Sermon Archive

The God Who Corrects Us

Our Father corrects us. He does this because He has not given up on us. In Hebrews 12 we read of this, “Endure hardship as discipline: God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone goes through discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:7-10)

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Do Not Worry

Look at what God gives us!! He is not miserly. Don’t you stand amazed at how God gives people the abilities to make their living. He has allowed some people the brilliance so that rovers can land on Mars!! He has given some the skills to create a vaccine that can save lives. He has given the heart in others to watch and teach and guide our children. He allows others the ability to fix an automobile so that life can keep on going. Look at what you do, how you earn your living, what services you offer to others – this all comes from God who tells you not to worry.

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The God Who Brings Us Together

So even on the hard days at church – the days when I’m at odds with a friend; when I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again; when I’ve walked in, bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face; when I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought back tears as the lyrics were sung; when I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away; I’ll remember. He has never failed to meet me there.

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Blessed Are You

This past year has redefined how we understand what it means to be blessed. Before the pandemic, we felt blessed if we were able to spend some leisure time with our family, if we got along with our boss at work, if we weren’t bullied at school, and if we had a little extra money after all our bills and investments. Now we know we are blessed if we have a job at all, if we can go to school in-person, if we’re still breathing. In fact, less than a year ago, you were counted blessed if you could just find toilet paper! So much that we used to take for granted no longer seems a given. We recognize that we live by the hand of God. For when everything else we have is taken away, all we are left with is Jesus.

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The God Who Prays For Us

When you want to get involved in somebody’s life, in a wonderful way, you pray for them. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is a deep prayer. It is a prayer of a pastor for their people. Listen to his heart and his words, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to all the measure of the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

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Prayer and Fasting

But our learning can’t be just from the negative. We can’t just look at someone who is making a mess of things and say, “I’m not going to be like that.” Learn from the positive. Follow the example of the best. Jesus is the one who gives this direction, “Follow me.” So, look at those disciplines – giving, praying and fasting – and follow the ways of Jesus. There was no showboating in the life of Jesus. He didn’t give to others, or pray, or fast, so that He would be praised or recognized. If you have studied the life of Jesus you have seen that “He went by Himself to pray”, or “He would go to lonely places to pray.” On Holy Thursday He prayed with great intensity, but privately, before He was handed over for crucifixion. His giving and His fasting also came from a humble heart.

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The God Who Makes The Two, One

It is when things happen personally that you are able to truly understand God’s great purpose in life. In Ephesians 3 words about the call of God to the forsaken Gentiles is given. When Paul considers that great truth he reflects on the truth that he was once called to the greatest position ever – to be a bearer of God’s redemption to all people. “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery.” (Ephesians 3:7-9a)

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The God Who Builds His Church

What I miss during these last 11 months is the community of church. Watching a sermon in your pajamas is not church. Church is community. It is being together, holding each other up. It is crying together, celebrating together. That church in Ephesus, as diverse as they were, as prone to having divisions that ran down to their bone, were unified by Christ and they could live in love to each other. In the very earliest days of Christianity I read that Christians starting calling themselves a “third race”, or a “new race”. They were no longer simply Jewish or Gentile, God had made them something unique in Jesus. Peter would say of this God who builds His church, “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 2:4-5)

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The God Whose Name is Grace

Did you deserve forgiveness? Did you deserve that God would give you peace? Did you deserve heaven instead of hell? No. You didn’t work for it. You haven’t earned it. It was just given to you. Just like me receiving the gift of someone else’s work and enjoying a time in the mountains, so we receive what we don’t deserve at someone else’s expense.

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The God Who Opens Hearts

“You have forsaken your first love.” Who was that? Did they become unloving in their marriages? Did they start out with such good and pure hearts and then become stagnant, unloving, unfaithful to their spouse? Or was the call for them to return to a living, vibrant faith in Jesus? Sometimes we are “on-fire” in the faith and then the faith gets doused. Had they become apathetic in trusting Him or following Him? Did they fall into the trap of a boring faith and a failing love?

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