We are all being formed into something. Our schooling forms our thinking. Our friendships form our relational life. Our job forms our work life. Our relationship with Jesus forms our spiritual life. For millennia God’s people have been seeking His face, His presence, and His power to shape their lives.
But what about us? How is our fast-paced world forming us? Sometimes we get so caught up with vacation planning, our kids’ sports, graduation events, and work responsibilities that we neglect our spiritual growth. We tell ourselves it won’t be long, but days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.
The truth is, we were made to be in relationship with God. This summer at Coastline we are taking ten weeks to focus on spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is exactly what it sounds like. We’re going to talk about our relationship with God, look at prayer, see what fasting is really about, figure out how solitude grows our relationship with Jesus, and learn to hear from God.
On Sundays June 19 – August 21, we want to personally invite you to Coastline for Formed. This series isn’t only for you – it’s also for your friend, neighbor, college roommate, and more. This is a sermon series that is going to invite all of us to a deeper relationship with Jesus! We hope you’ll make it a priority to join us every Sunday at 9 or 10:45 AM.
We are all being formed into something. We are all pointing our lives in a direction. As we consider growing spiritually, we need to slow down and think of what that direction might be. In Ephesians 4, Paul teaches the early church about leaving their life of sin to be formed in Christ. Paul planted the Ephesian church about five years prior and knows they are not continuing in their spiritual formation. Without using the word “sanctification,” he teaches about the process of how sinful humans are made holy by God. Listen in as Pastor Neal Benson encourages us to make a continual commitment to be like Jesus.
For the past eight weeks we’ve studied various scenes in the life of Joseph. We first met him in Genesis 37 living in his father’s home. Then in Genesis 39 we saw a snapshot of his life in Potiphar’s home. Next, we found Joseph in a jail cell. The last part of his life was spent living in Egypt as second in command of the entire nation. Through Joseph's story, we learn that even when life doesn't go our way, God is still at work. Listen in as Pastor Neal Benson teaches on Genesis 50 and the importance of a life shaped by a relationship with God.
Genesis 47 starts out with the joy of a family reunion but quickly turns to the pain of a famine. The Egyptian people have no choice but to go to Joseph for help throughout the famine to stay alive. As Joseph handles this crisis, he models a life of character and integrity. What stands out in Genesis 47 is that the Egyptian people offer servitude to Pharaoh in return for food. Although Joseph is not an active schemer in the plan they present, he does play a passive role in complying with their suggestions. In the midst of hardship, we see God provide for Egypt through Joseph. Joseph comes up with a creative plan to keep the people alive and helps them spread out into new land! Listen in as Pastor Neal Benson teaches on Genesis 47 and how to live a life of integrity.
For the people of God, life is often characterized by waiting. However, this does not mean that God is absent or ignoring us. On the contrary, during our seasons of waiting, God is working in our lives to make us more like him and prepare us for what's next. This week we take a look at Joseph's reunification with his family, which was over twenty years in the making. Listen in as guest speaker, Joey Ross, shows us that God's faithfulness can be seen during our seasons of waiting.
Life is hard. Carrying the weight of bitterness makes life even harder. For nearly 22 years, Joseph had been carrying the emotional and practical weight of his brothers’ choice to sell him into slavery when he was 17 years old. Although the circumstances of his life improved, Genesis 45 gives us a window into Joseph’s heart of forgiveness toward his brothers. After 2 years of famine, Joseph’s 11 brothers travel back to Egypt to ask for food for their family, not knowing that they will be standing face to face with their brother - who now has the means to enact revenge and the justification to remain bitter. Listen in to guest speaker, Chris Hall, and see that instead of Joseph choosing the easy path of bitterness, revenge, and anger, he chose the hard, God-honoring path of forgiveness.
We’ve all experienced times in our life when things don’t go our way. For Joseph it was thirteen years of his life that were taken from him. At the end of Genesis 40 we read that Joseph was once again forgotten. But in Genesis 41 Pharaoh has a disturbing dream and Joseph is remembered. If you notice Joseph’s posture, he is a completely different person than the teenager we met in Genesis 37. Joseph learned to point to God in all situations. We see here that in his darkest times God shaped Joseph’s character so he could lead Egypt through an immense famine. God had uniquely qualified Joseph, but it took years of shaping. Watch and listen as Pastor Neal Benson talks about how to recognize and rely on the power of God.
We first met Joseph as a seventeen-year-old living in his father’s house (Genesis 37). His brothers wanted to kill him but end up selling him into slavery. From there he was accused of actions he didn’t commit and thrown into jail (Genesis 39). During this entire time, Joseph was under the watchful eye of the Lord. Through his life we learn that God is always working in our darkest moments. As we study these chapters of Joseph’s life, we have to be intentional to not rush ahead and see what happens. Listen in as Pastor Neal Benson teaches on Genesis 40 and reminds us that unfair circumstances are a testing ground for our character.
This week we saw how Joseph reacted to his unfair captivity. In the midst of unthinkable tragedy and life change that was far out of proportion to his mistakes, Joseph set an example of partnering with God in the work He was doing. It is easy for us to lose sight of God’s work in the middle of dark moments. Knowing God is at work doesn’t magically make pain go away; however, struggle, unfairness and pain are opportunities to join in and play a part in God’s larger plan. Listen in as guest speaker, Teller Emmer, shows us that living thousands of years in the future gives us the hindsight to see that Joseph not only played a big role in the salvation of Egypt and Israel, but also the world.
The story of Joseph is an Old Testament favorite. It’s a story of family dysfunction that leads to slavery, loneliness and abandonment but ends with Joseph saving Israel. So often we don’t dwell on the pain that Joseph experienced. We don’t think about what went through Joseph’s mind in the bottom of the cistern. Today Pastor Neal Benson opens Genesis 37 to look at this well known story through a new perspective. Although it’s tough to see God’s hand as Joseph's story begins, we will ultimately see that God is at work in our broken dreams.
Easter Sunday might be one of the best days of the year! This Easter we're looking at part of the resurrection story from the gospel of Luke. When we jump into the story, Jesus had been crucified just two days earlier, and now it’s the third day. Two men who had been in Jerusalem for the Passover feast are walking home to a town called Emmaus when they are joined by another man. Listen in as Pastor Neal Benson teaches from Luke 24:13-35 that the greatest discovery in life is recognizing the risen Christ.