A Christ-like Footprint: It’s common lingo to speak of the “carbon footprint’ we impress upon the world we live in. Agree with it or not, it is an attempt to figure out the effect our practices have on our natural environment. Truth is, our attitudes and actions leave a trail wherever we go, and they affect the world both near and far. And given the times we live in, it would be wise to ask ourselves what a Christian footprint should look like. This series has as its origin one of the themes from our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity many years ago. I saved my notes for possible future use, and I believe now is a good a time to share them. Join us as we examine the mark we leave in the world as followers of Jesus Christ.
Jan 30 “Inclusive.” Matt 15:21-28
Feb 6 “Merciful.” Luke 10:25-37
Feb 13 “Connected.” John 15:12-17
Feb 20 “Stewards.” Deut 25:1-7; John 9:1-11
Feb 27 “Joyful.” Luke 1:46:55
Getting Christmas Right! Mention Christmas, and people get excited. The season brings thoughts of get-togethers, dinners, gift-giving, and images of sipping hot chocolate by the fire while snow falls softly outside the window. But let’s be honest…many of us also take a deep breath knowing all the things we have to do before December 25. Unfortunately, Advent and Christmas can come and go in a rush of frantic activity that has little to do with why we celebrate this season. And given that this year is likely to continue presenting challenges to our public life, why don’t we take the time to keep in mind what Christmas is truly about – the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? In doing so, I pray that the hope, peace, joy and love of God will flood your heart and mind throughout this season and beyond.
Please note: In-person worship services are temporarily suspended after December 19
Church for the Ages: We’re closing in on 2022, and the world is still in the thick of the pandemic. The landscape around us has shifted in many ways, and churches have not been spared. But have they? Yes, churches look very different right now, and some things may never return to where they were before. But that doesn’t mean the Church is out of commission. The Church has survived turbulent times before, and has forged new paths where necessary. If anything, our present situation gives us an opportunity us to examine what the Christian Church is truly all about. Join us as we take a look at some of the events in the early Church to reclaim what is essential in a continually significant “Church for the Ages.”
Nov 14 “Inside Out.” Acts 10:24-48 Sorry - no video available today.
#Believe: As we begin emerging out of our quarantine cocoons, we are faced with a world that looks both familiar and strange. For sure, we are relearning to the things that once came naturally. We are now able to see more people, hugs are less taboo, and walking up to people on a sidewalk is not such a logistical exercise! In many ways, we are learning to live again. And as churches reopen, perhaps this is a good opportunity to be reminded what it means to be a Christian, and to take a look at our faith with new eyes. Join us as we look at some of the qualities of the Christian faith, as we rediscover the beauty and power of following Jesus Christ.
Tuned In: We know our faith is important, don’t we? But if we’re honest, we might find that sometimes our faith takes a backseat to everything going on in our lives. And this year has been as busy and tumultuous year as any I can remember. It’s good to remember that we can always tune into God, no matter what circumstances we face in our lives. Join us as we examine some of the basic practices that help us tune into God in a practical, life changing way.Aug 29 “Service - Loving others.” Eph 3:14-21, Phil 2:1-11
The Sign of Jonah - A Big Fish Tale: Jonah is a tiny book with a big message. As the only Hebrew prophet with whom Jesus ever directly compared himself and His ministry, Jonah’s message is even more important. The message? SALVATION!
The Parables of Jesus: Parables were simple stories Jesus used to illustrate and explain profoundly divine, and yet practical, truths. The familiar characters and everyday situations were easy to remember, but held deep meaning. For some, the parables were a window into life in the Kingdom of God. Still others could not understand them, or saw them as a personal rebuke. They function in the same way today. We can let their meaning change us from the inside, or we can reject them as idealistic, or contrary to our view of things. Join us as we explore the parables of Jesus, and to be reminded of the reality of God in a seemingly unreal world still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Words to live by: Christians of all ages have stood before the cross of Calvary in one way or another. We have memorized Christ’s words on that final day; recognizing their beauty and power. It’s no wonder that we sing, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown?” We know that what looked like defeat on Good Friday was God’s most glorious triumph. Join us as we examine the words of Christ spoken from the cross, and take to heart (and life!) their sacred and eternal meaning.
Fresh Start: Yes, it’s the new year. It is that time of year when many of us make resolutions to improve our diet, exercise more, and prioritize what is important in our lives. Thing is…those who follow through on their resolutions see positive results. Our faith is no different in this regard. No one is born an expert in spiritual matters. It takes time and intention to allow the Holy Spirit to act in our lives. Join us as we explore some of the practices we can institute in our lives to create a deeper and more life-changing faith.
Light of the World: (An Advent Series) Light is a powerful symbol. The light of the Sun gives life to the earth. Light, whether natural or artificial, allows us to see the world around us. Light lights up our path and shows us the way forward. It is any wonder that Jesus referred himself as the “Light of the World?” He is truly the “way, the truth and the life” for all who believe in him. Join us as we learn what it means to have the light of Christ shining brightly in our lives, as we navigate this year’s uncharted territory.
Dec 24 Virtual Christmas Eve Service (Posted online at 7:p.m.)
Finding Church: What a year this has been so far! Many of things we took for granted just six months ago seem to be put on hold, or maybe gone forever. One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the church we are so familiar with. Gone, for now at least, are the worship services and unrestricted fellowship we enjoyed at the start of the year. Although the present situation is painful, I suggest that we have been given a choice: to pine for the way things used to be, or to reimagine the church in light of what the Bible says about life as followers of Jesus. This series aims to encourage us to remember that the Church always exists, regardless of current circumstances. And that perhaps, “finding church” is actually rediscovering its essential qualities. Join us, as we examine what the Church is meant to be, and how it is very much alive today!
2020 Vision: Many sermons at the start of the year were titled “20/20 Vision” or some variation on the theme. It was a clever idea to highlight what it meant to be a Christian in today’s society. But who would have guessed that 2020 turned out to be the way it did? Many of us feel like our road map has been yanked out of our hands. And worse still, we can’t see what’s up ahead. Vision in 2020 turned out to be very blurry! But take heart, though we can’t see the big picture, God is guiding us in the “every day” of our lives. Join us as we remember that God’s hand is upon us in these blurry times. God’s sight is clear, and we can rely on him.
Sept 20 “Pray without ceasing.” Mark 1:35-37; Matt 6:5-18
all…Love.” 1John 4:7-21
#Blessed – A series on the Beatitudes: If there’s one thing about the Kingdom of God about which all of us can agree is that it operates by different rules than those in the world at large. In the Kingdom of God, many norms are upended: the last shall be first, the master is not greater than the servant, and everyone receives the same rewards. The Beatitudes show us another aspect of the Kingdom that defies common expectations. Dallas Willard describes the Beatitudes as showing that "the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.” In the topsy-turvy pandemic reality we are experiencing, join us as we remember that God is with us, no matter what we face in life.
“Restored” A Lenten series. The Bible has been compared to a love story – a love story between God and his creation. It is a story filled with both joy and sorrow; the latter because people are quick to reject their creator. It is a love story detailing how people have often lost their way from God, only to be welcomed back by God again and again. In the accounts in the Bible we see that God has never given up on us. God’s patient love is spelled out in the events recorded in the Bible, in the words of the judges, priests and prophets, and finally in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the “Passover Lamb.” Join us this Lent as we retell the story of God’s love for us, and of the lengths he takes to win us back to him.
Mar 15 SERVICES CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Mar 22 Being Church and a follower of Jesus Christ amidst COVID-19 Phil 4:4-9
Apr 10 “Paradise found.” Luke 23:32-43 Good Friday
Apr 12 Ringing of the Church Bells on Easter morning. Played by Rev. Paul Shaw.
See like Jesus: People see the world in many ways. For some, it is their “oyster.” Others see it as hectic and out of control. Still others see it as theirs to own and use. One thing for sure: our view of the world influences our life and faith. As followers of Christ we are taught to look at everything and everyone around us with the eyes of Christ. Join us as we examine the seven miracles or “signs” of Christ recorded in the Gospel of John. There we will be reminded that God’s vision for the world is fulfilled and spelled out in Jesus. To see like Jesus, is to see like God. It can’t get any clearer than that!
Feb 2 PWS&D Sunday
“Manger Miracle” Without a doubt, the Christmas season has a different feel than the rest of the year. I’ve said it before, but Christmas is softer and more hopeful in many ways. People seem to have a little bounce in their step, and are kinder and more optimistic. We all open doors for each other with an “Are you ready for Christmas?” and “Merry Christmas!” greetings. Some will say that the Christmas season is overly commercial. This can be true, but it overlooks the “reason for the season.” Truth is, we celebrate something truly special. We know what, or who that is…our Lord Jesus Christ, the “Word made flesh" born in a manger. Join us as we celebrate Advent and Christmas, and give thanks to God for this “manger miracle.”
Dec 15 “Down to Earth.” Luke 1:26-38 Christmas Cantata (Audio not available.)
Dec 24 “God delivers!” Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve 7 p.m. (Audio not available.)
Starting Advent Right: This two-week series is a pre-Advent pep talk to set the tone for the month ahead. All too often the “Christmas Season” is upon us before we have time to set our minds and hearts to receive it properly. It is ironic to look forward to something only to be run over by it! Join us as we take the time to prepare our hearts for Christmas even before the season begins.
From the Heart: One of the ideas that shows up regularly in the Bible is the notion of the human heart. This is not the heart as we know it in scientific terms, but refers to the core of every human being. According to the Bible, the “heart’ is where our intentions originate – it is the seat of our will and emotions. No surprise then that the Bible spends much time in assessing the condition of the heart of its characters and audience. At its most basic, the Bible asks, “Is our heart in line with God, or not?” Join us as we examine the Biblical understanding of the heart, and in so doing, take an honest look at ourselves. Does our heart beat after God, or does it follow its own desires?
Uncluttered: As we move into the summer months, many of us are afforded the opportunity to seek some time for rest and relaxation. It’s almost as if summer makes us think of slowing down in general – to find and reconnect with what is meaningful in life. It’s a time of year when we dream of shedding some of the busyness and responsibilities we carry every day. But what if there was a way to lighten our load on a permanent basis? What if we could shed attitudes and habits that weigh us down in mind and heart? Join us as we examine the spiritual side of decluttering our home and life to live a life that experiences more meaning, and “sparks joy.”
Aug 4 “Getting past our past.” Tit 3:3-8; 2Cor 5:17-21 (Psalm 38)
Aug 11 Backyard Mission - Joint service at First Christian Reformed Church - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 18 “Ditch Negativity!” Prov 15:18; 2 Tim 3:1-5; Phil 4:4-9
Aug 25 “Fear Less” Isa 41:8-10, 2 Tim 1:6-14
Sept 1 “Don’t be so stuffy!” 1 Tim 6-10, Acts 20:32-35
The Holy Spirit: Christians believe in the Trinity – that is, “One God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” And yet, many Christians think and act as if their faith was “Biniterian” addressing only God and Jesus. It is possible that many Christians misunderstand and downplay the role of the Holy Spirit in reaction to charismatic churches where it is associated with speaking in tongues and prophecy. Truth is, the Holy Spirit is more than just “signs and wonders,” and is present in every day life in a real and practical way. Join us as we get acquainted with the third person of the Triune God and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in life and faith.
None but Jesus! We believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He is the Son of God; a member of the Trinitarian expression of God. As we enter into the season of Lent it is good to be reminded that Jesus alone could free us from sin and death through his death on the cross. Terrible as is was, what transpired in the days leading up to the crucifixion was not a random set of cruel events. It was God’s necessary plan. Christ’s journey to the cross is a stark reminder of the steep price God had to pay to rid humanity of the effect of sin. Join us as we journey through Lent and into the glory of Easter giving thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrificial love for all humanity. Truly, none but Jesus could have accomplished this!Apr 21 “Do we recognize him?” John 20:1-18 Easter Sunday and Sunday School Play
Charting the Course: The new year is often a time of personal assessment. We look back on the year (or life!) behind us, and wonder what is to come. With this often comes a desire to enact positive changes in our life, and even to set a new direction altogether. But what about our faith? What changes can we make, and what course can we set to order our life and grow closer to Jesus? Join us as we examine some of the basics of what it takes to find our way in life as followers of Jesus.
Jan 27 “It’s lived out in community.” Eccl 4:9-12; Gal 6:1-10 (No audio available.)
An “Olde-Fashioned” Christmas. There’s just something about Christmas that makes us think of yesteryear. The season of Advent brings to mind a by-gone era where things were simpler, and somehow kinder and gentler. But guess what? If we go back to the origins of Christmas in the words of the prophets recorded in the Old Testament, we find that Christmas is anything but quaint and simple. The Hebrew prophets spoke of a day when God would send the Messiah to redeem the people of Israel, and institute God’s reign of radical and inclusive love that would upend the global status quo. Join us as we examine an “Olde-fashioned” Christmas, and become reacquainted with the significance, power and hope of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Dec 2 “The TRUE Christmas Season.” Jer 33:14-18; Luke 21:25-36 Communion Sunday
Dec 24 “The Perfect Gift” Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m. (No audio available.)
A Faith-based Life: You might have heard someone say “Do as I say, not as I do!” That is something we’d never hear Jesus say. Jesus was one in intention and action. And he calls us to live in the same way. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus outlined what a life of faith looks like, one which is lived here and now. Sometimes we forget that our faith is just as much about this earthly life as it is about heavenly life. As Dallas Willard noted, “We get so busy trying to get people into Heaven, that we forget to teach them to live in Heaven now.” Join us as Mike looks at the Sermon on the Mount to highlight how a faith-based life impacts our daily life in every way, and blesses us in this life, not just in the age to come.
Sept 2 “To end is to begin.” Matt 5:1-12 (no audio available)
Sept 30 Guest Speaker (Mike at Youth Retreat)
In Him: As members of First Presbyterian Church, we confess our faith in God. We believe God created all things, including you and me. We bear witness that God sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save us from sin, and leads us by the Holy Spirit. These are no small claims, and they should affect every aspect of our lives. But do they? Sometimes we get off track, or worse, fail to find the way altogether. What does it mean then to be a follower or Christ? How does it look like in a practical sense? Join us as Mike discusses what it means to be plugged into Jesus Christ, and how to go about it on a daily basis.
Aug 5 "Abide in Him" John 15:1-11; 1 John 4:12-13
Aug 12 "Depend on Him" Isaiah 44:1-10; Matt 16:21-28
Aug 19 "Learn from Him" Luke 10:38-42; Matt 11:25-28
Aug 26 Guest Speaker
July 8 Rev. Paul Shaw
July 15 Rev. Paul Shaw
July 22 Backyard Mission 2018 Rev. Nate VanDenend
July 29 Bob McCall
Fresh Faith: When it comes to the deepening of our faith, we Christians know the drill, don’t we?We know we are to read our Bible, pray, worship and serve others. All these lead to a deeper faith which can’t be diluted by affluence or overwhelmed by rough times. Nonetheless, our busy life can dampen the spirit within us, making our faith seem stale. Join us as we highlight three things we can do to keep our faith fresh and vibrant. These are by no means the only things we can do, but they are important. Here’s praying that you think so too!
July 1 Cultivate a thankful spirit. Psalm 138:1-8
Citizens of Heaven: In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul refers to its members as “Citizens of Heaven.” These were people just like you and me who were encouraged to live a life of faith with joy and perseverance. The world has changed a lot since the time Paul wrote this letter, but our Christian perspective remains the same no matter our environment. In some ways, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Join us as we take a look at the book of Philippians and take in lessons that are as relevant today as they were in the 1st century.
“Sent to Save” Many people think that Jesus came to teach us how to love, and though that may be right, it neglects the central aspect of Jesus’s mission. Just who did Jesus claim to be, and why was he sent into the world? The Gospel writers were clear that Jesus was sent by his Heavenly Father to save the world from sin and death. This is why John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God’, who sacrificed himself for our sake. Join us as we reacquaint ourselves with Jesus’ mission of salvation through selected events in his ministry, culminating in his crucifixion and resurrection. May it be that we are reminded how much we owe our loving God, who took our sin upon himself that we might not bear the consequences of our human rebelliousness.
Mar 11 (Mike away on study leave)