9/16/2018 The wisdom to sit still.

Sermon:           “Real Faith: Choosing Our Words”

Theme:            Faith calls us to respond to God’s call for caring rather than react to our own past issues or fears.

Purpose:          The congregation will examine their reactive nature and seek to live compassionately.

Scriptures:       James 3:1-12   Taming the tongue

Mark 8:27-38  If any want to become followers of Christ, let them take up their own cross.

 

Questions:

What did Jesus mean when he told the people to take up their own cross and follow? What does it mean to us that we worship one who suffered on behalf of others? What difference does practicing the love of Christ make in the way we speak to, or about other people? How can we learn to be more thoughtful before responding to the issues and problems we face?  What does James mean when he speaks of the tongue as a “restless evil, full of deadly poison?”  Do we take seriously the dangers of the way in which we speak? Do we recognize how our language affects our relationship with God?

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09/09/2018 Back to two worship services

Sermon:           “Real Faith Really Acts”

Theme:            Our mature faith is shown in that we show our caring in ways that make a difference and bring healing.

Purpose:          The congregation will focus on practical acts of compassion not to impress.

Scriptures:       James 2:1-13   The body matters: knowledge of Christ demands that we be practical in our love for neighbor.

Mark 7:24-37  The healing of the Syrophoenician (privileged person) woman’s daughter.

Questions:

Who has been left out of the blessings and abundance around us? What is our responsibility to people who are in need? What difference does it make if we discriminate for or against particular groups of people? What difference does economic class make in the way we treat people? How does that affect our relationship with God? What can we do to be more open and accepting of people who we perceive to be affluent, and people we perceive to be poor or needy?  What does James mean when he says that partiality is a sin?  What is wrong about favoring one group over another?

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9/2/2018 Communion. Labor Day Weekend.

Sermon:           “God’s Call on Us”

Theme:            We are called to be people who show we have Christ’s love in us through the way we are thoughtful and kind in our manner with our neighbors.

Purpose:          The congregation will examine what is important about their relationship with Christ and treatment of others.

Scriptures:       James 1:17-27 Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, be doers of the word.

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23        What makes us clean or unclean.

 

Questions:

Do we worry more about traditions and other people’s behaviors than about our own relationship with God? What does Jesus mean when he quotes: ““This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” Do we put more emphasis on things that do not matter or on doing the things that show God’s love and compassion? What does James mean when he says: “27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world?” Do we do a good job of practicing our religion in ways that demonstrates God’s love?

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8/26/2018

Sermon:           “The Unseen Neighbor”

Theme:            Those who have grown in faith and become wise will see those who are suffering and in need in their midst.

Purpose:          The congregation will begin to seek to set aside personal issues so as to see the neighbors in need.

Scriptures:       Romans 12:9-21          The Marks of a true Christian – love and forgiveness.

Luke 16:19-31 The Rich man and Lazarus, the knowledge of God means noticing our neighbors.

Questions:

What is God’s expectation for our compassion and care for people who are less fortunate than ourselves? What difference does sympathy and generosity play in our relationship with God and with one another? Can we be healthy Christians if we don’t care about the needs of others? What does it mean to “extend hospitality to strangers?” What happens to us spiritually if we don’t develop the ability to be compassionate to others?  What happens if we deepen our ability to care for others without fear or anxiousness about our own needs?

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August 19, 2018

Sermon:           “But My Neighbor is a …..”

Theme:            Faithfulness to Christ calls us to see Christ in our neighbor’s heart rather than judge his or her behaviors.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to let go of judgments of others.

Scriptures:       Colossians 3:12-17      Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

John 4:5-42     Jesus and the woman of Samaria at the well.

 

Questions:

How does God call us to relate to those who have suffered humiliation and discrimination in their community? How do we find ways to show Christ’s love to people who have been condemned or suffered shame? In what ways does God call us to be people of grace and acceptance? What difference will it make to the world when we practice this Christ-like love and compassion? How do we become people who stand out in the world for our ability to bring healing and hope?

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August 12, 2018

Sermon:           “Do Not Judge the Neighbors”

Theme:            We are called to be people who practice love and acceptance, showing the grace and mercy of God.

Purpose:          The congregation will focus on acceptance of those who are different.

Scriptures:       Colossians 3:1-11        There is no longer Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, set your mind on the things that are above.

Matthew 7:1-5            Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

 

Questions:

What does holding grudges and prejudices end up costing us emotionally and spiritually? What happens to our relationship with God If we hold onto thoughts of judgment and condemnation? What is the cost to our fellowship together if we support suspicion, hostility, and bitterness? How do we learn to be people who are free from intolerance and condemnation of others? What leads us to practicing “wrath, malice and slander?” What leads us to focus on the things that divide us? In what ways can we be healed as we serve to bring healing to our communities?

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August 5, 2018 – Churchnic Outdoor Worship, Communion.

Sermon:           Salty Neighbors

Theme:            We are called to focus on being Christ’s loving presence in the world.

Purpose:          The congregation will seek to find ways that they can be active, making a difference in the world.

Scriptures:       Colossians 2:8-17        Do not get caught up in philosophies or arguments, but know that you are forgiven through the death of Christ.

Matthew 5:13-16        You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth.

 

Questions:

How can we be the “salt” that preserves and prevents decay in the community? What do we need to do in order to not become caught up in ideology or debates, but instead focus on doing things that bring hope and healing in the world? What causes neighbors to become divided or hostile towards each other? What are the vulnerabilities that cause people to become focused on insignificant differences rather than finding places of common hope and concern? How do we focus on developing the fullness of Christ’s wisdom?

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July 29, 2018

Sermon:           Neighbors and Politics

Theme:            Those who are mature in Christ are able to be confident in their own politics without attacking other people’s points of view.

Purpose:          The congregation will learn to be healthy and wise in disagreement.

Scriptures:       Philippians 2:12-18     Do all things without murmuring and arguing, rejoice in relationship.

John 6:25-34   The people want a sign and want to eat their fill of bread without commitment.

Questions:

How do we maintain a healthy ability to hold our points of view and opinions while allowing others to disagree with us? What are the traits needed to disagree and discuss as mature and authentic people? Why are some so easily upset by political disputes? What is the cause of discussions deteriorating into personal attacks and disrespectful language? Why are some unable to interact with the issues or concerns without feeling personally attacked? How as Christians (especially as Presbyterians) are we to teach others to engage in healthy discussion?

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July 22, 2018

Sermon:           Making the Neighborhood

Theme:            God’s people take joy in growing healthy relationships and reflecting God’s love in the way they treat others.

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect upon their attitude towards people who are close to them.

Scriptures:       Romans 13:8-14 Owe no one anything but to love one another, and be live honorably.

Mark 4:26-34  The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, what we sow is what will be produced.

Questions:

What is our role in shaping the community around us? What is Jesus’ call on us for how we build relationships? What should we be doing to intentionally assist our community and our nation in growing to be wise and healthy in relationships? How do we develop skills to that enable us to be thoughtful in how we build up the healthy elements of relationship in the world around us?

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July 15, 2018

Sermon:           Neighbors Choose Words Carefully.

Theme:            Our words reflect the heart of our relationships with one another, which then become part of our relationship with God.

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect upon how they speak about others.

Scriptures:       James 3:13-18 Show your wisdom in your words and actions.

Mark 4:21-25  A lamp should shine, all will be disclosed and made clear.

Questions:

How is your relationship with God reflected in the way you speak about the people who are around you? Do you use your words to build up and to encourage or do your words reflect bitterness, envy, or hostility? What happens to us when we are reflective of God’s love and presence? How does it feel to be someone who is consistent in showing and demonstrating the love of Christ?  What can we do to learn to reflect the wisdom of Christ?

Unfortunately we had problems with the recording so click HERE to download notes and text of the message.

July 8, 2018

Sermon:           Neighbors We Aren’t Sure How to Welcome

Theme:            God’s call crosses boundaries and causes us to be in relationships with people whom we hadn’t thought of as part of the family of God.

Purpose:          To call the congregation to let go of bias against people thought to be unacceptable.

Scriptures:       Acts 8:26-40    Phillip baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Mark 5:15-20  The man with the demon is rejected by his community and goes to proclaim Jesus among others.

 

Questions:

Who have we found it particularly difficult to accept as brothers or sisters in Christ? In what ways have we allowed judgment or discrimination to affect our attitude towards other people? In what ways do we prejudge and distort perceptions of groups, cultures, economic groups, or backgrounds? What does that do to us as Christians? What does it do to the church’s testimony of Christ?

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July 1st, 2018 Communion Sunday

Sermon:           Are Those People Neighbors Too?

Theme:            The grace of God is for all people and we are called to not be partial in our acceptance.

Purpose:          The congregation will evaluate their own acceptance.

Scriptures:       Acts 10:34-48  God shows no partiality, Cornelius’ household is baptized.

Mark 6:7-13    Jesus sends the 12 disciples to all of the villages.

 

Questions:

What does it mean to us that God sent Peter to proclaim salvation and healing to the people Peter formally thought were unacceptable?  What does it mean to us that God calls no one unclean or unacceptable?  Do we accept Jesus’ commissioning to go out to all people? What happens to our faith and our relationship with God when we are stretched beyond where we are comfortable? What happens to us if we deny extending God’s love to some people? How does it distort our relationship with God not to welcome others as brothers and sisters?

Click HERE to listen to the message.

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