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It’s disappointing to learn our heroes have feet of clay. David, considered to be Israel’s greatest king, was no exception. Identified as the nation’s future king when he was a boy of ten or eleven, he quickly demonstrated competence, character, and devotion to God until, after twenty years of waiting, he finally got his shot.
After Saul’s final failure as Israel’s first king, David was then made king, but of just half the nation. For the next seven years, he reluctantly fought a civil war against forces loyal to Saul.
When the rebel forces collapsed, David was made
Now a man in his early fifties, David then stumbled into his greatest personal and professional failure; an abuse of power so egregious that we cannot think of him without recalling his sexual assault of a beautiful young woman, and the subsequent murder of her loyal husband. As great as David is, this episode remains a stain on his reputation, the consequences of which plagued him for the remainder of his life.
This makes David a complicated figure. Revered by later generations for his competence and piety, he was also a man with great flaws. But before we point fingers and throw stones, are we not also equal parts virtue and vice?
During the next few weeks, we will look at this part of David’s biography, learning what we can from his virtues and how to avoid repeating his failures.
John Sommerville - City Church senior pastor
You don’t have to be a gardener to enjoy what’s blooming in Minnesota in June. The sights and smells of flowers or gardens in bloom lift the spirit after harsh winters. I’m not a gardener, but I marvel at those who are. They love to get their hands dirty in the soil, carefully tending to their vulnerable seeds. With dedication, consistency, and often, at great cost, they nourish their plants, dutifully watching weather reports to ensure their garden gets the right amount of nourishing water and sun. They devise schemes to trap predators like squirrels, rabbits, and deer who pose threats to their gardens. After several weeks, their patience and care are rewarded: there are juicy fruits to enjoy, vegetables to chop for salads, and flowers that cause passersby to stop and pause, and breathe in the beauty.
We each have a garden of our own to tend: a relationship with the Creator of All, who loves us and wants to see good fruit grown in our lives - fruits of sincere love, patient trust, joyful delight in God’s gifts, and purpose and meaning to our days. Those of us who have put our trust in Jesus have embarked on a lifelong journey of faith, where we seek to grow in ever-deepening trust, love, and hope in the abundant life Jesus offers. We are, in fact, in a personal relationship with God. This is
But like any relationship, we must nourish it in order to see it grow. Like gardeners, we can’t force growth to happen and yet it surely will not happen if we don’t tend to those frail seeds, nourish the roots, give them time to grow, and be vigilant against potential enemies.
If you want to see fruit develop in your own life - if you’re interested in seeing your relationship with God grow, join us this June for our series Cultivate.
Authentic. Genuine. Real. Who would want to be anything else? Years after Jesus ascended into heaven, a network of house churches faced a crisis. Some of their dearest friends had broken away and denied some of the core beliefs that had united them as churches. And now these “false prophets” were trying to pressure them to abandon their faith.
Concerned, John wrote an essay, the book of 1 John, to assure this beleaguered group of believers and remind them to remain loyal to what they have been taught.
Now, 1,900 years later, we face similar pressures. And we have a similar need. What, we want to know, is authentic Christian faith? And what does it mean to live it out in an authentic way?
When our girls were young and we read them the Christmas story they always had questions. “What color eyes did Jesus have?” “So he really didn’t cry?” (confusion from a line in “Away in a Manger”). Kathy and I didn’t have answers to all of their questions because the truth is that we don’t know as much as we would like about the birth of Jesus. But what we have is a story full of beauty and power and unexpected insight. This Advent season, we’re taking a chronological look at the Christmas story. At the heart of the story are the 40 weeks of Mary’s pregnancy. It’s a story grounded in history yet filled with deep significance. Please join us this Advent season on this Journey to Bethlehem.