9/22/2019 Rev. Dr. Tom Willadsen

Scripture     

       Romans 12:3-8 (NT pg. 162)

       Luke 7:36-50 (NT pg. 66-67)

Message               “Grace is Weird”     

           The Reverend Doctor Tom Willadsen

10/6/2019 World Communion Sunday, Christians Seek Healthy Family Relationships

Theme:            Meaningless conflicts, disrespect, and broken relationships are signs of immaturity and a lack of submission to Christ. Christians instead practice behaviors that support healthy family relationships.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to support discipleship practices in their family.

Scriptures:       2 Timothy 1:1-14         Do not be ashamed of the testimony of God; a faith that Timothy received through his grandmother and mother.

                        Luke 17:5-10   Faithfulness creates faithfulness.

Questions:

How is our relationship with Christ reflected in our family and other close relationships? In what ways does our knowledge of God enhance and enable us to be healthy and joyful in our relationships? In what ways are conflicts and family issues a result of failing to practice healthy forgiveness, compassion, kindness, and grace? In what ways do family struggles arise from other issues and problems that our faith and practice do not enable us to address well? How does our relationship with God assist us in those times of irreconcilable conflicts?

10/13/2019 Christians Thrive in “Babylon”

Theme:            The people of God work with the circumstances in which they live for peace and healing.

Purpose:          Christians are adaptable and practical in their faith, which means that they seek what is best for themselves and the people who are around them.

Scriptures:       Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7      Work to accomplish what is best in the city of your exile.

                        2 Timothy 2:8-15         Endure in the midst of hardships, Christ is faithful to us, do not get caught up in meaningless controversy.

Questions:

How do Christians respond to situations in which their faith conflicts with the culture and practices around them? How do Christians manage to live their faith without being obstinate, conceited, or arrogant? How do we keep our values and priorities in a world that pushes for conformity? How do we “stand out” for Christ without being rude or inconsiderate? How do we seek what is best for the land in which we live? What does it mean to be strangers in a strange land?

10/20/2019 Christians Wrestle with Their Faith

Theme:            As Christians we seek to know God in our own experience and understanding, through a process of questioning and seeking.

Purpose:          The people in the congregation will grow in their understanding of what it means to struggle with their faith and beliefs.

Scriptures:       Genesis 2:22-31          God created man and women, made them to be one flesh.

                        Luke 18:1-8     Parable of unjust judge moved by persistence.

Questions:

What is the experience of growing in our faith and in our relationships as Christians? How do we deal with situations that are challenging and confusing? What does it mean for our faith to persevere? What do we need to do in order to be faithful, and yet open to growth and change? How do we know the difference between being rigid and being too easily swayed? How do we deal with living faithfully when we are in times of faith transition and doubts?

10/27/2019 Christians Practice Acceptance

Theme:            Intolerance, prejudice, unforgiveness and racism are incompatible with a healthy relationship with Christ and call Christians to constant work to be healthy.

Purpose:          The need to withhold judgment will be explored.

Scriptures:       2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18           Paul has kept the faith and accepts his circumstances even though he has been abandoned by some he thought were his friends.

                        Luke 18:9-14   Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying for forgiveness.

Questions:

What does it mean to be accepting of people who are different from ourselves? In what ways do we participate and live in systems that are discriminatory and oppressive? What is the difference between being racist and living in systems that are unjust? How do we become open to seeing our place and role in causing problems in which we live? What can we do to share Christ’s love in ways that are healing and renewing?

11/03/2019 Christians Live by Faith; Communion

Theme:            To be Christian means to trust in God, rather than indulge in our fears over lack of security, control, or domination.

Purpose:          The congregation will consider what it means to be part of the body of Christ: Past, present, and future.

                        Scriptures:      

                        Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 In the midst of turmoil the prophet watches for the signs of redemption which are promised.

                        Luke 19:1-10   Story of Zacchaeus’ repentance.

Questions:

What does reconciliation look like in the world around us? How do we practice grace with people who have been destructive and untrustworthy in the past? To what degree do we guard against allowing people to be abusive and how do we open pathways for restoration? How do we seek the best for people who have been self-destructive and hurtful while being wise? How do we deal with long periods of waiting for healing or restoration?

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