gospel story is only the beginning. 

Their new normal is the best prescription for our own new normal – looking to Christ for comfort, following Christ’s call, and relying on Christ’s presence through the Holy Spirit.  Listen as we examine the “end of the beginning” from Luke 24 and consider the new normal for followers of Jesus Christ. 

04/17/2022 | “Not Here!” | Luke 24:1-12

What is your response to the Resurrection?  For those who encountered an empty tomb and a Risen Christ, the Resurrection changed everything.   Has it changed everything for you?  Has it changed anything in you?  Listen as we examine Luke 24:1-12 and consider the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus. 

The Empty Chair

A disappearance is powerfully bewildering.   Every magician knows this.   Disappearance mystifies us.  We doubt what we just saw.  Was it really there?  Was it what we thought it was?  Where is it now?  What just happened?  A disappearance unsecures what was secure, makes us rethink what is real.   Calls remembrance into question.  Creates suspicion of others.   Whether David Copperfield is vanishing the Statue of Liberty or we are missing our car keys, a disappearance raises questions and fuels emotions – frustration, uncertainty and anger.

But if this is true of things that disappear, how much more is it true when people disappear.   People disappear from our lives in many ways.  Some are taken from us and some choose to leave.   Some leave expectedly and some suddenly.   Some may return or be found, but others may be gone forever.   Some circumstances make it easier to accept, but the disappearance of people from our lives is never easy.  Questions become more urgent and unanswerable.  And the emotions — grief, loneliness, and fear — become more consuming.   The empty chair casts a long shadow.

The Lord Jesus knew his “leaving day” was coming.  His departure would be hard for the disciples to understand and even harder to accept.   As he celebrated a last Passover with them, he explained the nature and necessity of his return to the Father.  They were grief stricken and filled with questions.   In John 14-16 we read how Jesus comforted them and answered their questions.  Then after he rose from the dead, he remained with them 40 days to prepare them for their part in the story of redemption.  After those 40 days, he ascended and returned to the Father with the disciples looking on.  Can you imagine their emotion in that moment?  Luke records the moment In Acts 1.

As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

We might have expected the disciples to be dismayed at Jesus disappearance.  During the 40 days following his resurrection, Jesus had appeared and disappeared.  But this was different.  Jesus was gone for good this time.   But Jesus had taught them what his Ascension meant.  He would send them the Holy Spirit.  Far from being alone, now, in the person of the Spirit, Jesus would be more with them than ever.   At last he ascended to the throne and begun to rule, as they had long desired.   Luke tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.   The enemies who sought their lives were still enemies.  The dangers they would face remained.  The bodily presence of Jesus that they had followed and loved for three years was gone, never to return in their lifetimes.  Yet they have great joy.

The disciples now understood what Jesus’ Ascension meant and what it promised.  Do you?  Every week millions of Christians profess their faith together in the Apostles’ Creed.   Among its central doctrines is a profession that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  Yet many have never considered why this is such an important doctrine.   Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Luke 24:50-53 and consider the hope and comfort we receive from the Ascension. 

We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:30 am for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  Or join us on Facebook Live @PottsvilleARP or YouTube

04/10/2022 | “Behold Your King!” | Luke 23:26-49

Luke’s gospel gives scarcely any details about the crucifixion, but focuses on the reactions of those Jesus encountered on his Via Dolorosa.   He was met with pity, mockery and bitter anger, but also remarkable and unexpected faith.

What is your response to the cross?  Does it evoke pity, mockery, or despair?  Or does it call you to repentance, faith, and hope? Listen as we examine Luke 23:26-49 and consider the Kingship of Christ, powerfully declared, brazenly rejected and savingly believed. 

04/03/2022 | “Jesus On Trial” | Luke 22:63-23:25

In Pontius Pilate’s courtroom we see the greatest miscarriage of justice in history. Everyone is guilty – the judge, the prosecutors, the jury – everyone that is except the one on trial. But Jesus is no mere victim of injustice, but a willing sacrifice to divine justice   Because of this we have peace with God and with one another.  And that is good news! Listen as we examine Luke 22:63-23:25 and consider the greatest courtroom drama in history as it unfolds Christ’s innocence and condemnation for our guilt and pardon. 

03/27/2022 | “Resistance is Futile” | Exodus 3:11-4:17

At eighty years old, Moses received the call he always wanted. He waited a lifetime. But now was it too late? He once tried to right every wrong.  Now he opts out with excuse after excuse.  And finally asks God to find someone else.  But resisting God is futile.  Moses had to learn this.  And so do we.   God is patient and kind to Moses, even in his struggle to obey.  And he is patient and kind with us.   Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Exodus 3:11-4:17 and consider the futility and the foolishness of resisting God’s call.

03/20/2022 | “Taking the Call” | Exodus 3:1-10

God called Moses from a burning bush. It is the call he always wanted. But why now? Why him? Is this call a divine spam-risk? A scam? A crank call? Moses tries to hang up, but God’s call can’t be declined. This was true for Moses – and for you. 

Every Christian has a vocation.  Every follower of Christ is gifted and called to serve the Lord, the Body of Christ, and the world.  What is your calling?  Have you heard?  Have you heeded?   Or did you hang up, thinking God’s call was a spam-risk, a scam, or a crank-call? Listen as we examine Exodus 3:1-10 and consider how the call of Moses is unique, but also an important pattern for God’s call in every Christian’s life.