Sermon for January 30, 2022 – 4th Sunday after Epiphany

Psalm 71:1-6 • Jeremiah 1:4-10 • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 • Luke 4:21-30 This week’s theme is speaking God’s word boldly. The call to worship Psalm is an individual’s prayer for deliverance emboldened by God’s faithfulness. The Old Testament reading of Jeremiah recounts the Lord’s empowering of his prophet to “speak whatever I command you.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that only the words empowered by God’s love will remain. Our Lukan text presents Jesus as a prophet who speaks gracious words even while facing fierce opposition from his hometown. An Unacceptable Prophet Luke 4:21-30 (NRSV) Today’s message comes to us around the midpoint of the Epiphany season. We have been traveling mostly with Luke this... Read the article

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Sermon for January 23, 2022 – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

Psalm 19:1-14 · Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 · 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a · Luke 4:14-21 The theme for this Third Sunday of Epiphany is the discipline of feasting. We are called as God’s people not just to withdraw, but to party when the time is right in the joy of the plenty he gives. The call to worship Psalm tells of the bounty of God’s amazing world and how we can take joy in it. Nehemiah talks about the reading of the law and the great feast to follow as they declare again their love for God. 1 Corinthians 12 tells of the many gifts of the Spirit and how they can work together in joyous harmony. Our sermon comes from Luke 4, in which Jesus declares that with his coming comes the year of Jubilee and feasting. Jesus Declares Jubilee... Read the article

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Sermon for January 16, 2022 — 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 36:5-10 · Isaiah 62:1-5 · 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 · John 2:1-11 The theme for this week is God’s great reversal, where God’s way of moving in the world upends human beings’ expectations. We sometimes project human tendencies for punitive anger and “quid pro quo” (a conditional exchange) on God, forgetting God’s great love, mercy, and solidarity with us (John 3:16-17). Psalm 36, our call to worship, speaks of God’s steadfast love and the abundance found in him. An example of this is found in Isaiah 62, where God says he will not rest until his people are vindicated and restored to their glory, regardless of what they may deserve. 1 Corinthians 12 shows how the great reversal happens by illustrating how there are... Read the article

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Sermon for January 9, 2021 — Baptism of the Lord

Psalm 29:1-11 · Isaiah 43:1-7 · Acts 8:14-17 · Luke 3:15-17; 21-22 This week’s theme for this Baptism of the Lord Sunday is the voice of God. The call to worship Psalm describes the power of the Lord’s voice over the forces of the natural world. Isaiah 43 tells the story of God’s voice gathering the family of Israel to bring them home. Acts 8 tells us of the Spirit and word of God crossing old divisions between people. Our sermon is on Luke 3, and the climax of the story is God speaking at Jesus’ baptism. Made Extraordinary by Jesus Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 Read, or have someone read Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, prior to the sermon. Have you ever been so committed to a cause or relationship that you felt nothing could stop you? We only... Read the article

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Sermon for January 2, 2022 (Second Sunday after Christmas)

Psalm 147:12-20 · Jeremiah 31:7-14 · Ephesians 1:3-14 · John 1:(1-9), 10-18 The theme for the second week after Christmas is the God who comes to our rescue. Our call to worship Psalm speaks to God’s power to bless his children and emphasizes that nothing can stand against him. In Jeremiah we read about how God is the redeemer of Israel and about the joy that comes from being rescued by him. In Ephesians, Paul celebrates Jesus as our Savior, facilitating our adoption through his life, death, and resurrection. John speaks about Jesus, in his incarnation, as the light for all people who lived among us. A New Light, A New Beginning John 1:1-18 Happy New Year! We are lovingly gifted by God with another year to worship him and to be... Read the article

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Church Hack – Advent

Many GCI congregations celebrate Advent with special services and events. This month, our church hack offers a closer look at advent symbolism, the candle lighting ceremony, and a powerpoint template to go along with your Hope Avenue gatherings this season. #GCIChurchHacks Click the link below to access and download the GCI Advent 2021 Church Hack. https://resources.gci.org/.../2021/11/2021-CH11-Advent.pdf Read the article

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Examining the Walls

Do you know the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual condition of young people in your community? Nehemiah had a BIG challenge. Jerusalem, the religious center for the Jewish people, was in ruin, and God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the Holy City. After a period of mourning, lament, and prayer (Nehemiah 1:1-11), he petitioned the Assyrian King, emperor of the region and conqueror of Israel, to lead an expedition to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-10). When Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem, what did he do to begin his monumental task? Did he start calling contractors to get quotes for the work? Did he gather the leaders in Jerusalem and show them his blueprints? Did he call the insurance company to see if the walls were... Read the article

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The Strength of My Heart

By Eugene Guzon, Superintendent of Asia Life as we know it is changing. Along with many natural disasters and political turmoil, the prolonged COVID-19 situation has made people’s situations even more challenging and uncertain. We do not need to look far to see pain, hardship and loss, which has perhaps hit home for you as well. I recently experienced this in a personal way when I lost my mom because her heart and lungs failed due to pneumonia. It made this year an unforgettable one for me. Regardless of where you are, it is likely that you have your share of heartbreak. It could be an illness experienced by you or a loved one. It could be a lost job or a business failure. It could be broken relationships or family conflicts. Or... Read the article

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