Sermon for February 23, 2020 Transfiguration Sunday

Ex.24:12-18 • Psalm 99 • 2 Peter 1:16-21 • Matthew 17:1-9 The theme this week is the Lordship of Jesus. Throughout Scripture, we see the power and majesty of the Son of God. In Exodus 24, we read of Moses returning to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone upon which God had written the law and the commandments. There “the glory of the Lord settled,” and it was “like a devouring fire.” The Psalmist writes about the Lord being king and sitting among the cherubim. Moses, Aaron and Samuel called upon him and he answers—speaking to them in the “pillar of cloud.” In Peter’s letter, he talks about being an eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty and the Father acknowledging Jesus as the “Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well... Read the article

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Sermon for February 16, 2020

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 • Psalm 119:1-8 • 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 • Matthew 5:21-37 The theme this week is the community of God. Each passage discusses the ideals and vision of what it means to be part of God’s family. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 discusses the giving of the law as the path of true life—truly being the community of God. Psalm 119:1-8 talks about walking in the way of the Lord and the joy of the community that does. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Paul encourages the church community that they are God’s building, God’s field, united by love and kingdom purpose. The sermon this week is on Matthew 5:21-37, in which Jesus lays out the connection between broken relationships with others and a broken relationship with God. Take a Deep... Read the article

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Worship: Putting Others First

What does a guest think when they experience your worship service? By Randy Bloom, Regional Director, Northeast “Honey, we have some new neighbors. Let’s invite them over for dinner.” “That’s a great idea, let’s do it. What should we fix for dinner?” “Oh, I don’t know. Let’s just have our leftovers from the other day. That meal was pretty good and I think there’s enough.” “That sounds good. What do you want to do while they are here?” “Well, you and I enjoy sitting around and watching TV or fiddling around in the yard. They could join us in what we do. But, actually, I’m really busy this week and don’t have the time to think about it. We can figure that out at the last minute. They can... Read the article

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Sermon for February 2, 2020

Micah6:1-8 · Psalm 15:1-5 · 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 · Matthew 5:1-12 The theme for this week is the “foolish” wisdom of God; his ways are not our ways. Micah 6:1-8 narrows down all the complexity of ritual and theology to acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. Psalm 15 tells about the humble, plain-speaking person, not the sophisticated or proud, who enters God’s presence. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Paul cuts through the fad-addiction of that community to tell them that “God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” The sermon is based on this passage. Finally, in Matthew 5:1-12, Jesus lays out the counter-intuitive heroes of the kingdom: the meek, the mourning, and the poor in Spirit. Jesus Plays the Fool ... Read the article

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Sermon for February 9, 2020

Isaiah 58:1-12 • Psalm 112:1-9 • I Cor. 2:1-12 • Matthew 5:13-20 The theme this week is our generosity to others brings glory to God. The Psalmist points out the blessings of being generous and gracious to others; it helps us grow stronger in our relationship with God. The prophet Isaiah uses the illustration of fasting to remind us the reason we fast (humble ourselves) is not for our glory, but to grow closer to God and see opportunity to love and serve others. Matthew reminds us this is why we are the salt of the earth, and a light on a hill, so others see our good works and give glory to God. Paul tells the church in Corinth that manifestations of the Spirit—spiritual gifts—are given for the common good, to be a blessing to... Read the article

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Welcoming Guests

By Heber Ticas, Superintendent of South America Growing up in the church and after 20 years of pastoral ministry, I have often witnessed how church attendees tend to gravitate to those with whom they have an established relationship. This is natural; however, the downside is that guests who visit a church for the first or second time can easily feel out of place. They can feel there might not be a place for them in the established community. On the flipside, in our attempts to be welcoming in our smaller congregations, members sometimes swarm a guest, creating an awkward feeling for them. For this reason, I believe a healthy church always seeks to create a healthy environment where both attendees and guests feel welcomed. This is not... Read the article

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Focusing on Hope

Where do you turn when you are feeling hopeless? There have been a number of times in my life when I felt hopeless. The first time I remember was when I was 12 and two of my sisters were killed in a car accident. My family and I were in New York, miles from home, when this tragedy struck. I was shocked and confused and didn’t know where to turn. It wasn’t until we returned home and went back to church that I started healing as friends and church members surrounded our family with love and support. Over the years I’ve lost three other siblings and both parents—and some of those losses gave me a sense of hopelessness, angst, fear and even anger. Other members of my immediate family went through the same sense of grief, and I was... Read the article

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GCI Worship Calendar

Each week, as we gather in our GCI congregations around the world, most of our pastors are preaching from the Revised Common Lectionary. Using these same passages, and often the same sermon outlines published in Equipper is incredibly unifying. Reading and responding to the same truth about our Triune God is a wonderful way to create connection within our global fellowship. The scriptures chosen week to week align with each season of the Christian calendar. As the graphic below illustrates, during each season we celebrate and remember the good news of Jesus. In Advent we celebrate, Jesus is coming; in Christmas, we rejoice, Jesus is born; during Epiphany we commemorate, Jesus is ministering; during Lent, we remember, Jesus is saving;... Read the article

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Venue Resources: Christmas Invitations

Joy to the world! Christ is born! During Christmas we celebrate the incarnation, when God became flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood. A gift immeasurable, a love incomprehensible. Reflect on the love of Christ this season and invite your neighbors to your Christmas service. Extending an invitation shows your investment in and care for your neighborhood. Click the link below to view the October Church Hack and downloadable Microsoft Word Christmas Service Invitations. #GCIChurchHacks Read the article

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Sermon for December 29, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 • Psalm 148 • Hebrews 2:10-18 • Matthew 2:13-22 This week’s theme is God always with us. Isaiah speaks of the steadfast love of the Lord who became our Savior, took on our afflictions, redeemed us and lifted us up. The author of Hebrews reminds us Jesus is the one who sanctifies and became the atonement for our sins. He is our help. The psalmist reminds us this is why we praise the Lord: he has raised up a horn (a symbol of strength) for his people. Matthew reminds us that Jesus is the one who was prophesied—even going to Egypt to fulfill a scripture reminding us that God’s plan was to be with us. The sermon reminds us we are never alone—God is always with us. Never Alone Hebrews 2:10-18 NRSV ... Read the article

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