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A Community Of Wonder To The Angels

January 29th, 2012 by Will Martin

Scripture1 Peter 1:3-13   


Scripture Memory1 Peter 1:3-4

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.


Journey: So far in our series that has the subject “The Church is to be . .  .” we have covered the following complements (1) a community of hope (2) a community that rejoices in the Gospel (3) a community of encouragement (4) a community of strong marriages. 


Instead of giving away today’s sermon with a summary preview in words I’ll just let you read the passage and then you can wonder what the Angels really have to wonder about!    


Hoping that Angels look on you with amazement,


Will (for the pastors)

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A Community of Strong Marriages

January 22nd, 2012 by Will Martin

ScriptureEphesians 5:21-33   


Scripture MemoryEphesians 5:18-20 

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Journey: If you were here a few months ago when we did our series on marriage I’m guessing that you’re thinking “We’re not talking about marriage again are we?” Well, yes we are and here  are just two reasons why:


(1) We all have a tendency to forget, or to fail on following through with even important priorities. More than likely, most of us who are married were thinking a few months ago something like “I really do need to work harder at my relationship with my spouse.” And I’m guessing that quite a few of us in the intervening months, even those if us who took steps forward with our spouses, have also dropped the ball on one or two of the initiatives we established in that regard. This sermon should give us a chance to reevaluate and renew our intent to bless our wives and husbands. 


(2) The biblical model for marriage is based on Christ’s relationship with His church and that in turn is a model for all of our relationships within the church. Christ intends for His followers to be “others” centered in a way that causes them to pour their lives out for the blessing of other people. We are not called to live for ourselves but for others and looking at how Christ calls people to do that within a marriage covenant provides us a picture of how all of us (married and singles) should seek to serve and relate to others (especially in the church).          


Thankful for His call on you,


Will (for the pastors)

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A Community of Encouragement

January 15th, 2012 by Will Martin

ScriptureHebrews 10:19-25   


Scripture MemoryHebrews 10:19-22 

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.


Journey: For a few weeks we’ll be thinking about the subject “God intends for the church to be . . .”  If you are reading this you must be in church today and you likely have some desire for the way church ought to be. Perhaps you want church to provoke great thoughts that translate to meaningful action. Perhaps you want church to be a comforting, healing environment. Perhaps you want church to be a fun place for kids where they are taught the truth about who God is in ways they understand. Perhaps you want church to be a place of vibrant praise and prayer.


It seems to me that just about everyone has thoughts about what the church should be so here’s an exercise for you: Take your most cherished assumptions you believe should be true about the church and then see if you can support those ideas with the clear teachings of the Bible.


We ought to be able to do that right? I mean, we do say we believe that God is the one who created the church. And after all, (and I’m not just trying to posit a politically correct platitude) we also say we believe God is infinitely wiser, more creative, and knows infinitely more about fun and joy than any of us so if we really seek His mind on what the church should be what do we have to lose? I would say that we have nothing at all to lose – and everything to gain.   


Always hoping for your gain,


Will (for the pastors)

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A New Years Resolution: Do Not Work

January 8th, 2012 by Will Martin

ScriptureRomans 4:1-8   


Scripture MemoryRomans 4:4-5

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 

 

Journey: Last week we thought a bit about how critical “hope” is to our lives and what it means to hope in Christ as we walk into 2012. We’ll return to that theme for a few minutes today and then move on to think about our New Year’s resolutions against the backdrop of the Gospel.  

 

Resolutions are almost always about human effort and personal work and, of course, that is not wrong. The Bible consistently commends hard work. But when it comes to the ultimate source of hope and joy in life (understanding the Gospel) we are not told to work hard. Instead we are told to simply trust in One who has done hard work for us. So, today is not a “go and do this” type of sermon, it’s a “relax and take it easy” kind of sermon. Read the memory verse and you’ll begin to get the picture. Thank God – He is so good! 


That you may be able to rest even when you’re running hard,

 

Will (for the pastors)

Play

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What Kind of a King is This?

January 1st, 2012 by Will Martin

ScriptureLuke 2:1-20   


Scripture MemoryMark 1:4-8 

 John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


 

 

Journey: I just noticed that we have three “mini” manger scenes in our living room – all from three very different cultures. You would expect them to be different and they are in terms of architecture and dress. But in the “mood” they communicate they are surprisingly the same. All of the scenes portray a setting for the birth of Jesus that is: colorful, clean, rustic, serene – totally predictable. 

 

 

 

Do we know better than that? Have you thought this December about how utterly scandalous it is that the “Christmas story” is about God coming into this world not only in human flesh but in a dirty, smelly, totally ‘low class’ sort of way? Have you thought about the implications of that for life? Why would God come into the world in such a disturbing, unexpected, messy manner? Born in a stable? First hours in a feeding trough?

 

That’s what we’ll be thinking about this morning as we look into Luke 2 and try to re-imagine the nativity and some of what it means for us.   

 

Hoping your Christmas is filled with joy AND spiritual gravity,       

 

Will (for the pastors)

 

 

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