Hope, Peace, and Joy

“Hope,” “Peace,” and “Joy:” this time of year we see these words written everywhere: yard decorations, television commercials, wrapping paper, and Christmas cards. These words make us feel good, like a warm blanket and a steaming peppermint latte, but what do they really mean? Imagine for a moment receiving a gift in beautiful packaging, but when you open it there is nothing inside. The words “Hope, Peace, and Joy” can be like that. We hear them, and they make us smile, but a few moments later it is as if they meant nothing. These words can also be some of the best gifts you have ever received, which fill the deepest needs and desires of your heart. Ultimately, it is your choice.

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The Crucified King

As Americans, we don’t have much of an appreciation for the role of a King. In fact, you might say that the roots of our nations are decidedly anti-king. Our constitution was set up with a system of checks and balances to make sure that no one person could hold all the power at one time. We have a right to be afraid of earthly kings, but Jesus is a king that will never fail us. His rule is just and perfect, he always has our best interests and the best interests of his kingdom in mind. And one day he will make right all that is broken in this world.

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Letting Go of our Creations

Once when my son was about three years old he had spent about an hour building an incredible duplo block creation. His little sister crawled over and began to pull at his buildings. He exploded with anger and frustration. When I mentioned that it was time for lunch and therefore clean up time which meant taking his building down and putting it away he was beside himself with anger and rage. I sat on the floor with my son trying to help him understand that God desires for us to give ourselves to work and creativity, and to also let go of that which we create. It is so tempting in this life to cling to physical things we can see, touch, and experience. God longs to give us a godly perspective of our life. If we come to him we will have right thinking in regards to the way we invest ourselves.

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In My Flesh I Shall See God

There is meaning in our suffering. When we suffer and continue to trust God, it gives us an opportunity to rely on God for the strength to make it through. It gives us an opportunity to identify with the suffering of Christ himself. There is work yet to do. There are people who rely on you, but even more important than that, you are the image of God in this world. There are people whom God has uniquely positioned you to reach, both by your words and examples. There are people who may not make it safely home to God without your influence in their lives. Remember, “he is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (luke 20:38). He wants us to live for him now, and we all look forward to seeing God, in our flesh, face to face.

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Saints Today with Hope for Tomorrow

If you golf, you may have golf heroes. Woodworkers have woodworking heroes. Cooks have cooking heroes. As Christians, we have Christian heroes that we call “saints.” The point is not that Saints are so much holier than us and therefore must be much closer to God. All Saints were also sinners. Not perfect. The point is that they give us real, concrete examples of what it looks like to live out the Christian faith.

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Following Christ to Serve Those in Need

We are uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of our loving God! We are called into relationship that our lives may be more perfectly transformed by the life of Christ, our Savior. In the parable of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus is leading us in the way of God’s love toward those in need. In God’s love for us, Christ gave himself as the undeserved favor for those in need, to grant that which is outside of our power: life, salvation, grace, and mercy. We are called to follow in the way of Christ, in love and consideration of others, from the bounty of God’s blessing and endless resource.

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Jesus Loves Me This I Know

In 1962, Someone asked Karl Barth, one of the most notable theologians of the 20th century, how he would summarize the major themes throughout his publishing career. He responded, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” These words from the popular children’s song of the same name communicate some of the most important things that we need to know about who God is and who we are. In this sermon, we will explore the themes of this song more deeply as we also consider two of Jesus’ parables, one about a lost sheep and another about a lost coin.

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Ten Years of Ministry in Middleburg!

Two important symbolic actions were taken as the foundation of our church building was poured. A copy of the Bible was placed in the foundation, and two verses were written in the slab that would support this structure: Deuteronomy 32:47 and Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God is literally the foundation of this church! But we are not just called to remember the word of God, the word of God calls us to action. Jesus tells us that we are to be salt and light to this world. What does that mean? Listen to find out.

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Built to Last

It has often been said that hindsight is 20/20. King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes at the end of his life, looking back and reflecting on all that he had done. He was a man with no lack of resources and he wholeheartedly pursued whatever caught his attention and interest. Overall, however, he found that most of these pursuits were nothing but “vanity and chasing after the wind.” What is our life is worth pursuing? Where can we find happiness and fulfillment? Ultimately there is only one thing that can bear this weight.

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Storming Heaven

Abraham petitioned the Lord over and over again for the innocent. He relented only after asking the God of the heavens and earth for each of the people. Abraham shows us a way to pray, petitioning God for the concerns of our heart. When people suffer, make bad choices, need help, and experience scary circumstances we need to storm heaven for them. Not assuming that we know the right answer for their life but rather asking God to care for them, provide for them, and have his way in their life. God’s vision is so much clearer and wider than ours. We see life in a limited manner however God can see it all.

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