2 Peter 1:16-21 - Follow the Light of the Morningstar...no matter how dark the night.

Follow the Light of the Morningstar…no matter how dark the night.

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2)…. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (1 Peter 1:6)… I have said these things to you.. in the world, you will have tribulation.”

How does it feel, to know what’s coming? How does it feel knowing deep down that no matter how enjoyable today is, that no matter how wonderful this weekend is, no matter how successful you are this year, you’re going to eventually suffer.

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Matthew 5: 24-35 - Worrying: It's Not Your Job!

Worrying: It’s Not Your Job

Dear brothers and sisters who are made confident in the promises of your faithful God.

 

“Do not Worry…” Seems to be the overarching message of Jesus’ words here in Matthew 6 don’t you think? But do you know to whom that message was first directed? It wasn’t to a bunch of first-time moms, who were worried about their new-born babies. It wasn’t to a group of grandparents, worried about their grandkids. It wasn’t given to a couple of teenagers gathered at their high school orientation.  Jesus was speaking to his faithful and steadfast disciples. Disciples who would witness with their own eyes, water changed into wine, people walking, seeing, and hearing for the first time by the power of Jesus’ Word. The same disciples who witnessed the breath of life breathed back into the dead. Yet even after all those signs of powerful reassurance, Jesus knew his disciples would still struggle with the all too common sin of worry. Just goes to show you, that even the most faithful, struggle with the sin addressed in today’s word.

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Matthew 5:13-20 You Are... So Be It!

You Are….So Be it!

 

            My family has now officially experienced two Eastern Tennessee snow storms and we’ve already found things to be exactly how many of you warned us they would be. All the schools are closed for an inch of snow. The grocery stores were packed and the shelves emptied before a light dusting. And some people just simply don’t know how to drive in it. But what really stands out to me are all the piles, not of snow, but of salt.

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Ephesians 2: 13-22 Jesus breaks down the walls of hostility

My wife and I spent about a year living in Phoenix, AZ over my vicar year. If you’re familiar with Phoenix you know there are a few things that set it apart: the obvious ones - the heat, the cacti, the miles and miles of desert wilderness, the huge monsoon storms that bring in those enormous dust clouds. But the one thing that Laura and I really weren’t used to seeing was all of the walls. If you’ve been to Phoenix, AZ you know what I mean. Walk out the back door of your house, and there is a cinderblock wall. Take a walk around the neighborhoods, and each back yard is surrounded by a cinderblock wall. Drive around town, and each road is lined by, you guessed it, cinderblock walls. The reason for walls is obvious: Safety, security, privacy, but maybe even a step further, to keep the peace. And it’s not a recent phenomenon.

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Matthew 3 13-17 What Kind of God Gets Baptized?

Matthew 3:13-17: What Kind of God gets Baptized?

 

In just the past few months, 5 children have been brought to this font to be baptized. Each one had water sprinkled onto their foreheads. Each one heard the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Some cried, some slept, some held their heads over the font themselves with wide eyes watching everything that was going on around them. Some were old enough that they’ll remember exactly what happened for a long time.

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Ephiphany - Mathew 2:1-12 - "Wise" Men follow the King God reveals

Matthew 2:1-12: “Wise” Men follow the King God Reveals

When we talk about the magi, you probably have a couple pictures that pop into your head. After all, they’re a group of men that we see every year around this time, but really know very little about. You’ve probably heard the song, “We Three Kings of Orient are.” It’s a popular Christmas/epiphany carol about the magi. But do you know what’s wrong with it? Almost everything. Matthew 2 tells us nearly everything we know about the magi. And it never tells us how many men were traveling behind the star, it could have been 3 or 30. They weren’t kings, and they more than likely weren’t even from the orient, but from Babylon.

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Christmas 2 - Genesis 16:1-16 - How are YOU waiting for your unseen God?

How are YOU waiting for your unseen God?

 

                Ten years. For ten years she waited. Waited through her dozens of doctor checkups telling her there was no extra heartbeat. She waited as her husband continued to remind her, “God said we will have a Son.” But she expected that to happen shortly after her 65th birthday. Now she was 75, and Sarah finally reached her breaking point. She was ready to throw in the towel. Now when her husband reminded her of God’s promise of a child, Sarah sarcastically laughed and responded, “Abraham, The Lord promised you a son to come from Your body, but he never said that son would come from Me. Really he seems to have made it quite clear that I’m not going to have a child.” 10 years of clarity to be exact were sinking in for Sarah. Ten years of hearing “Pray about it.” 10 years of doing just that, with seemingly no answer. For ten years Sarah waited, for what seemed to be a ridiculous promise from an unseen God in her life.

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Christmas Day - Peace! It Is Possible! - Isaiah 52:7-10

Isaiah 52:7-10: Peace: It IS possible!

Grace and PEACE are yours in abundance this Christmas day through your newborn Savior.

 

The year was 1914 and war had ravaged the western front. But on Christmas day the unexpected, unthinkable happened. Fighting ceased. Peace broke out.  German and British soldiers came out of their trenches into no-mans’ land and shook hands, exchanging food, pictures, and souvenirs; they played games, they held joint burial ceremonies. These men found joy in the peace that they shared on this Christmas day, 100 years ago. It’s a heartwarming Christmas story isn’t it? That even in the midst of the ugliness sin wreaks on this world in the form of war, there can still be moments of peace.

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Christmas Eve - The Word Became Flesh - John 1:1-14

John 1:1-14 – The Word Made Flesh: An unexpected promise, an undeserved action

 

            As many of you know, a little over a week ago God blessed my wife and I with a new baby girl. She weighed 6 pounds, I didn’t remember that my other daughter was once that small. Any of you who have held a newborn in your arms have seen what a helpless, defenseless, vulnerable creature they truly are, completely dependent upon their parents for everything from their food to holding up their own head. Such a weak, fragile, precious little person, a newborn baby is.

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Advent 3 - Expect Him - Matthew 11:2-6 Sermon

Matthew 11:2-6  Immanuel: Expect Him

 

“Blessed are those who mourn,” “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you.” Those are just some of what we call the “Beatitudes.”  We find them in Matthew 5 as part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  But there’s one Beatitude in the bible you won’t find in Matthew 5, one Jesus gives us today which is just as important.  “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me;” or maybe more literally, “Blessed are those who are not led to doubt, because I don’t always show myself in your life as you’d expect.”

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