Exiles: Flourishing on the Margins (Fall 2019 Sermon Series)

It’s a helpful formula:
E + R = O
…which means:
Event + Response = Outcome.
Here’s the significance: we can’t control the events that happen to us, but once an event happens, the outcome will be influenced by our response… which happens to be the one thing we can control.
Our Event (E): Exile
An “event” for Christians on the North Shore at the moment is that we’re increasingly being pushed to the margins. More and more, our experience is that of exiles. We don’t have favored status anymore. Christendom is over. We’re not being persecuted yet, but it may be trending that direction. We’re a strange minority in a land not our home. Some of our neighbors who used to be annoyed by the morality they believed we were trying to impose on them now increasingly resent us because of our perceived immorality (i.e. intolerance, bigotry, hate).
Our Desired Outcome (O): Flourishing on the Margins
At North Sub, our hope is that we’d follow in the footsteps of 2000 years of Christians who found themselves on the margins in various cultures around the world. Often, these situations are precisely when the church has most thrived. In summary: if we must be on the margins, we aim to flourish there.
Our Response (R): Stand Firm
If we are to flourish in response to an exile event, there are two tendencies we must fight against. The tendency to respond by forming an isolated enclave is tempting, but we’re called to be in the world. The tendency to respond by capitulating to what our neighbors say is tempting, but we’re called not to be of the world. The third way we’re called to is “in” but not “of” – sojourners stopping through. Aliens and strangers, invested in our community despite having our minds and hearts firmly fixed elsewhere.
These are some of the themes covered in 1 Peter, which is written to Christians experiencing the beginning stages of ostracism, exclusion, and derision. This letter, which we’ll preach through this Fall, is a five-chapter-long answer to the question of how to respond in the face of exile.
Peter’s final summary of how to respond? “Stand firm” (1 Pet. 5:12).
Want to Go Deeper This Fall?
Here are some ideas to help you immerse yourself in our Exile theme:
1. Join us for Life Courses at 9:15 AM each Sunday beginning September 8th.
2. Sign up for a Life Group where you can discuss these issues in community.
3. Reflect on the theme song we will be using in worship during our Exiles sermon series.
4. Read or study one of the following supplemental resources:
Evangelism as Exiles by Elliot Clark (sign up for this Life Course to study it in community)
Take Heart by Matt Chandler (some Life Groups are using this resource) 
1 Peter for You by Juan R. Sanchez (discussion questions included)
1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ by Jen Wilkin (video-based series)
1&2 Peter and Jude by N.T. Wright (discussion questions included)
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (classic dealing with the themes of this series; movie coming out soon)
Our Secular Age ed. Collin Hansen (a shorter book analyzing a 900-page classic)
5. Join us for our Fall sermon series beginning September 1st, and listen online to any sermons you miss!
6. Email Karen with stories about how you’re seeing this series connect with your life.

Summer Series: Psalms of Zion

In this series, we are looking at several so-called “Psalms of Zion.” Zion is sometimes used in scripture to refer to a special place, sometimes to a special people in a special place – always with the presence of God dwelling with them in a special way.
The word “Zion” is first used to refer to a stronghold David took from the Jebusites (2 Sam 5:7); later the term can be used for the site of the City of David (2 Sam 5:7) or for the site of the temple (Ps 132:13) or perhaps even for Jerusalem as a whole (Is 40:9). God’s people are so identified with that place that they themselves can be referred to as Zion (Is 60:14). But in all these referents, what makes one place or one people special is the presence of God dwelling there with them.
That’s why it’s natural for the writers of the New Testament to see Christ as the cornerstone of Zion (1 Pet 2:6). After all, in that “place” called Christ’s body dwelled the fullness of deity (Col 2:9). As such, Christ is the ultimate Zion. But astoundingly, in the same passage that calls Christ the cornerstone of Zion (2:4-8), Peter can talk about Christians as living stones in that same Zionic house, since God dwells in us through Jesus. For that reason, you’ll hear the preachers in this series talk about Zion by pointing both to Jesus and to the church that is in Him!
But that’s not all. In the end, we have a hope for one final fulfillment of this Zion motif in scripture: when a new Zion – a new Jerusalem – comes down out of heaven from God (Rev 21:2). There, we will dwell with God’s people in God’s place sustained by His glorious, personal presence.
You’ll hear this biblical trajectory of Zion over and over again in our sermons as we explore the intent of the authors of these Psalms, explore what these Psalms say about Christ, and what they say to us today as we experience tastes of Zion while looking ahead to the fullest Zion to come.
If you were at church on Sunday, you heard Robbie Kellogg and Maggie Fensler unveil their retooled version of the hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” originally written by John Newton. What a rich song! And what a great job by Robbie and Maggie refreshing it for our benefit.
Click here for lyrics, an explanation of the song, and a paraphrase for enhanced understanding.
Press play below to listen to a recording of the song.

New Sermon Series – Isaiah: Judgment and Hope

It is with great anticipation that we look ahead to this Sunday, March 24th, when Pastor Craig will kick off a new sermon series entitled “Isaiah: Judgment and Hope.” In this series, we will be working chapter-by-chapter through all or part of the Old Testament book of Isaiah – we will cover the first five chapters before Easter and launch into chapters six through twelve right after Easter.
Isaiah is sometimes called “the fifth gospel” because, despite being written 700 years before the coming of Messiah, its sixty-six chapters vividly spell out the good news of this Messiah and what He will come to accomplish. Indeed, Isaiah is rich regarding all four of the portions of a full presentation of the gospel: (1) God, the sole creator of the universe and sovereign Lord of history, (2) sin, the rebellion engaged in by the peoples of the world as they puff themselves up with pride and worship the created instead of the creator, (3) Messiah, spoken of in this book both as the exalted king from David’s line and as the lowly “Servant of the Lord” who will lay down his life for his people, (4) salvation, seen in Isaiah as deliverance from foreign powers and as the restoration of a remnant of God’s people for a glorious future in New Jerusalem.
However, Isaiah does not envision God’s people arriving in New Jerusalem without great hardship. In chapter after chapter, Isaiah juxtaposes some of the most glorious pictures in the whole Bible of future hope with some of the bleakest pictures in the whole Bible of painful judgment. However, for the remnant of God’s people, this judgment is of the purifying sort – not like a fire that destroys but rather like a fire that refines.
As you prepare for this sermon series, you might consider preparing your heart in three ways:
– Read Isaiah 1-5 devotionally on your own. Some commentators have called these first five chapters a snapshot of the whole book in miniature.
– Watch these short videos that summarize the book as a whole. This may help orient you to the totality of Isaiah’s message.
– Pray with us that God will prepare our hearts to receive what He has for us in Isaiah – both a word of rebuke for our failure to live up to our calling and a word of hope regarding the glorious salvation that is ours in Messiah.

Join Us in a Day of Fasting and Prayer for BMA

This Summer, we will be sending a team to the Czech Republic to minister alongside our Global Partners Paul and Sharon Till at Bezkydy Mountain Academy in Frydlant.
More immediately, the Till family and BMA have some urgent prayer requests, and they’ve asked us to join them on Tuesday, March 19th, to participate in a day of fasting and prayer. Below is an explanation from Paul. Please do consider joining us in fasting and prayer on Tuesday.

BMA is seeking the Lord in a day of prayer and fasting.

      Thanks for all you have done to support the mission of our school. We’d like you to know about another opportunity coming up this week. The board and the administration are inviting members of our community around the world to fast and pray on Tuesday, March 19th. We are asking Him for some specific breakthroughs as well as the blessing, resources and protection He has always provided.
      Here are some of the specific things we will be praying about.

The Expansion.
      To bring more students to the school, so that more students and their families can meet Jesus, we’ll need permission from the government and a bigger building. To increase the size of the building, we raised money with the Lord’s grace and your help. Now we need building plans to be approved by various local government agencies. They are backlogged and facing many months’ delay. Our desire to act sooner rather than later comes from our understanding of the political system. We want to move while political leaders sympathetic to BMA are in office, before the next elections. 
      The Lord is the Lord of the government at every level, and the Lord of this timetable. We are seeking Him.

New Students.
      This season, we have a tremendous number of applications for September: 71. We are thankful for the increased interest. We already grieve for the more than forty students whom we will have to disappoint. We are seeking the Lord’s choice for who will be in the next class.

New Administration.
      We are in the process of possibly hiring a critical new staff member who  could join the leadership of our school. We hope this is the Lord’s choice. We ask for His people and His timing.

      Thank for praying as you always do. If you are able to participate in a special way on March 19th, we’ll be grateful.
      Paul for Beskydy Mountain Academy.

Sports Camp 2019

A unique week of fun, sports, character-building concepts, music, stories of well known athletes as well as stories of the life of Peter from the Bible.  We are staffed with screened volunteers that genuinely care about kids  and together we will learn how just like in Sports, life has Epic Moments as well that shapes who we are.
Important Details:  
Grades K-5 (completed) At registration, choose one sport for the week.  Basketball, soccer, a variety of gym games, cheerleading, or journalism (newspaper, photography, interviews, and video).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Ages 3-5 (by the start of camp):   Will enjoy a different sport each day as well as crafts, activities, and a group rally time of singing and learning from the Bible.
Dinner Is Included We will serve dinner each night for the kids at 5:30pm. (If your child cannot eat or does not care for what we are serving, please send a bag lunch for them labeled with their name.)
MENU:  Monday – Pasta, Sauce, Meatballs, Lettuce Salad/Veggie Toppings, Fruit, Bread
              Tuesday – Pizza, Fruit, Salad/Veggies
              Wednesday – Mac n’ Cheese, Fruit, Lettuce Salad/Veggie Toppings, Bread
              Thursday – Chicken Nuggets, Applesauce, Bread, Lettuce Salad/Veggie Toppings
              Friday – Hamburgers, All Beef Hot Dogs, Chips, Fruit, Salad
Friday Night Lights The last night will be “Friday Night Family Night” on June 14.  Join us for dinner, rally, see your kids in action as well as receive a certificate and join the fun and treats (ice cream, popcorn) outside under the lights as well. We encourage kids to leave any electronics at home but bring a water bottle marked with your child’s name. If your child signed up for Basketball or Soccer, have them bring a ball if possible. Be sure to mark all your belongings. Your child will receive a T-shirt the first night to wear throughout the week.
We also have a security system in place for pick up.  You will need to have your tag in order to pick up your child.
Print, fill out, and bring the Sports Camp Permission & Release Form the first day of camp.
If you have questions contact Jayne at or 847-580-5770