Search results for:
November 8 , 2019
Discover a biblical strategy for enduring the trials and setbacks of life in the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah. Study the challenges they face while rebuilding Jerusalem to find strength for your faith and the encouragement to persevere.
In this Groundwork series, we’ll examine the four aspects of Jesus’ ministry listed in Matthew 4:23-24—teaching, preaching, casting out demons, and healing. Together we’ll study examples of Jesus’ ministry from all four Gospels to better understand his purpose and we’ll discuss what his ministry means for our own faith and ministry today.
In this Groundwork series, Dr. Carol Bechtel helps us set the biblical story of Esther in its original context and think about the original audience. Join us in discovering important truths about God’s presence and God’s providence in times and places, like Esther’s context, when it seems he is neither welcome nor wanted. Together we’ll find encouragement for living faithfully during our own experiences of vulnerability and embrace the assurance that God continues to work through the ordinary faithful actions of believers today.
Light is a significant symbol of Epiphany, the season following Christmas in which Christians celebrate the revelation of Jesus Christ to the world. Reflecting on the stark contrast between light and darkness helps us better understand the gift of light and grace that Jesus Christ brings to our dark, sin filled world. In this Groundwork series, we’ll study images of light in the New Testament and gain a deeper appreciation for God’s light in Jesus Christ and how it provides both our purpose and motivation for reflecting his light to the world.
There are so many ways life can change or fall apart: a devastating diagnosis, a natural disaster, a sinful choice or mistake that leads to undesirable consequences, or an unexpected job loss that creates life-changing circumstances. Or maybe you’re entering a new season like retirement or life after the loss of a spouse. When such catastrophic change occurs, uncertainty and fear of the unknown become real threats to our faith. And it can be difficult to know where or how to begin rebuilding. Join Groundwork as we study the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile. Discover with us assurance for your faith and biblical wisdom and guidance for taking the next step in putting the pieces of life back together with confidence in God’s grace and love for us.
How we think about the Church determines how we function as the Church. The Apostle Paul used multiple images throughout his letters to help the first Christians better understand who they were as believers in Jesus Christ and what it meant for them to be the Church. In this Groundwork series, we’ll study Paul’s descriptions of the Church as a body, a bride, a family, a house, and a living Temple and together we’ll unpack the complexity of our identity as the Church. We’ll gain wisdom about our purpose, our role, how we should behave, what our relationship is to each other and to God, and we’ll begin to see the manifold beauty of God’s people and grow in appreciation for what it means for us to be God’s Church.
It’s very tempting to think of our physical nature as separate from our spiritual nature. But the reality is, God created us as whole beings. Anything we face mentally, physically, or emotionally also impacts our faith. In this Groundwork series, we’ll consider four very painful, often debilitating mental and physical conditions that, sooner or later, we will all deal with inside our church communities and families. Together, we’ll seek comforting guidance from Scripture to help all of us cope when we or the people we love face the reality of living with conditions like dementia, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain or illness.
The shortest gospel of the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark contains an imperative, urgent message for its readers: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah. The writer, John Mark, employs unique literary structure, recurring themes, and dramatic style to drive our focus to recognize Jesus’ true identity and to correct our human understanding of what he came to do. In this Groundwork series, we’ll study the ministry and teaching of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark. Together we’ll explore its distinctive features to help us grasp the radical truth of Mark’s message and we’ll discuss the implications its abrupt and unexpected ending has for our lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to the Christians of Thessalonica. The first letter taught them what it meant to live as Christians and addressed some of their ethical questions. Some time after, he followed up with a second letter to encourage the Thessalonians in their faith and clarify his teaching about Christ’s return. In this Groundwork series, we’ll study 2 Thessalonians to receive encouragement for our own faith and spiritual growth, to gain a better understanding of the events surrounding Christ’s return, and to gain wisdom for living spiritually in our daily lives.
The Gospel of Matthew concludes with the foundational events of the Christian faith: the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians remember and celebrate these extraordinary events on Good Friday and Easter. In this Groundwork series, we’ll explore Matthew’s perspective on the events of Christ’s death and resurrection to gain the wisdom he shares about facing our guilt and doubts, recognizing the significance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, and living faithfully as followers of Jesus Christ.
Most of us know what it feels like to realize we’ve lost sight of what matters. Baffled, we wonder, “When did that happen?” In desperation, we cry out to God for help. Yet, no matter how long or how far we stray from God, the stories found in the book of Judges teach us that God is faithful and rescues us when we cry out to him. In this Groundwork series, we study Judges and learn about God’s enduring commitment to his people. Through inconceivable victories and shocking stories, we see how God works through his chosen leaders to rescue and deliver his people. The book of Judges helps us understand and recognize how God continues to work in our lives and reminds us of his plan for our salvation.
When you think about spiritual gifts and ministry, what activities or roles come to mind first? Most of us likely think of gifts like preaching and evangelism, being a pastor or a missionary. Maybe we think about leading worship or teaching a Bible study. But would you ever consider throwing a party, caring for a sick friend, serving at a soup kitchen, or giving a donation to be a spiritual act of ministry? In this Groundwork series, we’ll explore four virtues the apostles identify as important ways we can glorify God, though today, we tend to dismiss them as ordinary and decidedly unspiritual. Discover the biblical perspective on the spiritual gifts of hospitality, mercy, service, and generosity.
It’s true that much has changed since Jesus walked on earth. Our technology is drastically more advanced, our science and medicine more sophisticated, and our news and culture more international in reach. Our problems, issues, and discussions about morality reflect these advances and changes. Yet the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians offers advice for the Christian life, addressing topics and ethical concerns quite similar to issues we’re discussing today. In this Groundwork series, we examine Paul’s teaching in the first letter to the Thessalonians and discuss how we can take the heart of his teaching and apply it to how we too live out our faith in our own present-day circumstances.
As we enjoy our Christmas celebrations, let’s not forget the reason we celebrate: “A Savior has been born to you.” Like a single thread woven through a garment, the promise of Christmas is woven through all of scripture. Did you know the Bible foreshadows the Christmas story throughout the Old Testament or that Revelation retells the Christmas story with vivid imagery? In this Groundwork Advent series, we’ll broaden our perspective on Christmas by following the thread of its promise from Genesis through the Psalms and Prophets to Revelation. Together we’ll study the Christmas story through the various lenses of the different parts of the Bible and deepen our appreciation for the immense gift of salvation, initiated when Jesus Christ was born among us.
Do you worry? In this life, there is a never-ending list of things we can worry about: the future, the safety of ourselves and our loved ones, our job security, home security, cancer, car accidents...not to mention, our eternal fate. Even the most faithful and dedicated believers occasionally find themselves wondering things like, “Have I done enough? Have I truly confessed all of my sins? Am I still saved?” Thankfully, Scripture offers us the antidote to these worries. In this Groundwork series, we’ll use a Reformed teaching tool called the Heidelberg Catechism to guide us as we delve into scriptures that assure us that we, indeed, belong body and soul in life and in death to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Join us and find the comfort and confidence to lay your worries at Jesus’ feet and live for him.
Sometimes it takes going back to the beginning to remember why: why we are the way we are, why we think the way we think, why we do the things we do, and why we believe what we believe about God, humanity, and the world. In this Groundwork series, we'll study the stories found in Genesis 1-11 and explore how these foundational chapters shape our Christian worldview, inform our basic Christian beliefs, and provide context for the rest of God’s story.
Throughout the course of our lives, suffering deeply and intimately touches each of us both as individuals and as communities. “When will it end?” “Why me?” “Why do bad things happen to good people?” There are so many ways that we wonder, plead, ask for explanations, and seek to understand why we suffer and, further, why God allows suffering to continue in our world. In this Groundwork series, we’ll study Job, a story that exemplifies the struggle to understand the problem of suffering. In it, we’ll recognize our own questions about suffering, observe best practices for comforting those who are experiencing suffering, be uplifted by Job’s testimony of faith in spite of suffering, and receive God’s unprecedented response to our questions about suffering.
The book of Revelation is an intriguing, puzzling mystery to many people, especially those who try to use it to understand world events. But when we read Revelation merely to decipher the End Times, we miss much of what it offers. Think of it as a glimpse of what's already happening right now, a glimpse behind the scenes that’s meant to comfort and assure (and not scare) the believer. In this Groundwork series, we'll focus on two images of Jesus Christ presented in Revelation 5:5-6: Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and Jesus, the Lamb who was slain. Together we'll discuss what these seemingly contradicting images of Jesus tell us about who Jesus is and how they offer us comfort and assurance in our lives today.
What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it look like to have Christ in you? In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul offers a profound, yet simple list of nine Christian characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Any astute observer will quickly notice how the fruit of the Spirit, as Paul identifies them, stand in stark contrast to many of our current cultural distinctives. This Groundwork series seeks to understand each of the nine qualities as they are described and understood in scripture, as well as look at what they mean for those of us who identify as Christians, and how we can live as those who know Jesus Christ and are filled with his Holy Spirit.
During the week prior to his crucifixion, Jesus Christ spent his time teaching in the temple, engaging questions from his disciples and religious teachers, and providing important guidance for the future. In this Groundwork series we'll examine the final lessons and admonitions Jesus Christ imparted to his followers before his death to gain valuable insight about how God wants our faith to guide our thoughts and our actions and how God wants us to engage in the world.
After Christmas comes Epiphany. What is the season of Epiphany and why do Christians think it's so important to observe it? In this Groundwork series we study the Bible stories behind the meaning of Epiphany and discover God's mission to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all people. Together, we'll study the development of the early church in scripture to learn how we can better work together as Christians today as we participate in God's mission to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
There’s a renowned verse in Isaiah 9 that brings great comfort to all who hear it. Much of the hope and comfort that emanates from Isaiah 9:6 comes from the names or titles the prophet gives to the anticipated Messiah: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. For people looking and hoping for the Messiah, these names describe what they can expect him to be like. Unlike the Israelites, we know the name of the long-awaited Messiah. We call him Jesus Christ. In this Groundwork series, we'll seek renewed hope and comfort in our lives by studying Isaiah's descriptions of the Messiah to learn more about who Jesus is and see, even more clearly, how he fulfilled the prophecies.
How often do you reflect on your salvation? Do you ever wonder how we came to believe what we do? What Christians believe about Jesus Christ and salvation was refined, shaped, and clarified 500 years ago, during the time of the Protestant Reformation. October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther, a German monk, is said to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle church in Wittenburg. Find out why these historic events are still significant for your personal faith journey today. In this Groundwork series, we'll be celebrating this anniversary and honoring the efforts of the Reformers by studying the scriptures that led them to define what Christians believe about salvation with these five phrases: faith alone, scripture alone, grace alone, in Christ alone, and glory to God alone.
The biblical book of Proverbs is full of short, pithy sayings rich with wisdom for how best to live our lives. Throughout the book, this wisdom comes to us through the juxtaposition of two diametrically opposed paths: the way of folly and the way of wisdom. In this Groundwork series we scrutinize these two paths as they are presented in Proverbs to better understand God's perspective, learn how we can avoid folly's fate, and allow godly wisdom to permeate and influence all aspects of our lives.
Do you ever wonder why Jesus told parables? Often we think it's because the parables made things easier to understand. The truth, however, is rather different. Jesus' parables obscured as much as they revealed and confused as much as they made for clarity. In this Groundwork series we study some of Jesus' most famous parables to discover deep truths about God and his kingdom.
"What does God want me to do?" It's a question most of us ask at regular intervals in our lives. This idea that God calls his people to particular jobs and activities finds its roots in scripture. Through Biblical stories and New Testament teachings we'll discover together why God's calling is more than a job and how we can tune our hearts to recognize, discern, and respond to his call in our lives.
What happens to my body and my soul when I die? Is my deceased loved one watching over me? Will I recognize my family in heaven? What is heaven like? Books describing near-death experiences and visions of heaven rise in popularity as we seek comfort to ease our anxiety of the unknown. But Christians already have hope for life after death. The Bible provides the answers we seek to our questions about heaven, hell, and the afterlife. Discover the hope Jesus Christ brings for life after death and what scripture says we can expect after death, both before and after Christ's second coming.
The cross is a central symbol of the Christian faith. But what is it's message? Why do Christians glorify this ancient instrument of death? What does the cross of Christ mean for us? In this Groundwork series we focus on the words Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross for answers. Through his words we'll affirm deep truths about our faith, our Savior, our salvation, God's kingdom, and why it's imperative for us to preach Christ crucified.
The biblical book of Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible named after women. Yet this short story about a humble, yet fiercely loyal young woman provides us much insight into God's character and how he chooses to work. In this Groundwork series we study the story of Ruth together to discover God's provision, be reminded of the importance of our obedience and faithfulness, and be encouraged to keep walking in faith no matter our circumstances. Through it all we'll see how the story of Ruth reveals just how God will advance his plan to redeem and restore the world.
Who is Jesus Christ? This question is vital to the Christian faith. For 2000 years, Christians have declared that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. But since the earliest days of Christianity, individuals have developed alternative claims and unorthodox interpretations about who Jesus is and what he has done in an effort to make sense of what they don’t understand. With so many conflicting interpretations, how can we be sure that what we believe about Jesus is true? In this Groundwork series, we’ll study the scriptural evidence for what Christians believe about the person, nature, role, and purpose of Jesus Christ. Special guest Han-luen Kantzer Komline shares insight about the historic people and events that shaped how we answer "Who is Jesus Christ?" today.
The sacraments have been a common part of Christian worship, for almost all churches in all times and in all places. These ceremonies or symbolic acts have marked Christian worship from the very first days of the apostles. Although many denominations today may disagree about their exact meaning, form, or way of practicing, most Christians agree that these sacred rites both proclaim and enact the deepest truths of the Christian faith. In this Groundwork series, we'll study the scriptures that inform our beliefs about the Holy Sacraments, what happens when we practice them, and their purpose in the Christian life.
What do Christians believe? In this Groundwork series, we'll study the biblical foundations that provide the basis for the core beliefs of the Christian faith. We'll discuss many topics, including who God is and what he's done; the nature of humanity; God's salvation and how this salvation comes to us; how we respond to salvation; and the kingdom of God. Whether you're new to the Christian faith or have been a disciple of Christ for many years, studying scripture to discover the roots of our faith reminds us of our past, teaches us to live as God's people in the present, and fills us with hope and assurance for the future.
What is a believer's calling and responsibility when confronted with the heart-breaking reality of injustice in our world? Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments reveal that justice is not only close God's heart, but that true biblical justice is tied to righteousness and flows directly from God's own character. In this Groundwork series we'll study scriptures and reflect on the book "The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance" to inform our understanding of justice from God's perspective, discover our role in responding to injustice both through prayer and action, and find encouragement to continue pursing justice in our life and world today.
Movies and pop culture can lead us to view prophets as intimidating, larger-than-life, and full of judgment. There's an element of truth there, and it's true that much of Elijah's story involves judgment on Israel, but if we take the time to study the prophet Elijah we'll discover a simple man with doubts and faith like the rest of us. In this Groundwork series, we dig into the stories of this simple prophet Elijah to encounter a powerful God and discover that this God listens, cares, and remains involved in the lives of his people which provides roots for our faith and a basis for our hope.
The biblical letter of 2 Corinthians may seem like a ministry guide for pastors, evangelists, and missionary's, but it's actually Paul's encouragement for the average Christian. This Groundwork series studies Paul's description of the ups and downs of his apostolic ministry as he describes it in 2 Corinthians to embrace his encouragement toward faithful discipleship and continued witnessing simply through personal testimony of daily life, and his reminder of God's strength despite the challenges we might encounter to the gospel message.
Work is a staple of life, but is work part of God's design for the world or the result of humanity's fall into sin? Whether you're in a season of getting paid to work, seeking work, or working to cultivate a home, you participate in the necessary, yet sometimes thankless efforts of work. Some of us even see our work as a calling from God, but most of us would much prefer to spend our time doing other activities. This Groundwork series seeks to discover God's original intention, clarify calling and vocation as they relate to our work, and identify a biblical perspective for human work, so that each of us can perform our work faithfully to honor and glorify God.
As we traverse the season of Lent and celebrate Easter, we focus on spiritual preparation in the same way Jesus spent 40 days in the desert spiritually preparing for his ministry. This Groundwork series studies the late chapters in Isaiah where the prophet introduces us to “the servant of the Lord.” Together, we'll discover our Messiah and God's plan for all his covenant people by digging into the same prominent chapters that informed the Apostles as they began to teach about Jesus Christ and salvation by grace.
When we think about the law of the Old Testament, it's easy to think about the confusing details, specific demands and feel like God's law was oppressive. But when we study Deuteronomy, we discover that in his farewell speech to the Israelites Moses reviews the law and in process shows us that God's law is actually a beautiful gift. In this Groundwork series we study the book of Deuteronomy to uncover this beautiful gift and see how remembering God's law leads us to freedom and life.
Advent is a season of waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ, the promised and longed for Messiah. We use words like longing, anticipation, and expectation to describe what that waiting feels like. In this Groundwork series we study the traditional Advent themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to remind ourselves why we wait, what we're waiting for, and how we should live while we wait.
As the church began to form, the Apostles often wrote letters to new and existing churches when they could not visit in person. The letters celebrated faithfulness to the gospel, encouraged steadfast living, and corrected wayward teachings. This Groundwork series studies the four shortest letters in the New Testament: Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude to discover what these succinct memos teach us about living faithfully for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wanted to ask God questions like: are You listening to me? God, why don’t You answer me? God, why did You do that? Why don’t You fix this? In the biblical book of Habakkuk, the prophet asks God these questions and in his discourse we find answers to our questions about how evil can exist if we have a just God, how we should respond to unanswered prayers, and where we can find continued hope.
Christians refer to the Bible as the Word of God. It's the book that informs our faith. Yet many still wonder, is the Bible true? Is it a historical book? Is it accurate to say there are no errors in it or that it is 100% true? In this Groundwork series we discuss the trustworthiness of the Bible by studying what Jesus says about scripture, what the Bible says about itself, and the impact this has on our faith.
We all want, maybe even need, to believe in something. With a variety of religious teachings in existence today, it's natural to turn to a trusted teacher for confirmation on whether something you're hearing is solid, dependable, and trustworthy. That's the assurance the Apostle Paul gives to Timothy and Titus, two pastors in training, when he writes "This is a trustworthy saying..." This Groundwork series studies the five statements Paul deems "worthy of full acceptance" and their impact on our understanding of the gospel message in our lives.
James is one of the most confusing and possibly one of the most controversial books of the Bible; how can this legalistic instruction about our behavior and actions fit in a New Testament professing grace and mercy? In fact, there are some Christians that love this book and others that would prefer it be thrown out of the biblical canon. This Groundwork series studies the book of James in the context of the New Testament and discusses how James' instruction, though blunt and seemingly moralistic, can benefit the faith life of all believers who by God's grace have already come to believe in Jesus Christ.
Of all the conjunctions in English, the little word "but" can pack quite a wallop because it often represents a big turn of thought. In the Bible there are many key texts where that little conjunction turns everything toward a new, hope-filled direction. This Groundwork series studies five of those powerful texts that comfort us, encourage us, and provide us assurance to strengthen our faith.
The Bible is full of commands, how do we decide which ones matter most to God? If only we could ask Jesus himself; lucky for us, somebody did. In this Groundwork series we study what Jesus declared "the greatest commandment" and how we can best follow Jesus' command to love God and love our neighbor.
While not a biblical list found directly in scripture, the list of spiritual disciplines has remained relatively consistent since the time of the early Church fathers. Why? Because these practices are found encouraged and modeled in scripture, often by Jesus himself. In this Groundwork series we study Bible passages that help us better understand why we should incorporate spiritual disciplines for a healthy spiritual life, dig into scripture to learn about individual disciplines, and discuss how the spiritual disciplines deepen our faith, lead us closer to the heart of God, and help us grow in relationship with God.
The gospel of John introduces us to Jesus in a cosmic way. It does not share the traditional Christmas story like the gospels of Matthew and Luke; instead John emphasizes what it means for us that Jesus entered into our world. In this Groundwork series we study the descriptions of Jesus found in John 1:1-18 and discuss how these verses have influenced our theology,shaped our understanding of Jesus, and helped us know God.
Evangelism and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world is a mainstay of the Christian faith. The practice comes from Jesus' command to his disciples in Matthew 28 "to make disciples of all nations." In this Groundwork series Bishop Henry Luke Orombi joins us to discuss Bible passages that shape our thinking on evangelism, trace the history and spread of Christianity, and reflect on scripture and the current challenges facing the gospel today.
The book of Exodus is pivotal in both explaining the development of Israel as God's Old Testament nation and in foreshadowing God's salvation work for all people through Christ Jesus. In this Groundwork series we discuss both the familiar and unfamiliar stories from the book of Exodus to discover more about who God is and to develop a deeper understanding of how God works in our lives.
Worship is a natural piece in the rhythm of Christian life. Yet new and mature Christians alike regularly want to know how and why this practice came to be or if we are worshiping the way the Bible says we should. In this Groundwork series we study scriptures to discuss what worship is, why we worship, and how we worship.
"I believe in the Holy Spirit..." What are we really professing when we say that we believe in the Holy Spirit? In this Groundwork series we study the third section of the Apostles' Creed and the Bible passages which inform it, to better understand who the Holy Spirit is and how he works in our lives and in the broader life of the church. Understanding the third person of the Trinity makes it easier for us to recognize and partner with the Holy Spirit for God's kingdom work.
Jesus' resurrection is the foundation of our faith. Christianity stands or falls on this event. But the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead very often does not so much roar onto the scene as it creeps up on people in surprising ways. In this Groundwork series we study the resurrection from the perspective of two stories found in Luke 24 to discover the intrigue, mystery, comedy, and finally great joy of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead.
On His way to Jerusalem and to the cross, Jesus met a lot of people. In this Groundwork series we'll follow Jesus on the road to Jerusalem and His journey to the cross by studying stories and encounters described in the Gospel of Luke. Together we'll discuss the lessons on discipleship, gratitude, the ultimate cost of our salvation, and God's beautiful gift of grace this journey shares.
The prophetic book of Jonah might be one of the shorter books of the Bible, but it contains a powerful message. It is a story about a great God; and in a sense, Jonah offers the key to understanding the whole Bible. In this Groundwork series we study the story of Jonah, the big fish, and a journey to Nineveh to discover the heart of God, think critically about the state of our own hearts, and hear the prompting to get busy with the work He has entrusted to us.
The Bible is God’s holy revelation to us; contained in scripture are the truths we need to know in order to recognize our sinfulness and come to the salvation that God has prepared for us in Christ Jesus. And the Bible is a reliable teacher, but still, the Bible is a big book, and so, perhaps it is not surprising that across the sweep of scriptures you can find texts that seem to contradict each other. In this Groundwork series we study Bible passages that, at first glance, seem to say opposite things; together we'll study and discuss the texts to discover what they really mean and how we can deepen our understanding of scripture when we bring such seemingly contradictory texts together.
The first two chapters of Luke contain no fewer than four very important songs, as the people getting caught up in God’s great climax of salvation found that they just could not contain their wonder and joy. In this Groundwork series we walk through the season of Advent and Christmas by studying Luke 1 and 2 to explore some of the consequences of the incarnation found in these powerful testimonies of God's love and deliverance.
The book of Acts details the birth and early development of the Christian church. In reading the book of Acts we can celebrate the excitement of the spreading gospel, but we also observe the wrestling the apostles and early Christians had to do as they learned to put their new faith into action. In this Groundwork series we study an overview of some of the stories in Acts and discuss what these stories teach us about God and about his Church and how/where/when we need to be aware of these works of the Holy Spirit in our churches today.
It can be very challenging and sometimes intimidating to come up with the right words to say that do not feel trivial when we live through experiences of fear, tragedy, and death. So, what do we say when the worst happens? Where is God when it hurts, and is there any true comfort to be found when bad things happen? In this Groundwork series we study the Biblical passages to which we can turn first when we desire to hear or share words of comfort rooted in our faith.
When the fullness of no less than Almighty God comes down to earth in human form, you would expect that God would bring so much to this world that you could never exhaust the possible ways of talking about it. The New Testament writers knew that was true of the Son of God, who was born Jesus of Nazareth. So, they reached for lots of images to describe various aspects of Jesus, In this Groundwork series we explore the rich biblical background of four truly great, illuminating images used to describe Jesus Christ: the Image of God, the Wisdom of God, the Lamb of God, and the Word of God.
God has always chosen to have humanity play a special role is his plan of salvation. But this has never meant elitism or special treatment. Often the people who get called upon to play key parts in God’s unfolding drama of redemption end up leading hard lives. In this Groundwork series we study some of the key figures from the book of Genesis, the first people who moved God’s covenant promises forward in history, to learn more about walking by faith and waiting on God’s timing.
At the heart of the Gospel is the intense suffering of God’s own Son, followed by the best part of all the Good News – that Christ is risen from the dead, having conquered sin and death, and that he lives to save us. But why does salvation have to come through suffering? In this Groundwork series we make sense of Christ’s death and resurrection by studying Old Testament passages that predicted the events and discussing the hope Easter brings.
You do not have to look far to find books, cartoon depictions, or movies about the seven sins deemed most perilous to humanity. What is it about pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust that make these sins particularly deadly? Is it the attitudes themselves, or the actions they produce, that prove most fatal? In this Groundwork series we study the ancient list of the Seven Deadly Sins by examining scriptural examples of what these sins look like in order to better understand what they are, what they are not, and their consequences. We also study the scriptural antidotes for these infamous sins that help us heed the Holy Spirit’s call to be continually made over into the image of Christ Jesus our Lord.
What is the meaning of life? This is one of the most existential questions we all ask at some time in our lives. All people desire to find meaning and create value for their lives. But as believers and followers of Christ, we do not want just any meaning for life, we want God’s meaning for our lives. So we turn to scripture for answers. In this Groundwork series we dig into the book of Ecclesiastes to discover biblical wisdom about life and how we can live meaningful lives that are more than just chasing the wind.
Have you ever wondered why the four gospels tell the same story different ways? Why don’t they all start in the same place or have the same stories? Each of the four gospels begins by introducing Jesus to us. Each of the four gospel writers has the same purpose in his introduction; he wants to show who Jesus is and why his story should be considered. The evangelists are all concerned at the outset with establishing Jesus' identity and thus his significance. But they go about doing this in different ways. In this Groundwork series we anticipate Christ’s birth by studying the similarities and differences of the gospel books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then discuss the significance of each different perspective for shaping our faith and our understanding of Jesus Christ.
Most of us desire to live lives that have meaning. We’d like to look back on life and say, “I had a purpose, and I made a difference.” We’d like people to remember us in positive ways, like joyful, happy, or caring. We set goals for ourselves and work hard to make life turn out the way we want it to. But are our goals and actions enough to get us there? Is that all we need to give our lives meaning? In this Groundwork series we study the biblical book of Philippians to discuss what gives our lives meaning and purpose, and how Christ affects our living.
It is easy to identify suffering in our own lives and in our society. Medical diagnoses lead to physical suffering, lost jobs and poverty lead to economical suffering, prejudice leads to social and emotional suffering. Jesus promises that those who follow him will experience suffering. But how is Christian suffering or suffering for our faith different? How can we identify it? What should we do about it? In this Groundwork series we study the biblical book of 1 Peter to better understand discipleship, the suffering we can expect along the way, what that suffering looks like in different times and places, and how our faith helps us face it.
Ask someone to describe Jesus and you’ll likely hear warm characteristics like loving, kind, compassionate, wise, and powerful. But are we being selective in our memories of Jesus, focusing on those parts of his character we find appealing and ignoring any evidence of other sides to him? What about the stories in the Bible that depict Jesus with characteristics that seem scandalous? In this Groundwork series we study scripture to discover the Jesus we don’t know, discuss how we live with the tensions that arise, and discover how understanding this more complete picture of who Jesus is leads us to greater obedience.
In the gospel of John, Jesus offers eight word pictures to help understand his identity. These names Jesus chose for himself throughout his ministry matter because they connect him to God. They demonstrate both the eternal and the personal nature of God, all the while inviting us into relationship with Him. In this Groundwork series we study Jesus eight “I AM” statements in the biblical book of John to discover the facets of God Jesus shares with us, understand the parallels these statements have in the Old Testament, and discuss what these identity statements continue to mean for us and our relationship with God today.
How do you behave when life’s walls seem to be closing in on you? How do you go on when it seems like there is nothing left to live for or when your fondest hope gets dashed or a dream has apparently died? Jesus knows how this feels. If we follow the events of his last day, we can learn a lot about how we go on living. In this Groundwork series we study the events of Jesus last day to discover how we go on living in moments of desperation and despair. Then we study a story of what happens next to see where we can turn for hope in moments of hopelessness.
The cross is likely one of the most identifiable symbols of the Christian faith, for very good reason. The cross symbolizes an event packed with meaning and ultimately, our salvation and restoration into relationship with God. In this Groundwork series we study scripture to understand three powerful meanings behind the symbol of the cross: the cross as our example, as our victory, and as our atonement. Then we’ll discuss the assurance, encouragement, and hope these meanings provide.
Christians agree that the Bible is by far the most important book for our faith and life. But we don't always agree on what the Bible teaches, or how to interpret it. So, what kind of book is the Bible? What is the Bible really about? How do we understand those passages that upset us? What methods for reading it will help us grow in our devotional life? In this Groundwork series we study scriptures that give us guidance reading the Bible so that we get the most benefit for our faith, our lives, and our communities.
Virtue is the “art of living well.” Since most of us desire to live well, we strive to live virtuous lives. Google virtue and you are bound to discover varying lists of virtues, but there are uniquely Christian virtues: faith, hope, and love. Yes, you might find culture touting these virtues, but there is a depth to them that is only achieved in relationship with Christ. In this Groundwork series we study scriptures that will help us better understand what it means to live a life with Christian virtues, discover the depth of faith, hope, and love unique to Christianity, and discuss how we can live into these virtues even when the odds might be against us.
Christmas is the season when we celebrate the birth of God's greatest gift to the world, the Savior Jesus Christ. But did it really happen the way the Bible says it did? Is there any evidence for it? Or is the Christmas story we know and love simply a myth or fairy tale? What impact do the answers to these questions have on our faith? In this Groundwork series acclaimed historian Dr. Paul Maier joins Dave Bast to consult historic sources and separate fact from fantasy as we explore the story of the first Christmas as told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
On Groundwork, we believe that biblical inquiry can strengthen our faith, so at the end of every Groundwork conversation we ask you to share what topics and passages you’d like to hear discussed on Groundwork. You’ve taken us at our word and responded with interesting and sometimes challenging topics and passages both theological and practical in nature. In this Groundwork series, we dig into scripture together to answer some of the questions you’ve asked Groundwork.
It is a natural human tendency to desire knowledge about what is going to happen. For believers, this means wanting to know what is going to happen when the end comes. People have been known to scour scriptures and make predictions when or how the end times will happen. In this Groundwork series we work to sort fact from fiction as we study scriptures to gain a better understanding of what we know and what remains a mystery regarding the commonly accepted 4 Last things: Christ’s return, the resurrection of the body, hell and judgement, and heaven.
The biblical book of Psalms in the Old Testament is perhaps the most used and best-loved book in the entire Bible. It is a song book, the hymn book of the people of God. In this Groundwork series we explore themes from the book of Psalms to help us better understand how to read the psalms, apply some of the different types of psalms we encounter to our life experiences, and incorporate the different psalms into our devotional lives for spiritual growth.
Each one of us regularly has to reconcile our Christian faith with what we know and experience of the world around us. We are left with some deep theological questions about God, how he works, and living our faith in difficult situations. In this Groundwork series, we let the profound questions asked by a class of 8th graders guide us as we did into scripture to answer questions we all wrestle with at some point about God, the nature of Jesus, war, prayer, and more.
What do you make of a crucified Messiah? As the Bible tells the Passion story of Christ’s last few days, his crucifixion, and his resurrection it names and records Christ’s interactions with a few specific individuals. In this Groundwork series we study the gospel of Matthew to discover the reactions to Jesus and the people he meets on his journey from Palm Sunday to the cross and finally his resurrection Easter morning. As we observe these interactions we will discuss how these individuals help us recognize ourselves in the story, how Jesus challenges our perceptions, and how the glory of our Savior and Lord is revealed.
Jesus’ completed his earthly ministry in a short few years. In such a short amount of time, what words and actions did he feel were most urgent to share with us? In this Groundwork series we study the events of Jesus ministry from the perspective of Matthew’s gospel to hear what Jesus had to say about our spiritual lives, our living, his identity, the kingdom of God, and more. Then we will discuss the practical implications of his teachings in our lives today.
Who is Jesus? Why does a virgin birth matter? All I see around me is brokenness, sadness, and grief – where can I find hope? These are all questions we can address during the Advent and Christmas season by studying the opening chapters of Matthew’s gospel. In this Groundwork series we review the stories about John the Baptist and Christ’s birth through Jesus baptism and temptation, just before the start of his earthly ministry, to learn more about who Jesus is, our spiritual needs, and where we find hope.
What exactly is the church? We call buildings churches, we call institutions churches, we call groups of people churches. So what or who did Jesus want the church to be? And what mission did he give the church? In this Groundwork series we study scripture to discover the biblical definition of church and the biblical mandate for what the church should be doing on earth. We discuss how the church on earth is doing this well, what continues to need work, and what this means practically for each of us individually.
Much like today, as the gospel began to spread around the world early Christians had the challenge of discerning between truth, half-truths, and blatant fallacies surrounding the gospel message of salvation and how they should live as a result. In this Groundwork series we study the biblical book of Galatians to glean from the messages Paul shared with the early believers as he helps them – and us – discern the truths of salvation, justification, faith, right living, and living in community.
We all desire justice in our lives and our communities. We’re rightly outraged by corruption and evil. Thankfully we believe in a just God. But what does biblical justice look like? Does it look the same as wrongs being righted or people getting what they rightly deserve? How does compassion fit? In this Groundwork series we study scripture passages that guide our understanding of biblical justice, help us recognize justice in the many contexts of our lives, and give instruction for how we can live justly.
Where do we turn when we have questions about Jesus’ resurrection and how salvation works? How about the stories about the very first people to ask these questions? In this Groundwork series we study the stories of people like Peter, John, Paul and the couple on the road to Emmaus, whose first-hand encounters with the risen Jesus Christ shaped their message of the gospel and understanding of the truths of salvation.
On occasion Groundwork records individual programs that are not connected with a larger series. If you’re looking for a program that you remember hearing but don’t think it was part of a series, check here! You will find Groundwork episodes that dig into scripture on a variety of topics like money, faith, confession, skepticism, and more. You will also find the tribute episode that honors the life of late Groundwork host, Bob Heerspink.