Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent Day Five: Let the Star of Morning Rise

Lord God,
in the deepest night
there rises the star of morning,
    of birth,
        the herald of a new day you are making,
a day of great joy dawning
    in yet faint shafts
        of light and love.
I hear whispers of peace in the stillness,
fresh breezes of promise
    stirring,
winter sparrows
    chirping of life,
a baby’s cry
    of need
        and hope --
            Christmas!

In the darkness I see the light
    and find in it comfort,
         confidence,
            cause for celebration,

for the darkness cannot overcome it;
and I rejoice to nourish it
    in myself,
        in other people,
            in the world
for the sake of him
    in whom it was born
        and shines forever,
            even Jesus the Christ.

                            —Ted Loder


Reflect on the words of this poem. What does it mean to you? How do you see yourself living this out? Do you see a day of great joy dawning? What does it look like?



Christ has come. Christ still comes to us. Christ will come again. May the Spirit prepare and enable you to receive Christ daily, in the midst of the challenges and the joys, with wonder and gratitude and hope.


reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

Friday, December 23, 2016

Advent Day Four: Love Descends

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. — Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)



In what ways does Jesus descend? What would it mean to have the same mind and love and Christ?  What are some practical ways to model self-giving, humble love?


Spiritual Practice: Generosity

Practice giving gifts to others this week. Prayerfully consider what would be a meaningful expression of love and offer it wholeheartedly.





 

Spiritual Practice: Gratitude

Practice rehearsing God’s faithfulness to you. Begin by naming the more obvious gifts, then offer thanks for ways God cares for you in less noticeable ways. Find ways to express your gratitude to others.
 


Sing a verse from a hymn or chorus that has exclamations about who Christ is and what He has done.



reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Advent Day Three: In a Place Like This

Are you able to name a time in your life when you offered a costly “Here I am, Lord” prayer of surrender? What happened?

Spiritual Practice: Prayer

As you pray focus not on “behold me” prayer but on beholding Jesus. Don’t start with your ‘Here I am’ to God,” rather start with God’s ‘Here I am’ to you.”

A shoot will come up from the 
     stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear
     fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on
     him—
  the Spirit of wisdom and of
     understanding,
  the Spirit of counsel and of power,
  the Spirit of knowledge and of the
     fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the
     Lord.

He will not judge by what he see with
     his eyes,
  or decide by what he hears with his
     ears;
but with righteousness he will judge
     the needy,
  with justice he will give decisions
     for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of
     his mouth;
  with the breath of his lips he will
     slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
  and faithfulness the sash around his
     waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
  the leopard will lie down with the
     goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling
     together;
  and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
  their young will lie down together,
  and the lion will eat straw like the
     ox.
The infant will play near the hole of
     the cobra,
  and the young child put his hand into
     the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
  on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the
     knowledge of the Lord
  as the waters cover the sea.
                      —Isaiah 11:1-9 (NIV)

Ponder and pray over what it means to wait for the kingdom of God to be revealed, to groan and struggle and weep even while taking comfort in the work God has already accomplished through Jesus Christ.  What does it mean to sing hope and good news in a minor key?


The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.
                    John 1:14 (MSG)

Take a moment to ponder the revealed glory and generosity of God in Christ.




reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Advent Day Two: Waiting in the Dark


Reflect on a time of suffering in your own life. What role did community play in the midst of trial, either in sharing your burden or compounding your pain? As you remember the experience, what can you give God thanks for? What still needs to be grieved or forgiven? Write about the sorrow or wound, and offer it to God.



Think about a time when you witnessed Christlike community. What did it look like? Or, if you have not seen the body of Christ functioning like Christ, what do you imagine it would look like? Where might God call you to offer ministry of his presence to others? What gifts of listening, compassion, or service has God given you to share?


Spiritual Practice: Worship

Is weekly worship with a group of believers an important part of your life with God? Spend time thinking about motivation and desire. If you have avoided worshiping in community, talk with God about the reasons why?


Spiritual Practice: Daily Review

Look back over your day as a way of discerning God’s presence in the midst of ordinary life, or as a way of glimpsing the ways God is being born in the midst of mess. Journal your insights each day.





reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Advent Day One: Keeping Watch




I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

                            —Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)



What comes to mind when you think about the word HOPE? What helps you to persevere in HOPE?

 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” — Luke 1:28 (NIV)


Ponder what it means to be loved, chosen, favoured by God. Which Scripture verses remind you of the love of God? Write them down.


The greek word for “favoured” in Luke 1:28 means “graced.” In fact, the apostle Paul uses the same word in Ephesians 1:6 to describe God pouring out his grace upon us: “to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Write down your own response to the word “favoured.” What helps you to receive the good news of God’s grace? What makes it hard to believe?


Spiritual Practice: Celebration

Ponder what it means to be “pregnant with the Son of God,” to be chosen and graced and favoured to bear Christ like Mary. Find a way to celebrate the Spirit’s work in making you a dwelling place of the Most High God.

Practice standing in front of a mirror and saying these words: “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you!” Notice your receptivity or resistance to the exercise.




Jesus was not born in the Bethlehem Hilton, He came right into the mess of our world. And we look around at the mess of our lives and wonder, what can be born in a place like this?

Spend time considering the landscape of your own life. How are you welcoming Christ’s presence into chaos, trials, or mess? Or if nothing comes to mind with a current situation, contemplate a past experience. How did Jesus make his presence known? How might the memory of God’s faithfulness encourage you to trust God in the future?
 


Spiritual Practice: Waiting

One of the common ways God forms us is through waiting. If you find it difficult to wait - perhaps you find yourself battling impatience while waiting - look for opportunities to practice waiting well. If you choose to wait in the longest line in the store, don’t distract yourself with your phone or magazine while you wait. Use the wait time to be attentive to the presence of God. What would God have you notice about the people around you? How might you pray for them? Offer a word of kindness? Provide a simple act of service? Practice prayerfulness in the waiting times.



reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

Advent ~ A Season of Preparation

If you were with us on Sunday morning (December 18), you should have received a booklet full of five guided devotions to take you to Christmas. It is our hope that you will take some time before the 25th to reflect on the season and all that God has in store for you. We will post each devotion here as a reminder to dig into the Word and seek Jesus in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the show of death,
then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
— Luke 1:78-79

Advent, a season that invites us to keep watch and remain attentive to all the ways Christ comes into our world and into our lives. Advent is a season of prayerful preparation, a season to practice hope - not the kind of hope synonymous with “wishing for” certain outcomes, but a hope firmly rooted in the person, work, and promises of God in Jesus Christ. We are called to be Advent people, to live in a posture of readiness and expectation, every day of the year.

During Advent we are reminded of the paradoxes and incongruities of life: light and darkness; faith and fear; joy and sorrow; vulnerability and power; weakness and strength; done, but not complete; already and not yet.  These pairs of contrasting ideas are not just for Advent. They are the daily themes and dilemmas of ordinary, everyday Christians.


December 20: Day One - Keeping Watch          

December 21: Day Two - Waiting in the Dark           

December 22: Day Three - In a Place Like This      

December 23: Day Four - Love Descends        

December 24: Day Five - Let the Star of Morning Rise





reflections taken from Two Steps Forward: A Story of Persevering in Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown

John The Baptist's Song ~ Sermon Video



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Monday, December 12, 2016

U18 Christmas Service

Enjoy the hard work and dedication of our children and teens - they put a lot of energy into this service! We are so proud of our U18 Crew!


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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mary's Song ~ Sermon Video



When your world is turned upside down, remember...

1. God provides faith-filled-friends.

2. God plants his word in overlooked people.

3. God promises to lift up the humble and bring down the proud.

Luke 1:46-55 New International Version (NIV)

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”


New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FAMILY: We Belong Together ~ Sermon Video



Ephesians 2:14-22 New International Version (NIV)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.


New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.




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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CARE: Extending Love In Practical Ways ~ Sermon Video



Caring for the least should be one of our highest priorities

1. There is a judgement day (v. 31-34; 41-46)


2. Caring for the least is simple and practical (v. 35-36)


3. Caring for the least is humbling (v. 37-40)


Matthew 25:31-46 New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Monday, November 14, 2016

Worship: Glorifying Jesus Through Personal Obedience ~ Sermon Video

 Christ-centered worship is transformative

Practices of Worship:

    1. Get comfortable with being a living dead person (vs 1)

    2. Fix your mind on Christ

Results of Worship:

    1. Personal transformation (vs 2)

    2. Knowledge of God's will (vs 2)

Romans 12:1-2New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Worship: Praising God in our Congregation and in our Groups



Come prepared to worship together

1. Start with God (vs 3:12)

2. Dress up (vs 3:12b-14)

3. Allow Jesus to tune your heart (vs 3:15)

4. Bring the Word of Christ with you (vs 3:16a)

5. Sing with gratitude (vs 3:16b)

Colossians 3:12-17New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mission: Discovering What I'm Sent To Do ~ Sermon Video


You are being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him

Three Commands:
  1. Go and make disciples of all nations (vs 19)
  2. Baptize them (vs 19)
  3. Teach them to obey Jesus (vs 20)

One Promise:
  1. Jesus is with you always (vs 20)

Matthew 28:19-20 New International Version (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Discipleship: Training Myself To Be Like Jesus ~ Sermon Video

Those who train themselves to be godly become like Jesus

Begin with faith in Christ (vs 1-3)

Now, start training (vs 7-8)

     3 Training Questions:
i. What's the goal?
ii. What do I need to STOP doing to attain the goal?
iii. What do I need to START doing to attain the goal?

1 Timothy 4:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Timothy 4:6 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Monday, October 3, 2016

Discipleship - Growing our congregation to be like Jesus ~ Sermon Video

Ephesians 4:1-16New International Version (NIV)

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 4:8 Or God
  2. Ephesians 4:8 Psalm 68:18
  3. Ephesians 4:9 Or the depths of the earth
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.







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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gathering & Going: Getting Individually Engaged ~ Sermon Video


Acts 3:1-10New International Version (NIV)

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

(please excuse the sound quality on the video - our sound tech's are looking into it and we should have it resolved before the next service)



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Gathering & Going: A Congregational Model ~Sermon Video


Acts 2:42-47 New International Version (NIV)

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Journey to the Heart of God ~ Sermon Video



Mark 12:30-31

1. Knowing and loving God

2. Knowing and loving ourselves

3. Knowing and loving our neighbour

4. Living life mindful of God's presence in our daily life



Mark 12:30-31New International Version (NIV)

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 12:30 Deut. 6:4,5
  2. Mark 12:31 Lev. 19:18
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

God's Word For The Church ~ Sermon Video



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Uncovering The Secret Of Inner Strength

Inner strength comes from confidence in Christ

Those who rely on human confidence display the following:

1. Coercive tactics to strengthen control (11:20)

2. Appeals to position to gain an upper hand (11:22-23)

3. Using information and connections to get ahead (12:1-4)


Those who are confident in Christ display to following:

1. Unwavering faith in Christ when difficulties arise (11:23-31)

2. Silence and secrecy following powerful religious experiences (12:5-6)

3. Christ's life and strength through receiving grace (12:7-10)

2 Corinthians 11:20-12:10New International Version (NIV)

20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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The Secret of Contentment ~ Sermon Video






Contentment is a gift from God

1. Agree with other believers (v 2-3)

2. Be happy and pray (v 4-7)

3. Choose to think about good things (v 8-9)

4. Discover God's abundant provision (v 10-20)



Philippians 4 New International Version (NIV)

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 4:23 Some manuscripts do not have Amen.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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Monday, July 25, 2016

Focus on the Goal ~ Sermon Video




Philippians 3 New International Version (NIV)

No Confidence in the Flesh

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends ~ Sermon Video



Good friends help you live like Jesus.

Paul's Exhortations to his friends:

1. Friends call one another to obey Jesus (v. 12-13)

2. Friends avoid complaining and arguing with one another (v. 14-18)

Paul's examples of friendship: Timothy and Epaphroditous

3.  Friends are like-souled (v.19-24)

4. Friends don't give up (v. 25-30)




Philippians 2:12-30 New International Version (NIV)

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:15 Deut. 32:5
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Power of Humility ~ Sermon Video

THE POWER OF HUMILITY - Philippians 2:1-11


Christ-like humility is the gateway to unity

In other words...

Discover 'we' by shifting the focus from 'me' to 'He'

1. The benefits of the 'me' or 'He' relationship (v. 1)


2. The challenges of 'we' (v. 2-4)
        -likemindesness
        -selfishness & conceit


3. The example of 'He' (v. 5-11)




Philippians 2:1-11New International Version (NIV)

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:6 Or in the form of
  2. Philippians 2:7 Or the form
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Living For Jesus When Life Is Tough ~ Sermon Video


When times are tough, take action!

1. Write a letter (v. 102)

2. Pray (v. 3-11)

3. Make the Gospel known (v. 12-14)

4. Abandon judgment of others intentions (v. 15-18a)

5. Trust Jesus for your deliverance (v. 18b-26)

6. Encourage others in their suffering (v. 27-30)


Philippians 1 New International Version (NIV)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons[a]:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[d] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 1:1 The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.
  2. Philippians 1:12 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 14; and in 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21.
  3. Philippians 1:13 Or whole palace
  4. Philippians 1:19 Or vindication; or salvation
  5. Philippians 1:27 Or in one spirit
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.