Sermon for September 26, 2021

Psalm 124:1-8 • Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 • James 5:13-20 • Mark 9:38-50 The theme this week is what God’s grace looks like in our world. American author and theologian Frederick Buechner (pronounced BEEK-ner) says that grace is like God saying to us, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” Psalm 124, our call to worship, reminds us that even when difficulties arise, we can be brave because God is supporting us. An example of this is found in Esther’s intervention on behalf of her people, as discussed in Esther 7 and 9, which was possible because she was willing to risk everything and do what needed to be done. Mark 9 reveals Jesus speaking strongly about our... Read the article

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Sermon for September 19, 2021

Psalm 1:1-6 • Proverbs 31:10-31 • James 3:13-4:3, 7-8 • Mark 9:30-37 The theme this week is living in God’s world by God’s wisdom. Our call to worship Psalm tells of the growing, bountiful life of the wise person. Proverbs 31 tells the story of the exemplary wife who lives in wisdom, giving joy to her family and living a fulfilled life. In Mark, Jesus shares God’s wisdom with the disciples—approach like a child, don’t argue about who’s the greatest. Our sermon is from James 3 and 4, and looks at the telltale marks of godly wisdom. Wisdom from the Brother of Jesus James 3 & 4 Read James 3:13-18; 4:3, 7-8 ESV. You wonder if the sight was familiar to him. Maybe he’d once watched his brother up there on that... Read the article

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Sermon for September 12, 2021

Psalm 19:1-14 • Proverbs 1:20-33 • James 3:1-12 • Mark 8:27-38 The theme this week is wisdom comes from the Lord. In our call to worship Psalm, the psalmist states that the law of the Lord is more precious than gold. Proverbs 1 speaks about the wisdom of God crying out in the streets, but not everyone listens. James speaks about the wisdom of seeking the Lord to control the tongue. In Mark 8, Jesus explains the wisdom of sacrificing all to follow him. Taming the Tongue James 3:1-12 We recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a tragic day for America and the world. The hijacking of four passenger planes by terrorists on September 11, 2001, resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people, 6,000 injuries, $700M of damage to the... Read the article

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Sermon for September 5, 2021

Psalm 125:1-5 • Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 • James 2:1-17 • Mark 7:24-37 Our theme this week is the God of mercy and strength. The call to worship Psalm shows us the mountain-like strength of those who trust God. Proverbs 22 commends us to show God’s mercy to the poor and afflicted who can’t defend themselves. Mark 7 shows us the overflowing mercy of Christ who heals the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman who presses her way into his story. Our sermon is from James 2, which gives us James’ antidote to favoritism—showing mercy to those whom God shows mercy to. The Shabby Clothes of Christ James 2:1-17 ESV Read or have someone read James 2:1-17 ESV “All the crème de la crème watching us watching them.” This is... Read the article

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What Do You Believe?

When I was young, I was told the story of “The Little Engine that Could.” There are several variations of the story, but in essence a small engine had to pull a long train over a mountain. The train’s original engine broke down, and all the other engines, for one reason or another, refused to help. Despite its size, the little engine stepped up to save the day. As the little engine was pulling the massive train, it began to struggle. In those tough times, the engine kept repeating the mantra “I think I can, I think I can” and eventually brought the train over the mountain. The story is meant to convey the power of hard work and belief in oneself. I always thought about how terrified I would be to be riding on that train! For my... Read the article

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Emergent Generation Investment

A key characteristic of the Faith Avenue is cross-generational care. Within your church community you may be having conversations about investing in or pouring into young people. What do we mean by investing? By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator When considering cross-generational care, it is important to first ask what good care looks like. It is consistent across all generations that wholeness is found only in Christ, so care is intimately linked to our lifelong journey of becoming in Christ—our pathway of discipleship. Good care, then, looks like discipleship. A fundamental question we must ask is “how will we be a community of discipleship for this generation?” I believe that this is the foundation of healthy expressions... Read the article

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Congregations: Mission Outposts or Banks

Churches are channels through which resources flow from Jesus to others via mission. By Randy Bloom, Board of Directors Vice Chair In Matthew 6:21, Jesus made the statement: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” I’d like to juxtapose this passage with a parable in Matthew 25:14-20 where we are told: “He who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.” Jesus continued to explain the end result (“reward”) of the actions of the servant in question. A reasonable conclusion we can draw is that the servant’s heart was not where it should have been. He was fearful and faithless, so he buried his treasure. This was an indication his heart was not set on “higher”... Read the article

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The Greatest of Forces

Christ’s love for us compels us to share our faith in him in our love for one another. By Rod Matthews, retired Mission Developer Your husband is in the hospital in critical condition after an accident at work. Will he survive? You have to get there fast. You jump in the car and take off, completely oblivious to the speed limit signs on the highway. Your mind, your concern, your love is focused on the man you love in a hospital bed. It’s the flashing blue lights behind you that bring you back to reality. You pull over, anxious, upset, annoyed, kicking and excusing yourself, in a state of near panic. The friendly policeman ambles up and asks why you were speeding. The reason pours out, with tears, angst, urgency, apologies and... Read the article

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