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Fall 2015 Sermon Series: Stories of Engagement

We have available to us a rich history and record of the engagement of God with our world and of his people in mission. As we consider what God may be doing in and through us, we will draw insight and inspiration from the stories of engagement found in both the past, and in the present. There will be practical application for us as we engage in living Christ to our communities.

September 20: “Listen” (Matthew 13) Jesus stressed the importance of listening. “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Jesus wanted his disciples to pay attention and to soak in the realities of their context before speaking. Listening is an expression of love and a great way to learn and understand. When we live in our communities we must be attentive to the messages given by those around us and to the nudges of the Spirit. We come to worship with our ears at attention.

Devotional thought:  Would you recognize the voice of Jesus – the Good Shepherd, if you heard him call you?  Read John 10 with your ears as well as your eyes.

September 27: “Converse” (John 4:1-42) It is remarkable what can result from a good conversation.  Jesus has a dialogue with a woman at a well about… wait for it… water! Their conversation winds around from water to deeper matters, and results in transformed lives. We’ll consider how to season our talks with grace.  Let’s talk.

Devotional thought: Listen for opportunities to explore another person’s faith as you dialogue with friends or neighbours. Pray for wisdom and opportunity to share your own faith journey.

October 4: “Hospitality” (Luke 5:27-32; 19:1-10) Much of Jesus ministry took place around a meal. He was often a guest and sometimes the host. We’ll look at some of these meals and his example. The ministry of hospitality is a wonderful gift to receive and to give.

Devotional thought: What makes your experience as someone’s guest particularly meaningful? Remember that next time you entertain. When you are enjoying hospitality whether yours or someone else’s remember Jesus is present.

October 11th: “Thanksgiving” This day invites us to both gratitude and to giving. On a weekend when we gather with friends and family for feasting and fun we give thanks to God. Let us also be generously mindful of the needs of others. Join in our prayers of appreciation and thanks.

Devotional thought: Consider a way to express your gratitude in giving this Thanksgiving.

October 18: “Engage” (Jeremiah 29:1-14) To his people living in exile in a strange land God gives some valuable instruction. There is wisdom in taking these words to heart as we engage in our own communities. We are blessed as we are a blessing to others.

Devotional thought: Read Psalm 137 to get a sense of the kind of attitude today’s text was in response to. They had to stop being angry and complaining to be more of a positive presence. Mmmm What does that mean for you?

October 25: “Showdown” (1 Kings 18) This is a great adventure story that has a prophet of God challenging the prophets of another god. It is a spectacular and decisive contest. It is quite a show. Could there be lessons in this story for us or is there another way?

Devotional thought: In Romans 12:21 we are invited to overcome evil with good. What would that look like in your debates or arguments?

November 1: “Peculiar People” (Acts 2:42-47) Is it something mysterious and miraculous that sets the people of Christ apart? The early church community was of such unique quality that people were attracted to it, adding new people to the community on a regular basis. What would it take and what would it mean for us to be such a community in our time and place?

Devotional thought: Do you think our faith community has a reputation in the community? Should it? What kind of reputation would it be good for us to have? Consider how you will contribute to that.

November 8: “Remembrance-Priorities” There are times when you have to decide what is most important. This is true in times of war and it is certainly true now. People live out of their values. So what we value gives shape to our lives. Jesus challenged the values of his culture and demonstrated a different way.

Devotional thought: Consider what you spend the most time, money and energy on. What values do they reflect? Do you think any changes are in order?

November 15: “Good Works” (Ephesians 2: 8-10; Matthew 6:1-4) You bunch of, “do gooders.” Strange that doing good things can sometimes be cause for ridicule, but more often, it gives people hope. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, that good works bring glory to God. Acts of righteousness (as Jesus calls them) provides us a way to respond to the grace of God in our lives.

Devotional thought: What would motivate you to do a good deed? Think about that in light of Ephesians 2: 8-10; Matthew 6:1-4.

November 22: “Kingdom Come” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus was very much about announcing and demonstrating the coming of the Kingdom of God. Described as a tiny seed growing slowly, it is an already but not quite yet reality.

Devotional thought: Pray the Lord ’s Prayer and reflect on each line of the prayer.