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Where do we find our stability and growth as Christians in the church? Most often, we'd say our stability and growth come from God. But in practice, we too often look for our main stability through human leaders and ministers. But as we see in Scripture, our chief foundation for stability and growth must come from Jesus Christ. And not just Christ, but from our faith and confession in the crucified and risen Christ. Only when our lives are founded upon the rock of this heavenly confession, can Christians ever hope to grow strong and prosper.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week is one of the sermons John delivered many years ago at The Cove Church in Mooresville North Carolina). A detailed examination of God’s “rules” for communicating with him through prayer. Most of us focus just on ourselves and our needs in prayer. But, the Lord’s Prayer is truly about God, and it is only by focusing on God’s greatness, his closeness, his kingdom, his will, his power to provide, to forgive, and to save, that we can truly find all our prayer’s answered.
Part 16 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." To "fear God" is a recurring commandment in Scripture. But does it sound strange to your ears that we're likewise called fear Jesus? This sermon takes a look at the Jesus of the Gospels and demonstrates that people didn't just encounter the gentle, humble shepherd, but also the Lord of all creation, a person who regularly incited awe, astonishment, amazement...and reverential fear. How well we fear Jesus will affect the quality of our personal relationship with him, and whether or not we'll live in fear of everything else life throws at us from day to day (sermon recorded in 2019.)
Part 19 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." How do I relate to prayer? Is it just a way to get what I want? Is it something I just do, but doubt it ever really works? While God desires to meet our daily needs, he also wants us to understand our ultimate need: to belong to him. Prayer should be the avenue we use to nurture connection, intimacy, and oneness with God. If that's our first and main focus, then the answers to our prayers will be abundant...while perhaps looking a bit different than our imaginings (sermon recorded in 2019).
Part 20 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." How do I relate to worship? Is it just about making it to church each Sunday? Is it just singing songs and hymns? Is it just something you’re supposed to do, but I rarely feel connected to God when I do it? Worship should be a chief focus in nurturing divine intimacy. But if we limit it to just Sunday morning or devotional time, we can miss the power of God's presence in all areas of life. Practicing the presence of God in everything we do will empower us to better glorify him, enjoy him...and belong to him (sermon recorded in 2019).
(John shares his next spiritual meditation based on thoughts from his upcoming book: UNTO LIFE: Reflections on Both the Journey and the Destination.) Romans says that "since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." In this way, our opportunity to worship God spans far beyond the four walls of the church building. When you step outside, the filter between you and God is removed, and God's divine nature is clearly seen. (Music and sound effects courtesy of Coma-Media, Lesfm, JuliusH, Conleec, Lynmakeren, and Cobratronik from Pixabay.) 
In this second Unto Life Interview, John speaks with Ukrainian Orthodox priest, Father Anthony Perkins. Father Anthony has led a fascinating life, living as a political scientist, military intelligence specialist, college and seminary professor, and in his most recent years, as an Orthodox priest and pastor. On the other side of the more simple ways we can experience God, Father Anthony dives deep into the waters of theology and mystery. He seeks to recognize eternity within the rituals of worship, through the use of imagination, within social relations and politics, in music, literature, nature, and so on. He says we should join God in his work to restore harmony in a world that is so often discordant and broken. In this interview, you'll learn how to better nurture God's presence and holiness in most every corner of your life. Only by doing so will you ever discover the patterns of perfection that lie just under the surface of the world in which we live. (Music courtesy of Father Archimandrite Sergius and Coma-Media from Pixabay.) To explore Father Anthony's extensive online presence, listen to his podcasts, and watch his YouTube channel, look through the "My Outlets/Content" box on his website, orthoanalytika.org.

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