I Just Can't Believe: Obstacles & Objections to Faith

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If you’re a follower of Jesus, the problem is all too familiar. You’ve read the articles about how churches and Christians are “out of touch” with the world. You’ve heard the podcasts about how Christianity needs a facelift–how it needs to reinvent and re-market itself if it’s going to survive. 

Behind all of these perspectives is a common assumption: the assumption that there are just too many hang-ups and objections to Christianity as it stands. There are too many hoops to jump through, too many difficult ideas to swallow. Many of us have felt these objections in ourselves, whether we’d admit it or not. Others of us encounter people every day who have these objections, and don’t know how to speak to them intelligently and helpfully. 

But if we could learn, there’s an opportunity for the taking. There’s an opportunity to have compassionate, understanding, and informed conversations with people who struggle with the ideas surrounding faith and Jesus. And we desperately want to see that happen.

This series takes six weeks to unpack common obstacles and objections to faith in Jesus, understand them, and speak to them truthfully and helpfully. 

Teachings

Below you’ll find the teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Holy Ghost Revival: Recovering the Practical Power of the Spirit

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Nothing quite divides a room of Christians like the mention of the Holy Spirit. For some, the existence of the Spirit is essentially a problem: something to navigate around and downplay. For others, the Spirit and related topics are the very backbone of what it means to follow Jesus, elevated over and above all other theological topics. For others still, interactions with the Spirit are a sweet experiences of life and joy from God himself.

So the question becomes, how do we find ourselves in that third place, instead of the first two? The presence of the Spirit throughout the pages of Scripture is obvious and undeniable. But often the presence of the Spirit is somewhat less obvious in our own lives. So how do we go about changing that?

This series takes seven weeks to rediscover the practical power and presence of God through his Spirit.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Stand-Alone Teachings

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From time to time, we do stand-alone teachings that aren't a part of a larger series. Below you'll find a list of those teachings, beginning with the most recent. 

Teachings:

Greatest Hits: From Friends of City Church

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From time to time, we invite friends from outside of our church family to come and teach through the Scriptures for us. By doing so, we get to hear about what God is doing and what God is teaching people outside of our immediate church context.

This series takes four weeks to hear the “greatest hits” from pastors and teachers from Columbia, SC and Knoxville, TN.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Neighboring: Why Every Relationship Matters

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Our society is more interconnected than ever, and at the same time more isolated than ever. We have easier, quicker access to others than we’ve ever had, and at the same time have fewer meaningful relationships than any generation ever has.

In short, we could use a few good neighbors. Jesus’ teaching on “loving our neighbor as ourselves” is at the very core of what it means to live as his disciple. So how do we do that, exactly? What does it mean to be a good neighbor, who exactly are we called to be a neighbor to, and how do we get started doing that?

This series takes three weeks to explore and put into practice God’s instruction to love our neighbors.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

It is Finished: Exploring the Depths of the Cross

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The crucifixion is one of the most widely recognized events in human history. The image of a Jewish man hanging on a Roman cross has inspired more art, invoked more scorn, inspired more praise, and stoked more debate than few other things have.

But embedded in the biblical authors’ thinking is the determined belief that Jesus’ death on the cross actually accomplished something. Jesus’ own words from the cross seem to indicate this, as he cries out in his final hours, “it is finished.” Which begs the question, what is “it”? What did Jesus and his followers believe that he was accomplishing on the cross that day?

This series takes five teachings to explore the many facets of what was accomplished through Jesus’ crucifixion.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

All the Feels: Understanding Our Emotions Through the Psalms

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Anger. Doubt. Confusion. Fear. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. The human condition encompasses a wide range of emotions and experiences. As if the emotions weren’t enough in themselves, many of us feel at a loss to know how to process and express those emotions well. Often, it feels like the only options are to either suppress all your emotions or to mindlessly obey them. And we’ve all seen enough poor examples of each to be less than satisfied with either approach.

Meanwhile, we have the Psalms. There may be few pieces of literature covering a wider range of emotion than this ancient Hebrew prayer book. In 150 chapters, the writers of the Psalms cover everything thing from hatred to pure joy, and quite a few experiences in between. Some of the language and honesty in the Psalms is quite shocking–even uncomfortable to hear–because of the raw emotion it contains.

But in all of its stanzas, the Psalms helps us come to grips with what’s going in in our hearts, and gives us something to do with all of it. This series takes seven weeks to understand and process our emotions through praying them, using the book of Psalms as a guide.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Formation: The Art & Science of How We Change (Vol. 1: Prayer)

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Around the end of each year and the beginning of the next, most of us start thinking about what we’d like to change about ourselves. Whether it’s getting more exercise, eating better, or just healthier habits in general, most of us have things that we’d love to be different about us.

Which raises the question, how do we actually change? If we all want to be different, how do we get there, exactly? What does it look like to begin as one type of person and then become another? The Scriptures have a lot to say about how we change. They teach that change comes from and through a number of different places. But one unavoidable source of change is our habits. The things we do over and over again have an uncanny ability to shape who we are.

In this recurring series we take an extended look at the art and science of how we change, highlighting one practice or habit each year. This installment of our Formation series focuses specifically on prayer’s ability to change and shape us and human beings. This series takes five weeks to examine the why and the how of prayer.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Give Like God: How His Generosity Leads to Our Own

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Somewhere along the line, Christmas became about getting. Getting new toys, getting new clothes, getting all the things you want to buy for yourself but feel like you shouldn’t–it seems like there’s an awful lot of getting going on around the holidays.

But what’s ironic is that the very first Christmas actually wasn’t about getting at all. It was about giving. It was about the God of the universe choosing to give the most important gift of all–himself–to humanity. And about all that came with that incredible gift.

So this Christmas, we’re going to follow God’s lead and talk a little about giving. What does it look like to embody the true spirit of Christmas through giving of ourselves and specifically our resources? This series takes four weeks to look at the topic of generosity.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Vision Series 2018: Who We Are & Where We're Headed

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Ever since our church began, we’ve said that we desire to be a Jesus-centered family on mission. But what do those words mean, exactly? And how are we doing at achieving that goal? Just like with anything, it’s worth periodically circling back and taking stock of who we are and where we’re headed.

This series takes three weeks to examine our vision and mission as a church, and then ask the question each week, how are we doing on this?

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

The God of Sex: The Lies We're Told & the Truth We're Offered

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Contrary to popular belief, God is not anti-sex or anti-sexuality. Sex was actually His idea to begin with. The human body, sexual organs, sexual desire, sexual attraction–all thought up by God himself. 

And he designed it with a purpose. More than simply recreation for grown-ups, and more than an exchange of goods or services between consenting adults, sex was actually meant to accomplish something. It has a purpose. It was meant to achieve something even greater than itself. But in order to discover what that purpose is, we have to be willing to take sex off the pedestal it's on. Then, and only then, can we discover what it was meant to be all along.

This series takes eight weeks to unpack sex, sexuality, and related topics.

Teachings:

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Ephesians: How God Puts Things Back Together

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The letter to the Ephesian church is Paul’s masterpiece. In it, he works out his understanding of who God is, what God has done, and what he is doing in and through the Church. Much of that could be summed up in his statement in chapter one, “a plan...to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth.” 

In other words, God is putting things back together. God is taking all that is broken and lost, and piecing it back together. Through the life, death and resurrection of his son Jesus, God is forming his people into a reflection of who he is to the world around them. Starting with theological concepts and then working them out into practical instructions, Paul gives us a comprehensive picture of what belonging to Jesus is and what that generates in a group of people who live in light of it. 

This series takes 17 weeks to work through the letter to the Ephesians and understand what it means for us today. 

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Adulting: Work, Finances & other Confusing Things

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Becoming an adult in today’s world can be one of the most exciting, anticipated, wonderful, confusing, disorienting, frustrating things a person goes through. All of a sudden, there’s work to go to, there’s bills to pay, there’s decisions to make–and on top of all that, there’s trying to navigate what friendships and free time look like with all the other stuff going on.

Most people feel unprepared for at least parts of adulthood, if not for adulthood in general. And some of us spend plenty of time just pretending to know what we’re doing. But if we’re honest, we’d love it if we had someone to coach us up on portions of it, and help us navigate the maze that is life as a grown-up.

Cue Adulting: Work, Finances, and other Confusing Things. This series takes four weeks to tackle some of the toughest parts of adulthood, using the opening pages of Genesis as a guide.

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Jonah: World's Worst Prophet & God's Amazing Grace

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The book of Jonah has captivated and confused audiences for generation after generation. It’s often understood as “that story about a guy who got swallowed by a whale.” But truth be told, there’s so much more going on than that. At its core, Jonah is a story about a prophet who calls others to repent but refuses to repent himself. And ultimately, about a God who will go to extreme measures to try and change that about him. 

This passage takes five weeks to study the story of Jonah. 

Teachings

Follow: Becoming an Apprentice of Jesus

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What does it truly mean to follow Jesus? There are plenty of varying definitions of what a Christian is. Is it merely a 'religious preference' box that you check? Is it a prayer you pray? Is it a decision you make? Or something altogether different?

This series takes five weeks to explore what all Jesus meant when he said to his earliest disciples, and to us today, "follow me."

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Recommended Reading

If you enjoy reading and want to spend more time diving into the subjects covered in this series, here's a few books that we'd recommend:

The Truth About Christmas

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The story of the very first Christmas is a familiar one to many people: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the manger, and the angels. But when a story becomes familiar, it's easy to miss its significance. What was going on with Mary's pregnancy? Why would God tell Joseph to do something that would so obviously make life hard for him? And what's with the random list of names that are a part of the story?

This series takes four weeks to look at the details behind the story of the first Christmas and discern what we can learn about God and his son as a result. 

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Bible Stories: What the Old Testament is All About

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Let's face it: the Old Testament at times isn't easy to read. And however hard it often is to read, it's frequently even harder to understand, and still harder to apply. At the same time, the Old Testament contains verse upon verse of vital information for us to understand what's going in the New Testament. So how should we read and understand Old Testament narratives? Are they stories with a moral point to draw out? Are they allegories for our "spiritual" life? 

At the end of the day, what are these bible stories about, and how should we read them? This series takes five weeks to look at some of the most popular Old Testament narratives and understand what they're all about. 

Teachings

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Party Like Jesus: Meals, Celebrations, & the Heart of God

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There are all kinds of notions about who Jesus was. A Jewish teacher of the law. God in the flesh. A left-of-center teacher and philosopher. The resurrected son of God. 

But among all the popular perceptions, not many think of Jesus as a partier. However, if you take a survey of the life of Jesus, meals and celebrations were a integral part of his life. It is written about Jesus that he came "eating and drinking" (Luke 7:34). And when Jesus wasn't at parties, he was talking about them. Many of Jesus' teachings and parables have meals and celebrations at their center.

So what can we learn from Jesus' food-and-drink saturated life? How might this aspect of Jesus change the way we view God and other people? We explore those questions and more in our series, Party Like Jesus.

Teachings:

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.

Contrast Community: The Sermon on the Mount

In Jesus' famous sermon on the mount, he unpacks his picture of who his people are meant to be. Jumping from topic to topic, he explains how being a follower of Jesus impacts your morality, your ethics, your sexuality, your finances and more.

In all of it, his goal is to create a counter-cultural contrast community–a group of people who live actively in the world, but at the same time are distinct from it. We explore what it means to live a life that is both attractive and sometimes offensive to the watching world. 

In this series, we sift through Jesus' teaching on what a counter-cultural community of human beings can look like, using his sermon on the mount as a guide.

Teachings:

Below you’ll find the individual teachings from this series, beginning with the most recent.