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Radical Community
(Chris Barrett’s sermon notes)
Readings for the Week: Psalm 8
  Romans 5:1-5  John 16:12-15
June 16, 2019

my one point: Jesus invites us into a radical way of doing life: in community with himself and God the Father and the Holy Spirit… and with each other

“Sailing Through Time” began as a partnership between Carleton University, David Fels and the City of Ottawa as a lasting memorial to Ottawa’s 200+ year old Brighton Beach Oak in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour. It is a statement of ongoing commitment by Carleton University to accessibility and a more inclusive society.

One of my biggest problems in life is that no matter what the scenario or task or challenge I often find myself thinking that I don’t have what it takes.  And then when I lean into a challenge I often find myself fearful that I am doing the wrong thing.  I’ve noticed in these times I get anxious and afraid and self absorbed and feel like I am alone.  It is easy to get disoriented.  whether it is preparing to make supper for my family on a Saturday evening, or wondering how to best serve in my neighbourhood or in my job of leading a national charity.

Can you relate to this? Have you ever had that experience?  In the midst of ordinary life or a particular challenge or crises you find yourself afraid or alone?  In the midst of a health crisis, or work challenge or some relational distress?

In the church calendar today is Trinity Sunday, the Sunday that the church celebrates the Trinity.  The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is one being who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Trinity means that God is, in essence, relational.

In the Trinity we find a mysterious, breath-taking community of God.  A community that Jesus invites us to be part of and to reflect in our relationships with one another.  In the Trinity I believe that we find the antidote to the deepest points of pain, confusion, isolation and distress that we experience as human beings

my one point: Jesus invites us into a radical way of doing life: in community with himself and God the Father and the Holy Spirit… and with each other

If what we read in the Bible is true, that we are made in the image of God and as human beings one our chief vocations is to reflect what God is like then I think it follows that two things are true:

  1. we will be most fully alive and satisfied in our souls as we learn to put this Creator God (Father, Son and Spirit) at the centre of our lives
  2. we will want to reflect that love relationship of the Trinity –

It makes sense then that Jesus, when asked what the most important thing one could do with their life is quoted from the ancient writings of Moses and indicated these two things: – love God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind and love each other and our neighbours as we long to be loved ourselves (Matt 22:37-40)

Understanding the Trinity more can help us with this.

Our Gospel reading for this morning is John 16:12-15.  Let’s turn to that passage:
Jesus words in this text are in the middle of a long passage of his teaching that he is giving to his disciples within hours of his execution.

John 16:12-15

  • he has just told the disciples that he is going to leave them but that he will not leave them as orphans, he will send the Holy Spirit to help them  – last week Pastor Kerry launched out of John 14 to help us to explore what the Holy Spirit it like: the Holy Spirit: the One who indwells, walk with, invites us to live in him, guides, comforts and empowers us.  the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us.  the Spirit of Christ inhabiting us. the Holy Spirit empowers the church to live for God’s glory to make God’s name great
  • Jesus is very close to the Father and has made the Father known – John 1:18
  • The Spirit guides his followers into truth and speaks what he receives from Jesus and all of this comes from the Father – note the intimacy and connection here
  • the Spirit glorifies the Son – John 16:14
  • the Son glorifies the Father (John 17:4) and the Father glorifies the Son (John 17:5) – this has been going on for eternity

Glorify – what does glorify mean?  “To glorify something or someone is to praise, enjoy, and delight in them. When something is useful you are attracted to it for what it can bring you or do for you. But if it is beautiful,, then you enjoy it simply for what it is. Just being in its presence is its own reward. To glorify someone is also to serve or defer to him or her. Instead of sacrificing their interests to make yourself happy, you sacrifice your interests to make them happy. Why? your ultimate joy is to see them in joy”  (p. 214 Keller – reason for God)

Perichoresis – the idea and relationship of the Trinity is mysterious and mind blowing. to try to capture the idea of the Trinity the early leaders of the Greek church used a word for this “Perichoresis”.  perimeter. choreography.  “dance of flow around”

“The Father…Son… and Holy Spirit glorify each other… At the centre of the universe, self-giving love is the dynamic currency of the Trinitarian life of God. The persons within God exalt, commune with, and defer to one another… When early Greek Christians spoke of perichoresis in God they meant that each divine person harbours the others at the centre of his being. In constant movement of overture and acceptance each person envelops and encircles the others.”    (Cornelius Plantinga from Keller p.215)

“In Christianity God is not an impersonal thing nor a static thing – not even just one person – but a dynamic pulsating activity, a life, a kind of drama, almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance… [The] pattern of this three-personal life is… the great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality.” (CS Lewis quotes from Keller p.215)

We are invited into the this!!!!!!

Romans 5:1-5
Jesus reconnects us with this dance of love – the implications of this are breathtaking

my one point: Jesus invites us into a radical way of doing life: in community with himself and God the Father and the Holy Spirit… end each other >

What can this look like practically? I believe Paul prays for this (note the Trinity referenced).

Colossians 1:9-14
[Heather and I were in Antalya and Perga a couple of weeks ago to meet with ministry leaders from 30 countries from around the world. The ancient town of Colossae is located about 220km from the northwest of Antalya.]

my one point: Jesus invites us into a radical way of doing life: in community with himself and God the Father and the Holy Spirit… and with each other

[other texts from today – wisdom from God – Proverbs 8, praise of God – Romans 8]

What if this were actually true?  what difference would it make in your life? what are the implications?

Now let’s blow our minds even more –

  • what is this were all true and we actually believed it?
  • how would that affect our sense of our value and worth and purposefulness in our lives?
  • and then to take it one step further..
  • what if we actually lived out of this beautiful gift that we have been given? and lived this way as we relate with each other and those around us?  deferring to one another, delighting in one another, loving with self-giving, sacrificial love

Can you imagine the benefit as we walk through he challenges and pain of life? Can you imagine the impact on our well-being and those of our families and neighbours and work mates to be drawn up into this beautiful, mysterious, dance of love among the Father, the Son and the Spirit?

my one point: Jesus invites us into a radical way of doing life: in community with himself and God the Father and the Holy Spirit… and with each other.


The Holy Spirit
Readings for the Week: Psalm 104:24-35  Genesis 11:1-9  Acts 2:1-21  John 14:8-27
June 9, 2019

  1. Read Acts 2:1-21. Go back a chapter and read Acts 1:1-5, 12-14. Who “were all together in one place” on the day of Pentecost?
  2. How did those waiting in “the room upstairs” prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit?
  3. Pentecost, meaning the “fiftieth part” or fiftieth day, was a Jewish agricultural festival fifty days after Passover during which farmers brought the first sheaves of wheat to the temple as a gesture of thanks for God’s provision and as a prayer for God’s continued blessing on the harvest. Pentecost also sparked deeper memories for Jews. They remembered ancient history when, fifty days after their release from slavery in Egypt, they arrived at Mount Sinai and received God’s provision of the law, that is, instructions for life with God. (N.T. Wright, Acts for Everyone, 21) It is on this festival, Pentecost, that the disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered for life with God. (Acts 2:4) Why is it fitting that the Holy Spirit is given on the day of Pentecost? From scripture, and from your experience, what does the Holy Spirit provide? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?
  1. How might you – we – be more receptive to the Holy Spirit? What evidence will we see that we have been and are being filled with the Spirit?
  2. Pray together. Acknowledge any things in your lives – mindsets, behaviours, omissions – which quench or block the Holy Spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit to be present and active in and through your lives.


John 17:6-26
June 2, 2019

1. Share a time when you have experienced a positive and negative experience of people being unified. What was the difference in each situation?

2. Re-read John 17:20-26.
Since it is central to the whole discussion, why does Jesus pray for unity among believers?
The end of verse 21 says, “may they also be in us. Jesus goes on to use “in” 4 more times. This word means “a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state).” It means in. Strong’s concordance also said that you would rarely use with verbs of motion.  There is a sense of being settled, of dwelling. What does it mean to be “in” Jesus and how would that impact unity? What are specific ways it would change the way that we relate to one another.

3. What does it look like to be unified in our diversity?

4. “There is a sense that God has bestowed on believers a position which, if lived into, allows us to experience unity with one another.” While it is primarily God’s work – His bestowing the position whereby we can be unified – what is our role? How do we work towards unity within the community of Sunnyside and in the broader church?