Exploring Our Worship and Sermons
Updated: Mar 25
Each week, we explore different holy text within the Bible as part of our weekly Sunday sermons. While we base our discussions on the teachings of the Bible, we connect them to our hectic, confusing modern day lives. Our worship services combine reflection on the scripture, singing, praise, praying and a message. Both the pastor and lay people (men, women and children) participate in and lead in worship , service and spiritual growth. Please join us Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!
PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE ONGOING LOCAL AND GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS, WE WILL NOT HAVE 'IN-PERSON' WORSHIP SERVICES THROUGH AT LEAST THE END OF MARCH 2020. WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR MEDICAL AND GOVERNMENTAL ADVICE AND WILL MAKE FUTURE DECISIONS ABOUT OUR WORSHIP SERVICES AS WE GO FORWARD. We are offering On-Line services now on Sunday mornings at 10:00am. If you wish to join us on Sundays, please contact us through our Facebook page (@SantaPaulaFCC), email us at email@example.com, or call our pastor, Rev. Jenny Crosswhite at 805-351-5501.
This page is regular updated with some of the most recent sermon topics.
SUNDAY, March 29, 2020 (On-Line Service Only)
Sermon: God is Near
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41 & Psalm 34:17-19
We gathered online for worship for the first time last week. It was a new experience for many of us, and it was also good. Honestly, there have been a lot of new experiences over the past couple of weeks. Some of them good, and some not so good.
The one thing that is not new, is that God has been present with us through all of them. As we explore together this unsettling new world of being together while apart, I am reminded of the story of the storm that arose while the Disciples were on a boat with Jesus.
Whether we are feeling afraid, overwhelmed, or at peace, the reality is that we are all on a boat in the middle of a big storm. When we gather together this Sunday for worship, we will explore together the theme, “God is Near” and what it looks like for Jesus to calm the storm around us today.
Please join our virtual worship this Sunday at 10am. You can stay connected with us by periodically visiting our website (www.firstchristianchurchsp.com) and Facebook page (@SantaPaulaFCC) or calling Pastor Jenny at 805-351-5501.
SUNDAY, March 22, 2020 ---NO IN PERSON WORSHIP SERVICE
Last week, we talked about how Jesus meets us in the uncertain, fearful, dark, and difficult times in our lives, just as he was present with his disciples when they were afraid.
No matter how we find ourselves feeling these days, may we be reminded of the presence of God with us, that we are still called to be community for one another even if that looks a little different right now, and that this wilderness time will come an end.
I lament that we cannot gather together in person during this time, but trust that we can and will find ways to stay connected. We will not be having in-person services through March and will keep you posted on what happens after that.
We also can be contacted through our Facebook page (@SantaPaulaFCC), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our pastor, Rev. Jenny Crosswhite at 805-351-5501 to find out our latest plans for staying connected and resources for continuing to make lent meaningful during these difficult times.
SUNDAY, March 15, 2020
Sermon: Words to Live By
Scripture: Matthew 17:1-9
For the second time in the gospel of Matthew we hear the words, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased.” The first was at Jesus baptism in the Jordan River.
This time, however, some additional words were spoken directly to the disciples. The words were, “Listen to him!” Rather than being in awe at the moment, they were overcome by fear.
I am struck by the fact that we often find ourselves talking or worrying but not stopping to listen. Here Jesus was, telling them not to be afraid, not to worry, and in the next breath telling them he was going to die.
Join us this Sunday at 10 am as we explore together Matthew 17:1-9 and the theme, “Words to Live By.” In these often anxious times in which we live, what hope and assurance does this passage have to teach us?
We are located at 829 Railroad Ave, Santa Paula, CA. Services begin at 10am every Sunday. You can contact our pastor, Rev. Jenny Crosswhite, directly with more questions at 805-351-5501 or JennyCrosswhite@gmail.com.
SUNDAY, March 8, 2020
Sermon: Who Do You Say I Am?
Scripture: Matthew 12:15-21
Jesus’ very presence and ministry had a different impact on people depending on where they were coming from. For the so called “religious establishment,” his ministry was controversial and challenging. For those who were struggling, suffering, outcast, ostracized, or unwelcome, his ministry offered profound hope.
I am sure there were also people somewhere in the middle of these two reactions who were not plotting against him but rather were more curious than anything else. I wonder what it would have been like for us to have been there and heard Jesus’ teaching and seen his ministry first-hand?
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together Matthew 12:15-21 and the theme, “Who Do You That Say I Am?” We will examine Jesus’ ministry together and be challenged to think about who Jesus is to us, and what his ministry means for how we are to live our lives today.
SUNDAY, March 1, 2020
Sermon: Journey of the Heart
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
For the Hebrew people, the wilderness was a place of trials and temptation, but it was also the place where they encountered God. So when Jesus’ followers hear about his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, they surely would have been reminded that their ancestors spent 40 years in the wilderness.
This week, as we enter into the season of Lent, which started on Wednesday, we are invited to journey with Jesus into a time of spiritual nourishment and reflecting on where our hearts are focused. We are invited to examine our priorities and think about our own temptations and times of trial. The hope is that through it all, we will encounter God anew.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together Matthew 4:1-11 and the theme, “Journey of the Heart.” We will also be invited to think about what each of us can do to make the Lenten journey meaningful for us this year.
SUNDAY, February 23, 2020
Sermon: Equally Made
Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16
If we are honest with ourselves, when we hear Jesus’ parable about the landowner who hires laborers for his vineyard, we probably react one of a couple ways. We are either overwhelmingly grateful or are outraged… or maybe we are just confused.
It all depends on who we identify with in the story. If we identify with the first laborers, we surely feel a twinge of “perceived injustice” when everyone is paid the same at the end of the day. On the other hand, if we identify with the last laborers hired, we are thankful that we were even invited into the vineyard at all.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together Matthew 20:1-16 and the theme, “Equally Made.” We will be unpacking what Jesus is saying about the Kingdom of God and God’s radical, counter-cultural, counter intuitive invitation to “enter the vineyard.”
SUNDAY, February 16, 2020
Sermon: There is Freedom in Release
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35
Jesus had made it very clear to his disciples that forgiveness was important. So Peter, wanting to makes sure things were clear, came and asked him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”
Jesus went on to tell him a parable about forgiveness, mercy, and the danger of not letting go. To be clear, forgiveness does not always mean that reconciliation is possible. That being said, Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is vital.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together Matthew 18:21-35 and the theme, “There is Freedom in Release.” We will talk about why forgiveness can be hard as well as why it is so important.
SUNDAY, February 9, 2020
Sermon: Gathered Together
Scripture: Matthew 14:10-14
After last week’s more easily understandable parable about the sower (Jesus did leave us with an interpretation of that one), this week we find ourselves chasing after lost sheep.
Sandwiched between a discussion of who is greatest in the Kingdom of God, where Jesus welcomes the little children to come to him and a discussion on sin, disagreements and gathering together in Jesus’ name is Matthew’s recital of the parable of the lost sheep.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together Matthew 18:10-14 and the theme, “Gathered Together.”
SUNDAY, February 2, 2020
Sermon: Doing Our Part
Scripture: Matthew 13:3-9
My aunt Sheri could make anything grow. She understood plants. She understood animals. She ran a farm for many years, and no matter where she lived, she always had a garden. If there was a plant that wasn’t doing well, we knew where to take it.
Over the years I have talked with various people who, like my aunt, have worked with plants and animals more extensively than I have. Each conversation has helped me understand Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13:3-9 a little better.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we explore together what it takes to cultivate lives that are fruitful and hearts that are true.
SUNDAY, January 26, 2020
Sermon: Firm Foundation
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-27
If you read the parable in Matthew 7:24-27 without its context, you might be left asking, what is Jesus talking about? What words is he referring to? What is a rock foundation? What is a sand foundation? What kind of house are we building? What are the consequences?
This parable, however, occurs at the very end of Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount. Thusly, we can conclude that the words he is referring to are the very words of his sermon in which he talks about being salt and light, loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, gives us instructions on almsgiving and oaths, prayer and forgiveness, worrying, how we treat one another, and doing the will of God.
Join us this week as we unpack the parable of the wise and foolish builders and see what practical instructions Jesus is giving us for living as children of God.
SUNDAY, January 19, 2020
Sermon: Living as Salt & Light
Scripture: Matthew 5: 13-20
One of Jesus’ most famous sermons is his Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew 5-7. Jesus begins his sermon with a great list of reversals and unexpected blessings.
It is the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted who are blessed and to whom belong the kingdom of God.
Right after this list, Jesus talks about how his disciples are (present tense) the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
As we commit ourselves to following Jesus, what does that mean for us? What does this call us to? What shall our lives look like? Join us this Sunday as we unpack this first Parable Jesus tells in Matthew’s gospel, and explore what Matthew and Jesus have to say about righteousness (Matt. 5:13-20).
SUNDAY, January 12, 2020
Sermon: Divine Encounters
Scripture: Matthew 3:11, 13-17
John the Baptist, who had a reputation as a wild rabble-rouser, who wore camel’s hair and ate wild honey, was out in the wilderness calling for the people to repent and be baptized in the Jordan River.
It’s the same river where Joshua lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan after Moses’ death. It’s the place where Elijah and Elisha crossed on dry ground, and the place where the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven, ending his earthly ministry, and the place where Elisha began his. Elisha also performed miracles at the Jordan.
The Jordan River was an ordinary place with sacred meaning, that was connected to a larger history and story. As Jesus stepped into it, he stepped symbolically into that history, his identity, and ultimately, his calling.
We will read from Matthew 3:11, 13-17 and reflect on the theme, “Divine Encounters” as we are invited to remember and reflect on our connection to a larger story and history. May we thus be compelled to seek out and notice the ordinary places around us that can become extraordinary.
SUNDAY, January 5, 2020
Sermon: A Year of Kindness
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
This Sunday we celebrate the Magi followed the stars to find the baby Jesus, bringing their gifts. Though the Magi traveled long ago, we too today are still seeking Jesus, trusting that God can and does use signs (or stars) to guide us closer to the Divine presence. As a reminder of this, we will be invited again this year to take a star in worship. Each star will have a word on it.
As 2019 has come to an end and 2020 begins, we will be invited to use this “star” word we receive to guide us into the new year, and as a way to focus.
Join us this Sunday at 10 a.m. as we read from Matthew 2:1-12 and do a little star gazing as we celebrate Christ with us in this new year. Our theme for this year’s service is “A Year of Kindness.”
SUNDAY, December 29, 2019
Sermon: Anticipating God's Blessings
Scripture: Psalm 103
As we get closer to the beginning of a new year, our tendency is to think of things we need to change, how we want to improve ourselves or eliminate some (maybe one) of our vices. Oftentimes our resolutions don't get fulfilled.
Instead, let us remember and be grateful for all of the blessings and good things God has already done for us and will continue to do. Especially in this time of year when we have just finished celebrating Christmas! May we be grateful for the birth of Christ and anticipate God's blessings in the new year.
SUNDAY, December 22, 2019
Sermon: The Way of Love
Scripture: Ruth 4:1-6, 11-22
Throughout Advent we have journeyed with Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba, three of the four grandmothers of Jesus named in the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel. This week, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we will also remember Ruth.
Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi whose husband and both of her sons died. After all this loss, Naomi told her daughters-in-law to leave her and return to their people. Naomi thought that was the end of her journey. Out of love, Ruth refused to leave Naomi, and it is said, went on to be more to her than seven sons.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ anew this coming week, we remember that just as Ruth didn’t give up on Naomi, Jesus never gives up on us. For all the times our hearts have been weary and broken, and for all the times we have walked in dry places, may we remember that God’s love is a miracle and God doesn’t give up on us.
Join us this week as we remember Ruth and celebrate anew the birth of Jesus. We will be reading from Ruth 4:1-6, 11-22 and reflecting on the theme, “The Way of Love.”
SUNDAY, December 15, 2019
Sermon: Impossible Joy
Scripture: 2 Samuel 11:1-15, 11:26, and 12:25
While the holiday season is meant to be a time of preparation and celebration, it is often also a time of grief. A time when we remember acutely the people and opportunities we have lost, and we feel them more deeply in contrast to the joy around us.
This week, we will tell the story of Bathsheba, a woman who knew grief all too well. Bathsheba lost her husband first, and soon after her unborn child.
Yes, she went on to become one of King David’s wives, and the mother of Solomon, a most revered and wise King of Israel, but that status does not change the traumatic and tragic circumstances that lead to the death of her first husband and subsequent loss of her first child.
Join us this week as we remember Bathsheba, seek healing for our deepest most hidden pain, and trust that God can help lead our troubled hearts to joy. We will be reading from 2 Samuel 11:1-15, 11:26, and 12:25 and reflecting on the theme, “Impossible Joy.”
Services begin at 10am. We are located at 829 Railroad Ave., Santa Paula.
SUNDAY, December 8, 2019
Sermon: In Pursuit of Peace
Scripture: Joshua 2:1-24, 6:1-2, 6:25
As we continue our journey through Advent this week, we will tell the story of Rahab, named in Jesus genealogy in Matthew, as the mother of Boaz (Matt. 1:5). Rahab’s story is one we struggle to understand for many reasons.
First, Rahab was a prostitute. For some of us, we get stuck there, struggling to figure out how she can be part of Jesus’ family tree. Second, she hides the Israelite spies who later come back with an army to conquer the city in which she lives. How can those actions lead us to peace?
Join us this week as we remember Rahab, unpack biblical history, strip off harmful labels, and seek peace for all who live in troubled and frightening times or places. We will be reading from Joshua 2:1-24, 6:1-2, 6:25 and reflecting on the theme, “In Pursuit of Peace.”
SUNDAY, December 1, 2019
Sermon: Hope for the Hopeless
Scripture: Genesis 39:1-30
This Sunday, December 1, marks the start of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation, where we have the opportunity to share stories that lead us toward celebrating Jesus birth.
This year we will be sharing the stories of Jesus’ grandmothers who are listed in his genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16. This week, we will start with the story of Tamar. It is a story that might be easier to forget, but isn’t that the case with all difficult stories?
Join us this week as we remember Tamar and find hope in the fact that Jesus doesn’t forget the broken, unnoticed or unloved. We will be reading from Genesis 38:1-30 and reflecting on the theme, “Hope for the Hopeless.”
SUNDAY, November 24, 2019
Sermon: Accepting Salvation
Scripture: Hebrews 8:7-13
We as people have a large calling as people of Christ. The number one thing we are taught is to exercise patience and forgiveness with others-but we forget to extend this to ourselves.
In our daily lives, it’s hard enough finding time to do everything on our plates and still squeeze in faith time. Due to our calling, we have to flip this mentality, and always put our faith first.
Join us this week as our guest speaker, Marques Guy brings us a word from Hebrews 8:7-13, reflecting on the theme, “Accepting Salvation.”
SUNDAY, November 17, 2019
Sermon: Be Still and Know
Scripture: Psalm 40
Sometimes the storms rage (or in our case, the fires burn and the land slides off the hill), the wars continue, and life just feels like too much. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and alone.
In these moments, may we find comfort in the words from our scripture this week. May we be inspired to take time out to rest, to be still, and to know that God is still present.
Join us this week as we step back, take stock of what is important, breathe deeply, and remember that God is still present, especially in our times of trouble. We will be reading from Psalm 46 and reflecting on the theme, “Be Still and Know.”
Services begin at 10am. We are located at 829 Railroad Ave., Santa Paula. You can contact our pastor, the Rev. Jenny Crosswhite, directly with more questions at 805-351-5501 or JennyCrosswhite@gmail.com.
SUNDAY, November 10, 2019
Sermon: God of the Living
Scripture: Luke 20:27-38
Have you ever been talking with someone and realized that they were trying to “get” you? Meaning, trying to back you into a corner and get you to say something that would allow them to say, “Ha! Got ya!”
Well, that is the situation that Jesus finds himself in this week in our text from Luke 20. Jesus is confronted by a group of folks who do not believe in resurrection and are asking a legal question about the afterlife.
It’s amazing how the stories of Jesus always show him so collected and quick to think on his feet when people are challenging him. He is portrayed as always having the perfect answer. How many times have we thought later in the day, “Oh, I should have said……” in response to something someone said to us?
Join us this week as we talk about Jesus’ artful response to the Sadducees theological attack. We will also explore the problem of commodifying human beings as we unpack Luke 20:27-38 and the theme, “God of the Living.”
SUNDAY, November 3, 2019
Sermon: Kingdom Living
Scripture: Luke 6:20-36
When we look back on Jesus’ words and teaching, we find some of them to be comforting and some to make us uncomfortable. Some are challenging, and others inspirational.
In this week’s text from Luke 6, we watch as Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God in ways that are counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. Jesus sets out a framework, that he backs up with actions, that describe what kingdom-living looks like.
As we remember this week the cloud of witnesses that went before us, let us reflect together on what Luke 6:20-36 has to teach us about “Kingdom living.”
SUNDAY, October 27, 2019
Sermon: Restoration Theology
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Last week we talked about the difficult and deeply painful nature of significant transitions we face in life.
We journeyed with the Israelites in their time in exile, and the word of God that came to them to remind them not to stop living in the midst of the chaos and devastating losses they had faced.
This week, we hear the promise of God that comes to them through Jeremiah to reassure them that they have not been abandoned. There is promise for restoration in a hopeless time.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jeremiah 31:31-34 and the theme, “Restoration Theology.”
SUNDAY, October 20, 2019
Sermon: The News We Need
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14
What is our go-to reaction when things get hard? When we don’t like the way things are going? For many of us, it’s to complain, and perhaps to whine a little bit. We come up with excuses, point fingers, and have a great time playing the blame game.
For the Israelites who were in exile (who had been forcibly removed from their home land), I’m sure there was a good deal of this. Heck, wouldn’t we likely do the same?
Yet the instructions that come from God, through Jeremiah, are quite the opposite of throwing a pity party. The instructions are to, “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer. 29:7).
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 and the theme, “The News We Need.”
SUNDAY, October 13, 2019
Sermon: The Rest of the Story
Scripture: Jonah 4:1-11
The story of Jonah is fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, it very clearly raises the question, “Who are God’s people?” The simple answer is, we aren’t the ones who get to decide that.
Second, we find that it has way more depth and an ending that we likely don’t remember from Sunday School. I know I didn’t hear all of the story growing up.
Jonah’s journey started with him not wanting to go to Nineveh. In this final chapter of the saga, we find out why when Jonah tells God that he hadn’t wanted to go because, “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.”
Isn’t that good news? Shouldn’t it be good news that God is concerned about the well-being of all people and not just some?
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jonah 4:1-11 and the theme, “The Rest of the Story."
SUNDAY, October 6, 2019
Sermon: Perfectly Less Than Perfect
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-10
I am reminded as I sit here that God knows what’s going on and what needs to happen even when we don’t. We do our best, we research, we study, and we throw something out to the universe.
Today is one of those days when you realize that everything came together just exactly how it needed to even though you had no conscious knowledge of how perfect it would all fit together.
I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of time over the course of my life worrying about a lot of things. How I would accomplish this or that. How I would make a difference. How Things would ultimately all work out.
Today I am reminded that God is working things out all the time. Our words may be imperfect or our song a bit out of tune… but if our heart is in the right place, we will experience God’s grace and forgiveness like we cannot imagine.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jonah 3:1-10 and the theme, “Perfectly Less than Perfect.”
SUNDAY, September 29, 2019
Sermon: Far From Smooth Sailing
Scripture: Jonah 1:1-17
Anyone who says that life is easy is likely fooling themselves. While there may be instances of people who have less tumultuous lives, the truth is that all of us face storms at some point along the way. The question is how we respond to those storms.
There are storms that are the result of our own choices, and storms we face that are caused by the choices and actions of others. The same is true with the story of Jonah.
Through this story, we are reminded of the grace of God and the importance of taking responsibility for our actions. We are also reminded that our actions can have consequences for others.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jonah 1:1-17 and the theme, “Far From Smooth Sailing.”
SUNDAY, September 15, 2019
Sermon: Centering, Reworking, and Transforming
Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-11
I took many wonderful classes in Seminary, but at the top of the list was the class “Clay Forms: Restorative Table Justice.” In this class, our professor wove together theology, scripture and clay in a way that made Jeremiah 18 come to life.
Prior to this experience, I had never really worked with clay, nor had I used a potter’s wheel. It always looked so effortless and beautiful in the movies… in reality, it was much more difficult, liberating, and profound than I could have imagined.
Every time something went wrong, a piece was broken, or a lesson was learned, she would gently remark, “well, that’ll preach.” It was a reminder in each class that there are lessons all around us.
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Jeremiah 18:1-11 and the theme, “Centering, Reworking, and Transforming.” Let us explore together some of the rich lessons found in clay forms.
SUNDAY, September 8, 2019
Scripture: Isaiah 29:13-24
Why do we go to church? What do we go expecting to receive? What do we go expecting to give?
What music is best to sing at church? What scriptures should we read? What creeds or prayers should we recite? Does God care?
Join us this Sunday at 10am as we study Isaiah 29:13-24 and the theme, “Worship-wise” Let us explore together why and how we worship God.
SUNDAY, September 1, 2019
Sermon: Being Known
Scripture: Psalm 139
What does it mean to be truly known? Don’t we long to have someone in our lives that knows our life story and loves us anyway? Where do we look for that love and acceptance?
What do we do when we don’t feel that love? How do we try to escape when we don’t feel fully seen? When we don’t want to be fully known?
The good the bad and the ugly, our scripture for Sunday tells us that God knows us, loves us, and invites us to ask God to search our hearts and guide us on the way forward.
Join us this Sunday as we study Psalm 139 and the theme, “Being Known.” Let us explore together our relationship with God.
SUNDAY, August 25, 2019
Sermon: Repairers of the Breach
Scripture: Isaiah 58:9b-14
We have been talking the last couple of weeks about growing good fruit, but you cannot grow good fruit if you are spiritually dry. We stand at an important point in history. A time that will be defined by how we respond, or not, to the challenges around us.
It’s time to stop pointing fingers and work to regain the moral compass of our communities and our society. Yes, it’s important to recognize how we got here, but it’s even more important to be light in the darkness.
It’s time to start rebuilding.
SUNDAY, August 18, 2019
Sermon: Keeping Our Part of the Bargain
Scripture: Isaiah 5:1-7 and John 15:1-5
Many of Jesus’ followers were well-versed in the Hebrew scriptures so when Jesus told stories and used familiar imagery, they knew what he was referencing.
Our two scriptures for Sunday are Isaiah 5:1-7 and John 15:1-5. Both talk about vineyards and growing fruit. In one, we are taught that there are grapes, and then there are “wild” grapes. In the other, we learn that in order to bear good fruit, we must abide in the vine.
The Isaiah text also reminds us that God has done and will do God’s part, but we must do our part as well. The John text reminds us again that we are not in this alone.
Life is hard and it is beautiful.
SUNDAY, August 11, 2019
Sermon: One Step at a Time
Scripture: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17)
In light of all the suffering in our lives and our world, we will look this week at the words of Isaiah and how these ancient words continue to ring true today, and give us guidance for how to live our daily lives. We will explore who are the “orphans and widows,” what it means to seek justice and rescue the oppressed.
Join us this Sunday as we explore Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 and the theme, “One Step at a Time.” We will be encouraged to continue to explore what our worship and our relationship with God calls us to do and be in the world.
SUNDAY, August 4, 2019
Sermon: To What God Do We Turn?
Scripture: Hosea 11: 1-11
What images and metaphors do we use to describe God? What language? What difference does it make? What we worship matters. It is also important that we understand how we see and understand God because this has greater implications for how we see and understand the world. What difference does our understanding of God make when times are rough? How about when things are going well? Do we see God as a companion, a friend, or a punisher? Do we understand God to be compassionate and loving? Is there a limit to God’s forgiveness? Join us this Sunday as we explore Hosea 11:1-11 and the theme, “To What God Do We Turn?” We will be encouraged to reflect on our deeply held beliefs about God and what implications those have for our daily lives.
SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2019
Sermon: First Things First
Scripture: Colossians 1:15-28
The text for this week reminds us that above all else, Christ is the head of the church and has reconciled to himself, and holds together, all things in heaven and on earth. This includes all people and the entirety of creation.
If we truly believe that we are to put following Jesus first, above all else, especially earthly rulers, thrones and powers. If we truly believe that all are reconciled through Christ. If we truly believe that by continuing securely established and steadfast in faith, we abide in Christ.
Then this text begs the questions: What is our commission today? Who are we called to serve? How are we supposed to treat one another? How are we to care for creation? This is just the beginning of the conversation.
SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019
Sermon: Prophets for Today
Scripture: Amos 8:1-12
The story of neglecting the poor is an age old one, but one that is as vital today as it was in Amos' time. This Sunday Daniel Sandoval will explore the lessons from Amos and how it applies for us today. Join us Sunday at 10:00 am. Larry Cossid will be providing special music and accompanying us for all congregational singing.
SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2019
Sermon: Everyday Faith
Scripture: Colossians 1:1-14
The exciting times of the church year are clearly Easter and Christmas. Church parking lots are fuller and service attendance is higher. We know that it’s important to celebrate the birth and Resurrection of Jesus, but what about the rest of the year?
The church calendar refers to the season we are in as “ordinary time.” While that sounds boring, it actually isn’t. It’s a time for study and growth.
It’s a time for tilling the soil of our spiritual lives and planting seeds of inspiration. It’s a time for praying, preparing, and learning more about how we are supposed to live out our faith in the world each and every day.
SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2019
Sermon: Grounded in Peace
Scripture: Luke 10:1-11
How do we act as we move through this world? What do we do when someone accepts us in? When they reject us? Are we grounded in peace or do we become reactionary?
When Jesus sends out the extra 70 disciples to share the good news, he gives them some fairly specific (and sometimes perplexing) instructions about how they are to proceed.
The two key points, however, are first, that they are to be grounded in peace, and second, that they are not to be reactive. When they are rejected, they are to wipe the dust off their feet and move on. That, my friends, takes grounding.
SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 2019
Sermon: Words to Live By
Scripture: Galatians 5:23-26
Every day we make choices, whether we realize it or not, that impact the people around us. They may be words or actions, but they make a difference in either a positive or a negative way.
How we treat our “neighbors,” including our family and friends, and even strangers, matters. When we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we are even more likely to react without thinking and forget who and whose we are.
There are people all around us that need us to show them the love of God, and sometimes we need them to show that love to us. We can’t control how others act, but we can control how we react.
May we be people who are guided by the Spirit and whose lives are not filled with quarreling and negative comments but rather love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019
Sermon: First Things First, Then What?
Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29
What lessons can we learn today about what it means to be people of faith, from Paul who was a Jew who went from persecuting Jesus’ followers, to being one of the most well-known and remembered evangelists for teaching people about Jesus?
Paul spends a lot of time, especially in our Scripture for Sunday, talking about how to relate to one another and see one another as equals before God when together in the community of faith. The first step is to recognize this unity and equality in the body.
The next step is to ask where this reconciling Spirit of God is calling us to grow today within the community of faith. The final step is to ask what impact this reality does or should have on the way we see and interact with the world.
SUNDAY JUNE 16, 2019
Sermon: Let's Get Practical
Scripture: Romans 12
We Christians talk a lot about Jesus and what we think it means to be His followers. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans doesn't make room for a lot of talk. He gives us some very practical ways to relate to God and people of all kinds. We will examine some of those ways this Sunday.
SUNDAY JUNE 9, 2019
Sermon: Sent Forth by the Spirit
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21
Over the past several weeks, we have been exploring together some of the stories of the early church and the ways that the Holy Spirit was at work in their lives as they prayed and sought direction.
This week we will go back and look at the experience that inspired and empowered them to go out and impact the world around them. It was an experience that turned them from an inward to an outward focus, bringing the into contact with people that spoke different languages than their own.
Join us this Sunday as we explore Acts 2:1-21 and the theme, “Sent Forth by the Spirit.” This scripture begs these questions: first, are we looking for the ways the Spirit is calling us forth? Second: do we come with ready and willing hearts for the people that God is calling us to ministry with.
SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2019
Sermon: God's Grace and Good Works
Scripture: James 2:14-17; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 6:9
Good works aren’t bad. They are generally ‘good’! BUT, good works can be ‘not so good’ when we do good deeds, or act righteously to gain favor with God, or to impress people with our holiness. We’re not saved by these works, but by God’s grace through faith in Christ.
So if good works don’t lead to salvation, then what role do they play in the life of a disciple of Jesus?
We are made to serve God by serving people. We don’t exist for ourselves. We are God’s workmanship made for the purpose of serving him. We are not simply made to sit in the stands and watch the game of life pass by; we are made to get in the game and make a contribution to God’s work----to be a blessing to others.