Every human heart longs to meet with God. It’s a longing we were born with and cannot fully escape. Many attempt... to fulfill this longing by our own methods and means. Whether by moral deeds or seeking signs from heaven, through mind-altering drugs or ritual and tradition, we create all kinds of ladders and stairways to attempt to make our way into the presence of God. In Genesis 28, we find Jacob, fleeing for his life after grievously deceiving his father and enraging his brother, Esau. And yet, it is while Jacob is in this state of exile, sleeping in the wilderness, that God comes down to meet with him in a dream. In this sermon on the well-known story of Jacob’s ladder, Pastor Luke Herche shows that God, in Christ, has drawn near to his covenant children, meeting us in the mundane, promising his protecting presence, and assuring us through the cross and the resurrection. And because God has drawn near to us, we can now draw near to God.
Christianity can often be falsely represented as a means of getting good stuff for yourself: a trophy... wife, a big house, all the recognition “you deserve,” if you just pray for your blessing and claim it in Jesus’ name. But this false gospel misunderstands the nature of blessing and the timing of blessing. God’s true blessing is everything that is good according to God's will and God’s timing. In this sermon on Genesis 26:34–28:9, in which Isaac attempts to bless Esau, but ends up blessing Jacob instead, Pastor Luke Herche shows how to take hold of God’s blessing, exhorting us to recognize our sin, to respect God’s plan, and to put on Christ.
What does it look like to walk as a Christian? Whose example should we imitate? The book of Philippians... was written by the Apostle Paul to his friends at Philippi. Theirs was a church established by Paul and nurtured by his ministry, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and the love and affection between Paul and the believers at Philippi is evident throughout the letter. In chapter three Paul, as a caring older brother, calls these believers to imitate him, encouraging them to keep on the right path. Listen as Pastor Josué Pernillo preaches on Philippians 3:17–21, drawing out Paul’s exhortations to be aware of who you imitate (v 17), to beware of who you imitate (vv 18–19), and to remember the one we imitate is the Savior (v 20–21).
God doesn’t bless you simply to bless you. He does delight in his people and desires to bless them. But God doesn’t bless you simply... for you. God blesses you for his glory and for the good of those around you. Despite human rebellion, our fallen nature, and the wrath we deserve, God is determined to bless. In Genesis we see that the blessing of God comes to and through the seed of Abraham. We see this imperfectly through Isaac, preeminently in Jesus, and, by God’s grace, through us as well. Listen as Pastor Luke Herche explains from Genesis 26, showing how God’s blessing on us changes our relationship to others, freeing us to love sacrificially, enabling us to endure enmity, and serving as a means God uses to bless others.
The Apostle Paul depicts the Christian life as a long, hard race. It’s a marathon. And to run any marathon well,... the runners need encouragement along the way. The good news for Christians is that we have a wise and caring God who has provided for us to have strength for the journey. Listen as RUF Campus Minister Ethan Brown preaches from Philippians 3:12–16, showing us how God equips us with what we need to finish the race that we’ve begun by making us secure, steadfast, and self-aware.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race... can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” Whether you are skeptical or superstitious, both are errors. So what does Scripture have to say about standing against the schemes of the devil? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13, Pastor Luke Herche looks at the spiritual battle we are facing, showing that the battle is real, the battle is spiritual, the battle is won, the battle is mundane—and exhorting us to be strong and stand firm!
The book of Philippians is perhaps the Apostle Paul’s most personal letter. It is a beautiful epistle... filled with beautiful verses, and in chapter 3 we find a beautiful, succinct summary of the Gospel. In just five verses Paul both explains how sinners are reconciled to God and illuminates the promises that are theirs in Christ Jesus. Listen as Pastor Josué Pernillo preaches on Philippians 3:7–11, helping us to see Christ Jesus more clearly by showing the treasure of the gospel (the worth of Christ), the heart of the gospel (faith in Christ), and the promise of the gospel (resurrection and life).
We all want a good life, to be what we were made to be, to experience what it is to be fully alive, to see our friends... and family flourish. The Bible calls this kind of flourishing “blessing.” Blessing is one of the main themes of Genesis, beginning with God’s abundant blessings on creation in the first two chapters. But by the third chapter, a new word enters the vocabulary of Scripture: curse. Because of sin, curse enters the world and creation is subject to futility and groaning. What once was blessed is now cursed, what once was good is now corrupt. But does this mean we are doomed to lives of suffering and frustration? Or is God’s blessing still possible in a sin-cursed world? Listen as Pastor Luke Herche preaches from Genesis 25, showing through the life of Jacob how God is continuing his plan to bless the nations, focusing on God’s sovereignty, God’s subversion of human expectations, and the foresight of faith.
At the start of each year people commonly make New Year's resolutions with hopes, dreams, and goals... for self improvement in the coming year. It is nearly as common to find that these resolutions never come to fruition. But should this make Christians skeptical of the possibility of growth in the Christian life? Listen as Pastor Luke Herche shows from 1 Timothy 4:7 the necessity of discipline, the program of discipline, the goal of discipline, and the power of discipline.
Gardening is difficult. There are the weeds and the waiting and the garden pests... but eventually you get to experience the wonder... of watching something new grow. The book of Isaiah describes a shoot growing from “the stump of Jesse.” It’s a passage that comes bearing Advent promises: Jesus is that righteous branch, the shoot of the stump of Jesse, a branch that will bear much fruit. Listen as Pastor Josué Pernillo preaches from Isaiah chapter 11, helping us to understand in greater depth what it means that this King came 2000 years ago to a manger in Bethlehem, and what it means that this King will come again.
Who is the Son of David? Listen as church elder Brian Aldridge preaches on... 2 Samuel 7:12–13, showing us the promise of the Son King, the identity of the Son King, belief in the Son King, and the sons of the Son King.
The book of Isaiah is interjected with several “servant songs,” passages that paint a picture of God’s chosen servant who will come to the ... aid of his people. They show us that this servant will judge rightly as the true king, will be a true prophet to guide God’s people, and a true priest who will cleanse the people of their sins. This servant who brings true restoration to the covenant people is a picture of Jesus, the true prophet, priest, and king. In Isaiah 52–53 we are provided with a glimpse of what Jesus would come to do as the true priest, the Lamb of God and the mediator of the covenant. Listen as Pastor Josué Pernillo preaches from this passage, showing that as the Lamb of God the mission of Christ was redemption; as the Lamb of God Christ’s affliction was necessary; and as the Lamb of God the meekness of Christ was his victory.