Opposites

Hello there! Yesterday morning we heard another message from Terry, this time regarding how being Christ-like means the doing the opposite of what the world sees as success. To listen to this message, simply click play on the audio player below. Also included is the Call to Worship and a list of the verses Terry references in the message with links to view those verses at Bible Gateway.

Call to Worship
Matthew 16:21-27
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Scripture References

Proverbs 11:24-25

Matthew 16:25

1 Peter 5:5-6

Luke 9:46-48

John 13:12-16

Romans 6:3-7

2 Corinthians 12:1-6

Philippians 3:12-14

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Praying you are blessed this week, resting in the Lord and trusting in His promises! 🙂

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Pastor Steve could not be in church today, so we were blessed to have Terry give our message this morning. He taught from Matthew, chapter 11, about finding rest in the Lord. To hear this message, simply click play on the audio player below. I have also included our Call to Worship, along with links to the verses Terry references in his teaching. (*A quick note: Terry used a different mic from Pastor Steve, so there may be moments of feedback. Sorry!)

Call to Worship
Acts 17:24-31
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Scripture References

Matthew 11:25-30

1 Corinthians 1:18

1 Corinthians 2:14

1 Peter 5:7

Hebrews 3:11-12, 18-19

Hebrews 4:10

Praying that you find your rest, your shelter in these times of storm, in Christ this week and always!

The Light of the World

Here is today’s message from Pastor Steve about the Light of the World. To listen to the message, simply click play on the audio player below. I’ve also included the Call to Worship and a list of verses he references in his message.

Call to Worship
Ephesians 5:8-14
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,
righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have
nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But
everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is
illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Scripture References

John 9:4

Colossians 1:13

John 9:5

Isaiah 7:3-9

John 8:12

John 10:27

Matthew 5:13

Matthew 5:14

Romans 8:38-39

John 18:37

Isaiah 9:2

1 John 1:5-7

John 3:19-21

2 Chronicles 7:14

Praying your week ahead is blessed indeed!

Be of Good Cheer

Here is the message from January 3, 2021. I must apologize that I did not post this last Sunday. I simply forgot to do what I’m supposed to and have no other excuse. Sorry. 😦 But it is a beautiful message from Pastor Steve about having a cheerful heart, and I pray that it brings you joy. This Sunday’s message will be posted as soon as I get it ready. 🙂

To listen to the message, simply click play on the audio player below. I’ve also included the Call to Worship and Scripture References for you.

Call to Worship
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Praise to the God of All Comfort
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those
in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from
God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of
Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we
are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are
comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you
patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And
our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you
share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Scripture References

Deuteronomy 33:25

1 Corinthians 13:12

Proverbs 15:13

Matthew 14:27

Mark 6:50

Matthew 9:2

Matthew 9:20-22

Psalm 36:5-6

Galatians 4:4-7

Acts 23:11

John 16:33

Acts 27:22-25

Isaiah 58:11

Psalm 23
   The Lord the Shepherd of His People
   A Psalm of David.
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Three Christmas Gifts

Hello to all of God’s children and happy last Sunday of 2020! Instead of focusing on all of the crazy that was the year 2020, Pastor Steve’s message this morning reminded us of three of the most important things that Jesus Christ’s first coming gave to all who would believe. To listen to this message, simply click play on the audio player below. I’ve also included our Call to Worship and a list of Scriptures which Pastor Steve refers to in his message. Enjoy!

Call to Worship
Isaiah 61:1-3
The Year of the Lord’s Favor
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

Scripture References

The Gift of Freedom

The Gift of Purpose for Living

The Gift of Hope

Praying that your Christmas season was truly blessed and that the New Year brings you abundant life, filled with a renewed sense of freedom, purpose for living, and unshakeable hope!

Setbacks

Good evening! Hope you have had a beautiful Sunday before Christmas. Pastor Steve brought us a wonderful message about how God uses the setbacks in our lives. To listen to this message, simple click the play button on the audio player below. I’ve also included our Advent Call to Worship and links to a couple of the verses Pastor references in his message.

Call to Worship

“Look at the Big Picture – It’s a Worship Service”

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” 
–Luke 2:14

Look at the nativity, and you see a worship service. Angels hover over it like drones. Common, smelly shepherds and sophisticated wise men bow down. Worship flows from everyone toward the Child.

It is difficult to imagine any greater contrasts than what we see at the nativity. They were different socially. Shepherds were low on the socioeconomic level. Wise men were so socially acceptable they entered the king’s palace. They were different educationally. Shepherds had no formal education, while the wise men were famed for knowledge. God is telling is that no matter who you are or where you are from, any and all can come to Christ and worship Him. Christmas, first and foremost, is about worship. Those at the manger were not there simply admiring this Child. They were worshipping Him. Make sure worship is first on your Christmas list.

Scripture References

Isaiah 53:3

Philippians 2:7-11

Praying you have a most blessed Christmas, filled with the joy of the Lord!

The Truth About Christmas

First of all, I have to pass along an apology from Pastor Steve. We had an abundance of distractions this morning: a lovely snowstorm yesterday evening, bitterly cold temperatures this morning, visitors to the church, members stuck in the snow…enough that the message accidentally did not get recorded this morning! Please forgive us!

I’ll do my best to give you the gist of Pastor Steve’s beautiful message on “The Truth About Christmas,” starting with our special Advent Call to Worship from The Christmas Code by O.S. Hawkins.

Call to Worship 
  “Making the Most of Christmas”

 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that
 they had heard and seen, as it was told them. –Luke 2:20

How can you make the most of Christmas? For some it is all about decorating
the house or tree, getting that special gift, seeing relatives, or getting invited to
that certain someone’s party. But making the most of Christmas is so much
more than any of these things.

Join the shepherds this year in making these next few days a time of “glorifying
and praising God,” a time of celebrating all that Christmas is and means.
According to Psalm 22:3, God “inhabits the praises” of His people. This is where
and when God feels at home—in the midst of your praise.

Note the shepherds “returned.” Where? To their homes and businesses. What an
impact this must have had on those who knew them best. May God give you the
grace to follow these shepherds and make the most of Christmas this year.

Message and Scripture References

The truth about Christmas is that it is about God’s promised Messiah. Jesus came in “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4). God knew when the “fullness of time” would be, even 400 years before Jesus’ birth, when He sent the prophet Malachi a vision of Christ’s coming (Malachi 3:1). God knew even before then, when He sent the prophet Micah a revelation over 300 years before Malachi (Micah 5:2). It was this prophecy that the wise men studied to lead them to travel to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King (Matthew 2:1-12). God promised a Savior; He gave us the greatest Christmas gift ever in Jesus the Christ.

The truth about Christmas is that it is about Jesus and why He was born to be Immanuel. Jesus came to be God with us to show us the Truth (John 18:37). Moses may have been the vessel through which the Law was given, but Jesus came to bring grace and truth to mankind (John 1:17). Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He was born both fully God and fully man because God loved us so much that He knew we could not go on any longer without the hope of salvation that is only found in Christ (John 3:16).

The truth about Christmas is that Jesus was born to die (John 15:13). Around 750 years before the birth of Christ, God revealed to the prophet Isaiah that it would only be by His wounds that we could be healed of our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6). God also knew, however, that not everyone would believe His Word made flesh (Isaiah 53:1).

And the truth about Christmas is that it is about us and our witness (or lack thereof) for the Lord Jesus. God wants our whole hearts, not just what’s left after a day of work or play or stressing to find the perfect gift while avoiding other shoppers. God’s well-spring of grace is infinite; all He asks in return is that you draw nearer to Him with every breath (James 4:6-10). When we spend our time praising and glorifying the Lord Jesus, instead of worrying about gift buying and Christmas parties; when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, instead of worrying about health and politics and keeping up with the Joneses, the light of Jesus will shine forth from us like a beacon for all the lost souls searching through the emptiness for something to cling to. When we rejoice in the Lord, we are His witnesses, telling about Him to everyone we come in contact with (Acts 1:8).

Jesus is the Truth about Christmas.

Gifts

It’s the second Sunday of Advent and Pastor Steve brought us a beautiful message about gifts today. To listen to Pastor’s message, simply click the play button on the audio player below. I’ve also included our special Advent Call to Worship and links to Scriptures that Pastor Steve references in his message.

Call to Worship

“The Message of Christmas Is in a Name – Immanuel”

And they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” –Matthew 1:23

The name Immanuel is a translation of two Hebrew words expressing “God is with us.” God with us. Not some prophet or teacher or holy man. But God Himself clothed in human flesh—with us! He came to where we are so we could go eternally to where He is. God…always with us.

            God—that is majesty. With us—that is mercy. God—that is glory. With us—that is grace. He came to be with us, to give us what we never deserved and to not give us what we did deserve. He could not be Jesus without being Immanuel. That is, in order to save us, He first had to come and be with us, taking on human flesh. At Bethlehem we see God with us. At Calvary we see God for us. At Pentecost we see God in us.

From O.S. Hawkins’ The Christmas Code

Scripture References

Isaiah 40:3-5

Isaiah 2:4

Luke 2:10-14

Romans 5:1

Luke 2:15-20

Matthew 2:10-11

Matthew 2:2

Isaiah 7:14

John 17:22-26

Praying your week is abundantly blessed, as we focus on Christ during this season. Praise God He is Immanuel — God with us!

Expectation

Good afternoon! Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and Colona Community Church is celebrating Advent this year with special readings and messages. To listen to Pastor Steve’s message about “Expectation,” simply click play on the audio player below. I’ve included the Call to Worship and links to some of the Scriptures Pastor Steve references in his message. Enjoy!

Call to Worship

“Bethlehem Is a Place of Privilege”

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. –Galatians 4:19

What an awesome privilege to be the handpicked city to cradle the Son of God. Why Bethlehem? Why not Jerusalem, the seat of religious power? Or Rome, the center of political power? Or Athens, the center of intellectual power? God was sending a message. The hope of  world is not in religion, politics, or philosophy. God privileged the little village of Bethlehem to send the message—the hope of the world is in a Savior!

This Christmas could become a Bethlehem moment for you. Like Bethlehem, you can awaken to a brand-new world. The same Christ born in Bethlehem can be born again in you. Paul puts it this way: “I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. If you think Bethlehem is privileged to be His birthplace, what a greater privilege for Christ to be born in you.

Thinking of Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks wrote, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

From O.S. Hawkins’ The Christmas Code

Scripture References

Mark 3:13-19

Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7

Luke 1:5-7

Malachi 4:5

Luke 1:17

Luke 1:26-28

Psalm 89:3-4

Isaiah 9:6-7

Luke 1:29-33

Matthew 1:18-20

Matthew 1:24-25

Praying you have a blessed week, filled with the expectation of Christ’s Advent!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving week! What am I grateful for? We got the recorder to work this week so you can hear Pastor Steve’s message about gratitude! Simply click on the play button on the audio player below. I’ve also included a list of the verses Pastor Steve references in his message with links to Bible Gateway, so you can read those verses, if you don’t have your Bible handy.

Scripture References

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

James 1:2

Psalm 27:13

Psalm 118:1

Psalm 103:1-5

Psalm 29:11

Psalm 100

2 Corinthians 9:15

Genesis 18:1-10

Hebrews 13:2

Matthew 22:36-40

Hebrews 13:15

1 Samuel 12:24

Colossians 4:2

1 Peter 3:12

Psalm 119:62

1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Chronicles 16:8-12

Praying you have a truly blessed Thanksgiving, full of praise to God for all He has done and is doing for you!