Sermon for March 26, 2023 – Fifth Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 130 • Ezekiel 37:1-14 • Romans 8:6-11 • John 11:1-45 This week’s theme is living into life. The call to worship Psalm is an individual’s prayer offered in hope that the Lord will save him from trouble on account of the Lord’s steadfast love. The Old Testament reading from Ezekiel offers a vision of dry bones coming to life as a prophecy to Israel that they will be delivered from the death of exile to live again in their own homeland. Romans records Paul’s comparison of life in the Spirit with death in the flesh. In the Gospel reading from John, Jesus raises Lazarus to life after being dead four days. A Mindset of Life and Death Romans 8:6-11 (ESV) We are now five Sundays into Easter Preparation (referred to as Lent... Read the article

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Sermon for March 19, 2023 – Fourth Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 23:1-6 · 1 Samuel 16:1-13 · Ephesians 5:8-14 · John 9:1-41 This is the fourth week of the Easter Preparation season (Lent), a time when we ready ourselves to commemorate the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and when we prepare to celebrate the glorious empty tomb of our resurrected Lord. To participate in the process of examining our walk with Christ, we have to recognize our inability to accurately discern spiritual things. We need God to reveal us to ourselves to be aware of the ways in which we need to spiritually grow. It is only by the Spirit that spiritual growth takes place. This week’s theme is God leads us through spiritual darkness. In the call to worship Psalm, we read how the Lord leads the psalmist peacefully... Read the article

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Sermon for March 12, 2023 – Third Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 95 • Exodus 17:1-7 • Romans 5:1-11 • John 4:5-42 This week’s theme is thirsting for love. The call to worship Psalm presents a liturgy of praise celebrating God’s provision of water in the wilderness to his people, while also using their example of complaining as an admonishment against hardened hearts. The Old Testament selection from Exodus recounts this story of Israel complaining about thirst, which is met by God’s gracious act to provide water through a rock Moses was instructed to strike. The epistolary text in Romans provides a contrast to Israel’s complaining hard hearts, using Paul’s picture of endurance that flows from God’s love poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel reading... Read the article

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Sermon for March 5, 2023 – Second Sunday of Easter Preparation

Psalm 121 • Genesis 12:1-4a • Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 • John 3:1-17 This week’s theme is the eyes of faith. In our call to worship Psalm, we have the psalmist lifting up his eyes to God to trust and see God’s care for him. In Genesis, we see God asking Abraham to leave behind everything and to trust that God will show him where to go. In Romans, Paul confirms that Abraham did trust God by faith in what was unseen to him. And in John’s gospel, Jesus talks to Nicodemus about being born from above and seeing the kingdom of God as a result. Abraham’s Children: By Law or by Faith? Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 (NRSVUE) Today, we find ourselves in the second Sunday of Easter preparation. This is a time to reflect on the importance of... Read the article

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GCI Easter Preparation Playlist

Worship is our response inside of Christ’s perfect response. During our Sunday services we intentionally prepare for an inspirational worship gathering. In our Hope Avenue Toolkit we recommend planning the themes of your worship gatherings around the seasons of the worship calendar - by doing this we are formed as remember and participate in the meaning of each season. In Equipper, this year we will be providing playlists with songs that algin with the theme of the season. We have included a variety of styles. When developing your song set for each week consider of the songs will flow together during the worship gathering and look for versions or arrangements that fit the context of your congregation.   GCI Easter Preparation 2023... Read the article

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Church Hack: Mentoring

Jesus’ invitation to us is to join him in making disciples. Through the mentoring process we help others discern their gifting within the body. Check out this month’s Church Hack for a guide to Christ-like mentoring. #gcichurchhacks  https://resources.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2023-CH1-Mentoring.pdf Read the article

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Guiding Behavior Like Jesus

The ways in which we guide the misbehavior of young people says something about who God is to us. When I worked at the South Boston Boys and Girls Club, there was a little girl named Jill who decided to be my shadow. This would be a sweet story except that Jill was an angry shadow. Due to the life experiences she faced during the seven years she was on the planet, she learned to express her fondness and need for attention with violence. As soon as she arrived at the Club, she would immediately run up to me and punch me. She would grab onto me until I did what she wanted. When I ignored her, she would ruin the games I played with other children. I wish I could say I was always loving in my treatment of Jill, but after weeks of this... Read the article

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Place-sharing with George

A personal example of place sharing. By Glen A Weber Several years ago, I was helping facilitate a gathering of about 50 pastors and Christian leaders. We were spending three days in prayer and worship together. We had a chair in the center of the circle so leaders could sit and ask for specific prayer. During one of those times, “George,” a pastor for more than forty years, went to the chair to seek prayer for a struggle he had faced all his adult life. In fact, he confessed that at one stage the struggle had led to him being removed from ministry for several years. He had been restored to ministry but still struggled and suffered with severe nightmares as a result. Numerous pastors gathered around and prayed for George. At a later... Read the article

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