Sermons
 
"After John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!'"
Mark 1.14-15
 
As Jesus' ministry began with preaching, so does ours. Hearing the word of God and responding to it is the foundation of the church's life. As Jesus preaches good news, so do we preach good news. As Jesus preaches the coming of God's kingdom, so do we preach the coming of God's kingdom. As Jesus preaches with urgency that the time has come, so do we preach with urgency. As Jesus preaches repentance and belief, so do we preach repentance and belief.
 
Our preaching is centered on the gospel message that in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, God is reconciling the world to himself. Only in the gospel is true good news found. Only in the gospel is the kingdom of God found. Only in the gospel are we awoken from our lives of apathy to lives of urgency. Only in the gospel do we find forgiveness and the confidence to repent and believe. That's what is preached here. We invite you to come and hear the word of God and respond. 
 
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We pray you are blessed by the messages. All messages since May 2018, unless noted, are preached by Pastor Dan Brouwer. If you have any questions about a sermon or would like to know more about the good news of the gospel, we invite you to email. And of course, please come and join us in worship at 9:30 am  each Sunday. 
 
 
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Promised Rewards as a God-Ordained Motivation to Live for Jesus

Service: September 23

Scripture:  Matthew 6:1-6; 1 Cor. 3:1-13

Sermon Theme: Does God reward us in eternity for the good we do? Should we be motivated to do good by the hope of being rewarded for it? Many Christians are inclined to think this isn’t how it is supposed to be, because a really "good" work isn't motivated by self-interest in any way. However, this morning we’ll consider the fact that God does indeed intend to (further) motivate us to do good by promising to reward us in eternity when we do. In addition to looking at what the Heidelberg Catechism says about this in Q&A 63, we’ll look closely at an important scripture passage in which Paul seeks to motivate the Corinthian believers to “shape up” spiritually by pointing out that if they don’t, they will lose the rewards they could have had if they had been more faithful.

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The Teaching about Righteousness in one Verse

Service: September 16

Scripture:  Romans 6:14

Sermon Theme: This morning we begin to digest “the teaching about righteousness,” which the author of Hebrews says is the “solid food” necessary for mature Christian living --as opposed to the “milk” which necessary to begin the Christian life (see Hebrews 5:11-6:3). The author of Hebrews tells us that if we don’t “digest” this teaching and organize our lives around it, we will not move ahead in our Christian living, and we will furthermore be in danger of falling away from the faith entirely. The Apostle Paul in Romans chapters 6-8 also explains this “teaching about righteousness.” Paul explains it more in reference our relationship to the Holy Spirit, while the author of Hebrews explains it in reference to our relationship to the person of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:14 summarizes it in a nutshell: “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Until we grasp that truth and organize our lives around it, our attempts to carry through on our best intentions will only lead to endless frustration (see Romans 7:17-18). “But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthian 3:17)

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The Command and the Need to be Filled with the Spirit

Service: September 2

Scripture: Ephesians 5:8-20

Sermon Theme: All Christians have the “baptism of the Spirit. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all iven the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) We’ve been baptized by the Spirit from the very beginning of our new life in Christ. But from that point on, the quality of our new life in Christ depends on how we relate to the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us. We are all baptized into the one Spirit, but as individuals we don’t all drink of the one Spirit to the same degree. All too often we yield to the temptation to satisfy our spiritual thirst with everything but the Spirit of Jesus, and spiritual failure is the result. We need to be reminded of the need to be filled with the Spirit, and of our personal responsibility to do our part in that continual process.

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The Good Discipline that Keeps the Body Healthy and Strong

Service: August 12

Scripture: Luke 17:1-5

Sermon Theme: Today we take up the important subject of “church discipline,” as we look at Luke 17:1-5. We’ll focus on the twin rules of engagement which lay out the general pattern of how we need to relate to one another personally in those all too common times when we sin against one another, or otherwise deviate from what is good: (1) If your brother sins, rebuke him; and (2) if he repents, forgive him (see vs. 3). As with all general rules, there are exceptions and special circumstances that require adaptation of these general rules. So after explaining these tow general rules, we will look at 5 other scripture passages which fill in some of the blanks as we face the challenge of maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships in complicated and variable circumstances of real life. Just as physical disciplines (diet, exercise, sleep patterns, etc.) make oru physical bodies healthier,, so strong church discipline can make our interpersonal relationships within the Body healthy (not to mention our relationship with God).

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The Answer to How is Yes

Service: August 5

Scripture: Luke 9:10-17

Sermon Theme: Our passage this morning is quite familiar to most long-term Christians, and contains another miracle revealing that Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh. We’ll focus this morning on what Jesus intended to teach his disciples through this event. As his disciples today, we need to learn the same lessons in order to serve as God’s “junior partners” in the ongoing emergence of his kingdom in this world. As junior partners, we are given tasks to do, and God won’t do certain tasks any other way than through his image bearers who he has charged with ruling over this creation under him. But as we obediently take up the tasks he gives us, we are given information on a “need to know” basis, and often find ourselves required to simply trust that God has the plan and the power necessary to accomplish his good purposes, and step forward in faith. We don’t need to know everything about how it will be accomplished, we just have to “follow orders” when God gives then, and follow him “step by step.”

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So What’s the Problem Here?

Service: July 29

Scripture: Joshua 24:1-27

Sermon Theme: Most of us are familiar with Joshua’s admonition in Joshua 24:15, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." We may also remember that the people said at that time they would serve the Lord, and no doubt they fully intended to follow through on their commitment. But there was a problem, and Joshua (and Moses before him) knew what the problem was –even if the people themselves were blind to it. It is a problem which we often still have today as New Testament believers in Jesus Christ. We’ll look at what that problem is, and how serious it can be for our eternal destiny. We’ll also see that we have a solution to this problem as New Testament believers --but the solution doesn’t happen automatically; we must be active in implementing that solution.

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Our Living Hope

Service: July 22

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Sermon Theme: All too often, hope is pessimistically defined as the little boy defined it when he said: “Hope is wishing for something you know ain’t gonna happen.” But if for all practical purposes you know “it’s not gonna happen,” it’s not the kind of “hope” that really has any value in helping us cope. In a world of anxiety, dread, fear and disappointment, people long for genuine hope. In our passage this morning, Peter describes our genuine hope in Christ. Our living hope in Him leads us to joyfully praise God in the struggles of this life, and in the eternal glory to come

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Sometimes Prayer Changes God

Service: July 15

Scripture: Numbers 14:1-25

Sermon Theme: The title of this sermon sounds just a little off base to many of us who have been taught that “God is unchangeable.” Though there is indeed an important and Biblical truth which is conveyed in that familiar truism, it is often used to convey a pagan notion of God as “the unmoved mover.” Our passage clearly describes one time when Moses’ prayer to God genuinely “moved” God to not do what he had said he would do. Indeed, sometimes prayers change God. (Remember what we read last week in Hosea 11:8-9?) Not only may we possibly need to adjust some of our preconceptions about God in the light of scriptural teachings, we may also need to correct some of our misunderstandings of the role of human beings in shaping the future. One of the main things at stake in all of this is our understanding of the power and privilege of prayer. It really does change things!

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The Deep Mystery of Christian Joy

Service: July 8

Scripture: Philippians 4:2-7

Sermon Theme: Christian Joy is a mystery because it is seldom a simple matter of having really strong “positive” feelings. On the contrary, the “joy in the Lord” (and the mysterious peace that comes with it) is commonly and paradoxically mixed with longing, sadness, anxiety, and sometimes even overwhelming despair. We see this phenomenon in our passage from Philippians 4, and also from Psalm 13, Psalm 42, Matthew 14:22-33, and 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. (We’ll read these passages with comment in the course of the sermon.) We’ll discover the fact that that it takes deliberate effort (at least most of the time) and interaction with other believers (usually) to “rejoice in the Lord” --an effort we are commanded to make “always,” even though it is pretty much a sure thing we won’t always be “happy” as the world understands “happiness.”

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A Burned Out Man of God

Service: June 24

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-18

Sermon Theme: One of the main points of the sermon is that we get this attitude that “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” and when that is combined with allowing God to disappear from our radar screen, we end up like Elijah in the desert --defeated and frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. This is the reason God wants us to practice Sabbath --not following all sorts of rules about what we can and cannot do on a certain day, but pulling back and out to connect with God and hear from him so that our reset button can be pushed and we are again grounded spiritually in Him.

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David’s Recovery

Service: June 10

Scripture: 2 Samuel 12:1-13

Sermon Theme: David was in “denial” concerning his sin with Bathsheba, and that is a very bad place to be spiritually. Nathan the prophet understood the difficulty in breaking through this denial, and ingeniously found a way to do it with David. David confesses his sin and is forgiven, but he still has to live with the consequences of his poor choices for the rest of his life. There is recovery from sin through the forgiving grace of God, but David’s spiritual recovery was not as complete as we would hope. This is painfully evident when we read the scriptural account of the rest of David’s life; he was never again the man he once was. Our spiritual recovery as New Testament believers can and should be more complete as we find it necessary to go on after a serious spiritual fall.

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Discerning and Following the Spirit’s Leading

Service: May 27

Scripture: Acts 16:6-10

Sermon Theme: The leading of the Holy Spirit is vital to effective ministry, and discerning that leading is a skill we learn as we seek that leading together in community. We need to be active in a process that involves trial and error, the push and pull of circumstances that opens doors or closes them (and which God himself controls and uses to guide us), supernatural revelation in various forms and ways, and conversation between ourselves as we try to pull it all together. The application/congregational response to God’s Word will focus on how we need to find new and effective ways to talk to one another about what God is leading this congregation to do and be going forward.

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The Order of Our Salvation

Service: May 20

Scripture: Galatians 2:11-21

Sermon Theme: In the letter to the Galatians, Paul insists that treating salvation in any way other than as a gift of grace puts us on the wrong side of the equation once again, and to be enslaved by weak miserable  principles.

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Really Knowing You Are Really Saved

Service: May 13

Scripture: 1 John 5:1-13

Sermon Theme: Can we be sure we are going to Heaven when we die? There are many Christians who wish they were more sure of their salvation, but don’t know how to be sure of it. There are those who mistakenly believe we can’t be sure of this. Verse 13 of our passage is very clear that we can be. On the other hand there are many who mistakenly believe they are saved when they aren’t, and they will learn the horrible truth on Judgement Day. The epistle of 1 John describes reliable tests of the genuineness of our salvation, and our passage summarizes those tests with the three-fold testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood.

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Problems & Progress, Hope & Progress, and Love above All

Service: May 6

Scripture: Acts 6:1-6

Sermon Theme: As individuals and as congregations we need to respond to our problems in healthy ways (as opposed to ignoring them in apathy or becoming overwhelmed with panic and paralysis). The leaders of the church in our passage responded prayerfully and wisely to a serious problem in the life of the church, and as a result the church made good progress in becoming more effective in its ministry. Prayer and genuine hope in the power and presence of Christ are essential as we move ahead. We also need love for God and our neighbors. It’s not about us- it’s about Him and it’s about them.

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The Eternity of Our Time

Service: April 29

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

Sermon Theme: We are created to desire greater things than what this world can offer. When we come to the end of things, we are still left with a desire for more -for more time, for deeper insight, for greater joy. We seek the taste that will never fade away, the water that will quench our thirst. This desire for eternity has been placed within us so that we will live our days on this earth well -so that we will seek the eternal God and be with him forever. Then we will be satisfied.

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Shining Like Stars

Service: April 22

Scripture: Philippians 2:12-18

Sermon Theme: The gift of salvation that God has called us to is the greatest gift we can ever receive. And found within it are treasures unlimited. It is a gift that we’re encouraged to continually unwrap to find deeper and deeper treasures. That’s why Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling –recognizing the precious gift that we’ve been given. The call is not to take it for granted to and to continually follow where it leads even if the going gets challenging. The ultimate goal of our lives is to hold out before the world the word of life that is Christ. May the Lord find us faithful as we continue to seek him and his purpose in our lives.

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Eyes for the Living

Service: April 8

Scripture: Luke 24:13-49

Sermon Theme: The resurrection is such an overwhelming occurrence that it takes a bit for the whole thing to sink in. Indeed, it won’t full y sink in until we see the risen Lord face-to-face. But as we see in his post-resurrection appearances, he works to open our eyes and to expect that resurrection is the new state of the kingdom that is coming into this world. The disciples are filled with disappointment that their dreams have been dashed. They were holy dreams, but even holy dreams don’t come true if they are not based on reality. What is reality? Jesus reminds us continually –he had to suffer, die, and then be raised again. This is the path of life. We must die to ourselves and our dreams and seek the perplexing and amazing path of life in our Risen Lord, where he does more than we can ever imagine.

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Eyes for the Living

Service: April 1

Scripture: Luke 24:1-12

Sermon Theme: The resurrection calls us to consider something that is completely against our whole experience of life. That is why it was so hard for the followers of Jesus to contemplate it. As Luke tells us, those who witnessed the unexpected scene at the tomb were brought to wonder at what had happened. They knew what they were coming to the tomb to see and then they were left to contemplate a knowledge they didn’t possess. This is resurrection. It is not a natural knowledge of our heart or mind, but it is a supernatural gift of God. He must reorient our hearts and minds to think in the terms of resurrection so that we might live in him. This is the joy of Easter.

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Persistent Prayer

Service: March 25

Scripture: Luke 18:1-18

Sermon Theme: The life of discipleship calls us to persistence in the realm of prayer. On Palm Sunday, we recognize the coming of the King who is honored because he comes to rule with justice and righteousness. This calls us to cry out to him for justice to be found on this earth. Jesus urges us, even commands us, to be persistent in our prayers, This is the way of the disciple and with this command comes the question -do we have faith to pray as he instructs?

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Counting the Cost

Service: March 18

Scripture: Luke 15:25-35

Sermon Theme: The road of the cross leads us to the territory of decision and counting the cost. What will our lives be about? What will hold the highest sway? As Jesus instructs us here, he calls us to give exclusive loyalty to him and to let nothing stand in the way. If we sit down and calculate the cost of what our lives will be about and if we live life on our own terms, it will be in the end found wanting. We cannot build a true life for ourselves outside of the plan of God. We cannot be formidable and conquer the challenges of life outside of a complete surrender to Jesus and his way. Jesus demands utter loyalty because he knows what we need to flourish. We need him.

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Ready

Service: March 11

Scripture: Luke 12:35-48

Sermon Theme: Jesus was focused, always knowing what was before him and what had to happen in order to fulfill his Father’s mission. He teaches us here to grow in this mindset of gospel readiness. The focus is on a mindset of a readiness and attentiveness to the service he calls us to. Each of us has been given gifts from God to utilize for his kingdom purposes. And he says, let me see you using them. Be ready for my coming -not merely looking busy, but being attentive to true service of the kingdom. He also gives a warning for those who have been given much, but do very little. With what God has given, we are called to faithfulness.

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A Refusal of Populism

Service: February 25

Scripture: Luke 4:14-30

Sermon Theme: Jesus could have had the crowds from the get -go. Indeed, he could have grabbed onto the initial excitement that people had toward him and followed the wave. The problem is that populist waves always crash and often accomplish little. Along the way, much is sacrificed to hold onto that the attention of the masses. The harder path is staying true to one’s God-ordained purpose even in the midst of people tiring of it. Not many people welcome the truth. It hurts too much. It exposes too much. And so the person driven by pursuing God’s path will need to follow the path of the cross. The cross is a lonely path often for the crowds desire an easier path. The crowds also don’t like getting reminded of the alternative path, for it displays the shortcoming of their own. But the path of the cross is the only one that leads to life because it is the only path that has truth as its foundation.

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Steadying our Anxious Flesh

Service: February 18

Scripture: Luke 4: 1-13

Sermon Theme: As we begin the Lenten season, we turn to the pattern of life that is modeled upon the cross. Jesus’ life is lived in anticipation of the cross and his whole life is lived upon the pattern of the cross. The cross challenges the natural flow of our world that seeks to live on its own wisdom. As Jesus demonstrates here, all desire was presented before him, yet it was ultimately temporary and lacking. His love view opens us up to the life-giving pattern of the cross. We open Lent by thinking of the need to fight the temptations that challenge our hearts and seek to be filled with the bread of life.

 

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Secure and Surrounded

Service: February 11

Scripture: Psalm 125

Sermon Theme: The Christian is one who need not be shaken by the threats of this world. Even in times where deceit and evil seem to rule, the believer is one who is a firm rock upon the conviction of God’s sovereignty. But, this comes by way of trust in God and not being led astray by the trappings of this world. In times of uncertainty, it is easy to put our trust in things that are not the LORD. A warning is spelled out in this psalm that believers must be careful to not allow the ways of the world to become their ways, even for supposedly good ends. We must pray for protection upon the territory of God otherwise those places will become promoters of the ways of the world. We are encouraged to know that our God surrounds us, protecting his church to proclaim his good news to the world.

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No Fear But Right Fear

Service: February 4

Scripture: Psalm 112

Sermon Theme: This psalm lays out for us the vision of one who is righteous. It is a beautiful description that lays out before us the attractiveness of the righteous life. It highlights not merely the blessed life that is lived, but also the steadfast character that is produced. Using an image Paul uses in Ephesians, the righteous one is not one pushed back and forth by the waves of the world. No, he will never be shaken. “He will have no fear of bad news”the psalmist tells us. This is not because nothing will go wrong for him in the present, but that he knows of the vindication of the Lord in the long view of things. “In the end he will look on triumph on his foes.” This is a psalm that calls us to hearty faith that will outlast the travails and hardships of this world. As Jesus reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Carrying Seed to Sow

Service: January 28

Scripture: Psalm 126

Sermon Theme: As Christians, we are called to bear fruit within our lives. The church is to be like a well-watered tree that offers the message of life to the world. And this message comes with us shedding tears for the reality of sin that shackles. In this psalm, we hear the grief of those who saw the undoing of God’s way by evil. The call is to mourn, to grieve for this. An amazing thing happens when we cry out in this way against evil, the church gains its footing and the harvest of God’s grace is known. As the psalmist writes, “He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

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A Prayer for Evil Times

Service: January 21

Scripture: Psalm 141

Sermon Theme: The follower of Christ encounters quite a challenge in living out their faith in a world opposed to it. This is always the case, but there are also unique challenges within one's own age. We hear David's desperate cry in this Psalm to have the strength to rise above the evil that surrounds him. He desires wisdom, humility, self-control, truth over deceit, and to not fall into the traps of those who are opposed to God. This takes vigilance and constant help from God. Though it seems so tempting to indulge the ways of wickedness, we must fix our eyes on our Sovereign God that we might walk the path of life.

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Part of the Family

Service: January 14

Scripture: Hebrews 2:10-18

Sermon Theme: One of the most powerful social control mechanisms is shame. When someone transgresses within a community, whether it be a family, a religious community, or a nation –shame can be a powerful tool to control the person or the climate. A good dose of shame can be healthy, but often shame is that which keeps a person enslaved to the power of the dark. Shame can be used to prop up the one’s own self-righteousness and scapegoat the transgressor. God breaks that cycle in Jesus. As this text tells us, “he is not ashamed to call us brothers. ” It’s not that we don’t have things to be shameful about –for sure we do –but that God’s forgiveness in the person of Christ frees us from the slavery to shame. We are welcomed into the family of God with open arms.

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Jesus

Service: December 24

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon Theme: We celebrate the coming of the infant child because as his name Jesus means, he is the one who brings salvation. But what are we being rescued from? As Matthew tells us, his salvation is not a salvation first of all from our enemies who threaten, but first of all a salvation from ourselves and our sinful ways. He comes to save his people from their sins. Christmas is about the God of the universe entering into our messy world -created by ourselves -and providing an ability to escape ourselves. Instead of coming with wrath, he comes with grace. At Christmas, we are called to not understand our greatness on our own, but our misery that has been turned to joy in the heavenly gift.

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Christ the Lord

Service: December 17

Scripture: Luke 2:1-11

Sermon Theme: We hear these two names of Jesus that it is easy to pass right over them and assume we understand them. Yet, if we dig down deep, we discover a richness within “Christ” And “Lord” that helps us understand Jesus. Both of these names have deep significance from the Old Testament that helps us see God’s ultimate plan fulfilled in the person of Jesus. Let‘s explore what these names mean to help us know our Savior more deeply.

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Son of the Most High

Service: December 10

Scripture: Luke 1:26-33

Sermon Theme: We celebrate no ordinary child at Christmas. He is mighty. He is powerful. He is the Son of God. How often do we think about this? Often, our thoughts around Jesus in our day and age concerns his close humanity, not his sovereignty. Yes, he is mighty. He does sit on the throne in heaven. This calls us to cry out to him for what we need. If he is the Son of the Most High, he can make change in the world and that calls us to be a people of prayer that his kingdom might come. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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Immanu-el

Service: December 3

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-23

Sermon Theme: The cry of Advent is for God to come. It is a season of waiting for his presence to come and do what we are unable to do. The longer we live, the more we recognize how little control we have over things in the world. We see much that needs to be changed for the better, but often we are powerless to do anything. Not only this, but in this feeling of powerlessness, we can also feel alone and vulnerable. We need God to come close, to assure us that he has not abandoned us, to give us hope for the future. This is Immanu-el!

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When God Fills the Heart

Service: November 26

Scripture: Ruth 4

Sermon Theme: From a heart burdened by hardship to a heart filled with the unexpected blessings of God. This is the pattern of God’s work on our lives. We must remember that no matter the circumstances, if we are in Christ, he is working out the eternal joy that will be ours. In Naomi’s story, we see this play itself out as her heart moves from emptiness to fullness. The important thing to remember is that it comes through the very thing that Naomi sought to push away –Ruth. God works this way to show us that we are not masters at finding joy, but he is. We must trust him to be the provider of joy –to be patient –and to trust that his way is bigger than all our ways

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Harvest of Thanksgiving

Service: November 19

Scripture: Ruth 2

Sermon Theme: God’s provision is sometimes hard to see, especially when our eyes are used to seeing difficulty. As Naomi’s life had turned her to bitterness, she needed the grace of God to open her eyes to joy. It comes by way of the child-like faith of her daughter-in-law Ruth. While Naomi is paralyzed in bitterness, Ruth goes forward with faithful action –seeking provision with trust in God. It is this child-like faith which puts less stock in hardship and more in God’s provision that begins to open up Naomi from bitterness to thankful joy. We are called as well to trust in the providential care of God and to act out in faith within the context of God‘s kingdom.

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When the Heart is Empty

Service: November 12

Scripture: Ruth 1

Sermon Theme: As we enter into this month of Thanksgiving for God’s harvest in our lives, we must face the hardness of thanksgiving at times. Sometimes thanksgiving is hard to muster up in our hearts. Sometimes our hearts feel more empty than full. We look to the story of Naomi and Ruth to guide us to be people of thanksgiving, even when the emptiness has overwhelmed us. May we recognize the Lord's presence and provision even in the midst of difficulty that we might be drawn ever deeper into our relationship with Christ.

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The Power of Christ in Us

Service: November 5

Scripture: I Corinthians 12:11-12

Sermon Theme: The weakness of our flesh is a challenging reality that we all face. We face this as individuals and as a group of people. It often feels as if we can’t accomplish all that we’re called to do, especially in the spiritual work God calls us to. But we must remember a key thing -that our work in the kingdom is not first of all out of our own strength. Today, we consider that challenge to us as the church to see that the power of Christ demonstrated in his body is the same power he wants to demonstrate in his body the church. We go forward with his strength and not our own.

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Upholding the Law

Service: October 29

Scripture: Romans 3:21-31

Sermon Theme: The Reformation restored the biblical teaching of salvation, that it is an under-served gift by God’s grace. One them must ask, what place does good works have? As is always the temptation, which we already see here in the early church, if grace is present then I can do what I want. A cheap grace allows us to take advantage of it and move into a loose morality. This is the temptation that must continually be rejected. As Paul says, grace does not give us permission to sin as we want, “By no means!” We uphold the law. But why? We’ll sort this out.

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Priesthood of All Believers

Service: October 22

Scripture: I Peter 2:4-12

Sermon Theme: One key theme of the Reformation that brought renewal to the church was “the priesthood of all believers.” Against the pattern of the church that had focused on the official priesthood as the go-between between God and believer, this belief extended the priestly function to the church as a whole. It called the church to structure itself as a community where each person played a part in ministry to one another and the world. It greatly expanded the role of the ‘laity’and gave them an important role. This was nothing new, but something that we see is the vision of Scripture. The Reformation helped renew this focus.

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A God Breathed Life

Service: October 15

Scripture: II Timothy 3:1-17

Sermon Theme: One key development in the Reformation was the greater access to the Bible. The Reformation started with a greater focus upon the Structures and eventually this opened up the Bible to the masses. The Reformation brought about translation of the Bible in to native tongues, not just Latin. This opened up the gospel to many who before not only couldn't read Latin, but couldn’t understand it spoken either. This opened up the Spirit to speak through the Word in a whole new way. And this is what we have access to -the Word of Life, the Holy Scriptures. What might it mean for us to allow the Scriptures to evermore give structure and guidance to our life?

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Confident Confessors

Service: October 8

Scripture: Hebrews 4:12-16

Sermon Theme: This month commemorates the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. One of the key themes of the Reformation was the renewed focus on the grace of God and the confidence we can have in it for salvation. Because of Jesus Christ, our confession need not be filled with fear, but we can have confidence that God will welcome the repentant heart to be cleansed and assured of his grace. This truth is one key part that brought Martin Luther to pursue what he did and to change the world forever.

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Blessed are the Pure in Heart; Blessed are the Peacemakers/Persecuted

Service: October 1

Scripture: Matthew 5:8-12

Sermon Theme: We finish up the Beatitudes today as Jesus challenges us to be those who mature and endure in our faith. The call to purity of heart is one that calls us to undivided hearts. This means being people of honesty, of consistency, of not splitting our heart between sin and holiness. Peace-making is a challenging call. It is much easier to foster strife and sometimes to even enjoy it. By nature we are not drawn to each other in life-giving relationships. It takes work to be a peacemaker. It is the work of Christ.

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Blessed are the Merciful

Service: September 24

Scripture: Matthew 5:7

Sermon Theme: We continue to look at what Jesus calls us to in the Beatitudes. We consider what it means to be merciful and to seek a pure heart. Attaining these attitudes calls us to consider the very heart of God. As God has shown mercy to us, we are to show mercy to thers. As God is perfectly pure, so are we called to this. All of this hinges on our acceptance of grace and learning to live out of that. If we forget about God’s grace and begin living on our own strength, we find ourselves spent and unable to live in mercy. But if God’s grace is our focus, then we will model the heart of God.

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Blessed are the Poor in Spirit; Blessed are Those Who Mourn

Service: September 10

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-4

Sermon Theme: We begin a look at Jesus’ teaching on the Christian life that is referred to as the Beatitudes. We will look at two per service over the next four weeks. In these, we hear Jesus’ call for us to be different from the world and to follow him into eternal living. Today, we consider “Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” and “Blessed Are Those Who Mourn.” As we focus on this, pray that God will grow you in his way -the Beautiful Way of character empowered by Jesus Christ.

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The Man of All Wisdom and Truth

Service: September 3

Scripture: Mark 12:13-17, 28-34

Sermon Theme: As tension rises between Jesus and his opponents, they seek to trap him. They’d rather have him undo himself than have to go on the offensive and potentially upset the crowds. Yet, as they seek to undo him with mental tricks, he undoes them. He proves himself to be the man of all wisdom and truth. He has the perfect answer for anything –leaving all around him either spellbound or frustrated. His wisdom always leads us back to God –to the foundational identity we have –that we are created by God and made to love him.

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Unity that Pleases God

Service: August 27

Scripture: Psalm 133

Sermon Theme: Unity that pleases God is that founded on Christ as our High Priest. Like the anointing oil on Aaron, it sets up apart and impacts fellow church members in a pleasing way. By our love, we will be known as Christians. Like the dew of Hermon, it refreshes the immediate neighborhood. Like the dew of Hermon falling in Zion, it brings life in Christ to distant places.

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Clearing the Blockades

Service: August 20

Scripture: Mark 11:12-19

Sermon Theme: By this time in his ministry, Jesus has done plenty to put him at odds with the religious authorities. Yet, here he goes again, this time making quite a scene in the center of the whole world of the Jewish nation–the Temple. His actions show the vital connection that the Temple was supposed to foster –intimacy with God. Instead, it had become a place of transaction –even a transaction between man and God. Jesus came to show the closeness of God –not to work a business deal. And so he created havoc to set things right –to show that in his person he is setting things right. Jesus doesn’t want to enter our lives merely as someone to transact religious business with, but to be in close intimacy with.

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A Taste of Glory

Service: August 13

Scripture: Mark 9:2-13

Sermon Theme:  What a fascinating thing it must have been to travel with Jesus and to see all the amazing things he did. But what we read about today might be one of the most majestic things to see-Jesus’ transfiguration. On this high mountain, the disciples encounter a reality that is beyond their imagination. Here they encounter a taste of Jesus’ glory, even greater than they’ve seen already. In this, heaven comes and interacts with earth as Jesus is revealed as to who he truly is. As they sit in amazement, they also hear a voice -“Listen to him.” And so must we -listen to him.

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Messiah on His Own Terms

Service: August 6

Scripture: Mark 8:22-38

Sermon Theme: These two passages have a unified theme of seeing and understanding clearly. In order for true clarity to happen though, we need the healing of Jesus. First, we see Jesus heal the blind man in two stages. Next, we see Jesus speak to his disciples about the greater healing he desires to bring, but they at first don't understand. Naturally, we want a Savior on our own terms, just like Peter here, but Jesus needs to restore our spiritual sight so we'll see what we actually need, which is a Savior on His terms. Part of growing in our faith is accepting Jesus on his own terms and not our own.

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