Sermon Series:

Lamp for our Feet, Light for our Path


Seeking


1/26/2020

Have you ever tried to find something in the dark?  Most all of us have had that desperate moment in which we have lost something so important, so valuable, that we were compelled to search for it in the dark!  However, as we search our desperation gives way to despair!  It seems that there is a desperate search in the world around us, but it is in darkness.   We can see the hopelessness that people experience when they do not find the meaning or purpose that makes life vibrant.  In the sermon series, Lamp for Our Feet, Light for Our Path we turn to Isaiah 55:6-13.  In the sermon, Seeking, this Word of the Lord from Isaiah gives us direction for overcoming the darkness of our desperate search to find an enduring light of joy!  What are you seeking today?  Find the meaning and joy that can truly lift your heart as you read Isaiah 55:6-13: Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

Lamp for our Feet, Light for our Path


Seed


1/19/2020

As we continue our series Lamp for Our Feet, Light for Our Path, we come to 1 Peter 1:22-25 and find the “Seed” that causes us to be born again. This seed, the word of God, is imperishable, living, and eternal. Once it is planted in our lives, it continues to grow and produce fruit. The fruit of God’s word in our lives is drastically different than the fruit and glory that comes from our own flesh: it is sincere, earnest, and pure love for one another. It is love that we cannot produce or show other people in our own strength. It is love that is self-sacrificial. It is love that can only be found in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who comes into our lives when we believe in him. As you read these verses, remember that the love God has planted in our hearts lasts forever because it comes from Himself. 1 Peter 1:22-25: Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

Lamp for our Feet, Light for our Path


Sabbath


1/12/2020

Happy New Year!  We continue with our series Lamp for Our Feet, Light for Our Path with the sermon, Sabbath. Sabbath is a rare word for “our world.”  God modeled sabbath by resting on the seventh day of creation.  Jesus helps us understand this example by saying, “Sabbath was created for man….” (Mark 2:27) In other words, God knew humanity would need cycles of rest and worship.  Many of us do not get enough rest, or find a sense of rest in our lives!  Both are important.  If we do not find “rest for our souls” then it will be harder for our bodies to rest as well.  In Hebrews 4:9-16, the writer says that if we are not careful, we will miss God’s rest through our stubbornness and mistrust!  Sabbath is not just a day, but it is an active living reality found in God’s Word.  These verses help us to find a deeper rest that will brighten our path and guide our feet to a better relationship with God! As you read these words, let your heart rest in God’s promise of grace!  Hebrews 4:9-16: There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are– yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV) 


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Sermon Series:

Lamp for our Feet, Light for our Path


Surety


1/5/2020

Happy New Year! We begin 2020 with a new sermon series and a new emphasis for the coming year. In 2019 we focused on prayer and now we want to couple prayer with reading the Word of God. Our series is “Lamp for our Feet, Light for our Path” and this will be the theme for 2020. Our goal is to listen to God’s voice in scripture, to brighten the road before us, and to lighten the load upon us. Our first sermon of 2020 is “Surety.” It is a great place to begin because each year comes with its own uncertainty. One way to deal with the uncertainty of a new beginning is to realize the security of those things we can depend upon! The theme for this year comes from Psalm 119: 105-112. King David realized that the light of God’s Word was a foundation to his life. These verses help us to realize how we can strengthen this foundation in our own lives as we start this year. As you read this part of Psalm 119, let the light of God’s Word to strengthen you and guide you to God’s peace. Psalm 119:105-112: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. 108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer


WOUNDED?


12/29/2019

Happy New Year!  We are on the verge of 2020, a brand-new decade! However, we are still finishing our Christmas sermon series, Don’t Get Run Over by The Reindeer.  Even though the presents are done, you still may be dealing with the problems of “holiday let down.”  Or, if your celebration did not go so well, you may be recovering from the aftermath!  Either way, this sermon will help you recover.  In the sermon, Wounded? we turn to Isaiah 61:1-7.   The people of God were struggling with the darkness of their society and their individual lives.  They are broken, but this is not the last word for any of them or for us!  Jesus uses part of this passage as a commission for his own ministry on earth, because it is a vision of redemption.  As you read Isaiah 61:1-7, allow the Spirit of the Living God to lift you into his care and guide you into the coming year. Isaiah 61:1-7: The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer


WEARY?


12/22/2019

Merry Christmas!  We are just one Sunday away from Christmas Day!  It has passed quickly and you may be reeling from the hoof prints on your back, or you may just be tired.  In our sermon series “Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer,” we turn to a common problem for this time of year.  It is in the form of a question, “Weary?”  Weariness can be exhaustion, but it can also be expressed with cynicism, frustration, anger, or apathy.  We underestimate the power of weariness. But God doesn’t!  We turn to Isaiah 40:1-11, which becomes part of the Christmas celebration due to Handel’s Messiah.  The Messiah begins with the words from Isaiah 40.  We realize, though, that these words are for everyone who is weary, frustrated, exhausted, or afraid.  They are an antidote to apathy and cynicism, because things are about to change for the better!  No longer will it be business as usual!  As you come to this Christmas, let the Word of the Lord from Isaiah 40:1-11 refresh your heart that a good and powerful change is coming! Isaiah 40:1-11:  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” 9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (NIV)

Sermon Series:

Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer


Where is it?


12/15/2019

Merry Christmas!  Christmas Day is only 12 days away!  In our Christmas season, the sermon series is Don’t get run over by the Reindeer!  This week, our sermon is Where it is?  It seems that we are always looking for the right gift, the right decoration, or the right time.  Yet, as we go through this season with all the activity and gifts, we find ourselves empty and frustrated, rather than excited and relaxed. This week, we turn to Isaiah 11:1-10.  It is a vision of God’s Peaceable Kingdom.  It communicates a fullness that comes from a place of brokenness and heartache.  From a burned-out stump, a branch will grow and a flower will blossom. This is a part of the Christmas story because Jesus is the branch that will bring a wonderful rest to the striving of humanity.  But how? This vision of the coming Peaceable Kingdom helps us in 2019 to find the peace, joy, and hope that we are looking for!  As you read Isaiah 11:1-10, may you find God’s presence lifting up your heart! Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD– 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer


WAIT FOR IT


12/8/2019

It is our hope that you are finding the joy and meaning of this Christmas season.  In our sermon series, “Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer” the sermon is “Wait for it!”  We struggle during this season with waiting!  It seems we are waiting in line, waiting in the drive through, or waiting for the family plan for Christmas and the lists seems to be endless!  But what are we really waiting for?  All of our waiting during this season just increases our frustration and despair.  One of the major problems during this time of year is “holiday blues” caused by stress and anxiety.  It is seems we are waiting for all the wrong things!  In Isaiah 9:1-7, the people were focused upon all the darkness of problems, uncertainties, and fear.  God is never content for darkness to reign, whether during the time of Isaiah or today.  These verses help us realize that the light of Christ can dispel the deepest darkness. If you are walking in darkness today, hear the words of God from Isaiah!  Wait for this light, it’s coming for you!  Isaiah 9:1-7: Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan– 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV)

 


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Sermon Series:

Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer


WATCH OUT


12/1/2019

Merry Christmas!  We are now through Thanksgiving and the race toward Christmas has begun!  Our Christmas series is: Don’t Get Run Over by the Reindeer!  Between the events, crowds, shopping (even online), and planning for extended family gatherings, this time of year can become overwhelming.  The holidays create their own level of stress and even fear.  The fear of uncertainty, the fear of being alone, and the fear of past experiences are some of the things with which people struggle.  It is easy to forget that this season was intended to give us greater peace, more hope, eternal joy, and an unconditional love.  Our first sermon in this series is a warning: Watch Out!  Our scripture is from Isaiah 7:4-14.  King Ahaz was the king of Judah, or what is often called the “southern kingdom”. In this historical moment he received word that the northern kingdom, also called “Israel” or “Ephraim”, had made an alliance with Aram (or present-day Syria) to take over Jerusalem.  If they were successful, Ahaz would be removed as the king or even killed.  He and the people of Jerusalem were terrified!  Into this moment came God’s living Word through the prophet Isaiah.  God was not going to allow this evil plan to succeed, but Ahaz struggled to believe!  The Lord told this fearful king: “If your faith is not strong, you will not have strength enough to last.” Isaiah 7:9 (NCV).  This question is just as important today. The strength of faith enables our lives to find a marvelous strength even in the face of great obstacles! As you read Isaiah 7:4-14, believe that God will care for you as God did during the time of King Ahaz. Let these words strengthen your faith in our Savoir who was born of a virgin to fulfill this Word from Isaiah.  Isaiah 7:4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood– because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen, 8 for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” 10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

My Cup Overflows


POSSIBILITIES


11/24/2019

We come to the end of our series My Cup Overflows with this week’s sermon, Possibilities.  We are constantly being drained of goodness and generosity, but what will refill our hearts and lives.  The possibilities are greater for people who have an overflowing cup because they live happier and longer lives!  They find strength and meaning which enables them to overcome the obstacles they confront.  As we come to this Thanksgiving Day what will fill your cup to overflowing.  Luke 6:31-39 helps us to find the fullness of a generous spirit.  These are the words of Jesus from Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain.  It begins with the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you desire them to do for you.”  To follow this rule is not only a challenge, but at times it seems like an impossibility.    Yet, if we listen to these words of Jesus, there is a far greater potential for a fullness in our lives that nothing in this world can take away!  It is our prayer that you sense this fullness as you read Luke 6:31-39.  Luke 6:31-39: Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?  (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

My Cup Overflows


Purpose


11/17/2019

We continue our series My Cup Overflows as we get closer to Thanksgiving Day.  Over the past two weeks, we have looked at Provision and how God provides for us.  We have considered God’s Plan and how we fit in it.  This week, we turn to Purpose.  What in the world are we here for?  This is a great question and one which our society is asking.  There is a growing emptiness that drains our spirits.  There is no defining purpose except to get what we can while we are here!  We try to fill a void, only to find ourselves in greater despair.  When we have a defining purpose, we feel better about life and we make better choices.  Purpose allows us to discern a fullness in our lives because it fills us with meaning. In Psalm 116:7-19 King David was in the depth of despair; possibly facing death itself. Yet he was able to hang on to trust and hope in God and it was transformative for his life.  He realized a great lesson about God’s power being able to refill our cups, even in the most desperate moments!  The lessons he learned are still transformative for us!  As you read these words, may your cup be refilled to overflowing! Psalm 116:7-19: 7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. 8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 10 I trusted in the LORD when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; 11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” 12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. 14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. 16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. 17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD– in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.  (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

My Cup Overflows


God has a plan . . . and we are in it!


11/10/2019

We continue our series My Cup Overflows with the sermon God has a Plan and You are in It!  Some people see life as a random series of events without any rhyme or reason.  One of the sources of despair in our time is a failure to see how our lives fit into a broader scheme.  This leaves us without any sense of purpose, nor do we find any substantive meaning.  Even as Christians there are times that all the pieces of the puzzle do not fit, and we are left with jagged edges of hurt.  We wonder where God is.  Why has this happened?  What is God’s plan?  Does God care?  These are ancient but very timely questions!  God does have a plan, and more importantly God has a plan particularly for you!  God wants to fill the void of existence with hope and purpose.  These Scriptures my seem to be random, but they lead us to a path of God’s eternal plan.  As you read these words, may you find the comfort and hope of God’s plan for you!

 

Romans 15:4: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance, and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope

 

Zechariah 12:10: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

 

 Jeremiah 31:35 -36: If the created order should vanish from my sight’, declares the LORD, ‘only then would Israel’s descendants ever stop being a nation before me.’ The LORD proclaims: ‘If the heavens above could be measured and the foundation of the earth below could be fathomed, only then would I reject Israel’s descendants for what they have done’, declares the LORD.


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Sermon Series:

My Cup Overflows


Provision


11/03/2019

As we begin the month of November, we start a new sermon series: “My Cup Overflows.” This phrase is taken from one of the most famous and beloved chapters in the Bible, Psalm 23, a passage that beautifully captures God’s care and provision for us. We often feel like sheep: lost, afraid, and clueless. However, with God as our Shepherd, we no longer lack protection, provision, and rest. We no longer lack deliverance from our enemies, comfort in trials, and rest when weary. We have those things because we have Jesus Christ as our Good Shepherd. And not only do we have them, we have them abundantly, so that our “cups are overflowing!” As you read this Psalm, reflect on the abundant blessings God has poured out in your life.

Psalm 23: 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NIV)


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Sermon Series:

How to Hug a Vampire


Loving the People Who Suck the Life Out of Us

COMPASSION


10/27/2019

 We complete our series on How to Hug a Vampire-Loving the People who Suck the Life out of Us, with the sermon, Compassion.  All of us struggle with “compassion fatigue” and at times, we are afraid to care for others because it is so exhausting!  Or we find ourselves in a death grip of hugging someone who makes us feel guilty if we do not fix everything for them.  What are we to do?  In Luke 10, Jesus encounters a religious scholar who tries to trap him in an argument, but Jesus instead turns the tables and puts the scholar on the defensive.  In the scholar’s effort to justify his own behavior, he asks a question that we still ask today, “Who is my neighbor anyway?”  Jesus responds with the timeless story of the Good Samaritan.  This simple parable is able to help guide us to appropriate but powerful compassion.  As you read Luke 10:27-37, let God’s compassion and love fill your heart!  Luke 10:27-37: He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  (NIV)


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COMMITMENTs


10/20/2019

We continue with our series, How to Hug a Vampire-Loving the People who Suck the Life Out of Us.   So far, we have learned that God wants us to love others (Clarity), but we cannot take God’s place (Confession)!  We need to follow God’s boundaries in our lives.  This week’s sermon is Commitments.  Managing our commitments is one of the great struggles in life.  All of us have to learn how to juggle various things and it can be exhausting!  Does God even care about all the things we have to do?  Trying to love others amid all the other things, just seems to drive us down rather than give us hope.  This week, we turn to Hebrews 13:8-16.  Some of these Christians were on the verge of giving up.  They were enduring persecution and wondering where would they find help.  This passage shares with them the path to find a fountain of strength, even in great adversity.  The secret is found in choosing the right commitments in our lives!  As you read Hebrews 13:8-16, realize that God is able to fill our hearts, even when all hope seems lost! Hebrews 13:8-16:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise– the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)


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CONFESSION


10/13/2019

We continue this week with How to Hug a Vampire-Loving the People Who Suck the Life out of Us with the sermon, Confession.  We determined last week that we cannot simply cut people out of our lives, except when we realize that we do not have the spiritual maturity to truly love the person who is sucking the life out of us!  We are called to be servants of a living God who asks us to share a genuine love for others.  This week, we turn to Psalm 139:1-14.  These verses are filled with realizations of God’s power that is at work from the moment we begin our lives.  King David’s words also, help us to realize that we are limited creatures. Despite our limitations, God’s strength and ability are available to help us find the abundant life that God wants for us. As you read Psalm 139:1-14, allow the Holy Spirit to fill your cup to overflowing with the goodness and greatness of God! Psalm 139:1-14 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (NIV)


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CLARITY


10/06/2019

This week, we begin a new series: How to Hug A Vampire-Loving the People Who Suck the Life Out of Us.  All of us have relationships that have a tendency to drain our goodness, grace, and generosity.  Sometimes it is the people at work or that we randomly encounter, but it can even be within our families!  Certainly, one solution is to completely cut this person from our lives, but is this what Christ wants us to do?  Maybe…maybe not!  This is precisely the problem and confusion with these relationships.  Yet, if our spirit is filled with anger and we are drained of any goodness toward this person, it generally doesn’t end well!  How do we counter the toxic nature of the world?  We are not the first Christians to confront this problem! James the Apostle writes a letter to all of the Christians of his time because they had become so toxic in their behavior!  How he begins this letter gives us the title of the first sermon: Clarity.  James 1:1-8 is trying to create a clarity for these struggling Christians to help them find the strength to love others!   As you read these words, let the Holy Spirit show you the path to wholeness and fullness in your life to overcome the drain of our toxic world! James 1:1-8: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (NIV)

 


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