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Christmas Eve- The Gift of Joy

Christmas Eve 2019   The Gift of Joy  Scripture References:  Psalm 98, Rev. 21: 1-7

            Well friends, we’ve made it to Christmas Eve. All of our shopping, eating, playing and praying has led to this moment, and I’m glad for the opportunity to celebrate this moment with you. For the past 4 weeks, we’ve been opening some of the most treasured gifts of Christmas, gifts that have been made possible by the coming of Jesus, our Messiah. We’ve unwrapped the gift of reconciliation, proclaiming the wonderful truth that Jesus restores our broken relationships with God. We’ve unwrapped the gift of being set free, believing that Jesus has the power to release us from our burdens. We’ve celebrated the vision of new kind of Kingdom Jesus inspires, and we’ve found comfort in the gift of God’s presence, who is closer to us than our very breath. But there is one more gift we need to unwrap, a gift that seems so timely and necessary every time I think of it: the gift of joy.  Would you pray with …

Wesley Covenant Service

On Sunday, Dec. 29, we'll host a Wesley Covenant Service. As a means of preparation, we invite you to meditate and reflect on the following prayer: 
Wesley’s Covenant Prayer    
Let me be your servant, under your command. I will no longer be my own. I will give up myself to your will in all things.
Lord, make me what you will. I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.

Unwrapped: The Gift of Presence

The Gift of Presence – Matthew 1: 18-25

            Today we continue our Advent journey by unwrapping another unique gift of Christmas, but before we do, I want to tell you a little about next week. Next Sunday, which of course is the final Sunday of 2019, will be a different kind of service. As we turn the page to a new year, I think it’s important that we take a step back and remind ourselves why we do what we do as the church. So next week we’re going to host a Wesley Covenant Service. This will be an opportunity to remember the covenant we’ve made with God- that God will be our God and we will be God’s people- and to recommit ourselves to that life-giving relationship. In your bulletins, you’ll find the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer. It would be a good idea to spend some time this week looking over that prayer, reading it thoughtfully and intentionally, so that you’re fully prepared to say “yes” to Jesus again. 
Ok, so during this Advent season, we’ve been preparing for Christmas by …

Unwrapped: The Gift of Kingdom Vision

The Gift of Kingdom Vision     Dec. 15, 2019 Luke 1: 46-55

Well, today we continue our journey through Advent by unwrapping some of the unique gifts of Christmas. We’ve opened the gift of reconciliation, which celebrates our redeemed relationship with God made possible through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We’ve experienced the gift of being set free, which is both an eternal promise and a freedom we can experience here and now. Today we’re going to explore the gift of Kingdom Vision, because Jesus helps us see our world, as broken and messy as it is, in a new way. If you have your Bibles…

One of the things I most love about the Christmas story is that everyone in the story matters. Everyone has a role to play, and every person contributes something meaningful to the narrative God is authoring by sending his Son into the world. I think that’s by design, by the way. There are certainly moments when God raises up unique individuals for unique purposes, but more often than …

Unwrapped: The Gift of Being Set Free

Dec. 8, 2019  The Gift of Being Set Free Scripture: Luke 4: 14-22

            Last Sunday we began the season of Advent with a new sermon series called “Unwrapped: Discovering the Gifts of Christmas.” We took a deeper dive into the gift of reconciliation and discovered that God wants to have a restored relationship with each of us, a relationship made possible by the greatest gift we could ever hope to receive, the gift of Jesus. Today we’re going to explore another meaningful gift we find when we find Jesus: the gift of being set free. Would you read with me? 

            I don’t know about you, but there are some nights I lay awake and wonder if I’ve missed really important opportunities- maybe I was too focused on my day’s work or too tied up in family matters or simply had too much on my mind- but whatever the reason, I never enjoy the feeling I get when I think I’ve missed an opportunity.  And I almost missed one a few years ago.  Just as I was ready to walk out the door to start my…

UnWrapped: The Gift of Reconciliation

Dec. 1, 2019                 The Gift of Reconciliation Scripture:  Luke 1: 5-25

         When I was a child, I had the hardest time falling asleep on Christmas Eve.  I wish I could place the blame on all the good snacks mom made or even the “fresh in my mind” memories of another Silent Night with our candles lifted high in the air.  But I know the truth.  My lack of sleep had everything to do with what I would soon find underneath our Christmas tree. I was like any other kid: writing letters to Santa, making lists for mom and dad, dropping little clues here and there; all in the name of trying to get what I really wanted for Christmas.  And most of the time it worked!  In just a few short weeks, we’ll awaken to another Christmas morning and unwrap all the gifts that have been waiting for us.  But we’ll also wake up understanding that the greatest gift we’ve received isn’t found under the tree; it’s found in a Savior who was sent to bring hope to the world.  Over the next few weeks, …

A Life Worth Giving: Giving All

A Life Worth Giving: Giving All  Malachi 3: 8-12, Luke 21: 1-4

Today we’re beginning a new sermon series called A Life Worth Giving. Over the next three weeks, we’re going to explore the idea of a generous way of life, and along the way we’re going to consider how giving our best and all to Jesus helps us live lives of purpose, meaning and joy. There are tons of great examples from the Bible that illustrates how generosity is God’s preferred way of life for us, but for me, there’s one story that stands out from the rest. And it’s my hope that this story, even though it’s not very long, will inspire us to give nothing but our very best to a God who deserves nothing less. Would you read with me?

A few years ago I came across a book called The Hole in Our Gospel, which tells the powerful story of the non-profit organization World Vision and its former President, Richard Stearns. And it was one of those books that did a number on my faith. On one hand, I was sort of embarrassed that my fait…

Unashamed: Guard the Faith

Unashamed: Guard the Faith                  Nov. 3, 2019  Scripture:  2 Timothy 1: 1-14

For the past several weeks we’ve been looking at 2 Timothy, a letter that seeks to help a young man stay encouraged in his faith. Throughout these weeks, we’ve proclaimed that it’s ok to stand out from the crowd and live like Jesus, even though his way of life is a bit different. We’ve been challenged to tell our story- because it’s life changing and life-giving. And last week we boldly determined to stand firm, no matter how trying our world can sometimes be…because God has the final world. And today, on All Saints Sunday, we remember those who have gone before us and recommit ourselves to guarding this wonderful faith. And we do so not by keeping it to ourselves, but by investing our time in others. I invite you to read with me…

This summer, my family reinstated one of my favorite days of the year: our family reunion. And I couldn’t have been happier. You see, a few years ago my family stopped h…