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January 5th: New Year's Message: The Meaning of Life
  Scripture: Eccl 1:1-11, Mt. 5:1-6
 
Video Link:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Meaning of Life
  PowerPoint: NewYear PPT

 

Excerpt: So, today is the first day of the new year, which causes many to reflect on the meaning of life. As I was preparing the message, I thought of the works of Douglas Adams entitled: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In one of his books he describes a futuristic scene in which a supercomputer is given the question of finding an answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything. After 7.5 million years of calculating the computer is ready to spit out the answer. Watch this little clip to find out...

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January 12th: You Are Lovable
 
Scripture:
Luke 4:18-19
  PowerPoint: Loveable


 

Excerpt: You Are Loveable! Have you ever been told you are lovable? If you have, what did that mean to you? Did you believe it and take it seriously or discount it altogether? Your reaction might depend on who said it and the nature of your relationship with that person. If you have a pattern of doubting your lovability, it may be due to painful childhood experiences that left you with insecurities and self doubt.
But the fact is that, we are forever and always lovable. Even if a bad childhood led you to feel unloved and unworthy, you are still lovable. Even if you feel ashamed due to past failures and mistakes, you are still lovable. Even if ...

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January 19th: Message of Affirmation: You Are a Badass!
Talk based on the book with same title and various Scriptures
  
 
Book Link:
You Are a Badass
 PowerPoint:  
You Are A Badass

>

Excerpt: On a flight to Atlanta last year, I sat next to a young lady who read what I thought of as a rather provocative book entitled: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It peaked my curiosity; I googled the book and to my surprise I found that it contains a wholesome message very much in line with Christian values. So much so that I decided to base today’s talk on excerpt from the book along with Scripture readings that support it’s message. Jen starts of with a self-affirming chapter:
1. You are awesome
“And while there are countless ways that we rip ourselves off, there’s one way in particular that is, without a doubt, the most rampant and the most devastating of all: we invest everything we’ve got in believing that we’re not good enough....You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are...

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January 26th:
Message on Spiritual Enlightenment:
What Prayer is Not
 
Scripture:
Luke11:1-13
 
Video Link:
King of Queens:Prayer
 PowerPoint: Prayer

 

Excerpt: How then should we pray? Can we pray for anything we desire? Can I pray for those Gucci shoes? Can I pray for my football team to win? Can I pray for a healing either for myself or a loved one? The answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes. However, whether God answers all of our prayers or not is a different question. That’s really important to keep in mind.

Prayer at its most basic level is walking and talking with God. It’s about a relationship. So, in this sense, prayer is more of a way of life rather than a thing we turn on and off. Sometimes we can define a concept really well by saying what it’s not. So here is what prayer is not. Prayer is NOT:

- a formula that must be mindlessly recited as a Christian duty...


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February 2nd:  Will My Faith Be Enough?
 
Scripture:
Luke 17:5-6 and Matthew 17:20
  PowerPoint:  EnoughFaith

 

Excerpt: The question that is raised by the Scriptures for today is: "Will my faith be enough?"  Isn’t it true that we often feel like that? We question our faith. We wonder if our faith is adequate, if it’s enough. I’m not just talking about religious faith here. When I worked as a hospital chaplain a few years ago I quickly learned that faith is a spiritual property that all humans possess, whether they are religious or not.

Faith is an important human property. We have to have faith in ourselves, in other people, in the future, etc. People that have lost their faith in themselves become depressed and anxious about life. Faith is important. But somehow, we all struggle with our faith.
..

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February 9th: The Trouble with Judging Others

  Scripture: Luke 6:37-42
 
Video Link: Watch the conclusion of this message on YouTube

  PowerPoint: 
Judging Others

> Excerpt: Our topic today is "judging others" so I thought I do some research on Christian books that deal with this issue. I came across a rather controversial book by Pastor Jason T. Berggren. His book is entitled "10 Things I Hate About Christianity"
The first point he makes in his book is about how judgmental Christianity is. He says: "If we must point fingers, let's point fingers at ourselves." [1] I wonder what it looks like to be non-judgmental. I think we are pretty good with not judging people as a local church, aren't we? We accept, welcome and support all people. Fact is, we are not known to try to convert those who think or believe differently from us. In fact, there are those among us this morning who would identify as Buddhist and Jewish this morning.

Of course, our evangelical brothers and sisters would challenge us: if you don't convert people, if you don't oppose "false" beliefs, how are you making disciples? Don't we need some degree of judgment in the process of disciple-making?...

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  February 16th: Valentines Day Message:
 
How Your Love Language Can Fuel Your Spiritual Life
 
Scripture:
John 3:16-18
  PowerPoint: 
Love-Languages

Excerpt: I got the perfect message for Valentine's Day! Let's talk about our love languages.  Dr. Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages" (1995) has become a widely popular and helpful concept. It is used in a variety of applications ranging from couple's therapy to spiritual retreats. What are the love languages and what can we learn from this concept?

In short, the five love languages are about the way we feel loved and valued by others. They are different for everybody. You can speak one or more love languages based on your personality type. According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages....

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Feb. 23: Healing Service to Stand in Solidarity with the CoronaVirus Victims
 
Scripture:
Luke 9:1-2, 6
  PowerPoint:  Healing Service
  Prayers: Healing Service
  Song Link: For the Healing of the Nations (Fred Kaan)
 

Excerpt:
Introduction: Healing was central to the ministry of Jesus. It was a sign of God's kingdom, bringing renewal and wholeness of life to those who turned to God in their need. Jesus sent out his disciples with the commission to 'proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. In every act of worship, the Church celebrates the grace of God who desires wholeness of .body, mind and spirit.

Message: Certainly praying for the sick is scriptural (James 5: 14-15: "Is anyone sick among you? Let them call on the church to pray"), but isn't it interesting that Jesus never specifically asked his disciples to pray for the sick.

Jesus told his disciples to heal the sick, Healing is a big, big part of the gospel story, And according to the instructions Jesus gave the 70 he sent out, healing should not be an isolated occurrence, healing should occur everywhere at all time, "So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere."...

Prayer:

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.
We pray for the sick in our community,
and those in foreign lands,
We pray for those in hospital or at home,
for those whose minds
are beset with anxiety and fear,
for those oppressed or broken in spirit;
for those who turn to us for healing ...

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March 01, 2020: Lent - Turning Weaknesses into Strength
by Frank Schaefer


Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

What was St. Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?
Paul doesn't come clean about it. He keeps it a secret. However, one thing is sure, that he was really concerned about this issue. It continually distracted him. He begged God at least twice that we know of to take it away from him.

Some scholars say, it was a disease, sickness, which kept him from serving God, some say, it was a recurring sin or temptation he found himself giving into again and again. And some scholars have argued that Paul may have been gay, bisexual or transgender. Whatever it was this weakness was holding Paul back from complete devotion/commitment. There were so many things with which distracted him, as he mentioned in verse 10. But this weakness concerned Paul the most...

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March 08, 2020 Ashes to Beauty
by Frank Schaefer
Scripture Reading: John 9:1-9
Download the PowerPoint Presentation
Song Link: Beautiful Things
 

Close your eyes with me if you will and let’s imagine what his life must have been like for a moment. You sit in the all so familiar dirt once again, you listen to the hustling and bustling of people around you. As you hear people shuffling by you may stretch out your hand and say something like: “Sir, ma’am, can you spare a penny for a blind beggar?”

Suddenly you hear a group of people having a theological discussion about you. Has this man been born blind as punishment for his own sins or his parents sins. You’ve heard this discussion before. You want to scream:  “What did my family or I ever do to deserve this?” But you don’t dare do that because instinctively...and from experience...you know that this is not a safe thing to do. There could be terrible repercussions. And then you hear someone spitting....

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March 15, 2020: Will I Be Alright?
 
Scripture:
Romans 5:1-5
  PowerPoint:  Alright

  Song Link: I'm Alright FFH
("Trouble may find me, but it's not going to keep me down")

Excerpt: At the beginning of a new year, we look ahead to the new possibilities, but we often also start to worry about the dark clouds we perceive in the future. We worry and we ask ourselves, will I be alright?

Just recently I read a Psychology Today article that taught me something new. I didn’t realize that a negative outlook on life can be the result of a victim mentality. It was written by a minister/psychologist by the name of Nancy Colier. It was one of those “aha-moments” in my life which helped me to grow spiritually. As a definition, those with a victim mentality are always being victimized, at least in their own mind. They maintain a consistent victim identity and see life through perpetually victim-tinted glasses.

We all know people who seem to be constantly commenting on some injustice done to them — how others are denying them what they need, want, and deserve, controlling them against their will...

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March 22, 2020 Guardians of the Earth
by Frank Schaefer

Download the PowerPoint Presentation
Download the Handout

Read Genesis 1:26 (The Message):

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth."

In our own lives, we reconnect with nature when we take a trip to the Rocky Mountains or the Caribbean or perhaps ski down a magnificent slope. The pristine wonder of nature still inspires us. Yet we need not go far. A trip to the zoo with a small child or a walk through a botanic garden can link us to the heaven and earth that Genesis says God created.

We are guardians of the earth. "Shomrei Adamah" in Hebrew. It isn't a new job. It was first given to Adam in the Garden of Eden by God. Just as God created the first human beings, God placed them in the Garden "to till and to tend it."

It's a divine job...

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March 29, 2020 Karma  - Sowing Good Seeds
by Frank Schaefer

 

Scripture Readings: Proverbs 11:27, Job 4:8, Galatians 6:7, James 3:18

This is what our conservative friends at biblereasons.com have to say about karma:

Many people ask is karma biblical and the answer is no. Karma is a Hinduism and Buddhism belief that says your actions determine the good and the bad that happens to you in this life and the afterlife. Karma is associated with reincarnation, which basically says what you do today will determine your next life."

With Karma you get what you deserve. In Christianity Jesus got what you deserve." "Grace is the opposite of Karma."....

...However, the biblical metaphors for reaping what you have sown are virtually a description of Karma! The verses they list following this description are the ones we just heard read. It's amazing to me to see how these conservative evangelicals are so narrowly focused on their particular theology that they don't even make sense anymore....
   
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