NO END GAME?
Imagine this: I ask you to help out here at church but give you no information about how long the job will last or even how to know if you are meeting expectations. My goal here is not to describe how some churches recruit volunteers. It is about defining details. This week we begin the Trinity season and our new sermon series "I Quit" (spiritual warfare on a personal level). There is no better place to begin than with the details of what spiritual victory actually looks like as we study Luke 10:17-20. Our theme is one, glorious word: "Victory!"
FORGOTTEN HOLIDAY - Do you have your celebration planned yet and did you invite the relatives? Did you purchase the appropriate flower display to properly represent this next holiday? It is amazing how Christmas and Easter are off the chart holidays on the Christian calendar. Even the world pauses a few moments to "celebrate" these big days. So why does Pentecost, the third major festival of the church year, receive so little attention and celebration? I'm hoping we can change that, even a little bit, this weekend as we study Joel 2:28-32. Our theme is "Baggage Check" (and other blessings of Pentecost).
What did you lose? What did you gain?
What was lost has been restored!
There was a popular song lyric a while back that said, "We were meant to live for so much more, but we lost ourselves." Well, because of Easter, what was lost has been restored. This weekend we wrap up the Easter season by studying Romans 4:25 and taking hold of what "You Were Made To..."
Because this is an expression that has been twisted and misused in recent times, allow me to define it for our purposes. The new normal is: the current state of being after some dramatic change has transpired. The new normal is what replaces what we previously expected. For instance, in high school I had a class to learn how to type on a typewriter. Now we do everything on computers - that is the new normal.
Easter presents us with a new normal for our earthly lives as we dig into our second last lesson of the Easter Epistles series from Romans 6:3-8.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It's not just at New Year's when people resolve to change and start over. It seems whenever there is a new fad, a new diet program, or a new self-help process, people are compelled to change. So how's that working out for you? Maybe you are not one of the millions to start over and over, again. But maybe part of you is, or at least you have considered changing something in your life. What if I told you there is one thing that actually does change your life? I will tell you this weekend as we study 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and see how Jesus' resurrection compels us to see life from a new perspective of "Not what, but why".
What does a good life look like? God's answer to that question may surprise you. This weekend, as we celebrated Mother's Day & Confirmation, we studied 2 Timothy 1:8-11 and learn to embrace "The UnWasted Life."
There's a life that God created you to live. Sin broke it. But the resurrection restores it. Learn how the resurrection "rejoys" us with this lesson from 1 Peter 1:3-6.
How was your week? Easter was so much fun! But what about Monday? How about the rest of the week? This weekend's lesson, 1 John 3:1-3, frees you to admit that you don't see all the results of Easter just yet but that doesn't mean you shouldn't embrace "The New You."
An Easter message from an unlikely source, Revelation 5:11-14. "Worthy is the Lamb, Amen!" How does looking out at the world from inside the tomb change the way we view Easter, and our lives?
Look what HE started! Palm Sunday may mark the beginning of Holy Week, but this weekend we celebrate that Jesus started something that is still happening today. This weekend, as we wrap up our "Lent Means Love" series we celebrated that we are part of the "Love Revolution" with a study of 1 John 4:19.
Fear verses Faith - Our "A Strange Kind of Victory" midweek Lenten series continues with a look at two men who overcame their fear and in doing so, helped set the stage for the greatest moment this world has ever known. Our study of John 19:38-42 shows us how because of the cross, "Faith Wins Over Fear."
I'm bored! I [Pastor Krause] remember the days when I would complain to my mom that I was bored - often during the summer"". I usually did not like her response: "Well, there are weeds to pull out in the garden. You could go do that!" It's strange how easily we can grow tired of the wonderful creation and life our loving God has given us. What's the problem? More importantly, what's the solution? This weekend we get down to our second last lesson in our Lent Means Love series as we study 1 John 4:10-11. God looks at us and His whole creation and never grows bored with us. Instead, He simply exclaims "I Love This!"
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the details that we can miss the beautiful big picture. Our "A Strange Kind of Victory" midweek lenten series continued with Pastor Krause taking us through a study of Luke 23:47.
Don't believe in love. Live in love. Love is not just an idea or some distant concept. Love is an active reality that we experience and live out. This weekend we continued our "Lent Means Love" series by celebrating what "Love Does" with a study of 1 John 3:16.
Our Lenten series, "A Strange Kind of Victory", continues with a message from Pastor Abrahamson reminding us that Paradise awaits us, and the prison we sometimes feel here on this earth will come to an end.
How are you? Growing up we were taught that when we asked each other "how are you doing", we were supposed to care about and listen to the answer. Now it seems that phrase is just another way of saying "hi" because if you really want to know how someone is doing all we need to do is check out their social media status. This week we ventured into our third "Lent Means Love" study and worked our way through John's first epistle (chapter 3 verse 5). Our theme was "Absolutely" and that will make a lot more sense when you review the video. But let's just say it opens the door for us to consider who we are and who we want to be, but most of all, who Jesus makes us.
What does the face of love look like? Our midweek Lenten series "A Strange Kind of Victory" continued as Pastor Krause took us through a study of Luke 22:61-62. In this lesson we learned about Peter's denial of Jesus and considered the loving look of Jesus as He went about the work of winning back His sheep.
What difference does Jesus make? Jesus isn't just some distant figure to believe in. What He accomplished on the cross really matters today and every day. This weekend our study of 1 John 2:1-2 involved a study of some crucial Gospel concepts that will us to see that Jesus is the ultimate "Difference Maker (Advocate & Propitiate)".
Directions - do you read them or do you just go ahead and try to figure it out on your own?
For our 2nd installment of "A Strange Kind of Victory" Lenten series Pastor Abrahamson took us through Matthew 26:52-54. In this lesson we admitted the issues that come from acting out of our own expectations and saw the beauty of what happened when Jesus followed the plan laid out in Scripture. We now have the privilege to embrace the fact that "Scripture Wins Over the Sword."
Have you ever noticed most people think they will be happy once they get something (like money or control) into their lives? But the not-so-secret "secret to happiness" is actually getting rid of, letting go of specific things in our lives. Another word for this is catharsis - "the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions". This week we begin our Sunday Lenten Series - "Lent Means Love". We will be working through a series of lessons from the first epistle (letter) of John beginning with 1 John 1:7. Our lesson theme is: Let there be Light!
We begin our midweek Lenten series "A Strange Kind of Victory" with a study of Matthew 26:36-46. Pastor Krause takes us through an in-depth study of how "God's Will Wins Over My Will."
Are you religious?
That can be a difficult question to answer. This weekend we took hold of the fact that knowing God and being known by Him is so much better than any man-made religion this world has ever come up with. Our lesson, Matthew 23:15, encouraged us to spend some time "Unlearning Religion."
What makes a post go viral? Humor? Inspiration? Peculiarity?
This weekend we studied Isaiah 49:6 to look at the special gift God has given us, the "Viral Light" that is spreading throughout the world.
Someone is watching...
Big Brother, data mining, your personal information being sold to the highest bidder - seems like we are living in an age when just about anyone can find out just about anything on just about everybody. There is the old adage: "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Our words, our actions, send quite a message. But what message? This week we study Daniel 6:19-20 and find the prophet Daniel's words/actions sent shock waves through an entire kingdom, even the world, as he found himself - Facing Lions.
TRUE LOVE -- If you were raised "in the church" you were probably taught to behave yourself. Obeying God's holy Law is a good thing, as long as the reasons for doing so are also holy. When we examine our own hearts we often realize we were taught to obey out of fear, or guilt, or even the desire to look good in the eyes of others. But what God wants from us is the is the very same thing He offers us - LOVE. This week we wrestle with true love as we examine God's love to the Gentiles in a lesson from Jonah 3:6-9 - So God Loves.
Taken any big leaps of faith lately? This weekend as we study Ruth 1:16-17, we meet a special young woman in God's story named Ruth. As we study her life as a part of God's story, we get a beautiful reminder that God would have us experience life that is truly "Remarkable."
How's your reputation? This weekend we met a women with a pretty bad reputation. Her name was Rahab and she was a prostitute. But as we studied Joshua 2:8-12a we see what happens when God's reputation meets Rahab's reputation. We get to experience "REPUTATION RA/EHAB."
outside looking in...
...it happens. People form cliques or exclusive groups and it can make you feel like an outsider. In ancient times it was often rare for Gentiles to be accepted into Jewish circles, but sometimes God took matters into His own hands. This weekend we wrestled with a very unique group of Gentiles and saw how God brought them into His family. We studied Exodus 12:37-38 and got to know some Gentiles simply called "Many Other People".
Wait, who? Have you ever been listening to someone tell you a story and then they suddenly drop in the name of a person you've never heard of before? This weekend you might feel a bit that way at first as we learn about Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20. Not only will you learn a bit about this intriguing character, but we'll celebrate that God chooses to give incredible honor to surprising people. This weekend as ask the question "Who?"
EPIPHANY - If your calendar is like mine, on Sunday, January 6 there is the word "Epiphany" (from the Greek meaning "appearance" or "manifestation", thus "to shine forth". 1/6/2019 makes the beginning of the next season of the church year often called "the Gentiles Christmas". Usually lessons focus on the visit of the Magi or Jesus' escape to Egypt, etc. However, this year we are going to trace the origins and steps of God reaching out to the Gentiles through various lessons of the Old Testament, including our introductory lesson of God calling Abram. Our text is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3 and out theme is "YOU want me to do what?"