Sermon August 22, 2021 - Essential Unity

Essential Unity

There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:2

God's love and blessings for you far exceed your expectations. However, most people pray and hope for God to bless their own plans, rather than seeking God's. One of the great calls for God's people is to unity in worship, fellowship, and service. Is this unity something you for pray and work for?

Worship, scripture, and prayer are vital parts of the Christian life. Growing in a living relationship with Jesus blesses and transforms us. The living presence of the Holy Spirit empowers us.

But until we commit to living out the second greatest commandment and the fulness of the last six commandments, until we, as the first verse of today's scripture describes, lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called, baring with one another in love, we are only partaking of a small part of God's plans for his people.

God calls us not only to himself, through Christ's work on the cross, but inseparably he also calls us into unity and community with each other.

We cannot have live in full relationship with God without relationship with others.

Sermon August 15, 2021

Race to the Bottom

With all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another in love,
making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2

Humility, gentleness, and patience are not what the world or our own short-sightedness lead us toward, and yet they are indelible characteristics of Jesus, and essential to being worthy of the calling to which we have been called.

Sermon August 8, 2021

Boundless Love

With great power the apostles gave their testimony
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 4:33

Sermon August 8, 2021
Acts 4:32-37

The lives of the first Christians were radically changed by the great grace they received and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It was a revolutionary transformation of their hearts and lives, as God's love for them directed their lives, rather than self-interest.

Sermon August 1, 2021

Standup and Walk

Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.

Acts 4:11

Sermon August 1, 2021
Acts 4:1-22

The man healed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth needed to do something he had never done before, to stand up and walk. The formerly lame man leaping and praising God created a problem for the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They had ancient traditions and accumulated power. They recently pressured the Roman governor to crucify Jesus. Not only were people now talking about Jesus' resurrection, they themselves were witness to a man that had been lame for over 40 years being healed in Jesus' name.

Jesus disrupted the Jerusalem religious establishment by proclaiming the kingdom of God, acts of healing and compassion, and decrying the abuses of the religious leaders. Now Jesus followers were doing the same thing.

The formerly lame man could have returned to his stretcher and begging, but he didn't. If we have been set free of sin and death, we too must enter into the new life this makes possible.

Sermon July 25, 2021

Now I See It!

And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong,
whom you see and know; and the faith that is through
Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

Acts 3:16

Sermon July 25, 2021

In faith, as in life, we not only need accurate information, but must also know what it means.

The people in Jerusalem who watched Peter and John heal the lame man in Jesus' name came to a number of faulty conclusions. Seeing this healing, they thought Peter and John had healed them, something Peter quickly credited to Jesus. Prior to this, the crowds in Jerusalem had cried for Jesus to be crucified, not comprehending who Jesus truly was. The crowds were used to the ordinary, not the extraordinary power of God.

Peter calls for them to repent, to have a change of heart and faith, their sins to be wiped out, and enter into a time of refreshment that comes from the presence of Jesus.

Scripture: Acts 3:11-21, 26

Sermon July 18, 2021

Expecting too Little

Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you;
in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.”

Acts 3:1-10

Sermon July 18, 2021

As Peter and John were heading to the Temple to pray, a man lame from birth asked them for alms. Peter explains that he doesn't have any cash, but he will give him something far better - healing of his life-long infirmity.

We are often tempted to settle for far less than God offers. Rather than going through the motions, what would happen if we take the steps God is already leading us toward?

God's plan is to make us "new" people, not just better people.

Scripture: Acts 3:1-10

Sermon July 11, 2021

Boundless Love

All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their possessions and goods
and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Acts 2:43-47

Sermon July 11, 2021

Sermon July 4, 2021

The Gift that Keeps Giving

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38

Sermon July 4, 2021

It is a shame that the Christian faith is often considered predictable and boring. Instead, it is a great adventure as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us, not just for our own sake, but for God's purposes and presence in the world.

Worship June 20, 2021

Father's Day

“The father said to the oldest son, ‘Son, you are always with me,
and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice,
because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life;
he was lost and has been found.’”

Luke 15:31-32

Father's Day June 20, 2021

We often mistake Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son as being about the wayward son returning home. Instead, Jesus' parable is about the father who celebrates the return of his son, who had insulted and rejected him and his values. It is a parable of the great hope we have in God's faithful love and grace, that we can return home to our Heavenly Father who welcomes us.

The preacher this Sunday is Rev. Richard Black.

Pastor Black is no stranger to our congregation. In years past, Pastor Black preached at our church a number of times, and Pastor Paul has preached for him at Westminster Towers. It is wonderful to welcome him and his wife Midge (Margret) to share God's word with us on Father's Day.

Pastor Black served as a chaplain with the Marines in Vietnam, and later retired as a Navy Captain. This iconic photo was taken of him at Con Thien in September 1967. He later served as the Chaplain at Westminster Towers.

Worship June 13, 2021

Fresh Start

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Acts 2:38

Acts 2:38

A fresh start is a great gift that we all need. Being human, we all make mistakes, and need the opportunity to start fresh. Peter preaches to a crowd of devote Jews that were gathered in Jerusalem, revealing that Jesus' crucifixion was the end, but only a new beginning in His resurrection. They were cut to the heart and cried out, "What must we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and you will receive the Holy Spirit."

Repentance is more and better than a fresh start, it is a fresh start in the right direction rather than repeating the same mistakes hoping for a different outcome.