January 14, 2018 -Chaplain Beachy

The problem of suffering is as old as mankind. Why do we suffer? Is there a way to avoid it? Is suffering a matter of punishment or an object lesson from God? As people of faith called to live holy lives, how might we respond to suffering so that the love of Christ is made known in our lives?

John 9:1-7

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-20

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01/07/2018 Pastor Sam Hamilton-Poore

Sermon: “Dearly Beloved”

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7 and Mark 1: 4-11

Pastor Sam Hamilton-Poore  is a minister member of Winnebago Presbytery.  He has served Presbyterian, Lutheran, and U.C.C. congregations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa.  Sam is also a former faculty member at San Francisco Theological Seminary.  He is married to the Rev. Terry Hamilton-Poore, Interim Pastor at 1st Presbyterian Church in Neenah.  Sam and Terry are the parents of three adult children, and have one grandchild.

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12/31/2017 One service 9:00 AM

Sermon:           “The Story Continues to Begin”

Theme:            We are “re-clothed” by Christ’s coming to take part of bringing a message of healing and transformation to the world.

Purpose:          The congregation will continue the celebration of Christmas as they seek ways to share Christ’s love.

Scriptures:       Isaiah 61:10-62:3         I will rejoice in the Lord, and clothe in salvation to celebrate a new gift of righteousness.

Luke 2:22-40   Jesus is dedicated at the temple, prophesy is made for his transforming role.

Questions:

After all of the presents are unwrapped and the Christmas frenzy is over, what is it we want for God to give to us in Christ’s coming? What do we need to hear God speak to us of promises of healing and transformation? What changes are the gifts of forgiveness and transformation going to bring to us? Now that God has given us new life and peace, what needs to be taken out of our closet and given away? What things are cluttering up our ability to receive the gift of Christ’s presence in new ways?

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12/24/2017  Fourth Sunday of Advent   One Service 9:00 AM  

Sermon:  “Everything is Different Today”

Theme:    To receive the message of Christ’s presence we need to allow Jesus to change us and enable us to take part in changing the world.

Purpose:  The congregation will be open to the power of God’s love transforming us and the world.

Scriptures:   Titus 3:4-7 Christ saved us through his mercy and transforms us.

John 1:1-14 In the beginning was the Word – Jesus is the light of the world.

Questions:

Do we see Christ in the light of Advent or are we focusing on the glitter and distractions of the season? As Advent comes to a close are we preparing our hearts for something new and transforming? What would we like to receive in our hearts for this Christmas? What would we like to experience in terms of healing or release with the coming of Christ? What parts of our lives have continued to be in darkness that have been waiting for the light to come? Can we share the light of Christ with someone who is particularly in need of hope, encouragement, or love?

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12/17/2017 Third Sunday of Advent  Christmas Cantata 2nd Service

Sermon:  “The Power of Light Over Darkness”

Theme:  We participate in the light of Christ that overwhelms and transforms the world, a power that is greater than we can imagine.

Purpose: We learn to be part of the light rather than focus on what we can do ourselves.

Scriptures:

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, the Lord loves justice and shall bring righteousness upon the earth.

John 1:6-8, 19-28 John testified to the light, and his message was a message of hope and judgment.

Questions:

Do we welcome the gift of light in the midst of our darkness or are we preferring to keep our eyes closed and stay asleep? What do we need to release and put to an end in order to be healthy and joyful in this Advent season? What is Christ inviting us to rebuild or set aside? Have was come to appreciate the light of Christ or are we hoping to keep things pretty much as they were before? Have we accepted the authority of God’s instruction or are we hoping to keep God in the role of an advisor, making suggestions rather than instructions?  What is God inviting us to begin doing or changing in this Advent season?

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12/10/2017 Second Sunday of Advent

Sermon:           “On God’s Time”

Theme:            We are confident in God’s love and care and out of that are able to be present and to do God’s work in the midst of anxious times.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to find confidence through practicing trust and prayer.

Scriptures:       2 Peter 3:8-15 Waiting – the Lord’s time is not our time.  Be found at peace and patient.

Mark 1:1-8      The appearance of John the Baptist.

 

Questions:

What difference does our time of preparation make for us? How wise are we in using our time to prepare our hearts and open our lives up to God’s healing? In what ways are we slow to let go of our unholy thinking and meaningless hostility? How are we failing to let go of past resentments, empty grudges, and hostility whose time has long past? Can we celebrate Christ’s coming by offering healing or forgiveness to one person in particular this Advent?

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11/26/2017 Christ the King Sunday

Sermon:           “The King of Love”

Theme:            Those who are submitted to Christ will share God’s love with those who they meet (who are all God’s children.

Purpose:          To rededicate to serving Christ by serving the people around us.

Scriptures:       Ephesians 1:15-23       With the eyes of your hearts enlightened, we submit to the power and authority of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 25:31-46      The parable of the separating of the sheep from the goats.

Questions:

When are we welcoming Christ? What does it mean to us to recognize Christ in those who are hungry, naked, a stranger, and in prison? What is our call as Christians to learn how to put love into action? What does it mean to know the power of Jesus in his glory through serving those who are in need of peace? How do we put this real power to work? What do we need to do in order to be servants of Christ the King?

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11/19/2017

Sermon:           Called to be Bold and Faithful

Theme:            We are called to be healthy in evil times by being bold and engaged, rather than being timid and anxious.

Purpose:          The congregation will draw strength from using their gifts faithfully.

Scriptures:       1 Thessalonians 5:1-11           Recognize the evil in the world by remaining awake and faithful to God.

Matthew 25:14-30      Parable of the talents – the wise and faithful slaves and the anxious slave.

 

Question:

In what ways do we need to put our faith into action in order to have a healthy knowledge of Christ? Is it possible to be loving without doing something? In what ways are each of us able to find God’s mission and purpose for our lives? What does it mean to us to be “children of the light” living in the present and serving God? In what ways are those who are serving and reaching out in Christ’s name better able to cope with the darkness of the world at this time? What happens when we fail to put our faith into action? What issues and conflicts emerge for those who are not prepared to live out their faith by showing Christ’s love?

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11/12/2017

Sermon:           “Called to Learn”

Theme:            We are called to practice our faith so as to grow through loss, doubts, and uncertainties.

Purpose:          The congregation will reaffirm their need to be consistent in learning through daily practicing their faith.

Scriptures:       1 Thessalonians 4:13-18         We do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Matthew 25:1-13        The parable of the wise bridesmaids and the foolish bridesmaids.

Questions:

In what ways is learning an essential part of our life in Christ? How are grief, dealing with change, and adapting necessary parts of a healthy Christian life? What happens when we become stuck or fixated on the past? What happens when we cease to live faithfully, enjoying God’s presence?  In what ways are we seeing the problems among Christians around us a result of failing to practice a living, active faith in Christ?

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11/5/2017 Communion “Called to Serving”

Sermon:           “Proclaim Christ, But Avoid Using Words”

Theme:            We seek to show God’s message of peace and justice through the way in which we live so that people will know Christ through us.

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect on the ways in which we practice peace and justice with one another.

Scriptures:       1 Thessalonians 2:9-13           Remember our work and our conduct as parents guiding our beloved children in the knowledge of God.

Matthew 23:1-12        You will not be hypocrites, but will practice your faith so that people will know God in your relationships together.

Questions:

Do our actions support our message of God’s love? In what ways do we proclaim God with our words but fail to show God’s love in our attitude or actions? How can we learn to serve joyfully and with gratitude? How does our strength flow through serving God, rather than through focusing on tasks or jobs? How do we grow as God’s servants, showing humility? In what ways is humility essential to minimize hypocrisy?

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October 29, 2017 Called to live by love.

Sermon:          “Called to Live By Love”

Theme:            Christians show love by their actions which are without malice or deception so that they may demonstrate Christ’s presence to the world.

Purpose:           The people will seek to be faithful and honest in their communications with one another and the world.

Scriptures:        1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 We do not manipulate or seek approval but share the gospel from our hearts.

Matthew 22:34-36      The greatest commandment and submission to God.

Questions:

If we are called to live by the one law of loving our neighbor as ourselves, then what is the source of all of the judgment and condemnation in the name of Christianity?  How can we be completely  honest and authentic in our witness of Christ’s love? In what ways are our own flaws, and weaknesses a part of the message of Christ’s love and acceptance? How do we learn to practice dependence on the love of Christ? What is different when our work and testimony is based solely on the love of Christ and trust in God?

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October 22, 2017 Called to Live Generously

Sermon:           “Called to Live Generously”

Theme:            Real joy is found when we learn to live in the abundance of gratitude and generosity.”

Purpose:          The congregation will consider ways of practicing generosity.

Scriptures:       1 Thessalonians 1:1-10           You have been chosen by God to serve and to share Christ’s love.

Matthew 22:15-22      Give to God what is God’s and give to the emperor what is the emperor’s

Questions:

How do we learn to be less anxious and worried about our possessions? How does fear and feelings of scarcity affect us? What would happen if we were continually confident that our needs will be provided? What would change if we no longer worried or felt fearful about our property? In what ways are we called to learn and practice gratitude so that we may show the world what it means to be joyful and generous? In what ways does generosity change the world around us?

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