Sermon for December 26, 2021 — First Sunday after Christmas

Psalm 148:1-14 · 1 Samuel 2:28-30 · Colossians 3:12-17 · Luke 2:41-52 The theme for this first Sunday after Christmas week is a little child shall lead them. The call to worship Psalm shows all of creation—from the young to the old—singing out in praise. 1 Samuel 2 gives us the image of the child Samuel serving in the temple—a foreshadow of Jesus himself. Colossians 3 tells us how to clothe ourselves in love and gratitude as the chosen—the children—of God. Our sermon is from Luke 2 which tells us about our savior experiencing that most human of interludes: Being a teenager. Jesus the Disruptor Luke 2:41-52 ESV Read or have someone read Luke 2:41-52 ESV Disruptor is a fairly new term that has become part of daily use,... Read the article

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Message for December 24 or 25 – Christmas Drama

Written by Rick Shallenberger The format is “Reader’s Theater.” You are all telling different views of the same story. In this particular Reader’s Theater format, you aren’t in conversation with each other, but you will be feeding off each other’s comments – as if the words another says said just triggered your own thought, or just fit in perfectly with your next thought. You do not have to memorize your lines, but you should look over them several times so you can read with feeling and emotion. You should start with Christmas songs and a Scripture reading and then insert Scripture readings and songs in between the scenes. A list of suggested songs and Scripture readings will be at the end. At the opening, all three... Read the article

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Sermon for December 19, 2021 — Fourth Sunday of Advent

Psalm 80:1-7 • Micah 5:2-5a • Hebrews 10:5-10 • Luke 1:39-45, (46-55) This week’s theme is heightened expectations of Christ’s coming. The call to worship Psalm looks for restoration of salvation in its address to God as shepherd of Israel. Micah 5 anticipates the birth of a great ruler from the small village of Bethlehem. Luke 1 shares with us the expectant hope of the birth of Jesus from the lips of Mary and Elizabeth. Hebrews 10 explores the meaning of the Christ coming into the world by the Incarnation. The Great Reversal Luke 1:39-45 (ESV) Today marks the last stop of our Advent journey on the liturgical calendar. During our journey we have been following along in the Gospel of Luke, sharing in the anticipation and... Read the article

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Sermon for December 12, 2021 — Third Sunday of Advent

Zephaniah 3:14-20 · Isaiah 12:2-6 · Philippians 4:4-7 · Luke 3:7-18 The theme for this third Sunday of Advent week is the arrival of God. Zephaniah speaks words of comfort about God’s arrival – bringing the people home, saving the lame and gathering the outcast. Isaiah speaks about the day of God’s arrival, when they will “draw water from the wells of salvation.” Philippians talks about how the Lord is near, and we should let our gentleness be known to all, not pointing ourselves, but to him. These words anticipate the arrival of God, when his Spirit moves unmistakably, and we can only stand back in awe. Luke 3, on which our sermon is based, tells us about John the Baptist, or “Crazy John” as he’s been called.... Read the article

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Sermon for December 5, 2021 — Second Sunday of Advent

Malachi 3:1-4 · Luke 1:68-79 · Philippians 1:3-11 · Luke 3:1-6 The theme for this week is how to see. Understanding what we see is an integral part of the Advent season when we’re expectantly preparing for Jesus’s birth. As we move into the second Sunday in Advent, the message of Malachi talks about how God prepares people to receive him by sending a messenger who challenges common perceptions. Luke 1 features Zechariah’s prophecy at the birth of his son, John the Baptist, who would prepare people to see how Jesus would meet their need for salvation like the rising sun’s light dispels the darkness. Paul’s wish in Philippians 1 is that believers would grow in their ability to see and understand the depth of God’s love... Read the article

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Church Hack: Power of the “And”

The world seems to be changing faster than humanity has historically experienced. In the past year or so the way we experience and participate in church has shifted in monumental ways. Our mission, to share the love of Christ, remains the same, but our methods must evolve. Check out this month’s Church Hack that emphasizes the power of the “and,” as well as the shifts that are occurring in the ways upcoming generations engage with church. #gcichurchhacks     Read the article

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Who Do You Say That They Are?

We should not label children (or anyone) based on a snapshot of their life. Rather, we should remind them of their true identity in Christ. For two years, I served as the director of the Boston ArtScience Prize, a project-based innovation program for high school students that helped them turn their ideas into reality. We served hundreds of young people from seemingly every walk of life at Cloud Place, a modern artist studio/scientist laboratory stocked with the latest creative tools and equipment. In the ten-year history of Cloud Place and the ArtScience Prize, there was never a physical fight. Those who care for high school students understand the significance of that statement. When talking with a group of educators and youth workers, I... Read the article

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The Grace of Giving

One of the measurables of a healthy church is when congregations and members practice what Paul called “the grace of giving.” By Bob Regazzoli, Pastor, Australia Let’s look at a biblical indicator - an example from the early church of a group of congregations who demonstrated what healthy churches believe and practice. During the time of the apostle Paul, the Christians in Judea were suffering the effects of severe famine, and Paul, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, was collecting donations (love offerings) from the various Gentile churches he was visiting to take back to Judea to assist their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ. The immediate need was emergency support, but this would also be a powerful witness of the work... Read the article

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