Community Involvement

God has uniquely gifted you and your congregation for community involvement. By pastor Sam Butler. We have established in previous articles that the motivation behind community engagement is love. Love flows from God to us through Jesus Christ and now through the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, love that flows from us out into our communities. It sounds easy, but most of us feel a disconnect between the idea and how to do this in practical ways. For many of us, we can feel uncomfortable and secondguess our ability to be successful. Part of this is because we can fall into the trap of believing it all depends on us. The key is to live in the confidence of who we are in Christ and understand how he is leading us. We know that... Read the article

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Seeing Through God’s Eyes

Several years ago, I had two individuals in one of my congregations who monopolized my time. Every week they came up to me sharing their woes, asking for advice and just wanting to talk—about anything. There were several occasions when I missed other important conversations because one of these individuals was bending my ear. I’m ashamed to admit I got to the point where I tried to avoid these encounters. I even had others run interference for me. I’ll never forget the one Sunday I was driving home, and I told my wife it was a great day at church, I didn’t have to talk to either one of these individuals. She just looked at me and smiled—you know, one of those smiles that lets you know she’s about to say something you don’t... Read the article

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Love Venue: Event Checklist

Summer is a great time to plan an outreach event for your community and share the love of Christ with your church neighborhood. To assist you in preparing for your outreach event, we've prepared the infographic below (click on the image to download). Read the article

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Sermon for June 30, 2019

Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 • 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21 • Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 • Psalm 16:1-11 • Galatians 5:1, 13-25 • Luke 9:51-62 This week’s theme is Letting the Spirit Lead. The passages in 1 King and 2 King remind us of Elisha’s calling. He asked for a double portion of the Spirit to guide him. The Psalmist reminds us how the Spirit led Israel out of Egypt and that everything we have is because of God. Paul reminded the church in Galatia they were free—Christ had set them free. The sermon, from the Gospel of Luke, talks about Jesus, who followed the lead of the Spirit throughout his life. Plowing Ahead Luke 9:51-62 (NIV) We recommend you have the two passages from 1 Kings and 2 Kings read as part of the worship... Read the article

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Sermon for June 23, 2019

Readings: 1 Kings 19:1-15 • Psalm 42:1-11 and 43:1-5 • Galatians 3:23-29 • Luke 8:26-39 This week’s theme is Remembering whose we are. The Psalmist reminds us to “pant for God” when our soul is downcast, to put our hope in him, even when we feel we are at the end of our rope. This happens when we believe we are still in custody to the law, as Paul told the believers in Galatia, and we forget who we are and that we belong to Christ. The story in Luke of “Legion” possessing the man who could break his chains reminds us that no matter how bad it can get, God is for us—we belong to him. The Voice of Truth Have you ever felt alone? Or like you are the only one going through a certain type of situation. I know I have. ... Read the article

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Sermon for June 16, 2019

Readings: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 • Psalm 8:1-9 • Romans 5:1-5 • John 16:12-15 This week is Trinity Sunday and the theme is God’s Glory. Proverbs 8 talks about wisdom, which is a personification of God’s ways, or a personified blueprint of all creation. The Psalmist sees the glory of the heavens and asks, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them.” He concludes by saying, “How majestic is your name!” Paul spoke to the believers in Rome about the peace and hope we have in Christ—leading us to rejoice in the glory of God. Jesus told his disciples in the Gospel of John about the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—who will glorify Christ. The sermon focuses on the passage in John. What’s Mine Is Yours John 16:12-15... Read the article

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Sermon for June 9, 2019

Readings: Acts 2:1-21 • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b • Romans 8:14-17 • John 14:8-17, 25-27 This week’s theme is Pentecost: The Spirit gives life. Prior to his ascension, Jesus told the disciples to wait for the “promise of the Father.” The Holy Spirit is that promise. In Psalm 104 we are reminded that life depends on the Spirit; without God we have nothing. In Romans we read that those led by the Spirit are children of God—adopted—and can say “Abba, Father.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is our Advocate—he will teach us all things. Language of Love Acts 2:1-39 Introduction: You may want to share a story about a time you could not communicate with someone because of the language barrier—how... Read the article

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Sermon for June 2, 2019

Readings: Luke 24:44–53 • Psalm 47:1-9 or 93:1-5 • Acts 1:1-11 • Ephesians 1:15–23 This week’s theme is Ascension Sunday. Prior to his ascension, Jesus reminded the disciples that the law and the prophets were written about him, and he would send the “promise of the Father” to them. Psalm 47 and 93 tells us our Lord is “robed in majesty” as King over all the earth. Acts 1 describes the ascension as well as a reminder that Jesus will return in the same way he ascended. Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus, that they would know Jesus, who is the fulfillment of all things. Forward and Upward Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11  Introduction: You may want to ask what comes to mind when people think of the Bible. What is... Read the article

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Your Congregation’s Resume

Identifying your congregation's gifts and talents This article was written by Randy Bloom, US Regional Director, East. Many years ago, at the end of a planning meeting, our supervisor shocked us with the statement, “I’d advise you all update your resumes. Not that we expect anything; it would be good to be updated just in case.” Just reading this account you might be experiencing a bit of the shock we felt. For many of you, “been there, done that.” I went home and updated my resume. It was a bit awkward. Not only had it been a long time since I’d visited my resume, I was reminded how difficult the process is. Not only do you list your experiences, you also need to extol your virtues. That is, you need to describe your... Read the article

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God’s Love in Action

Engaging your community This article was written by Pastor Sam Butler. Healthy churches desire to make an impact in the church community. The question raised is often, “How do we start?” I suggest our starting point, the framework from which we engage, is not a how question, but a who question. In other words, our framework should not begin with something we do but rather from who God is—so, we begin with the very nature of God, which is love. Father, Son and Spirit are love and everything thing they do flows out of that love. We can describe their relationship in terms of community to help us understand what community should mean to us. God is a community based on perfect love, perfect relationship and full participation. How... Read the article

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