The Holy Spirit, Prayer and Connect Groups

Prayer, individually and collectively, is vital to being a healthy church and being strong in our faith. By Bob Regazzoli, pastor, Australia The Word has always taught how important prayer is in our Christian lives and in our relationship with our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Spirit. Most of our prayer life is private and personal, and corporately we are led in prayer during our worship services. What may not be quite as common for many Christians is praying with others in a small group setting. As we look at the dynamic life of the early church, we find that coming together in prayer was part of their way of life and worship. Following Jesus’ ascension, we read of the apostles arriving in Jerusalem and meeting... Read the article

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The Awe of the Angels

That the man Jesus was also God incarnate became (and still is) one of the founding doctrines of the Christian church. By Tim Sitterley, US Regional Director, West Several years ago I was in the city of Managua Nicaragua during the celebration of La Purisima. La Purísima is a religious event in late November/early December that celebrates the conception of the Virgin Mary. Catholic devotees celebrate with nine days of prayer and the building of an altar in their homes, as well as singing and gifts for those who visit it. On December 7 comes La Gritería, which translates as “the shouting.” At 6 pm, people start to shout the question: ¿Qué causa tanta alegría?” (What causes so much happiness?), and others respond with “La... Read the article

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Invitation to the Dance

When the Son of God put on humanity and became the Son of Man, he was inviting us to participate in the relationship – the dance – that he shares as Father, Son and Spirit. Cheryl and I love to dance, in particular to waltz or slow dance. Good dancing is fluid – it is two individuals becoming one on the dance floor. Dancing is more than moving to the beat—it is following the rhythm and flowing with the music. It is being in communion with the music and with your dance partner. Good dancers almost glide across the floor as they move together with one purpose. I don’t dance as well as I’d like to, but I love the experience of Cheryl and I moving in unison, sharing in the joy of the dance and the company of each other. Is it... Read the article

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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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