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Cross Keys United Methodist Church

General or Ordinary Time
After 11 years of being away the Apostle Paul returned to Jerusalem. Many of the Christians in Judea were shunned by community leaders, some had trouble finding employment because their faith was contrary to the establishment views, and a great famine relegated many of the faithful to be the poorest of the poor. Asia and Greece on the other hand thrived under Roman rule with growing populations and prosperous cities. Upon returning to Jerusalem Paul and his companions brought much needed financial relief from offerings they received during Paul’s third missionary journey. Yet something amazing happened when Paul met with James, the elders of the church and other brothers and sisters in Christ. Amazingly, Paul never mentioned the offering, although we know from later in the book of Acts that the offering was brought to Jerusalem. Instead Paul recounted the amazing things that God had done among the people of Greece and Asia. Looking back on Vacation Bible School, the Red Bird mission trip, the Chicken and Corn Cookout and other ministries we give thanks for the funds we were able to raise, homes we were able to repair and the fun times that we enabled for the kids. Yet, what encourages us most, are the stories of the great things God is doing through our faith and obedience.
General or Ordinary Time
King Hezekiah trusted in God’s Word. As a result Hezekiah was able to courageously guide his people through a very difficult and troubling time. In this message, I will pick up our Vacation Bible School theme with its focus on the importance of God’s Word for growing Christians. God’s Word helps us to grow in our knowledge of God, it helps to answer the big questions of life and it keeps us pointed in the right direction when trials come our way. Let’s learn it, love it and live it!
General or Ordinary Time
As we consecrate our Vacation Bible School team and prepare for Kentucky and the Chicken and Corn Cookout I will look at two aspects of God’s character as the inspiration for our ministry. God cares—He hovered over the primordial waters. God is powerful—He spoke light into creation. It is with the power of God’s Word and the compassion of Jesus’ love that we step forward to bring the hope of Christ to our children, in Kentucky and to our friends and neighbors in our surrounding communities.
General or Ordinary Time
The sad and funny story about the foolish Benjamites reminds of the dangers when we lose our focus and calls the church to remain united under it’s true purpose… transforming hearts for the transformation of the world. Amidst the many tasks that must be done in order to prepare for Vacation Bible School, the mission trip to Kentucky and the Chicken and Corn cookout, let’s ask God to increase our heart and passion for the unchurched. Let’s ask God to show us new ways to reaching out to visitors, to lead us to new places in our community, and find to new ways to network with friends, relatives and co-workers in order that hearts will be transformed for the transformation of the world.
General or Ordinary Time
As we celebrate Independence Day and communion, I will connect the sacrifice of those who died for our freedom with the sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sin. We come to the Lord’s Table to receive forgiveness, to sing with joy, and to receive God’s power to change our lives.
After Pentecost Services
We celebrate with our youth as graduations bring the closing of some and the opening of new chapters in their lives. The writer of the book of Hebrews points to the faith of Moses, reminding us that his great deeds were possible because he first saw the “invisible” God. Picking off this thought I will argue that Moses not only saw God in the burning bush but also in the faith of his mother and in the faith of his people who persevered despite their bondage. We celebrate the faith that our graduates have found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and through the faith of the adults, teachers, and mentors that they have seen here at Cross Keys. We pray that God will use their faith God to bless others as they carry the hope of Jesus into the new chapters that await them.
After Pentecost Services
In this message I will address relational concerns to husbands that will also apply to fathers, mothers, grandparents, singles, and those contemplating marriage. When God looks at us through Jesus Christ, God sees us a righteous, holy and beautiful. The world is all about telling us about our faults but God’s love covered our sins on the cross and he continues to love us and to pull us forward despite our sins. One of the greatest gifts a husband can give to his wife is to use the power of love to affirm her and to bring healing to her deepest wounds and hurts. Jesus’ model of love is very different from the criticism, avoidance, put downs and unhealthy completion that we see in unhealthy and worldly marriages. This message will be a call not only for husbands to view their wives as Jesus does, but also a call for the entire body of Christ to see and to treat those who are around us with the perspective of Jesus looking down from the cross.
Trinity Sunday
We live in a fallen world and even followers of Jesus wade through the turbulent waters of personal pain and suffering. The question I will raise is how can we as Christians persevere through times of pain and even find victory through them. God’s answer is in Jesus who is our model and our hope. Jesus came into the world, he became like us and he experienced our pain first hand. On the cross Jesus won the victory over sin, suffering and death. The picture that John shows us in Revelation chapter 7 is of the jubilant saints whom have come out of the great tribulation only to become the full recipients of the indescribable joys of heaven. As we expectantly wait for that day, our strength is found in our eternal perspective, our trust in God and in our willingness to step into the suffering of others with empathy and hope.
Pentecost
A central theme of the book of Acts relates to the power and work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and in the life of the early church. In chapter 21 we are transported to a powerful and emotional scene as Paul and the elders of Ephesus prayed, wept and embraced prior to his departure for the volatile and hostile city of Jerusalem. This portion of Acts shows us the essence of the early and why its members transformed the ancient world. In particular, Paul charges the elders to keep watch over themselves and the flock and he commends them to the care of God and His Word. As we receive new members at Cross, may Paul’s words point us to our true source of strength and remind us of the true purpose of the church. Scripture Reading: Acts 20:28-38 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
After Easter Services
In our human pride, it can be difficult to admit to ourselves and to apologize to someone when we have wronged that person. Yet, spiritual growth involves the difficult work of recognizing when we have fallen short, admitting the same before God, and then genuinely apologizing. In this message I will use the church’s apology to Galileo, albeit 350 years late, as a humorous way to look at our own reluctance to confess in light of God’s call to humble ourselves.
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