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Why Tell The Story?

April 28, 2019 (Confirmation Sunday)

Theme: The focus of this sermon is meant to be basic: What is the gospel and why does it matter? This will get us to the root of evangelism and why evangelism is important and part of our lives.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 – Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Where Do We Tell The Story?

May 5, 2019

Theme: We are each called to be “everyday missionaries”. We don’t have to go anywhere special to share our faith. Instead, God calls each of us to share our faith wherever we find ourselves. This may be in our work, in our neighborhood, in our city, or in our child’s sports league. We have opportunities to be an everyday missionary wherever we end up. Our sense of “neighborhood” broadens as we see ourselves connected to more and more people even beyond our “literal neighbors”.

Scripture: Luke 4:14-22 – Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

How Do We Tell The Story?

May 12, 2019

Theme: We started the process last week exploring how our social connection and “neighbors” are a great place to start when sharing our faith. This sermon turns us toward “how”. The story of the Ethiopian Eunuch gives us one example of Phillip using an opportunity presented by God to share the gospel. First, the Spirit leads him. Second, Phillip is willing to go. Third, Phillip looks for an opportunity for connection. He finds a connection point with the Eunuch who happens to be reading scripture. We may not always have this glaring a connection point, but many people still have faith beliefs and even a history with Christianity. People will also have experiences of pain and trials that open them up to God. We may not have an experience like Phillip;it will likely take much more time to share the gospel with someone. But we find Phillip willing to let the Spirit lead and connect with the Eunuch’s story in order to share the gospel. As everyday missionaries we are called to be a consistent presence in people’s lives and invite God to open up opportunities to share our faith.

Scripture: Acts 8:26-39 (NRSV) – Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.”

So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,and like a lamb silent before its shearer,so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”

Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

Who Tells The Story?

May 19, 2019 (Youth Sunday)

Theme: Everything the church does needs to be about evangelism and each of our lives needs to take on an evangelistic attitude. We have a tendency to look to the church’s programs and the building to be the draw for people to connect to Jesus. These are good things, but for us to be truly evangelistic then every Christian needs to undertake their role as an “Everyday missionary”to their local community and social connections. Sharing our faith with others is part of a life of discipleship. When Jesus called the disciples he called them to follow him and that by following they would be made fishers of people.

Scripture: Matthew 4:18-22 (NRSV) – As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV) – Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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