4/16/2017 Easter Sunday

Sermon:           “If You Have Been Raised with Christ…”

Theme:            If you will live in the truth and message of the resurrection you will experience freedom from death’s grip on your life.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to know and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Scriptures:       Colossians 3:1-4          If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above.

John 20:1-18   Mary, Peter, and John encounter the empty tomb.

Questions:

What does it mean to receive the resurrection in our lives? In what ways does death dominate our life? What role does gratitude play in “seeking the things that are above?” What happens if our mind is simply set on the things that are problems and anxieties in our lives? Can we have a relationship with Christ that lasts without gratitude? How does the joy of celebrating Christ’s resurrection enable us to be healed of our fears?  How do we share this gift of resurrection with others?

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4/9/2017 Palm Sunday

Sermon:           “Welcome the Humble Reign”

Theme:            Christ comes to us in humility and invites us to live in that same joyful mind of humility and grace.

Purpose:          The congregation will recognize the value and power of the ‘mind of Christ.’

Scriptures:       Matthew 21:1-11        Jesus enters Jerusalem, riding on a donkey.

Philippians 2:5-11       Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, that he humbled himself.

Questions:

What does it mean to have the “Same mind as was in Christ” as we humble ourselves? What is the message of Jesus coming to Jerusalem riding on a donkey? What difference does it make to us that this event happened in a distant city so many years ago, especially with all of the war and violence in the world today? In what places is a humble servant king needed to bring peace to the world? In what ways does a humble servant king bring peace in our own minds and hearts? How do we embrace the coming of Christ as our Lord?

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4/2/2017 Communion Sunday

Sermon:           “Dry Bones and Hopeless Hearts”

Theme:            We are alive in Jesus Christ as we set our minds and hearts on the Holy Spirit’s love and God’s grace.

Purpose:          The congregation will recognize that our source of strength and renewal comes from our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Scriptures:       Ezekiel 37:1-14            Valley of the dry bones – The Spirit gives life and hope.

Romans 8:6-11            To set the mind on the flesh is death, to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

 

Questions:

In what ways do we feel like “dried up bones?” What parts of our lives are hopeless and without energy or life? How do we set our minds on the Spirit, rather than allow our minds to be set on the flesh? Is this something we do in prayer or meditation or is this something that involves all of our days? What has happened to us so that we do not trust God or feel prepared to depend on the Spirit of God?

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3/26/2017 “Choosing to See”

Sermon:           “Choosing to See”

Theme:            We choose to know God and in that way to have vision of what God is doing in the world with us and through us.

Purpose:          The congregation will confess their need to see and choose to allow God to show them a new way to live.

Scriptures:       Ephesians 5:8-14         Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.

John 9:1-41     Jesus heals the man who was born blind by washing in the pool of Siloam.

 

Questions:

What does it mean for us to be able to see spiritually? What kept the Pharisees and other religious leaders from being able to see Jesus’ ministry as a work that came from God?  What keeps us from recognizing God’s work in our midst? How is it that we become unaware of God’s works happening around us? In what ways does faithfulness to God affect our ability to see what God is doing? In what ways does our own stubbornness blind us to the opportunities to show God’s love and care for others?

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3/19/2017 “Living Water”

Sermon:           “Living Water that Gives Life”

Theme:            Jesus invites us to be healed through opening our hearts to the water of life rather than our own will and stubbornness.

Purpose:          The congregation will see the importance of worshipping God in Spirit and in truth.

Scriptures:       Exodus 17:1-7 The Hebrew people in the wilderness, complain because they have no water.

John 4:5-42     Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well.

 

Questions:

What does “living water welling up with us” mean to us? What is causing us to be dried out and barren in our lives? What causes us to continue to struggle with the same issues and emptiness in our relationships? How does our “quarrelling” and self-absorbed ways affect our relationship with God and with the people around us? How does the process of acknowledging our need and our struggles affect our relationships with God and with others? How do we learn to worship in “Spirit and in truth?”

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3/12/2017 “Being Born from Above”

Sermon:           “Being Born from Above”

Theme:            Jesus invites us to be in a relationship with God through which we are renewed and transformed by submitting our heart to God.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to know Christ through submission and obedience to God.

Scriptures:       Genesis 12:1-4 God calls Abram to a covenant to follow faithfully.

John 3:1-17     The story of Nicodemus, you must be born from above.

 

Questions:

What does it mean for us to be “reborn from above?”  What is required that we be born by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God? In what ways are we trying to change our lives by our own willpower and self-determination rather than to open ourselves to being born from above? How do we see ourselves needing to be like Abram, ready to leave behind the old life and live out of our trust in God? Why do we like Nicodemus struggle with the idea of God acting in our lives today?

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3/5/2017 Communion Sunday

Sermon:           “Sin Came Into the World”

Theme:            God created us with the capacity to choose good or evil, and through that choice we needed to be healed by the gift of Jesus’ sacrificial love.

Purpose:          The congregation will recognize sin in their lives and how they have chosen evil.

Scriptures:       Genesis 2:15-27; 3:1-7            The Lord commanded not to eat of the Tree

Romans 5:12-19          Grace and mercy came to us through Jesus of Nazareth;

 

Questions:

What does it mean for us to sin? What is the affect that our choices have upon our lives? Should we be focusing on feeling guilty or should we focus on what we lose through our sin? What is the purpose of obedience? What impact does God’s mercy really have on our lives? How much of this is about punishment and how much is about living the fullness of life that God has for us?

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2/26/2017 End of 1st Corinthians Series

Sermon:           “Commissioned to Proclaim Christ”

Theme:            Our identity and purpose flows from our call to share the news that God’s love was shown in the forgiveness of Christ Jesus and the compassion that seeks to heal all of the world.

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect upon their identity in Christ and call to live that identity.

Scriptures:       Matthew 28:16-20      The great Commission to proclaim the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 The Apostle Paul affirms the death and resurrection of Christ and his commission.

 

Questions:

What is the Good News that we have for the world today? In the midst of the hostility, and injustice, and fear of the world today, what difference does Jesus’ death and resurrection make? What difference does the resurrection make to us? What is our commission from Christ? How do we “proclaim” Jesus’ forgiveness and make disciples of the world around us? Is making disciples our job or are we just to support people who do make disciples? How can we fully know Christ if we aren’t a part of sharing and proclaiming Jesus’ forgiveness and healing?

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2/19/2017

Sermon:           “When We Fail to Be the Body of Christ”

Theme:            We will review what it means to worship in the love and compassion of Christ and how that calls us to practice our love for one another and for the world in the sacraments.

Purpose:          The congregation will examine their need to forgive, love, and accept one another in order to be right with God.

Scriptures:       John 13:12-20 Jesus washes the disciple’s feet and calls them to serve one another.

1 Corinthians 11:17-26   Paul corrects the Corinthian people in their practice of the Lord’s supper.

 

Questions:

How does the Holy Spirit move us to think and feel differently about our brothers and sisters in Christ? What happens that causes us to hold onto divisions and grudges, and to be resistant to forgiving? In what ways does our lack of forgiveness affect the others in the body of Christ? In what ways does our tendency to be judgmental and intractable interfere with the life of the church? In what ways does seeing ourselves as servants for one another causes us to be restored in love and fellowship together?

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2/12/2017

Sermon:           How We are Called to Love

Theme:            God calls us to practice love that is founded on a commitment to humbly share God’s compassion and grace with all people.

Purpose:          The congregation will put love into practice, caring for one another with humility forgiveness, as they serve God.

Scriptures:       John 15:1-17   Jesus is the vine, and we are branches; we are commanded to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 The Apostle Paul describes the gift of love.

 

Questions:

In what ways is the love that the Apostle Paul describes different from what is popularly thought of as being love? In what ways is humility a necessary part of the capacity to love as God calls us to love? How does the love that Paul describes reflect the type of love that God gives to us? In what ways do we need to be in Christ so that we may share this meaningful and powerful love? How do we practice this type of love? In what ways does this love move us away from “feelings” and emotions and move us to a commitment to be Christ-like?

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February 5, 2017 Communion

February 5, 2017  Communion

 

Pastor Sam Hamilton-Poore, will be preaching.  Pastor Hamilton-Poore is an “At large” pastor in Winnebago Presbytery (not currently serving a congregation) who has published works in spiritual development and spiritual practices.

Passages:  Isaiah 58:1-12,  Matthew 5:13-20

Sermon:  “Then Your Light Will Shine”

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1/29/2017

Sermon:           “Many Parts, One Body”

Theme:            Through humility we can bring together our varieties of gifts in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Purpose:          The congregation will value our unity and strength that comes through humility and love.

Scriptures:       Luke 9:46-50   Who is greatest in the kingdom of God, whoever is not against you is for you.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31           The various parts of the body of Christ and gifts we use.

Questions:

What does it mean to us in practical terms that there are a variety of gifts, but one Holy Spirit? Do we see ourselves as gifted? Do we recognize that our gifts are in the service of the one body? Why is it that so many times there are arguments and divisions among Christians? What does it mean to humble ourselves and place ourselves in the service of Christ? What does it mean to us that anyone who does not oppose us is for us?

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