Aug 14, 2016
Jesus Sees Us All – Inside Out
Series: (All)
Less than a month before His crucifixion Jesus spoke this parable about two people:  A Tax collector and a Pharisee!   One enters the Kingdom of God humbly and is exalted the other comes exalted and is humbled.   As we look at these two men who do we identify with?  If you are like me, we might see a little bit of both of the attitudes displayed by these two men within ourselves.  Sometimes we feel pretty satisfied with how we live our lives and then there are times when we feel depressed and dissatisfied with our behavior and actions.  This parable gives us a glimpse into all of our hearts, hearts that only Jesus truly and fully knows and understands.  We can pour out our heart to Him!
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  • Aug 14, 2016Jesus Sees Us All – Inside Out
    Aug 14, 2016
    Jesus Sees Us All – Inside Out
    Series: (All)
    Less than a month before His crucifixion Jesus spoke this parable about two people:  A Tax collector and a Pharisee!   One enters the Kingdom of God humbly and is exalted the other comes exalted and is humbled.   As we look at these two men who do we identify with?  If you are like me, we might see a little bit of both of the attitudes displayed by these two men within ourselves.  Sometimes we feel pretty satisfied with how we live our lives and then there are times when we feel depressed and dissatisfied with our behavior and actions.  This parable gives us a glimpse into all of our hearts, hearts that only Jesus truly and fully knows and understands.  We can pour out our heart to Him!
  • Aug 7, 2016The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
    Aug 7, 2016
    The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
    2016 James Series
    God's will for every person is that they grow. In Hebrews 6:1 we read: "Let us go on to maturity." In other words, God wants us to grow up.  In particular, He wants us to grow in the image and likeness of His Son Jesus.  And so He has given us His Word to reveal Christ to us, and to instruct us as followers of Him.  That's why one of the key areas of focus at of our church is “GROW."  It is our desire to help those we encounter to grow spiritually.  What does spiritual maturity look like?  God shows us in His Word.
     
  • Jul 31, 2016How To Pray Effectively
    Jul 31, 2016
    How To Pray Effectively
    Often people will say that they believe in "the power of prayer."  That's good; the Bible speaks frequently to the importance and effectiveness of prayer.  But when a person says that, do they really mean that they believe in the power of the pray-er ... meaning, the one who does the praying?  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  But when He did, He showed that the power is not in the one praying, but rather in the One being prayed to ... namely Our Father who art in heaven
    .  Jesus also taught His disciples that when we pray, it isn't "one and done."  We can't expect that just because we've prayed for something one time that the Lord will respond. Why not?  Of course, only God knows, but the Bible suggests that the process of praying does something in us as well.
     
  • Jul 24, 2016What to do when Life’s Unfair
    Jul 24, 2016
    What to do when Life’s Unfair
    We often complain that "Life's not fair!" But who ever said it should be?  Not God!  In fact, we really don't want God to be fair with us, do we?  If we got what we deserved, we would only receive God's wrath and punishment.  For the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, 
    "the wages of sin is death."  If you want to know what your works have earned you, the Bible tells you that your sin has earned you everlasting condemnation ... that is, death. This is bad news.  But, there is good news that follows.  Because you don't get what you have earned.  No!  You get better!  Romans 6:23 goes on to say, "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
     Life truly is unfair! You don't get what you deserve - Christ does, as He dies on the cross. Instead, you get what Christ deserves - eternal life!  Now, how shall you live your life in response to God's gracious gift? 
  • Jul 17, 2016Can Faith Move Mountains?
    Jul 17, 2016
    Can Faith Move Mountains?
    Bigger is better, right?  We often think that! But, not so with the Kingdom of God.  We've been learning from Jesus about how the Kingdom of Heaven is different than our ways of the world; one such way is the idea of mustard seed faith. (A mustard seed is very small, by the way.)  Often we think that our faith is too weak or too frail to make a difference. Jesus teaches however, that even the tiniest faith is able to do big things - like move mountains, He says!  Why?  Because it's not the faith that's accomplishing it, but rather the One the faith believes in.  Big faith in a little god is worthless... but little faith in our big God .. that's powerful!
  • Jul 10, 2016Who Will Escape Judgment?
    Jul 10, 2016
    Who Will Escape Judgment?
    This week, Jesus has some sobering words about the Kingdom of Heaven. He teaches us in the "Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds" that there is not only good seed being sown in His harvest field, but there is also bad seed being sown by His enemy.  What do we do about this? Do we fight fire with fire and harm those who appear to belong to the enemy? Jesus says, "No." In so doing we might judge incorrectly and end up harming His children as well. Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby columnist) would agree.  She once said, “People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.”  So what is to become of the wickedness that is being sown around us?  Jesus answers this in today's parable.
  • Jul 3, 2016What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?
    Jul 3, 2016
    What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?
    This year our "God on Film" message series will feature teachings from the parables of Jesus each week, along with illustrations from popular movies.  This Sunday, Jesus answers the question, "What is the Kingdom of Heaven Like?" by telling His listeners the Parable of the Sower: "A farmer went out to sow his seed..." (Matt 13:3).  Jesus used the well-known examples of a farmer, a seed, and a harvest to explain mysteries of God's Kingdom.  He used common elements to teach uncommon messages.  And in so doing, He challenged His hearers to live a life aligned with God's Word - causing them and us to ask ourselves: "what kind of soil with the seed of God's Word find when it lands on my heart?"
  • Jun 26, 2016Raising Spirit Awareness
    Jun 26, 2016
    Raising Spirit Awareness
    Series: (All)
    As Lutheran Christians, we confess a Trinitarian belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  This means that we believe that while we have only one God, that same God has revealed Himself to us in three persons.  The ancient creeds of the Church express this understanding as best as can be done in human words.  While the Holy Spirit is always spoken of "last" in those creeds, He is by no means less  Godly.  In fact, we recognize the Holy Spirit's enduring and powerful work among us today even in our Catechism: “The Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”  (Martin Luther).  How can we move from viewing the Holy Spirit as a mysterious "blur" and "ghostly presence hovering in the background" (Gordon Fee), to seeing Him as the powerful and active person of the Godhead that He is?
  • Jun 19, 2016Praying for Patience
    Jun 19, 2016
    Praying for Patience
    Series: (All)
    Have you ever prayed for "patience?"  You might want to reconsider that - when you think about how God is going to make you patient.  It is unlikely that God will just change your demeanor overnight (though, He certainly could).  Rather, He will likely teach you patience by making you WAIT!  What better way to grow in integrity than to be faced with the opportunity for dishonesty and yet experience telling the truth?  What better way to grow in determination than to overcome failure?  So, if God needs to teach you patience, He will give you opportunities to wait on Him.  As you do, you will learn to trust Him more.  And as you trust Him, you will learn that He desires to grant you all good things.  
  • Jun 12, 2016Praying for Wisdom
    Jun 12, 2016
    Praying for Wisdom
    Series: (All)
    Slide5
    Young King Solomon, when asked by God what he wanted, prayed to receive wisdom (1 Kings 3).  Do you pray for wisdom?  What does that mean to you?  It has been said that wisdom is "knowledge applied."  It is true that humans are capable of amassing knowledge, and yet still remaining unwise.  Such is the case of the unbelieving heart.  Often what is perceived as worldly knowledge is wrongly applied and then deemed to be opposed to what is spiritually wise.  So how is the believing person to reconcile the wisdom of God, which is seen as foolishness to the world?
     
  • Jun 5, 2016What Gives Us True Happiness and Joy?
    Jun 5, 2016
    What Gives Us True Happiness and Joy?
    Series: (All)
    Slide1
    There are a lot of things in life that can suck the joy out of us and leave us discouraged - health, finances, relationships, and politics to mention a few.  We can have joy in our life when we are connected to Jesus.
     
  • May 29, 2016Persecuted
    May 29, 2016
    Persecuted
    Bless_this_Home_-_Banner_Resized
    The Bible clearly states that Christians will be persecuted. It still happens today in many different forms, from as simple as being mocked to as serious as suffering death. Be that as it may, we do not let persecution discourage us.  In fact, we embrace it. Persecution is an indication that we are "on the right track," since the enemy is always opposing the work of Christ.  Last week, after professing their faith, our confirmation students were asked this question: "Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession ... and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?" Recognizing that Christ is the creator and sustainer of your very life, and that He holds your eternity in His hands ... How would 
    you 
    answer that question?
  • May 22, 2016Peacemakers
    May 22, 2016
    Peacemakers
    Have you noticed how uncivil our culture has become?  People can be just flat out rude.  Polite manners seem to be a thing of the past.  Especially when it comes to the news media; whatever is the most divisive gets the most press and therefore fills the hearts and minds of the people - that is, us and our neighbors!  More and more people are ready for an argument.  But what about Christians?  How do we respond when provoked?  What does Jesus mean when he says, "Blessed are the peacemakers ..."
     (Matthew 5:9).  Does that mean peace at all costs?  Does that mean not caring?  Just how do we make peace?  For that, we must look to Christ Himself.
  • May 15, 2016Pure in Heart
    May 15, 2016
    Pure in Heart
    Bless_this_Home_-_Banner_ResizedBlessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God(Matthew 5:8) The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart. It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside.  The aim of Jesus Christ is not to reform the manners of society, but to change the hearts of sinners like us.  Considering the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us at Pentecost, we can see how Go
    d intends to change us from the inside out.
  • May 8, 2016Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
    May 8, 2016
    Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
    “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 
    (Matthew 5:6, ESV) This one short verse of Scripture brings to us an incredible message of hope, and a message that should spark a deep sense of joy in all of us who are believers and those who may be seeking Christ. Satisfaction is available, but only through Christ.