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Warsaw Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Warsaw Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Welcome to Warsaw Evangelical Presbyterian Church! We'd love to worship with you. Check out this podcast for weekly sermon series, devotionals, and book reviews.

Our 175-year history reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We who are part of this historic congregation today are indebted in countless ways to the faith of those who have gone before us. As recipients of this godly heritage and stewards of the gospel, we tirelessly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ so that the generations that come after us will experience the joy of knowing, loving, and serving
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Sin Boldly

Warsaw Evangelical Presbyterian Church

No One Can Judge Me
Few things draw the ire and judgment of our culture as much as the appearance of judging or looking down upon someone else. To accuse someone of sin, it seems, has become an unpardonable sin in today's world. How should we, as Christians, respond to this? On the one hand, the Bible warns us against the dangers of pride and judgmentalism. Because the church hasn't always done well in those areas, we need to ask the Lord to show us where we need to repent and do better. On the other hand, obedience to Christ means that, at times, we must take a stand on right, wrong, truth, and falsehood. Often it can feel like it's a constant juggling act to uphold the truth and love of Christ simultaneously. This Sunday, we will continue our sermon series on ideas that aren't actually in the Bible by examining the cultural notion that "No one can judge me." We'll discuss what the Bible says on the topic and attempt to reclaim a biblical vision of God's love and justice. Because God's love and justice are perfectly shown to us in Jesus Christ, we who are united to Christ can extend the true and just love of Christ to those around us.
September 26, 2022
"God Helps Those Who Help Themselves"
“God helps those who help themselves.” That phrase sounds like something that makes a lot of sense when you first hear it, doesn’t it? After all, we see examples throughout Scripture of men and women who seem commended by God for their ingenuity. We read Scriptures like, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Doesn’t that imply that God helps us if we help ourselves? And then when you think about how getting ahead in our society takes hard work, it all seems to make sense, right? Not quite. God does expect us to help ourselves in some things, like working diligently as to the Lord and not for people. However, if we take this statement to its logical conclusion, we end up in a place where we rely on ourselves for our salvation. But God does not help those who can help themselves because, from His perspective, we cannot help ourselves. We cannot save ourselves from our bondage to sin, so He does it for us. God helps the helpless who trust in Him. The lyrics in the hymn, Rock of Ages say, “Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demands. All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.” That line sums up the heart of our worship this weekend.
September 19, 2022
"God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle"
Bumper Sticker Theology “God never gives you more than you can handle.” How many of us have ever heard a phrase like that? It sounds comforting, right? After all, life can be tough; and when we experience devastation or difficult blows, well-meaning loved ones often try to comfort us with sympathetic eyes, a warm hug, and a familiar phrase. But what does, “God won't give you more than you can handle” mean? It seems like what people are trying to communicate is, “You are strong. You’ve got this!” And it feels good to hear, doesn’t it? If God loves us, then as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, we believe that there is a set, God-ordained limit to our suffering. God knows when we’ve reached the pinnacle of what we can endure and will make it disappear. But Scripture tells us something far different. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to the woes of Job to the persecution of the prophets and the men and women in Christ’s early church, we know suffering is far more the rule than the exception. Only by drawing close to God and leaning on Him do God’s people ever see relief. The truth is God never promises not to put more on us than we can handle, but He does promise to guide us through whatever we face. As we rest in God’s power, we find that we never receive more than God can handle. God’s grace is sufficient no matter what it is we face. He will meet all our needs.
September 12, 2022
The Pursuit Of Happiness
The Pursuit Of Happiness With a flurry of voices and messaging flocking to us from all quarters at all times, how can we be sure what is worth listening to? How do we size up the credibility of these divergent appeals and counsel that seek to guide and direct us? After all, they all contain an element of truth, right? As followers of Christ, we regard the Scriptures as our reference point for all matters of life and godliness. When facing uncertainty or doubt, we turn to our spiritual roadmap and compass to avoid losing our way. We wait to see how God’s Spirit will speak during our quiet times with Him, within our circumstances, and through other godly people. And yet, if we do not regularly exercise good discernment, we will surely internalize a fusion of ‘biblical conventional wisdom’ which might sound alright but will act to keep us from living out and experiencing God’s best. This week we will hear from three distinct biblical voices as we consider the all-too-common sentiment: “God just wants you (me…us…them) to be happy.” Each of these ancient authors—John, Peter, the Psalmist—will provide some inspired insight to help us navigate around this contemporary misconception that some might attribute to the Bible, yet sidetracks the Christian. In the end, we will find that the pursuit of happiness will never lead us to the holy calling which God calls and equips his people to live out. It’s a matter of the eternal presiding over the temporal. Rather, in making Christlikeness our aim, we will find a life-giving joy and peace far superior to any fleeting, circumstance-bound pleasure. Matt Liethen
September 06, 2022
The Return Of The King
One of the touching moments in a marriage ceremony is when the bride and groom face one another to speak their vows. When I officiate a wedding ceremony, I ask the couple to repeat words of fidelity, trust, and commitment. It’s an incredibly powerful moment and is often met with tears. In Nehemiah 9, we see the people of Israel renewing their vows to the Lord with tears and celebration after their work. They recommitted to God, who was already committed to them. They made many promises about how they would govern their lives. Above all, they promised to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yet all their newfound success had not made them choose to love God more; it tempted them to do whatever they wanted. God gave them salvation, but they worshiped other gods. Nehemiah wrote, “As soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight.” Israel chose to live their lives on their terms rather than the Lord’s. The King needed to return to their hearts once again, and so God had to remind them of their vows through Nehemiah. Over 2,000 years ago, God renewed his vows of love to us by sending his Son. Jesus prayed, “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know I came from you, believing you sent me.” (John 17:6-8). In this way Jesus repeated God’s vows to us, saying we belong to him alone. May we live out our love for him through hearts that continue to return to the King.
September 01, 2022
The Return Of The People
Are you a detail-oriented person? Are you wired for accuracy? Some of us are gifted in areas of numbers; others of us are grateful our last math class was years ago. Some of us love organization; others of us cringe at the thought of putting everything in a certain place for all time. As we turn to Nehemiah 7, we see Nehemiah’s continued gifts for accuracy and organization, and his heart for the people of God. Nehemiah 7:5 says, “God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the common people for registration by families.” Throughout this chapter, we see how various tribes and families are mentioned, and how unsettled people are being returned and restored in Jerusalem. Each person and each family were important. Each brought a gift or a talent to bless the community. And we see how the priests, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants all mattered to ensure that worship took place. As we mentioned a week ago, the work of Nehemiah begins to shift in these chapters. No longer is it about the physical rebuilding of the wall; ultimately, it is about the rebuilding of a people and the return of the people’s hearts to the King. As we prepare to worship together this week, where (and in what ways) do you sense God is calling you to return? Where do you need to renew your covenant with God? Where are you being called to serve?
August 31, 2022
Dealing With Distractions
The path of following Jesus is often riddled with distractions, hardships, and opposition. When we place our faith in Jesus and align our lives with His heart and mission, we can expect to face challenges from the world around us and the brokenness within us. This is nothing new. Nehemiah, amid his successful efforts to rebuild Jerusalem's walls, had to deal with a constant barrage of distractions. Yet, he refused to act in a way that would derail his mission or compromise his character. This Sunday, as we look at the ways that Nehemiah responded to potential distractions, we will consider ways that we can be better equipped to withstand challenges in our lives that threaten to throw us off course. Most importantly, we will be reminded of the faithfulness of Jesus, who remained firm in His mission to the end, and who alone grants us the strength to stand firm in our times of trial. As you prepare for Sunday, I encourage you to read through Nehemiah 6:1-19. Ask Jesus to show you areas in your life where you most need His grace and strength to remain true to His ways. Which distractions do you need to take a stand against? Jesus doesn't promise us that this road will be easy, but He does promise to be with us on the journey.
August 18, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: What is God? Part II
This episode will explore question 2 of the New City Catechism, with our panel: Aaron Klein, Andrew Morton, and Kathy Davis. The second question in the New City Catechism is: What is God? The answer is: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Psalm 86:8-10 and 15, which says, “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. . . . But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
August 11, 2022
Taking The Finger Off The Self-Destruct Button
The story is told of a man who heard his daughter and some of her friends arguing loudly in the backyard. After a few moments, he couldn’t stand the sound of it, so he went out and reprimanded her. “But Daddy,” she protested, “we were just playing church.” Ouch! It’s a sad (but true) statement that the church of Jesus Christ has often been marked more by factions than by fellowship. We can sometimes face more trouble from inside the ranks than we do from outside. Equally sad, we’re not alone in that observation. As we turn our attention to Nehemiah 5, this is exactly what we see taking place. While they had navigated the antagonists that were outside the walls, they were now facing attacks coming from within. People were struggling to make ends meet, and many of their fellow Jews were taking advantage of them. So Nehemiah had to address this matter of injustice with grace and truth. He listened to the cries of the people, he took time to ponder them, and he responded with Godly wisdom. Though Nehemiah couldn’t change the conditions under which they were working, he could change the way people responded and treated one another. Thankfully, as he confronted where they were wrong, the people received his words and vowed to change their ways. Doing so, allowed the project to move forward. That should be the model for us. As we set out to live into God’s plans for our personal lives and church, we must make sure we do everything in our power to work together. We must avoid hitting the “self-destruct button” so that our focus on the work God is calling us to do is not hindered. May God grant us the wisdom and the strength to work together in grace and love so that His Kingdom's purposes are built here in Warsaw and beyond.
August 10, 2022
When Discouragement & Disappointment Set In
“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews…” - Nehemiah 4:1 As the people began the work of reconstructing the wall, Israel’s opponents mounted a fierce campaign against them. Sanballat and his friends tried to bully God’s people to stop the work of rebuilding by ridiculing the people and threatening violence. As you can imagine, the people reacted in a very normal way: their emotional strength began to falter because of fear. Tension began to rise. Exhaustion set in. How did Nehemiah handle this situation? With their enemies breathing down their necks, he encouraged the people to keep up the work. He prayed for God’s protection. “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads.” Then he planned. He stationed people as guards so that they were ready to fight. And, finally, he provided words of strength and wisdom to the people. He spoke into the tension by saying, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” We must be reminded that when discouragement and disappointment set in, we serve a God who is strong and mighty. Because He fights for us, we can continue in the fight. Because He fights for us, we can be courageous in the midst of fear. The battle belongs to the Lord!
August 08, 2022
The Importance Of Working Together
The Importance of Working Together If you ever watch in nature, many animals and insects innately work together. Geese fly in a “V” formation. Bees have specific roles within the hive. Even ants have highly organized societies called colonies. It’s not unlike what we see taking place in Nehemiah 3. For many of us, we might be tempted to skip over chapter 3 because it’s filled with hard to pronounce names like Eliashib, Hassenaah, Meremoth. Each of these people had work, families and stories of their own, yet they were able to work, pray, worship, laugh and cry next to one another. My sense is that the words “next to” are crucial here. Nobody worked alone, trying to control the project. The repairs were made by people working side by side. Their diversity worked in unity, and I have no doubt that their love and care for each other caught the eye of people watching them. When Paul wrote to the Romans in Chapter 12, or when he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 12:12), surely he must have had this idea in view. Because of Jesus Christ, we are one body with many parts. When we work together as Christ’s hands and feet, we show the body of Christ, the unity of Christ, and the grace and peace of Christ. I believe that when that happens, Jesus becomes contagious and winsome.
July 25, 2022
The Risks Of Faith
The Risks of Faith If you’ve been around WEPC this week, you know that there has been a flurry of activity. There have been worker bees buzzing and making things happen, and it really has been like a well-honeyed machine with every person doing their part. In the process, we’ve been able to minister to over 60 kids from our church and community. A huge “thank you” goes out to Angela Ayers and her incredible team of volunteers. Every day this week, they consistently showed the love and joy of Jesus! When God placed this on her heart, and she began to share it, there were risks involved. Would the staff be behind it? Would the Session agree to it? Would we have the finances to make it happen? Would we have the volunteers? Would people in our community even be interested in it? This is not unlike Nehemiah. Nehemiah sensed that the Lord had called him to help his people. He risked asking the king for permission to leave to rebuild the wall. He risked asking the king for protection and provision. He risked asking the people of Jerusalem to help him. And he risked facing opposition from those who would seek to stop the work. But because Nehemiah trusted God to bring success, he knew the Lord was with him, despite any opposition. In fact, when he told them that, “The gracious hand of my God is on me and what the king had said,” the people immediately replied by saying, “Let us start rebuilding” (v. 18). With faith in God and the hard work of the people, they completed the wall in 52 days and the surrounding nations stopped threatening Jerusalem. That’s the risk of faith! We, too, can have hope today that the Lord our God is our strength. We cannot save ourselves, but God has saved us in Jesus Christ and has empowered us through His Holy Spirit. Yes there will be risks in life, but God equips us for the tasks to which we have been called. May God bless you and strengthen you this week!
July 21, 2022
A Broken Spirit
Last week we learned that Nehemiah had a discontented heart. He heard about something that he wanted to see change. So after he wept and mourned and fasted, did he get right to work? No! Before praying for God's guidance and protection, he asked for God's forgiveness for him and his people! What!? Why? Because Nehemiah understood why God's people had been sent into captivity. He understood why things were not going right after they had returned from captivity. He knew there was unconfessed sin that had created a barrier between God and the people, and that that sin kept them from experiencing God's blessings. What is notable is that as Nehemiah prayed, he also included himself. Even though he seems like a righteous person, he realized that the people's sins were his sins. He could have simply pointed his finger and blamed others, but he didn’t. He not only owned his sins, but he owned the sins of his people AND the sins of past generations. What Nehemiah recognized is that renewal starts on our knees. What we want to see happen “out there” can only take place if the right work has been done “in here.” Do we have a spirit that is broken for the things of the Lord? Are we asking for God to be at the center of our lives AND our dreams? As we will discover, Nehemiah was an organizer. He knew how to pull teams together. He was knowledgeable about woods, metals, and surveying. But he didn’t begin by raising money or gathering workers; his work began with prayer. “LORD, the God of heaven … let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying.” Nehemiah realized his plans would be futile if the Lord wasn’t at the center of them from the start.
July 11, 2022
A Discontented Heart
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”  -Proverbs 25:28 How many of you have ever heard news about a troubling situation? When you did, what was your first reaction? Anger? Fear? Sadness? In Nehemiah, when he first learned of the condition of Jerusalem’s walls, he wept. Even though he had a good job as a cupbearer to the King of Susa, when the word reached him about the walls of Jerusalem, it says that he mourned and fasted and prayed for days. Nehemiah was devastated because a city without a wall was wide open to be plundered by thieves or enemies. Not only did a city’s walls help to protect people and their households, it also represented the blessings that were stored within. But a city with broken down walls represented disgrace. As we start a new sermon series together this week on the book of Nehemiah, what we will discover is how God uses people who are ready to be used by God. Nehemiah begged God to change the situation, and God called him to rebuild the walls (Nehemiah 2). But what did it all start with? A discontented heart! A heart that desired to see something change! A heart that mourned the current situation and was ready to be used by God. Nehemiah’s name means “the Lord comforts.” It's amazing to think that God comforted Nehemiah, and then comforted His people through the strong leadership and vision of Nehemiah. As we will come back to over and over again through this series, “God won’t do something through us until He does something in us.” Where is your heart of discontent? What are you weeping and fasting and praying over? Do any walls need to be rebuilt in your life? In your family? Your community? Do some walls need to come down, and others go up - so that sin can be cast out and kept out? How is God comforting you so that you can be a comfort to others? I encourage you to join us as we dive into the book of Nehemiah, and I equally encourage you to invite your friends and neighbors. I believe that this promises to be a wonderful series of casting vision, bringing comfort to others, and building something incredible here - personally and as a church. I look forward to seeing you in person or online!
July 05, 2022
Stay In The Ring
On his second missionary journey, Paul and his colleagues planted several churches in modern-day Greece, namely, in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth. It is fascinating to trace the themes of his letters to these various places as we glean insight into what these diverse bodies of believers needed to hear in their specific contexts. In the five chapters comprising the first Thessalonian letter, Paul alludes to the Lord’s return at least five times—once to end each of the five chapters. Have you ever wondered why this particular church—newly formed, mostly Gentile, severely persecuted—would need so many reminders that Jesus was coming back? Of all that God could have communicated to this church body through Paul, we read a letter expressing great gratitude for the Thessalonians’ firm stance amidst opposition and note several references to the Lord’s return. What kinds of events or accomplishments are you anticipating ‘checking off’ this summer? At any given time, we have much to celebrate and anticipate: graduations, weddings, promotions, good health news, and new children and grandchildren, to name just a few. And yet, Paul’s Thessalonian correspondence indicates that a beleaguered church is to draw more inspiration from the prospect of the Lord’s return than perhaps all else. To borrow a boxing metaphor, Paul encouraged these Christians to stay in the ring by refocusing on the bell at the end of the round. As we consider the Thessalonian dilemma this Sunday, we will explore how a church under duress was refreshed by framing their circumstances within the hope of Jesus’ return. We will also consider how this observation might nurture our souls as we navigate other praiseworthy milestones.
June 27, 2022
Interwoven Across Racial Lines
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…” Ephesians 2:13 The world we live in has far too many divisions among cultures, races, traditions, and even families. While some divisions are natural, many of them are painful and negative. We can easily create barriers in the name of religion, gender, churches, communities, families, friend groups, and more. While these differences can help us think about who we are, our sinful nature distorts them in such a way that we put up walls that divide us. So while we can celebrate diversity, it should not lead to division. In the first century, as the church of Jesus began and the gospel spread to many nations, there was deep division between people of Jewish origin and people of other nations. All non-Jewish people were called Gentiles. Sadly, throughout history and within our day, these divisions remain. Sunni & Shia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and ongoing tensions in the United States remain. However, Paul states in Ephesians 2 that  the finished work of Jesus breaks down the barrier, making “one new humanity out of the two.” Paul reminds us that we can find unity in the foundation that has already been laid in Christ. We celebrate that the dividing wall has come down, but we must continue to work out this relationship in Christ “who is our peace.” As we unpack this important topic this week, may this reconciliation we have in Christ lead to reconciliation with others!
June 23, 2022
Interwoven Into The Body
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 Have you ever stubbed or broken a toe, especially your little toe? It seems so small, but when it is not functioning well with the rest of the foot, it is very noticeable. I have broken that little phalange no less than three times, and each time I am surprised at how something so small can affect the rest of the body. On one occasion, I broke it the day we were going to Disneyworld, meaning I had the next week to walk around “the happiest place on earth” gritting my teeth the entire time. The human body is amazing. Each part depends on the other parts. We have all experienced how something as simple as a toothache can affect other parts of the body. While every part has an important role to play, no part is independent. All parts must work together so that the body can function well as a whole. So it is no surprise that Paul often describes the church as Christ's body. Followers of Jesus are interrelated with every other person in the body of Christ. Though each believer may be unique, each believer is also dependent on the rest. Just like the human body has interrelated parts, church members must work together in unity to fulfill its mission in the world. Of course, we recognize that some members of the church have a hard time becoming part of the body. That is because we can resist being dependent on others or having others depend on us. But Paul states clearly that just as “the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don't need you!’” neither can anyone in the body of Christ say that to a fellow church member. God has equipped each individual member with gifts and talents for the building up of the body. As we continue in our sermon series Interwoven on this Pentecost Sunday, we see how the Holy Spirit brings the church and its members together as one in Christ. We are filled and equipped to strengthen and encourage one another, and to share the Good News with the world in which we live.
June 23, 2022
Interwoven Across Socio-Economic Structures
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Today’s weekly update is something of a departure from the normal routine. Normally, I write a short devotion with an eye toward the weekend’s Scripture text(s) and theme. However, in light of all that has taken place in our community and world, this departure seems warranted. In Psalm 13, David sums up the cry of our hearts in a simple, yet moving, lament. How long? How long, O Lord? How long are we going to see violence in our streets? How long are we going to see bloodshed in our schools? How long are we going to see trusted leaders of faith abuse their power and privilege, both nationally and within our own town? There is pain and heartbreak all around us, and we don’t have to look hard to find it. Even David says that he needs, “Light for his eyes, or he will sleep in death.” How many of us relate to that? How many of us need to, “Let the morning bring us word of God’s unfailing love?” With so much darkness, it can feel like the light will never breakthrough. Jesus also acknowledges this as He speaks to His disciples. He tells them that the way forward for them will not be easy. He tells them that they will experience resistance and hostility. He tells them that they may even be put to death. Beyond that, they (and we) will have to deal with many other problems in our fallen world - conflict, anxiety, depression, poverty, crime, divorce, cancer, tragedy, and disaster - a list that could go on and on. Jesus wants us to understand that there will be days and even seasons of life that are incredibly difficult. Scripture never promises that faith in Jesus will make our problems go away - in fact, sometimes the opposite is true. But whatever does come our way, Jesus reminds us that we do not face our struggles without hope. We put our trust in a Savior who died but rose again, and who promises us salvation and new life by defeating sin and death. Theologians call this theme in scripture Christus Victor - the idea that Jesus will triumph over every enemy of God, and that we will share in that victory because of our faith. In Christ, we have hope for the possibility of redemption in this life. Bodies can be healed, hearts can be softened, and lives can be changed. But even if we don’t experience some of the changes we hope for during our lives, we have the assurance that one day we will share in Christ’s victory. David shares in that same hope. He ends Psalm 13 by saying, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Yes, we see pain and tragedy in this world; but we hold on to the hope that Christ has overcome. May the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit rest on you this week.
June 23, 2022
Interwoven For Singleness & Marriage
It could be argued that Christianity is the first religion to affirm the goodness of singleness. In the ancient world, one was often defined by your family of origin, your children, or your spouse. Instead, we are reminded that God defines us by our relationship to Him as children of God and heirs in Christ. Being married is a gift, but it comes with certain anxieties like caring for your spouse and children. Paul argues that Christian singleness offers the benefit of being “undivided and devoted to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35). In the passage we’re going to be studying on Sunday, Paul says that the Lord can be at work in whatever situation we are in so that we may represent the gospel and grow in holiness. Those situations can include singleness, being married to an unbeliever, and dealing with difficulties in our marriages. Paul helps us to think through what it means to follow Christ regardless of our “present crisis/distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26). Paul uses singleness and marriage as an example of how our lives can be used to share the gospel, build up other believers and make disciples. As we continue in our sermon series called Interwoven, we’re going to be exploring how God calls the church to engage all of their members. While Christianity may have been the first faith to affirm singleness, we know that the tendency is to focus on marriages, families, and children. So how do we encourage every member to see every person as valuable in the eyes of God?
June 23, 2022
Woven Together As Male
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13 The Four Chaplains documentary tells the story of four WWII chaplains (one of whom was a pastor in my former denomination, the RCA) who were aboard the transport ship, the SS Dorchester, when it was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland in February of 1943. With the ship sinking and injured men jumping for overcrowded lifeboats, the four chaplains calmed the pandemonium by “preaching courage”, according to one survivor. When life jackets ran out, each took his off, giving it to a frightened young man. They had determined to go down with the ship so that others might live. Another survivor said, “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.” As the ship began to sink, the chaplains linked arms and prayed aloud together, offering encouragement to those perishing with them. Their lives give testimony to the passage that we will be studying together this week. They showed courage by standing firm in their faith, by being strong, and by doing everything in love. In laying down their lives so that others could live, they followed the example of Jesus Christ. As we continue in our sermon series, Interwoven, we’ll be talking about what it means to be created as male and to live into 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. In a world that lifts up the “machismo,” “gird up your loins,” and the “Braveheart/Gladiator” narrative, what we find is that Scripture gives us a broader view. And lest we think this doesn’t also apply to women, we would be woefully mistaken, as these verses have something to say to us all.
June 23, 2022
Woven Together As Female
Today we will continue our sermon series, "Interwoven." These messages celebrate the way that God has brought us all, with our different gifts and experiences, together into one vibrant family in Christ. This week, in recognition of Mother's Day, we will consider how women (and not just moms) marvelously bear God's image. We'll take a look at Luke 10:38-42, which describes Jesus' friendship with two women who both wanted to honor and serve Him with the very best of their gifts. I invite you to read through Luke 10:38-42. In what ways do you long to sit and be with Jesus? Which cares and worries threaten to burden or overwhelm you? How do the words of Jesus in this passage extend grace to you in the midst of your life this week?
June 23, 2022
Woven Together By Divine Design
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” There isn’t a part of us that is unknown by God. No matter where we find ourselves, we are reminded that God is there. No matter what our thoughts are, God knows our words before we speak them. God is even familiar with our offensive ways inside us which need to be dealt with. This week we are starting a new sermon series together called Interwoven, and the whole premise behind this series is to see how God has created and crafted each one of us to be a beautiful representation of who He is. Men and women, young and old, single and married; all of us are woven together into this beautiful body that we call a church. Of course, it’s also messy, broken, and sinful, which is why God sent Jesus Christ into the world. What we see is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made—and remade—in Christ and that leads us to one of the most glorious announcements in Scripture: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10) God is weaving us together spiritually and as a body into this beautiful tapestry. My prayer is that this new series will lead us to a better appreciation of each other and our Creator. I look forward to seeing you this week! Don’t forget to continue inviting your friends and neighbors.
June 22, 2022
Interwoven Across The Ages
It is easy for us to forget how jaw-dropping the church of Jesus Christ truly is. As our daily experiences in this broken world remind us, our fallen human tendency is toward division and disintegration. The more we follow our sinful hearts and the warped ways of the world, the more we will drift off into splintered groups of people who look like us, think like us, speak like us, vote like us, and behave like us. However, Jesus loves us too much to let us languish in our comfort zones and echo chambers. Jesus is in the process of doing something shocking and utterly impossible from a merely human perspective. He is redeeming for Himself a new and holy people, drawn from every nation, language, and generation. Each Sunday, our "Interwoven" sermon series reminds us how Jesus is weaving together all sorts of different kinds of people with distinct gifts, perspectives, and experiences to create a glorious new family of faith. This week, we will turn our attention to the fact that God's family includes believers of many different generations. As we shall see, each generation has unique gifts and blessings to offer for the glory of God and the good of the entire body. Our culture is constantly throwing up barriers between generations, and Jesus invites us to tear these barriers down. The more that our worship, fellowship, and service brings us together with believers of different ages and life experiences, the more we will reflect the heartbeat of Christ. As you are listening to this sermon, I encourage you to read through 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, and Psalm 71:17-18. Ask Jesus to show you who He has placed in your life for you to love, serve, and tell about His mighty acts. Pray that He will lead us more and more to become a church family that reflects His heart for all the nations, tribes, and generations.
June 22, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: What else did God Create? Part II
The fifth question in the New City Catechism is: What else did God create? The answer is: God created all things by his powerful Word, and all his creation was very good; everything flourished under his loving rule. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Genesis 1:31, which says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
June 16, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: What else did God create? Part I
The fifth question in the New City Catechism is: What else did God create? The answer is: God created all things by his powerful Word, and all his creation was very good; everything flourished under his loving rule. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Genesis 1:31, which says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
June 09, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: Offering
Offering isn't a sacrament in the traditional sense of the term, but it is something that is important to the life of the church and it's something that parents may struggle to explain to their children. On today's episode, the panel discusses what offering is, how Christ is represented in offering, and who is allowed to participate in offering.
May 26, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: How and why did God create us? Part II
The third question in the New City Catechism is: How and why did God create us? The answer is: God created us male and female in His own image to know Him, love Him, live with Him, and glorify Him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to His glory. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created man in his own image. In the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.”
May 19, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: How and why did God create us? Part I
The third question in the New City Catechism is: How and why did God create us? The answer is: God created us male and female in His own image to know Him, love Him, live with Him, and glorify Him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to His glory. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created man in his own image. In the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.”
May 13, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: How many persons are there in God? Part II
Today our panel, Aaron Klein, Andrew Morton, and Kathy Davis discuss question and answer #3, which is: How many persons are there in God? There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
April 28, 2022
Safe in the Heart of God
Our family has always enjoyed putting together puzzles, especially Nicole. During the pandemic’s early days, we easily worked on finishing 4-5 of them, each one containing at least 2,000 pieces. As usual, my job would be to find all the edge pieces and separate them by colors while Nicole would work on more intricate portions of the middle. Together we made a great team. However, what seemed unexplainable to us was the fact that not a single puzzle we put together contained all of the pieces! We would always be missing one or two pieces; and we were shocked by this as we always worked in one spot and completed it in a couple of days. Did a piece stick to an arm and fall off somewhere? Did it fall on the floor and get carried off to another part of the house? Did we accidentally eat one? (Cheez-Its and puzzle pieces are remarkably similar in size and shape…and maybe even taste!) Regardless, we were always amazed to step back and see the completed picture! This week as we turn our attention to Romans 8:28-30, we’re going to see how individual pieces fit together to form a picture. Each one is necessary, and to try to understand each one separate from the others misses out on the God behind them. But if we step back and see them all together through the lens of the heart of God and His love for us, we see the beautiful puzzle come into view. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Like a puzzle, God uses all the pieces of our lives to lock together into something good and to make a beautiful picture. Why? So that we might “be conformed into the image of God’s Son.” I’m looking forward to worshiping together with you this weekend as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of the King of Kings.
April 28, 2022
Because He Lives
This Sunday morning we will greet one another with the words “Christ is risen!” and the response will be “He is risen indeed!” We will join together with centuries of Christians who mark this day as the day that changed everything. We will celebrate the amazing truth that although Jesus was dead, He’s now alive forevermore. Christ Jesus rose victorious over death. He is risen! Yet throughout history, people respond to those words in different ways. When Mary stood outside Jesus’ tomb, she did so crying. It so blurred her mind when she saw the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, that she assumed that someone had stolen His body. Even as Jesus was standing in front of her, she thought He was a gardener. John had outrun Peter to the tomb, but he stopped at the entrance and just peered in. When Peter arrived, he barged right past John and went inside. He saw the empty grave clothes. He saw that the tomb was empty; yet scripture records (Luke 24:12) that he went away wondering what had happened. When John finally did go inside, it says that “he saw and believed.” Unlike Peter, who wasn’t sure what had happened, John was sure: he believed. However, that doesn't mean that he understood what had happened. Scripture says, “they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” Both Peter and John both had a long way to go in their faith. What I am reminded of as we approach this Easter is that each of us can approach it with different reactions. For some of us, we struggle and we doubt. Could these things possibly be true? For others of us, we hear about the hope of the resurrection, but we wonder. And still for others, we believe. Wherever you are this week, I pray that you will be strengthened in your faith to believe. The hope of the resurrection is the joyful assurance that because Christ lives, we too will live for all eternity. God’s love has the last word. As a powerful hymn puts it, “No power of hell, no human plan, can ever pluck me from His hand.”
April 28, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: How many persons are there in God? Part I
Today our panel, Aaron Klein, Andrew Morton, and Kathy Davis discuss question and answer #3, which is: How many persons are there in God? There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
April 22, 2022
Catechisms and Sacraments: Communion
On today's podcast episode, our panel Aaron Klein, Andrew Morton and Kathy Davis will be providing some insights on the sacrament of communion. This is Holy Week 2022, and today is specifically Maundy Thursday--which is the day historically known as when Jesus had his last supper with the disciples. It is this historical event that we base our sacrament of communion off of. If you have thoughts or questions, please leave them below in the comments or email us at the church office at
April 14, 2022
A Road Less Traveled
We are now just days away from Holy Week, when we remember and reflect on the final days of Jesus' life and ministry leading up to His death on the cross and victory over the grave. It often seems to me that Holy Week arrives more quickly and passes more abruptly each year! I urge you to take time in the days ahead to slow down, quiet your heart, and to observe Holy Week. You can do this publicly and privately: by joining us in gathering for worship as a church family, by setting aside time to celebrate Christ's sacrifice with your own family, and by intentionally spending some time alone with the Lord through prayer, Scripture reading, fasting, journaling, or music. If you're not sure where to begin, I recommend reading through the chapters in the four Gospels that cover Jesus' betrayal, death, and resurrection (Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, and John 18-21). As you may have guessed, this Sunday we will focus on Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, the event which set the events of Holy Week in motion. We will consider Jesus' reception by the crowd, His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the significance of His humble but victorious rule over our lives. As you prepare for Sunday, I invite you prayerfully to read the words of Matthew 21:1-11. Information about Holy Week celebrations at WEPC is provided below. I hope to see you as we celebrate our glorious Savior together in the days ahead, and I pray that Christ will lead you on a closer journey with Him during this Easter season.
April 12, 2022
So...Why Catechisms?
In this week's episode on Catechisms and Sacraments, Pastor Andrew will provide us some of the "why" behind catechism use. Why is it important? What is the role of the catechisms throughout history? What does it mean for us to use catechisms as a congregation? What do catechisms teach us about Jesus? As always, if you'd like to reach out to us at the church, you can email
April 07, 2022
The Recovery of Faith
Last year, we had a large oak tree in our backyard break in half during a storm. Sadly, this tree needed to be taken down as the damage was too severe. I couldn't do it on my own because of the size of the tree, so we had a company come and take the rest down and haul it away. It was far costlier than I initially imagined, but now I know why…It’s a hard job with lots of back-breaking labor. I have a large amount of respect for Elisha’s school for prophets which had prospered enough that they needed to partake in a building expansion project. However, this story reveals that they didn’t hire out a company to do the work for them; they got to work themselves. They went into the woods, cut down logs, and took them back to enlarge their facility. Everything was going well until a particular student's axhead flew off and landed in the Jordan River. Thankfully, Elisha was there and performed a miracle where he makes the ax head float. In 2 Kings 6:6-7 it says, “When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. ‘Lift it out,’ he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.” On the surface, this seems like a small, insignificant miracle. But what it teaches us is that God cares about the small stuff of life—lost axheads, lost keys, lost glasses, lost phones—the little things that cause us to fret. Sometimes He restores to us what was lost, but sometimes He doesn’t. Yet even in those moments, He understands and comforts us in our distress. How does it make you feel to know God cares about the lost things of the world? How does it make you feel to know that God cares about you? Where do you find comfort in the words to that old hymn, “I once was lost, but now am found…”? My prayer for us as we gather together this week either in person or online is that we will know the depth of the love of God for us and we will know that, “the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
April 06, 2022
The Provision of Faith
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” -2 Kings 4:2 Any time spent watching the Food Network Channel reveals quickly that “EVOO” (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is a staple in kitchens, and is the starting point for cooking many meals. In Biblical days, it wasn’t so different. Olive oil was a “miracle ingredient” and a staple for everyday life. They used it for fuel, lotions, medicine, and cooking. In the story we’re going to read on Sunday, a widow is at her wits' end. She has lost her husband and her finances, and now she’s about to lose her sons to slavery. She has nothing to pay her creditors. All she has is a little bit of oil (something that had value). However, when that was empty, her last resource for light, heat, medicine, and food would also be gone. No wonder she turns to Elisha for help! But Elisha doesn’t produce a handful of shekels. He doesn’t turn to others to start up a collection. Instead, he asks her what she has; and he promises her that God will use what little she has to provide for her. As she follows his instructions, you can imagine that her despair was turned to hope. God provided for her! She could pay her creditors and live on what was left. How many of you feel the same way? Sometimes we find ourselves in seemingly impossible and tragic circumstances. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed providing for our day-to-day needs. But what we are reminded of is that God is with us in both the big and small tragedies of our lives. He never leaves us without a way forward, even if we don’t understand it at the time. That’s what I hope we discover as we gather together this week. My prayer is that you will sense the providing power of God in your life. God is faithful, and He will fill you up…even if all you feel you have is a little! May the words of Philippians 4:19 come alive for you: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
April 06, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: What is God? Part I
This episode will explore question 2 of the New City Catechism, with our panel: Aaron Klein, Andrew Morton, and Kathy Davis. The second question in the New City Catechism is: What is God? The answer is: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will. The Bible passage this question and answer is based off of is Psalm 86:8-10 and 15, which says, “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. . . . But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
March 24, 2022
The Dependence of Faith
Have you ever been in the middle of a big undertaking and found out you didn’t have the resources to continue? Israel and Judah found themselves in such a situation in 2 Kings 3. They had marched out to take on the king of Moab, had taken the long way through the desert, and had ran out of water. To make matters worse, even though the war was his own idea, King Joram blamed God for what he thought was their impending defeat. Have you ever done that? You didn’t ask God if you should do something, you step out and do it anyway, and then you end up in trouble? Then you blame God for what happened? Yeah, we can all relate! However, even though he himself should have asked if God wanted them to take on the King of Moab, at least King Jehoshaphat had the sense to now insist that they inquire of God for direction and help. The contrast between faith and unbelief in this story is dramatic. Joram’s unbelief leads to despondency and pessimism. Jehoshaphat’s faith leads him to seek out and trust God. Miraculously, God provides! He met physical needs, even if it seemed impossible to human reasoning. But more than that, God promises to provide guidance and deliverance to all those who seek Him. As we gather together this week in person or online, my prayer is that we will discover that whenever we depend on God, God shows Himself to be faithful. Before the crisis, seek God. In the middle of the crisis, seek God. After the crisis, seek and thank God. Why can we depend on God? Because, “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord…” 2 Kings 3:18
March 23, 2022
Catechism and Sacraments: What is our only hope in life and death?
In this new podcast series at WEPC, we will be exploring the New City Catechism, as well as some of the sacraments and traditions of the Christian faith.  We are excited to welcome you on this journey with us as we bring in many different congregation members to have difficult conversations about our faith. 
March 17, 2022
The Asking of Faith
“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.”  -2 Kings 2:9 For a prophet in the Old Testament, a cloak was a symbol of authority - a symbol of the power of God resting on that person. In last week’s message, we saw that when Elijah first met Elisha, he threw his cloak around him. I wonder, did Elisha feel the weight and responsibility in that moment? Did he sense God’s anointing and calling? As we learned, Elisha left everything and followed Elijah. Years had passed since the time God chose Elisha to succeed Elijah as His prophet. Training and instruction had taken place. Job-shadowing and apprenticeship had happened. Now the time had come for the handoff, but before it took place, Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit...and this was no small ask. Suddenly two things happened at once: a chariot and horses of fire came between them and Elijah was sucked up into a mini-tornado and was gone! Because he saw Elijah taken away, Elisha received what he had asked for. He picked up Elijah’s cloak and immediately performed his first recorded miracle. I wonder how many of us are afraid to make the big “ask” of God? Perhaps we think God has done so much for us already. Perhaps we think that God has other people He needs to help. Perhaps we’re afraid of what God might ask us to do once He answers us. But I think that there is something we can learn in all this. First, note that Elisha didn’t ask for a “safe” life, or a “rich” life, or a “blessed” life. He asked for a double portion of God’s Spirit. He didn’t want his life to be about himself…He wanted it to be about God. And second, don’t be afraid to ask for the double portion. Don’t be afraid to ask God to use you!
March 16, 2022
Preparing Future Generations
Last year, my son Gabriel started running track. He’s been more accustomed to Cross Country in the fall  and the longer distances, but he decided that he wanted to do something in the spring as well. This led him down the road to some middle-distance running - things like the 800m and the 4x800m. When I went to the meets, I noticed that the 4x100 athletes practiced the baton hand-off prior to their heats over and over again. They barely lost a stride. But in the longer distance runs, the handoff didn’t seem as important. The form wasn’t as polished. Perhaps it’s because the shorter distance runners were sprinting their entire legs of the race, so the handoff required more precision. Those races might come down to a few hundredths of a second. But at the longer distances, the runners weren’t sprinting. As each runner ran two laps around the track, the gaps between runners were more significant, so the handoff didn’t require as much precision. The Bible often uses imagery of athletes competing and runners running. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And in the very next verse he talks about receiving the crown…the prize. However, it’s in the instructions that Paul gives earlier in verses 1-5 that we really get the sense of what he’s trying to communicate: The race is won and lost in the handoff! If that’s the case, we need to train. We need to practice. We need to pass it on. We need to be mentored and we need to mentor others. We are called to be prepared to preach, correct, rebuke and encourage, and to do each of these things with patience. As we close out this short sermon series on the family, we’re going to be looking specifically at how we train up the next generation. For some of us, we may acknowledge that we need someone to mentor us and grow us. For others, we may be reminded that we need to do a better job of passing on our faith to someone else; we need to “discharge our duties to the fullest.”
March 01, 2022
How Should We Order Our Family Life?
Do you remember how Jesus responded when He was asked which command in the Bible was most important? He quoted the Old Testament and affirmed that the most important thing we can do is love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This Sunday, we will continue our new sermon series on the topic of families by turning our attention to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which is the passage that Jesus quoted. In these verses, we see that loving God with every fiber of our being is not just something we do in isolation, it is at the very core of what it means to belong to the family of God. These verses also show us how our individual families play an important role in the life of God's bigger family, the church. As we explore this passage together, we will consider how we can order our lives, both as individuals and families, around the larger story of who God is and what He is doing in Jesus Christ. I invite you to read through Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as you prepare for Sunday, and pursue a conversation with God about ways that He is inviting you to glorify and enjoy Him in the rhythms, routines, and everyday details of your life. As we cultivate this kind of lifestyle, we will find that nothing is more important or more rewarding than knowing God and making Him known to those around us.
February 22, 2022
Keeping the I Do from Becoming the I Don't
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”- Mark 10:8-9 Over the course of the weekend, many of us will be celebrating the person we love. While it’s a man-made “holiday,” it’s never a bad thing to acknowledge the person who has a special place in your heart and life. In fact, hopefully they sense they are loved by you more than one day a year. Here’s the reality: Marriage relationships have never been easy, but they seem to be getting tougher as time goes by. While the pain of separation and divorce seems to be a pandemic of its own, the challenges we face today were just as true in Jesus’ day. In fact, in the passage we'll be studying this weekend, some religious leaders tried to debate with Jesus on the subject in order to try and test Jesus and get Him into trouble with the legal experts. But true to form, Jesus turned the tables on them to explain the impact of marriage. Jesus reminds them (and us) that marriage is not based on feelings. Marriage is the amazing and mysterious miracle in which two persons, a man and a woman with different backgrounds and families, become one unit. According to God, when two people come together in marriage, they create a new living thing: they become one flesh. When we promise, “I do,” to our spouse, life is no longer about just the individual; it’s about us. To hold this beautiful vision of marriage is tough in a world that is so focused on the individual. Messages bombard us from all sides to try to convince us that the self is most important. Life is all about what I feel, what I want, what I need. For those of us who are married, Jesus invites us to die to that selfish spirit and work to build up and bless our spouse. For those of us who know the pain of a broken marriage, God invites us to experience the forgiveness, grace, and healing that give renewed peace and joy. This week we’re excited to start a new sermon series together called “Family: Putting the Pieces Back Together.” While we’ll start with the foundation of marriage, we’ll also look at how we should order our family lives by following the Shema, a Jewish prayer based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and how we can raise future generations. I truly believe that God is going to bless us through this series.
February 22, 2022
What Do You Do With Your Gifts?
Have you ever had one of those moments where you were left in charge with an expectation? Your parent or your boss asks you to do something, or you ask your children or employees to follow up on a request. Do you get to work immediately? Do you wait to get a few other things done before you turn your attention to what is asked of you? Do you forget? When your parent or boss returns and you’ve met or exceeded the expectations, what is the result? When you return after having been away and the person has followed through, what is your response? You probably feel pleased with the outcome. As we close out our sermon series Parable this week, we’re going to study the "Parable of the Pounds". Or "minas". Or "talents".  But make no mistake, this is not a story primarily about stewardship of money. It’s not even so much about investing our spiritual talents wisely, though there is certainly room for that. Ultimately, we learn is that Christ has entrusted to us the call to use our gifts and talents to multiply disciples! We’ve probably all heard the line, “the boss is coming, better look busy.” If our King has gone away but is returning at a future date, how do we want to be found when He returns? Will we serve our own kingdoms, or will we serve the kingdom of Christ? Each of us will be called to give an account for how we have used our time, talents, and resources to multiply the Kingdom of God. With that in view, let us strive to be faithful in how we live now.
February 08, 2022
Where is Your Seat at the Table?
Over the years, the show Law & Order has been something that I’ve enjoyed. In my opinion, the original show is still the best. Whenever you watch a program like this, or whenever you hear about law and politics, you sometimes hear the phrase quid pro quo. It basically means, “I will do something for you that equals the value of what you do for me.” It’s a way of trying to gain an advantage. In Luke 14:7-14, Jesus tells a parable that seeks to undermine the quid pro quo mindset. In verses 12-14 He says, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Jesus has a dramatically different picture in mind when He talks about hospitality. When we think of throwing a party, we tend to include people we like and who are like us. But Jesus presses us to reach out toward the fringes of community life. This outreaching love and care is what distinguished the early church from its surrounding environment. Two attitudes that are vital to Christian character are generosity and humility. Nurturing helps guard against a destructive and blinding mindset that ignores the needs and circumstances of others around us. Something as ordinary as sharing a meal is an expression of respect and equality. It includes sharing not just our resources, but ourselves; and it speaks loudly to our values and commitments. As we continue in our sermon series, “Parable,” may each of us look to follow the example of Jesus, who is abundantly generous. May we be outrageously generous to people who least expect it and who are least able to reciprocate. May we seek to help others, even if we gain nothing from it.
February 04, 2022
What Kind Of Soil Are You?
Good soil makes a huge difference in the harvest a farmer can expect. In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus told a story that reflected the farming practices in his time. A farmer would sow by hand, scattering seed in the field as he walked along. Now we might be tempted to think that a lot of seed was wasted as the farmer spread it wide. After all, a portion of the seed fell in places too poor to produce a crop. But Jesus was not trying to teach people good planting practices. He was asking everyone to consider this story from the Father’s point of view; something that very few of His listeners seemed to be able to understand. Even His disciples had to ask Him what the story really meant. This story forces us to look at the condition of our own hearts. While we would like to think of ourselves as good soil, most of us know how the busyness of life, as well as the heartaches and fears we face, can choke and wither and snatch our faith away. Perhaps we are tempted to feel discouraged as a result. But Jesus reassures us with an amazing truth: good soil exists as well. Some seed sent its roots down deep and produced a hundredfold harvest. Jesus said in Luke 8:8, “Other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” As we continue in our sermon series called “Parable” that has us looking at the story of our lives, the hope is that we will examine our own hearts and be challenged to have a heart that is fertile soil to hear God’s Word. My prayer is that we are encouraged to have a life story that produces a bumper crop of righteousness…a life that also blesses others.
January 26, 2022
How's Your Foundation?
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  -Luke 6:46 Have you ever seen a video of a house falling into the sea after the waters washed away its foundation? I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch the house I call home be ruined by the rushing waters. It must be devastating and make you feel so helpless. This week we will begin a new sermon series called Parable, about how our lives can tell a better story. We are going to be reminded that when Jesus gives building advice, He is talking about more than just building houses. He is talking about building our lives and making sure our foundation is firm, made up of wisdom and faith in Him. This foundation requires two things: First, it involves listening to Jesus’ words. Listening is ­important and can be hard to do. If you have children or grandchildren, or if you work with students, you know that getting them to listen to instructions isn’t always easy. Listening often means putting aside our own ideas or agendas and paying ­attention for a while. But listening is only the first step in the foundation of our faith lives. The second step is doing what Jesus asks of us. If we only listen and don’t do what is asked, we haven’t really accomplished anything. Our lives lack a solid foundation, and the result is that we can be washed away. Even Paul uses building language 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 when he said, “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is.” In other places, Paul refers to Jesus as the Cornerstone. And Peter talks about Jesus being the Living Stone. As we will be discovering this week, Scripture clearly reminds us that our faith and lives need to be built on the foundation of both listening to what Jesus says and doing what He asks. May God give us all the strength to stand on the firm foundation of Jesus. I look forward to seeing you in person or online this week. Grace & Peace, Pastor Aaron
January 19, 2022
Looking Ahead
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection…” Philippians 3:10 In one of his books, Max Lucado tells a story about the late champion boxer Muhammad Ali taking someone to his barn where he stored his trophies and awards. Standing in the doorway, he pointed to his many trophies and said, “It ain’t nothing.” He had come to the conclusion that when all is said and done, his accomplishments meant very little. Many millenia earlier, the apostle Paul looked back on all of the things he had been proud of in his life, and he said, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss. I consider them rubbish.” Paul said this not because not because of adverse life experiences like Muhammad Ali, but because he had met the Lord Jesus. He was ready to let go of whatever was behind him so that he could serve the Lord and live by the power of the risen Savior. As we enter into this new year, there are many things from the previous 18-24 months that we would perhaps like to leave behind. Are there things in our past keeping us from experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection? As we look ahead, Paul invites us to stand in the grace of Jesus Christ and to let go of everything that keeps us from serving Him. But that means it’s all about relationship! To know Christ, we must spend time with Him. To ex­perience His risen power, we must give up our own lives. To gain Christ, we must share in His sufferings. As we look ahead to this new year, may we acknowledge the past but still strive towards the future. May we seek to become like Jesus in all things, and as we gather together in person or online, may we seek to know Christ!L
January 19, 2022
Looking Back
In some ways, a new year brings certain changes. We put the old calendar away and hang a new one on the wall. We spend the next ten days writing the wrong year on everything, crossing it off, and then writing the correct one. We often approach the new year as a time to start new habits or try to break old ones. The sensation of beginning a new year can evoke a hopeful sense of having a fresh start or a clean slate. In other ways, a new year also picks up exactly where the last year left off. The dirty dishes I leave in my sink on December 31 will still be there on January 1. The money that I spend in the week after Christmas will remain absent from my wallet during the week after New Year's Day. Overall, most of the rhythms and habits of my life in January will probably be pretty similar to what they were a few weeks or months before. Is there any real point, then, to beginning a new year, or is this just a mind game we play with ourselves? Maybe it's a bit of both. If nothing else, times of ending and beginning offer us a natural and meaningful opportunity to pause, take in our surroundings, reorient ourselves in light of bigger-picture realities, and then resume our activities with a renewed sense of purpose. That is exactly what we will be doing during the next two Sundays in our upcoming sermon series "Looking Back, Looking Ahead." This week we will look back on the past through the lens of Psalm 136. This Psalm offers us a template for recounting our stories and experiences in light of who God is and how He is at work in our lives. Next Sunday, Pastor Aaron will lead us in the theme of looking ahead in anticipation of God's leading during 2022 and beyond.
January 04, 2022
How the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas
That’s not a passage that many of us read often, nor is it a verse that we hear at Christmas. But maybe it should be! As we approach this weekend, gifts will be opened and received, others will be proclaimed the best Christmas gift ever, and still others will be returned for refunds.  However, Christmas reveals to us the life-altering richness of God’s greatest gift that He gave to us through Jesus Christ. This is why the words of Jude are fitting during this time of year. The closing words of his letter pulsate with hope, joy, and confidence. Because Jesus Christ has come into the world, we have the promise of faith to stand before God faultless, that we will be kept from falling, and that we can experience the great joy of eternal life. This life-changing, history-changing gift of God is made possible through faith in Jesus. God came to us in our helpless, hopeless brokenness and changed us and our future. As we celebrate the first and best gift of Christmas this weekend, I pray that the truths of Jude’s words would speak powerfully into your lives. I pray that the healing power of this passage would penetrate your hurts and fears. Finally, I pray we would take up our new reality in Jesus…that we have a new identity in Him because we are new creations, and that our future is secure because “The Awaited One” has come into the world.
January 04, 2022
Awaited Lovingly
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head where the tune is playing over and over in your mind? Sometimes you can’t help singing or humming the tune all day long. If you look at the Gospel of Luke, there is much singing as we reach the story of Christ’s birth. Those songs are sung by elderly men like Zechariah and Simeon, and there’s even the song of the angels at Christ’s birth. In Luke 1:46-55 we find the words to a song Mary was singing. Why does Mary sing and what does she sing? Mary’s song is beautiful and echoes the song of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Both women sing of God’s mercy for the humble. Both rejoice that God is not impressed by pride, riches, or power. Both shout with great joy that God keeps His promises and shows His mercy. Mary adapts the words of Hannah and the Psalms. She echoes the timeless voice of believers who hold fast to God, who believe in his great power to save, and who trust in His righteousness and mercy. They trust in God’s unfailing love. And that is where we rest this week. If you are looking for the hope, joy, and peace of this season, it is ultimately (and only) found in the love of God. We can magnify God because He has drawn near to us in the person of Jesus Christ. May each of us come to know the love of God and the grace, mercy, and peace He brings. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday either in person or online. And, as Pastor Andrew reminded us of this past week, don’t forget our "5 for 5 Challenge" - praying for five people/families for five minutes a day for five weeks...and then making sure to invite them to join you for one of our three Christmas Eve services.
December 21, 2021
Awaited Longingly
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” - Matthew 2:2 Stars? Magi? Lavishly expensive gifts? What does this strange story mean? The wise men (or Magi) come from the East (most likely Persia) in search of a king. They had studied the Scriptures and stars; and when they saw this particular star, they left their own kings and kingdoms to search for the “king of the Jews.” When they finally found the newborn king, the Magi worshiped Him and gave Him gifts. What we also see in this story is that Herod became jealous. He thought anyone looking for the “king of the Jews” should actually be seeking him. To protect his throne, Herod went on a murderous rampage (Matthew 2:16) after learning the Magi went home a different way. The phrase “king of the Jews” appears in more than this story, however. Several times in the biblical story, others refer to Jesus by this title. Even when Jesus hangs on the cross, the Roman governor Pilate hangs a sign above his head, proclaiming Him, “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” Of course, Jesus’ life and ministry reveal to us that He is far more than just the “king of the Jews.” The story of the star of Beth­le­hem tells us that God’s love is for all people of all races from all nations and all times. None of us has a corner on God’s love or can keep God’s light for ourselves. Jesus came to be the Savior of the world—all of it. As the King of all who call upon His name, this story reminds us that we are to be willing to leave everything behind and follow Jesus. We are to worship Him with honor and joy.  We are to offer gifts to Him, the best of all that we have. This year, let’s start with the gift of our hearts and our service!
December 14, 2021
Awaiting Simply
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” -Luke 2:25 Expecting parents wait nine months for the arrival of their newborn baby. When the child finally comes, there is a sense of relief and excitement. Nine months is a long time to wait. Now imagine you are waiting for the birth of a baby that would bring salvation to people everywhere. Imagine waiting year after year for this baby to be born. Imagine the sense of joy and relief when you are finally able to set your eyes on this child. That describes the experiences of Simeon and Anna recorded in Luke 2:21-40. We do not know how long they waited, but we do know that they were old. Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Anna could have been a widow for 84 years, and she was worshipping in the temple every day waiting to see a move of God. Imagine hearing you would not die before you had seen the Messiah, and then having to wait. What happens to us when we have to wait with no end in sight? We get frustrated. Angry. Discouraged. Distracted. Then one day the Spirit moved Simeon to go and see this child at the temple. Imagine the joy and the excitement Simeon must have felt! At last he was able to see the Messiah who had come to save, and he took the child in his arms and gave praise to God. Anna, too, saw Jesus and proclaimed to others the redemption that had come near. Through the witness of Simeon and Anna, Luke announces the comfort of Israel has come to save all God’s people from sin, wherever they are throughout the world. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas: Jesus, the comfort and hope of the world, has come to us. May that news be our comfort and hope throughout this Christmas season, and may it move us towards others who need that same consolation.
December 07, 2021
Awaited and Ready
Grumbling seems to be a favorite pastime of humanity, and Jesus-followers are not exempt. We see it in the way God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt and provided for them in the desert, yet they complained! We see it in the New Testament when God’s people grumbled regularly enough that the apostle Peter had to say, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9). And James added, “Don’t grumble against one another...or you will be judged” (James 5:9). That’s why Thanksgiving is a great time to put aside a grumbling attitude, to pause, and to think of God’s many blessings. Instead of complaining, we can turn our attention to God’s provision, providence, protection, and plan. Thankfully, that ultimate provision and plan are made evident as we turn our attention to the season of Advent this week. It is a season of hopeful expectation when we reflect on our need for a Savior, celebrate His coming, and watch for His triumphant return. That’s why we’re starting a new series entitled “Awaited” this week. Not only is it a time when we wait and prepare for the Christmas season, but also when we are reminded that we are to live in expectation and anticipation of Christ’s second Advent. It is a season when we await in hope. What are you awaiting this season? What are you awaiting in your life? What are you awaiting personally? Professionally? Spiritually? Relationally? Where do you need hope? This Sunday as we begin the Advent season, we do so by lighting the candle of hope. We are reminded that, throughout history, the people of God have looked to the Person of God to fulfill the promises of God. Advent reminds us that it’s all found in the Person and power of Jesus Christ.
November 30, 2021
Give Thanks in All Circumstances
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 When we think about the “big” questions in life, what are some that come to mind? “What does God want from me?” Or, “What does God want for me?” Those are some big-picture questions. What about the ones that are a bit smaller? “What career should I pursue?” “Where should I go to school?” “Whom should I marry?” These are certainly big questions, but they might not be the ultimate issue questions. And then of course you have the small, day-to-day questions. “What book should I read?" “What game should I play?” “What should I have for dinner?” Here’s what Paul says when it comes to the questions, decisions and results of life: In every situation and in every decision, we are to rejoice and give thanks. Not sometimes. Not when we feel like it. Always! If we’re honest, the adverb “always” trips us up. How is it possible to rejoice “always?" How can we give thanks when we are sick or worried about inflation, or when we get a poor grade or lose a friend? It must be possible, or God would not will it for us. Here’s where I think Paul tells us the answer. In verse 18 he says, “In Christ Jesus.” Note that he’s not saying that we give thanks for all circumstances, but that we can give thanks in all circumstances. No matter what questions we ask or face, no matter what happens to us in life, no matter how we feel about things in the moment, we can still give thanks. As we approach this Thanksgiving, may we pause to give thanks for all of God’s many blessings. May we see His faithfulness and goodness regardless of our questions or circumstances. Finally, may we know what it means to be “in” Christ Jesus. Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
November 23, 2021
Sheep, Shepherds, and Shalom
This sermon wraps up our "Foundations" sermon series. Over the past several weeks, we have surveyed a variety of foundational beliefs, teachings, and practices of Christianity, including the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the importance of a relationship with Jesus. This week, we will turn our attention to another foundation of the Christian life, the task and calling of shepherding the family of God. The Bible repeatedly uses the metaphor of a shepherd and the sheep to describe God's relationship with His people. In fact, Jesus described Himself as the "Good Shepherd" to highlight His role as our caretaker and king. Even though He is the ultimate shepherd, He has delegated much of the everyday work of caring and leading to human shepherds such as pastors, elders, and deacons. As we prepare to enter into a season of nominating and electing church officers for 2022, this message will remind us how foundational and beautiful these callings are. As beloved sheep of the Good Shepherd, Jesus longs for each one of us to be part of His family where we can be challenged, encouraged, and equipped to flourish in our faith, care for each other, and love Him more.
November 16, 2021
Praying the Kingdom
Growing up in the south suburbs of the city of Chicago, we always talked about the congestion, the traffic jams, and the aggressive drivers. It was an inconvenience and a frustration. There is a certain level of attraction to the big city, but I never realized how much it bothered me until I lived in a place like Warsaw and have to go home to visit family.  Throughout high school and college, I’d avoid driving downtown as often as I could. It felt like a hassle.  But as I’ve gotten older and have had the opportunity to take my own children to see the John Hancock Center or the Willis (it’ll always be Sears to me) Tower, I’ve had a newfound sense of appreciation for it, despite the traffic.  From street level, all you see is the chaos. But from the observation deck, the traffic flow seems peaceful and orderly in its grid-like system; and the view of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, and other attractions helps you appreciate the city in a new way. The view from 1000 feet is different from the ground floor.   Often, our prayers resemble that when they are focused on the anxiety of the “street level” in our lives - our health, finances, relationships and decisions. Thankfully, Jesus cares about the chaotic troubles of this world; but he also invites us to see the world from God’s perspective. That’s what prayer does; and specifically, that’s what the Lord’s Prayer does. Whenever we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done," we are praying with a view from 1000 feet; and that perspective helps us to see things differently.   Don't forget to check us out on: YouTube: Facebook:  Instagram:  Our Website:
November 09, 2021
Sin Boldly
As we continue in our “Foundations” series this week, we’ll be looking at the difference between religion and relationship, between works of the law and grace in Jesus Christ. What I hope we discover is that we stand on the foundation of the finished work of Christ on the cross and His grace alone. If you know of anyone else who needs to be reminded of this good news, then make sure to reach out to your friends and neighbors and share the podcast with them. 
November 02, 2021
From Party Crasher to Life of the Party
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” (NLT) “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (ESV) I love the way both of those translations talk about Hebrews 10:23…Holding fast to what we affirm - to our confession - and to do it without wavering. In what we discovered together last week, the Apostles’ Creed is a beautiful and inspiring summary of what we affirm. Even John Calvin said in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, the Creed “furnishes us with a full and every way complete summary of faith, containing nothing but what has been derived from the infallible word of God.” In other words, if we want to stand on a firm foundation in our faith, we need to stand on the Scriptures and how they are summarized in the Apostles' Creed. We left off last week with Jesus' descent to the dead. It seemed like the enemy had won. But then we read, “On the 3rd day He rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven…” Those words remind us of something that is both wonderfully simple and astoundingly great: Jesus has gone bodily to be in the very presence of God! But what does this mean? What is the significance of this belief? That Jesus, who rose from the dead after dying to pay for all our sin, now lives and rules with God the Father in heaven. And yet Jesus is also with us always— through the Spirit of God, who comes to live and work in our hearts. Jesus’ ascension made all of this possible. This week we get to study the fact that Jesus was the ultimate “party crasher” who is the “life of the party.” His defeat of death, resurrection to eternal life, and giving of the Spirit assures us of so many heavenly blessings that a few minutes on a Sunday morning can’t do it justice; but we’ll certainly give it a try!
October 26, 2021
From Designer Genes to Satan's Schemes
What do you believe? This question can apply to any number of things: What do you believe about the weather? What do you believe about the Chicago Bears this year? What do you believe about politics? What do you believe about what so-and-so is doing? What do you believe about __________________? You get the picture.        Why is that important? It’s important because you and I constantly make choices and decisions based around what we believe. Whether we realize it or not, we each live by a personal credo statement. It’s the foundation on which we stand.        This raises a few questions. Will the foundation on which you stand be a solid rock or sinking sand? Where do you go when your spouse and you are constantly arguing and you feel like you’re on the verge of divorce? Where do you go when you find out that you have cancer? Where do you go when the news comes that you need surgery? What provides your anchor? What is your foundation?        In the coming weeks we’re going to be spending some time together in a new series called “Foundations.” The purpose of this series will be to provide us with a common starting place no matter where we are in our faith journey. We’ll start with a look at the Apostles' Creed, follow with a study of the Lord’s Prayer, and finish up by learning about the scriptural foundation that led to the Reformation.        What do I stand on? Where do I go? Thankfully, we can rest in the God who created us, who loves us, and who has given us His Son. Since this will be a great series for people who have questions about faith, life, and the church, let’s use this as an opportunity to invite our friends and neighbors.
October 19, 2021
I Am Clothed in the Armor of God
This week we come to the end of our series that has seen us journey through the letter to the Ephesians. In a way, we are bidding “farewell” to an old friend who we’ve come to love so well. Hopefully, we keep the truths of Ephesians deep within, and we wear them well like a coat of armor.        Speaking of armor, because so much of our time will be spent Sunday on The Armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-20 (something we could easily spend weeks on alone), we won’t have much time for Ephesians 6:21-24, Paul’s farewell blessing. This, too, could easily have been its own message, so why don’t we take a few minutes and address it here.        You and I use greetings like “hello” and “goodbye” often when we are in conversation. They are words of civility, but they can often become ordinary and impersonal. However, expressions that offer a blessing are much more meaningful and powerful.        If you think about it, Paul began his letter to the Ephesians with, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” then he ends it with, “Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” I love the fact that Paul didn’t just sign his letter, he brackets it with prayers for grace. His desire for the church is that they would experience the reality of God’s grace in their lives.        There is a lesson in this for all of us. Yes, it is a reminder that we should be thoughtful and meaningful as we wish people well. However, it is also a reminder that, in everything we say and do, we are to be a people of grace. In between the beginning and ending verses, he says that God raises us from the spiritual grave by grace (2:5), that God made him a minister by grace (3:2, 7-8), that spiritual gifts of grace were given to every member of the church (4:7-8), and that we should use our words to “give grace” to those we speak to (4:29). Ephesians is about grace through and through.        To be sure, having God’s grace-filled presence does not mean that we will be perfect in our conduct or that everything will always go our way. But by knowing that our sovereign God is in control of all things, it gives us the ability to see how, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). That’s grace!        So as we close out this letter this week, I pray that you may lift your eyes to the One in whom we have hope, and the One in whom all things hang together - Jesus Christ! I pray that we may be a people of grace - saved by grace through faith, living in grace towards one another, and showing God’s grace to our community around us. It is for that reason that I end correspondence with the beautiful reminder and blessing...
October 19, 2021
I Am a Person With a Positive Work Ethic
We all work for somebody. You may be a 9-5 hourly employee. You may be a CEO who reports to a board. You may be a board that is concerned about your investors. However, no matter what your state of employment is, Ephesians 6 reminds us that we are all working for God!        Yet there’s more. Many of us have people who are responsible to us: we may be district managers, business owners, stay-at-home parents, or teachers. Paul reminds us that how we use or abuse our power in the workplace says a great deal about how we grasp the gospel.        In a time when it was assumed that masters could treat their servants with indifference at best and cruelty at worst, the gospel of Jesus leveled the playing field. Under the care and authority of Jesus, master and servant stood on equal footing because both were in fact fellow servants of Jesus Christ.        In today's world, Ephesians 6 teaches us that Christian employers are called to treat their workers with dignity and kindness. Furthermore, workers are called to give their best, knowing that they are ultimately serving Christ. All of our service is an expression of our gratitude for God’s grace shown to us in the redemption we have received through Christ.
October 05, 2021
I Am a Person with a Beautiful Family Portrait
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:20-21        At some point along the way, nearly every family experiences a conversation that goes something like this: A student is having a chat with a parent about some disagreement, and the parent says, “So long as you are living in my house and under my roof, you need to follow my rules.” The child responds, “I don’t have to listen to you just because you are my parent...I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”        Sound familiar? That's because there is, in many families, a wrestling match that takes place between parents and children over independence and authority, over who should be listened to and what the expectations are. Children want to be treated like adults, and adults want their children to grow up to be respectable members of society. If you are a Christian parent, you want your children to live like Jesus.        How do we do that in harmony? First, children are to submit to their parents. And, parents, we are to raise our children up lovingly and in the Lord. How do we do that together, and what does that look like in our daily lives?
September 28, 2021
I Am A Person Who Submits
One of the things I often say is that “what we believe needs to affect how we behave.” It’s the idea that the “vertical” relationship we have with Christ should affect the “horizontal.” Over the past few weeks, our series has taken us from beautiful theology to practical living. The theme tying it all together is found in Ephesians 5:21.        Submission. Love. Reverence.        John Calvin has stated, “Where love reigns, there is mutual servitude.” He added that this applies even to kings and rulers. They must serve their people, as must pastors and politicians. As we will see this week, so must husbands and wives. In all this, Jesus is the model.        Love is at the heart of the Bible’s teaching on submission. Submission is not about just giving in to someone else’s wishes or obeying what someone else says. It runs much deeper than that. Furthermore, being submissive is not a one-way street. Paul says clearly, “Submit to one another.” Biblical submission is mutual, wholesome, and loving. It is not a submission forced by a “because I said so” attitude. It is a spiritual maturity that is born “out of reverence for Christ.”        While our society sees submission as a “4 letter word,” Paul sees it as the church modeling the acts of Jesus Christ and His life of selfless sacrifice. As we unpack these beautiful truths together this week, let’s challenge ourselves to seek to have the heart and mind of Christ in all our relationships.
September 21, 2021
I Am An Imitator of God
The more we come to know Jesus, the more we become like Jesus. One of the marks of a person whose identity is rooted in Christ is that he or she will increasingly live in a way that displays the beauty of Christ to others. As we continue our sermon series on identity, we will look at the first half of Ephesians 5. Building on some of the themes that Robby unpacked for us last week, we will consider what the Apostle Paul says about imitating Christ's example in our own lives.        As you prepare, I invite you to read through Ephesians 5:1-20. As you read these words, prayerfully ask the Lord to shine His light into your heart to reveal areas where He is calling you to change and to show you new ways in which He may be calling you to place your hope in Jesus alone, display Christ as beautiful, and bring the joy of the Lord to our city and our world.
September 14, 2021
I Am a Child of Light
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. — Ephesians 4:22-24        Oftentimes when we come to a new year, many people resolve to live differently. We promise to lose weight, find a new job, quit smoking, care better for our husband or wife, or change in some other way. "It’s going to be great" we think to ourselves! Then the cold reality hits: change is not easy. After a few weeks (or days) into a new year, old and destructive habits sometimes return.         Of course, we can also experience this when it comes to our walks with Jesus. We are told that we are a new creation in Christ. We are told that the old has gone and the new has come. We are told that we need to put on heavenly clothing. Then what happens? The old creeps back in again!        The point is not to have us beating ourselves up when we falter. God is at work, and God is the one who is making us new through the renewing of our minds and hearts - a process we call sanctification. The Christian life is about knowing Christ better and desiring to live for Him each and every day.        As we continue in our sermon series called "Identity" this week, we’re going to be looking at what it means for us to live as children of light, even in the midst of darkness. We’re blessed to have one of our elders, Robby Kissling, sharing with us since both Pastor Andrew and I are away officiating weddings. May God bless Robby as he leads us, and may our hearts be receptive to hearing how we are called to live in the light.
September 07, 2021
Contagious Joy To the City
In many ways, the book of Philippians can be described as a long and amazing thank-you letter. The apostle Paul wanted to express his gratitude and joy to the believers in the city of Philippi for the gift they had sent after learning of his imprisonment. Led by the Spirit, Paul also sought to encourage them to stand firm in persecution and to rejoice, ­regardless of their circumstances. I’d say that’s a great way to say "thank you"...and it’s the kind of thing that’s contagious!
September 02, 2021
I Am Maturing
Paul uses the image of a body to describe Jesus Christ as the head of the church. It is Jesus Christ who provides the direction and the coordination of His body. What is most beautiful about this imagery, though, is how it relates to Christ's authority over His church.        The image of the head and the body vividly shows that, just as our flesh and bone is joined together and supported by ligaments, we are joined together, growing and being built up in love under Jesus, who is the head of the body. It also means that we need everyone to function as the body! Everyone belongs; everyone serves. Because we belong to one another under Christ's authority, we also need one another to build up that body.
August 24, 2021
I Am Walking With God
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”  Ephesians 4:1        How many of us have ever asked, “What should I do with my life?” We probably all have. Of course, behind this question is a bigger and deeper one: “What is the purpose of my life?” Those questions are ones that we never stop asking because we’re always entering different seasons in our lives. As children and youth we ask it when we're trying to figure out a career path. We ask it again when we think about getting married, or becoming parents, or increasing our responsibilities in other ways. We ask it when our children are grown up and the nest is empty. When we retire, we ask it all over again.        It’s a question that we not only ask about our walk in the world, it’s also a question that we (should) ask in our spiritual lives. “What is the purpose of my walk with Christ?” “What difference does it make in my life and in the world?”        Thankfully in Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul gives us the answer to the question, and what we find is that our walk with Christ determines our walk in the world. It provides direction. It provides purpose. It provides peace and unity in the body. It provides an example to the world. However that’s just a small sampling of the depths of the riches that we find in these verses.
August 18, 2021
I Am Rooted
In this prayer, we behold Paul's passion for the gospel, his desire to see people firmly rooted in the love of Christ, and his exuberant ambition for God’s glory.
August 10, 2021
I Am A Part of God's Plan
Thankfully, God is a planner, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:1-13. Though His plan seemed like a mystery for generations, it has now been revealed in Christ. The division that existed between Jews and Gentiles, between the spiritual “haves” and “have nots,” has been torn down. Jesus demolished the walls of hostility and made the two groups one. And the purpose of the Church, then, is to make known the “manifold wisdom of God.” Our unity in Christ and His victory speaks to the heavenly realms and even makes the demon shudder! And that should remind us that we can have boldness and confidence in Christ!        If you have ever doubted God’s plan for you...if you have ever questioned your identity and who/whose you are in Christ...if your life sometimes feels like a mystery...then this is the week for you! You need to know that you are a part of God’s incredible plan!
August 03, 2021
I Am A Citizen Peacemaker
Paul says that we have peace with God because of Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone, the capstone, and the keystone. In Him, all things hold together. This also means that we need to align ourselves with Jesus. It means that we are called to live in peace with one another.         As the apostle Peter describes it, all who believe in Christ are “like ­living stones...being built into a spiritual house.” (1 Peter 2:5). What is God building you into? What is God building our church into? How are we being called to be citizen peacemakers?
July 27, 2021
I Am an Original Masterpiece
As we continue in our new sermon series called Identity, what we hope to discover is how our identity in Christ becomes clearer and surer the more we “know Christ better.” The more He opens the eyes of our hearts and reveals to us our glorious inheritance, the power, and the promise we have in Christ; the more confident we become of our identity. That gives us hope in this life and in the life to come.        We look forward to worshipping with you this weekend, and we encourage you to keep inviting your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to worship with you. Because so many of us struggle with the question, “Who am I?”, this series has the potential to speak into many people’s lives.
July 20, 2021
I Am Wise
As we continue in our new sermon series called Identity, what we hope to discover is how our identity in Christ becomes clearer and surer the more we “know Christ better.” The more He opens the eyes of our hearts and reveals to us our glorious inheritance, the power, and the promise we have in Christ; the more confident we become of our identity. That gives us hope in this life and in the life to come.
July 13, 2021
I Am A New Creation
      Identity is an important topic in our world, and we are constantly surrounded by all sorts of messages about who we are. Because what our culture has to say about our identity tends to be less than helpful, it is important to discover what God has to say about our identity.        Welcome to a new sermon series on the topic of our identity. This series will take us all the way through Paul's letter to the Ephesians, as we consider what God has to say about who we are. This week, we will explore Ephesians 1:1-14, which has a tremendous amount to say about who we are in Jesus Christ.        As you listen to this series, I encourage you to do two things. First, prayerfully ponder the question "Who am I?" and consider some of the many ways you could answer that question. Are any of your answers surprising? Do any of your answers seem to be at odds or in tension with each other? Which answers to this question do you consider to be most central to your identity?        Second, I encourage you to prayerfully read through Ephesians 1:1-14. What does God have to say about your identity? What do you find most surprising in these verses? Which aspect of your identity in Christ needs to receive more of your focus?
July 06, 2021
Seek His Face
This sermon comes from a guest speaker to our church, Lydia Harrison. Join with us as we discover more about Psalm 27 and what it means to seek His face.
June 29, 2021
Unmasking Guilt and Shame
This sermon unpacks how we see ourselves vs. how God sees us. Remember that guilt and shame only hurts the way we see ourselves, and keeps us from seeing the new creation we have become in Jesus Christ. 
June 22, 2021
Unmasking Depression
This sermon spoke into the heart of depression. What does it look like for Christians? What can we do to help each other walk through these difficult seasons? 
June 15, 2021
Unmasking Suffering
The second sermon in our unmasking series dives into suffering. Why is there suffering in our world? What is the hope we have in Jesus Christ in the midst of our suffering?
June 09, 2021
Unmasking Emotions
This new sermon series dives into the different emotions that we all experience and how we should handle them when Christ is at the center of our lives.
June 09, 2021
Hook, Line, and Sinker
This sermon is a continuation of our series on how to reach those who don't know the name of Jesus Christ.
June 09, 2021
How do we reach all non-believers in the name of Jesus Christ? This sermon dives into the different ways we can reach non-believers around us. 
June 09, 2021
Catching and Cleaning
This sermon is all about how we can reach every individual in Jesus' name. 
May 26, 2021
Go Fish!
This is the beginning of our new sermon series together called “Go Fish.” It’s a series that focuses on sharing our faith. This sermon talks about being in “proximity” to Jesus, having a relationship with Him, and KNOWING Him rather than merely knowing ABOUT Him.
May 26, 2021