Sermon: “Christian Atheist: Do We Really Believe in God?” Part I: “Relationships”

Being a Christian atheist condemns us to spiritual & earthly failure.

Are you a recovering Christian?

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29
“Christian Atheist: Do We Really Believe in God?”
Part I: “Relationships”

Signs of a Christian Atheist:

  1. 1) When you believe in God but don’t really know him.
    • a) Believing vs. knowing (40 years of marriage).
    • b) Not knowing God (I John 2:3-4).
    • c) Not knowing God well (Galatians 4:8-9).
    • d) Knowing God intimately (Psalms 63:1-4).
  2. 2) When you believe in God but are ashamed of your past.
    • a) The enemy of shame (Skeletons in the closet).
    • b) Finding a way out (Romans 8:38-39).
    • c) Breaking the shackles of shame (Psalms 51:1-2).
    • d) Changing your future (II Corinthians 5:17).
  3. 3) When you believe in God but aren’t sure He loves you.
    • a) God’s love is undeserved (Job 42:5-6).
    • b) Love from above (Luke 15:20).
    • c) Covered with love (I Peter 4:8).
    • d) Love’s appraisal (Jeremiah 29:11).

Dare to claim God’s truth!
We are God’s creation, created in love by the God of love.
We Matter!

Summary:
Where are we in our journey towards Christ?
Do we want to be in a loving relationship with Him?

When we are in a relationship with Him, we matter as part of God’s family & perfect creation.

When aligned with God
We Matter!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
–John 3:16

Sermon Notes

Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29

“Christian Atheist: Do We Really Believe in God?”

Part I: “Relationships”

Being a Christian atheist condemns us to spiritual & earthly failure.

Are you a recovering Christian?

Signs of a Christian Atheist

Dare to claim God’s truth!

We are God’s creation, created in love by the God of love.

We Matter!

Summary:

Where are we in our journey towards Christ?

Do we want to be in a loving relationship with Him?

When we are in a relationship with Him, we matter as part of God’s family & perfect creation.

When aligned with God

We Matter!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

–John 3:16

Sermon: 2010-2011: Past, Present & Future

Many of us have made New Years resolutions and hopefully they’re not broken already. Though perhaps the resolution all Christians need to make this year is:

Will we study God’s Word faithfully and consistently in order to firmly understand what God calls us to be & do in 2011?

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-13
“2010-2011: Past, Present, & Future”

Paul’s Outline of Understanding the Mystery of Christ

  1. All share God’s promise of salvation and grace. (Ephesians 3:6)
  2. We serve God by His grace, not by our strength. (Ephesians 3:7)
  3. God’s intent was always for the church to lead people to understand His wisdom. (Ephesians 3:10)
  4. Only by faith in God can we truly approach and have a relationship with Him. (Ephesians 3:12)
  5. Do not be discouraged with suffering as it often glorifies God by how we handle the suffering.

Do we live what we say we believe in good times & bad? (Ephesians 3:13)

Let’s look at 2010 & see how the church, and we as individuals, understood the mysteries of Christ.

What have we done to proclaim the “Good News” in 2010?

  • Diggers Bible Study.
  • VBS/CLC/Sunday School/Youth/Sunday Worship Services.
  • Jail Ministry.
  • Community events and dinners.
  • Counseling, Discipling Mentoring, Training & Teaching.
  • Prayer Time (public & private). Are we praying for others?
  • Generous giving to the Church / God’s Kingdom.
  • Evangelism: Inviting others to church. Hear the “Good News!”
  • Missions: Local & World.
  • Benevolence: Visiting others (Hospital, elderly, help projects, helping the needy).
  • Stewardship: Ways to honor God’s resources given to His people.
  • Seeking the lost & needy for salvation.
  • Defender of the Faith: Deacons, LMC, CMC, teachers, trainers.
  • Witnessing to others.
  • Praise Team, Worship Leaders.
  • Financial planning, vision, mission direction, suggestions.
  • Encouragement for others (Support Lay & Pastoral).

What has been your part in these ministries in 2010?

What can or will happen in 2011?

  • Guitars for God.
  • CLC Afternoon Mentoring.
  • CLC night meals for kids.
  • Improvement / Growth in all ministry programs (inside & outside church).
  • Getting into the community more (lost/needy).
  • Making Disciples for Jesus (Great Commission).
    1. Welcoming & Inviting
    2. Non Judgmental – Training, Teaching, Support.
    3. Scar Ministry
    4. Biblical based training/sermons/study
    5. Opportunities to Serve
    6. Glorify God with our transformed lives!

How will you respond in 2011?

Sermon: “Let’s Go Over to Bethlehem and Find: ‘The Promise of Christmas'”

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Matthew 1:16-25
“Let’s Go Over to Bethlehem and Find: ‘The Promise of Christmas'”

“Immanuel” — God is with us!

Examples:

  • Moses caught between Pharoah and the sea — God was with him!
  • David battling Goliath — God was there!
  • Christ on the Cross — God was with His Son!
  • Deepest valleys of in our lives — God is with us!

When we trust and believe that God is with us it will absolutely change our lives.  Who can stop us?  Who will defeat us?  No one, because we know where home is, and God is with us!

We can claim the promise of God with us when:

  • We are frightened —  Jesus talks about being paralyzed by fear.  Today we battle it also.
  • We are lonely — “I will be there for you.  You are not alone”.
  • We’re in sorrow — God is always close when we hurt.

“Footprints in the Sand”
Mary Stevenson, 1936

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

The Good News of Christmas is that God is there when we are frightened, lonely, and in sorrow.  Let God be with us this Christmas.  Accept him into your heart!

Sermon: “Let’s Go to Bethlehem & Find: ‘The Faith of Christmas'”

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Sermon Notes
Scripture: Luke 2:15-20
“Let’s Go Over to Bethlehem and Find: ‘The Faith of Christmas'”

The 10 Commandments for Christmas:

  1. Thou shalt prepare early.
  2. Thou shalt keep Christ at the center of Christmas.
  3. Thou shalt make Christmas a family time with God.
  4. Thou shalt remember those less fortunate.
  5. Thou shalt give thyself with every gift.
  6. Thou shalt learn to be a good receiver.
  7. Thou shalt put music into Christmas.
  8. Thou shalt slow down, not speed up.
  9. Thou shalt remember to worship.
  10. Thou shalt receive Christ into thy life.

Fact: Sometimes we get so caught up in the family & busyness of Christmas that we miss the message and meaning, and our priorities get mixed up.

When we go over to Bethlehem:

1. We see the faith that is happening there.

  • We see Christmas Faith; Jesus is born
  • We see the “Good News” of God’s salvation plan.
  • We see that we are not alone in this life; God is with us.
  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. –John 3:16

2. We see the hope that is happening there.

  • Christ came to bring hope.
  • We see the “Good News” of God’s ultimate victory.

3. We find the love that is happening there.

  • Love is the most powerful force in the world.
  • Jesus is God’s love in human form for us.
  • “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” –I Corinthians 13:13

Advent is the process of preparing for the miracles of Christmas:

  • The Miracle of Faith.
  • The Miracle of Hope.
  • The Miracle of Love.

Community Thanksgiving Service Dialog

For those who were unable to attend the Community Thanksgiving Service, here is the dialog from the service. Pastor Ken Halstead asks Pastor Bill Busch, Pastor Chuck Hayes, and Jacqueline Burnett for their thoughts on Thanksgiving.

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Sermon: Parable of the Rich Fool

How are we doing with our stuff?  Do we choose to place our trust in earthly stuff, or can we set aside our greed and focus on the eternal stuff? Let us count our blessings and be grateful for our only true security; Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

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Sermon Notes
Parable of the Rich Fool – Luke 12:13-21

1. Immediate problem is about money and an inheritance (Luke 12:13). Financial problems often divide families and relationships.  Trust is lost.

2. Jesus’ response: Who appointed him judge? (Luke 12:14).

3. Warning: Be on guard against greed (Luke 12:15).

4. A man’s life is not solely about wealth, security, or financial status.

5. Jesus tells them this parable: Luke 12:16-20

  • Blessing: Rich man produced good crop.
  • Blessing: Has storage problem; cup overflows.
  • Control: I will build bigger buildings.
  • Plans: I will have security; I will take life easy.
  • Conflict leading to eternal loss: God says, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you.  Who then will get your stuff?”.

This is how it will be for anyone who stores up stuff for themselves to be rich in earthly things, but not rich towards God! (Luke 12:21).

How are we doing with our stuff?  Do we really understand the only true security we have is in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior?  Which do we choose to put our trust in: earthly stuff, or eternal stuff (Jesus)?

This thanksgiving, let us count our blessings and truly be grateful for our only true security, Jesus Christ, our Lord & Savior.  Praise God!

Sermon: Journey to Accomplishment

Do we actively seek the help we need?  Sometimes we deny ourselves help because we believe our problems and needs are nobody’s business but our own.  However, The Bible says otherwise.  Pastor Jim leads us through Matthew 7:7-12 to reveal the importance of Ask, Seek, and Knock.

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Sermon Notes
“Journey to Accomplishment” – Scripture: Matthew 7:7-12

  • Ask: Matthew 8:1-2, Matthew 17:14-16
  • Seek: 1 Chronicles 28:9, Psalm 119:10
  • Knock: Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 7:7

Whenever we ask, seek, knock, and turn our problems and needs over to God and God’s people, the promise is we will receive what we need and will be blessed by God. Many today refuse to participate in this because of foolish pride and their desire to be in control of their lives.

God’s plan for us is different.  Even though we often choose evil over good, Satan over Christ, wrong over right, God still loved His creation so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sin and still blesses us with His love and the fulfilling of our needs.

So what is our responsibility to receive these gifts and blessings?  Ask, seek, knock, and we will find Jesus and help the lost to be saved as well by example, lifestyle, and Christian love! If we display humility instead of sinful pride; surrender instead of control; sharing instead of secrecy, we can and will reach others for Jesus and grow in our spiritual journey as well.

It’s really quite simple; we are called to help each other in Christian love and obedience to God’s callings and commands (Matthew 25:37-40).  We are also to share all things in Christian love and prayer (James 5:13-16).  By confessing and sharing our sins and scars, and by praying for one another, God’s blessings flow; and as we ask, seek, and knock, we come close to Christ and each other in Christian love, devotion, and obedience to God’s word, will, and way. It is God’s plan for all creation and each of us.

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