Sermon for June 27, 2021

Psalm 130 • 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 • 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 • Mark 5:21-43 The theme this week is God the great storyteller. In the call to worship Psalm, the poet connects his comfort in God to Israel’s comfort, weaving his own story into the epic. In 2 Samuel, David mourns Saul, not because the disgraced king was a particularly good man but because he was part of God’s great story of Israel. Mark tells how Jesus entered the sad story of a sickly woman and made her whole. Our sermon discusses 2 Corinthians 8, the transformative story of the Gentile churches financially supporting the Jerusalem church. This healing episode of faith-in-action invites us to see how miraculous the gospel story really is. Paul’s Bottom Line 2... Read the article

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Sermon for June 20, 2021

Psalm 133:1-3 • 1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16 • 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 • Mark 4:35-41 The theme for this week is God is supreme. Our call to worship psalm speaks of God’s blessing that even leads to eternal life. The passages in 1 Samuel show God’s ability to elevate David and give him favor despite the scorn of King Saul. In 2 Corinthians, Paul names the many trials the Lord brought him through as evidence of God’s favor. Finally, Mark recounts Jesus’ power to rebuke the storm. God Reigns Over Hardships 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 Uncle Pete was the beloved old caretaker of a small church in a small town. One day while Uncle Pete was trimming the church’s hedges, a man walked by. The man said, “Excuse me. My name is Michael... Read the article

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Sermon for June 13, 2021

Psalm 20:1-9 • 1 Samuel 15:34 - 16:13 • 2 Corinthians 5:6-17 • Mark 4:26-34 The theme this week is God doesn’t play by our rules. The call to worship Psalm tells of trusting in the Lord rather than chariots and horses that the other countries trusted. In 1 Samuel 15-16, the prophet goes on a secret mission to choose Saul’s replacement. The Lord who looks on the heart has him skip over every likely candidate, finally settling on the youngest brother, David. Mark shares two parables that remind us that God has things under control and doesn’t need our help. Our sermon looks at 2 Corinthians 5. In this intensely personal letter, Paul appeals to a community that has been distracted by flashy teachers to tell them that image... Read the article

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Sermon for June 6, 2021

Psalm 138:1-8 • 1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15) • 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 • Mark 3:20-35 This week’s theme is Words of faith. The call to worship Psalm reminds us of many reasons to have faith in God. Samuel shares Israel’s request for a king and how Israel wanted to put their faith in a king, rather than in God. 2 Corinthians has Paul linking faith and speaking during times of trouble. The Gospel text from Mark has Jesus’ family trying to restrain Jesus because of the words they hear from his opponents. Speaking of Faith 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 Do you ever feel pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down? If so, you will be in good company with the author of our passage for today’s sermon. The... Read the article

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Church Hack: Faith Avenue Connect Groups

An essential part of Healthy Church is the Faith Avenue. The Faith Avenue creates spaces outside of the Sunday service where discipleship can occur. Connect groups are the core of the Faith Avenue. Check out this month's Church Hack that outlines the role and purpose of a connect group, and features our new connect group curriculum, On Being: A Neighbor. On Being is a four-part interactive connect group curriculum, designed for biblically-based, dynamic discussions around being a disciple. We will be rolling out a different curriculum quarterly throughout 2021. Each curriculum has a Facilitator Guide and a Participant Workbook. Read the article

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The Gift of Rest

Have you ever gone an extended period of time without sleep? It’s awful! My wife, Afrika, and I have two wonderful children who are around 12 months apart. While they were both in diapers, they decided to stagger their schedules. Neither child could talk, so I am not sure how they coordinated their efforts. Nevertheless, our daughter Serena would be quite active during the day, but she would sleep through the night. Our son Cairo was relaxed during the day, but would fight sleep like his life depended on it. As a result, my wife and I were sleep deprived for a couple of years, and there were many days where I thought I could lose my sanity. If you are a parent or guardian, you can, no doubt, empathize with this level of exhaustion. Most... Read the article

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Ordinary, But Not Mundane

The time between Pentecost and Advent is an essential part of the Christian calendar. By Tim Sitterley, U.S. Regional Director West Like many people, I love the big event. Any excuse to celebrate. New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo…I don’t care. Give me a colorful hat and some seasonal music and I’m happy. Appropriate beverage helps. When it comes to the sacred celebrations of the life and ministry of Christ, I am no different. Getting lost in the deep meaning behind centuries of liturgy and tradition keep me longing for the next event on the annual worship calendar. I’m even OK with the fact there are no colorful hats. As I write this, we are coming off the celebration of Jesus’... Read the article

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“Extraordinary Ordinary”

This next season in the Christian calendar is when we allow the extraordinary to become ordinary and the ordinary to become extraordinary. By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator During the first half of the liturgical year, we focus on the story of Jesus Christ. Through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter Preparation, Easter, and Pentecost we bear witness to Christ in anticipation, incarnation, revelation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Then we enter the season of Ordinary Time, when we respond to what we have seen and heard in the story of Christ by joining Jesus in his mission to make disciples and build his church. What does it look like to participate with Jesus in his mission to make disciples and build his church? I... Read the article

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Why Connect Groups?

A healthy church is always creating spaces where multiplication takes place. Connect groups provide one of those spaces. By Heber Ticas, Superintendent, Latin America These past twelve months have been extremely difficult for many people around the globe. The pandemic has claimed many lives and has disrupted the flow of life for all. One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the pandemic has been the isolation that we have had to endure. For congregations, it has not been any different. Many of us find it quite challenging to express being the church through virtual means. The inability to come together, worship, and fellowship has fractured the rhythms that we once enjoyed as a church. One of the components of our... Read the article

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Pentecost: The God of Great Reversals

By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada We are all familiar with the story of what happened on the day of Pentecost: people gathered for the Holy Day, strong winds, fire and then the miracle of speaking in different languages. When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when... Read the article

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