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  • On Putting God To The Test Series

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 11, 2021

    If we want to be useful for God, it is essential to learn that God is God. God determines the conditions of our service and we are to obey. It is too easy to descend into a pit of one demand upon another for God to serve us before we step out in obedience

    If you read newspaper advice columns, like Dear Abbey, very often, you will recognize a scenario that comes up again and again. It is usually a woman who writes in about the man she loves. She insists they really love each other, but there’s this problem. She just can’t keep him happy. She more

  • Temptations Of The Flesh Series

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 11, 2021

    Every day we are-forming our brain by the decisions we make. Jesus was solid in choosing the way of obedience and we need to practice the spiritual disciplines to train ourselves as well.

    Last week we started looking at an episode in the life of Jesus, one of many episodes that sound really strange it you stop and look at what is really happening. Jesus presented himself to John to be baptized, as his public statement that he was standing up and accepting God’s calling on his life more

  • Preparation For Ministry 2: Understanding Power Series

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 11, 2021

    The devil's offer of giving to Jesus authority over all the nations might have seemed like an easy shortcut to fulfill his calling, but of course, Jesus saw through the temptation of power. He saw power far above coercion. He saw the power of love and servanthood.

    When you hear me say the word, “power,” I’ll bet it can stir up all sorts of feelings inside. On one hand it may bring memories of a time when someone used power over you in a painful and destructive way and you cringe a bit inside. On the other hand it may stir up a hope of having power more

  • The Battle Within

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 11, 2021

    If we want to be useful for God, we will need to learn to say "no" when our body calls for food or rest in ways that hold us back. When the devil tried to deter Jesus from his mission by tempting him to turn stones to bread when he was supposed to fast, Jesus stood strong.

    Perhaps once or twice in a century a truly titanic battle occurs in which the history of earth hangs in the balance. The D-Day invasion might be one. Both armies had invested many thousands of their men, millions of dollars worth of equipment and their very best modern strategies. It was a more

  • The Temptation Of Pleasing People Series

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 11, 2021

    When we start out wanting to serve God it is so easy to get distracted by what will please the people around us. But we have to choose one or the other, please God or please people.

  • Are You Ready For Christmas?

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 22, 2020

    John the Baptist told people to make preparations to meet Jesus that were very different from our preparations for Christmas.

    I hope we are all making some progress towards being ready for Christmas. We know the drill, decorations, shopping, Christmas cards, wrapping presents, cooking, and so on. Today we meet John the Baptist, who gives us a very different list of things we need to do to be ready to more

  • John The Baptist: Challenge For A Deeper Life

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 22, 2020

    John the Baptist didn't follow in his father's footsteps as a priest in the temple. He challenged people to break out of normality and live radically new lives.

    (John, entering from the back, in costume, down the center aisle.) Wake up, everybody! God’s Messiah is coming! That’s really good news! Get ready! Things have got to change around here! God’s blessings are coming for you! But you have to be ready! Clean it up, folks! (John standing in more

  • It' Not About Us

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 22, 2020

    We love our church traditions and are proud of the good things we do. But our calling is to honor Jesus above ourselves and change any tradition to better point people to Jesus, like John the Baptist.

    One of the fun parts of the Christmas season is getting letters from old friends and learning how their kids are turning out. Erik, whom I confirmed years ago, is in the Air Force now. Annie is a commercial artist. Allen, who used to get bullied, is a police officer now. Tim is married, with more

  • A Family Like Ours

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 22, 2020

    We may be tempted to skip over the account of Jesus' ancestry, but it is an important part of the good news of Jesus.

    If you had the job of writing up the story of the life of Jesus, one of the decisions you would make would be what to do with the opening paragraph. You know how important the opening is. You want something to grab people’s attention and pull them into reading the whole thing. What would you more

  • Point Them To Jesus

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Apr 22, 2020

    Churches easily get struck in a rut and decline. John the Baptist serves as a model for vital ministry: focus on Jesus above all else.

  • The Price Of Peace

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Mar 26, 2020

    At Christmas time we may dare to dream about peace on earth, but it doesn't last long. In Jesus, God showed us the way to true peace and it is not cheap.

    “In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good more

  • Jesus Grew

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Mar 26, 2020

    Have you been saved? Great. But that's only the beginning. Jesus had to learn obedience and effective ministry. Are you on the path to becoming a useful disciple for God?

    Last week we looked at a touching moment in Jesus’ infancy. His parents brought their infant son to the temple to be dedicated to God. They wanted nothing but God’s best for their special son. And in the temple God brought them across the path of one of his true saints, Simeon, who loved their more

  • His Father's Business

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Mar 26, 2020

    Even for Mary, Joseph and Jesus there were some messy family days. But that may be a necessary, healthy part of letting our teens grow up.

    Have you ever found yourself in the situation where someone really impresses you, and you ask yourself, “I wonder what that person was like as a child?” You might be impressed with them for good things, or bad things. But you wonder about their childhood. For centuries Jesus has impressed more

  • The Journey From Bethlehem To Nazareth

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Mar 24, 2020

    We have our dreams for a perfect Christmas, but don't feel God has failed you if your dreams aren't met. Imagine how Mary's dreams for having a perfect birth for her baby were disrupted.

    If we made a list of what it would take to make a perfect Christmas, it would be quite a list. Of course all the family needs to be together, all at the same time. Just that can be really complicated. For us, as near as we can tell, we’ll have one son coming in on the afternoon of the 25th and more

  • Shepherds?

    Contributed by Stephen Aram on Mar 24, 2020

    It was lowly shepherds who got the most impressive announcement about the birth of the Messiah. That tells us a lot about the God we serve.

    I think the presence of the shepherds has to be one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story. They don’t say much. They don’t do much. But it sure was important to God that they be there for the birth of Jesus. And that says a lot. When the time came to tell Zechariah about the birth of more