3/31/2019 4th Sunday of Lent

Sermon:           “Choosing: The Past or the Future?” 

Theme:            God invites us to lay aside our past history and accounts against one another and to instead extend grace to one another.

Purpose:          The congregation will intentionally practice grace and forgiveness rather than holding onto the grievances of the past.    

Scriptures:       2 Corinthians 5:16-21 We no longer regard others from a human point of view, all have become new in Christ.

                        Luke 15:1-3, 11-32      The parable of the Prodigal Son and the older brother, a story of forgiveness and struggling to choose love over resentment.

Questions:

What does it mean for us to cease to see people from a human point of view? How do we open our minds and hearts to seeing people differently? Does forgiveness mean that we allow others to take advantage of us? How do we practice grace and forgiveness while at the same time recognizing healthy boundaries and wisdom in relationships? How is the story of the Prodigal Son a story of God’s grace and our need to develop healthy relationships?

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3/24/2019 3rd Sunday of Lent

Sermon:           “Choosing: Fear or Joy?”        

Theme:            God’s people must practice choosing to live in the love and joy of God rather than to be pulled into fear, grievances, and despair.    

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect on daily practices to choose serving Christ over dwelling in fear and worry.      

Scriptures:       Isaiah 55:1-9    Why do you spend your money on that which does not satisfy? Seek the Lord and know his ways.

                        Luke 13:1-9     Galileans speak of the atrocities committed against them, Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree bearing fruit.

Questions:

Why do we spend so much of our time and energy on things that are meaningless? How is it that we become caught up in things that do not matter? What is the impact upon our relationship with God when senseless disasters and atrocities take place? How do we live in the healing and renewal of Christ Jesus rather than in the grief, hostility, and resentments of unresolved past hurts?  What can we do to help others be part of what truly bears fruit rather than caught up in what does not add to anyone’s life?

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3/17/2019 2nd Sunday of Lent

Sermon:           “Choosing the Cross” 

Theme:            Through prayer and focusing on God’s love we learn to choose the love and healing of the cross over our own defensiveness and bitterness.   

Purpose:          The congregation will work to live and express the grace of God.   

Scriptures:       Philippians 3:17-4:1    “Enemies of the cross,” those who set their own wants and issues above their relationships with Christ and with the body of Christ.

Luke 13:31-35 Jesus is warned by the Pharisees of Herod’s intent to kill him. Jesus mourns the division between the people and God.

Questions:

What does it mean to be an enemy of the cross? How is it we are entangled in resentments and conflicts? From where does our animosity and bitterness arise? How is it we allow grievances to dominate the way we see ourselves and our relationships? How do we live without participating in the divisiveness and bitterness of the world? How can we have freedom to daily live in love and acceptance for all who are around us?

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3/10/2019 1st Sunday of Lent

Sermon:           “Who Are You Really?”          

Theme:            We are invited to allow Lent to be a season of discovering God’s love and grace for us individually and as the people of God together.       

Purpose:          The congregation will commit to seeking to deepen their relationship with God through Lent.           

Scriptures:       Romans 10:8-13 Confess with your lips Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart, and God who receives all will save you.

                        Luke 4:1-13 Temptation of Jesus, questioning what it means that he is the Son of God.

Questions:

Do you think of yourself as a beloved child of God? Does God’s love and approval of you enable you to see yourself differently? Do you know what it means to have confidence in your value and place in the world because of God’s love for you? How do we go about shaping our thinking of ourselves around God’s love for us? How do we become people who are joyfully living as God’s chosen?

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3/3/2019 Communion Transfiguration Sunday

Sermon:           “Listen to Him”          

Theme:            We are transformed and renewed through the power of the lamp of Christ’s love and presence.       

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect on what they can do to be more open to hearing and dwelling in Christ’s presence in their lives.          

Scriptures:       Exodus 34:29-35         Moses’ face shone as he spoke with God and became a light that shone in his face.

                        Luke 9:28-43   The transfiguration, and the message that shines to the world that is greater than ourselves.

Questions:

What does it mean to us to listen to the voice of Jesus? What impact does it have on us to experience the awe and glory of Jesus? How does it change our perspective to see Jesus’ divinity and authority? How does a limited perspective of Jesus’ power limit us? What do we need to do in order to authentically know the majesty and power of God in Jesus?

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2/24/2019

Sermon:           “Love that Makes a Difference”        

Theme:            Our knowledge of God and God’s law gives us a lamp that shines brighter as we encounter hostility and conflicts.

Purpose:          Congregation members will focus on letting go of grievances in order to be part of God’s work of renewal in the world around them.          

Scriptures:       Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40  Do not fret about the evil doers but allow the law of God to become your refuge.

                        Luke 6:27-38   Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, do not practice judgment.

Questions:

How can we possibly authentically learn to love our enemies and do good to the people who hate us? How do we find freedom from our resentments, suspicions, and fears of people who have hurt us in the past? What does it really mean to have relationships of practicing Jesus’ love for people we don’t like? In what ways does the love of Christ by-pass our feelings and open abilities to live in grace and freedom rather than being driven by our fears and other emotions? How do we work to make this a reality in our daily lives?

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2/17/2019

Sermon:           “Emptiness and Fullness”       

Theme:            Only through being filled with the knowledge of God will we have a message and light that will be sustained and valuable.         

Purpose:          The congregation will reflect on what leads to satisfaction and fulfillment in their lives and what we then share with the world about what matters.

Scriptures:       Psalm 1 Those who follow the law of the Lord are like trees planted by streams.

                        Luke 6:17-26   Blessings to those who have known poverty and hunger because they have roots in the knowledge of God.

Questions:

What brings us real fulfillment and peace? How does focusing on what really matters affect our way of living from day to day? In what ways do we find strength and energy in our relationship with God and our relationships with one another? How do we learn to mediate on God’s law and draw strength from God’s Word? What do we need to do in order to not become obsessed with the things we are lacking? How do we become people who are filled by God’s love and Holy Spirit?

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2/03/2019 Sermon Communion & Souper bowl of Caring Sunday

Sermon:           “We Are Called to Love”        

Theme:            The people of God learn to put love first as they offer a message of healing that the world does not understand. 

Purpose:          To learn love with the power of humility.     

Scriptures:       1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Love is patient, kind, never boastful or rude.

                        Luke 4:21-30   Doubtless you will say to me, “Physician, heal thyself.”  Jesus confronts unbelief among his own community.

Questions:

What does it mean to truly love as God commands us to love? What does it mean to love with humility, compassion, and grace? In what ways does love call us to seek healing and reconciliation for others? How do we learn to practice loving in a way that shines light of hope to the world? In what ways are Paul’s teachings of love in 1 Corinthians 13 a challenge for Christians to demonstrate their knowledge of God in all relationships?

1/27/2019 One service 9:00 AM Annual Meeting following Service.

Sermon:           “A Light for Today”

Theme:            The message of liberation, healing, and being a part of God’s transformation is one that the world craves today.

Purpose:          To focus on being God’s faithful people.

Scriptures:       1 Corinthians 12:12-31a         The various gifts and how the body works together.

Luke 4:14-21   Jesus preaches in the temple, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me.”

Questions:

How can we share a gift of God’s love and acceptance for each person’s gifts and abilities? How do we assist others to know their own identity as one gifted by God? How do we help people to know their own unique ways of being God’s beloved children? What is that causes us to feel insecure and uncertain about our own abilities and contributions to serving God? In what ways does serving God enable us to feel a unique sense of strength and purpose?

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1/20/2019

Sermon:           “Plenty to Share”

Theme:            We have an abundance of God’s wisdom, love, and healing presence to share.

Purpose:          Focus more on caring, less on anxiousness and selfish concerns.

Scriptures:       1 Corinthians 12:1-11 One body, many gifts for the good of all.

John 2:1-11     Jesus changes the water into wine, purification becomes celebration of the Kingdom of God.

Questions:

What causes people to feel uncomfortable about sharing their faith? What do we need to do in order to live our faith so that others sense our confidence and joy in knowing Christ? How can we be “attractive” in our faith rather than creating a sense of judgment or pushing faith on others? How can we joyfully invite others to celebrate God’s love and blessings? What causes the fear and sense of intimidation around sharing our faith?

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1/13/2019

Sermon:           “A Message All People”

Theme:            Our confidence, strength, and mission is to carry the light to the world.

Purpose:          The congregation will focus less on themselves and more on the light we share.

Scriptures:       Isaiah 43:1-7    God promises that God will be with us as we draw people back to the faithfulness of God.

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22    John the Baptist baptizes with water but promises the coming Messiah.

Questions:

What is it that people in the world around us are truly hungering to hear? What is needed in order to heal the brokenness and comfort the fear in the hearts of people today? What is the source of the hostility and resentment that causes so much unhappiness? How do we speak with authenticity and compassion? What can we do to be people who are living in the confidence and hope of the grace of God? What happens when we learn to live our faith with genuineness and confidence?

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1/6/2019 Communion Epiphany Series: A Light for All Nations

Sermon:           “The Lamp in the Darkness”

Theme:            Light shines out from our hearts and attracts people to the love of Christ.

Purpose:          The congregation will see themselves as sources of “light” for healing of others.

Scriptures:       Isaiah 60:1-6    Darkness shall cover the earth, but the Lord will rise upon you and bring a message for all nations.

Matthew 2:1-12          The Magi come to worship the Christ.

Questions:

What does it mean for us to be a light in the darkness? In what ways are we called to be ourselves and at the same time called to make a difference in the world? How do we become people who are able to naturally share God’s love and grace? What is the difference between trying to make things better and allowing ourselves to be a light which the world is drawn to? In what ways are people still seeking a light that will make a difference?

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