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, unless noted, are preached by Pastor Ben Hulst. 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 Pastor Ben. And of course, please come and join us in worship at 9:30 am and 5:00 pm each Sunday. 
 
 
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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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Master & Commander Far Side of the Sea

Service: July 23

Scripture: Mark 4:35-5:20

Sermon Theme: As Jesus takes his disciples on a journey to the other side of the sea, they encounter a storm at sea and on land. In both places, Jesus shows his mighty authority over the forces of nature that threaten and over the forces of darkness that threaten our very souls. In both, Jesus has no equal and it brings an overwhelming sense of fear and awe upon those who observe these things. We are called to see Jesus’ kingship here as total and as the one who we can turn to for hope in this chaotic world. He indeed is our master and commander, who guides us safely through the storms.

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The Uniter Who Divides

Service: July 16

Scripture: Mark 3:13-35

Sermon Theme: People desire the ideal of unity. It’s just incredibly difficult to live up to that desire. Too often, our terms of unity are our own terms. The question is always before us –what can bring us to unity? Sometimes a tragedy can bring a warring community, whether it be a family or nation, together for a while, but unless a common ground is established, it soon fades away. It is in our common realization of our humble state as weak creatures where unity is best formed. That’s why we turn to Jesus, and why Jesus calls all to unite around him and what he comes to bring. Unity comes at the cross. But what we see is that everyone wants to unify around Jesus, thus he divides as he unifies.

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When the Hedges are Gone

Service: July 9

Scripture: Job 1:1-23

Sermon Theme: Job 1 is not an easy chapter to read. It brings up many questions in our mind as to who God is and how would he allow these things to happen. The “why?” question looms large. Yet Job does not cave, though the ground is caving all around him. How is this possible? We’ll explore this today and what we’ll find is that Job was able to endure through all his trials because he was sure of God. Though this world gives us much to be unsure of, God is sure.

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The Doctor is In

Service: July 2

 Scripture: Mark 2:1-17

Sermon Theme: Once again, we see people completely amazed at what Jesus is up to. Again, he brings healing to someone who is sick, but that isn’t the most shocking situation. He also claims to have the authority to forgive sins and he even sits and eats and associates with “sinners”. This man has shown such power that can only come from God, but now he is going beyond that by claiming the same authority as God. Who is this man? He is bound to make friends of those needing grace, but he is also bound to make enemies of those who consider themselves healthy. With these episodes, this man becomes even more interesting. He is not easy to nail down because he keeps people guessing. We must not look away or turn away from him, but continue to be drawn in to understand the truth that God desires us to know.

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In Quiet and Crowds

Service: June 25

Scripture: Mark 1:35-45

Sermon Theme: It doesn’t take long for Jesus to attract a crowd and for the burden of people’s needs to bring tiredness and the need for refreshment. Jesus retreats. Why? Within the crowds he is definitely around lots of people, but he is also lonely. He desires true intimacy -intimacy with his Father. This type of intimacy cannot be found within the busy tasks of life. One must remove oneself to gain true strength. No matter how much we are around people , if we cannot find intimacy in our aloneness, we are really alone all the time. People cannot fully fulfill all our intimacy needs. Only the Father in heaven can. So, Jesus goes to him and finds strength to face the fullness of needs before him.

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Even Evil Obeys Him

Service: June 18

Scripture: Mark 1:21-39

Sermon Theme: The people were amazed. This is repeated in these stories because the people are so impressed. They had never encountered anyone like Jesus with the things he could do -the teaching he gave, the power he possessed over demons, and his power to heal. Who else has ever done these things? How do we react when we hear these stories? One thing we see is while Jesus might be somewhat of a mystery to the people, he is known by the evil spirits. They obey him because they know his authority. The question becomes, will we just be amazed or will we listen and obey as well?

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Bursting on the Scene

Service: June 11

Scripture: Mark 1:9-20

Sermon Theme: We begin today a close look at Jesus the most fascinating and interesting man in the history of the world. The challenge is that sometimes Jesus is so familiar that he is unknown. Familiarity breeds ignorance or perhaps even annoyance in our day and age at Jesus the person and his claims. As we look at the book of Mark, we see a man who can do things beyond our imagination–and yet he is so down to earth as well. He seeks to be our friend and yet sometimes he is our enemy. He says things that give us comfort and then he makes us completely uncomfortable. This is Jesus and we need to get to know him again. Let’s begin.

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Born of the Spirit

Service: June 4

Scripture: John 3:1-15

Sermon Theme: The life of a Christian is one of being born again, of being moved and reoriented through the Spirit of God. This brings with it a certain amount of unpredictability because of the movement of the Spirit. Our life and leadership of the church is in following that Spirit where it will take us. This calls us to a childlike faith that trusts the call of the Father in heaven. This challenges our desire for predictability and control in life -as it does Nicodemus–yet it also brings us to a life that is abundant as we follow our Savior.

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The Harmony of the Child-like Kingdom

Service: May 28

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10

Sermon Theme: We celebrate Christ’s ascension on this Sunday. We profess that “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” He is the King, the King of kings and our hope for the world. Isaiah gives us a glimpse of what his kingdom looks like and how it upends all false kingdoms and false visions of what the world could be. It is a beautiful vision –one of creational harmony, one that tosses down the pride of nations as it proclaims –“and a little child shall lead them.” This harmony is what we seek and long for and until it comes in fullness, we live out these values in anticipation of the coming of the King.

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Eyes to See

Service: May 21

Scripture: Matthew 11:16-26

Sermon Theme: Becoming like a child means recognizing what is obvious right before our eyes. Jesus came right before the people, performed his miracles, showed his power, and still only some believed. Some had little desire to respond. They were too invested in the things of this world that claim superiority. In other words, they were blind -blinded by sin. To have the eyes of a child is to have our eyes opened, to be transformed from pursuing the things that appear to be real, but really aren’t, to pursuing that which is truly real, but may seem rather fantastical at first. In our highly secularized world, the supernatural seems out there to many as the focus is on the here and now. Yet, Jesus still comes in the here and now and calls us heavenward. But we need the eyes of a child to see it.

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Unless You Change

Service: May 14

Scripture: Matthew 18:1-6

Sermon Theme: For anyone who desires to take spiritual growth seriously, they need to take seriously the call of Jesus to become like a child. What does Jesus mean by this and also what does this all mean to how the church is to engage the child. Indeed, it can be challenging? Too often as believers, as we grow beyond the early stages of life we become hardened and prideful in the way of our strength. We pursue to overcome others —to make a mark, to make a name for ourselves, to sit above the fray. This is the temptation of the disciples in this story and Jesus calls them on it. His goal of the spiritual life is to be one of humility and one that is being taught by the reality of children. Thus, the vitality for a church often comes from having and engaging the children in our midst. How well do we do that?

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The Easter Gift of Repentance

Service: May 7

Scripture: John 21:1-17

Sermon Theme: As we are a few weeks out from Easter, we are still in the midst of the Easter season when we consider the importance of the resurrection. With today's text, we consider that Peter and we all need to experience the ‘gift of repentance’ which Jesus offers us in spite of our most serious failures. Too often guilt weighs us down, keeping us from living the free life of salvation. Christ calls us to repentance so that we might have the fresh wind of grace renew us.

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Love, Grace, Mercy, Mission

Service: April 30

Scripture: I Thessalonians 3:12-13

Sermon Theme: God loves you. It’s who He is. It’s what He does, He surrounds us with a love that is beyond words and understanding. His love fills the earth from east to west, from the heights of Heaven to the oceans deep. It overflows! All we have to do is receive it! All God asks us to do is accept His invitation to open our hearts to His personal, pursuing love. And when we do, the overflow continues. His all-encompassing love flows through us and into others. No person is left untouched. This is the beat of His heart: May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you (1 Thessalonians 3:12). When we allow God’s love to overflow, the whole world will know He loves them, too.

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The Arms of Hope

Service: April 23

Scripture: Isaiah 40:6-11

Sermon Theme: The arms of the LORD provide hope and security in the midst of an uncertain world. His resurrection provides assurance that his arms are mighty to save us. As we more and more recognize our mortality as lives move along, we must cling more and more to the arms of God that enfold us. His arms are those of strength that preserve his world and his saints and they are arms of compassion that gather up his sheep and bring us close to his chest. As Easter calls us to consider the power of death that threatens, we are further called to believe in the power of life that saves us.

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Arms of Everlasting Love

Service: April 16

Scripture: Psalm 103

Sermon Theme: The arms of Jesus spread upon the cross give us an image of God’s love. As Psalm 103 tells us, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” They are removed because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and we are restored because of his conquering of the grave. As this psalm tells us, his love is with us because he knows how we are formed, that we are dust. We cannot overcome our dusty existence that brings us to an end, but in Jesus we do overcome death and find the light of life that Christ has earned for us. This is the glorious hope of Easter - that Jesus has brought us from death to life forevermore.

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Praying for God's Mighty Arms

Service: April 9

Scripture: Acts 4:23-31

Sermon Theme: Those of us in Christ are recipients of God's open arms of mercy. We have been embraced by divine love and ushered into eternal security and hope. Now, we pray that this can be true of others as well. We pray for God's arms to extend further into a world that is in rebellion, that seeks to dethrone the rightful King. We pray that he might do powerful things, to bring healing, to bring reconciliation, to foster peace, to fix broken hearts, to soften hardened hearts. Before we engage in evangelism, we must engage in prayer to see where God will lead. This is the way of the triumphant king.

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Arms of Creative Love

Service: March 26

Scripture: Psalm 139:1-16

Sermon Theme: As we have heard the call to turn our eyes from the world to God, we now see God’s arm reaching toward us. We must first recognize our beginning, that the core of our identity is within the embrace of God’s love. This is vital to remember, it is our world that promotes our identity in ourselves-that it is up to us to determine who we are. Needless to say, seeking to find ourselves in embracing ourselves will not work. To know ourselves, to find ourselves only works in knowing ourselves as those created in the love of God. Creation is an act of love itself-a desire of God to extend his love beyond himself that he might enjoy fellowship with us. His creative embrace transforms us.

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The Resistance

Service: March 19

Scripture: James 4:1-10

Sermon Theme: The call of Lent is to open our arms wide open in complete reverence and acceptance of our holy and gracious God. The call is to repent of our unwillingness to draw close to him as we allow the devil to draw close to us. James says it straight in this text. It is the call to seek him with all of our heart. We do struggle with this. James is reminding us of the stakes of this struggle and instructing us not to give up. Press on to welcome the arms of true embrace that offer life and hope.

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Loosing Ourselves from the World

Service: March 5

Scripture: I John 2: 15-17

Sermon Theme: As we begin the Lent season, we are reminded of the grand message of the Bible –the calling of those distant from God to accept his gracious embrace. Our God approaches us with arms wide open calling us to dwell in his love. But while God’s arms are open with grace, our arms are often folded in stubborn refusal to receive it fully. Our loves too often are directed toward the world and we lose sight of the open arms of God that welcome us. The stronger our love and attention to the world is, the less we need the open arms of Jesus. In this season, we are called to look to him and to see his offer of fellowship.

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Living By the Spirit’s Flame

Service: February 26

Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:19-28

Sermon Theme: Paul’s final words in this letter call the church to be a community governed by the Holy Spirit and not by the power of man. On one side, we are not to extinguish the movement of the Spirit because it might make our manmade way uncomfortable. On the other, we are not to trust that which isn’t of the Spirit, even if it sounds like impressive words from man. This takes discernment and wisdom. It takes a true trust in the Spirit and a knowledge of how the Spirit works. As Jesus told his disciples, the Spirit will remind you of everything I taught you, so we must constantly look to the words of Scripture to know how to discern. That means we must know Scripture well. In this does the body of Christ have a witness and a strength in a world that is governed by the word and power of man. We must trust that which is higher and find life

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A Rapturous Hope

Service: February 12

Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Sermon Theme: In this text, Paul gives us a vision of what to expect with the second coming of Christ. The image he uses is one that has brought much discussion within church circles, especially around the idea of the rapture. We’ll explore this image this morning and seek to gain an understanding of what Paul is explaining. What we’ll see is the importance of the kingship of Jesus Christ and his benevolent rule that will mark all eternity. We will see that we have much to hope for and much joy to look forward to.

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Attentive Children

Service: February 5

Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:1-11

Sermon Theme: The life of faith is a life of expectation. We expect the things beyond this world to someday transform this world into God’s glorious kingdom. It is important to think about, to pray for, and to be vigilant about. This is hard because the world around us is before us all the time. The aches and pains of this world seem more real and momentous and it pulls us away from the plans God has in the future. Based on the state of the world, some see only darkness before them or at least uncertainty and it leads to concern or even fear. But we are children of the light and with the promises of God we have before the certainty of God’s kingdom coming.

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Brilliant Holiness

Service: January 29

Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:1-12

Sermon Theme: Like in our own day, the challenge of living the life of Christian obedience was challenging. Living in a world that seeks to continually grow our lust and covetousness calls for significant heart discipline on the part of the Christian. Ethically, the Christian life is difficult, especially when the surrounding society lends it no support. But as Paul instructs the Thessalonians, he so instructs us -live in contentment with the life that God has blessed you with. Let not your heart wander away from God to the bitter fruits of idolatrous pursuit. Turn from the deeds of darkness and live in the brilliance of holiness

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Wrestling with the Darkness

Service: January 22

Scripture: I Thessalonians 2:1-3:13

Sermon Theme: Paul recites the narrative of his relation with the believers in Thessalonica, from their coming to faith to their perseverance in the faith amidst hardship. He encourages them with their newfound faith, for it is not that old, yet it is surrounded with challenges. Culturally, they are considered strange at best, even derided by others. Yet, the Spirit has convicted them of God’s truth in Christ and they have held firm. This brings great joy to Paul, for as he wrestles with the darkness, he knows how hard it is to keep the faith amidst challenges. His prayer is that this church becomes rooted strongly into the soil of God’s power and grace, This must be our prayer too for our church and its members.

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The Awakening

Service: January 15

Scripture: I Thessalonians 1:1-10

Sermon Theme: Paul begins his letter by encouraging the church about their identity in God and what it means for their lives, both present and eternal. The beginning of our Christian life is found in God choosing us. It is his initiative. It also involves the true willingness to turn away from destructive patterns of life that are governed by idolatry. Idolatries always present us with a false purpose and false end. Though they promise much, they deliver little. In the end, they rob from God the glory due his name. Therefore, to awaken to the call of God is also to awaken to his sure future in the coming kingdom. This will inevitably clash with all other visions of the good life, but we’re called to be faithful as God has been faithful to us.

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Hastening for Joy

Service: January 1

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12

Sermon Theme: The world that awaited joy was given the source of joy at Christmas. The prophets spoke of the joy that God’s people would have in his coming. We rejoice in his salvation. We rejoice in his eternal presence. We rejoice in his unconditional love to his people. Joy is a gift we’re given, but it is also something we must pursue. The world is filled with realities that seek to rob of us joy, yet if we see the world correctly, we will see it as pointing us back to the source of joy that fills us up. As the magi pursued this joy, the truth of creation pointed them to the source of all –the King of the World. May we use the glories of God’s creation not as ends in themselves, but as that which brings us back to the source of all, the God of Israel –the Creator who deserves our glory.

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Holly & Melancholy

Service: December 4

Scripture: Psalm 42

Sermon Theme: Christmas is the season that calls us to joy, but often we struggle to find this deep joy. Grief, cares of this world, fears, and busyness hold joy at bay. It can leave us in a state of melancholy -a state that leaves us short of joy. This is not uncommon for the believer. But in this time of year, we feel as if it should not be the case. How do we live in deep faith, a faith that is pregnant with joy? In the midst of this, where do we turn?

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Service: November 20

Scripture: Matthew 6:13; I Corinthians 10:13

Sermon Theme: The Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 127, asks what this petition number 6 of the Lord’s Prayer means. We cannot overcome temptation by ourselves because our enemies: the devil, the world and our own flesh are stronger than we are. So we pray for God’s strength to effectively resist and win the complete victory.

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Soaked in the Reign of God

Service: November 13

Scripture: I Kings 18:16-46

Sermon Theme: As we celebrate baptism this morning, we are called to consider the mighty conflict that baptism signifies. We see this in the confrontation Elijah has with the priests of Baal. The whole Elijah story is framed around the absence and presence of water and other things needed for life. Here we also see a great focus on water. Ultimately, this battle is about the reality of life and death and who truly has the power to bring life. In Elijah’s triumph, we witness the LORD’s victory. In baptism, we are reminded of God’s victory over death in Jesus’ resurrection. As those who are baptized, we are marked by this truth and it is a mark that calls us to live out that truth in our lives.

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Faith Breaks the Power of Fear

Service: November 6

Scripture: I Kings 18:1-21

Sermon Theme: This story shows us that Elijah is not the only prophet of the LORD in Israel at this time, but due to the constant persecution, like Elijah, they’ve gone into hiding. Fear is gripping the land and we see it as well in the people’s inability to make a strong decision for the LORD. They are silent. They have lived so long in the midst of harsh faith conditions that they’ve either given up the faith, become silent, or perhaps don’t even know any different. In this setting, the LORD calls Elijah to action through confrontation of Ahab and the priests of Baal. What we see is that faithful action is powerful and that in the face of the enemy, it turns fear upon the enemy and engenders fearlessness on behalf of the faithful.

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The Breath of God

Service: October 30

Scripture: I Kings 17:17-24

Sermon Theme: This story continues the ongoing movement of emptiness that is sweeping across the land. First, the loss of rain, Second, the threat of the woman’s loss of flour and oil. And now, the actual death of her son as he stopped breathing. The threat of idolatry is the emptying out of the places of life- the rain from the sky, the water from the rivers, food from the kitchen, and the breath from lungs. Yet again, God, through his faithful servant operates his breath of life upon the emptied frame of this boy. He restores him, resurrects him. In the midst of the dryness that is caused by the turning away from truth, God will work to restore his people through the breath of the Spirit. He will restore his people and will often restore it by bringing restoration in places we might least expect it.

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Not Running Dry

Service: October 23

Scripture: I Kings 17:7-16

Sermon Theme: As Israel continues to pursue the path toward death in idolatry, God brings life outside of Israel to a humble widow and her boy. As Israel has abandoned the true God, God extends his grace beyond its borders to show his power to bring life. False worship and false commitment have potential to shut-off the life-giving power that God brings, yet while God remains in judgment upon Israel in their idolatry, he enters with mercy upon the most vulnerable. While the high and mighty in Israel pursue a “paganistic cosmopolitan” world that favors their interests, God shows his grace by saving a poor widow and her son who everyone else had forgotten. This is the call for the church in our day.

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The Challenge of Hope

Service: October 9

Scripture: Romans 5: 1-11, 8:18-27

Sermon Theme: Christ’s death and resurrection gift us with hope that lasts beyond the trials, hardships, joys, and successes of this world. Yet, it is a challenging hope. It is a hope that calls us to cling right when it seems as if it has lost its ability to secure us. And at the same time, it clings to us when we have no power left to cling to it. All of this is because of the love of God and it is this love that he gives us that must be our focus. To grasp this overwhelming love, we need to recognize what this love bore on our behalf and we must recognize that it also is a hope that will conflict with the false hopes of this world.

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The Character of Hope

Service: October 2

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:13-2:3

Sermon Theme: Being people of true hope calls us to have godly character -character that is not formed by the anxious strivings of the flesh and world, but by the secure hope of our eternal inheritance. We see far too many examples of worldly character that is defined by envy, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, and slander -the traits Peter calls out as ungodly. All these come from focusing on false hopes and how they train us to be self -centered rather than Christ-centered. Peter calls us to a different character -that which can be summarily called sincere love. Today, we flesh this out and we confess where we’ve been wrongly acting on false hopes that we might be remade in the image of Christ.

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The Conviction of Hope

Service: September 25

Scripture: Romans 4:13-25

Sermon Theme: Being people of true hope calls us to have basic convictions -convictions not merely acceded to in our minds, but convictions imbedded in our hearts. In this text we see what three of these basic convictions are - who God is, what God promised, and what God does. These convictions solidified Abraham, who is our father of the faith, even though he did not fully attain in this life what was promised. Yet, he moved forward in sure hope, in deep conviction that the God who called him was faithful to his promise.

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The Call of Hope

Service: September 18

Scripture: Romans 4:13-25

Sermon Theme: One of the unique gifts that God blesses believers with is hope. Hope is a powerful word and a more powerful reality. The question is always how we embrace this gift and allow it to guide our hearts and minds. First, we must hear again the call of hope, the call that cries out to all, believers and unbelievers alike-look to me and find relief from the power of death. Hope reaches beyond all human effort and reaches beyond all earthly existence to present us with an eternal option. It is a call we must heed, for death is knocking at the door and nothing authored in this world can save us from it

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Christians Living in a New Community

Service: September 11

Scripture: Matthew 5:21-23, 46-48, 1:1-6

Sermon Theme: As people who have been captivated by the “Jesus Story”, we are called to live together in a radically different community. Jesus underscores the importance of these relationships in ways that demonstrate our having genuinely joined in the Kingdom cause.

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A Holy People

Service: September 4

Scripture: John 17

Sermon Theme: Jesus prays that we might be sanctified --made holy. Few of us really understand what it means to be holy as Jesus was holy. But this is our calling, to be completely dedicated to the Kingdom cause as Jesus was for us.

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The Word Became Flesh

Service: August 28

Scripture: John 1:14

Sermon Theme: From this text we learn the importance of “The Greatest Story”. Jesus did not just become a hero to us, but a hero for us. When we center our lives on the Jesus Story, it has the power to change us and give us a reason for living!

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Our Problem with Sin

Service: August 21

Scripture: John 1:9-14

Sermon Theme: The basic vocabulary regarding our faith must begin with the word “sin”. We must understand three things: 1. The universality of sin, 2. The sin that underlies all sinful acts. 3. The solution to our sin.

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Three Responses to the Gospel

Service: August 14

Scripture: Matthew 7:13-29

Sermon Theme: In these verses, Jesus warns the hearers that it is possible for a person to think they are in a right relationship with Jesus, but at the final judgment to hear Jesus say “I never knew you”. Those who are turned away have never really entered into a relationship with God through Jesus.

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The 2 Voices in Psalm 23- Second Voice

Service: August 7

Scripture: Psalm 23

Sermon Theme: Last Sunday we heard the voice of the secure sheep give thanks to the Good Shepherd, in the first part of Psalm 23.This week we listen to the second voice in this Psalm; the one who knows himself secure in and delighted by the Lord's hospitality.

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The 2 Voices in Psalm 23- First Voice

Service: July 31

Scripture: Psalm 23

Sermon Theme: Are you content? Is that even a question we ever ask ourselves? The famous 23rd Psalm sings of deep contentment with two distinct voices. Today, we hear the voice of the contented sheep.

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The Bond of Peace in Trust

Service: July 24

Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-22

Sermon Theme: The Bond of Peace in Christ Paul in this passage is full of marvelous metaphors for how in Christ, those who are naturally at odds, are unified. Too often we make God's salvation about mostly our individual lives, when clearly the social unity is one of the more essential parts of the gospel.

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Faith: Trust

Service: July 17

Scripture: John 20:24-31

Sermon Theme: Last Sunday we looked at the story of Thomas in John 20 from the perspective of belief---the conviction of things not seen.Today we look at the same passage from the perspective of trust: reflection on what we do see. Faith, we hear consists of those two parts, belief and trust. Remember, the goal is have belief and trust knotted together. 

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Blessed to be Witnesses

Service: July 3

Scripture: Psalm 67

Sermon Theme: Psalm 67 begins with familiar words of blessing, " May the Lord be gracious to you and bless you....", but it soon becomes an word about the purpose of our being blessed...."So that you salvation may be shown among the nations.” This holiday weekend we may well wonder what it takes for us to be quality Christian citizens. Psalm 67 points an important way forward for us. 

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The Counter-Cultural Nature of Grace

Service: June 26

Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10

Sermon Theme: We all have heard that we only get what we work for whether we are working on school, relationships, employment, on and on. That's how all of life works, except for the Christian. We enjoy God's grace, God's unmerited love, God's forgiveness every day. Our faith and our daily life have this huge disconnect. Perhaps we have all lived with the disconnect so long it no longer feels strange, but what about our neighbors? How do we bear witness to a God of grace when we live in a world of "You've got to earn it"?

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More Than Enough

Service: June 12

Scripture: Mark 8:12-13

Sermon Theme: When is enough, enough? We all face that question when we are considering taking a step forward or facing a new challenge. In Mark 8, we hear of the Lord's compassion for those who had gone hungry for food because they were hungry for his message. The disciples immediately respond that they do not have enough for such large gathering---and no doubt they didn't. Yet, they gave what they had, and by Jesus' grace, all went home satisfied. Can this story be about more than only one wonderful moment of feeding? Does it help us respond to the question: when is enough, enough?

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Chop, Drop, Stomp

Service: June 5

Scripture: Mark 4:1-20

Sermon Theme: This parable asks us to note that not only are we challenged to ask ourselves what kind of soil we might be. It also encourages the disciples, who will encounter all sorts of success and failure in sowing the word, to realize that the harvest is out of their control. So what are we to do? Keep on sowing!

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The Rest of Eternity

Service: May 29

Scripture: Revelation 22:1-7

Sermon Theme: We will never know full rest here. Complete rest is not possible here because of the reality of sin, decay, and death. Rest is about being fully in the midst of life, which means to be fully in the presence of God. The apostle John describes this full rest with beautiful and life-giving imagery. Most powerfully, rest is coming face to face with our Creator and Redeemer God. As John writes, “They will see his face.” But as we see, eternal rest is an active rest, one that lives out eternity in service to God in perfection and joy. While we are awaiting that rest, through the Spirit, we can

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The Rest that Awaits

Service: May 22

Scripture: Philippians 3:4b-21

Sermon Theme: The life of the Christian is seeking and taking pride in what is truly valuable. Earthly accomplishments, while good in their own way, are not that which must define us or be our hope and stay. Our comfort is in other things that Paul outlines here. Our life here is defined in eternal terms. As we celebrate young people making profession of faith today, we pray for their trust in what Paul says here. As they are at the beginning stages of their life of faith, we encourage them to seek the rest that awaits -the glories of eternity. As we journey together, we must keep before us the goal of faith -being joined with Christ in eternity.

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The Rest We Neglect

Service: May 1

Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16, Isaiah 30:15-22

Sermon Theme: As we experience the weariness of life, we desire rest. But what will bring us to that rest? In the Bible God continually calls his people back to himself as the location of rest. The struggle of our rebellious soul is that we are deceived into thinking that something else will do the trick. But God continues to call to us to find rest in him alone. As Isaiah promises, “How gracious he will be when you cry for help!” But we must cry out to him and not silence our lips or hearts. In his ways are the green pasture of rest. In him are the tumultuous waters within us transformed to still waters. Let us not refuse rest any more, but allow ourselves to be restored in the true path of rest -in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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The Rest We Desire

Service: April 24

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:17-23

Sermon Theme: Today, we begin a series on the biblical theme of rest. Rest is a significant theme as God continually works to bring about our true rest. Rest is something we long for, especially as we face life on a daily basis. Life tires us out, in body, but more difficult within our very soul. We desire rest for our souls from the troubles and challenges of this life, but struggle to find it. The Bible knows this longing as it reflects on it and show that God seeks to answer this longing with his bold promises, He has not abandoned us in our weariness, but has given us hope to be filled with renewed life.

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Choose Truth

Service: April 17

Scripture: Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 23:23

Sermon Theme: God’s Word is amazing! It’s dynamic, active, and true. The storyline is redemption, and the ero is Jesus. All of Scripture points to Him, and when we find our story woven into His, it shines light that directs our way. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105). Our lives are filled with choices. Some are big, some small. All of them matter. So how do we know what path to take? How do we hear God’s voice and discern truth? We need to hear from our Maker! He gave us the light of His Word to guide our steps. He gave us His Son Jesus, who said, “Whoever follows me...will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

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The “1” Word You Need to Live

Service: April 10

Scripture: John 21:1-19

Sermon Theme: There is one simple word that we all need to live. We’ve heard it before, we know it, we think we understand it; but do we do it ? The Risen Christ invites and challenges us to act on our belief. It takes courage, it takes trust, it takes our all. It’s hard, but we are empowered to this one task. Will you rise to THE challenge?

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How God Directs Our Paths

Service: April 3

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

Sermon Theme: One of the proofs for God’s existence is His way of directing our pathways in life. We must pay attention to and celebrate those special moments in our lives when God interrupts and re-directs our plans. This message introduces and traces what are called “kairos moments” when God ‘breaks into’ people’s lives.

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A Sling to Undo the Sting

Service: March 27

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17

Sermon Theme: We all long for freedom from that which threatens us. When we face the threats of death and darkness, we cry out for help. Who will help us? The power of death seems so daunting. The strength of the darkness seems so great. What we come to know is that in the face of all this,we as human beings have no strength to conquer. The darkness will have its final say, unless something beyond us, unless something supernatural can overcome the seeming odds and face the giant and conquer it. In David’s mighty triumph against Goliath we see a precursor to the greatest story of all, the rising of Jesus from the dead. As David conquered a giant, so does Jesus conquer the greatest giant -death that stands as our taunting enemy. In his triumph, we taunt, “Death, where is your sting? Where is your victory?” Hallelujah! Amen!

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An Unexpected King

Service: March 20

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Sermon Theme: God brings forth his kingdom through unexpected means. What we don’t expect, he brings into existence. What we can’t see, he presents to us. To further his kingdom, he guides us to look beyond our initial imagination to see new possibilities -to consider what we have not considered before. As Israel has sought security in a king, their first king, Saul, has been rejected by God. Samuel mourns this and doesn't know how to proceed. But God calls him to move forward and begin to work for the future, but it is a future that Samuel cannot see on his own. He needs God’s guidance for Samuel cannot see the spiritual realities on his own. In the same way, we need God to guide us continually to our true King, Jesus Christ, so that our eyes won’t be distracted by the outward appearances of this world.

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Resisting Fear, Finding Victory

Service: March 13

Scripture: 1 Samuel 13:1-15

Sermon Theme: As we continue to think about Christ’s priestly work, we are reminded of the need to trust in it and his perfect timing to save us. As we see in this story, King Saul and his troops gave into fear an failed to follow the commands of Samuel, who said to wait for him. Saul sought to secure the victory himself through disobedience because fear had overtaken the situation. As we grow in our lives of faith, it is fear that Christ tears away as we learn to trust in him. Through Christ’s priestly work to pay for our sins and conquer the punishment of death, we have a secure future. We are no longer slaves to fear, but are now children of God who are secure in victory no matter what obstacle we face.

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Revival Time

Service: March 6

Scripture: 1 Samuel 7:2-17

Sermon Theme: As we continue to investigate the life of Samuel, we’re reminded of a great loss that the people of God sustained at the hands of their enemies. Now, twenty years later we witness a great victory. The prophetic work of Samuel that happens for those twenty years brings a conviction upon the people of Israel. And now they are ready for revival. This story gives us a powerful example of a revival among God’s people. And what we see in the priestly work of Samuel is that revival among God’s people begins with conviction of sin, confession of sin, deep intercession, and living in the reality of God’s atoning work. This brings victory for God’s people and he fights against the enemy on their behalf. This is what we have in Christ -a victory at the cross that calls us to revival in him.

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That Prophesy Might Increase

Service: February 28

Scripture: 1 Samuel 10:1-13

Sermon Theme: We read in I Samuel 3 that the word of God was rare, but we see that the word of God begins to increase upon the coming of Samuel. As Samuel speaks faithfully so does the Spirit increase the giving the words of prophesy to others. In this, we hear the desire of Moses many years before, “That all the LORD’s people were prophets.” What does this mean for us? What might happen if we grow in our sharing of the word of God together? As we’ll see, the increase of the word of God being present brought encouragement and life and also a cleansing that was necessary for God’s people to accomplish their purpose. Let us consider what it might mean that through the Spirit of God “all the LORD’s people might be prophets.”

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A Voice from Heaven

Service: February 14

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3

Sermon Theme: During the Lenten season, we’ll be focusing on Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, and King. We’ll be looking at the book of I Samuel to guide us into this theme. As we begin today, we witness a great need for God to speak to his people. As the opening verses tell us, “In those days the world of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” It is in the fading light, that God begins to speak his word. And it comes by way of the fruit of a woman who cried out to God for a child. In Samuel, the people are blessed with a prophet who hears from the Lord and whose “words do not fall to the ground.” In this Lenten season, we turn to Jesus, the one who came after Samuel who is the true prophet -who speaks words of hope that do not fall to the ground -but our ears must be ready.

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Providence

Service: February 7

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

Sermon Theme: Paul closes this letter with some general exhortations that are very upbeat. The effective Christian life is also as optimistic. Based on these exhortations we will live out thankfulness in an upbeat, attractive Christian lifestyle. The power of the idea of providence provides the energy for this appealing presence in the world

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Hooked on Christ's Way

Service: January 31

Scripture: James 1:19-27

Sermon Theme: The Cadets have been learning about various ways that they are to be hooked on Christ in this year. The book of James has been their guide as they’ve explored the way that Christ would have us be. This morning, we focus on the need to not merely hear the word, but to also do it. Especially in our bad attention span world, how hard it is to listen well, to search intently, and then to follow through on the information. Many things work against us. First, poor attention spans keep us from focusing intently. Second, the temptations of this world turn our focus from the word of God. Third, the overwhelming amount of information we consume can paralyze us from actually doing anything. Fourth, our modern pride in thinking that we have much to say about things when really we should just listen and learn. Christ calls us to the way of wisdom, which is the way of blessedness through obedience of God.

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Spirit's Seal

Service: January 24

Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14

Sermon Theme: There is much to fear in life as we often feel little security. Our flesh is weak. Our years are short. Our relationships are fragile. Our finances are fluid. It could be very easy to walk around with much fear as we live out our lives in this temporary world. But if we are in Christ, the Father has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit -which is a guarantee that ultimately our lives are not being lived out in this temporary world, but in the eternal one. When so much is insecure, we have ultimate security that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. This allows us not to be slaves of fear, but to be those who live out our identity as children of God. If we understand this security and grow into it, what can hold us back from living confidently in Jesus Christ our Lord? The answer is nothing. The Spirit is our guarantee and is our power to live eternally even in the present days that are passing away

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Son's Sacrifice

Service: January 17

Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14

Sermon Theme: What gives us worth before God? It is nothing other than the grace of God, which he lavishes upon us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing else will accomplish what we need accomplished. Paul tells us that this all came about because God is full of wisdom and understanding. His wisdom and understanding saw past our sin and saw past our faulty attempts to measure up and he showed us the greater wisdom of grace. When so much of our world is based on the wisdom of earning it, God shows us a different way-that he has earned it for us. And we get further comfort in this truth in that the plan was in place before we even came into existence. We were a part of his plan from the beginning and that brings great comfort for us as we abide in his grace.

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Father's Choice

Service:  January 10, 2015

Scripture:  Ephesians 1: 3-14

Sermon Theme: The goal of this series is to root us deep into the identity that we have, not in ourselves, but in the powerful and gracious work of our Triune God. As we begin a new year, we begin not with a reminder of our own tasks to accomplish or things to achieve, but we focus on what God has done for us. We are those with no right to claim anything outside of the mighty grace of God. And in that we find great hope. Expectation of achievement leads us to loss of hope because we can never measure up. But in the Triune God’s work of grace, we are made flawless and thus have hope. As Paul begins this section, these truths bring us to praise and to live in the glorious lightness of loving in Him. We are freed from the burdens of shame and guilt in Christ and thus are a people of great joy. In Christ, we have overcome our own inability to measure up. Praise God! 

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Eager for Truth

Service: January 3

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12, Proverbs 23:22-25

Sermon Theme: As we continue to long for the second coming of Christ, our patient waiting must be guided by an eagerness for truth. Throughout the Scriptures, we find a focus on truth as opposed to deceit and false teaching. The heart that is governed by sin has no desire to seek truth in the in most parts, but is much more comfortable living within the lies of one's own mind and the lies of the world. In sin, the state of our soul is one of hiddenness from the truth and we can become very sophisticated in denying the truth. But the light of God's grace exposes us to the beauty of truth and it brings us to hunger for it. As those eager for truth, we will grow a stronger and stronger distaste for the lies the world offers. We will detest them as one detests spoiled food in one's mouth. In the Christ child, we see truth incarnate and those who are wise will fix their eyes on him and his ways.

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Eager for Renewal

Service: December 27, 2015

Scripture: Luke 2:21-38

Sermon Theme: In the Bible, those who wait in expectation are filled while those who hurry in earthly striving are emptied. In considering the prophetess Anna, we see eyes that can truly see what is truly to be seen. Luke tells us that she spoke of the child to all who where looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. There is a distinction here between those who were looking forward and those who were not. This is a distinction of faith, of those who believed in the unseen things of God and those who could only focus on the seen things of this world. In the baby Jesus, Anna’s eyes of faith are given a glimpse of the surety of God’s unseen fulfillment of his glorious Kingdom. As she speaks, she speaks to us and calls us to be a people looking forward to Christ’s coming kingdom.

 

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Life on Purpose

Service:  April 5, 2015 Easter Service

Scripture:  I Corinthians 15:1-26

Sermon Theme:  He has risen indeed and life will never be the same for all who believe. This is the promise of the Jesus’ resurrection, that a new way of life has begun. He has conquered death and overcome the futility of life as we’ve known it. No longer is life devoid of meaning. No longer is life just about the here and now. Because of this, we must enslave ourselves to the here and now, but tie ourselves to eternity. This brings joy, this brings peace, this brings freedom. 

 

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Tied to the Cause

Service:  March 29, 2015 AM

Scripture:  II Corinthians 5:11-6:2

Sermon Theme:  As Palm Sunday brings us to think about Christ’s kingship, it reminds us of what we are called to be as servants of the king. Paul calls the Christian an ambassador of Christ, which is someone that works on behalf of the kingdom to promote peace. We are those who are fettered to a message, a message that we are involved in proclaiming to the world. The church is the community that proclaims the king - it is fettered to this purpose and in living out this purpose we find the true freedom of fulfillment.

 

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Boasting in the Cross

Service:  March 22, 2015 AM

Scripture:   II Corinthians 11:16-12:10

Sermon Theme:  Being tied to the cross means being tied to weakness and vulnerability. This is hard for us to face because we push against this naturally. It’s been this way since the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sought to hide from each other and from God in their shame. The world constantly reminds us we don’t measure up. To counter that, we often find ourselves boasting about our strengths, yet here, Paul is boasting in his weaknesses. Paul is showing the greater freedom. True freedom is not relying upon our strengths, but in our weaknesses allowing Christ to be the strength we need and finding that his grace is sufficient. 

 

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Slaves We Are

Service:  March 15, 2015 AM

Scripture:  Romans 6:1-23

Sermon Theme:  We are always slaves to something, whether it be the way of sin or whether it be to God himself. Paul's use of the word "slave" is a strong and perhaps shocking one, but it helps us understand the importance of having ourselves tied to Christ and his way. He says we must be slaves to righteousness. First of all, this means we need to find all our strength and hope in Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness. Second, it calls us to serve him because outside of him, we are and have nothing. Being slaves is something that actually frees us to a life that is true and joyous.

 

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Throwing Away Our Life Savings

Service: 

Scripture: Philippians 3:1-16

Sermon Theme: With the change that has come into Paul's life through Christ, he no longer boasts in that which he has accumulated in this life. Of all the things achieved that he could benefit from, he considers them loss because of the surpassing greatness of Christ. This is his foundation. This is his joy. Nothing else matters. It is only in this strength that one can press on to live in service to the gospel. We get tripped up though when the things of the flesh come back and pretend they are our security. They shackle us, but in Christ we must put off those shackles and take tie ourselves to Christ. 

 

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Blinded by the Light

Service:  March 1, 2015 AM

Scripture:  Acts 9:1-31

Sermon Theme:  Though he thought he saw clearly, God showed him he was blind and darkened in his understanding. Saul, who later changes his name to Paul, was a man lost in his own righteousness and success. By all accounts, his life was one of incredible promise and accomplishment, yet God showed him he was totally missing the point, As we see the incredible transformation of Paul, we are brought to consider our own lives. In seeing the light, Paul's whole trajectory for life changed. What has the light of Christ done to us? Has it changed us? Has it truly shackled us to a life lived for Jesus? 

 

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Freedom to Truly Live

Service:  February 22, 2015 AM

Scripture:  Acts 6:1-15; 7:51-8:3

Sermon Theme:  As we begin Lent, we focus on the power of the life given for the gospel and Jesus. For Lent, we'll be thinking about what it means to be fettered to Christ and his purposes. Jesus says, "All who seek to save their life will lose it, but all who seek to lose their life for him and the gospel will save it." This statement takes a bit to get our minds around, but ultimately it is a statement about freedom and unhindered obedience leading to joy. This is the promised life of the gospel. We observe this in Stephen and we see how powerful the effect of Stephen's obedience is.

 

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Running the Race Together

Service: February 15, 2015 AM

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1, 11-32-12:3

Sermon Theme:  This morning, we look at a powerful text from the book of Hebrews. As we live this life, God has called us to run the most amazing race possible. It is a race we are running together as God’s people, a race in which we must strip away anything that may be hindering us, and relentlessly fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the finish line. He is the goal. He much be the purpose for why we’re living. 

 

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Branded With Christ

Service: February 8, 2015 AM

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25

Sermon Theme: To be branded means to have a mark upon us that identifies us as belonging to someone. Whether we like it or not, all of us are branded to someone or something. Only one brand though gives us the ability to truly live life as it’s supposed to be lived. It is the brand of Christ. Christ’s brand represents God’s love, his work on the cross, his forgiveness, and the assurance of salvation. No other brand gives us hope in this world and so we must accept the offer of God’s gift in Christ and be branded as his. Then we must live for him because we belong for him. Then others will see the brand that is upon us, the brand of Jesus Christ. 

 

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The Call to New Life

Service:  January 11, 2015 AM

Scripture:  John 3:1-21

Sermon Theme: Today, we celebrate the love of God known only through grace in Jesus Christ. We rejoice in seeing God do a mighty work in one of his children and we are called to reflect on what it means to come to Christ. In the story of Nicodemus, Jesus invites us all into his kingdom and to accept the means to get there, being born again. As heaven came down in Jesus Christ, heaven doesn’t come with condemnation, but with an invitation to believe and trust in the one who was sent. 

 

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The Glory of Heaven on Earth

Service: December 28, 2014 AM

Scripture: Mark 9:2-10

Sermon Theme  The truth of Christmas, that God has come to dwell with us, is a comforting reality. We are transfixed by the beauty of the nativity scene. We are brought to a place of wanting
that peaceful scene to remain. Yet, born a human being, life moves on for Jesus. He grows. Later, during his ministry, we find another scene of heaven’s glory upon earth, as Jesus is transfigured before the disciples. The truth of Jesus is shown to them in this scene and Peter wants it to remain. He longs for permanence now, yet Jesus points them to the broader purpose of his coming - the salvation of the world.

 

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The Longing of Heaven/The Exuberance of Heaven

Service:  December 24, 2014 Christmas Eve

Scripture:  Luke 2:1-16

 

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The Judgment of Heaven

Service:  December 21, 2014 AM

Scripture:  I Chronicles 21:1-22:1

Sermon Theme:  As God continues to come down to show his presence upon his world, he still must contend with human pride and arrogance. This leads to the need for judgment and punishment. If the glory of heaven is to come down, it must fight against human desire for vain glory. In this text, we see David pursuing vain glory in the census. The angel of God, who represents God’s glory and holiness, comes to fight against this. After punishment, David repents and seeks God’s mercy, which Israel receives. In the coming of Jesus, we see the mercy of God in Christ who takes away the wrath that is meant for our world driven by vain glory. Praise God that heaven came down and that it came down in grace and mercy.

 

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Surrounded by Heaven

Service: December 14, 2014 AM

Scripture:  II Kings 6:8-23

Sermon Theme:  In Advent, we need to be reminded that God has not left us alone to figure things out on our own. He isn’t the watchmaker who simply creates the world, winds it up, and simply lets it run. He is active because he knows that the power of darkness that wages war upon his world desires to overcome us. Sometimes all we can see is this enemy and we are brought to a fear, a paralysis that captures our soul. Yet God reminds us that the power of heaven is greater than the power of darkness. He reminds us that we are not alone in this, but that heaven is here for our security. In Jesus coming, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

 

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Heaven's Gate

Service:  December 7, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Genesis 28:10-22

Sermon Theme:  The prophet Isaiah cries out, “Rend the heavens and come down.” As we live in this world so filled with darkness and deceit, we long for the truth, glory, and light of heaven to shine upon us. As sunbeams burst through ominous clouds, we desire the warmth and hope of God’s presence to come down. Throughout Scripture, heaven interacts with earth. God doesn’t leave us be, but he continually points the way to what his grand plan is, that heaven will come down and glory fill our soul. In Jacob’s dream, we see one such instance. We are given hope that there is a gateway to heaven.

 

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Longing for the Wind

Service:  November 30, 2014 AM

Scripture: Genesis 3:21-24; 11:1-7

Sermon Theme:  The longing within the human heart is to find a way to make it back through Eden’s gate, to live within the midst of heavenly life. In the Garden, humanity walked and talked with God and enjoyed the fruits of abundant life. Outside the garden, we endure challenge and the reality of relentless death. As we seek to fight the meaninglessness, we seek ways to break into the heavenly reality by our own design, yet these efforts are futile. We need the wind of new life to breath over us. We need the heavens to invade our world with life and meaning. As we prepare for the Advent season, we remind ourselves of the longing of heaven to enter our hearts.

 

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A Life Lived for God

Service:  November 23, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Sermon Theme:  The text calls us to be faithful in engaging life in profitable ways. It instructs us out of the pattern of idleness and toward wise action. Too much waiting for the perfect conditions
leads one to accomplish nothing. Always playing it safe with no risk leads to little return. Faithful work doesn’t mean that we will always be assured of results, but that we are faithful in fulfilling the calling God gives us. As believers in Jesus Christ, we’ve been given the Sprit of God to keep in step with the Sprit that our lives may be fruitful for God’s purposes. This text calls us out of the life of folly that fails to invest in the kingdom of God that Jesus said we must seek first of all.

 

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Hearts in Tune

Service:  November 16, 2014 AM

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8

Sermon Theme:  We must have our hearts turned to the ways of God so that we can be wise about how we live. The writer speaks to the joy of youth and vigor and to engage the heart in pursuits, but with the recognition that judgment is to come. He then goes on to remind one of the quickness of youth, of how it fades away, of the many cares that come upon one as one ages. The key is to not simply remember your Creator in your old age, but in your youth, so that life is lived right. As one lives one’s life with youthful vigor, it is wise to remember that we are not masters of our own fate, that life will eventually bring us down. It is wise to seek God and invest our youthful energies into his purposes.

 

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Accepting God's Rhythm

Service:  November 9, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Sermon Theme:  Seasons are a part of life. Life is constantly moving from one stage to another, whether we like it or not. A key part of wisdom is accepting the providential flow of things and allowing God’s timing to have control. The writer wrestles with this because we also have an inner sense of eternity, of things staying settled in a constant state of goodness. We long for this, so we find ourselves living in tension. We must accept time and its limitations, but also long for that which is eternal. In Christ, we find the answer as the eternal Son of God comes to dwell within time to shepherd us to the goodness of etenity.

 

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The Withered Leaf

Service:  November 2, 2014 AM  (Rev. Robert Timmer)

Scripture:  Psalm 1

Sermon Theme:  The withered leaf of autumn is a warning to those who live apart from God that they shall wither and die. In contrast the Psalmist says, those who are rooted in the Lord shall never wither and die."

 

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Ignorance and Bliss

Service:  October 26, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Sermon Theme:  Knowledge and information are thought to unlock life in our current world.  As long as we can learn the right things and invest in the right technology, we will find the truth of life in new ways.  Yet, we still struggle with the reality of v. 15, “what is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.” With all the knowledge we have, the hard reality is that we don't have and can't pursue. The text speaks to the wariness of pursuing knowledge because it brings about greater grief - a greater seeing of what is crooked. It calls us to seek truth in God and his ways, a true knowledge.

 

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Letting the Air Out

Service:  October 19, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 1:11

Sermon Theme:  Our age is one that artificially props itself up with self-importance. This is true on a broad cultural scale and surely finds its expression at the individual level. We’re quite fascinated with ourselves and are quite convinced that we’re especially important in the grand scheme of things. Self-promotion is an established doctrine as celebrity is the goal. As Christians, we swim in this cultural reality and can get caught up in it. But as Christians, we must be discerning, for we must see the lie, expose it, and be ready to offer hope in the midst of despair that this way of life produces. Ecclesiastes addresses these issues straight on and call us to ask the hard questions. In the end, it propels us not to despair, but to hope.

 

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Ordered and Filled Up

Service:  October 12, 2014 AM

Scripture: Colossians 2:1-15

Sermon Theme: O the confidence we can have in Christ if we would simply engage him fully. We go here and there seeking to gain life in all its fullness, to find a full life, when in reality the full 
life is not found in experiences of this world, but in the one who created the world. Our day is not filled with a fascination about the Creator, but a fascination with the created. Thinking that God is unreachable and unknowable, we’ve settled for what we can see and touch. Yet Paul seeks to shake us from this lethargy by the truth of Christ. In him the fullness of God dwells. In him the mystery of God is revealed. If we want to see God, we look to Christ. If we want to know life, we must have our lives ordered in Christ.

 

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Living the True Story

Service: October 6, 2014 AM

Scripture: II Corinthians 5:1-10

Sermon Theme: The Bible’s main theme is to counter the power of death. To live in this world, which is passing away, is to be engaged in the narrative of loss. We feel it all around us. Everything will eventually succomb to nothing. It will be lost. We feel the power of this. We feel the weight of this. The Bible calls us into a different narrative, into a different story to fuel or imagination and purpose. If is the narrative of life, of resurrection, of hope in the midst of loss. Loss is inevitable, but it is not the end of the story in Christ. In the story of Christ, loss is where we find life.

 

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Setting Our Hearts

Service: September 28, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Colossians 3:1-17

Sermon Theme: We see in this text Paul's call for us to turn away from that which is of the flesh. He gives different things to turn away from, which includes greed, which is idolatry. All of this must be done because we have been brought to new life through the resurrection.  That which is of heaven must be our new focus, not the things that keep us tied to earth in unhealthy ways. The reality is that the resurrection ties us now to focus on that which is eternal. Every relation on this earth must be seen through a new perspective. That which is heavenly is first. Our relationships must be filtered through the Spirit. Our possessions and how we use them must be filtered through the Spirit. Everything turns to that which is truly life period. If we focus on the flesh, we will be found wanting. 

 

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The Work of His Hands

Service:  September 21, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Isaiah 44:9-23

Sermon Theme   Today, we’ll be focusing on identifying what idolatry actually is and what it does to our heart. The trouble before us is how the human heart buys into the lie that creation can be 
both something that serves us and something that we can serve. Isaiah lays out the definition of idolatry as taking a created thing that is good and making it more glorious than it actually is.  It is a transfer of glory - whatever we glory in is what we believe will bring our life to order.  The hope at the end of the text is God's promises of redemption, that he will save Israel and that is his glory.  God's work of redemption is where true glory is seen and this leads us to Christ.

 

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Flee!!

Service:  September 14, 2014 AM

Scripture:  I Corinthians 10:1-15

Sermon Theme:  Paul's advice concerning idolatry is straightforward:  Flee!! Flee from it. Turn your back on it and run toward the truth. Paul uses the example of Israel to keep us on the right path. As they stumbled, we must be careful not to stumble. Paul summarizes the sins here around our heart's desires for evil things. When our hearts desire and pursue things in place of God, this is idolatry, idolatry of the heart. We see four evils mentioned here, bowing down to idols, sexual immorality, testing the Lord, and grumbling. We need to flee from all these and run to Christ.

 

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The Most Life-Giving Command

Service:  September 7, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Exodus 20:1-3

Sermon Theme:  What is the greatest threat to living true life? People might have various answers to this question. The Bible has one: idolatry. Therefore, it is not first about our physical selves, our health or pleasure. It is first of all about the commitments of our heart. Over the next while, we'll be looking at the Bible's teaching on the reality of idolatry and what it means to turn from it and bow down to worship with our whole selves the true God of all. Ultimately, the greatest tool of life is to cast down idols and bow down to worship the true God.

 

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Eating True Bread

Service:  August 31, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Mark 8:14-21

Sermon Theme:  Following a feeding of the multitude, we find this seemingly confusing conversation between Jesus and his disciples in the middle of the lake. ​The end of conversation seems to leave the disciples at a point of saying, “Huh?” Indeed, we might feel the same way. What is Jesus trying to tell us? Whatever it is, ​it seems quite important because he is warning. When Jesus warns, we need to pay attention. May our hearts be ready to hear and to respond.

 

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A Shepherd to Fill Us

Service:  August 24, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Mark 6:30-44

Sermon Theme:  As Jesus looks upon the crowd, he has deep compassion for them. He observes, "they are like sheep without a shepherd." This is a telling observation that speaks the spiritual reality of many. Lost on the hills. Searching for meaning and searching for true spiritual food. As Jesus responds to this, he shows them who he is and what he has come to bring. He is the shepherd, the one that the Old Testament prophets said would come. If we come to him, he will fill us with life, bring us home, and lead us to a sure future.

 

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The True Forgiveness that Heals

Service:  August 17, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Matthew 9:1-8

Sermon Theme:  In coming to shore, Jesus is confronted by a paralytic man who desires healing. Curiously, Jesus begins by declaring that the man's sins are forgiven. Seems an odd place to start, but Jesus always looks to the deeper need than what we see. Forgiveness is the true healing that we need. A sick and crippled soul is the deepest hurt that is within us. We sense this hurt at times, perhaps much of the time, but in sensing it, where do we go? Jesus shows us that the only place to go is to him, the one who has authority to forgive sins and make us healed.

 

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The Last Laugh

Service:  August 10, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Luke 8:40-56

Sermon Theme:  As we've seen Jesus rebuking the powers of death, both in the calming of the storm and the casting out of the demons, we see him doing it again. In this story, which happens after Jesus crosses the lake, we find him raising a girl from the dead. The three stories move forward to climax, to the literal defeat of death in resurrection. The bold claims made by Jesus lead some to laugh, to disbelieve, but Jesus' power overcomes this. Though death might desire to have the last laugh, we gain the last laugh of joy in the power of Jesus to overcome the grave.

 

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Inviting Jesus Into Our Darkness

Service:  August 3, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Luke 8:26-39

Sermon Theme:  As the crowds witness the power of Jesus to free the man enslaved to many demons, they are brought to fear. His power so frightens them that they ask him to leave. They cannot handle his power. He is too threatening to them. What is it about Jesus that scares these people? Why doesn't this power over the demons bring them to seek him with all their heart like the freed man responds? These are important questions to consider and we must consider them as well. Does Jesus' power scare us to avoid him or does it bring us to invite him in to thoroughly cleanse us?

 

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Darkness Has No Chains

Service:  July 27, 2014 AM

Scripture: Luke 8:26-39

Sermon Theme: As the disciples were led to fear and amazement at Jesus calming the storm, more fear and amazement come in this story. As he moves into Gentile territory, Jesus will show his power over the darkness at its seeming strongest. In his taking on of the demons in this one man, he shows his power to give freedom to all who are trapped by sin and darkness's chains. Darkness has no hold upon those who are in Christ. We are called to freedom in the almighty power of God.

 

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Slipping Feet

Service:  July 20, 2014 AM (Rev. Robert Timmer)

Scripture:  Psalm 73

Sermon Theme:  The Psalmist, like a lot of us, believes that God owes us a good life. So when he sees the fun, health, and wealth of the non-believer, he begins to question his faith. The message looks at the process of stepping on the slippery ground of doubt and then recovering your balance so that you stand firm upon your faith once again.

 

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Who is this?!

Service: July 13, 2014 AM

Scripture: Luke 8:22-15

Sermon Theme: “Who is this?” the disciples ask each other. They are wondering in astonishment at Jesus, who has just saved them by commanding the wind and waves to calm. “Even the winds and water obey him,” they proclaim. In this episode, Jesus shows himself to command the very authority of God who has the power to push back the wind and waves. He has the power to calm the chaos that disrupts this world. He has the power to establish a peaceful space where life need not fear death. This is the power of God. This is the power of Jesus.

 

 

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The Great Catch

Service:  July 6, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Luke 5:1-11

Sermon Theme: As we love to be at the lake during the summer, we’re reminded that some significant parts of Jesus’ ministry took place around the water. The Sea of Galilee, also called Lake Gennesaret, was a central place of Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee. As we look at some of these events over the next weeks, we start with Jesus calling his first disciples. As we’ll see, these men were caught off guard as Jesus enabled their mighty catch. But he showed them that he had greater plans for them and bigger “fish” for them to catch.​

 

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A Generous Harvest

Service:  June 29, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Leviticus 23:22, Ruth 2, II Corinthians 9:6-11

Sermon Theme: As we finish up our Pentecost series, we’ll be looking at the theme of generosity. At harvest time, the Israelites were instructed to be generous with how they harvested their crop. In their generosity, it allowed for the poor and alien to have food to eat. As the people of Pentecost, so too are we called to be generous, just as God has been generous with us. As we are generous with all that God has given, we live out the very heart of God and the world opens up to hear his message of grace and truth in Christ.

 

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A Thanksgiving of Obedience

Service: June 22, 2014 AM

Scripture: Exodus 19

Sermon Theme:  As we continue to look at the celebration of Pentecost and how it connects with its Old Testament origins, today we look at Pentecost’s connection with the Israelites coming to Mt. Sinai. Mt. Sinai was where they received God’s instruction on how they were to live as a people now that they were no longer slaves in Egypt. For the Jew, Mt. Sinai was one of the most important events in their history. It defined them. It guided them. This morning, we look at the parallels between what happened at Mt. Sinai and what happened on Pentecost in Jerusalem. 

 

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The Harvest of Resurrection


Service:  June 15, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Leviticus 23:9-22

Sermon Theme:  As we continue to think of Pentecost, we turn to the theme of the harvest. Pentecost was originally a harvest festival for the Israelites as they celebrated God's good provision. But the theme of harvest also took on symbolic and spiritual overtones that relate to redemption and resurrection. In Christ's resurrection, we see a new harvest initiated that we are made a part of through the Holy Spirit. This leads us to live as those not defined by worthlessness, but by divine purpose and proclamation of the harvest of new life that Christ has brought.

 

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Resting His Name upon Us


Service:  June 8, 2014

Scripture:  Deuteronomy 16:9-12; Acts 2:1-4

Sermon Theme:  We celebrate Pentecost today, a celebration of God sending his Holy Spirit upon those who believe in the name of Jesus. Today, we'll begin looking at an extended study of Pentecost so that we'll understand its history among the people of God. Pentecost is a festival that goes all the way back to the Old Testament and as we grasp its Old Testament significance, we can gain a greater understanding of what it means for us as New Testament believers. First, we'll look at what it means that in sending the Holy Spirit, God decides to rest his Name upon us as his children.

 

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Workers for the Lord


Service: June 1, 2014 AM

Scripture: Matthew 9:35-38

Sermon Theme: As we celebrate God's calling of new elders and deacons for his work today, we are reminded of the work of the Lord. We see it is about proclaiming the kingdom of God and helping people find God's comfort and strength in their distresses. Leaders are to have a heart of compassion that Jesus shows in his interactions with his people. As Jesus recognizes that many are harassed and helpless, he also recognizes a harvest. And he calls us to pray that workers might be raised up to work in his field of redemption.

 

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This Is What the Lord Says


Service:  May 25, 2014 AM (Rev. Robert Timmer)

Scripture: Jeremiah 12:15-32

Sermon Theme: One danger that God's people must continually guard against is listening to false prophets, In our text today, we are warned about this throught the propeht Jeremiah. The question we must always face is whether we are listening to the true voice of God or lies that claim to represent him. How do we tell the difference? Today, we will explore this question and seek the truth of God's word and follow what he says.

 

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A Time to Thank

Service:  May 18, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Philippians 1:3-11

Sermon Theme:  As we come to the end of our formal program year, it is right for us to give thanks for all that God has done in the life of our church. It is a good time to give thanks to God for the many offerings of service that have blessed our family in this year. God has been at work and he has been at work in us as a church. As a church, we must give thanks and acknowledge God's faithfulness as we trust that he will complete the work that he has started in us.

 

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Formed & Filled

Service:  May 11, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Genesis 1-2:3

Sermon Theme:   Our identity as children of God is something granted to us by God's Word. He speaks his word of grace, and life bursts forth within us through the Holy Spirit. The path to life comes by way of two things that God does to us: he forms us and he fills us. This is God's pattern from the very beginning, whether on the grand scale of the creation or on the focused scale of salvation within each believer. We celebrate this today and look to see with eyes of faith what God might be doing in our life right now to form us and to fill us with life.

 

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The Rights of Membership

Service:  May 4, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Various Texts

Sermon Theme:  True worship is a life directed in gratefulness to that which makes our lives possible. It is a self-sacrificial movement, for it is about giving our all out of thanksgiving for all God 
has done. False worship is focused less on gratitude and more on getting. In false worship, worship is less directed toward God and more directed to our wants and desires. We face the struggle of staying in the mode of true worship. We often get distracted by our wants and desires and fall into false worship. God is less to be adored and more to be a tool for our needs. True worship is less about us and more about the God we know through Jesus Christ.

 

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Convicted, yet Confident

Service:  April 27, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Hebrews 4:12-16

Sermon Theme:  If we would find ourselves being inspected as to our perfection in our way of living, all of us would be found wanting. One false comfort we can rest in is the fact that we typically can elude inspection. We run. We hide. But in the end, we will be confronted by the God of the universe from whom we can’t hide. The reality is, he knows us better than we even know ourselves. This is a frightening prospect, but in Christ and his work, we can have confidence. How can that be? Today, we’ll explore how it is that we are convicted, yet confident.

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Life

Service:  April 20, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Matthew 16:21-27

Sermon Theme:  True life comes in unexpected ways. As we celebrate Easter today, we need to remember what we are actually celebrating. We are for sure celebrating the promise of new life, bute we're also needing to remember the path that was tread and the path we must tread. In this text, Peter denies what Jesus says must happen for true life to come. He doesn't want true life to come through this path - the path of self-denial and sacrifice. Jesus rebukes him and says he doesn't have in mind the things of God, but is thinking only of man's ways. What about us? It's one thing to celebrate Easter, but are we willing to follow our Lord to self-denial so that we might really know true life?

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Joy

Service:  April 13, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Hebrews 12:1-3

Sermon Theme:  Where is true joy to be found? Indeed, what even is true joy? Why do so many settle for a shallow happiness rather than drink deep into the joy that is offered by God? Likely because true joy comes from an unexpected source. It is assumed that joy comes from seeking more of that which makes our heart feel good or initially happy, but this is so often deceptive. True joy is not gained through continuous pursuit of quick fixes that are fleeting. True joy comes from staying fixed on that which holds the greatest assurance of return.This can only be God, for only God is eternal. Everything else vanishes into dust. And so like Jesus, the pursuit of true joy comes from self-denial because to deny the fleeting is to seek the greater joy.

 

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Unity

Service:  April 6, 2014 AM

Scripture:  John 17:20-26

Sermon Theme:  Jesus' prayer for all who will believe in his name is that they may be one. This is a lofty prayer, but it will never happen without continuous lofty prayer. Unity is hard to come by. Unity demands that we first of all are not one in ourselves, but first of all in God above and his ways. Jesus says that here. Our oneness together is founded upon our oneness with God. But as we find our hearts turned more and more to God and his ways, we will be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ and the world will recognize that Jesus has come.

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Community

Service:  March 30, 2014 AM

Scripture: Isaiah 58:6-12

Sermon Theme: God’s original purpose for the world was for humanity to live in harmony and peace, to live as a beautiful, joy-filled, and life-filled community. This purpose was quickly 
thwarted by humanity itself, which sought its own self-interested purposes. God did not turn away though. In his grand movements of salvation, he worked not only to save individuals, but also to restore his purpose of God-glorifying community. This was his purpose for Israel in the Old Testament and this is his purpose for the church. Church is community, church is family. And within this family, we are constantly being called to  less of me, so that more of God's purposes might be fulfilled. This is the challenge of community, but when it is well done, what beauty it has and what hope it offers.

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Prayer

Service:  March 23, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Mark 14:32-42

Sermon Theme:  "Your kingdom come, your will be done" is one of the most vital prayers to pray.  It always us to put everything in proper perspective.  Too often, our prayers focus on our will coming to fruition and can become incredibly anxious and even angry when it doesn't take place. But this is not true prayer. Pleading is about pleading to our God for help and then trusting him and his will to do what is right. Jesus teaches us this in his prayer that he offers before his death. "Not my will but yours be done" he prays. This must be our prayer. Less of me in my prayers and more of him brings about the greater life we cannot see right now.

 

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Less (of me) Is More True Worship

Service:   March 16, 2014 AM

Scripture:  John 4:1-30

Sermon Theme:  True worship is a life directed in gratefulness to that which makes our lives possible. It is a self-sacrificial movement, for it is about giving our all out of thanksgiving for all God 
has done. False worship is focused less on gratitude and more on getting. In false worship, worship is less directed toward God and more directed to our wants and desires. We face the struggle of staying in the mode of true worship. We often get distracted by our wants and desires and fall into false worship. God is less to be adored and more to be a tool for our needs. True worship is less about us and more about the God we know through Jesus Christ.

 

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Less (of me) Is More of Him

Service:  March 9, 2014 AM

Scripture:  John 3:22-36

Sermon Theme:  As we enter the season of Lent, we’re reminded of the purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth. He was willing to endure a decrease in glory so that we might have the joy of an 
increase of true glory. He came to die that we might live. He came to suffer that we might be freed from suffering. The whole pattern of Jesus’ life was of self-sacrifice. And this is the life that we’re called to model. As we hear John the Baptist’s words about his encounter with Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less,” we’re called to confess this same truth about ourselves. 

 

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Ultimate Authority

Service: March 2, 2014 AM (Rev. Henry De Vries)

Scripture:  II Peter 1:16-21

Sermon Theme: What place should the Bible have in our lives? What value should it hold in our hearts? Many today question the authority of Scripture and the message it proclaims. It is seen as merely a historical book, which offers little to our modern day world. But as Christians, we confess that the Bible is a living book, one that is not limited to the age in which it was written, but is eternal and living. It is as alive and relevant today as in any age. What we’ll see today is that the process of God revealing Himself in the Scriptures is ultimately credible and therefore ought to be carefully listened to. Therefore, we will feel our true need for God's world.

 

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More Than This

Service:   February 23, 2014 AM (Rev. Kevin Heeres)

Scripture:  I Samuel 17

Sermon Theme:  In our study of God's word this morning, we will look at the rampant fear in our culture and in our own lives. To combat this, we will be reminded of who we are and whom we serve. So that we might live without fear, we will be encouraged to embrace our identity and live into who the great I AM says we are.

 

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Lord, Seek Me

Service:  February 16, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 119:169-176

Sermon Theme:  The psalmist has spent many verses extolling the beauty of God and his ways. He has proclaimed his enthusiasm and commitment to these ways. Yet, the psalm doesn’t end 
with him testifying to his righteousness, but instead to his weakness. His final prayer is that the Lord might seek him, for he has strayed. This is our story too. As we work to delight in God’s ways, we also struggle to follow them. We, like sheep, go astray. Though we desire to seek God, we often find ourselves wandering away instead. With the psalmist we must pray, “Seek me” that our hears will be turned to our Savior, who came to seek and find us and offer us true hope and direction. 

 

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Restoring Our Zeal

Service:  February 9, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 119:137-144

Sermon Theme:  Sometimes our zeal for something can be quickly diminished by naysayers or those who care little for what we’re zealous about. As the psalmist writes in these verses, it can easily happen as we seek to live in a zealous way toward God. It takes a lot of energy to be zealous toward God in the midst of many who care little for him and his ways. How do we maintain a zeal for his ways so that we might live for him and not for ourselves? We must continue to go back to his promises and also recall how those promises have been fulfilled.

 

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I Hide Your Word Within My Heart

Service:  February 2, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 119:97-112

Sermon Theme:  Life is challenging. Many decisions are before us to make. Many paths are there to take. Some lead us where we want to go, others bring us to dead ends. How do we figure out 
life when it feels like we’re sometimes walking in a maze in the dark? We need God’s word, a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. It will lead us to discernment, to be able to recognize the wrong paths that lead us astray. The psalmist urges us to join him in this, to keep God’s decrees to the very end.

 

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The Reward is the Lord

Service:  January 26, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 119:57-72

Sermon Theme:  What is the goal of your obedience? Sometimes we believe that by obeying God, good things will happen. We think of obedience and reward as a sort of cause and effect relationship. There is definitely some truth to this, but we need to gain a better perspective on what the goal of obedience is. Obedience does bring about blessings, but too often we fail to recognize what the true blessing is. Are we obeying to get good things from God or are we obeying to get God - to be in fellowship with him? This distinction becomes very practical, especially when difficulty comes and no matter how faithful we are, life doesn't bring all the blessings that we want. Does suffering turn us from God because he isn't rewarding us or does it turn us toward him because he is the reward we seek?

 

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Keeping Our Way Pure

Service:  January 19, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 119:9-16

Sermon Theme:  The call to purity, to being one after God’s own heart, doesn’t translate well in our world. The psalmist asks, “How does a young man keep his heart pure?” The world responds, “Why would a young man want to keep his heart pure?” The idea of purity is remote to the modern mind, seen as too extreme or just impossible. Yet this is the desire of the psalmist. It should be the desire of all who are seeking to be formed by God’s Word and Spirit. The question comes to us, do we desire it? Are we interested in keeping our way pure? 

 

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Ask for the Ancient Paths

Service:  January 12, 2014 AM

Scripture:  Jeremiah 6:16a

​Sermon Theme:  As we are at the crossroads of 100 years behind us and the years ahead, it is good for us to consider what leads us forward. In walking a path forward, we must look for the 
good way, the way of God, the ancient paths. This is the well-worn path of holiness by those faithful in the past, but it is a path that leads us forward not backward. Psalm 119 will start us on the journey of that path as we seek to not turn to the right or left or grope along the way as those blinded by the darkness of sin. No, we follow our God who is a “light to our path.” As we ask where the ancient path is and walk in it, we will find rest for our souls.​

 

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Bloom Where You're Planted - Plant Where You've Bloomed

Service:  December 29, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Colossians 1:3-13

Sermon Theme:  As those who have been planted in God’s garden of life in Jesus Christ, we are called to be planters of good works for his glory. We must see the world as soil that is un-tilled, filled with weeks, and struggling to find life. In Christ’s coming, he seeks to till the soil for righteousness, working in our hearts that he might work through our hands. As those blooming in Christ Jesus to new life, we’re also called to plant seeds of his goodness that God’s good garden of life might expand and bring new life to many.

 

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The Promise of Peace

Service:  December 25, 2013 Christmas Service

Scripture:  Isaiah 11:1-10

Sermon Theme:  One of the greatest themes of Christmas is that of peace. We long for peace. Many long for world peace on Christmas, let alone peace amongst the family at the Christmas party. How do we get this peace? If Christmas promises peace, why do so many miss it? And what is the peace anyway that the Bible promises? In Christ, we see the fulfillment of peace that extends from the individual soul to the whole scope of the world. Though many long for peace, they are planting their seeds in soil that only produces strife. Lasting and eternal peace is found by planting our seeds in the soil of promise.

 

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The Promise of Forgiveness

Service:  December 22, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Zechariah 3:1-10

Sermon Theme:  In life, we are constantly reminded of how inadequate we are. It is constantly before us. We are bombarded with messages that we don’t measure up, that we are flawed, that we are unworthy. We know we make mistakes, but for sure we don’t know the depth of multitude of the mistakes that we make. We deserve to be on trial with the prosecutor boldly stating their case against us. Where can we find forgiveness? How can we find a way to measure up, to not be found wanting? It is longing of the human heart and too often we plant seeds in soil that won’t provide the forgiveness we seek. We must turn to the ultimate judge, the one who has our life in his hands, who offers mercy in our time of need.​

 

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The Promise of Rest

Service:  December 15, 2013 AM

Scripture:  II Samuel 7:1-17

Sermon Theme:  One of the deepest human desires is rest. We long to exist in security, in deep comfort, in a relaxed atmosphere where life is not threatened. For some reason this is so hard to achieve. It seems when we start feeling like life is working out this way, something happens to upset the balance. Still, the longing is there and we work to achieve it. In Scripture, God promises to fulfill this deep longing we have. He promises rest where the bur-dens of life are done with and we can retreat into the glorious future of eternity. If we are to plant seeds in this promise, we must recognize that rest is not about this life, but about the world to come.

 

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The Promise of Fruitfulness

Service:  December 8, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:1-6

Sermon Theme:  God promises that if we remain in him we will bear much fruit. This should be the goal of our lives, to bear fruit, to be a blessing, to do good works to help one another, to tie in with a greater cause that accomplishes great things. God designed that this would be the case, that we would share with him in the ministry of life. Isaiah uses the imagery of a vineyard to show how God worked carefully to allow us to bear fruit. But instead of producing fruit, we allow sin to inhibit our fruitfulness. Thinking we’ll produce more fruit on our own, we actually be-gin to wither and become useless. We’re called back to the soil of promise that calls us to in-vest in the life of God where everlasting fruit is born.

 

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The Promise of LIfe

Service:  December 1, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Genesis 2

Sermon Theme:  From the very beginning, we see God’s great desire to plant us in the midst of abundant life. His purpose in creating us was for a joyous existence as we reveled and enjoyed true life. This is symbolized by the Tree of Life planted in the Garden of Eden. The question comes to us as it came to Adam and Eve. Will we trust the promise of life that God gives or will we seek out our own path? Sadly, our story is one of pursuing our own path and this leads to death. We must engage the promise of life and long for what God desires to give us.

 

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Thanksgiving Day Service

Service:  November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving Day)

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7

 

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The Joy of Service

Service:  November 24, 2 013 AM

Scripture:  Acts 16:16-34

Sermon Theme:  The prevailing wisdom, or at least practice, in the surrounding world is that joy comes from pursuing one’s own goals and desires. Me before others. This could not be any further from the truth. Coming off of the example of Christ, our greatest joy can only come from consider-ing others before ourselves. Paul says that if they do this, it would make his joy complete be-cause he would see them filled with the joy of Christ in service. This is very difficult to do, but it is continually what we must strive for. We must continually evaluate when we think of our approach to life in terms of our attitude toward others. How well do we model Christ and find true joy?​

 

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Joy as Inner Freedom

Service:  November 17, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Acts 16:16-34

Sermon Theme:  As we talked about the three characteristics of faith, hope and love, we are led to also consider the characteristic of joy. What does it mean to be a people of joy? As Chris-tians, we should be those who exude the greatest joy. Even though we face the same struggles that others face, we have a true hope in the midst of it. This should give us strength to be a people who show the world a joy beyond this world. In this, we have a great witness of hope because of our loving God.

 

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The Horizon Before Us

Service:  November 10, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Psalm 145:1-13

Sermon Theme:  As we look forward to the future, we do so with the recognition that a church community that lasts is not only defined by a certain generation's cultural values. A church that lasts is faithful to the task to pass the faith on to the next generations and also allows the next generation to engage the mighty things that God will do. The psalm calls us to focus on passing on the mighty things of God, so that the next generations will move forward to continue the proclamation and the work of our great God. If our focus is on the mighty works of God that he accomplishes in grace, we will model year after year the everlasting kingdom of our God.

 

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Profit from Poverty

Service:  October 27, 2013 AM (Rev. Henry DeVries)

​Scripture:  Matthew 26:6-13

Sermon Theme:  In this story, Jesus uses the sacrificial service of the woman and the disciples' wrong reaction to teach the impact of service to Him and the place of the poor in providing opportunity. We will see "the poor" in whatever form as opportunities for service to Christ Himself and be motivated to worship in that way.

 

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Endless Love

Service:  October 20, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Matthew 22:37-40; I Corinthians 13

Sermon Theme:  The chief characteristic of the church is to be community smitten in love. We are smitten with God and because of that, smitten for one another. Love is our obsession, for it is our desure to imitate God himself. This is not easy though, for love is the most challenging thing to pursue. The love we're called to is not an easy and self-satisfying love, but a love that is hard and self-sacrificing. In this we madel Christ. In this we show the world a whole new way, a way that is rooted and established in all eternity.

 

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All-Consuming Love

Service:  October 13, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Matthew 22:36-38; John 15 9-11

Sermon Theme:  We are those rooted in God’s grace by faith, established in eternal hope, and this leads us back to our beginning—love. To be rooted and established begins in God’s love for us. The proper response to all this is to love God with our whole selves. The idea of love is important to all, but this usually is confined to the love we receive from others or the love we offer to others. Often, the mutual love relationship between us and God is left out. We like the idea that God loves us, but pay less attention to fulfilling our part. Perhaps this is why so many people are devoid of joy, for it is loving God above all that brings true joy!

 

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Hope Leading to Courage

Service:  October 6, 2013 AM

Scripture:   II Corinthians 1:3-11, Romans 15:4

Sermon Theme: To be established means to be strong, to be those who can stand when the winds blow and challenges come. If we are assured of eternity through the greatest challenge of death, how much strength should our hope give us through the challenges of life? We do experience many challenges in this life that sap our strength and threaten to bring us to despair, but in Christ we have a strength that is beyond the world. As a people established in hope, we stand firm following our Savior in obedience.

 

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Established in Eternal Hope

Service:  September 29, 2013

Scripture: Colossians 1:21-23

Sermon Theme:  By faith in Christ, we are those with deep roots. Our faith leads also to a sure hope. As our faith keeps us rooted deep into God's grace, our hope gives us a firm foundation. In Christ, we are established, made strong, fixed upon an unshakeable foundation that is hope. This hope is not merely about this life, but for all eternity. As people of eternal hope, our eyes of faith look forward as individuals and as a church. Our hope is not based on how this world will evaluate us, but upon how God will. In Christ, we are blameless before God.

 

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Not Shrinking Back

Service:  September 22, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Hebrews 10:19-25; Hebrews 10:35-11:2

Sermon Theme: Faith is rooted in the truth of God himself and all that reveals to us in the Bible. The climax of this faith is trust in Jesus Christ as the true Son of God. But faith is also about trusting in promises that are not yet realized. We don't fully see yet the realization of God's promises. They are in the future. Through faith, we're called to cling to these promises and not shrink back even when the promises might seem distant or tenuous. Our faith clings to the unseen or all that has been promised.

 

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Faith in Good Soil

Service:  September 15, 2013 AM

Scripture:  I Corinthians 1:18-2:5

Sermon Theme:  As Christians, our lives are defined by faith. But just saying faith on its own doesn't satisfy. People can have faith in lots of things. The question becomes, what is it that we have faith in? One might hear it often expressed that you just need faith to get through life. This is true, but not complete. Faith in itself doesn't do much. Faith in the right thing does do a lot. In what truth is our faith rooted? To the world, our faith will seem foolish, but to the believer, it is the greatest and most treasured wisdom in the world.

 

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A Prayer for this Year

Service: September 8, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Ephesians 3:14-21

Sermon Theme:  To start this new ministry year, we must be reminded of what our foundation is. The Apostle Paul tells us that if we are in Christ then we are "rooted and established in love." This is our foundation, rooted in faith, established in hope, and wrapping them all together is the love of God we have in Christ. What does it mean to grow in God's love and to begin to explore its vast breadth and depth? May we commit in this year to make it a year of learning the love of God.

 

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Like an Eagle

Service:  September 1, 2013 AM (Rev. Roger Kok)

Scripture:  Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14

Sermon Theme:  What do we need to live confidently in this world? With so much that threatens to undo us, we must seek that which is strong; finding a place for our feet that is firm. We need the deep assurance that we are treasured by God, that we are his very children. As we read in our text for today, we are always under God's care and protection just as an eagle cares for her young.

 

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Peace's Largest Gathering Room

Service:  Aug. 25, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Genesis 26:12-35

Sermon Theme: The world longs for peace. Many long to figure out what will bring an end to the hostility that plagues us as human beings. What can transcend all our differences to bring us to a unified peace? Many solutions have been offered that seek to make the broadest room for all to come in to find peace. Only the gospel offers the true solution though, for in Christ the world was reconciled. This is what calls us to mission - mission across boundaries to proclaim the gospel. We are a people of Rehoboth - a people of "broad space" where may are welcomed in.

 

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Staying in God's Love

Service:  August 18, 2013 AM

Scripture: Jude 1:11-25

Sermon Theme:  Contending for the faith is not first of all about confronting the enemy, but about staying in God's love. We do have to recognize the enemy and turn from false influence, but the key is staying in his love. To stay in God's love means to follow his path, to practice obedience, to trust his way, and to pray in the Spirit. Only when we are actively doing this ourselves do we have the opportunity to help and guide others down the straight path. This is done mercifully, but also with a deep reverence for the holy way of God.

 

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Staying on the Righteous Path

Service:  August 11, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Jude 1:5-10

Sermon Theme:  Jude's message to us is to contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us. When we think of contending though, we must first look to the contending we must do with our own flesh. This is not first of all addressing the enemy without, but first the enemy within. It calls us to inspect our hearts and what we desire. It calls us to check our minds and how we think. As we are easily prone to have our hearts and minds wander to follow the desires and rationale of the world, we must submit ourselves one again to Christ and to God's word. Contending begins with ourselves so we are those who stay in the step with the Spirit and stay on the righteous path.

 

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The Faith Entrusted to Us

Service:  August 4, 2013 AM

Scripture:  Jude 1:1-4

Sermon Theme:  Those who believe in Christ do not merely trust in the faith, but have had the faith entrusted to them to uphold it and defend it against error. We recognize this in our Savior first of all as the one who came to speak the truth against the lies and errors of the world that he entered. Just as truth endures, so does error, at least until truth eventually triumphs. So, we're called to be diligent and be good stewards of the faith that has been entrusted to us. We see the need for this in our age as well, for when the faith is corrupted so is the life-changing message of the glorious grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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