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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Having Integrity

September 24, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matthew 5:27-37' Ephsians 3:14-21. The rise of the individual over the community, along with an emphasis on freedom without commitment has led to an impermanent society in which promises are only good intentions. Against this tide of self-indulgence, the people of God are called to make promises and to keep them, for “our freedom doesn’t grow in the abstract; it grows in a particular soil with particular people . . . it grows only as we commit ourselves with and to others.”  

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Making Peace

September 17, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matthew 5:21-24, 38-42; Ephesians 2:14-18. In our emphasis on diversity, have we forgotten unity? In fighting for justice, have we forgotten what spirit we are of? What historian Arthur Schlesinger called, “the cult of the minority” – the idea that one’s peculiarity is the most important thing about them – has begun to tear at the union of our nation. The trouble is that everyone feels like a minority. But the children of God make peace. We turn the cheek, release our debtors, love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. If someone takes our shirt, we give up our coat as well. And we not only forgive, we absorb the sins that others commit against us. This service will explore practical ways to embody the gospel of peace. 

 
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A Beautiful Life

September 10, 2017

Rev. Emily Vermilya - Matthew 5:1-16; Ephesians 1:3, 11-14. What kind of people are called for by these times? A people formed by the gospel. The Beatitudes are a profile of people who are humble, vulnerable, modest, hungry, simple, compassionate, peaceful and persecuted. They are unlike anything the world has seen, yet they are the happiest and the most whole. And when they come together, in covenant with one another, they form a new society, becoming a social alternative for the world. This sermon will introduce the core practices and call us to live in covenant with each other. 

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Not Ashamed

September 3, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Matt. 4:12-17; Romans 1:1-2, 16-17. In spite of all that is wrong with the world, the gospel is still “the power of God for salvation.” For Jesus, it was simply that “the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Yet somehow we have turned the “good news” into “good advice” – repent and believe – that has very little to do with what’s wrong with the world and even less with what God Himself is doing. This message will explore the origin of the gospel (in the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) and show how it is still the most powerful, optimistic and complete hope for the world.

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Your Right Mind

August 27, 2017

Rev. Steve DeNeff - Colssians 3:1-14. The Bible encourages us to be "transformed by the renewing of our mind," or to "be renewed in the spirit of our minds" or, better yet, to "have the same mind as Christ.” But how does this happen? How do we get in front of our Instincts, our Desires and Dispositions to influence them the way they once influenced us? This message will continue our conversation from last week, exploring how the work of the Holy Spirit, along with our work, can bring about significant changes in our minds.  

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Learning Christ

August 20, 2017

Rev Steve DeNeff - Ephesians 4:17-24. After every miracle comes the quiet, invisible work of aligning the rest of our lives with the something only God could do. After feeding the five thousand, we must gather the left overs (Lk 9:17). After the paralytic is healed, we must repair the roof (Lk 5:19). After Lazarus has been raised from the dead, we must remove his grave clothes (Jn 11:44). Even so, the work that follows the miracle of new life is the slow and sometimes frustrating process of renewing our mind until we have the very mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16; Phil 2:5). Most of us do not have a plan for this and so the mind is often the last thing converted, if it is ever converted at all. Yet because it lies at the bottom of all our instincts and desires, the transformation of our mind is essential to the process of having Christ "fully formed in us.” In this sermon we'll peer into the black box that is the Christian mind and discover how we can cooperate with God in the miracle of our conversion.

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Grace in the Slump

August 15, 2017

Dr. Lenny Luchetti - 2 Samuel 11:1-15. Many Christians find themselves in a spiritual slump. Their passion for God has diminished. They still come to church, pray and read their bible, but deep inside they feel as if their best days in Christ are behind them not before them. The good new is that God doesn't abandon us but comes to us while we're in the slump to get us back on a spiritual streak again. This is the story of David in 2 Samuel 11-12.

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