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.
Relationships: Back in my day (Pastor Krause speaking) we didn't have fancy dating apps or computer programs to determine if a person was a good "match" with someone else in their system. Back in my day we asked a girl out and prayed to God she would say "yes". It is nice to know some things about relationships never change, starting with the relationship God chooses to have with us. This month we study our Christian character(s) from the perspective of the marital relationship - the one human relationship God uses to describe His love for us. We study Proverbs 30:18-19 and see that "Love is for Losers".
What is Love?
Every time I hear the question "What is love?" I (Pastor Krause) immediately think of Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell bobbing their heads to the song of the same name by Haddaway. It became famous as part of the SNL "Roxbury Guys" sketches. (I'm guessing this ages me a bit!) It's not a very good picture of love as the lyrics go on to say "Baby, don't hurt me no more". We will get a better picture of love as we conclude the first part of our mini-series on Christian Character(s) related to the SHEMA, and as we get ready for the second part of the study looking at the marriage relationship. This week's lesson is Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and our theme is "Love: It's Not What You Think".
Get Healthy! There are plenty of strategies for getting healthy, avoiding certain foods, exercising, going on a cleanse. This weekend This weekend we study Psalm 42:2-3 and see where real health begins as God gives us a "Soul Detox".
Heart Attack: Do you know what's happening if you have chest discomfort, pain in your upper body, shortness of breath, and you break out in a cold sweat and feel nauseated? You may have some kind of heart condition, maybe even a heart attack. Do you know the signs of a spiritual heart attack? Are you keeping spiritually fit so as to protect your heart? And what exactly does God mean when He tells us He wants our whole heart? This weekend we look at our next big word from the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:5) as we study the heart from Psalm 51:10. Our theme is "Cut to the Heart".
What did you think would happen? It always amazed me [Pastor Krause] as my sons were growing up and I would warn them about the consequences of their actions if they did not listen, that they would then complain about getting themselves into trouble. We're kind of like that with God. God prescribes a path for our lives here, we often don't listen, and then we complain when life takes a turn.This week we begin a new phase of our Christian Character(s) study. For the next 2 months we will be looking at some of the more intense directions God gives about being His children.This week we start with Deuteronomy 6:5 and look at the characteristic of "muchness".
The video prayer used in the 7/8/19 worship service has been made available for your personal devotions or to share with friends and family. Enjoy!
Rerouting. Ever been using your GPS, missed a turn, and then been chewed out by that little digital voice telling you to turn around? As frustrating as that little piece of technology can be, what a blessing it is that it stops us from going the wrong way! This weekend we studied 1 Corinthians 15:33 and learned how God will sometimes reroute us because He has given us a "New Direction."
Definitions - How would you define "integrity"? The most common definition I have heard is: "doing the right thing even when no one is watching". But is that the best we can do? This week we wrap up our quick journey through the book of Acts and our look at some of the characters of the early church. This week we view an episode in the life of the apostle Paul from Acts 24:26. Someone was watching as Paul practiced integrity, not just because it was the right thing to do but because of his faith in God.
Pastor Krause writes: As you know, last year one of my brothers died from a heart attack. This year another one of my brothers was hospitalized with heart problems. So you can imagine that I am trying to take better care of my own heart. God-willing, my heart will last for many years yet, but that is not my biggest challenge. I'm more concerned about whether my heart is good, spiritually. This week's lesson helps us wrestle with our hearts as we study our next Christian Character(s). Our lesson is from Acts 13:22 and it's about David and his Go(o)d heart.
How strong are you? That's a trick question because it all depends on how you measure strength. Some people can lift a lot of weight. Others can endure great pressure and seem to have endless stamina. What if we measured strength and power using a different scale? What if real power was measured in how we handle the challenges to our Christian character? This weekend we take a close look at our next series character - Stephen. Our lesson is from Acts 6:8 and our theme is "You are stronger than you think!"
When it comes to faith, are you as bold as you'd like to be? This weekend we moved forward into our new Christian Character(s) series as we looked at Acts 4:29 and discovered how the Holy Spirit gives us faith that is bold.