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First Church Williamsport

First Church Williamsport

By First Church Williamsport
We seek transformation in Christ everywhere.

That word everywhere is significant. We are passionate about sharing the Gospel in churches, homes, workplaces, downtown, in nature, nursing homes, and even at your favorite coffee shop, because we believe in the transformative power of Jesus’ love, and we want everyone to know Him.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
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The Spirit of Power (Part 2)
The Holy Spirit transforms those who obey and follow the Holy Spirit, even when uncomfortable, from ordinary to extraordinary people.
June 20, 2021
The Spirit of Power (Part 1)
We experience the power of the Holy Spirit when we as the corporate church and as individuals offer God’s healing in the world.
June 13, 2021
The Spirit of Adoption
We experience Holy Spirit power when we receive a spirit of adoption and embrace our identity as children of God.
June 6, 2021
The Spirit of Relationship
When we connect with the Holy Spirit within us, we can walk in step with His guidance to offer God’s love, grace, and healing to the world.
May 30, 2021
The Holy Spirit
We receive the power of the Holy Spirit when we are willing to live into a posture of obedience and follow the Holy Spirit's movement in our lives.
May 23, 2021
Be Missional
By embracing a missional posture in our discipleship DNA we are best equipped to see God’s Church thrive in the unique time and age in which we live.
May 16, 2021
Be the Gift
You are a gift as part of the body of Christ. Every gift sees things differently and helps the church to move in a different direction. We need all the gifts to work together to help bring the love of Jesus to our community. To learn more about APEST, take the free online assessment.
May 9, 2021
Rise Above
Growing in our discipleship DNA allows us to see God’s Kingdom movement thrive even in the face of incredible odds.
May 2, 2021
Gather and Send
We seek to follow Christ in the Biblical paradigm of being a Gathered and Sent Church in today’s unique cultural context.
April 25, 2021
Make Disciples
Recognize Jesus as Messiah and become a Christian. Pray that God would open the eyes of your heart. Intentionally start or stop behaviors in order to become more like Jesus. Become a model of the Christian life for others through imitating Christ.
April 18, 2021
Embrace Jesus
To follow Jesus means we must first recognize that He is Lord, and then embrace Him as Lord of our lives.
April 11, 2021
The Two Travellers
Don't miss out on the full power, hope, joy, and life of the Resurrection. See Jesus as the ultimate host at the table, and invite others to the table so they can see Him too.
April 4, 2021
The Last Meal
The last meal Jesus has at the table with His disciples is the most important meal He has. When Jesus dies on the cross, the barrier between God and humanity is forever removed, and we can fully embrace the sacrificial love Jesus gives.
March 28, 2021
Mary & Martha
At the table, Jesus breaks the boundary of gender stereotypes and welcomes women (and all people) as his disciples.
March 21, 2021
The 5,000 Guests
We experience the miracle of 'enough' when Jesus invites us to participate in sharing the meal He's invited us to with others.
March 14, 2021
The Unexpected Guest
At the table we are welcomed into the family of Christ. There, we realize God's is meant for everyone, and that in His Love we are all beautiful.
March 7, 2021
The Disciples
We experience God’s goodness at the table with Jesus as the boundaries between sacred and secular are collapsed.
February 28, 2021
God's table gives us the opportunity to receive grace and offer grace to those who need it, like Levi.
February 21, 2021
"Our souls need more than to do nothing; they need to do restful things. In this sense, real rest takes real work." -- Justin Whitmel Earley Practice the habit of intentional rest to bring inner peace and experience restoration amidst the busyness of life. This week, take a full Sabbath rest. One of the most intimate things we can do with another is spend time with just them. Consider choosing to spend intentional time with our Creator.
February 14, 2021
“The good life does not come from the ability to choose anything and everything; the good life comes from the ability to choose good things by setting limits.” -- Pastor Matt Lake Curating the stories we consume helps us be more intentional to experience, share, and live into all the goodness of God’s story. This week, make a commitment to compare how much time you spend in media to how much time you spend with Christ. Take a step to decrease the former and increase the latter.
February 7, 2021
"We are much less resilient when we do life alone." -- Pastor Matt Lake   We become more resilient people when we realize we are not alone. Spend at least one hour this week connecting with someone you trust in order to share highs, lows, struggles, and other places of connection. This week, make a commitment to have a one-hour conversation with someone important in your life.
January 31, 2021
"We discover who we are by seeing our reflections through God’s Word, not in handheld screens." -- Pastor Matt Lake Become more resilient by discovering your identity in God’s Words of life in Scripture rather than in anyone else’s story. Make turning to God’s Word first every day a holy habit. This week, choose to engage Scripture before anything else to start the day, even before picking up your phone.
January 24, 2021
"I had lived my whole life thinking that all limits ruin freedom, when all along it’s been the opposite; the right limits create freedom." -- Justin Whitmel Earley Life is formed by habits more than hopes. Develop good habits with your phone, and don't believe the lie that we can be omnipresent like God. This week, make a habit to turn your phone off for one hour a day.
January 17, 2021
"Resolutions come and go. But resiliency stands the test of time." -- Pastor Matt Lake We build resiliency through spiritual habits and disciplines, like prayer, which forms us more into God's image. This week, make a commitment to pray three times a day: in the morning (9 AM), at midday (12 PM), and in the evening (9 PM).
January 10, 2021
Joy to the World
May we treasure the miracle and the reality of the Christ child in the days to come when our circumstances will still be unexpected.
December 25, 2020
Let Earth Receive Her King
Like the shepherds in the Christmas story, choose joy by changing perspective.
December 20, 2020
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
To experience anticipatory joy, be like Joseph, choose to take action.
December 13, 2020
No More Let Sins and Sorrows Grow
Blessing and joy in God’s kingdom look different than in earthly kingdoms. We discover this when we choose humility and offer ourselves as servants to God.
December 6, 2020
The Light of His Righteousness
Christmas is often described as the most joyful time of the year. But in a time when so many circumstances are weighing heavy upon our heart, can we really find joy? How do we have joy when darkness looms, when life is uncertain, and when we are unsure what tomorrow will bring?
November 29, 2020
What Are We Consuming?
When your identity and security is in God, it dethrones possessions as the god of your life and it replaces the twin threats of worry and desire with the blessing of satisfaction.
November 22, 2020
Living in Christ's Image
When our identity is shaped in the image of Christ, we become salt of the earth people who point the way to life and salvation in life’s most difficult places.
November 15, 2020
Whose Image?
We must recognize and repent of worshipping the false gods that compromise our identity in Jesus so that we can wholeheartedly follow Him.
November 8, 2020
Who Directs Me?
God is in control even when it seems like God is not in control. Worship is the most powerful way to shape our identity and remember that God is in control.
November 1, 2020
Whose Politics?
Christians live out their identity with a higher devotion to Jesus rather than the world's politics. They reflect the beauty and unity of the Gospel rather than the ugliness and division of this world.
October 25, 2020
Whose Kingdom?
When we embrace our identity in Christ rather than the shallow categories of this world, we are equipped to build our lives on a solid foundation that allows us to bring peace and prosperity to the world.
October 18, 2020
Freedom Sunday (2020)
God calls us as God’s people to share in the alleviating of suffering in our world by actively working against injustice. Part of being close to God is to not simply worship God with our lips but to make decisions that help the least and most vulnerable among us.  International Justice Mission seeks to rescue and restore victims, bring criminals to justice, and strengthen justice systems worldwide. If you seek to support these efforts, you can give financially or become an IJM Freedom Partner at
October 11, 2020
People of Hope and Action
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to be people of hope and action. Praying together builds hope even more powerfully.
October 4, 2020
People of Gathered and Sent
When Jesus emptied Himself by living a holy life on earth as a human, He was ultimately exalted. By living in the tension of apparent opposites, emptying and exaltation, we get a deeper understanding of living in the Holy Overlap.
September 27, 2020
People of Heaven and Earth
Christians are those who embrace living as resident aliens in this world. We seek to live as people of heaven and earth who avoid evil, do good, and seek the flourishing of our communities.
September 20, 2020
People of Grace and Truth
The world should see a different reality lived out in Christians compared to the rest of the world. Let the pursuit of grace and truth be our identity.
September 13, 2020
God With Us
Worship anchors us in uncertain times. It reminds us that God is present and that God will also lead us forward. Make worship a priority and practice dwelling with God regularly.
September 6, 2020
The Waters of Grace
God’s grace often flows from the unlikeliest and hardest places. Drink in the waters of grace from Jesus, and find rest in amidst your struggles and anxieties.
August 30, 2020
God Will Sustain
By developing a new pattern of daily experiences with God, we can foster reliance, gratitude, and hope no matter what our circumstances. Experience God in the present and let go of biased memories of the past.
August 23, 2020
God Will Provide a Way
God's past provision of a way forward with the Israelites in Egypt is proof that God will provide a way forward today even when it seems impossible. Place your faith in the reality of Christ more than the circumstances around you.
August 16, 2020
Through a Lamb
God creatively provides a way where there seems to be no way in the deserts of life. The celebration of the Lord’s supper where we recognize Christ as the Lamb of God is a powerful experience of this reality.
August 9, 2020
Finding God in the Desert
God is in this desert season of life, just like He was with Moses in the Desert of Sinai. Even though we quickly realize we're out of control amidst things like a global pandemic, we can use this time as an opportunity for transformation and come back stronger. What is one thing you could do to learn more about God in this current season of life?
August 2, 2020
Proclaiming the Kingdom
By studying Luke and Acts, we find that the lives of Jesus and Paul have major parallels. This intentional literary design by the author of both of these Biblical books shows that anyone, even someone like Paul who regularly persecuted Christians, has the ability to make a difference for the Kingdom. This opportunity means more now than ever in our world that desperately needs love and light. Get Ben's sermon slides here.
July 26, 2020
Navigating the Messiness
The Christian life is messy. But the wonderful mystery is that God still moves in the midst of that, so we can share the Good News of Jesus' love.
July 19, 2020
Courage for the Journey
The early Christians were regularly hunted down and persecuted for their faith. With their lives on the line, what they needed was courage to remain faithful. That courage could only come from one source -- God. Those early followers of Jesus were strong in conviction and valued their faith more than their earthly popularity. When our hope is greater than our fear, and we have the boldness to ask and receive from God, He provides the courage we need to be faithful in all facets of life. Where do you need courage in your life right now to be faithful?
July 12, 2020
Living as Church in an Unbelieving World
The early Christians were a people who lived in God’s truth and took advantage of the opportunities that God gave them to share the Gospel message no matter what the circumstances. By living into God’s truth today we seek to take advantage of the opportunities God is giving us in hard times to share the Gospel message.
July 5, 2020
In God's Kingdom, miracles alleviate suffering or trouble. Many miracles have the power to change the course of our lives forever. This week's sermon also includes testimony from Payton, who shares how God's presence miraculously transformed her perspective on love and purpose, which ultimately saved her life. How can you point someone to Jesus this week?
June 28, 2020
Marked by Love
The original Chrisitan movement was effective because of the way it related to and loved its context; it was different in its approach which made it all the more attractive to unbelievers. Only when the Gospel cuts our heart can we become more devoted to God, devoted to apostolic teaching, and devoted to being love on the move in our community. How do you see yourself committing to devotion to the apostles' teaching together in community?
June 21, 2020
The First Church
When we experience change and God's transformation, it can often be confusing and difficult. Just like the disciples at Pentecost, we too are living in a new church culture. But we are given an opportunity to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to foster community by loving the individuals around us. How can you live into being sent into this community in order to build the Church?
June 14, 2020
Letters to a Congregation on Racism
It is not enough to not be racist. We must be anti-racist. How can you pursue justice in the face of racism? Life Application: DO NOT: Ignore the problem. Make excuses. Be silent. Do nothing. Stay neutral. DO: Lament. Listen. Learn. Love. Repent. Model the love of Christ. Pray. Relate. Show up. Cry arm in arm with those suffering and hurting.
June 7, 2020
Love on the Move [Pentecost]
A new type of church is being born today. What's your part in it? Life Application: Here are some possible next steps: —Prayer Walk: Walk through your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors —Disciple's Journey: What's your next step in our Disciple's Journey experience? Commit to taking it. —Spread positivity: Commit to loving your neighbors in tangible ways like baking, writing letters, or planting #wilporocks around town —New Connections: Who are 3 people in your life that you can intentionally love on in this time? —Daily Prayer: Set a timer each day for the same time and pray.
June 1, 2020
Orphan Sunday (2020)
Pure religion goes to the rescue of vulnerable people, including orphans and children in foster care. Life Application: Everyone can do something. What's your 'something'? You can support the efforts of DWELL orphan care by: 1) Prayer Support -- Commit to praying for the children in foster and adoptive care, for those children in need of families, for the families who are fostering and adopting, and those suffering injustice around our world.  2) Financial Support -- Become a monthly financial supporter of DWELL. Visit their website to learn more on how your giving affects the lives of families. 3) Clothing Donations --Often, children in foster and adoptive care come to families with just the clothes on their backs. Donate your gently used, clean clothes for DWELL's HOPE Chest. You can contacte-mail DWELL orphan care at to set up an exchange time.
May 24, 2020
Overcoming Our Fears
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   Life Application: How is God calling you to share the good news with your neighbors?
May 17, 2020
Eating with Jesus
The peace of Jesus transcends our circumstances.  Life Application: How has your relationship with Jesus been affected by doubt? How can you be a witness to Jesus by caring for the needs of others?
May 10, 2020
On the Journey
Jesus understands and heals our wounds. He strengthens us to continue the journey. Life Application: Where do you need strength in your faith journey?
May 3, 2020
Peter and the Disciples Meet Jesus
Jesus restores people who fail. Life Application: Meditate on your life. What failure is keeping you from faithfully following Jesus?
April 26, 2020
Thomas and the Disciples Meet Jesus
The Resurrected Jesus offers peace to any who are afraid, no matter where they are. Life Application: What's a fear you have? Ask God to help you realize and experience His peace, and for the Holy Spirit to empower you to overcome all fear.
April 19, 2020
The Resurrection [Easter]
We know the Risen Christ comes to us in hard times because He did the same for Mary at the empty tomb.   Life Application: Where do you need to linger longer in order to experience the Risen Christ?
April 12, 2020
A New King [Palm Sunday]
There are times of heroic discipleship. But more often than not, most disciples are called to more mundane acts to usher in the King Life Application: Ways to share and prepare the Way of the Lord this week: 1) In Worship: Make an effort this week to share in all of the worship opportunities of Holy Week 2) In Service: Choose to serve someone this week in a way that you show them God’s love, no matter how small an act
April 5, 2020
Jesus Divine
Miracles occur where the Holy Spirit is present. Life Application: Pray every day this week: For self:  “Lord, may my heart be so aligned with yours that I do what you did (and more) in the power of the Holy Spirit.” For the church: “Lord, fill First Church with the anointing of your Holy Spirit that we may do what you did, and more."
March 29, 2020
Jesus as Human
How can you experience transformation in your emotions through Christ? Resources: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
March 19, 2020
Baptism & Temptation
You don't need superpowers to defeat the evil powers of this world. You just need the anointing power of the Holy Spirit, which we all have access to!Life Application: Experience the full anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to do what Jesus did. How?           1) Pray and ask God for Holy Spirit anointing and unleashing           2) If you are not baptized, consider taking this step.           3) As you are filled with the Holy Spirit, read Scripture regularly to as a way to turn away from temptation
March 16, 2020
The Early Years
We can use Jesus' model of solidifying His identity as the Son of God to form and live out our spiritual identity.Life Application: What are you bound to because of your identity? How do you uncover and address your own hypocrisy?
March 9, 2020
Training For Something Better
The good life is found not in demanding for ourselves, but in emptying ourselves for others.Life Application: What is a step you can take this week to join with God in His plan? How can you empty yourself in order to experience the good life with things like your time, your finances, or your heart?
February 24, 2020
Everyone Is Invited To Play
When is my walk with God not work, but play?Life Application: Begin to play by stopping work and practicing Sabbath.
February 17, 2020
Experiencing Real Goodness
The goodness in the good life is doing it in Christ and with others.Life Application: How many times do you say, "Thank you" in a given week? Aim to fill your life with more gratitude this week.
February 9, 2020
Experiencing Real Truth
Truth can be felt at a cosmic and particular level in Jesus. Are you living your life by your personal truth, or the truth defined by God?Life Application: Pray the following daily, "Lord, help me today to experience the beauty and goodness of your truth."
February 2, 2020
Experiencing Real Beauty
Beauty is a portal for us to experience and connect with God. Where do you most experience God's beauty? Life Application: Where and how can you experience the beauty of Christ this week?
January 26, 2020
Settling for Less
Smaller versions of the Gospel make it more about us than about God.  Life Application: If Jesus sounds dull, boring, or bad then we have settled for less. What can you do this week to experience and embrace your role in the exciting story God has for each of us?
January 19, 2020
Sharing In It
How can you exemplify goodness, beauty, and truth in your life? Life Application: How can you show God's love in a tangible way to someone this week?
January 12, 2020
Created For It
Our 2020 goal at First Church is to connect with 500 new people - how can you help us make those connections?Life Application: Look for places where you see God's goodness, and track it in a journal using the phrase, "and it was very good," from Genesis 1:31.
January 6, 2020
Surprised by Hope (Christmas Eve)
What surprises you about the birth of Jesus? Have you welcomed the gift of Jesus into your heart and life?   Life Application: Try seeing the world with the perspective of a child to be in wonder of God again.
December 25, 2019
Hope Provides Home
What do you need to do to find the hope that Jesus offers? Have you invited Jesus into your heart and life?  Life Application: Make time this week to connect with Jesus See and walk the Way of Christ (Isaiah 35:8-10)
December 22, 2019
Hope Provides Healing
Life Application: How can you act as a steward to bring healing to God's creation?  Action Point: Pray the Lord’s Prayer every day this week. Pause when you get to “thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done.”  Pray for ways that you can partner with God to bring God’s kingdom and will to all creation.
December 15, 2019
Hope Provides Light
Life Application: Which gift of the light of Christ do you need to receive and embrace? Understanding and comfort from the Wonderful Counselor Power and strength from the Mighty God Love from the Everlasting Father Life and harmony from the Prince of Peace Action Point: When you start to embrace these gifts, light a candle in honor of the Light of Christ, take a picture of it, and share your experience with the First Church Community Facebook Group.
December 9, 2019
Hope Brings Comfort
Today's world is hurting. Poverty, anxiety, sickness, debt, addiction, and darkness make people yearn for healing and hope. You can take comfort despite your circumstances because of where you place your hope: in the eternity of the Living God. Life Application: Where are you putting your hope? How can you provide Christ's hope and comfort to those around you this week?
December 1, 2019
What sin are you trying to cover up, justify, or minimize that needs to be brought into the light? What action step can you take this week to turn that sin over to God? This sermon series has a workbook available for you to go deeper into each week's topic, which can be found here.
November 25, 2019
How are you waiting on God and His direction? What is your response when someone challenges the sin in your life? Do you desire to change? This sermon series has a workbook available for you to go deeper into each week's topic, which can be found here.
November 18, 2019
In what area of your life have you been choosing to do what you want, instead of being obedient to God? What action steps will you take to become more obedient? This sermon series has a workbook available for you to go deeper into each week's topic, which can be found here.
November 11, 2019
Who or what is your Goliath? Is there something keeping you from trusting God to defeat your giant?   This sermon series has a workbook available for you to go deeper into each week's topic, which can be found here.
November 4, 2019
Freedom Sunday
How can you be known most for doing for the least of these? Life Application: Commit to raising your own awareness to injustice issues in our world. Pray for the eyes and heart of Jesus, to begin viewing everything through a Biblical lens Prayerfully consider how you can support IJM through First Church or directly. Learn more about IJM by visiting their website:
October 28, 2019
Hope > Despair
Do you have hope in Jesus when you're in despair?Life Application: Talk with a pastor or trusted friend about what it means for you to accept Jesus as your hope.
October 21, 2019
Risk > Safety
Where are you taking a holy risk for God in your life? Life Application: Use your talents in a risky way for God's Kingdom.
October 14, 2019
Growth > Comfort
How can you get out of your comfort zone this week? Life Application: Here are some ideas to get you started: Share your faith with someone Invite someone to church Make a giving commitment to the church Carve out extra time with God. Forgive someone Serve in a new way
October 7, 2019
Generosity > Greed
How can you rely more on God through generosity this week? Life Application: Commit to tithing regularly or take a step toward generosity that will cause you to rely more on God?
September 30, 2019
Community > Self
What is a practical step you can take this week to form community? Life Application: Here are some ideas to help you form community: Spend less time on a device. Have dinner with someone you don't know. Join a life group. Schedule a game night with friends. Sign up for Disciple's Journey: Step 2
September 23, 2019
God > Me
God's glory is greater than our own.Life Application: Do something beyond your comfort zone this week.
September 16, 2019
Life Application: How can you use your voice to sing the song of Jesus? Who is God laying on your heart to encourage, walk with, and love?
September 9, 2019
Life Application: The Holy Spirit is a spiritual connection to Jesus. What does this mean for how you live out your life?
September 3, 2019
Life Application: What is one way that God is calling me to “turn” and to change my behavior so that my passion for Jesus will be reignited?
August 26, 2019
Life Application: How can you draw near to, be open to, and take in Jesus? How can you share the living water with those around you this week?Action Point: Every time you take a drink, offer a toast and a prayer: Here's to living water. Jesus, give me Your Voice.
August 19, 2019
Life Application: What needs to happen in my own life in order for the joy of the Lord to erupt? How can our church experience revival in Jesus? How will you practice “singing” in the abundant, attractive life of Jesus this week?
August 11, 2019
Pray: Outreaching, barrier-breaking, expansive Holy Spirit of the living, Resurrected God… In the model of the book of Acts today, shake us up and move us out from the cozy confines of this congregation so that we might fully enjoy being part of your gospel movement. And remind us, nothing holds you back—nothing—because ALL people, anywhere in this city and on this globe, are welcomed in your loving embrace
August 5, 2019
No matter what is going on in your life, God will always find a way to lead us through it. Life Application: Where in life do we need the courage to be first? How can I journey with someone going through a difficult time right now? What has God provided me to use for His glory?
July 22, 2019
Water and the Spirit (Baptism Sunday)
If we could realize, live into, and share who we really are as children of God, what would happen? What are you waiting for?
June 17, 2019
Can You Feel It? (Pentecost Sunday)
Life Application: How are you experiencing the reality of the Holy Spirit in your life? Where are you seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling the touch of the presence of Jesus in your life? Who will you commit to nudging in Jesus Christ? What needs to happen in, at, and through First Church in order to see the Lord add daily among us those who are being saved in the love of Jesus? Pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, Come…”
June 10, 2019
Taste and See
Life Application: Pay attention to your next meal. Where is Jesus in that meal? How can I taste and see Jesus when I share in communion? Who is someone that is not currently connected with a church that I would be willing to invite to a meal at my house in the next month?  Just to get to know better and nudge in the love of Jesus? Write down that name and begin praying for them.  Would I be willing to share a meal with this person on a regular basis?
June 10, 2019
The Sight of Jesus
Life Application: Who is someone this week you can see with double vision? Write that name down.  Pray for them. How can you nudge them this week? Do we see others as Jesus sees them? Do others see Jesus in us? Action Point: Make it a prayer this week every day to pray: Lord, today help me to see what you see.
May 28, 2019
The Aroma of Jesus
Life Application:  Give God thanks Say “Thank you” to God every day. Write down 3 things for which we are thankful every day. Ask someone to be your accountability partner and help you practice thanksgiving more and complaining and criticizing less. Ask someone you respect and who knows you well When do I smell like Jesus? When do you see me making a ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving’ that you believe is a pleasing aroma of Christ?’”
May 20, 2019
The Sound of Jesus
Life Application: How you listening to Jesus? In what ways are you seeking to pay attention? Are you and Jesus on the same frequency? Are you giving ear to God’s call in your life? How much are you and the Holy Spirit resonating with one another? In what ways this week can you get: Tuned up to God? Tuned in to Jesus? And tuned to be sent out in the Holy Spirit?  Who will you nudge this week with the sound of Jesus? Action Points: Take five minutes at some point during your week to listen. Share on the First Church Williamsport Community Group what you hear!
May 13, 2019
The Touch of Jesus
Life Application: Who is someone significant in your life that has touched your life? Who is it right now you would most like to embrace in a big hug? How has Jesus touched my life? What would it look like to invite His healing touch in my life? Have I experienced the embrace of Christ in my life? How can I offer the touch of Christ to others?  Who can I nudge this week by offering the touch of Christ?  Who in my life do I need to be paying attention to?
May 6, 2019
Pay Attention
Life Application: How can I learn to pay attention to what God is up to? How can I better read the context I am in? How can I learn to see where God is moving and join God in the Resurrection story with Jesus? Who in my life can I begin to Nudge? Begin praying this week about who you can join with God in nudging to experience the love and joy of the Resurrected Jesus—then pay attention for opportunities to nudge.
April 28, 2019
Wonder [Easter Sunday]
Life Application: When was the last time Jesus made me truly wonder? Have I ever truly wondered in the presence of Jesus? What would it take for me to realize that Jesus is alive and still calls by name? What would help me understand that the Resurrection is not “the end?”? What story is God writing in my life? How can I join with Jesus to experience the wonder of a life filled with the living Christ?  On a continual basis?
April 23, 2019
Understanding the True King [Palm Sunday]
Life Application: What is my understanding of Jesus? What is my understanding of the Kingdom of Jesus? What is most challenging to me about the Kingdom of Jesus compared to the powers of this world?  How willing am I to live into the Kingdom of Jesus instead of the Kingdom of this world? Action Points: 1) Celebrate Holy Thursday at a host location 2) Share in the Good Friday service at 7 PM on Friday evening in the FEC 3) Participate in the Prayer Vigil on Saturday 4) Invite and bring at least one new person next Sunday to share in the Easter Resurrection Celebration
April 15, 2019
Sitting When We are Wandering
Life Application: In all my wandering in life, how often do I stop to sit in the presence of God almighty?  How often do I reflect on the overlap of divinity and humanity in Jesus? Am I willing to sit in that tension? How often do I reflect on Jesus as both Divine and human? As King and Priest?  What does it mean that Jesus both demands justice but also—Himself—provides the offering for that justice on my behalf? How can I learn to live as both King and Priest in Jesus? Am I willing to sit in this overlap? How can sitting reorient me to who Jesus really is?
April 8, 2019
In the Midst of a Broken World
Life Application: What marvelous things have I seen God do?  What sin in my life has Lenten self-examination revealed?  Have I repented of that sin and asked forgiveness?  Will I give God praise in my brokenness?
April 1, 2019
When We Need Rest
Life Application and Scripture Reflection: This week find ways to rest in God by placing yourself under the shadow of God’s wings. Use the following scriptures to reflect: "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5-6 "He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still" Exodus 14:14 " Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him" Psalm 62:5 "I say to myself, "the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:24 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:14  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4
March 25, 2019
When We Thirst
Life Application: When was the last time you really had a deep thirst?  What did that feel like? What do we find our souls thirsting for? Where in life are we downcast or disoriented? Am I willing to talk to my soul rather than just listen to it? Am I willing to name when I am downcast? Am I willing to directly drink in the life and Spirit of Jesus?  Am I willing to reject and repent of false sources of life? Am I willing to pray even when I do not feel like it. “Lord help me to not just reflect on these questions but act upon them.”
March 18, 2019
When We Are Seeking
Life Application: Where do I feel like my life is in the wilderness? Where are the voices loudest that would tear me down?  Where is the roar of doubt, negativity, worry, fear, unworthiness, lack or purpose, etc. the greatest? How can I best seek God’s voice in the midst of the roar of life so that I can hear God? What is the beast in my life I most need to name and confess to God? Take time today to confess it to God. How can I commit myself fully to worship in a way that I hear God’s voice and sense God’s presence?
March 11, 2019
When We Need to Confess
Life Application: This week make an intentional effort to begin preparing for a time of journeying in the wilderness. Commit to practices we do not often engage in so that we might most fully experience the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. In particular: 1) Practice confessing to God every day. Experience the liberation and forgiveness that comes with a willingness to own our confessions and give them to God. 2) Make a conscious choice to not blame others but instead offer praise. Use the #buildup429 at least once this week. 3) Join us for our Ash Wednesday service.
March 4, 2019
But God [Mission Testimony: Philip and Linda Byler]
For the last 15 years, Phil and Linda Byler have witnessed the power of Jesus as they have served as missionaries in South Sudan among the Laarim people group.  As they enter into retirement, they graciously offered to share with us one more time so we can hear some of the ways that they have been eye-witnesses to the amazing power of Jesus to take that which is dead in sin and make it alive in Christ. Phil and Linda know the power of “But God” because they have been willing to be “sent out” to seek Transformation in Christ. They have been willing to go out in the name and power of Jesus and now to come back in to share with us what they have seen God do. To watch their entire testimony video, visit:
February 25, 2019
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
February 17, 2019
The Resurrection and the Life
Life Application When is the last time Jesus blew your mind? Tell someone this story. What circumstance do you believe is hopeless and in need of resurrection? Pray that God would be glorified through this circumstance What person in your life needs to know the hope of the resurrection and how will you share it?
February 11, 2019
The Vine
Life Application: Is the imagery of Jesus as the vine that we abide in helpful to me or foreign to me?  How much time do I spend in a personal way connecting with God on a regular basis? Do I seek to develop my relationship with God as much as I do with loved ones in my life?  Why or why not? When it comes to connecting with God, do I need to give God more time?  Be more transparent?  Or submit to God and God’s will? Pray this week for God to give you the strength to take that next step of connection. Use worship this week to be a place to truly connect with God.
February 3, 2019
The Good Shepherd
Life Application: Do I believe that Jesus loves me and values me as His treasure?  Even with all my flaws? Do I know Jesus as the shepherd of my life in a deeply personal way? If not, am I willing to take an intentional step to help me experience Jesus in this way? What step can I take to know Jesus more personally? How can I help others know Jesus personally?  Jesus does not just get to know us, and does not just die for us, but views us as His treasure. What impact does this realization have on me?
January 28, 2019
The Gate
Life Application: First Church is primed to live a new type of church in our changing world to share the love of Jesus Christ with more people—a church that lives with Jesus as the Gate—simultaneously with the right tension of Gathered (IN) and Sent (OUT). Strengths of the Gathered church: depth, stability, discipleship focus, resources, influence in the community, power, centralization Strengths of the Sent church: nimbleness, evangelistic focus, artisan/specialized, able to get into crevices of society, decentralization How can you support First Church living into this dual model of church for our changing world? Will you commit to prayer? What other steps can you take?
January 22, 2019
The Bread
Life Application: What is my expectation in worship?  To think about Jesus? To be entertained? To share in a religious routine?  Or to engage Jesus with our entire being? How can worship be more than a time of reflection?  How can I learn to feast upon Jesus as the Bread of Life? Am I more concerned with ideas about Jesus or interacting with Jesus Himself?  What step can I take today to concretely feast upon Jesus as the Bread of Life? How can I be less religious and more real with Jesus? Where is my soul restless? How can I feast upon the bread of life?
January 14, 2019
The Light
Life Application: Is the light of Jesus shining in me right now?  If not, what is causing me to miss the experience of the light of Christ? Am I willing to let the light of Christ shine through all of my life?   Action Point: Commit to living out three elements in 2019 that will help you shine and experience the light of Christ: 1) Pray daily at 5:17 AM/PM for more connections with new people. 2) Orient your life around worship. 3) Commit to taking your next step with Jesus, whatever that may be.   *Light a candle this week in a place where you want the light of Christ to shine through you and post on the First Church’s Community Group on Facebook.
January 7, 2019
A Big Disruption
Life Application: How can I open my heart to the real gift and presence of the Christ child in a way that will melt my heart? How can I embrace the light of Jesus in the midst of whatever darkness I may be going through? How can I share this gift with others? What joy does it bring my heart to know that the light of Christ is greater than any darkness? Who can I invite to join me at this year’s Christmas Eve services and experience the light of Jesus?
December 24, 2018
Not What You Would Expect
Life Application: In the model of the magi, am I intentionally seeking out Jesus to worship Him rather than just observe Him? What journey is Jesus calling me on?  Am I willing to go? What would need to change in my heart to experience the full joy of Christ? How is God moving unexpectedly in my life right now? Am I living my life by the wisdom of the world or the wisdom of the Christ child? How can I share God’s love with others to help them experience God in unexpected ways?
December 17, 2018
Not Exactly As Planned
Life Application: Pray this prayer every day this week: Lord Jesus, make us expectant and eager to do your will even when it disrupts our world, just like Joseph.  Lord, prepare us to have our lives changed and our world rocked by your advent among us, just like Joseph. Lord, give us the grace to silently, obediently live as you would have us live in whatever strange and inexplicable circumstances we find ourselves, just like Joseph. And Lord, make us ready to receive you to be born in our lives and ready to pick up and move to wherever you might lead, just like Joseph. Amen.
December 10, 2018
A Scandalous Grace
Life Application: Today is the first day of Advent, a season during which we seek to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus.  Beginning today until Christmas, pray that you will experience Jesus in unexpected ways. Do one intentional act to share the life and love of Jesus to a new generation. What does it mean to you for Jesus to usher in ultimate rest this advent?
December 3, 2018
What Should I Do with My Doubts?
Life Application: What are the greatest doubts in my life right now?  What are my greatest doubts when it comes to God? Am I willing to name them? Which story has the greatest hold on my life and influences my decisions the most? How can God use my doubts to strengthen my faith? In the midst of my doubts, what will allow me to feel the touch of Jesus or hear the voice of Jesus in my life right now? How much of a role do life groups, scripture, and prayer play in my life right now?
November 26, 2018
Is God An Angry Judge?
Life Application: How can the reality of hell deepen my love for God? Upon what am I tempted to build my identity? What step can I take to more firmly build my identity upon Christ? Do I need to trust that God will make all things right and give up seeking vengeance for a wrong that was done to me or someone I love? “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:17
November 19, 2018
What Can We Do About Suffering?
Life Application: 12 Ways Ordinary People Can Love Orphans 1) Foster 2) Adopt 3) Celebrate Orphan Sunday Annually 4) Become a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children 5) Mentor 6) Become a volunteer Safe Family  7) Offer practical aid to foster/adoptive families 8) If you have a specialized skill, considering offering it to adoptive/foster families 9) Raise Financial Support 10) Conduct culturally sensitive mission trips with clear objectives 11) Establish an ongoing church ministry as one church or partnering with others 12) Facilitate a church culture open to loving/supporting orphans and families
November 12, 2018
Is the Bible Historically Reliable?
Life Application: What parts of the Bible are the hardest for me to accept? What parts speak the most to me? How engaged am I in God’s Word?  Do I read it daily? Weekly?  Monthly?  Never? How can I take my next step to be more in God’s Word? Consider exploring the YouVersion Bible App. Am I willing to trust the Bible in such a way that my heart begins to “burn within me?” What would it take for this to happen?
November 4, 2018
Has Christianity Hurt People?
Life Application: Who have I hurt?  Am I willing to confess this to God? How do I show favoritism? Who can I pray for who has been hurt or disappointed by the church? “Whole-hearted faithfulness to God will always require of us whole-hearted faithfulness to the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters: to orphans and widows, to our naked, hungry neighbors, to wounded and broken left-behind bystanders”.  ~AKM Adam, Oxford University
October 29, 2018
Is There Only One True Religion?
Life Application: What question is my biggest obstacle when it comes to understanding Jesus as the truth? What question most helps me understand Jesus as the truth?  Do I see questions more as obstacles or opportunities? Why do you think Jesus asked so many questions? What is a question in your life that you would most love answered?  How am I testing what is true?  What question can I ask that will help me discover the truth?  Will you ask Jesus to reveal His truth in your life this week?
October 22, 2018
Life Application: Have you ever had a defining moment of saying “Yes” to Jesus in your heart and mind?  If not, can today be that day? Is Jesus just a formula in my life?  Or Lord of my life?  Am I trying to become a Christian?  Or can I say with certainty I am a Christian?  How can I better realize that salvation in Jesus is the greatest news in the universe?
October 15, 2018
The Communion of Saints (World Communion Sunday)
Life Application: What is your current perception of “church?”  What step can you take to help us live into GOD’S perception of the church? What step can you take to help First Church become a “supernatural community” where so many different people are united in God’s love? How can our vision of “Transformation in Christ, Changing Lives Inside and Out” be more than a statement? How can it be our reality? Who can you be the church for this week? Who is someone very different from you that you can love, serve, invite, and exemplify Christ’s love? Will you commit to fervent prayer that we would be the community of saints that God intends God’s church to be?
October 9, 2018
The Holy Spirit
As believers, we are given the Holy Spirit as our advocate to help us live in close relationship with God. Life Application: How solid am I in knowing what the essentials of the Christian Faith are?  Am I allowing my ability to understand the concept of the Trinity to limit my acceptance of Biblical truth?  What would my life be like if I was more aware of God’s presence? How am I willing to change my life to spend time with God?
October 1, 2018
Incarnation (Freedom Sunday)
Life Application: How am I living an incarnational life? How am I not? Where am I trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Where is God calling me to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Spend some time this week simply dwelling on the miracle of the incarnation—that Jesus as fully divine chose to become fully human for us. On this Freedom Sunday how can you support those around the world seeking to be the hands and feet of Christ? Will you commit to praying for International Justice Mission (IJM)? Will you have a conversation to learn more about what IJM does? What next step can you take to support IJM?
September 24, 2018
Sin .
Life Application: What is my perception of sin? In the core of my being, do I trust that God has my best intent? Do I seek to please God to gain favor or simply to please God? What elements of my life am I hiding behind in order to gain security and worth? What part(s) of my life is God in control of?  Which ones is God not in control of? When God asks, “Where are you?” what is my response? How much must God love me in order to give up His own Son Jesus to be the foundation of my life?
September 17, 2018
God .
Life Application: What step can I take this week to realize how real God is? What step can I take to experience God in a more personal way? What step can I take this week to realize the holiness of God? If you are not already part of a small group would you commit to joining one? Leave a comment on a communication card, call the church office, or email the church office ( and we will be glad to help you get connected in a life group.
September 10, 2018
The Bible
Life Application: 1) Will I commit daily Bible reading as a foundation of my faith?  2) Am I a part of a Life Group? (Sign up Sept 9!)
September 3, 2018
Love is the Greatest Wealth
Life Application: How would you describe your love for God?  Is it an infatuated kind of love?  Or a love requiring grit and determination? Do we realize the wealth of love that God offers to us through Jesus? What are we willing to offer to God out of the wealth of God’s love for us? What step of generosity am I willing to commit to over the next year at First Church? Action step: Out of love, covenant to taking one further step in your commitment to generosity for the next year over what you did this past year.  Please reflect this commitment on a commitment card and turn in.Click here to get a glimpse of what your giving supports at First Church:
August 27, 2018
Be Great
Life Application: How am I trying to live a great life? What will make us a great church? Am I willing to be great by serving others? Why or why not? What does it mean for my life that Jesus gave up His life for the sake of others? How can I help First Church live into a dual expression of church as both gathered and sent community? Action Points:  1) Pray for First Church to be a church that is great by loving and serving others and loving and serving Christ as gathered and sent community. 2) Pray about what resources I can use to serve the church over myself. Come prepared next week to act on that commitment.
August 20, 2018
When Jesus Gets Angry
Life Application: Have I made following Jesus more about getting what I want or responding as Jesus would respond? How am I showing compassion to those around me? Do I believe that we can love others with greater impact as a corporate body or as an individual? Do I view stewardship as only relating to money?  Or is it about giving and loving as Jesus gives and loves? Am I willing to make a new covenant with God on how I can offer extravagant generosity? Memorize 1 Timothy 6:18
August 13, 2018
Do You Love Me?
August 6, 2018
What a Walk
Life Application: What storms of life do you have going on right now? Into what “boat” do you need to invite Jesus—Your heart? A situation at work? On behalf of a loved one? First Church? Something else?  Trust that this God will always meet us in our doubts and storms. How can I more fully live into the Jesus story so that I might tell and share the Jesus story?  Who can I better share the truth, beauty, and goodness of Jesus with today? Does my life carry the distinct, “terroir” flavor of Jesus? Also compare Matthew 14:22-36 with John 6:16-24 and Mark 6:45-56.
July 30, 2018
Through the Roof
Life Application: How can I live a life that reflects the supreme truth, beauty, and goodness of Jesus? How can I best tell this story in a way that those around me say, “I have never seen anything like this?” How can I be an intercessor for those in need around me? If you have not already done so, will you commit to serving for a day during the August Transform mission experience as a way of interceding for our community neighbors?
July 23, 2018
When the Insignificant is Significant
Life Application: What is my God story right now? How can I join God more fully in that divine account? How can I share my God story with others?  Do I tend to only know about God, or do I share in God’s story with God? How can it be more of the latter?  In my life right now, am I at a place where my walk with God is just beginning to bud?  To blossom?  Or to show great fruit? What step can I take to experience God’s fullness in the step I am at and also grow to the next level?
July 16, 2018
Let's Party
Life Reflection: God's grace is superabundant and is for all people.
July 9, 2018
Sharing in the Story
Life Reflection: Participate, participate, share
July 2, 2018
NC Celebration Sermon
May 21, 2018
Becoming Trustees
Life Application: How can I be a more a trustee of God’s plans and God’s grace this week? Who has hurt me that I need to forgive? Will I pray for that person or persons this week? Are there additional steps I can take to be at peace with those who have hurt me? Where do I need to stop being a trustee of guilt so I can use my God-given power for good?
May 14, 2018
More Resting Power
Life Application: If I am deeply honest with myself, how restless is my soul?  How tired am I? What will help me understand that Sabbath is about restoration, healing, and life rather than an outdated rule to follow?  Which steps from above can I take today to better embrace the resting power of Sabbath?
May 7, 2018
Resting Power
Life Reflection: Have I ever thought about the importance of Sabbath?  Do I view Sabbath more as a gift or a chain in my life?  Is it easy or hard for me to rest?  Why? What step can I take to embrace the gift of Sabbath in my life? What will help me to stop and rest?  To celebrate and breathe?  To know that in Jesus, “I am enough?”
April 30, 2018
Disciplined Power
Life Reflection: What is my biggest obstacle to actually practicing spiritual disciplines?  Have I considered the power of God that I am missing out on when I do not engage in spiritual disciplines?  What spiritual discipline am I willing to commit to practicing this week? Prayer: Almighty God, help me to experience disciplined power by making the commitment to begin practicing at least one new spiritual practice in my life, for the flourishing of others and your creation, and so that the powerful love of Jesus would be flow from me into the world. For more information on spiritual disciplines, particularly solitude and silence, reference Richard Foster’s work Celebration of Discipline.
April 23, 2018
Get Control
Life Reflection: In what ways is my schedule out of control?  How is my schedule being determined?  What do I need to say “no” to? What do I need to add to my schedule?  What spiritual disciplines am I willing to exercise this week to keep my eye on the prize of Jesus? Scripture Reflection: Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
April 16, 2018
The Power of Identity
Life Reflection: What most helps me to remember and realize my true identity in Christ?  Do I realize the power God has given me to live into?  Am I willing to more intentionally live in the quiet power God offers by reclaiming my identity?  What steps am I willing to take to experience this identity?  What will it take for me to say “I know I am an Image Bearer of God…” and then live into that identity?
April 9, 2018
Fired Up!
Reflection Questions: When it comes to Jesus, would you describe yourself as feeling more “fired” or “fired up” about Jesus?  Why?  Am I more familiar with the principles or the person of Jesus? What would it take for the Resurrected Christ to burn within my heart?  Where might Jesus be walking beside me and I simply have not seen Him there?  What would help open my eyes to the personal, Risen Lord?  Pray: Lord, through your Holy Spirit, fire me up to the reality of you.
April 1, 2018
The Death of Jesus [Palm Sunday]
Reflection Questions: Has the reality that Jesus died for me ever fully penetrated my heart?  What realization would cause my heart to burn for Jesus?  Is it easy or hard for me to picture Jesus as being holy?  What about Jesus strikes me as holy?  What does not?  Why?  Will I commit to making the journey with Christ all the way to the cross during this Holy Week? And beyond?  Will you pray on a daily basis for God’s Holy Spirit fire to fill you personally as well as all of First Church?
March 26, 2018
Being Holy In Our World
When Christ is set apart in our hearts, we can't help but share our hope with others - even when it is uncomfortable. Reflection Questions: Have I set apart Jesus as Lord?  How does Jesus give me hope?  One person I can nudge toward Jesus is ____________.  Am I praying for this person to be able to see the hope of Jesus in my life?
March 19, 2018
Walking the Walk
"Transformation in Christ--Changing lives inside and out." ~Romans 12:2 United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA dedicated to spreading the gospel through invitation, sending, teaching, and prayer.
March 12, 2018
Living as God's Royalty
"Transformation in Christ--Changing lives inside and out." ~Romans 12:2 United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA dedicated to spreading the gospel through invitation, sending, teaching, and prayer.
March 5, 2018
Our Cross to Bear
"Transformation in Christ--Changing lives inside and out." ~Romans 12:2 United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA dedicated to spreading the gospel through invitation, sending, teaching, and prayer.
February 26, 2018
Be Holy
"Transformation in Christ--Changing lives inside and out." ~Romans 12:2 United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA dedicated to spreading the gospel through invitation, sending, teaching, and prayer.
February 18, 2018
Making Everyday Valentine's Day
Life Reflection: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is low and 10 is high) rank yourself on the following healthy habits:      >My power to serve out of reverence for Christ is strong right now _____      >Love is lived out more as a verb than a noun for me _____      >My marriage (or walk with God) is my # 1 earthly priority _____      >My marriage (or walk with God) is more about being sanctified than being happy _____ This week: 1) Talk about your responses with your spouse.  Do you both agree on highest and lowest ranked scores?  What can you do to change the lowest ones?  2) Spend some time praying about how you can do more to cultivate a healthy marriage in reverence to Christ.  3) Apply these same responses to your walk with Christ.  How do you rank?  What can you do for a closer Jesus walk?
February 11, 2018
Troubles? No Problem
Reflection Questions: Do I really believe that the Light overcomes the darkness?  Can I truly get to a place where I am able to rejoice even in suffering?  What steps can I take to help me realize the truth that the Light does overcome the darkness?  Will I commit to repeating scripture in my life on a regular basis?  Will I seek to regularly remember all that God has done for us?  Will I practice rejoicing even in the darkness?  Make this a daily prayer this week:  “Lord, help me to repeat, remember, and rejoice in You and Your light…especially when life is most dark.”
February 5, 2018
Wait For It
Reflection Questions: What can I do to strengthen my relationship with God so that I am able to “wait for it” when I feel like God is silent, hidden, or inactive?  Can I remember God’s faithfulness by journaling?  Can I impress the truths of Scripture in my mind by more faithfully reading the Bible?  Can I ask someone to pray for me?
January 28, 2018
The Problem of Pride
Reflection Questions: How can understanding the role of pride in my life help me face the darkness in my life?  What idols have I made in my life that contribute to darkness in my life?  Where in my soul is there a void of darkness that is exhausting me?  Who is it I tend to blame for what is wrong in life?  Can I learn to embrace in my heart the reality that God is in control of all things?  Can I learn to rest in the reality that the light and glory of Christ will always, abundantly, overcome the darkness?   How can I personally share the light and hope of Christ more abundantly in the world?
January 22, 2018
Living By Faith
Reflection Questions: One way to see the darkness of life overcome with the Light of Christ is to actively wait upon the Lord in faith.  This process involves a mindset and faith of patience, perspective, obedience, God-centeredness, and joy.  Which of these mindsets comes most easily to me?  Which is the most difficult?  Will I commit to more actively waiting on the Lord in my own life?  Where is life most dark right now?  How can I faithfully wait upon the Lord in that area of my life in order to let the light of Christ overcome?
January 15, 2018
Where Are You, God?
As followers of Jesus, how do we live by faith in troubled times? Join us as we explore the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. We will seek to discover how our faith allows us to experience hope and life in the midst of difficulties.
January 8, 2018
Christmas Eve 2017 Message
December 26, 2017
Coming Home (Advent: Love)
"Transformation in Christ--Changing lives inside and out." ~Romans 12:2 United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA dedicated to spreading the gospel through invitation, sending, teaching, and prayer.
December 26, 2017
In God's Wisdom and Identity (Advent: Joy)
Reflection Questions: Where in my life do I most live out God's wisdom? Where do I most struggle with God's wisdom over my own? Where in my life do I most recognize God's identity? Where do I most struggle with God's identity over my own? How can embracing God's wisdom and identity bring HOPE in my life? How can I learn to embrace the coming of Jesus as a baby boy more as the God-man event rather than a sentimental Christmas story?
December 18, 2017
Finding Light in the Darkness (Part 2: Peace)
It is always a good time to remember, celebrate and live into the hope found in Jesus Christ, but perhaps there is no better time of the year to find hope than at Christmas.
December 11, 2017
Finding Light in the Darkness (Part 1: Hope)
It is always a good time to remember, celebrate and live into the hope found in Jesus Christ, but perhaps there is no better time of the year to find hope than at Christmas.
December 4, 2017
For God
It's no surprise that life throws us many curve balls. Would it surprise you to know that there is a way to pray in pretty much any situation in which we find ourselves? Sometimes we think of prayer only as something we do in church or before we eat. In reality, prayer is meant for times of great joy to times of great sorrow and everything in between. For no matter what life throws at us, prayer is always a good thing.
November 27, 2017
Praying for Blessing
It's no surprise that life throws us many curve balls. Would it surprise you to know that there is a way to pray in pretty much any situation in which we find ourselves? Sometimes we think of prayer only as something we do in church or before we eat. In reality, prayer is meant for times of great joy to times of great sorrow and everything in between. For no matter what life throws at us, prayer is always a good thing.
November 19, 2017
In Difficult Times
It's no surprise that life throws us many curve balls. Would it surprise you to know that there is a way to pray in pretty much any situation in which we find ourselves? Sometimes we think of prayer only as something we do in church or before we eat. In reality, prayer is meant for times of great joy to times of great sorrow and everything in between. For no matter what life throws at us, prayer is always a good thing.
November 12, 2017
A Life's Legacy (All Saints' Sunday)
It's no surprise that life throws us many curve balls. Would it surprise you to know that there is a way to pray in pretty much any situation in which we find ourselves? Sometimes we think of prayer only as something we do in church or before we eat. In reality, prayer is meant for times of great joy to times of great sorrow and everytihing in between. For no matter what life throws at us, prayer is always a good thing.
November 6, 2017
Holy Bread
How can we offer abundant, beautiful grace to the world while also adhering to God's holy law and justice in the world? Too much focus on grace makes God sound "wishy-washy" on God's truth. Too much focus on justice and law makes Christians sound judgmental. If we insist on all grace, are we forfeiting God's truth and law? If we insist on living fully into God's law, are we at the same time forfeiting the grace of God?
October 30, 2017
One Leads to the Other
We've come to realize that God is inherently lawful and graceful. Since we are created in His image, we are called to do the same. What does it mean to be holy? How can we act in such a way that properly reflects God's holiness? Deuteronomy 7:6-11 gives us some insight into that. How can we offer abundant, beautiful grace to the world while also adhering to God's holy law and justice in the world? Too much focus on grace makes God sound "wishy-washy" on God's truth. Too much focus on justice and law makes Christians sound judgmental. If we insist on all grace, are we forfeiting God's truth and law? If we insist on living fully into God's law, are we at the same time forfeiting the grace of God?
October 22, 2017
Unpacking God's Law
Fire: unique in the sense it can be unbelievably destructive, and simultaneously, stir peace and comfort. These two attributes of fire reflect God's two apparently contradictory natures of law and grace. Through the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy, we go deeper in exploring what God's law means for us, and why we should obey Him.How can we offer abundant, beautiful grace to the world while also adhering to God's holy law and justice in the world? Too much focus on grace makes God sound "wishy-washy" on God's truth. Too much focus on justice and law makes Christians sound judgmental. If we insist on all grace, are we forfeiting God's truth and law? If we insist on living fully into God's law, are we at the same time forfeiting the grace of God?
October 16, 2017
The Grace of Law
In the book of Deuteronomy, we explore grace and law, specifically through the people's two responses to bad news: rejecting God, and being overly religious. Through Deuteronomy 1, we learn what is wrong with the human heart, and what God's solution is. How can we offer abundant, beautiful grace to the world while also adhering to God's holy law and justice in the world? Too much focus on grace makes God sound "wishy-washy" on God's truth. Too much focus on justice and law makes Christians sound judgmental. If we insist on all grace, are we forfeiting God's truth and law? If we insist on living fully into God's law, are we at the same time forfeiting the grace of God?
October 8, 2017
The Fire of God
How can we offer abundant, beautiful grace to the world while also adhering to God's holy law and justice in the world? Too much focus on grace makes God sound "wishy-washy" on God's truth. Too much focus on justice and law makes Christians sound judgmental. If we insist on all grace, are we forfeiting God's truth and law? If we insist on living fully into God's law, are we at the same time forfeiting the grace of God?
October 2, 2017
Embodied Grace
It has been said that the most distinctive element of the Christian faith is the element of grace. And yet, we live in both a world, and a church, increasingly devoid of grace. What does it mean to live fully into God's beauty and life of grace as individuals? As a church? What does it mean today, in 2017, to be a church that offers grace? How can we respond in grace to the world? How far are we willing to go in order to offer such grace?
September 25, 2017
Life Reflection: Where is my life most out of control right now?  What desire most rules my life?  How can I seek to not just force myself to follow the ways of Jesus, but fall more deeply in love with Jesus Himself as my top desire?  How much do I immerse my life in scripture?  What most reminds me of God’s faithfulness?  Do I truly realize that the more we practice self-discipline the more grace we, and others, can receive in our lives?
September 10, 2017
Receiving Grace
Life Reflection: Who is it in my life that I need to make space for?  Am I willing to make space for them? How can I extend a godly tolerance and compassion in every area of my life?  On Facebook?  In worship?  In my relationships? Am I willing to intentionally connect with folks different than myself?  Do I feel threatened if I am not perceived as “right?”  What would help me to receive others as Christ has received me?
September 3, 2017
Finding Peace
Life Reflection: Is my happiness based on circumstances or the condition of my heart in Christ?  What can I do in my life to think more about Jesus, dig deeper in Jesus, and look more to Jesus?  Do I realize that Jesus made me a part of His great story?  What impact does that have on my life?  What impact could it have on my life?  Do I know the peace that passes all understanding?  What is holding me back from experiencing God’s peace?
August 27, 2017
Living in Grace
Life Reflection: In you, God sees someone so beautiful, so wonderful, that God-in kindness- says, “Give me your garbage and I will give you my love.”  What does this mean to me?     Do I realize the true amount of love, grace, and kindness that God has offered me through Jesus?  Do I seek to actively offer kindness to others on a regular basis?  How can I learn to live a life of kindness embodied in the grace of Christ?  What impact could such grace, lived out in acts of kindness, have in the world?
August 20, 2017
Practical Living
Life Reflection: Referring to the Christians of Le Chambon: “They don't look upon effort as being something depleting. They look upon effort as something through which you live fully and you derive strength.” Pierre Sauvage, a child who survived the Holocaust because of the Christians of Le Chambon What effort does practical love and grace ask of me? What habits of love do I need to form?
August 13, 2017
Life Reflection Ready to take your next step?  Start the 7-Day Bible reading plan “Forgiveness Reading Plan” by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud on The Bible App:
August 6, 2017
Discovering Power
Life Reflection: Do I know the grace found only in Jesus Christ?  If so how can I more fully embrace that grace?  If not, will I welcome Jesus into my life today?  When it comes to giving, do I ask: “How much do I HAVE to give?”  Or, “How much CAN I give?”  Will I pray and then intentionally, cheerfully, and grace-fully make a joyful financial commitment to the body of Christ at First Church for 2018?
July 30, 2017
Dealing with Lions
Life Reflection: What does it mean for me to say that Jesus is Lord of my life?  In what areas of my faith walk have I been making compromises?  How could I improve my prayer life?
July 9, 2017
Strange Communication
Life Reflection: What does it look like for me to live into this prayer:  Lord, show me how to so take your kingdom into my life that my life becomes a true party—a feast of the real kingdom.  Let me become a person of such humble service and joyful love that the handwriting of your love will break the broken parties of insignificance we try to throw—and usher in a new, Kingdom-of-God party.  Let my life be so different that the people of this world will desire to make you the Lord of their feast!  Amen!
July 2, 2017
Facing the Furnace
Life Reflection:  How is God challenging me to live out my faith and be different in our increasingly secular world?  Do I feel the need to always defend myself and my position? Am I prone to rants?  What is one situation in my life that I need to release to God’s control and say “I trust in your power, and believe you will fix this, BUT IF NOT, I will still serve you because you are my God.”
June 27, 2017
Kingdom Dreams
Life Reflection: In following Jesus in this world, is my tendency to separate from the culture to follow Jesus (and thereby separate myself from people that Jesus seeks to love)?  Or to assimilate to the culture and look no different than folks who do not follow Jesus?  How can I love the people of this world and Jesus at the same time?  When was the last time I asked myself, “How does the Gospel influence my next action?”  How can this question remind me of Christ as the true foundation of my life? Remember: Love the city of humanity for the sake of the city of God
June 18, 2017
Following the Risen Jesus
Life Reflection: Do I believe that God wants to use First Church in the rest of God’s story?  Do I believe that God wants to use me in the rest of God’s story?  Do I believe that God could use us in a holy movement?  What part of living into God’s idea of a hero is hardest for me:  Repentance?  Focusing on character over appearance?  Commitment to something greater than myself?  My willingness to consider others ahead of myself?  What step can I take today to live a more heroic life in Jesus?
June 11, 2017
Life Reflections: What brings more “shaking” in my life—the circumstances of this world or Christ within me?  What needs to happen in my life so that I am so anchored in Christ that the circumstances of my life no longer dictate my happiness or satisfaction?  Am I willing to pray like the early disciples to speak God’s Word with great boldness?  How bold am I for Christ?  How “sold out?”  Do I believe that God could use me/us to be part of a movement of movements for the glory of God?  What does my role in such a movement look like?
June 4, 2017
Life Reflection: How do I experience the true power of the Holy Spirit in my life?  What types of persecutions or hardships or fears do I face because I am a Christian? What would help me to understand that as a Christ follower I am tapping into power source greater than any power source of this world?  What would allow me to live with absolute certainty in the reality and love of Christ?  How does God want to use me to help create a powerful, Holy-Spirit-filled movement?
May 28, 2017
The Final Word
Life Reflection: What is the final word in my life?  Is it God’s truth as found in scripture?  Am I seeing and receiving God’s truth in my life or am I missing it?  What is causing me to miss it?  How can God’s truth bring healing in my life and the lives of others?  How can God’s truth carry us through times of difficulty?  How can God’s truth foster a holy movement where lives are being transformed in Christ?  What step is God calling me to take in God’s continuing story?
May 21, 2017
A New Community
Life Reflection: What role does the Holy Spirit play in my life?  Do I view the Holy Spirit as an optional part of God that I can take or leave as I wish?  Or do I see and understand the Holy Spirit as part of the Triune God?  What would it look like in my life to live into the power of the Holy Spirit?  How can we as a church live out the type of community described in Acts 2:42-47 through the Holy Spirit?  Have I welcomed the gift of the Holy Spirit into my life?  If not, why not?
May 14, 2017
Cut to the Heart
Life Reflection: Where do I need to THINK more in regards to my faith?  What would it take to melt my heart to the reality of Jesus’ life AND death for me?  When was the last time I asked God, “Lord, what shall I do for you?”  Do I believe that God through the Holy Spirit can still add daily to our numbers in Christ?  What will it take for me to be cut to the heart in Christ?  Am I willing to pray for a holy movement of God where many are cut to the heart?  Will I make this a daily prayer?
May 7, 2017
The Spirit of God
Life Reflection: Am I disciplined in my walk with Christ? In what area to do I need to work to become more disciplined?  Do I join with other Christians constantly in prayer?  Am I continually praising God in the house of God? What is perplexing or amazing me? Do I ask, “what does this mean?” or do I assume that I know how the Spirit of God is at work in my life, my church, and my world today?
April 30, 2017
Truth and Power
Life Reflection: Do I personally know the power and truth of Jesus Christ?  Or does Jesus remain a set of principles in my life to follow?  Do I expect God to move in significant ways in my life and the life of our church?  If so, how so?  If not, why not?  Do I believe that God could begin a holy movement that could help transform our lives and our city—and that God wants to use me/us?  Am I willing to genuinely pray that God will use me personally, and First Church specifically to continue the rest of God’s story?
April 23, 2017
What's Right?
Life Reflection: How real is the Resurrection of Jesus in my life?  Do I view the Resurrection as “hard” news or “soft” news?  Why?  What difference would it make in every part of my life and how I viewed the world if I realized the Resurrection as truth?  Do I live my life trying to follow the principles of Christianity OR in a loving relationship with Jesus Himself?  How can I be a herald, a “good news bringer,” of the Resurrection with others?
April 16, 2017
Looking at the Truth
Life Reflection: In my life am I practicing “Me” first, or “God” first?  Why?  What would help me to more fully grasp the reality of sin and that Jesus offered His life for mine?  How would such an understanding impact me?  What new light does this shed on the final days and events of Jesus?
April 9, 2017
Why Sin Makes God Angry
Life Reflection:  Is my anger “sinful anger” (like the coffee guy) or “holy anger” (like God’s anger)?   How is God calling me to respond to my holy anger over injustice and join in God’s transformational work?  Do I need to lament?  If yes, can I be honest with God during my prayer time this week?
April 2, 2017
How Sin Leaves Us Wandering
Life Reflections: Am I living into God’s design for me?  Where am I?  Where am I not?  Where in my life am I experiencing disintegration?  Am I placing my complete trust in Christ who has defeated sin?  How can I live into God’s concept of Jubilee so that I can be part of what is right with God’s creation rather than what is wrong?  What does it mean for me to see Jesus as “the warrior nurse?”  What does it mean to me to receive Christ’s beauty while Christ receives my ashes?
March 26, 2017
How Sin Enslaves (Part 2)
Life Reflection: In my heart of hearts, what is it that I have to have, especially in times of trouble, in order to be ok and feel good about myself?  This is what I am addicted to.  Do I view sin as simply breaking the law, or as something that breaks the heart of God?  How can I better personalize my understanding of sin?  What actions steps can I take today to remember God’s grace in my life?  Who am I willing to ask in my life to speak to me about the addictions I have in my life?
March 19, 2017
How Sin Enslaves (Part 1)
Life Reflection: To who or what is my soul most attracted?  Where do I find my worth and value?  Right now does my soul feel free or enslaved?  Am I selling myself out for something?  For what does my soul truly long for?  What have I been afraid to admit that my soul depends on besides God?  To whose arms does my soul run?  What will help us to realize the full extent of how much Christ loves us?  That there is no one else in who our soul will find both rest and satisfaction?  Prayer:  “Lord, help me to find true freedom by enslaving my soul to you alone.”
March 12, 2017
How Sin Sabotages
Life Reflection: What sin is happening in my life right now?  How is sin sabotaging my relationship with God?  What idols have I placed in my life that are making God seem much smaller?  How would my life be less boring without the influence of sin?  Am I able to see the cure for sin in my life in the image of Jesus Christ?  What will help me experience Christ in this way? Ponder this quote by C.S. Lewis: “The real mark of hell is a sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon the self…we must understand hell as a place where everyone is perpetually concerned about his or her own dignity and advancement where everybody always has a grievance.  And where everyone lives in the deadly seriousness of envy and self-importance…to admire Satan is to give one’s vote to a world of lies, propaganda and incessant auto-biography.”
March 5, 2017
With the Man Born Blind
Jesus came as a light into the darkness of our world so that we can come to see him as our Savior. Life Reflection: How am I progressing on my spiritual journey in relationship with Jesus? In what ways am I allowing darkness to remain in my life? How will I verbalize my witness?
February 19, 2017
At the Pool
Life Reflection: Where have I seen Jesus pursuing me in my life?  Where might Jesus be pursuing me that I have not noticed or seen before?  Where do I need healing in my life?  For what healing in my life have I asked Jesus?    Is my desire for healing only?  Or for the Christ of the healing? Pray: Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see you as the healer and Lord of my life.
February 12, 2017
In the Feeding
Life Reflection: Do I see Jesus as the bread of life?  Have I come to believe in Him in such a way that He is my strength and life?  What would allow me to rely more on Christ for strength and life?  Am I experiencing eternal life now?  What would allow me to truly live and not just exist?  What does it mean that the “I AM” of the universe died for my sake?
February 5, 2017
See the person of Jesus, not just the power of Jesus. Life Reflection: Do I see the person of Jesus or am I just seeking the power of Jesus? Do I take Jesus at his word? Am I willing to prioritize reading Scripture for 10 minutes a day for the remainder of this sermon series so that I can see the person of Jesus more clearly? Do the people in my household see Jesus through me?
January 29, 2017
In the Feast
Life Reflection: Am I currently experiencing an abundant, joy-filled, “filled-to-the-brim,” grace-full life in Jesus Christ?  If not, why not?  Where is my life empty and in need of something better?  How often do I stop to savor, and sip the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  What would help me to stop and both see and taste the richness of the wine of the Jesus?
January 22, 2017
As the Lamb
Life Reflection: Do I see Jesus in my life?  What would allow me to see Him more clearly?  What is keeping me from seeing Jesus in my life?  What does it say to me that John describes Jesus as a Lamb when John sees Him?  What does this tell us about Jesus?  How can I find my full identity in Jesus?  How can I, like John, be a voice for Jesus?  Do I know what it is like to be both completely humble and great at the same time?
January 15, 2017
In the Beginning
Life Reflection: What am I doing to align my life with the grand purpose of the universe as defined in knowing Jesus in a personal way?  What do I need to do?  What is holding me back?  In my own life, do I tend to outright reject the ways of Jesus, or do I have trouble comprehending the ways of Jesus?  What would help me to see Jesus more in my own life?  What can I do to help others see Jesus?
January 8, 2017
Simeon & Anna
Reflection Questions: How strong is my faith?  Am I willing to keep praying no matter what results I do or do not see?  What would allow me to have stronger faith?  Do I trust that God can use me at any age?  How is God’s Holy Spirit prompting me right now?  Who might God be nudging me towards to share the love of Jesus? Who can I bring to Christmas Eve with me this year?
December 18, 2016
The Magi
Life Reflection: The Magi went a long way in searching for Jesus.  How far are we willing to go to search for Jesus?  What is our response when we find Jesus?  What are we willing to bring and give to Jesus?  Where in my life do I need the hope and light found in Jesus?  Who do I know that needs the light of Christ that I can share it with?  Am I willing?  Who can I invite to Christmas Eve to celebrate?
December 4, 2016
King Herod
Reflection Questions: What insecurities do I struggle with in my life?  What do those insecurities cause me to do?  How can I find my true security in Christ?  Do I believe that Christ walks with me in the good times and bad?  Do I realize that Christ knows exactly what I am struggling with and will never leave me or forsake me?  May this knowledge provide hope in my life.
November 27, 2016
The Great Celebration
Life Reflection: What next step will I take to know Jesus more deeply?  Accept Him as Lord and Savior for the first time?  Recommit my life to Him?  Begin living out the five building blocks of a revival for the church more concretely in my own life? Pray: Lord Revive all of who I am in you.  Revive all of who we as First Church in you.
November 20, 2016
Laying the Blue Print (Part 2)
Life Reflection:  1) Ask God to forgive us of our sins.  To remove barriers. Embrace Christ. 2) Give God our best worship in all we do based on the teaching of Jesus as the Gospel. 3) Plead for God to revive ALL of who we are in Christ. Pray for God to pour out God’s Holy Spirit so that the church is returned to New Testament normalcy in its beauty and function.
November 16, 2016
Laying the Blue Print (Part 1)
Action Steps:      1) Come to early morning prayer at 6:00 AM at the North Campus     2) Sign up on the communication card to pray during a worship service on November 13 or November 20. Pray: Lord, we beg you, revive all of who we are. Create in us an urgency for you. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us. Amen.
November 6, 2016
Living Into God's Idea of Power
Reflection Questions: Do I strive for the world's idea of power? Or God's humble power? What is keeping me from living in the abundance of God's humble power? Which spiritual disciplines am I currently practicing? Which one(s) do I need to begin practicing? Am I willing to begin by choosing to focus on extra time for prayer?
October 30, 2016
Distorted Power = Idolatry
Reflection Questions: For what purposes are we using the humble power God has given us?  For flourishing?  Or for creating idols?  Where are we seeking to be like God by playing the role of God--thinking, we shall not surely die?   As individuals?  And as a church?  What idols are currently stealing our power and life?  In humble power can we surrender them to Christ so that we might flourish?
October 23, 2016
The Lure of Privilege
Reflection Questions: Have I been fully washed and made clean in Jesus?  What is causing me to hesitate?  Am I willing to wash the feet of others in whatever form that may take?  Why or why not?  What would it take for me to lay aside my privilege in order to use my God-given influence in order to offer God’s humble power in our world?
October 16, 2016
Power Redefined
Reflection Question: How is God calling you to be exercise humble power by joining with God in a creating something "good?"
October 2, 2016
From Dark to Light
Reflection Questions: Like John the Baptist, how do we testify to who Jesus is in such a way that people begin to SEE Jesus for themselves and MOVE towards Him?     Prayer: Lord, let us see and move, and be transformed in you at First Church.  Awaken a fire within us that is dominated by a vision of you.  And may your vision of new life and transformation in Jesus not just be taught, but truly caught.
September 25, 2016
From Death to Life
September 18, 2016
From Old to New
Reflection Questions: How is my relationship with Jesus?  What do you long to see?  What kind of vision would literally cause your heart to beat a little (or a lot) faster?  Does my relationship with God captivate me and influence how I view all my other relationships?  What would it take for me to see as God desires me to see?  What would it take for me to own God’s vision for our church as my own vision?
September 11, 2016
The Results of Justice
Reflection Questions: What if the people we knew dealing with justice issues were not just charity cases?  But folks we entered into a relationship with?  Moved into their neighborhood?  Got to know?  Genuinely loved? What does it take to be in a relationship with our city? Our Open Gym kids?  Our policemen and policewomen?  Our tutoring students?  Our family promise families?
September 4, 2016
How Do We Do Public Justice?
Reflection Questions: What would it take for me to approach the kingdom of God like a little child?  To live a life of justice as a child of God that impacts the world?  What would it take for me to trade:    1) Comfort for Adventure    2) Security for Faith    3) Control for Miracles    4) Success for Deep Knowledge of Jesus
August 28, 2016
How Do We Do Justice?
Reflection Questions: How in love am I with Jesus?  What does sharing Christ’s love look like in my life and in the world?  What is the motive of my heart when it comes to justice?  Is my heart filled with grace, mercy, and compassion for others?  If not, what would it take for me to live with the heart of Jesus?  If my heart is filled with grace, mercy, and compassion am I taking action to live God’s justice in the world?
August 21, 2016
Why is Justice Important?
August 14, 2016
What is Justice?
As the church together, we have power and resources to transform the world by doing justice. Reflection: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. ~Isaiah 1:17
August 7, 2016
Thank You!
July 31, 2016
Victory & Defeat
Reflection Questions: When it comes to an opportunity to give, do I:  Not give at all?  Give out of a sense of guilt?  Give out of a sense of obedience?  Give with a champion’s heart?  How can I learn to give with the joy and belief of a champion’s heart?  Specifically, today am I willing as part of my life mission to make a commitment to tithe and beyond in order to help us win the prize at First Church?
July 24, 2016
The Power of Team
Reflection Questions: How can I offer more encouragement to the team in my life?  How can I offer a loving challenge to help them be all they can be?  Is giving a spiritual matter for me?  Do I give out of obligation or joy?  Do I see giving as an opportunity to partner with God in a sacrificial, disciplined manner to change lives or simply an economic exchange?  What would it take for my heart to be converted to desire to give to serve God and others more than myself?
July 17, 2016
Training for the Games
Reflection Questions: What is keeping me from fully running in such a way as to get the prize?  What holds me back from being more disciplined with finances?  What holds me back from giving more to God?  What keeps me from tithing or living in generosity?  Am I willing to trade some of my perishable prizes to invest an imperishable prize?  Why or why not?  Am I willing to genuinely pray for God’s help and guidance in becoming a Luke 8:3 giver?
July 10, 2016
Striving Forward
Reflection Questions: What am I straining for in life?  For what am I pressing ahead?  Giving my discipline?  My all?  What would it take for me to train, focus, and press ahead in the area of finances and giving to God?  Do I believe in what God is using First Church to do in the transformation of lives in Jesus Christ and am I willing to do all I can to make that transformation happen?  Am I striving for the ultimate prize?
July 3, 2016
Here to There
Reflection Questions:  Where do I need a faith that moves mountains? What mountain needs to be moved in my own life? What mountain needs to be moved in the life of First Church? What mountain needs to be moved in our world? Will you pray for a “mountain moving” faith?
June 26, 2016
Reflection Questions: By nature, am I more like Mary or Martha?  What is it about pausing and breathing before God that is so difficult for me?  What can I do to take more time to simply “be” in the presence of God?  What is most important in my life?  What needs to be?  Am I breathing the way God intends?  Why or why not?
June 19, 2016
Made to Breathe
Reflection Questions: Do I believe that God designed me to breathe?  Why or why not?  If not, what most steals my breath?  What keeps me from experiencing God’s breath and Holy Spirit in my life?  With God’s help am I willing to blow those barriers out of my life?  Am I willing to truly embrace the yoke of Christ?  What needs to happen in my life so I can begin to breathe?  Am I willing to rely on God’s breath rather than my own?
June 12, 2016
A Different Way
Reflection Questions: Where are you out of breath?  Where are you afraid?  Enslaved?  Where do you need something different?  To trust?  Where do you need some breathing room?  Are we willing to honestly name it?  Is it in our schedule?  Time?  Money?  Are we willing to talk to someone about it this week?  Make it a matter of prayer? Prayer:  Lord, this day give me the courage, the trust, and the ability to breathe where I am most afraid.  Amen.
June 5, 2016
Out of Money
Reflection Questions: Which master do I serve?  Jesus or finances?  Am I willing to do whatever it takes to create more breathing room in my financial life?  Am I willing to pursue quality of life over a standard of living? Prayer: Lord, help me to take whatever steps I need to in order to create breathing room in my finances.
May 29, 2016
Out of Breath
Reflection Questions: Are there areas in your life where are you running around like a pagan? Are you anxiously worrying about your needs? Will you confess your lack of faith and trust in God’s provision? Where in your life do you need to make plans instead of fretting about problems? Will you ask Jesus to meet you where you are and look to see Him show up? How will you slow down and live in the moment? Will you commit to living in God’s time, living one day at a time?
May 22, 2016
God's Breath (Pentecost Sunday)
Reflection Questions: When is the last time you witnessed God do something amazing?  If God has become ordinary, you may have spiritual asthma.  Do you need to slow down so you have time to breathe in the breath of God?  Do you need to practice spiritual disciplines like worship, Bible Study, prayer, and giving so that you can receive God’s breath?  Do you need to remember that God has already broken down the barriers so that YOU can experience life to the full?
May 15, 2016
Live Into God's Time
Reflection Questions: Read Psalm 90:12 and pray that we may gain God’s wisdom. Ask yourself: What do I need to add that is not in my life? What do I need to remove completely? What needs “turned up” more of in my life? What do I need to focus on more? What needs “turned down” in my life? What needs to occur/happen less often? With God’s perspective, the HOW of “How to breathe in life” will come.
May 8, 2016
What Is The Proof that God Actually Exists?
Reflection Questions: What “proof” do I need to believe in and follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?  What is holding me back from taking that step of faith? Where do I see God in creation? In the ways that God has made humanity? In my own life? Prayer: Lord, help me to take a step of faith in you. Help me to see, experience, and follow you so that my life and the lives of others may be transformed in you on the inside and out.
May 1, 2016
Why Does God Allow So Much Suffering To Occur?
Reflection Questions: Where do I see suffering in the world?  Where am I suffering the most right now?  Can I trust that God meets us collectively in the suffering?  That God meets me in that suffering?  Can I trust that God can even bring redemption out of the suffering I am going through?  Am I able to surrender the suffering I see to the loving hands of God? Prayer: May we find comfort in Christ who knows our suffering since Christ Himself experienced suffering.
April 24, 2016
Why Does The Bible Have So Many Disturbing Passages In It?
Reflection Questions: What parts of the Bible are the most disturbing for me?  Why?  What do I most need to remember in relation to those passages?  That God’s ways are greater than my ways?  That God used human hands in the writing of scripture?  That the original Bible passages were written in a different culture than our current one?  That this God gets into our messiness with us? Prayer:  Lord, help me to remember that YOUR Word is YOUR word.  It is holy, God-breathed, and authoritative for my life.  Help me to submit to it, even when I do not fully understand it.  Amen.
April 17, 2016
What Is It About Religion That Seems To Cause So Much War & Violence?
Reflection Questions: Why does violence seem like such a natural response for human beings?  For me?  Do I really believe that Jesus offers an alternative to violence in our world?  Or does this seem unrealistic to me?  What would it take for me to believe and live into the model that Jesus offers towards violence?  Do I believe that love and humility are truly stronger than force and violence?  Why?  What would it look like for me to absorb the world’s violence in my life?  Prayer: Lord, help me to trust your ways over my ways and your model over my model.
April 3, 2016
Answered Prayer (Easter 2016)
Reflection Questions: Where in my life do I need some answered prayers?  Can I trust that the One who defeats even death can answer those prayers?  Can I trust that Jesus can bring new life out of any difficult situation?  Do I believe that Jesus holds me even when I have not been holding on to Him?  Do I know that Jesus knows me, and calls me by name?  What would it look like for me to fully trust the Resurrected Jesus with everything?  Including my own life?
March 27, 2016
For Thine Is... (Palm Sunday 2016)
Reflection Questions: Do I seek to conform the Lord’s prayer to fit my life?  Or do I conform my life to fit the Lord’s Prayer?  Why?  What would it take for me to conform my life to the Lord’s Prayer?  Who defines the politics of my life?  What does it mean for me to live into God’s kingdom rather than my own?  What does it mean for me to live into God’s idea of power?  What does it mean for me to live into God’s idea of glory?
March 20, 2016
And Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Reflection Questions: Where in my life am I experiencing temptation?  Does anyone else know it?  Where do I need to ask God to lead me?  From what do I need delivered?  Am I willing to share my temptations with others so that I might experience healing? Action Point: Pray, “Lord help me to know and be led by you: Lead me not into temptation, Deliver me from the evil one.”
March 13, 2016
Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Reflections Questions: Who in my life has caused me great pain and sinned against me?  Who do I harbor much resentment against?  Who is it that I have trouble forgiving?  Am I willing to pray the miracle of forgiveness?  Am I willing to believe in the power of prayer and the significance of God’s forgiveness in my life, and for the world, as the Lord’s Prayer reminds us?  Do I see how the miracle of prayerful forgiveness contributes to God’s desire for beauty, peace, and grace in our world?  Action Point:  Pray: “Lord, help me to forgive “________”  as you forgive me.”
March 6, 2016
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Reflection Questions: What is it I am truly searching for in my life?  Am I finding it?  What am I feeding my soul?  Right now am I feasting regularly on Christ as the Bread of Life?  Or just once a week in worship?  Or am I consuming garbage in my life? Is Christ the one who truly sustains me and moves me forward in growth?
February 28, 2016
Thy Kingdom Come
The Lord’s Prayer leads us to expand God’s kingdom by inviting God’s reign in our hearts as we put God’s will above our own. Reflection: As we are transformed, think differently, and act differently through the power of the Holy Spirit because we’ve prayed - God’s kingdom becomes that much more present on earth - just as it is in heaven.
February 21, 2016
Our Father
Reflection Questions: How much do I reflect on the meaning of the Lord’s prayer versus simply say the words of it?  Do I seek to live out a life with Christ with others or just focus on my own journey?  Do I see God as more “Dad” or more “Respected Father?”  How can I respond to God in a more balanced way?  How can I lift God’s name up more than my own? Action Point:  Pray the Lord’s Prayer every day at noon.
February 14, 2016
Living in Strength
February 7, 2016
Imitating Love
January 31, 2016
Embrace the Light
January 24, 2016
More Than We Can Imagine
January 17, 2016
Receive the Gift
January 10, 2016
Jesus: The Growing Years
December 27, 2015
Relentless Pursuit
November 22, 2015
Love .
November 15, 2015
Personally Called
November 1, 2015
October 25, 2015