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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
October 2, 2017
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.
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.”
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.