Sermon for September 29, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15 • Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 • 1 Timothy 6:6-19 • Luke 16:19-31 This week’s theme is Our Hope is in God. The Psalmist reminds us to dwell in the shelter of the Almighty and he will provide what we need. Paul exhorts Timothy to put his hope in God, not in riches and earthly possessions. Luke shares Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man. The wealth and power of the rich man did not help him once he died. Rather, the “unseen one” who depended on God was in the presence of God. The sermon is based on the prophet Jeremiah’s purchase of land while he was under house arrest and Israel was in exile. It didn’t make sense, but God was giving him, and Israel, hope for the future. Children's church... Read the article

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Love Venue: Volunteer Appreciation

Affirmation and appreciation go a long way in deepening relationships and making sure another person knows that you value them. A Healthy Church takes the time to acknowledge and say thank you to volunteers and leaders. One way pastors can affirm their team is through a personalized note. Check out the GCI branded pastoral letterhead and other resources for team affirmation, here: Read the article

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Sermon for September 22, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 • Psalm 79:1-9 • 1 Timothy 2:1-7 • Luke 16:1-13 This week’s theme is Praying for others, that they may see and know the truth. Jeremiah shares how his heart is faint at the sin of the people. He weeps for those who have rejected God and gone the way of sinners. The Psalmist continues this theme by asking God to not hold the sins of past generations against us. He prays for forgiveness and deliverance. Paul reminds Timothy to pray for all leaders because God’s desire is for all to know him and live in the knowledge of the truth. Luke shares a practical application in his parable of the shrewd manager. Jesus tells us to use what we have to gain friends, so that we are welcomed into eternal dwellings.... Read the article

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Sermon for September 15, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 • Psalm 14:1-7 • 1 Timothy 1:12-17 • Luke 15:1-10 This week’s theme is God’s desire is to seek and save. Jeremiah talks about the foolishness of those who run from God, believing he is not for them. The Psalmist says while “fools say there is no God,” he is in the company of the righteous. Paul reminds Timothy how God’s grace saved him from his past, and that Jesus came to save sinners, “of whom I am the worst.” The sermon focuses on Luke 15 where Jesus shares three parables showing God’s desire to seek and find those who have become lost and don’t know his goodness. The sermon looks at two of those parables. Children's church resources: https://sermons4kids.com/ God the Loser ... Read the article

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Sermon for September 8, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11 • Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 • Philemon 1:1-21 • Luke 14:25-33 This week’s theme is God created you for his glory. Jeremiah uses the illustration of a potter to show that we are clay in the hands of the master potter. God knows what he is doing: we can trust him. The Psalmist reminds us that God knows all our thoughts; he created us in the womb. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Paul’s letter to Philemon is to ask Philemon to release Onesimus for the Lord’s service. “Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you.” Luke reminds us that we cannot claim to be disciples if we don’t follow Jesus fully. Jesus will complete the work he has begun in us. With this affirmation, we can give up... Read the article

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Sermon for September 1, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 2:4-13 • Psalm 81:1, 10-16 • Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 • Luke 14:1, 7-14 This week’s theme is Remember whose you are. Jeremiah asks why Israel continually forsakes God after all he has done for them. The Psalmist reminds us to sing aloud to God, who is our strength. God rescued Israel but they turned from him and went their own way. He laments that his people won’t listen to him; his desire is to provide, to protect, to satisfy our needs. The author of Hebrews reminds us live in the truth that we are among those who are never forsaken. Because we are his, we are reminded: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have.” In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast, where he reminds us to not... Read the article

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Don’t Mess Up My Church

A tongue-in-cheek idea to keep church the way we like it. Because we like things the way they are and don’t want new guests to return, let’s make sure we incorporate at least a few of the following behaviors – things that seem normal to us, but might seem odd or overly strange to guests and new believers. Offertory: Be sure to focus on the need to cover the pastor’s salary or to maintain the building. Guests are far more concerned with the welfare of the church and pastor than they are about mission and ministry. Make sure guests know they should not give an offering. After all, we don’t want them to follow the lead of the Spirit. Communion: Focus on the bread literally being the body of Jesus and the juice... Read the article

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Worship Service Prep

Here are a few nuts and bolts. By Randy Bloom, US East Regional Director I think all of us would agree that God is worthy of the best we can do – and this includes preparing for a Sunday worship service. Worship is participating with Jesus’ worship of the Father. It’s important that we make appropriate preparations that help people encounter Jesus and grow as his disciples. Develop a theme We recommend that GCI pastors follow the Revised Common Lectionary. Equipper provides a theme and scriptures for each week, giving worship leaders a jump-start in preparation. Worship leaders can read the four RCL scriptures and pray over them. See each week’s theme and scriptures in Equipper. Special Days. Because we are a... Read the article

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The Foundations of Planning Worship

By Randy Bloom, US East Regional Director As I write this article my wife, Deb, and I are experiencing the joy of getting to know our new granddaughter. She is beautiful and we love being with her. Prior to her birth, our son and his wife went to great lengths to prepare for her arrival and we were blessed to have a small part in the preparations: buying clothing, diapers and all the paraphernalia that are helpful with newborn infants. We went all out to prepare for her arrival and share life with her and we go to great lengths to enjoy our time together. This is an exciting time of life. Every week Christians have the opportunity to share in an exciting and life-changing time of life. I’m not referring to experiencing life with a... Read the article

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Celebrations: Special Days and Events

By Bill Hall, National Director for Canada Recently, my wife and I had an interesting conversation with our son. He informed us that the 1st of July was the first anniversary of his first date with his girlfriend. Since this date is also the date of Canada’s birthday, I’m sure we’ll all be able to remember this important highlight in his life. We all celebrate or remember important landmarks in our personal lives, such as anniversaries, birthdays, our date of baptism, and our date of our graduation. We celebrate many of these days with family, and some with friends. The Christian Church does the same. In a process that has taken approximately 1600 years[1], what we refer to now as the “liturgical year” was developed in the... Read the article

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