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Living in Holy Awe

00:00 / 01:04

April 14, 2024

Kathy Reed

Genesis 22:1-18, Psalm 103:1-4; 11-13, Hebrews 12:1-3

What is the most important thing for people to know? How would you answer that question? That's the question a Romanian journalist asked a Christian writer at a live video broadcast over the nation of Romania. Of course, that is a country that is under rigid and oppressive communist rule. They are a people that are enduring unspeakable suffering. Or, what about us? We live in a different country, we live in a different time, we have different circumstances and yet some of the similar common suffering. We suffer grief and loss, we struggle with disappointments, sorrows, and crisis and frightening health test results. Exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and worry. And, so, what is the most important thing for a soul to ultimately know? The answer? The thing, the truth you and most need to know is this, at the heart of the universe is the face of God's smiling love on you, over you. And, that is the answer the Christian writer gave to the Romanian journalist. What is most important in this world is about a love that is unconditional. The unconditional love of God. The most important headline is that the heart of God is for you and for me. The most important reality is that nothing can ever happen to change the reality of God's love for you. For God so loved the world, God so loved you and me, that He gave His Son, gave Himself. For those of us, for you and me, who believe we get to live forever with divine love Himself. If you could summarize the message of the Bible from start to end, from Genesis to Revelations: That's God's love shining over you and me. How then do we respond to such a love? The Bible answers that question over 200 times, and the answer is, two words, Fear God. Live in awe of God. That is my hope this morning that you will be challenged to think about what it means to fear God. That you want to learn more about it and desire to live in the fear and the awe of God.

Fighting Against God

00:00 / 01:04

April 7, 2024

Pastor Pat Montgomery

Acts 5:12-42

In the Bible in the time of Jesus the Sanhedrin was comprised of 71 people from throughout the entire nation of Israel. They all shared the same historic faith of what we call the Old Testament, and when they were together, they represented the full Jewish legal system. In effect, members of the Sanhedrin were not just religious authorities, but they were judges over the people. You might even call them the first century Jewish equivalent of our own Supreme Court. And, like our Supreme Court today, they too represented a wide diversity of perspectives. We know, for example, that Caiaphas, the high priest, who identified most with that group called the Sadducees, was obviously on the Sanhedrin and very likely so was his father-in-law Annus. We think that Nicodemus who was sympathetic to Jesus prior to and during his trial, was also a member of the Sanhedrin. We know that both Pharisees and Sadducees, who had very divergent theological and social perspectives...they were as widely different as Republicans and Democrats in our own nation today. They had wildly different ideas of how to approach living out this thing called the faith. There was that level of diversity on the Sanhedrin. So, considering their day and age, the Sanhedrin was not only a very diverse group, but they were obviously very much not all of the same mind. When we think about the arrest and trial of Jesus, clearly Caiaphas rammed through the outcome he wanted...even circumventing a fully transparent process of the Sanhedrin, so that Jesus would be convicted. They arrested Him at night in the Garden of Gethsemane, where there were no crowds present. They tried him at night with only a portion of the group [the Sanhedrin] there. I have to believe that some members of the Sanhedrin were already pretty put-out with Caiaphas. He made this major decision and rammed it through...

You Shall Also Live

00:00 / 01:04

March 31, 2024

Pastor Pat Montgomery

Luke 24: 1-12, John 14:15-21

I don't know how anyone else feels about this, but we had mid-week/Holy week services all week, and of course I led them, and they were great…what, what I really liked about them were that they were the stories of Jesus that actually took place between Palm Sunday and Good Friday and, of course now, Easter. And, I just love reading that sequence. In short, to summarize all of what we read during those services, Jesus proved to be such a threat to the practices of the religious authorities that they conspired to have him arrested, and tried, and killed. The story from Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is an incredibly sad tale. This year when we did it here in the sanctuary we literally killed all of the lights and...you know how on the first Sunday of Advent you light the Advent candles and you have the Christ candle we had the Christ candle from Advent here, and at the end of the service we even put that out. It was dark because it was sad, because that story tells the worst of human behavior. It speaks of jealousy, and deceit, and betrayal, and greed, and self-righteousness, and arrogance, and perhaps most of all that story tells about ignorance. Its a very dark dark story. But, that same story also tells of the very best of humanity. It speaks of incredible humility. God comes down in our very presence as one of us in order to stoop to our level and teach us this good news about God. That's incredible humility. It teaches about self-sacrifice, and trust in God, and nobility, and belief, and faith, and confidence in a truth greater than we can fully understand. So it has the worst of human behavior and it has the best of human behavior. The Easter story...

Hospice Week

00:00 / 01:04

March 24, 2024

Pastor Pat Montgomery

Matthew 21:1-17

What if, like Jesus, Holy Week was your last week alive? What would be the most important things you could say?

What's Love Got To Do With It?

00:00 / 01:04

March 17, 2024

Pastor Pat Montgomery

Exodus 20:1-17, Proverbs 5, Matthew 5:32, 19:4-6, 19:9, Mark 10:6-9, 10:11,
Luke 16:8, 16:18, Romans 7, 1 Corinthians 7

To guard you and guide you against this sin known as adultery. Again, we've been following through the ten commandments and we come to this commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." It is one of the simplest of all the commandments to translate; in so far as the meaning of the Hebrew text is concerned. In the original Hebrew, technically speaking, "You shall not commit adultery," is pretty cut and dry. It simply means that when a man and woman are married to each other it is for life. And, neither shall have physical relationships with anyone other than their marriage partner. Easy peasy. I know it really isn't what people want to hear, but there really is no concept in the commandment that the man and the woman are in love or out of love with each other. Rather, the commandment is about 'Will you keep your commitment once you have made it?' In the Old Testament we do have examples of couples who did love each other. For example, Jacob apparently loved his wife Rachael (his second wife), far more than he loved his first wife Leah. Yet, that is exactly what the commandment is aimed at, not whether we love each other, but whether or not we honor the commitment we have made to each other. Regardless of whether or not passion remains. I know, it's an out-of-date idea for our times. The commandment does not specifically speak to divorce. The formal dissolving of a marriage between a man and a woman. And, it does not speak to fornication. Fornication is a physical relationship between people who are not married to each other. Yet, both topics are relevant because it is often only when the scriptures talk about either divorce or fornication that the topic of adultery comes up. Remember, this is very important: one of the primary goals of the ten commandments was to establish a healthy family as the basic building block for a healthy society. Specifically, the Hebrew people to form a new and healthy society moving forward after their enslavement down in Egypt...

Life Belongs to God

00:00 / 01:04

March 10, 2024

Pastor Pat Montgomery

Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:17-21

"You shall not murder." That is how the New International version of the Bible that we've been using to read from says it...An underlying truth of the 6th commandment, you might say a better way to understand the 6th commandment, would be to instead of simply saying, "Thou shalt not kill [or shall not murder]." Would be to say that all life, human life, belongs to God. Hence, we will not kill. We will not seek vengeance because all life belongs to God, and thus human life if never ours to arbitrarily take...As a culture we get all caught up in debates, and in particular, political and legal arguments about where life begins and who has the right to dictate what a woman does with her body. You've all heard the arguments. During elections people focus on this candidate or that candidate my impact, the legality of the issue...the very nature of the conversation is radically altered, fundamentally changed, if one of our shared foundational beliefs is all human life belongs to God. How does belonging to God impact that thought process.

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