Sermon for March 27, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 32:1-11 • Joshua 5:9-12 • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 The theme for this week is God’s great act of removing our sins and the shame that sin brings. God has done all the work necessary to reconcile the world to himself. In our call to worship Psalm, the psalmist asserts the relief felt by those whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. In the book of Joshua, God removes the disgrace of the Israelites captivity and takes them out of that situation. In 2 Corinthians, Paul proclaims that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. And in Luke, Jesus tells a parable of a father who forgives his prodigal son and goes above and beyond to restore him... Read the article

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Sermon for March 20, 2022 – 3rd Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 63:1-8 • Isaiah 55:1-9 • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 • Luke 13:1-9 This week’s theme is repentance. The call to worship Psalm provides a fitting response of praise and worship from those who have turned to the Lord for their salvation. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah calls sinners to forsake evil and turn to the Lord who is abundant in mercy. The Gospel reading from Luke presents a parable from Jesus that gets to the root of repentance. The epistolary text comes from 1 Corinthians where the Apostle Paul, drawing from Israel’s experience in the wilderness, instructs believers to repent of the idolatry of self-reliance with the reminder of God’s faithfulness. Repent or Perish Luke 13:1-9 (NRSV) Tragedy. Disaster.... Read the article

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Sermon for March 13, 2022 — 2nd Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 27:1-14 · Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 · Philippians 3:17-4:1 · Luke 13:31-35 The theme for this week is God’s promises in his timing through relationship. As we move into the second Sunday of Easter Preparation (commonly referred to as Lent), we’re learning that we must not only trust in what God has promised us, but we also have to learn to trust in God’s timing and the way God emphasizes relationship. Psalm 27 encourages us to “Wait for the Lord,” especially when we encounter difficulties. Genesis 15 shows that Abram expressed his frustration with God’s delay in fulfilling the promise of an heir, coming up with the “plan B” of his servant Eliezer of Damascus. When God doesn’t operate according to our... Read the article

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Sermon for March 6, 2022 – 1st Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 • Deuteronomy 26:1-11 • Romans 10:8b-13 • Luke 4:1-13 This week’s theme is the response of faith. The call to worship Psalm is a response of meditation on God’s faithful care for those who put their trust in him. The Old Testament reading in Deuteronomy presents the instructions for celebrating the festival of first fruits which includes a confession of faith. Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptations stresses Jesus’ response of faith in the Father and a confession of that faith. The epistolary text in Romans records the fitting response of faith and confession to God’s justification and salvation. When Jesus Says “NO!” Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV) Saying “no” can be hard. Even the slightest request by... Read the article

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Church Hack: Missional Living

In relationship with our Triune God and in community with one other, we engage in our neighborhoods shining the light and sharing the love of Christ. It is not our own goodness that shapes our motivations and behavior, but we are compelled by the love of Christ and empowered by the Spirit to live differently – interested in the lives and experiences of others and joyfully engaging with our neighbors. In his BELLS model, Michael Frost shares a framework that helps us develop missional habits in our everyday lives. Read the article

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Embracing Diversity

In the United States, February is designated as Black History Month. It is a time to remember the experiences and celebrate the contributions of Black people in America. The month-long observance was pioneered by Carter G. Woodson, who instituted Negro History Week in 1926. Educators at Kent State University are credited with first observing a month-long celebration in 1969, and other educational institutions adopted the practice in subsequent years. President Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976, stating the all Americans should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” For many, acknowledging and celebrating Black History... Read the article

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The Parable of the Cruise Line

Do Healthy Church initiatives even apply to small congregations and fellowship groups? By Tim Sitterley, US Regional Director West, and Dan Rogers, Pastor, Las Vegas, NV Over the years I’ve learned that it is way too easy, when presenting new concepts and ideas, to talk all around the real questions. It’s also easy to presume everyone understands what you are trying to get across, and any resistance simply stems from a lack of understanding. Unfortunately, when you take this approach, you occasionally fail to see that your listeners fully understand WHAT you are presenting, they just don’t see HOW it is relevant to them. This became the case in a recent regional townhall Zoom discussion on the denomination’s healthy church... Read the article

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Ministry Action Plans (MAPs)

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin Equipper Team: Part of a pastor’s job description is to put together an annual Ministry Action Plan (MAP) for the congregation. A leader of a healthy church will ask the Avenue Champions to also put together MAPs for their area of responsibility. Not every MAP will look the same. While many of our pastors will follow the template we offer on our GCI resource page, which focuses on all three Avenues. An Avenue Champion may develop his or her MAP on a different format. Following is a MAP Ceeja Malmkar, Love Avenue Champion for GC Surrey Hills, put together based on the Provision, Plan, Promise tool. We felt it worth sharing with you. 2022 Ministry Action Plan for GC... Read the article

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