Sermon for January 29, 2023 – Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 15 • Micah 6:1-8 • 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 • Matthew 5:1-12 This week’s theme is the kingdom of heaven. The call to worship Psalm reflects on what is required to be in the presence of God. The Old Testament reading from Micah speaks of doing God’s will that involves justice, mercy, and humility. The text in Corinthians records Paul’s statement of the cross where God’s foolishness conquers man’s wisdom. In the Gospel reading from Matthew, we have Jesus’ teachings on the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and Be Glad Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV) Today our epiphany will come, not from a story about Jesus, but by his words spoken to us. You have probably heard these words many times. They are the words known as the... Read the article

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Sermon for January 22, 2023 – Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 27:1, 4-9 • Isaiah 9:1-4 • I Corinthians 1:10-18 • Matthew 4:12-23 The theme for this week is not us and them, but all of us. Our call to worship in Psalm 27 presents the inclusive full range of a Christian’s experience, including the high points of faith and the low points of lament and doubt. Isaiah 9 focuses on our release from oppression, whether it comes from within us or without, by our Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. In Matthew 4, Jesus calls Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to become fishers of people, snagging hurting hearts with the good news of God’s love and acceptance of all people. Our sermon text is 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 which addresses the problem of tribalism and how we can solve it. The... Read the article

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Sermon for January 15, 2023 – Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 40:1-11 • Isaiah 49:1-7 • 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 • John 1:29-42 This week’s theme is a call to faithfulness. The call to worship Psalm expresses thanksgiving to God for his faithful deliverance. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah recounts the calling of the servant to be a light to the nations. The text in Corinthians records Paul’s introductory remarks to a letter calling a wayward church back to faithful obedience. In the Gospel reading from John, we have Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist who bears witness to Jesus as the Lamb of God, which calls others to follow him. Faithful to the End 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (NRSVUE) Today, for the Second Sunday of Epiphany, we have the opportunity to read someone else’s mail. It... Read the article

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Sermon for January 8, 2023 – Baptism of Our Lord

Psalm 29 • Isaiah 42:1-9 • Acts 10:34-43 • Matthew 3:13-17 This Sunday, we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, remembering the day that Jesus was baptized on our behalf. It is the first Sunday after Epiphany and serves as a bookend — along with Transfiguration Sunday — to the Epiphany season. Jesus’ baptism revealed something very important about him and about human beings. Christ lived a sinless life, so he did not need to be cleansed of his sins through baptism. Yet, he submitted to the sacrament so that we, in him, could be free from sin. Therefore, the theme for this week is Jesus is our righteousness. The passage in Psalms speaks about the power of God, especially his power to defeat evil (symbolized by the waters or... Read the article

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Sermon for January 1, 2023 – New Year’s Day

Psalm 8:1-9 • Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 • Revelations 21:1-6a • Matthew 25:31-46 This week’s theme is God is our glorious and benevolent king. In our call to worship Psalm, we are reminded of God’s majesty and how he has crowned us with honor and glory. The writer of Ecclesiastes acknowledges that God has done everything for us from beginning to end. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks about coming in his glory, reigning over the nations. And in the book of Revelation, we see God making all things new as he dwells with us, taking his rightful place on the throne. All Things Made New Revelations 21:1-6a NRSVUE Did you know that there are people who will go to a bookstore, pick up a book that looks interesting, and proceed to read... Read the article

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Church Hack – QR Codes

QR Codes can help streamline the process of both giving and receiving information. In this month’s Church Hack, we will share a few examples of how churches can benefit from QR Codes, including ways to enhance neighborhood engagement, portions of your worship gathering, and many other aspects of your church life. They are a cost-effective way to help keep your church connected and engaged. https://resources.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2022-CH11-QR-Codes.pdf Read the article

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The Blessing of a Helpless Baby

Even before he could say a word, Jesus was transforming lives. This month, Christians from around the world will be celebrating Advent and Christmas. As believers, we rejoice in the coming of our Lord and Savior, marveling at the humble arrival of the King of Kings. Jesus not only came to earth as one of us, but he arrived as a helpless baby. It goes against all human logic for God to lower himself in that way. Yet, Jesus became one of us in every way to open the door for us to be like him. During this time of year, we have an opportunity to meditate on the fact that, by the Spirit, Jesus had a profound impact on those around him without being able to talk. It was not only Christ’s ministry that changed lives, but it was also his... Read the article

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Spiritual Practices for the Season of Christmas and Epiphany

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). By Davina Winn, Assistant Pastor, Hanover, VA Ok, cue the music. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” That is unless you happen to live on my street where Christmas hits our neighborhood around the first week in September. Our neighbor, two houses over, is a regular on the local “Christmas Tacky Lights Tour,” and each year his... Read the article

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What to Do?

Recognizing we are all products of the Fall keeps us focused on love, rather than judgment. By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada Without a doubt we live in very trying times. As Christians and for Canadians (you can add your nationality) in general, we face an onslaught of what I would call “change.” And much of it is challenging to us as believers. Where I reside, in the province of Saskatchewan, we are dealing with the legacy of church-run residential schools, and Indigenous rights. In Canadian society and elsewhere, we face issues dealing with gender identity and the pronouns we use to describe who we are. There are also issues for some around immigration, and what it means to be Canadian. Then add all the conversations... Read the article

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The Gifts of the Magi

The gifts of the Magi not only had significance, but they were also part of God’s provision for Joseph, Mary and Jesus. By Daphne Sydney, Superintendent Australasia The Gospel of Matthew is the only Gospel which contains the intriguing account of the Magi or “Wise Men” coming from the east to honour the birth of a King. The Magi were on a journey. What may we learn from their journey and what was the significance of the gifts they brought to bestow on a King? After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2). Notice that the... Read the article

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