Complete in Christ

It’s vital to give Gen Z the message that they are special in Christ. Friends, I am sorry to bring you some sad news. After watching several commercials, I have learned that I am not living my best life. The drug commercial showed me that I do not have the right kind of friends — friends that will fly kites with me or laugh joyfully while making pottery. So, apparently, I need to start taking that drug. I also need to switch my deodorant. According to the commercial, all women are supposed to find me attractive, so something must be wrong. Admittedly, I do not think my wife is going to like it when I get that kind of attention. That’s why I have to buy new sneakers. I learned that I am not fast enough, but if I get the sneakers in... Read the article

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Sermon for February 26, 2023 – First Sunday in Easter Preparation

Psalm 32:1-11 • Genesis 3:1-7 • Romans 5:12-19 • Matthew 4:1-11 In our first week of Easter preparation, we reflect on Jesus’ reversal of the sinful state of mankind. Our theme is the dominion of life over death. In the call to worship Psalm, King David reminds us of our need to bring our sins before God to receive his abundant forgiveness and love. In Genesis, we witness how the dominion of death came about through the sin of Adam and Eve, leading to their shame and guilt. Paul explains to believers in Rome how the grace and life given to us by Jesus heals the death and separation caused by sin, and it establishes us in his new and better life. In our scripture passage today, Jesus enters the wilderness and reminds the devil... Read the article

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Sermon for February 19, 2023 – Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 2:1-11 • Exodus 24:12-18 • 2 Peter 1:16-21 • Matthew 17:1-9 This week’s theme is on the mountaintop. The psalmist prophetically looks ahead to the time in which God would install Jesus as king on Mt. Zion. In Exodus, Moses is sent by God to the top of the mountain where he witnessed the glory of the Lord. In Matthew’s gospel, he records the transfiguration of Christ on Mt. Zion. And in 2 Peter, he confirms that he was present on the mountain with Christ during the transfiguration event. The Transfiguration of Christ Matthew 17:1-9 (NIV) When was the last time you had a strong sense of anticipation? As a kid, I was so excited that I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve because of the anticipation of unwrapping presents... Read the article

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Sermon for February 12, 2023 – Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 119:1-8 • Deuteronomy 30:15-20 • 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 • Matthew 5:21-37 In this sixth week of Epiphany, our theme is the challenge of righteous living. Speaking to the Israelites as they prepare to enter the promised land, God urges them to choose life over death by following his commandments and decrees. In Psalm 119, the psalmist extols the blessings of a life lived in accordance with God and laments the inevitable decline that follows a lapse in judgment. The Apostle Paul mourns that quarrels and pettiness have prevented the Corinthian church from learning the deeper lessons of faith. In our sermon passage from Matthew, Jesus declares the chilling challenges of leading a truly righteous life. In the Sermon on the Mount, he... Read the article

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Sermon for February 5, 2023 – Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 112:1-9 • Isaiah 58:1-9a • 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 • Matthew 5:13-20 As we continue in the Epiphany season, contemplating the God revealed by Jesus Christ, we should take time to consider our response to that revelation. We should seek to humbly and diligently follow his word. Therefore, the theme for this week is authentically worshipping God. In the call to worship Psalm, we read about the generational blessings awaiting those who wholeheartedly worship the Lord. In Isaiah, the prophet condemns empty religion and echoes God’s call for justice, liberation, and care for those most in need. In the Corinthian passage, Paul spoke about the Christian’s reliance on the Holy Spirit to reveal the gospel and God’s plan for... Read the article

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Church Hack: Livestreaming

In our monthly church reports from pastors, we received a lot of questions about providing online services, especially livestreaming on YouTube and Facebook. You’ve asked, and we’ve answered. Check out this month’s Church Hack for livestreaming and other online Hope Avenue gathering options. https://resources.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/2022-CH12-Livestreaming.pdf Read the article

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Change and Healthy Church

Being willing to change is a sign of healthy church. By Danny Zachariah, National Director India A common refrain we hear about change is that it is a permanent reality of life. Two more familiar phrases: change is difficult and resisted; there is no growth without change. These phrases are all undoubtedly true, especially in the dynamic environment we are living in today. On the other hand, all change is not necessarily helpful. New is not always good. Fads come and go. Innovation only for name’s sake disturbs the congregation. If our denominational congregations are moving in the direction of becoming the “best expression of the church of Jesus Christ they can be,” then a commitment to a gradual, consistent change towards... Read the article

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We Have a Beautiful Barn!

We are called to participate in building the kingdom, not building barns or banks. By Glen A Weber, U.S. Central Regional Support Team I grew up on a wheat farm in southeast Wyoming. Every fall we would plant the winter wheat, pray for good weather, and harvest the crop in mid-summer. I remember driving the farm truck loaded with wheat to high school and dropping off the grain at the local grain buyer during my lunch hour. Of course, a very important part of our planning was storing enough seed in the barn to plant for the next year. Barns are essential for storing seed and farm equipment, but they are not the focus of the farm. Our focus was on the crop yield and providing for the family. In the Gospels we have a parable about a... Read the article

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