Sermon for May 22, 2022 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Psalm 67:1-7 • Acts 16:9-15 • Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 • John 14:23-29 This week’s theme is the Lord’s hospitality. The call to worship Psalm is a song of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, which includes a prayer that all people of all nations will join in. The selection from Acts records the hospitality of Lydia as a response to having her heart opened by the Lord. The Gospel text from John records Jesus’ words regarding those who are at home in the Father’s love. A reading from Revelation presents an inviting vision of the New Jerusalem whose gates are always open. Significant Peace John 14:23-29 (NRSV) This week we enter the Sixth Sunday of Easter, with only one more Sunday left to celebrate. But this Sunday will... Read the article

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Sermon for May 15, 2022 – Fifth Sunday in Easter

Psalm 148:1-14 • Acts 11:1-18 • Revelation 21:1-6 • John 13:31-35 Our theme for this week is all hail King Jesus. Our call to worship Psalm gives us a picture of every creature – from those in the fathomless depths to those sitting on thrones – bowing the knee to the true King. Acts 11 gives us the story of the gospel going from the Hebrew people into all the world, exactly according to plan. Revelation 21 shows us the final picture of the New Jerusalem—the new heavens and earth—where Jesus reigns forever. Our sermon comes from John 13, where King Jesus shares with us the secret to living like his royal family: Love. Jesus, A Candid Shot John 13:31-35 ESV Read, or have someone read John 13:31-35 ESV. Muhammad Ali... Read the article

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Sermon for May 8, 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

Psalm 23:1-6 • Acts 9:36-43 • Revelation 7:9-17 • John 10:22-30 On the fourth Sunday of Easter we witness how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls his people to himself. Our call to worship Psalm speaks of the Shepherd who cares for every need of his sheep. In Acts we read about Peter calling to Tabitha, and at the sound of his voice she follows, even from death. In Revelation we are greeted by the great scene of every believer who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and who have followed their Lord into eternity. Finally, in John Jesus declares to us that his sheep will hear his voice and follow him - that we are safe in the hands of the Father and the Son. Rapt in Anticipation John 10:22-30 NRSV Read, or have someone read... Read the article

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Sermon for May 1, 2022 – Third Sunday of Easter

Psalm 30:1-12 • Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) • Revelation 5:11-14 • John 21:1-19 This week’s theme is resurrected restoration. The call to worship Psalm emphasizes healing and recovery from the Lord that prompts eternal gratefulness. A reading from Acts recounts Paul’s transformation from a persecutor of the church to a chosen instrument of the Lord. The Gospel reading from John reports the appearance of the resurrected Lord to Peter who is restored and commissioned to feed Jesus’ sheep. The Book of Revelation points to the source of all restoration with the vision of angels singing praises around the throne of God to the Lamb who was slain. The Dawn of a New Day John 21:1-19 (NRSV) Easter Sunday is a big day for the Christian... Read the article

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Church Hack: Easter Prep

Easter Sunday is the most attended church service every year. It is also a great opportunity to invite those who don’t normally attend to visit your church, whether you are meeting online or in person. Here are some steps to make your Easter service last beyond the Hope Avenue experience on Sunday. #GCIchurchhacks Check out the links on page two for resources and graphics for your Easter service. https://resources.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-CH3-Easter_Love_Ave_Pkg.pdf Read the article

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The God of the Open Tomb

Telling our youth about God’s willingness to bend reality for us gives them a taste of how good and glorious our God is. When I was the director of New Heights Summer Camp, it seemed like we got a significant rainstorm every year. The storms were rarely dangerous — more inconvenient than anything else. Once every decade or so a major storm would hit the area and cause flooding. Those larger storms were not to be taken lightly because they were far more disruptive and potentially dangerous. One summer, we got several alerts that one of those big storms was headed our way. It was only the second or third day of our seven-day camp, and I was concerned about the impact of the thunderstorm. Looking at the size of the storm and the... Read the article

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I’m Feeling Left Out…

What is the place for long-time elders and other church leaders within the new focus on the Love, Hope, and Faith Avenues of a healthy church? By Glen A Weber, Central Region Support Team, Coach Leadership in our denomination has been on a constant trajectory of growth over the past few decades. I began serving in ministry in late 1972 (fifty years ago next fall). Church leadership involved having a pastor and occasionally an associate pastor if the church was large enough. Pastors would often ordain elders. Typically, the standard for ordination of an elder was based on the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3/Titus 1, but rarely with any job description. Elders served “at-large” simply being “pillars” in the church and... Read the article

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Welcoming Guests and Visitors

Prepare now for the guests and visitors the Spirit will lead to your church. By Daphne Sidney, Superintendent Australasia Have you considered how it might feel to be a first-time visitor to your local worship service? While long-time members may be very comfortable surrounded by familiar faces and friends, it is easy to forget how that first encounter with church might feel. In the positive, I have heard stories of members who recount their early days as newcomers to the church – and how much they appreciated the brethren who befriended and included them. They appreciated the hospitality of being invited to a member’s home for a meal and the intergenerational friendships which were formed. In the negative, there are too many... Read the article

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A Heartache for Our Neighborhoods

Jesus’ heartache for humanity informed his mission. Does it inform ours? By Heber Ticas, Superintendent, Latin America We often express a feeling of deep sorrow and anguish for others as a “heartache.” We use phrases like, “my heart aches for you,” “my heart is torn,” or “my heart is broken.” We are moved as we observe the pain, anguish, and misery that our fellow neighbor may be experiencing. In our shared humanity, it is impossible not to be moved. Although these experiences usually tend to occur around those who we are already in relationship with, there are times when the strings of our hearts are tugged by a story or event that it’s not as close. Events in our community, our state, our country can pull at our... Read the article

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We Believe; Help Our Unbelief

The journey through Holy Week and beyond helps us with our unbelief. The disciples had been through a lot with Jesus; they’d seen multitudes fed, demons rebuked, people healed, and the dead brought back to life. There was still confusion in their minds about who Jesus really was, but some were starting to believe he just might be the Messiah. His teachings were profound at times, confusing at other times as he loved to speak in parables – requiring them to think deeply about what meaning was behind his words and stories. They knew they were headed toward Jerusalem, but they seemed to believe it was for a different purpose than Jesus told them. Three times, he told them what he was going to face. Here is the third passage: While Jesus... Read the article

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