A Strange Combination of Ingredients Can Make A Great Recipe!
With the beginning of the new church year we're at a time where this is a unique combination of ingredients: thinking about the end of the world + looking forward to Jesus' coming + Thanksgiving. This unique combo makes for a beautiful recipe in a messy world!
1) We can feel that there is a darkness in the world. But in Advent we focus on the light of Jesus coming!
2) When the world turned against Jesus, He lovingly humbled Himself in order to save the world!
3) On the cross an exchange took place. Jesus took on the cold sin of the world and gave us the warm love of God.
4) Even in a challenging world, we feast on God's mercy.
5) A Christian shows Thanksgiving by showing love and sharing the light of Christ!
This World Needs Some Love
God's love is meant to transform us so we love Him and others. In a world where love is lacking, this can be easy to forget. Take a look at what Jesus says about the need for love and how you can "Never Lose Heart" with this message on Matthew 24:12-13.
Once the Holy Spirit implants the precious seed of His Gospel of love in our hearts, there is also a part for us to do. To take part in the means of graces so our roots of faith deepen into good soil and produce a harvest of peace, trust in His perfect plan.
God Wants You To Grow!
But how are your growing conditions?
1) We can't make our faith grow. That's God's job. But we can remove barriers to growth and turn to Him to grow us!
2) When we want something different than what God offers, we're not ready to receive what He's giving. What wrong thing do you want or want the wrong way?
3) When our faith lacks deep roots, the pressure of life can make our faith shrink away. What stops your roots from growing deep? Self-reliance? Independence?
4) Biblical anxiety is when our mind is pulled in a variety of directions. When this happens, our faith may survive but it's hard to produce much fruit.
5) God turns our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Spend time with your Father in prayer, look to His Word, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. See how much He can grow you!
Challenges - When living out our lives of faith (sanctification), we face challenges both from the inside and the outside. Thankfully, God prepares us to face these challenges and even uses them for His purpose!
1) Challenges come at us from the outside because the truth of God's Word is opposite of the ways of the world.
2) Because these challenges are going to come, Jesus tells us to be smart and pure in our thinking.
3) A cross is something we suffer because we believe the Gospel. There are various crosses we will have to bear.
4) When you face these challenges, don't worry. God will speak in you!
5) Sometimes the crosses make us stop and listen to what God has to say to us!
6) If Jesus is leading you then all this will work out according to God's will and plan. It's worth the fight!
Jesus rescues us - so we can now stand firm to the end as we look forward to a total revolution. Because Jesus lived a perfect life, died and rose again - He will return to bring the evil of this world to an end.
An Epic Battle!
It might not have looked like it... no swords or shields... but in the wilderness, a battle took place between good and evil.
1) Jesus, being fully human, faced the same temptations we face. On the surface they might seem different. But at the root, they are the same.
2) The devil often doesn't start with luring us into actions. He plants a seed of doubt which leads to sinful actions.
3) The devil may try to get us to doubt God's Word, but Jesus kept going back to it and so should we.
4) The devil may try to convince us that we should give up because he's winning the battle. But Jesus won the war!
5) Jesus is exactly who He says He is. He overcome every temptation, died on the cross and rose again. Victory is ours!
Is Your Life Heading The Right Direction?
We're bombarded every day with messages about what steps we should take next. How do we stay on track in our lives? Thankfully Jesus leads us "True North."
What A Change!
We can be all over the place when it comes to our faith, our boldness and our trust in God. But thankfully Jesus brings us the ultimate change whenever we experienced "Mixed Emotions."
1) If we're honest there are plenty of times when we deny Jesu with our words & actions or when we refuse to speak up when given the opportunity.
2) Thankfully, we’re not the main character in the story. Jesus is.
3) Jesus not only was willing to die for the sins of the world but God used something as simple as a roosters crow to change the trajectory of Peter’s life.
4) If God can use a rooster to save Peter, imagine what He can do for you!
The next big thing might be really little!
Most people focus on the big things in life. Things like birthdays, anniversaries, even Valentine's day. But the little things matter just as much, sometimes even more. If you don't believe me then try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.
Often, we want God to show up in big ways. We want big changes, and even bigger miracles. However this week we celebrate Transfiguration Sunday by going in a completely different direction as we study Matthew 17:24-27.
See How Things Have Changed!
God often works in ways that seem odd or surprising because He is making things different for us! We get to open our eyes and see how things have changed!
1) Sometimes church can just look like a place we go to and our faith can feel like an obligation. But that's not what God has in mind.
2) When Jesus did miracles He always did what He came to do, undo something broken by sin.
3) Jesus went to the cross in order to give us the inheritance that comes with being God's children.
4) Just like you don't have to pay to go to your father's house, you also have free access to God the Father's house! It's now your house!
5) You don't just go to the Father's house. Now the Father's house is inside of you. That means that everything God did in the temple, He does in you!
Faith is powerful! But it's important to remember where that power comes from! Pastor Abrahamson takes us through a lesson from Matthew 17:19-20 as Jesus answers the question, "How Do I have a Mountain-Moving Faith?"
How's your faith these days? Sometimes our faith can seem big. Other times it seems small. Sometimes our faith feels weak and other times it feels strong. This weekend, we'll dig into what makes for powerful faith by studying Matthew 17:19-20 with the sermon "Just How Small Is My Faith?".
I didn't know that, did you?
I recently ran across a website explaining the use for many everyday objects I did not realize. Without someone telling or showing you, there are certain design features we may overlook or never fully appreciate.
Our lives can be like this - certain design elements God wisely gave us that we have never fully realized. Our good works, our outward lives as Christians is one of these areas. This weekend we study the second part to Matthew's epiphany lessons to "LIGHT-en our load". The lesson is Matthew 5:14-16 and our focus will be: "Designed to Shine".
Can you see it?
With all our modern technology so many skills of the past are being lost. As an example, when we want a picture of something we pull out our smart phones and just snap away.
Lost is the fine are of focusing. In times past good pictures required the skill of understanding your camera, how it operated, and what exactly was need to get the best results. Could the same be true of our faith, both in the skills that are lost over time and the necessary steps to get the best results? Let's find out this weekend as we study Matthew 4:12-17. Our theme is "Focus".
The Journey Has Just Begun...
Where Are You Going?
Happy New Year! 2020 is here which means we've just begun a new year & new decade! What do the months and years ahead hold? None of us know for sure. But this weekend, as we wrap up the Christmas season, we study Matthew 2:23b and celebrate the One who joins us on and transforms for us "The Journey."
You missed the point!
How many times have you heard a sermon on the feeding of the 5,000? Really, that many times - well get ready for one more. What if I told you that we have been missing the point of this miracle? While this miracle shows us God can provide everything we need, the truth it is about so much more than that. We will focus in on verses 16-18 of Matthew 14 with this thought in mind: "Expect More".
Fear or Faith – Which Wins?
It’s the Matchup of a Lifetime! Fear may be powerful. But is it really any match for faith? This weekend we step out boldly with a study of Matthew 14:29-31 to see that in Jesus, the result is always “Faith Over Fear.”
EVIL - How do you know for sure if a person is evil? And looks can be deceiving since we are unable to look into the hearts of others to examine if their motives match their words and actions. Often it seems we are unable to recognize true evil until it is too late, or so we may think. As we prepare for the next battle in our spiritual warfare on a personal level Jesus gives us a view of evil we might not ever considered. Our lesson comes from Matthew 13:24-30. And our study will be all about "Necessary Evil".
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."
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."
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".
Spring. Family. Food. Easter morning is often one of those mountain top life moments. As we celebrated Easter, we looked to Matthew 27:51-53 where we embrace that Jesus doesn't just give us hope in the mountain top moments, but even when we find ourselves asking "Isn't this the sad part of the story?" Happy Easter from Abiding Shepherd.
What does real power look & sound like? As our "Look Into It" Lenten series continues, Pastor Abrahamson delivers a Palm Sunday message from Matthew 21:14-17. We see and hear children praising Jesus as King. The scene may be sweet & cute, but it actually showcases what real power looks & sounds like when we "Consider the Source."
What's your biggest regret? As we continue our Lenten series "Sounds of the Passion" we take a look at Matthew 27:3-5 and hear the "Eerie Echoes" that deal with our guilt once and for all.