“How Silently, How Silently…”

December 10, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Ephesians 1:9-10; Luke 2:1-7. Two thousand years is a long time to wait for things to change; yet that’s how long it’s been since Jesus said a change was coming. Perhaps we should look for something else. Maybe change comes like an infant born and growing up. Maybe it doesn’t come from the top, but from the bottom. Maybe it doesn’t happen in one, quick and decisive act but in thousands of smaller ones. Maybe it takes years. Maybe it comes late. Maybe it isn’t easy, but hard. This sermon will stress the importance of patience in waiting for the kingdom to come because in quietness and in trust in our strength.

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A Way in a Manger

December 10, 2017
Rev. Steve DeNeff - Isaiah 42:1-4; John 1:1-5, 10-13. Every Christmas we sing, “Come thou long expected Jesus,” but has anyone wondered what kind of Jesus we expect?  Has anyone wondered if we miss him today, perhaps for the same reason they missed him then: he came in a way unexpected.  If what is lying in a manger is truly a savior, a Christ and a Lord, then we need to re-think what salvation means and how, exactly, it occurs.  The manger is not what we hope for, nor how things get done in our world, yet Jesus is still the savior of the world and he is able be this from a minority position.  Perhaps he always enters through a manger because there is never room for him in the inn.  This sermon will stress the importance of simplicity and call us to be different, because in the foolishness of Christmas is the wisdom of God
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The Hope of the Gospel

November 19, 2017
Rev. Steve DeNeff - Corinthians 5:16-20. At the center of our church is a bold gospel: God makes all things new! This is an optimistic view of God’s grace and it calls each of us to participate in this gospel. This sermon will include stories of old lives made new, showing how God has been active in our congregation through the years, and encourage us to be faithful to the mission of our church in the next generation. 
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The Sending Church

November 12, 2017
Steve DeNeff - Luke 24:36; 44-49; Acts 1:4b-8. The Church is the hope of its community. CWC is uniquely positioned to influence both the community and the Church. As a century-old institution, with community leaders involved, we are positioned to bring the gospel into every domain of our city. As a home church for over six hundred next-gen leaders, we are positioned to send them with deep convictions into churches all over the world. Like the first disciples, God calls us to “gather (and) stay until we’ve been clothed with power from on high,” (Lk 24:49) and then “to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  Our mission is to gather and to send. We gather people from the city and the Church, and help to clothe them with power from on high, then we send them back to the city and the Church to be witnesses all over the earth. 
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Mission Drift

November 7, 2017
Rev.Steve DeNeff - John 15:1-8; 2 Timothy 2:1-2. One of the great challenges of growing churches is to stay true to their mission. Of the organizations who don’t, 85% of their leaders blame internal factors, meaning that complexity and bureaucracy have caused them to drift from their mission. Now they play safe. They protect the wrong people. They have lost their sense of urgency. What rises up instead is a pseudo-mission: something else, something more urgent, something more popular or something easier. The same can be true of our individual lives. God has placed a high calling on each of us, and yet as we grow older there is a tendency to drift. We settle for something less and can miss out on the "fullness of life” (Eph. 3:19) to which God is inviting us. Today we’ll explore how and why this may happen and realign ourselves to God’s mission for our individual lives and for the world. 
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Part Hearted

October 29, 2017
Dr. Dave Ward - 2 Chronicles 25:1-15. Amaziah served the Lord, but not with his whole heart. This sermon seeks to peer into the character of Amaziah to discern what made him be so part-hearted. We realize Amaziah was following the example he received, continuing traditions he was familiar with, keeping the peace in contentious times, and holding onto attachments and addictions. All of these are the symptoms. The disease was pursuing whatever worked best in the short term. If God worked best, Amaziah followed. If God’s way led to suffering, Amaziah raged. Our meditation of Amaziah ends with ways of diagnosing our own part-heartedness, and treatments for the cure. 
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The Next Wrong Thing

October 29, 2017

Rev. Ethan Linder - Mark 10:17-31. When we look at The Rich Young Ruler, we often see a smug, self-assured aristocrat in love with his money. But if we look closer at the text, we realize he had a vision of discipleship strikingly similar to ours: always focused on the “next right thing” God would call him to do. In this interaction, Jesus proves that discipleship is often about having lives that are quick to respond “yes” even when God asks us to do the next wrong thing—an act of obedience that disrupts all our plans.

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Sharing Hope

October 15, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matthew 6:19-21, 25-33; Romans 15:13. Hope is in short supply these days. As our world stumbles under the weight of terror, tragedy and natural disasters, there is talk of recovery and reconstruction, of legislation and government loans, of “finding a way forward . . . to a new future.” Our leaders say that we must stay optimistic. We must rely on each other. We must believe in ourselves and “keep hope alive.” But the hope of which the Bible speaks is not a conviction that something will turn out well, nor the certainty that it will make sense, but the assurance that, however it seems and however it goes, God will remember; God is still present; and God will fulfill His promises to the end. Our hope begins in the promises of God and it ends in a fearless trust that He who “knows what we have need of before we even ask” will bring it in due time (Matt. 6:8, 26, 30).  

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Bearing Crosses

October 8, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matthew 5:10-12; Ephesians 4:29-5:2. Every religion has to deal with suffering. Some try to avoid it, to overcome it, or to explain it away. But the mark of a practicing community is that it comes alongside those who carry crosses, with empathy and patience. These people know that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance (produces) character and hope,” (Rom 5:3-4, NET). This sermon will explain how we can bear one another’s burdens in the name of Christ, and how such a community can be used by God to evangelize its city. 

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Making Room

October 2, 2017

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Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matthew 5:43-48, 7:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-6. As our nation becomes more polarized politically, economically and socially we hear the call for justice, for equality and tolerance. Perhaps what is needed is a community devoted to making room for those who are invisible, those on the margins. This community would be open, practicing not just charity but generosity. It would go the extra mile and gives to those who cannot pay us back. It would open itself to the invisible, without passing judgment, for ultimately it is the community, and not just our resources, that help us the most. 

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