Message from Sept 24, 2017

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“Called to Eat Pruned Fruit Salad”
Luke 3:7-9
John 15:1-12
Ruling Elder Pedro Arellano

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 4th Sunday of Lent Emotional Courage

Sermon: “The Courage to Be Ourselves”
Theme: We grow in emotional courage as we learn to be shaped and molded by God’s Holy Spirit and Christ’s love.
Purpose: The congregation will explore the difference between holding fast to their own relationship with God and accepting others, as they are.
Scriptures: Ephesians 4:22-32 do not let the sun go down on your anger. be kind to one another.
John 14:18-27 I will not leave you orphaned, those who keep my commandments will show their love.

 

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The Truth Will Set You Free – After it Makes You Miserable

Nehemiah 8:1-12

An important part of our relationship with God through the scriptures is that we are confronted and challenged by the scriptures. It is concerning that many manage to read the bible and find only what confirms their point of view. Worse yet are those who manage to filter their resources, studies, and friends so that they may be free from any confrontation to their previously held assumptions or beliefs. Because without these encounters which challenge our thinking, we cannot hope to grow in our faith.

This is the power of the scriptures, to challenge the way we see ourselves and to replace that point of view with God’s opinion of us. On the one hand God’s opinion is quite gratifying because let’s face it, God has made huge sacrifices to free us from our sins and to heal our lives. God loves us and cares more about us than we even care for ourselves. On the days in which we are feeling worthless and weak God speaks and says: “I have even kept track of the number of hairs on your head.” (Matthew 10:29-31) But at the same time God reminds us that we have failed to love our neighbors, that we are arrogant, greedy, and foolish. As we open our hearts to hear God speak to us through the scriptures we tend to see ourselves anew. And this becomes a source of growth in faith and wisdom.

When the people of Israel returned from bondage they had no knowledge of who they were. They knew of what had been before all of the destruction. And they knew themselves as slaves living in a foreign land. But they did not have any type of image of themselves as faithful people living in the land and fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. The reading of the scriptures with understanding gave them a picture of themselves, an understanding of their purpose for being. And that gave them a new start for shaping their lives. This resulted in tears and in a call for celebration. The tears were because as they formed this picture of who they were created to be, they felt overwhelmed by how far they had fallen. They struggled with how much they needed to rebuild, both in their city and in their own hearts. They were profoundly broken people.

But there was also a call to celebration. The celebration was to be a rejoicing for what God had accomplished in bringing them home. The celebration was to be shared with people who were less fortunate, because an important part of the identity wasn’t about who they were as individuals but who they would be as a people. They needed a party to acknowledge that God would not leave them in their present state, but would walk with them as they rebuilt their lives.

The gift of the Word of God to us is that it has the ability to give this same sense of our identity, our purpose as God created us. Our reason for reading and studying the bible is to grow in that image, to gain more understanding of what it is God wants to accomplish in and through us. And in that process we are sometimes caused to shed tears at how far we’ve fallen short. But it is also our source of great joy in what God can accomplish with us, and through us.
Peace,
Pastor Jack

June 30, 2013 “This Wasn’t In the Brochure!”

Sacrificial Parenting

Sermon: “This Wasn’t in the Brochure”
Theme: We parent as servants to God, entrusted with a responsibility to share Christ, to instruct, and to impart wisdom.
Examples from church: parents and children
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25 Teach our children the laws and the reason why we have the statutes.
Ephesians 5:21; 6:1-4 Submit yourself to one another in love, parents, teach and discipline with love.
Questions: What is our role as parents when children are difficult? How does a parent find strength and support to be consistent and compassionate? How come there are so many children in our culture who are not well disciplined? Is it neglectful for a parent not to discipline children well? How do we support parents who encounter particularly difficult parenting situations?
Symbol: Baby Wipes
Accompaniment: Praise Band and Songs.

Conversation Starters:

Are we only responsible to our own children? What is God’s expectation for us in terms of nurturing the faith of other people’s children? What can we do to impart wisdom to other people’s children?

Recent research (http://www.search-institute.org/research/family-well-being) shows that a very significant number of families do not have regular routines or well defined boundaries (such as bed times, curfews, monitoring of school work, etc.). What is the church’s Good News” to these families? What is our role as individual Christians among young people for whom this is a way of life?

In Deuteronomy adults are instructed to tell the story of God’s salvation to the children as a regular part of daily activities.
• What is our story of God’s mighty works? What is the story we should be telling our children?
• What are the activities today that would be “while you are at home and while you are away? What the times we should be telling our children about how God has acted in our lives?
• Why do we find ourselves reluctant to tell these stories?

Does “sacrificial parenting” mean we allow the children to run the house? In what ways do we need to teach discipline to children? How do we go about doing that in a way that shows “mutual submission?”

With each baptism of a child we take a vow to help that individual grow to know and follow Christ? How should we assist and instruct parents whose children are part of the church? What do we need to do in order to be sure that every child grows up to be a faithful disciple? Does this just mean setting up programming or is there something we should be doing in terms of relationships?

Have you ever been aware of a parent who was harsh or abusive of their child? How should we respond? What is our usual response? Are helping by being judgmental? What alternatives do we have?

What should we expect of parents who are members of the church? What should our responsibility be to parents? How should we seek to assist parents in raising healthy children who grow in the love of discipline of Christ?

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