Sermon for October 27, 2019

Readings: Joel 2:23-32 • Psalm 65:1-14 • 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 • Luke 18:9-14 This week’s theme is Focus not on what we’ve done or gone through; focus on who has gone through it with us. The prophet Joel reminds us to rejoice in who God is. He’s the one who blesses us even in the midst of trials. He is the one who pours his Spirit on all flesh. The Psalmist talks of the God of salvation who waters the earth, silences the seas and blesses us abundantly. In Luke we read about the difference between the Pharisee who focuses on himself, and the tax collector who focuses on God and his mercy. The sermon focuses on Paul saying goodbye to Timothy and putting the focus where it belongs. To God be the glory forever and ever. ... Read the article

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Sermon for October 20, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 31:27-34 • Psalm 119:97-104 • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 • Luke 18:1-8 This week’s theme is I am your God; you are my beloved. The prophet Jeremiah reminded the Israelites that God was there when they were plucked up and broken, and he is there to help them rebuild and plant. There is a new covenant. The Psalmist writes, “O how I love your law…” as God promises to never turn away. Paul reminds Timothy that all Scripture is inspired for us and teaches us that we belong to God. The sermon looks at the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 and reminds us God is not like the unjust judge—he is the Father who loves us. How Much Prayer Does God Want? Luke 18:1-8 (NRSV) Introduction: Read (or have someone... Read the article

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Calling Up vs Calling Out

In GCI, we pursue Christ-centered relationships and seek to serve each other with high support, high challenge---with grace always. Bringing challenge in a healthy way can be difficult. This month we are focusing on the difference between calling up and calling out, in order to be liberating leaders who empower others. Click the link below to view and download the August Church Hack featuring the “Liberator’s Intent” tool. Read the article

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Sermon for October 13, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 • Psalm 66:1-11 • 2 Timothy 2:8-15 • Luke 17:11-19 This week’s theme is: Even in exile, God is with you. The prophet Jeremiah told the Israelites to build houses, plant gardens, and raise families while in exile. God sent them there for a reason and had not forsaken them. In Psalm 66, the Psalmist reminds us it is God who allows us to be tested, tried and burdened, and he is with us through it all. Paul reminds Timothy that even Jesus suffered hardship, yet “the word of God is not chained.” Don’t be ashamed of the circumstances you are in—make the best of them, knowing God is with you. The sermon focuses on the story of the ten lepers who lived in exile because of their affliction, and how Jesus... Read the article

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Sermon for October 6, 2019

Readings: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 • Psalm 37:1-10 • 2 Timothy 1:1-14 • Luke 17:5-10 This week’s theme is to Don’t let circumstances shake your faith. The prophet Habakkuk asked God how long he would be crying for help. The Lord told him there is an appointed time, stay watchful. As Paul instructed young Timothy, he told him to not be afraid or ashamed of suffering, to dry his tears and rekindle the gift of faith God had given him. Luke records the disciples asking for more faith, after Jesus tells them to keep forgiving others. Do more than is required; wait longer than you think you should; put your trust in God and he will give you your heart’s desire. The sermon focuses on Psalm 37. Do Not Fret Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSV) Prior... Read the article

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Bring Them Here to Me

By Jeff Broadnax, US GenMin Coordinator “Starting a youth/children’s ministry in a congregation like ours feels like trying to feed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish!” I have heard this sentiment dozens of times in my role as GenMin Coordinator. We want “Kids Korner” to serve as an encouragement and resource for you in your local churches, but I have to admit we haven’t really addressed the most pressing issue for many of you—how to start a children’s /youth ministry when you have no children or are a small and aging congregation? Here’s the encouraging news. It really is similar to the feeding of the five thousand. In John’s account of the story, Jesus, already knowing what he was going to do, asks... Read the article

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Using the RCL

Participating in a three-year plan to preach through the Bible By Bill Hall, National Director for Canada I still remember the day 21 years ago when I started in my first pastorate. In my discussions with the outgoing pastor, he mentioned that it would be beneficial to meet with some pastors from other denominations who got together each Wednesday morning at the local coffee shop to discuss the Bible. So, the next Wednesday morning I went to the coffee shop, and gazing around the crowded tables, I saw a group of 5 men and women sitting at a table near the back of the restaurant. I walked up to them, introduced myself as the new pastor in our town, and was welcomed into the group. I quickly found out the group wasn’t just... Read the article

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Preaching With Passion

Grabbing people’s attention with stories and passion By Randy Bloom, US East Regional Director Jesus used storytelling in powerful ways. We call many of these stories parables. He illustrated that one of the most effective ways to prepare inspirational sermons is to include stories in them. Jesus’ stories challenged people. At one level, many of his stories are entertaining. Entertaining for the purpose of getting attention, making a point and leading to action—action that was indicative of transformation. The Age of Reason I referred to in “Foundation of Inspiring Sermons” is over. We are now in what people refer to as the Age of Relationship, and as Paul Williams says (in Church Planting from the Ground Up), people are... Read the article

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Foundation of Inspirational Sermons

The difference between teaching and preaching By Randy Bloom, US East Regional Director When was the last time you heard an inspirational sermon? When was the last time you preached one? (I used the word, “preach.” You’ll see why later.) These may be difficult questions to ask and answer. I’ve heard some inspirational sermons. I hope I’ve given a few. Knowing if a sermon is inspirational is often a subjective matter. It depends on a number of factors. But when we’ve heard an inspirational sermon, we know it. We all want to give sermons that are inspirational, but how can we? The source of inspiration is the Holy Spirit. We know this. How can we do our part in participating in the Holy Spirit’s work of inspiring people... Read the article

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Being Real

Pastors and leaders are growing too It had been a rough week and I was not in the best mood. It was one of those weeks full of challenges—personal and work-related— and I felt God wasn’t answering my prayers and giving me what I believed I needed. I started complaining to my wife about going to church and putting on my “church face.” You know the one I’m referring to—looking happy and giving the impression that everything is good, and my life was just wonderful. Further, I had to preach that day, meaning I felt I had to make God look good when I didn’t feel he was being so good to me at the time. Cheryl first told me I had to go to church because I was the pastor, and then she said, “Rick, just share your struggles... Read the article

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