Click on the Title to View/Listen to our most Recent Recordings from Sunday Worship:
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for July 12, 2020– Complete Online Worship during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with an organ prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12AM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
In the Beginning Series: Bearers of the Light based on Genesis 1: 1-5, John 1:1-5, and Matthew 5: 14-16. We are called to be light for the world devoid of light. July 12, 2020
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for July 5, 2020– (42 minutes) Complete Online Worship for Independence Day Weekend during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with an organ prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12AM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
Conversation on LGBTQ Inclusion (75 Minutes) in our churches between Rev. Robert Bushey of Central Christian Church and Rev. Barbara Lohrbach of St. John UCC. Listen in as these pastors and friends for nearly a decade dialogue about what it means to have an Inclusive Table and to be Open & Affirming or Welcoming as a congregation for LGBTQ persons. The conversation was edited into two parts for worship. This video is the complete conversation recorded at Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Bourbonnais.
VIRTUAL WORSHIP for June 28, 2020- (Part 2 of a Conversation on LGBTQ Inclusion with Rev Robert Bushey & Rev Barbara Lohrbach) Complete Online Worship for Sunday, June 28 due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12AM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for June 21, 2020- (Conversation on LGBTQ Inclusion with Rev Robert Bushey & Rev Barbara Lohrbach) Complete Online Worship for Sunday, June 21 due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12AM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for June 14, 2020– (Conversation on Race Part 2 with Rev Robert Bushey & Rev Vincent Clark) Complete Online Worship for Sunday, June 14 due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12AM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
Conversation on Race Full Video (90 Minutes) Rev Robert Bushey and Rev Vincent Clark shared a 90 minute conversation on what it means to be anti-racist and pro-reconciling in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and the protests and unrest following. Listen in as these pastors and friends for nearly a decade, share their honest words of challenge and hope for our communities. The conversation was edited into two parts for worship. This video is the complete conversation recorded at Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Bourbonnais.
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for June 7, 2020– (Conversation on Race Part 1 with Rev Bushey & Rev Vincent Clark) Complete Online Worship for Sunday, June 7 due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 7PM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for May 31, 2020– (40 minutes) Complete Online Worship for Pentecost Sunday during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12PM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
Message for Today (12 Minutes Available May 30) The disciples had a few weeks of waiting and wondering what would happen next, and what happened next is the Holy Spirit arrived in an unexpected way. This enabled them to reach others in what was beyond their imaginations. How does the Holy Spirit do this with us today? What visions and dreams does the Holy Spirit give us to reach our own communities?
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for May 24, 2020– (42 minutes) Complete Online Worship for 7th Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a organ prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 12PM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
Message for Today (14 Minutes Available May 22) for Sunday May 24th wrapped up our Easter-tide series, Living in the Shadows of the Cross, exploring the emotions of the disciples following the first Easter. Shame is powerful, but we have witnessed something even more powerful in the love, grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness we find in Jesus. This is the good news, that in Jesus, we have nothing to be ashamed of.
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO for May 17, 2020- (38 minutes) Complete Online Worship for 6th Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a organ prelude at 10:30AM Sunday. Service will be available beginning at 6PM CDT Saturday (YouTube).
Message for Today (14 Minutes) for Sunday May 17th continued our series on the emotions of the disciples In the Shadows of the Cross, focusing on Fear and based on the First Letter of Peter. The early Christians experienced fear and so do we, especially during uncertain times. The Good News is that whatever we may be afraid of, we stand in the power of God and we are hope for the world.
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO May 10, 2020- (41 minutes) Complete Online Worship for 5th Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a piano prelude at 10:30AM. Service will be available all day here (YouTube).
Our Message for Today (14 Minutes) continues our series In the Shadows of the Cross exploring the emotions of doubt, disappointment, grief, loneliness, shame and fear experienced by the early followers of Jesus. Loneliness is a human emotion we all share and being adopted into the community of Christ is the good news from the letter of 1 Peter. May 10, 2020
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO May 3, 2020- (39 minutes) Online Worship for 4th Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with an organ prelude at 10:30AM. Service will be available all day here (YouTube).
Message for Today (16 minutes) based on Psalm 23 In the Shadows of Grief. The Psalmist says we are able to live in the shadows of grief because God is with us, even there facing death, loss, and heartache. We are able because God gives us all we need like a shepherd leading us to green pastures and safely beside the still waters where we find restoration for our very souls. May 3, 2020
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO April 26, 2020– (45 minutes) Online Worship for 3rd Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with a piano prelude at 10:25AM. Service will be available all day here (YouTube). April 26, 2020
Message for Today (15 Minutes) based on the famous Walk to Emmaus Story from Luke 24. Like the disciples on that road, we too may feel as though we are walking in the shadows of the cross. We had hoped for so many things this spring and the pandemic has disrupted many of those. As people of the resurrection new life in Christ, we may find hope, peace, love and joy even in the shadows of life. April 26, 2020
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO April 19, 2020– (50 minutes) Online Worship for 2nd Sunday of Easter during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page beginning with an organ prelude at 10:20AM. Service will be available all day here (YouTube). April 19, 2020
Message for Today (13 Minutes) based on the story of the resurrection appearance of Jesus to Thomas from the Gospel of John. Rev. Kelly Youngblood challenges us to see the risen Jesus in our midst, even during a pandemic.
Easter Virtual Worship Service and Pre-Worship Concert (51 Minutes) featuring Organist Mark Noller. Central’s ministers join with our General Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as we worship together as the one body of Christ on Easter Sunday. Links below for Worship without Concert and Sermon.
Easter Worship Service (Without Concert 36 Minutes)
Easter Message for Today (9 Minutes) by Rev Terri Hord-Owens, General Minister & President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada
Our complete Virtual GOOD FRIDAY Service of fading light featuring readings, prayers, hymns and imagery used by permission from ShiftWorship.com. Previously recorded in 2019, the service is 25 minutes. April 10, 2020
Our MAUNDY THURSDAY Service (14 minutes) with readings, prayers, foot washing and communion. If you wish to participate in the Lord’s Supper you will want to prepare a cracker or bread and juice or wine (anything you have handy will do.) April 9, 2020
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO April 5, 2020– (47 minutes) Online Worship for Palm Sunday during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Watch Party is planned on YouTube and our Facebook Page for 10:30AM. Available here (YouTube) at 10:30AM. Follow us on Facebook and Subscribe to our YouTube channel @cccbourbonnais
Our Message for Today (16 Minutes) based on Psalm 31 explores the powerful lament prayed by Jesus on the cross. Lamenting is a healthy spiritual practice. The journey of Holy Week is not easy, it takes courage and faith. Lamenting expresses our dismay and our trust in God to see us through. April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO MARCH 29, 2020– (37 minutes) Online Worship for Fifth Sunday of Lent during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Premier Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page for 10:30AM. Available here (YouTube) at 10:30AM. Follow us on Facebook and Subscribe to our YouTube channel @cccbourbonnais
Our Message for Today (17 Minutes) based on the story of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37 and the Raising of Lazarus in John 11. “There are times when it seems that we live in a valley of dry bones, a place devoid of life and all hope for life, times when we think we may never find a way out, a way back to normal. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promises that when we find ourselves in such a place, a valley of dry bones – at the end of all hope, God will breathe life into our dry old weary bones and bring us home to renewed life.” Mat 29, 2020 Lent 5
FULL WORSHIP VIDEO MARCH 22, 2020– (38 minutes) Online Worship for Fourth Sunday of Lent during Shelter in Place Order due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. A Premier Watch Party is planned on our Facebook Page for 10:30AM. Available here at 10:20AM.
Our Message for Today (14 Minutes) based on the story of the healing of a man born blind in John’s Gospel. In Jesus we see the power of God to restore us to life, even when everything around us is lifeless. In Christ we are drawn together in community – the body of Christ – even when we are not able to physically be in one another’s presence, even in quarantine. As followers of Jesus, we proclaim our confidence in God’s power to renew in us a vision for our lives that today and all of our tomorrows may be filled with hope that overcomes fear, love that drives away hate, joy that conquers sorrow, peace that calms our anxiety, and life that never ends. Mar 22, 2020 Lent 4
Our Message for Today was based on the story of the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus from the gospel of John. Jesus offered the woman peace in a time when social distancing between Samaritans and Jews was a powerful form of segregation. Today as we take precautions to slow the curve of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offered the same peace that moved the woman to join in the mission and ministry of Jesus. Peace that comes from knowing that God accepts us and loves us just as we are and not because of who we are. Peace that leads us to be compassionate and caring people. Peace that overcomes fear. Mar 15, 2020 Lent 3
Our Message for Today was based on the story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night and learning about being born again. Being spiritually reborn can mean a lot of different things to different people, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a dramatic and euphoric experience. It might just mean that there’s been a rebirth of your relationship with God. Mar 8, 2020 Lent 2
We are tempted to be all and do it all by ourselves. Our Message for Today was based on the story of the temptation of Jesus in Matthew. While fasting and praying Jesus was tempted to exploit being God incarnate. Jesus resisted the temptation to be all, do all and instead surrendered to God. Ministry has temptations to DIY which lead many to burnout. Our Sr. Minister is preparing to go on a 45 day Sabbatical Leave of Renewal this Spring. We have permission to not do it all, ourselves, to resist the temptation to DIY. Mar 1, 2020 Lent 1
Our Message for Today was based on the vision story of the transfiguration from Matthew. We have been on a journey of transformation as a congregation over the past seven years. When we meet Jesus we are changed, transformed, transfigured into a new creation and sent to bear light and life to a world filled with death and void of light. Feb 23, 2020
Our Message for Today invited us to choose Another Way to Live – the Way of Life. In Jesus, God revealed a way of living that promotes restoration and reconciliation of relationships over vengeance and retribution, that honors trust and fidelity in mutually satisfying relationships over possessive ownership of one another, that doesn’t make false promises but values honesty and integrity, that extends love as we have been loved, even to our enemies. Deuteronomy 30 & Mathew 5. Feb 16, 2020
Our Message for Today based on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians proclaimed “Belonging together in Christ crucified, we are disciples of Christ who demonstrated God’s love for each and for all in the cross and who welcomes us to this table today to celebrate and remember God’s act of salvation in Jesus.” Feb 9, 2020
Our Message for Today proclaimed that God’s way of life revealed in Christ crucified may seem foolish in our society which continues to celebrate strength and militarism. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians proclaims that Jesus offers us another way to live and chooses you to be on God’s winning team of life. Feb 2, 2020
Our Message for Today proclaimed the unity of the body of Christ as taught by Paul and our call to discipleship from Matthew’s story of the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Paul believed in real community, where real people with all of their real differences however serious or petty lived in real harmony bearing with one another in love and agreeing to disagree with grace. Jan 26, 2020
Our Message for Today based on Paul’s letter to First Corinthians and proclaimed that God’s is faithful despite our turning away. Grace has no expiration date and is a free gift which allows us to live a new life in Christ. Jan 19, 2020
Our Message for Today recalled the baptism of Jesus from Matthew. We are challenged to imagine the possibilities of joining God’s world transforming work as a disciple of Jesus. Jan 12, 2020
Nightmares Before Christmas Series Advent Christmas 2019
Our Message for Today recalled the story of the visit of the magi from Matthew’s account of the nativity of Jesus. “When we choose to value love, mercy, forgiveness and restorative justice over revenge, hatred and prejudice we move the story of God’s salvation forward. We contribute to God’s work of bringing light into places void of light, ending nightmares in our midst – bringing hope for all the world.”
Jan 5, 2020
Rev. Kelly Youngblood’s Message for the first Sunday after Christmas recalled the nightmarish tale of the slaughter of the innocents in Matthew 2. Real hope arises when we share our stories of real struggle and suffering and imagine together a new and different future. Dec. 29 2019
Christmas Eve Worship 2019
Celebrated the 300th Anniversary of the hymn Joy to the World.
Our Message for the Fourth Sunday of Advent focused on the nativity story from Matthew. “God chooses to transform this world through ordinary people struggling with the messiness of ordinary life.” The nightmares are not over for the holy family nor for us, but God comes in Jesus to invite us to join in Christ’s world transforming movement right here and right now. Dec. 22, 2019
Our Message for Today was based on the story of John the Baptist in prison from Matthew 11. John is clearly troubled – his Messianic expectations are not being met – he’s perhaps even disappointed in what appears to be another promise unfulfilled. This season of great expectation is too often in fact the opposite a season of great disappointment. No matter our fears, our doubts our disappointments – God is not disappointed in us and comes to us eager to join us in our weakness, to hold onto us in our insecurity and to comfort us in our fear. Dec. 15 2019
Our Message for Today for the Second Sunday of Advent was based on the story of John the Baptist from Matthew 3. Advent is an opportunity to dance with God even when we are so out of step with God’s desires for our lives and for the planet. Repentance is turning around, even away from whatever distances us from God’s love for us and for everyone else. God’s dream is for real peace not fleeting hours of no phone, no TV, no distraction peace but real peace that begins when we confess our missteps and change direction to walk with God in Jesus Christ. Dec 8, 2019
We began our Advent Series with a Message for Today of hope that is eternal. For the ancients for whom the gospel story of Matthew was written, the promise of an end to the present age or realm of evil and injustice, exploitation and death – was anything but a fairy tale. They were living a nightmare. So this imagery of a great apocalypse was an image of hope that their present nightmare was almost over. The writer encourages us to remain steady in our hope, even as we wait with expectation, that God is present even in our darkest moments. Dec. 1, 2019
Experience the Difference of Discipleship Fall 2019
Our Message for Today concluded our series and proclaimed our ultimate allegiance to Jesus as Lord on Reign of Christ Sunday as we celebrated Baptisms, Reaffirmation of Baptisms and Confessions of Faith. Nov. 24, 2019
Our Message for Today was based on the teaching of Jesus about the coming kingdom of God in Luke’s gospel and God’s dream for this world in Isaiah 65. Every generation has it’s version of the end of the world as we grapple with our own mortality. God wills life and we are warned by Jesus to not be deceived by those who would lead us to the apocalypse. We are called as disciples to change this world. Nov. 17, 2019
Based on the Story of Job, our Message for Today proclaimed that Disciples Live by Faith which Job’s story teaches is “not resignation or cowering before God but trusting in God such that we engage God in genuine conversation, even debate. Sometimes no matter how good of a life that we lead, it’s only after we’ve been torn apart that we come to know God differently and be able to have Job’s faith.” Rev. Kelly Youngblood Nov 10, 2019
Our Message for All Saints Sunday declared that Disciples Live and Die with Hope. Based on the ancient letter to the Ephesians, we celebrated the hope to which we are called and the inheritance we receive as children of God in Jesus Christ. We honored the memories of the saints of Central during our prayer time and one of the saints of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. David Edwards (1947-2019) whose hymns When You Do This Remember Me and Some There are Who by Their Living inspired our morning message. Nov 3, 2019
Sunday’s Message based on the story of Jesus in Luke 18, proclaimed that the difference of discipleship is that Disciples Don’t Judge. “Disciples live their lives aware of every person around them, connecting, loving, caring, seeing each one as valued members of God’s family.” Oct 27, 2019
Our Message for Today explored how disciples seek truth and understanding from the “strange & wonderful stories stitched together over 1000’s of Years we call the Bible” As Disciples we proclaim “within the universal church we receive the gift of ministry and the light of scripture.” Oct. 20, 2019
Our Message for Today based on Jeremiah 29 proclaimed “the truth that in most cases – the grass really isn’t greener on the other side of the fence – perfection is a fantasy at best, fulfillment, satisfaction, healing, wholeness, and contentment may all be in our midst right where we are if we pause long enough to notice and when we commit ourselves to making the best of whatever circumstances we find ourselves.” Oct. 13, 2019
Our Message for Today, based on 2 Timothy 1:1-14 was given by Pastor Kelly Youngblood and proclaimed that everyone has the opportunity and ability to influence someone else’s life. Disciples take our faith home by expanding our understanding of home and family and sharing with everyone. Oct. 6, 2019
Disciples Practice Generosity was the theme for our Message for Today from Luke 16 and 1 Timothy 6. “Love your money by being generous with your money and thus loving others through it. Love your money by not letting your fear that you may not have enough for yourself if you give some of it away make you choose selfishness over compassion. Love your money by practicing generosity and then you will experience the difference of discipleship.” Sept. 29, 2019
The Story of the Dishonest Manager from Luke 16 was the focus of our Message for Today. This story is about God’s desire to mend the brokenness of our relationship with God and with one another at all costs – no other relationship will demonstrate the truly abundant mercy and powerful love of God that may be found in Jesus and that’s the difference of discipleship. Sept. 22, 2019
Our series eXperience the Difference of Discipleship continued with two parables of Jesus in Luke. “The gospel writer wants to make the point that every sheep in the fold is of ultimate importance to the shepherd. Thus, every child, every human being is of ultimate importance to the Lord. God never runs out of time to keep searching. God never gives up the search. God is relentless when it comes to finding the lost. Just as every coin is of value and importance to the woman in Jesus’ story, every person is of value and importance to God. And as disciples of Jesus – we are called to share that same amazing grace and love with others.” Sept. 15, 2019
Our new series kicked off with a Message for Today based on a difficult teaching of Jesus from Luke 14 on the costs of discipleship. “When God is the true center of our life, love for our family is truly possible – for we are a part of the whole family of God – and God loves the whole family. Jesus does not call us to abandon our family, but to embrace a larger family in the same way that we embrace our individual tiny ones. And, the family of God needs your embrace.” Sept. 8, 2019
Our Message for Today based on a teaching of Jesus in Luke 14 concluded our We’ve Come This far by Faith series and featured our Commissioned Minister for Campus and Community Ministry Kelly Youngblood. Sept. 1, 2019
Our Message for Today focused on the gospel story of Jesus healing a woman on the Sabbath. For Jesus, since the Sabbath law commemorates and celebrates Israel’s liberation, it ought to be a day for enacting — not inhibiting the redemptive and liberating work of God making the beloved community real in our midst. In remembrance we gather in community to recall the saving acts of God – not just to feel good but to be moved to become actively involved in the redemptive work, the life saving work of God right here and right now.
Our Message for Today based on Jesus’ teaching in Luke’s gospel called us to a change of heart that is no longer self-focused but sees with the eyes of faith the presence of God and God’s redemptive work for humanity – God’s kingdom being made real in our midst.
We began our new series We’ve Come this Far By Faith with a celebration of the faithfulness of our congregation as we considered the story of Abraham’s faith in Hebrews 11.
In our Message for Today based on Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul says You can have a whole new set of attitudes toward life and a whole new set of behaviors, a positive way of living that will give you the joy Jesus promised and show the world how good life can be when “Christ is all in all, and in all.”
Our Message for Today came from Luke’s story of Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray. God knows our needs. God knows our desires. God seeks our well-being. And when we pray, we open our souls up to encounter God who desires a trusting relationship with us.
Our Message for Today explored balance and priorities in our lives with the story of Mary & Martha from Luke’s gospel and God’s indictment in Amos 8.
Our Message for Today was from the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. “What Jesus was really saying was that everyone in need, even an enemy, is a neighbor. The standard of judgment is not our respectability but our willingness to help. And when we do, we identify as children of God living in the realm of God right here and right now.”
Our Message for Today was based on Galatians 6 and explored our interdependence and Paul’s call for all disciples to do their best for Christ’s mission in the world.
In our Message for Today explored empathy and acceptance as we witnessed Jesus turn to his disciples in Luke 9 and draw a larger circle around who God’s love is truly for – “a circle that includes imperfect you and imperfect me and even those with whom we don’t agree.”
A New Perspective in our Message for Today on the story of the Gerasene Demoniac in Luke’s Gospel account helped us understand the tale from the original audience perspective living under a brutal occupying power. The story proclaims “God’s power to set God’s children free from inner trauma, turmoil, from fear, from bondage, from anxiety, from marginalization, from possession by powers beyond our control.”
The Parable of the Sower from Luke was the focus of our Father’s Day Message.While we often pay attention to the analogies of types of soil in the teaching story it’s really all about God who sows unconditional love & grace generously upon us no matter where we find ourselves planted in life. Having received the good news are we then planting seeds of patience, acceptance, forgiveness, welcome in our lives and in our community?
The Story of Pentecost and the Unexpected Gift of the Holy Spirit concluded our series from Acts this morning. Are we open enough to be surprised by the Spirit?
Unexpected Freedom based on the story of the imprisonment of Paul & Silas after casting out a spirit from a slave girl in the Book of Acts. God’s unexpected gift of unconditional love and grace in Jesus frees us from all that binds us.
Unexpected Leadership based on the story of Lydia from the Book of Acts. Commissioned Minister for Campus and Community Young Adults, Kelly Youngblood shared our Message for Today.
Unexpected Inclusion shared the story of the encounter of Cornelius and Peter as recorded in Acts. “Whenever we choose love over hate, peace over violence, mercy over retribution, acceptance over judgment, compassion over conversion, understanding over rejection – we create the beloved community of God’s unexpected inclusion in Jesus Christ.”
Unexpected Compassion continued our series based on the story of the raising of Tabitha a disciple of Jesus by the Apostle Peter. The story is not only a miracle of individual resurrection because in her ministry of unexpected compassion for the poor and the widows a fragmented community breathed in wholeness and life once more. Who has been a Tabitha in your life? or In whose life have you been a Tabitha of faith?
Unexpected Believer was based on the story of the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. An unlikely and stubborn servant, Saul is blinded by his own zeal for what he believed was right. As Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans says, “God, it seems, is rather stubbornly committed to extracting me from the notion that this is all about being right.” God calls us to have a new vision of humanity that transcends the way we often see one another – with a new light that reveals we are all just people hungry for love and eager to hear some good news.
Unexpected Messenger began our series based on the story of Peter’s arrest for preaching the gospel from the Acts of the Apostles. We heard an unexpected message from and unexpected messenger. Rather than seek vengeance upon those who condemned Jesus, God offers mercy and forgiveness. The surprise of the resurrection is embodied in “a group of people whose life together is so radically different, so completely changed from the way the world builds community.”
Easter Message for Today Moving from Sorrow to Joy recalled the story of the resurrection of Jesus from Luke’s gospel. We explored how in Christ we can move from sorrow to joy, from despair to hope, from wounded to healed, from addicted to sobriety, from death to life. While there are many steps in the healing, reconciling, life transforming salvation given freely in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord – this first one is a big one – admitting we are not God – our way of thinking is not the only way and thus our patterns for coping with sorrow with grief with pain that do not move us to joy, healing restoration must be left behind as we discover God’s unconditional, eternal love for us – God’s deep desire for our wholeness and happiness.
Part Six of our series explored the paradox of the story of the triumphant entry of Jesus the humble Messiah into Jerusalem we know as Palm Sunday beginning the last week of his life before his crucifixion on Good Friday. We are called to follow our Lord in triumphant humility. Humility is not devaluing oneself as much as it valuing others as you do yourself.
Part Five Kelly Youngblood Central’s Campus & Community Young Adult Minister brought our Message for Today based on the story of the anointing of Jesus by Mary in John’s gospel. On the move with Jesus we are called to offer extravagant love even when others may be critical of our doing so.
Part Four of On the Move with Jesus recalled the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son from the gospel of Luke. God doesn’t wait for our confession to forgive us. God like the father in the story moves to forgive us even when we may yet be unrepentant.
Part Three of our series On the Move with Jesus focused on the stories from Luke 13:1-9. The storyteller stressed the importance of repentance as a decisive step on the journey with Jesus to the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter. Our Lenten journey with Jesus invites us to take a look at ourselves and make a change as we seek to live the new life made real in Jesus.
Part Two of our Series On the Move with Jesus explored the story of Jesus facing threats from the empire on the road to Jerusalem. We explored the role of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time as identity keepers for their people. Our journey through Lent is dangerous when we are honest with ourselves and repent from the ways we exclude others from our own circles of love and grace.
Part One of our Lenten Series On the Move with Jesus was based on the story of the Temptation of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus full of the Holy Spirit was not alone when he entered the wilderness and as we begin this journey toward the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday we are not alone. God is present and on the journey with us.
Love Transforms Us the conclusion of our Power of Love series is based on the story of the transfiguration of Jesus in Luke’s gospel. God’s powerful love and grace has the ability to transform us and through us transform the world.
Love Has No Limits based on Luke 6:27-38 Part Four of our series continues the Sermon on the Plain when Jesus proclaimed the powerful love of God that moves us to recognize the very presence of God’s kingdom or realm in our midst, to love even those we name as our enemies. “Jesus stood with them – with us and said to you that listen – God’s Love has no limits and God desires nothing more or less from you.”
Love Fulfills Us based on Luke 6:17-26. Part Three of our series focused on the Sermon on the Plain where “Jesus stood on the level place where we see eye to eye – no one above or below another – just human beings, children of God all created equal in the eyes and heart of our Creator. Jesus preached about fullness that feels empty and emptiness that feels full. Jesus was clear that the things with which we fill up our lives often leave us empty, because only one thing can fulfill us, love God’s unconditional, undying love for each and everyone of God’s children.”
Love is Good News based on Luke 5:1-11. Part two of our Power of Love series focused on the story of the call of Jesus’ first followers or disciples. Jesus invites them to follow him and catch people up in the powerful love and grace of the God revealed through him. “God’s big ole net is large enough for everyone, strong enough for every challenge, powerful enough to move us and transform the world.”
Love Begins at Home based on Luke 4:21-30. Today’s message begins a five part series: The Power of Love based on stories and teachings of Jesus in the gospel of Luke. Jesus returned to his hometown and was met with resistance when he proclaimed the good news of God’s favor is for all people. Love begins at home and has the power to change the world.
Angels are Always Among Us Part 3 in the series based on Hebrews 13:1-2 “Jesus didn’t sit around chatting with angelic beings – he fed the hungry, healed the sick, set free those who were imprisoned by blindness and social exile. None of whom were perfect or without sin by the way – all had made mistakes, bad choices or had suffered traumas unspeakable. And, each one he treated as holy – as if they were angels themselves.”
Angels are Messengers of Good Tidings Part 2 in the series based on Matthew 1:18-21; 28:1-7 Angelic announcements of good new frame the Gospel accounts of Jesus birth and resurrection. Angel stories encourage us to be messengers of good tidings as the only representative of God’s goodwill for humanity some will ever meet.
Angels Call Us to Worship & Serve Part 1 in the series based on Isaiah 6:1-8 & Revelation 4: 4-8 Angel stories point us to something bigger than ourselves – a Lord worthy of our worship and service. We are called collectively to serve – to be the human kindness so many are searching for today.
Epiphany Sunday – January 6, 2019
Exchanges & Returns based on Matthew 2: 1-12 recalled the story of the three Magi bringing gifts for the newborn King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Jesus and called us to begin the real work of Christmas.
First Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2018
Unexpected Vessels of Hope based on Luke 1: 26-30 begins our series focusing on the story of Mary in Luke’s Gospel. A visit from a messenger from God recalls the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary and invites us to become vessels of hope and healing for our fragmented world. Message was followed by the song Breath of Heaven as performed by Amy Grant.
Second Sunday of Advent – December 9, 2018
Decision Time based on Luke 1:39-49 continues our Advent series from Luke. A visit from Theophilus, a friend of God to whom the Gospel was dedicated, recalls the beginning of the Magnificat sung by Mary during her visit with Elizabeth and invites us to sing the greatness of the Lord in our daily interactions with others. Message was followed by a video of “Mary Did You Know” performed by the group Pentatonix.
Third Sunday of Advent – December 16, 2018
Rejoicing in Our Rescue based on Luke 1: 50-53, 67-80 featured a visit from Zechariah the father of John the Baptist who sang as did Mary of God’s favor and redemption for God’s people. Message was preceded by a dialogue between Mary & Elizabeth not captured by video and was followed by a video of Zechariah’s Song.
Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 23, 2018
Good News for All People our Message for Today based on Luke 1:46-50 concluded our Advent Series Mary Servant of Hope. A shepherd visited and called us to trust in the grace and love of God born in Jesus for all people. Message was followed by a video with the soundtrack from I Wonder as I Wander by LUCCA
First Sunday of Christmas – December 30, 2018
Light Has Come our Message for Today based on Luke 2: 21-35 featured a visit from Simeon whose song proclaimed that “God had come to us – Emmanuel – to save us from ourselves – from our insatiable greed, our ignorant exclusion of others, our misplaced fears, our sin. The Roman eviction would have to wait. This was about walls in our hearts – between us and one another, between us and others, between us and God.” Message was followed by a mashup of The Piano Guys version of O Come O Come Emmanuel.
Gratitude in All Things based on Deuteronomy 6:1-9 & Matthew 9:20-22 with Kelly Youngblood, Central’s Director of Campus & Community Young Adult Ministry and Leader for 815 a Young Adult Community for people 18- 20’s.
For All The Saints Series November 2018
Saints Above & Saints Below based on Hebrews 12:1-3 “As we continue our 125th Anniversary celebration and celebrate the saints of Central Christian Church we may be mindful of the great cloud of witnesses who surround us yet today.” Part One of For All the Saints Series featuring stories about Harry Burkhalter & Jim Cook.
Generous Servants based on Mark 12:38-44 “Jesus cautioned his disciples to not be obsessed with the celebrity of those who flaunt their riches or themselves – but instead to focus their hearts on those who celebrate the abundant generosity of God – with generosity of their own – not just in money – but in service for one another.” Part Two of For All the Saints Series featuring stories about Elsie Menard & Bonnie Flouhouse
Grateful Encouragers based on Hebrews 10: 11-25 “My faith journey has been filled with grateful encouragers who did not use judgment or fear to provoke me to faith, no manipulation, no sinner’s guilt, no feelings of unworthiness – just positive encouragement as I learned the stories of Jesus and acceptance through the grace of God and unconditional love demonstrated in their lives.” Part Three of For All the Saints Series featuring stories about Bill Burkhalter, Theresa McCracken, Revs. Howard & Eleanor Ditrick.
FEAR 101 Series October 2018
FEAR 101 Part One based on Psalm 27 “It would appear that we have millions of things to be afraid of these days –Part of recognizing, understanding and overcoming our fears is asking questions about the source of our fears. It begins by recognizing your assumptions may be a distortion of reality and your reactions may not be God’s will for humanity.”
FEAR 101 Part Two based on Mark 10: 17-31 “Discipleship is releasing our cares to God – placing our trust in the saving grace and healing love of God made known to us in Jesus – the good news that we remember and celebrate at this table each time we gather.”
Fear 101 Part Three based on Matthew 6:25-34 “Jesus invites us to an alternative view of the world, our relationship with God and indeed one another – one that is rooted in love – God’s love which is infinite, never ending, abundant. Jesus invites us to release our worry to God, to begin a life of discipleship.”
FEAR 101 Part Four based on Isaiah 41: 8-10,13 “When we embrace the message of Jesus, we are empowered with courage and with hope to overcome our fears. When we allow God’s love for all of humanity and indeed creation to be the lenses through which we re-read our fears we can say with the author of 1 John (4:18) “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”
What Does It Mean to Belong based on Matthew 15:22-28 with Pulpit Guest Kelly Youngblood – Campus and Community Young Adult Leader. “Fitting in and belonging are not the same. Belonging requires us to be who we are.”
Best Ambition In Life based on Mark 9:30-37 “Christ calls us to the best ambition in life – one that is lived in humble service of one another – no personal glory, no fame, perhaps no fortune, no special recognition in heaven, no trophy or medal – just hospitality, unconditional acceptance and love.”
Just Do It based on James 1:17-27 “The evangelist in effect says when you know who you are, whose you are, and see yourself a recipient of the perfect gift of salvation demonstrated in Jesus – then you can’t be just an audience member, a consumer of the Good News – you have to just do it.”
Toxic Charity based on James 2:14-17 “while building transformational relationships is a key in helping people move from poverty and homelessness to sustainable circumstances, we are first called to give them what their body needs. Charity that discriminates is toxic charity
Just Say No! based on Mark 8:27-38 “Jesus isn’t referring to suffering that is simply part of life in our messy world. Cross bearing is not making the best of a situation or circumstance. It’s a choice. It will demand our life – total commitment – that supersedes every other loyalty we subscribe to.”
Ephesians Series August 2018
This Is Us! based on Ephesians 1: 3-14 “As we journey through this ancient letter over the next several weeks and as we celebrate our 125th Anniversary as a community of faith, we will hear the good news and challenge of our renewal, our restoration and our call to be remade into the beloved community of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Strangers No More based on Ephesians 2: 11-22 “Jesus – whose way of peace commanded simply that we love one another, whose persistent unrelenting mercy for others calls us to do likewise, for in him we are strangers no longer – we are sisters and brothers – a new humanity restoring the very image of God we were made in – a portrait of diversity, of beauty, a selfie of faces from every place on the planet, a family tree larger than any we have ever known.”
More Than we Can Imagine based on Ephesians 3: 14-21. “Our congregation began 125 years ago with prayer and prayer meetings. We began with faith in the power of God within us to do more than we can ask or even imagine. And here we are today doing more than we could have imagined to the glory of God!”
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism based on Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-16. “We are called to participate and not to be spectators. The Spirit gifts us all in different ways and we are expected and called with hope to use our gifts for the common ministry of the body of Christ. Each one has a unique role and yet each one is as worthy, as needed, and as important as the other.”
Peacemakers based on Ephesians 4:25-5:2. “God’s purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ. For the apostle Paul, everyone who comes to know the love and grace of God made known in Jesus are children of God – and thus called to be peacemakers.”
Overflowing based on Ephesians 5: 15-20. “We have not done, nor can we do anything to deserve, earn, or achieve our redemption and eternal destiny with God. It is a gift, freely given with love and forgiveness. And, when you know this in your heart of hearts, you are filled to overflowing.”
New Shoes based on Ephesians 6:10-20. Frederick Buechner writes, “If you want to know who you really are as distinct from who you like to think you are, keep an eye on where your feet take you.” Peace is the goal. Our feet, not our words alone, will get us there.
Strength in Weakness based on 2 Corinthians 12:2-10 “I don’t know, is a powerful phrase. According to Peter Marty, “Something in the Christian life ought to inspire us to limit our arrogance about certain things we know and, at the same time, nurture a disposition of gratitude for those who know what we don’t.”
Allegiances based on 2 Samuel 5: 1-10 “Allegiance like the law is a means to an end – as Americans “a more perfect union” or in Christian terms “the beloved community.” When allegiance becomes the end in itself – the goal – the aim – the product – trouble is at hand – sin is present and the end will not end well.”
Facing Giants based on I Samuel 17:32-49 “With God’s power we are not the underdogs we may think we are – we are the champions…we are the champions of an agile love, a nimble compassion, a determined justice, a real reconciliation, and a true peace.”
Peek a Boo I See You! based on the Ancient word from 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13. No one is born great and through the power of God’s love and grace we may become great in the eyes of the God who “does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Be Careful What You Ask For based on 1 Samuel 8:4-20. “The tale of the kings of Israel point us to one major lesson – be careful what you ask for – you just may get it and it may not be as you hoped or expected. It may not even be what God desires for you.”
Practicing Sabbath based on Mark 2:23-3:6. “By standing up to the Pharisees, the scribes and the Herodians – Jesus proclaims that the law was made for humanity not the other way around – that people matter to God more than law and order.”
Born from Above based on John 3: 1-17 featuring Pulpit Guest, Central Christian Church member and Christian writer/blogger, Kelly Youngblood.
A Community of Skeptics based on John 20:19-31. “Doubt then is not the Opposite of Faith – asking big questions is one of the ways we grow in our faith and may come to believe. Your healthy does of skepticism, your questions and your doubts about religion, Jesus and God – are welcome here. “
A Community of Love based on 1 John 3:1-2; 4:7-12, 20-21 & Luke 24: 3-48. “We continue to walk the road to Emmaus blind to the One who walks among us – we close ourselves in to our limited social circles – our Jerusalem hiding places where our ideas, our values our beliefs be they right or wrong are never challenged by the experiences of those whose lives may be at risk because of our views. And still we belong to the community of God’s love.”
A Community of Truth and Healing based on 1 John 3:16-24 “Jesus knew there was always enough when we are willing to share with others and not horde what we have. And when we do, healing happens – for the one in need and for us as we experience the love of God in our giving.”
A Welcoming Community of Disciples based on Acts 8:26-40 Following a clip from Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films and featuring a clip from NT Wright: “If you have been baptized in whatever form, the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you are powerfully called to be a witness to the Kin-dom of God – the community of Christ where everyone is welcome to the table of the Lord – just as God has welcomed us.”
A Community of Believers based on 1 John 5:1-6 “What John wants to tell you is that when you fully understand that YOU are CHOSEN by God and So IS EVERY ONE ELSE – Completely Loved, Encouraged by Grace, Accepted & Free From the Need for Any Other Affirmation in the World – When YOU Understand that – When YOU Breathe and Live that in Your Life – YOU are Free to Be You! And, you may come to Believe fully in the Lordship Of Jesus Christ.”
Beloved Community based on John 17:6-11. Jesus not only gave us an avenue for transformation of our personal lives, he also gave us the clear direction to challenge the ways of injustice in our world, to support the weak, to return no one evil for evil, to set the captives free and to proclaim good news of restoration and reconciliation to the poor.
Spirit Filled Community based on Acts 2: 1-8, 12-13. “By the Spirit, God’s power and love were channeled through a diverse people in order to unify the world. We cannot be Pentecost people-Spirit filled people-alone. Two thousand years ago, on that first Pentecost, the church was born out of the womb of God’s aching love…and the world has never been the same.”
God’s Global Promise based on the story of Noah from Genesis 9:8-17 began our Promises, Promises Series. “When God makes a promise – a covenant – it’s usually a big deal. No small promises with God – this covenant encompasses every living creature – everything God created – you and even me.”
Empty Promises based on Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16 “With so many distractions and so many challenges in our post-modern lives today, we may feel as though we have nothing to offer to keep our covenants. God has a promise for you and God doesn’t make empty promises.”
Top Ten Promises based on Exodus 20: 1-10 “we approach this story all wrong when we equate God’s agreement delivered by Moses with a contract which has rewards and punishments. We are more on target when we understand the Ten Commandments as ten promises God makes with God’s People – a covenant.”
Unbreakable Promise based on Ephesians 2: 1-10 “Salvation is not our choice. There is nothing we can do to achieve it – this is God’s unbreakable promise to us. Salvation is God’s choice. We are recipients through grace and grace alone. “
Intimate Promise based on Jeremiah 31: 31-34 “God desires us – loves us and wants us to know that intimately in the kind of relationship that persists through both prosperity and difficulty – knows forgiveness and reconciliation. It’s not a forced relationship – its mutual and binding – a covenant.”
The Promised One based on Mark 11: 1-11 “God invites you today, this week to hear the good news of God’s undying love and abundant grace – offered to all of humanity. God wants and desires for you to live in the Kin-dom of God, the covenant of God’s grace, forgiveness, justice and hope begun in Jesus today.”
Promise Fulfilled based on John 20: 1-18 “You belong here today because God already knows your name and in Jesus has claimed you as God’s own child. You belong here today because God’s promise to be your God and for you to be a member of God’s family has been fulfilled in Jesus.”
CHILDREN OF THE WATER based on Mark 1: 4-11. “The storyteller hopes to convince you and me that as those who have risen from the waters of baptism in whichever form are now and forevermore children of the water, empowered to reveal God’s love and grace in our lives for others.”
NOW YOU SEE IT NOW YOU DON’T based on John 1: 43-51. “we catch another quick glimpse of who this Mystery Man Jesus truly is as he calls Phillip and Nathaniel to be disciples. Nathaniel’s uninformed and xenophobic understanding of the world is changed in an instant as he encounters Jesus. “
MISSION POSSIBLE based on Mark 1: 14-20. “The way and will of God is present in Jesus – offering a new way of ordering humanity. Joining this new community – means living in a new reality with power structures based on equity and justice, rules arising in mercy and forgiveness, and new priorities in life.”
SUPERMAN EXPOSED based on Mark 1: 21-28. “People were compelled to follow Jesus because through his teaching, his compassion, his healing, and holding the authorities accountable to God’s justice – he revealed God in their midst. “
TOP SECRET based on Mark 1: 29-39. “Simon’s mother-in-law experienced salvation in its completeness – for salvation is not an individual act of God, but a communal act of God’s love and grace. She was restored to wholeness and thus the community was made whole again graced by her resurrection – her healing – that she may re-enter and serve once again “
CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT based on Mark 9: 2-9. The Transfiguration of the Lord. “there is no power in the transfiguration – no power in being born anew in God’s presence – no power in being transformed by God’s abundant love and grace – when we do not become transformers ourselves.“
WONDERFUL LIFE: WATCHING FOR IT based on Mark 13: 24-37 . “Watching for the Wonderful Life of God right here in our midst is what Advent is all about. Preparing our hearts and our minds for the coming of our Savior, anticipating the coming of God’s Realm, and participating in the future that God is creating for us right here in our midst.”
WONDERFUL LIFE: PREPARING FOR IT based on Mark 1: 1-8 . “As we journey through Advent we are preparing for the wonderful life of God to be revealed in our midst. Advent is about preparing for a new beginning in Jesus and you are invited to begin today.”
WONDERFUL LIFE: REJOICING IN IT based on Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11. “God’s desire for you and even me is to rejoice in the wonderful life being made known to us through Jesus – the same wonderful life proclaimed by the prophets of old – and not only to rejoice, but to live it everyday.”
WONDERFUL LIFE: GIVING IT based on John 1: 1-14. “We give the wonderful life when we share the good news of God’s unconditional love for each and everyone of us. When we see others – all others as accepted and adopted by God as God’s own children – we cannot throw anyone away, condemn people to their circumstances, refuse to listen to their cries of injustice, nor stand idle when the status quo eliminates any support, aid and compassion in the name of growth and prosperity.”
WONDERFUL LIFE: BEGIN IT based on Revelation 21: 1-6. “We welcome in the New Year with the promise of God’s gift of of Wonderful Life made known to us in Jesus to embolden us as we look forward to the days, weeks and months of 2018.”
ENOUGH Series November 2017
ENOUGH: The Moment Everything Changed based on Matthew 16:21-26. “From that moment on the disciples will come to know Jesus as a servant of love, compassion, generosity and mercy – the ingredients of life that is abundant and the power of giving of oneself for others that will ultimately prevail – even over the violence, retribution, hate and force that rule the empires of this world.”
ENOUGH: Finding Peace & Paying Bills based on Matthew 25:1-13. “We have a life purpose that is greater than our own self-interests, and how we spend our God-given resources reflects our understanding and commitment to this life purpose or mission. Six principles for financial peace are presented. Finding peace means letting go of being first – and like the wise bridesmaids – putting our greater purpose before all else.”
ENOUGH: Cultivating Contentment based on Matthew 25:14-30 & Philippians 4: 4-7, 10-14. “Contentment comes when we have our priorities straight – when we remember to keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus said, Love God with all your heart your mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” Hear four keys to contentment and a new perspective on an old story.
ENOUGH: Defined by Generosity based on Matthew 25: 31-46 & 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 with Pulpit Guest Kelly Youngblood. “The Realm of God proclaimed by Jesus is opposite in many ways to the world we know. God’s realm is defined by generosity and as disciples of Jesus we are called to be as well.”
BLESSED to Be a Blessing based on Genesis 12: 1-4. “Friends we are blessed to be a blessing in someone else’s life. To pay it forward – to lend a helping hand – to forgive even when forgiving is hard – to seek to understand one another and not to prejudge one another. We are called to be a blessing for all the families of the earth”
BLESSED to be Reformers based on I Thessalonians 2:1-8 with guest Kelly Youngblood. “It is good and right that we recognize and celebrate the 500th anniversary of an important moment in the life of the Body of Christ in the world – and equally important that we claim our place in the ongoing reformation of the body of Christ as witnesses to the good news of God’s undying love, unending grace and desire for abundant life for all of God’s children and indeed creation.”
BLESSED to be Creation Caretakers based on Genesis 1: 26- 2: 15. ” We are blessed as children of God – fully adopted, accepted and affirmed – to be the creation caretakers God hopes will tend the compassionate beloved community God intended for all of creation in the beginning.
BLESSED to be Blessed! based on Ephesians 1: 3-14 “We are blessed to be blessed – we have found favor as children of God in Christ Jesus to be remade holy in the image of God.”
What Does it Mean to be Pr-Reconciling based on Matthew 18: 21-35 & Romans 14:1-12 “Reconciliation happens when we change our relationship with God or with one another. And that involves re-telling and listening to as well as honoring each other’s story. As long as we fail to trust God’s retelling of our story – hearing the truth of God’s reconciling love poured out for the entire world – in Jesus Christ – we will not be able to hear God’s retelling of other’s stories – we will not be a pro-reconciling people.
A Story of Anti-Racism based on Matthew 13: 10-17 “Seeing with our God-blessed eyes sees through all the barriers we have created for ourselves – to see human beings, no better than us, no less than us, in every living color and hue – children of God, forgiven, loved and free.”
Is Christian Unity Possible? based on Ephesians 4 & I Corinthians 1. “The challenge of Christian unity is as important today as it was when Paul wrote his fledgling communities of faith – the church in all times and places – and as then unity is God’s doing. In a world torn apart by ideologies, politics, economics and yes even religion; we will only find true unity when we know each other all others fully as children of God.”
What Is God’s Role in Tragedy? based on Romans 8: 26-28. “First, we don’t have to shift blame or cause to God. Second, we don’t have to assign a God-reason or purpose to tragedy, especially when it happens to others. Third, we can assume that God is and will be present in the midst of tragedy”
Is Noah’s Ark Real? based on Genesis 6:11-22. “For ancient Israel stories of people who listen to and follow God’s commands are vital to their identity as those who pledged loyalty to God above everyone and everything else and thus their covenants with God. “
Is the Bible Pro-Slavery based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-21 “Context and background should always make us pause when we consider the meaning or interpretation of symbols and especially word symbols like the stories and teachings of the Bible. Slavery continues to plague humanity today and as we consider the larger themes of the witness of the Bible – of how God seeks to redeem humanity from ourselves – we are moved to turn the normalized exploitation of people upside down – just as our Lord did.”
How do Christianity and Capitalism Relate to One Another? based on Acts 4:32-35 “The economy of God is not driven by supply and demand or what the market will bear– the economy of God does not know scarcity – only abundance. Whether we are contributing to the needs of the saints, the mission and ministry of the church, helping with recovery funds for Hurricane Harvey survivors or handing a regular visitor to our Wednesday night events whatever change you have on you so he can get some Popeyes chicken – doing the most good is the priority of the life of faith.”
Are Ghosts Real? based on I Thessalonians 4: 13-18. “As Christians we hold faith in life that is abundant and eternal with God after death. We believe that this body is our earthly vessel – to be cared for respected and honored – and yet a vessel for our soul. While there is no scientific proof of ghosts or paranormal activity, they represent a mystery that we carry into the hopeful promises of our faith.”
Sowing Good News based on Matthew 13: 1-9; 18-23 “Jesus is the sower of the good news of God’s unbounded grace, unconditional love and the promise of life fulfilled beyond our imagining. We are the soil, either good soil ready to receive the good news and root it firmly and fully into our lives or the other types of soil unready or unwilling to let go of the ways of sin and death in our world.”
Weary & Burdened based on Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 with Kelly J Youngblood Pulpit Guest. “This yoke that is easy and burden that is light is a way of life that brings about the kingdom of God”
Freedom: Based on Romans 6: 12-23 “true freedom comes when we confess our allegiance of faith in Jesus -in the absolute and unconditional love of God given freely, demonstrated fully in Jesus’ life teachings death and resurrection”
We Are Commissioned to Be Good News based on Matthew 9: 35-10:8 “The Good news is proclaimed and the kingdom of heaven comes near whenever we seek good for others, no matter what – when we seek to serve something greater than ourselves, no matter what – when we submit our lives to be fully devoted followers of Jesus, no matter what.”
We Are Called to Make Disciples based on Matthew 28: 16-20 “If we stop and think about it – we were not born followers of Jesus – disciples – students of the Good News. Other disciples had a role in our becoming a disciple of Jesus – a Christian.”
We Are One in the Spirit based on 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13 : “When we cultivate our relationship with God, by opening ourselves to living a God-directed life wherein which our prayers consistently invite God to use us for the building up of the body of Christ, we allow the Spirit of God to activate the gifts God gives to everyone.”
Living in the Shadows: Disappointment based on Luke 24. “We are ALL like two disciples – We are all somewhere on the same road filled with disappointments. The gospel story is our story living in the shadows of the cross. Whenever we Gather in our Shared Humanity as the body of Jesus Christ: We Proclaim the Gospel –God’s Love is bigger than our biggest disappointments and God’s Accepts us in our Brokenness and Offers us a Way filled with Hope and Abundant Life.”
Living in the Shadows: Grief based on Psalm 23 “Grief is real for everyone and everyone of us will express our grief in our own ways. Our journey through the valley of shadows will be at our own pace. And God promises to walk through the valley with us. God does not promise life without grief, without loss, without pain or suffering. God is not the author of our suffering instead God promises God’s goodness and mercy will go with us – all the way. “
Living in the Shadows: Loneliness based on 1 Peter 2:2-10 “Loneliness is a human emotion that is always going to be with us in the shadows of life. We have the option to choose to belong to a people – a people chosen by God to be light in the darkness – to bring hope in places of despair – to carry hope where hopelessness seems to win the day – to love the unlovable – to participate in the building of a masterpiece of God’s beloved community right here and right now.”
Living in the Shadows: Fear based on 1 Peter 3:3-17 “While the sky may be churning with despair above us and the earth may be tremoring below us, while we may be standing at the edge of an ever widening abyss of fears and obsessions, doubts and anxieties, weakness and apathy- the power of God to transform the world is within us “
Living in the Shadows: Shame based on 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11: “If anyone knew shame it had to be Peter. Shame is a powerful emotion. It is the feeling of failure – failure to live up to some expectation that we have for ourselves. Shame is powerful, but we have witnessed something even more powerful in the love, grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness we find in Jesus. For in Jesus, we have nothing to be ashamed of.
Faith & Doubts based on Mark 20:19-30. “Doubt then is not the opposite of faith – asking big questions is one of the ways we grow in our faith. Science and faith need not be enemies.” Faith is trust, not certainty. Thomas gets a bad rap as a “doubter” when in reality he is a true disciple of Christ. And like Thomas we are called to be the presence of Christ in the world today.
Easter Sunday: Love Wins! based on Mark 16:1-8 Our Message for Today .
Like relay runners we are handed the story of love’s victory revealed in the Resurrection of Jesus. It is our turn to proclaim the Good News of Easter!
Insurgents in the Temple Monday of Holy Week based on Mark 11:12-19 Our Message for Today from March 12th continues our Lenten Series The Last Days of Jesus with the story of Jesus reclaiming the temple for God’s dream for the world.
Occupy Jerusalem Tuesday of Holy Week based on Mark 11: 20-13:37 Our Message for Today from March 19th continues our Lenten Series The Last Days of Jesus with the story of Jesus being challenged by the authorities in the temple. Stories of the Tenants in the Vineyard, Taxes to Caesar, the Widow’s Mite and the teaching of the Greatest Commandments all point to true loyalty to God above all else, even the powers that be.
Believers and Betrayers: Our Message for Today March 26th in Dialogue with Kelly Youngblood and Rev. Bushey focusing on Wednesday of the Last Week of Jesus’ earthly journey from Mark 14. Hear the story of the first believer whose anointment of Jesus challenges the status quo and invites you to be a fully devoted disciples of Christ. You are Welcome Here!
Handed Over: Thursday of Holy Week based on Mark 14:12-71 featuring pulpit guest Kelly Youngblood. Our Message for Today from April 2nd continues our Lenten Series The Last Days of Jesus with the story of Jesus celebrating the Passover Feast with his disciples, his betrayal, his arrest and his denial by Peter. Worship with us Sundays at 10:30 AM. All are Welcome!
Empire Strikes Back: Friday of Holy Week based on Mark 15:1-41 Our Message for Today from April 9th concludes our Lenten Series The Last Days of Jesus with the story of Jesus’ trial by Pilate, Crucifixion and burial as Rome asserted the Power of Violence against the Nonviolent Savior. Worship with us Sundays at 10:30 AM. All are Welcome!
Compassion In Action I -February 12, 2017 based on Deuteronomy 30:15-20
and Isaiah 58 Our Message for Today focuses on the challenge presented by Moses to ancient Israel, I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live. “In truth God never abandons us – it is we who choose to abandon God and chase after our own wants and desires. We want a magician God who sweeps a magic wand over our challenges and difficulties and grants us our desires without our devotion to God’s way of abundant life rooted in compassion, mercy, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, humility, and reconciliation.”
Compassion In Action II February 19, 2017 based on Leviticus 19: 9-14, 33-34 Our Message for Today comes from the holiness code of ancient Israel, When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens..“Faith in God’s love revealed and demonstrated in Jesus is the ability to diminish all fear, of others, of ourselves even death itself.”
Compassion In Action III based on I John 3: 11-19 & Matthew 25:31-46 Our Message for Today focused on the theme of the 2017 Week of Compassion Offering, “God is most tangibly present in this world where people hunger, thirst, lack adequate clothing and shelter, and are sick or imprisoned. Christ claims as family members people who suffer and says Christ is so present in them that when you feed the hungry, care for the sick, welcome the stranger – you feed, and care for, and welcome Christ.”
Called to Serve – January 15, 2017 based on Isaiah 49:1-7 and I Corinthians 1: 1-9 We begin a four week series focusing on the Servant Songs of Isaiah with a reflection on how one of the inspirations for Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson answered her calling to help America at a time when women of color were widely discriminated against. Despite the social barriers she faced, Johnson would one day receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We are all gifted and called by God to serve.
Called to Be Reconcilers – January 22, 2017 based on Isaiah 42:1-9 and I Corinthians 1: 10-18 Our Message for Today focuses on the Servant Song of Isaiah 42. “While as Christians it is clear that Jesus easily fits the description of this servant song, so do we when we accept the call to be reconcilers – to restore right and just relationships between all of God’s people – across the globe.” With reflections on the historic events of the past week, we hear the call of God to be reconcilers for God’s reign of peace and justice from coast land to coast land.
Called to Be Resilient – January 29, 2017 based on Isaiah 50:4-9 and I Corinthians 1: 18-25 Our Message for Today focuses on the Servant Song of Isaiah 50. “The Servant of the Lord – has a word of hope that sustains the weary. The Servant does not return evil for evil nor hide from insults,but sets her face like flint standing strong in the face of adversity…We are called to be resilient even when the world seems to be coming apart at its seams – when fear and hatred appear to have won the day – when we want to just give up.”
Called to Live for Others – February 5, 2017 based on Isaiah 53 and John 15: 12-17 Our Message for Today focuses on the Servant Song of Isaiah 53. “The sacrificial love God calls us to embody as God’s servants is as much about living as it may ever be about dying for one another. God calls us as servants to live for others. In the life and ministry of Jesus, God demonstrated what that means– revealed God’s very own nature, as empowering, trustworthy and reconciling.
Epiphany: Good News for All People – January 8, 2017 based on Matthew 2:1-12. The story of the Wise Men’s visit to the Christ child, honoring him with gifts and then defying King Herod by returning by another road. Stories help us remember the past and teach us lessons for the future. This story helps us see our role in God’s continuing story of salvation today.
From our Advent Series: What Shall We Call Him? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Dec. 2016
What Shall We Call Him? Mighty God – December 4, 2016 – Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1: 46-55 Isaiah proclaimed the hope of a Messiah to save his people Israel. For unto us a child is born, a son given and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Mary the mother of our Lord perhaps remembers Isaiah’s hope in the Magnificat where she sings, the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” We serve a Mighty God revealed to us in Jesus.
From our Recent Intersections Series: Where Faith and Real Life Intersect April-May 2016
From our In the Beginning Series: Our Role in God’s Good Creation May-June 2016
Older Messages and Videos
Click on the links to download an mp3 format of the sermon. Sermons are edited from the original format for file size, personal references most appropriate for the original context and for action sequences that just don’t make sense without the visual component. We hope you enjoy and are encouraged for your life of faith by these messages. God bless you!
April 29, 2012
Accepted Adopted Affirmed based on I John 3:1-7
November 6, 2011 All Saints Sunday
Incline Your Heart to the Lord based on Joshua 24 1-14, 14-18
October 23, 2011 Global Missions Sunday
What the World Needs Now based on Matthew 22:34-40
October 9, 2011
Think Again based on Philippians 4: 1-9
October 2, 2011 World Communion Sunday
Trash & Trophies based on Philippians 3: 4b-14
August 21, 2011
Growing in Faith based on Romans 12
August 14, 2011
No Child Left Behind based on Matthew 15-21-28