Gratitude and Praise

Posted on 14 Oct 2019
“Gratitude and Praise” Luke 17:11-19 October 13, 2019   Luke 17:11-19 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on
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Hold Onto Sound Teaching

Posted on 07 Oct 2019
“Hold Onto Sound Teaching” II Timothy 1:1-14 World Communion Sunday – October 6, 2019   Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy my beloved child: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus,
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Agnes Scott Sunday

Posted on 27 Sep 2019
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 If you find yourself frowning or feel your brow furrowing in response to that reading, you’re probably not alone. Maybe you’re trying to remember the last time you came to church and heard a scripture reading that left you feeling this bummed out? We came here to worship and
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Is This Seat Taken?

Posted on 16 Sep 2019
“Is this seat taken?” What are those moments in life that make us feel deeply connected to one another? Those moments where you feel your life is so intertwined with others that the unity is palpable. Those moments when grace and joy are freely shared without giving a second thought. When I see
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Holy Ground: Going Against the Grain

Posted on 09 Sep 2019
Going Against the Grain Holy Ground September 8, 2019 Romans 12:9-21     We have a rich text before us. It is so rich, in fact, that I’m going to read it again. This time, though, I’m going to read the text from Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message. I want this text to come
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Pliable in the Potter’s Hands

Posted on 09 Sep 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “Pliable in the Potter’s Hands” Jeremiah 18:1-11 September 8, 2019     Introduction of a Minute for Mission – Professor Mark Douglas from Columbia Theological Seminary: In the Richards Center at Columbia Theological Seminary, hung high on the walls of
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Fearless Hospitality

Posted on 03 Sep 2019
Fearless Hospitality (Read Hebrews 13:1-8; 15-16) Yesterday for the first time I heard the legend of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. Some of you may be familiar with it but for those who are not, I will do my best to tell it as briefly as possible. There is a town in Italy called Gubbio
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With Gratitude, Reverence, and Awe

Posted on 27 Aug 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “With Gratitude, Reverence, and Awe” – Hebrews 12:18-29 August 25, 2019 Last week, I asked for a volunteer to rebuild this structure made of many gears. My friend, Ron Johnson, had done a great job with the initial structure, but there were many gears that
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Faith as Gift and Task

Posted on 19 Aug 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “Faith as Gift and Task” Hebrews 11:24-12:2   Our reading this morning comes from the letter to the Hebrews.  The original intention of the letter was to connect the story of first century Hebrew Christians who were struggling in faith to the long and
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Show Me Your Glory I Pray

Posted on 12 Aug 2019
Show Me Your Glory I Pray Let us pray.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Melt us.  Mold us.  Fill us. Use us.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Amen.    Our Scripture reading this
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God Desires Sanctuary for All

Posted on 05 Aug 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  Yahweh, Moses and the Stiff-Necked People “God Desires Sanctuary for All” Exodus 25-27 (selected verses) August 4, 2019   This may be the first and last sermon you may ever hear on these particular chapters of Exodus. These chapters of Exodus do
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God Organizes the Overwhelmed

Posted on 22 Jul 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  Yahweh, Moses and the Stiff-Necked People “God Organizes the Overwhelmed” Exodus 18 July 21, 2019   Prayer for Illumination Holy God, by the power of your Spirit…illuminate your Word…on this your day… for these your people…through me your servant…
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This Isn’t What I Ordered

Posted on 15 Jul 2019
This Isn’t What I Ordered {Read Exodus 6:2-21} This isn’t what I ordered…I didn’t ever think I’d be a widow so young. This isn’t what I ordered…my child was supposed to be perfect and happy and healthy. This isn’t what I ordered…I thought this job would be ideal and I was
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God Provides a Way

Posted on 08 Jul 2019
Exodus 14:10-16 God Provides a Way   This summer we have been reading from the Old Testament book of Exodus. It’s the second book of the Bible and it tells the story of the people of Israel, their imperfect leader Moses and their enslavement in and departure from Egypt. Departure or exit
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God Delivers the Oppressed

Posted on 02 Jul 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People God Delivers the Oppressed – Exodus 5-13 (selected verses) June 30, 2019   God delivered the oppressed slaves of Egypt. God still hears the cries of the oppressed and still works in the world through
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Forging Covenant in the Wilderness: YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People

Posted on 24 Jun 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People God Equips the Called – Exodus 3-4 (selected verses) June 23, 2019   This Sunday represents the second week of a summer series focusing on God’s wondrous works accomplished in concert with God’s endearing
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God Hears Those in Need

Posted on 17 Jun 2019
God Hears Those in Need (Forging Covenant in the Wilderness: YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-necked People)   We’re going to be spending our summer with Moses. We’ll be reading from the book of Exodus which is the second book of the Old Testament. This morning we’ll read from Exodus 3 so we’ll
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Daily Devotion

Posted on 10 Jun 2019
“Daily Devotion” Acts 2:37-47 Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019     Birthdays are important, and how you celebrate them can be important. But what is really important is how you live your life the other 364 days of the year. Today, we celebrate the birthday of the Church, the Day of
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Disturbing the Peace

Posted on 03 Jun 2019
BELONGING in the World “Disturbing the Peace” – Acts 16:16-34 June 2, 2019 Acts 16:16-34   One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us,
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Guided by the Spirit

Posted on 28 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “Guided by the Spirit” – Acts 16:6-15 May 25, 2019   Sometimes, God answers our prayers by closing one door and opening another. Oftentimes, the door that God opens sends us in an unexpected direction…   Paul, on his second missionary journey, had intended
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With No Distinction

Posted on 20 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With No Distinction” – Acts 11:1-18 May 19, 2019   I still get surprised when reading the Bible. I have been reading the Bible for my whole life, and still I find myself inspired and encouraged when I come across a passage that speaks directly to something I have
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Listen to Her Life

Posted on 13 May 2019
Acts 9:36-43 “Listen to Her life…”   Take a moment and create a mental image of a disciple… What do they look like? Sound like? Act like? If you’d rather doodle a drawing on your bulletin, please do. Now I want you to keep this image in your mind and perhaps add to it as we hear God’s word
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BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With Former Persecutors”

Posted on 06 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With Former Persecutors” Acts 9:1-20 May 5, 2019   The post-Easter story of Saul’s dramatic conversion can be explored from many different perspectives. Today, I would like for us to consider the story from the perspective of Ananias. Ananias was an early leader in
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Under God’s Authority

Posted on 02 May 2019
Before we turn to scripture, let us go to God in prayer. Prayer of Illumination God of all creation, open our eyes to see what you would have us to see and our ears to hear what you would have us to hear. Send us your spirit as we listen to what you are saying to us today. Help us to see
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“The Risen! (and Vanished?) Christ”

Posted on 22 Apr 2019
“The Risen! (and Vanished?) Christ” Luke 24:13-25 Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019   Luke 24:13-35 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were
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Companions and Betrayers

Posted on 15 Apr 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS “Companions and Betrayers” Luke 22:14-24 Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14, 2019   Luke 22:14-24 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell
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Let Your Hair Down and Let Go

Posted on 08 Apr 2019
Let Your Hair Down and Let Go (The Greedy and the Extravagant) Read John 12:1-8           When we journey through the season of Lent, the weeks leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection, we are on a journey with Jesus to the cross. And in our
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BELONGING TO OTHERS “The Unrighteous and the Self-righteous”

Posted on 01 Apr 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS “The Unrighteous and the Self-righteous” Luke 15:1-3,11-32 March 31, 2019   Gracious God, illuminate your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit that we may recognize and acknowledge the various ways we have offended you, and that we may recall again your amazing,
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Youth Sunday Reflections

Posted on 25 Mar 2019
Aaron Godwin- Senior Reflection Psalm 121 spoke out to me because it reminded me of Montreat and all of the youth conferences have been going on for four years. Now I’m coming up on my fifth year of the Montreat Youth Conference.  For those that don’t know Montreat is in North Carolina
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BELONGING TO OTHERS – “Friends and Enemies”

Posted on 19 Mar 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS – “Friends and Enemies” Luke 13:21-35 March 17, 2019     As humans, we confess we have much to fear, whether from friends or enemies. May we recognize and accept fears while bravely continuing to follow God’s purposes. Today is St Patrick’s Day – just out of
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BELONGING TO COMMUNITY “Seeking the Well-Being of the City”

Posted on 05 Mar 2019
BELONGING TO COMMUNITY “Seeking the Well-Being of the City” Jeremiah 29:4-7,11-14; Acts 2:41-47 March 3, 2019   Before we read Scripture, I want to offer two definitions and one acknowledgement. The first definition to offer is that of “welfare”.  According to Oxford Dictionary
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Belonging to the Broader Community

Posted on 27 Feb 2019
BELONGING TO COMMUNITY Belonging to the Broader Community – “Who Is My Neighbor?” II Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-8 February 24, 2019   In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and throughout the letters of Paul, we discover the foundations of our contemporary Christian practices. We discover the
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Belonging to a Governed Community

Posted on 21 Feb 2019
Our reading today comes from the 13th chapter of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. {Read Romans 13:1-14} The first half of this reading is difficult. Our FIRL small groups which discuss the preaching text ahead of each Sunday, wrestled with it and some wondered aloud why this particular
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“Belonging to a Healthy Community”

Posted on 11 Feb 2019
“Belonging to a Healthy Community” Isaiah 6:1-8; Ephesians 3:14-21 Annual Report Sunday, February 10, 2019   The story of the prophet Isaiah begins in the temple, in a certain year, the year that King Uzziah died. After ruling for 52 years, since he was 16 years old, King Uzziah died in
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Practice what you preach, but what are your practices preaching?

Posted on 04 Feb 2019
Our scripture today from Psalm 145 gives us a picture of what God’s relationship with us is like. Friends, listen for God’s word to us today… [Read Psalm 145:8-17] The Lord is gracious and merciful,     slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all,
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How Do We Deal in a Transactional World?

Posted on 28 Jan 2019
How Do We Deal in a Transactional World? (Belonging to a Business Community)             Whether we realize it or not we all live in a business community…a community of transactions, a community of consumers. We do business all day every
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Belonging to a Diverse Community “Can We Learn to Live as One Body?”

Posted on 22 Jan 2019
Belonging to a Diverse Community “Can We Learn to Live as One Body?” Isaiah 56:1-8, I Corinthians 12:12-27 January 20, 2019   Isaiah 56:1-8 Thus says the Lord:  Maintain justice, and do what is right,  for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Happy is the
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Belonging to the Greater Decatur Community “What Should We Do?”

Posted on 14 Jan 2019
Belonging to the Greater Decatur Community “What Should We Do?” Isaiah 40:1-5; Luke 3:7-14,21-22 January 13, 2019   Our theme for this year is “Belonging”. We have been talking since August about belonging… belonging to God, belonging to Church, belonging to Jesus… Throughout this series,
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Rise and Seek, Kneel and Worship Psalm 72:1-7 & 10-14, Matthew 2:1-12

Posted on 07 Jan 2019
Rise and Seek, Kneel and Worship Psalm 72:1-7 & 10-14, Matthew 2:1-12   Hear now the words from Matthew chapter 2, verses 1 through 12: In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has
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The Improv of the Incarnation Luke 2:41-52

Posted on 31 Dec 2018
Think about a moment in life when everything went according to plan or everything went just how you expected. You got the job you wanted; you got the grade you feel like you earned; your baby was born happy and healthy; everyone made it safely home for the holidays; the turkey was cooked just
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BELONGING TO JESUS, Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:39-45 Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted on 24 Dec 2018
 BELONGING TO JESUS “In Belonging We Discover Joy” Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:39-45 Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 23, 2018   Micah 5:2-5a But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose
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Philippians 4:4-7 Zephaniah 3:14-20 Advent 3 December 16, 2018

Posted on 17 Dec 2018
The Lord is in Your Midst (In Belonging We Find Peace) There are great promises in our texts today and this season is filled with promises. We light candles every week to remember the promises, to claim them, to affirm our faith in them. The lights of hope, love, peace, and joy shine in the
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“In Belonging We Discover Love” Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11 Second Sunday of Advent – December 9, 2018

Posted on 11 Dec 2018
BELONGING TO JESUS                  “In Belonging We Discover Love”                    Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11          Second Sunday of Advent – December 9, 2018
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BELONGING TO JESUS “In Belonging, We Discover Hope” Jeremiah 33:14-16; I Thessalonians 3:6-13 First Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2018

Posted on 03 Dec 2018
BELONGING TO JESUS                “In Belonging, We Discover Hope”          Jeremiah 33:14-16; I Thessalonians 3:6-13         First Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2018            
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Ordination of Jill Joyner

Posted on 30 Nov 2018
John 20:15-19 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He
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The Five Key Ingredients for a 21st Century Church V. “Celebrating Diversity”

Posted on 19 Nov 2018
The Five Key Ingredients for a 21st Century Church V.“Celebrating Diversity” Psalm 133; Philippians 1:1-11 November 18, 2018   Philippians 1:1-11 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you
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Mark 12:38-44 God of Power and Mite

Posted on 12 Nov 2018
God of Power and Mite In this day and age of text messaging and email and all other communication that comes by way of a screen, how good are you at recognizing tone? Inflection? Intent? Who here has ever misunderstood someone’s meaning in a text or an email or online? It’s difficult to discern
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Belonging to Church?! 5 Key Ingredients of a 21st Century Church IV. “Embracing Change” November 4, 2018

Posted on 07 Nov 2018
Mark 12:28-34 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God
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Belonging to Church?! 5 Key Ingredients of a 21st Century Church

Posted on 01 Nov 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
 III. “Sharing Stories” Several key ingredients will be of critical important to nurturing the 21st century church. One of the key ingredients for any 21st century congregation will be “sharing stories”. Sharing stories has always bound people of faith together in community. Sharing
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Belonging to Church?! 5 Key Ingredients for 21st Century Church

Posted on 25 Oct 2018, Pastor: Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
  Belonging to Church?! 5 Key Ingredients for 21st Century Church II. “Nurturing Relationships” – Mark 10:35-45 October 21, 2018   In our passage for today, Jesus was walking ahead of his disciples on the road up to Jerusalem. Those who were following were afraid of what was going to
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