Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven.” (Acts 2:38-38) Baptism is a profound step in the journey of every Jesus follower. It is a public symbol of what Christ has done for us, and of our commitment to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly. This Sunday five Westsiders took that step of commitment. In our teaching today, we engage with the significance of baptism, and what it represents of the much larger story of God’s redemption.
As we launch into a brand new year, we want to talk about some big changes coming up at Westside. We believe that our call is to do everything we can to make straight paths for people to to be surprised by the grace of Jesus right here at Westside. Take a listen to hear about how we're making big changes to continue to grow as a community grace, generosity, and radical welcome.
It has been said that the cleverest trick our minds play on us is not giving us blind spots, but convincing us that we don’t have any. Our world of difficult discourse and toxic debate shows that us humans are often really bad at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. And we’re terrible at imagining that we might be wrong. As Noam Chomsky points out, the modern approach to disagreement is often to shriek, rant, and slander.
The Holy Spirit is always there in the Bible. Always. But often just ‘off stage’, creatively working in, through, and with the characters in view. The way of Jesus will always require more creativity than we have alone, so this series, coinciding as it does with Pentecost Sunday, is an invitation for us to turn to the Bible and know the Holy Spirit a little bit better.
"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
Community is more art than science, but when we get it right there is nothing like it. In this series we talk about our vision for what it means for us to be a community in Christ, to share the joy of belonging to God and each other, but also to share in the burden and responsibility of caring for the precious gift we have been given.
If we are honest, we have to admit there is a basic strangeness to the cross. The pastor and writer Fleming Rutledge said that the cross is the most surprising and irreligious idea ever to make its way into the heart of faith. Before Jesus, no one could have ever projected their hopes and needs onto the death of a crucified man.
Is it possible though, that the cross is actually the only thing that makes sense in an otherwise muddled up world? Or, perhaps more properly, what we want to explore in this series is how the cross is the one thing that makes sense of everything else. Of course, by everything, what we really mean is...
A new entry on the Westside menu last year, this series gave us pause to talk about the various ways we experience a troubled mind. The things that haunt our realities yet remain uncomfortable to talk about. This January we are focusing on the state of exhaustion that can come our way, the kinds of depletion that can easily become “burnout”. We want to talk in transparent ways, admitting our common struggle, finding hope, and support together.
On October 31, 1517 - 500 years ago this month - the priest and scholar, Martin Luther nailed a 95-point thesis to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Its aim? To call the Church to be more biblical and gospel-centred. This act began a Christ-centred reformation of the Church that was so widespread its impact is still felt today in churches, theology, philosophy, and even politics.
We begin to lay out the foundations for our year in Paul’s words about the gospel at the opening of Romans. Words we want to take seriously. Words like salvation, righteousness, and faith, are all important to our vocabulary so are worth our time and effort. As we explore we hope to find out how these words unpack and explain what Christ has done for us and move us towards a deeper understanding of what it is that he is trying to do with us.
As we reached the end of our 2016-2017 teaching year we decided to pause and look back over our teaching from the previous 12 months. In this podcast Bob Osborne and David Harvey discuss five of our key series from the year. Perhaps, as you listen to this teaching, you'll have a chance to think about the key moments of your year.