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The Immediate Word
Dean Feldmeyer

Living as One

Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11

Rarely does a group of people spontaneously come together as a cohesive unit. Cohesion is something that takes hard work, a shared vision and purpose, lots of practice, and a whole heap of prayer. Even with all that, sometimes it doesn’t happen. When it does, however, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of power that comes with the knowledge that you are part of something that is bigger, and more real, than you could ever be by yourself.
     Some people experience it in sports. One example is in baseball when the ball comes to the shortstop, and without thinking he snags it and throws to the second baseman, who throws on to first for a perfectly executed double play. Or when a guard is leading a fast break down the basketball court and goes up for a layup, but instead of shooting drops the ball off, without even looking, exactly where he knows his teammate is going to be.
     Some experience it in the arts, like when an ensemble of musicians or singers hits that perfect chord that sends chills up the spine or when a group of actors performs a scene so well that they can sense the electric tension running through the audience.
     And sometimes we experience it in church, in the singing of hymns or in the pursuit of a mission project or in the easy camaraderie around a table during a pot-luck dinner. However we experience this gift of group cohesion, this wonderful sense of corporateness, it is not given to us for its own sake or because it makes us feel special. It is given to us so that we might have power to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves and so we can effectively spread the good news of God’s grace as it comes to us in Jesus Christ. See more...
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SermonStudio

Surprises

You hope for good surprises, but many of life's surprises are the bad kind. The new Christians Peter writes to have been surprised by facing persecution for their faith. Verse 1, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." Jews, especially Jews who lived outside of Palestine, were used to being treated as different and sometimes were despised for their faith. Yet, these Christians Peter writes to are Gentiles and so they're shocked. They became Christians just in time to be persecuted. Then Peter breaks the news that persecution is ordinary for Christians. Jesus said that if they persecuted him, they'll persecute his followers.
     In the face of suffering, Peter reminds Christians of the living evil that infects our world. He says, "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour." As Christians we need to be alert in two directions -- sensitive for God's leading and resisting against evil's temptations. Evil doesn't go away once you're a Christian. Plenty of people hadn't really struggled with evil until they became Christians. As difficult as it is for modern Americans to conceive of a personal God in Jesus Christ, it's even harder for them to think of evil as a living being. For modern Americans who dismiss the idea of spiritual evil, they're left with the weak weapons of science, education, and democracy to solve problems. The scriptures, however, explain that, like God, the devil is at least personal; the devil can infect science, education, and democracy as well as any other speck of human life....
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David Coffin

After the Big Event

It is about one year after the big 150th anniversary at First Church. Pastor Amy arrived just in time for the celebration event. It is evening as she arrives early for the church council meeting in R.R. Cucklemeier Hall. She still sees coffee cups, a t-shirt hanging up in the glass display, as well as limited edition dinner plates with a “150th Anniversary of First Church” logo on them. A year ago when she was called to be the pastor, she never promised to bring back the good old days of R.R. Cucklemeier, only that she and the congregation would work and struggle together to discover a new future. However, certain newly elected church leaders who had taken a year off church had these implicit expectations....
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StoryShare

C. David McKirachan

Intimacy

John 17:1-11
On so many levels, my father has been my model for ministry and, come to think of it, for living.  Now let’s not forget that without my mother, the great communicator and manipulator, he would have never become the model for anything.  His absence allowed the space to be colored in with glowing shades of power and compassion.  But truth be told, he spent more time at work than he did at home, and though he came home almost every evening for dinner, he worked in the yard, season and weather not factors that seemed important, sat at the head of the table, protected by awe and assumed importance of his authority...
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Anything can happen

It's always interesting to ask children whether they have any idea of what they will do with their lives. Some are very sure and answer immediately, saying that they will become a nurse or a doctor or a teacher or whatever they have set their heart on. Others have absolutely no idea. And yet others seek fame and fortune by aspiring to become a pop star or a football star or an actor....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

Stickers Anyone?

Object: Stickers put all over a child

What do you think of  ______________(child with stickers all over them)? Don't you think he is a little sticker happy?  We often get stickers if we've gotten a good grade or done something really well. But do you think a child should get a sticker for just being quiet?...
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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