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?"
2019 -- What if you could see into the future? Would you even want to? And what would you do with that kind of knowledge? We close 2018 with a lesson from Revelation 2:8-11 where we see Jesus tell an early church what was in their future. Spoiler alert, it's not all good news - at least not from a human perspective. But that's the great thing with God, each day and every year is a chance at a fresh start to trust Him. Our theme, simply put, is "What if...?"
The Christmas Day sermon with sermonettes from Deuteronomy 17:14-20, 1 Samuel 2:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 15:25-27.
Christmas Eve sermon, a look at the birth of Christ through the eyes of the shepherds.
The End of The World - What's It All About?
As the conclusion to our Advent series "Christ is Coming," this Sunday we studied 2 Peter 3:10-18 and dug into what's going to happen "When Heaven Meets Earth."
Are you ready for __________?
Depending on how you fill in the blank, that question can either bring about excitement or fear. This weekend we'll study 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 with the theme "Ready Or Not" and embrace the excitement of being ready for Christ to Come.
WE WIN!! What if we ran a race and we all crossed the finish line at the exact same moment? Wouldn't we all be the winners? I'm not talking about the kind of race where you don't keep score or everyone gets a prize just for showing up.
Finishing a race at the exact same moment is a good picture of what we wrestled with in our second installment of our Advent series "Christ is Coming". This week we wrestled with one of the most misunderstood concepts of the end times “the Rapture". What is it exactly? What does the Bible really say about the Rapture? We turned our attention to 1 Thessalonians 4:11-18 and our theme was the Greek word translated as "rapture" = HARPADZO (the right kind of rapture).
I HATE WAITING! When I [Pastor Krause] am trying to find a sermon illustration to portray the struggle of waiting, I typically grab a picture of traffic on the Beltline. It works because most, if not all, of us have experienced frustration trying to get across Madison. It always seems the worst when I am running late or in a hurry. But the traffic isn't the problem. The waiting is. This weekend we begin our Advent study. Our seasonal theme is: "Christ is Coming" and all our lessons will focus on Jesus' second coming which highlights the necessity of His first coming. Our first lesson is from 2 Peter 3:1-9 and this weekend's theme is appropriately "Why Wait?"
There's something different about you...
When you were brought to faith, you were changed. Your life was given an incredible new meaning and a radically different purpose. This weekend Pastor Abrahamson wrapped up our "Christian Character(s)" series by digging into Philippians 2:1-4 and taking us to the core of how we've been "Rewired."
Pastor Krause leads us through a study of the principles and practice of thankfulness as we look at 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
How did we do?
Have you noticed that almost every on-line business asks you to rate them as you complete your purchase or use their services? (Maybe churches should start doing this, but then again, I [Pastor Krause] am afraid some of the sermons I,ve preached wouldn,t rate very well). What if you were asked to rate your life? How many stars would last week get? As we near the end of our Christian Character(s) study we come to one of the more challenging characteristics for us as God's children - satisfaction. Are we satisfied with what God has given us? Do we long for more? This week we "take a bite" out of John 6:27 and "snack on" one, simple concept... "Satisfied?"
Time Out! "Have you ever stopped to think about how much we are controlled by our schedules as well as our own concepts of time? Most folks live their lives ruled by the clock and the calendar (guilty as charged)." writes Pastor Krause. This lesson is about how God - as the creator of time - controls time for us. Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches us how to trust in God's perfect timing.
Waiting is hard to do, especially when that waiting involves enduring a difficult season of life. This weekend we studied Psalm 75:2 and gained some much needed "Patient Perspective."
No holding back. The love God has for you and wants to put on display through you is not partial, half-hearted or incomplete. This weekend we studied John 15:13 and celebrated that the love God has for us is "All In."
"I'm not sure you heard what I said." What's the difference between mercy and grace, between justice and fairness, or between being oppressed and being poor? Sounds confusing, doesn't it? That's how the devil likes to work, he likes to make us question, doubt and confuse what we think we hear God saying. This weekend we listened more closely to what God says about the Christian characteristic of being just while at the same time being merciful. We studied Micah 6:8 and our theme was "Just Christian".
Are you humble? Tricky question, isn't it? But what's even trickier is actually learning humility. This weekend we studied James 4:6 and discuss the battle for this crucial characteristic that takes place "In The Center Ring."
There are times in our lives when we ask "Why do I even try?" Sometimes our lives of faith can become awfully discouraging, especially when we see how easy some non-Christians seem to have it. This weekend we studied Psalm 73:13-14 and discovered some perspective and encouragement for "This Weary Heart."
Ever have one of those days when you plans change? Not only will people throw us a curveball when it comes to our schedules, but sometimes God does too. Instead of getting frustrated, a better response is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture - the eternal picture. This weekend we took a look at our next Christian characteristic, Flexible Faith, as we study Colossians 3:2.
Safe. Are there many more important words in our world today? This weekend, as we study our "Surveillance State" with a lesson from Proverbs 22:3, we'll discuss dangerous situations for our souls and look to the God who is our refuge and shield.
Do you know what to look for? God is present and at work in every detail of our lives. This weekend we studied 1 Samuel 16:7 to gain some insight for "The Search: Finding God In Everyday Life."
I've heard that before...
Ever had someone make you a promise that sounds nice but you knew they wouldn't come through on? Have you ever made an empty promise? This weekend we studied Psalm 15:4 and learned about the importance of coming through on promises and the beauty of what happens "When Love Speaks."
Stuck in a rut?
Everybody loves innovation, for example: cell phones, safety features on cars, dishwashers - for most of us these are things we could not live without. It took some "outside the box" thinking for people to come up with these great ideas. But what about our faith, do we like innovation there? What if God pushes us beyond our comfort zone, challenges us to think bigger than our own personal beliefs, or even tests us to the point where all we can do is finally let God lead us where we would not ordinarily go? This week we begin a new phase of our Christian Character(s) study as we begin examining a variety of Christian virtues. Our text is Romans 12:2 and the lesson is "Faith outside the Box".
What's the secret to a love that lasts? Laugh often? Communicate? Forgive? There's no such thing? This weekend we concluded the "Love" portion of our "Christian Character(s)" series, as we studied Proverbs 20:6-7 where we see how we get to experience love that is "Built to Last."
SEX - It is a subject rarely discussed openly and honestly. In the sermon, Pastor Krause talks about it as we arrive at our third topic of love in the marriage relationship as a reflection of God's love for us. Our lesson is Hebrews 13:4-5 and our topic is "The Naked Truth". (P.S. the sermon is rated PG).
Marriage - What's the Point?
Romance? Companionship? Family? Pastor Abrahamson leads us through a study of Genesis 2:22-24 as we learn about God's "Relationship Goals" when it comes to marital love.