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  • It wasn’t long ago that the word “sin” was a common part of the vocabulary for many church traditions.  Behaviors were named “sinful” and we were reminded that we were “sinners”.  But as Neal Plantinga puts it is, “the newer language of Zion fudges.”  We don’t like talking about sin, certainly not our own.  We prefer language like mistakes or struggles or misunderstandings.  Today’s Bible lesson not only exposes the truth about King David, but about ourselves.

  • This week, we continue our Lenten series with a story from the book of Numbers.  While standing at the edge of the Promised Land, God’s people waver in their belief that God will help them achieve victory.  Their fear and anxiety gets the best of them, and they doubt the promises that God has made to them.  How are we like the Israelites?  And how can we believe, and hold on, to the promises that God makes to us?

  • Today is the first Sunday in the season of Lent, a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter, the central events of our salvation.  The theme for our salvation.  The theme for our services this year is “This Is Us.”  Each week we will look at stories of the Bible that speak of ways in which we sin against God.  In other words, the stories are not just about people long ago who sinned against God.  Rather, they are stories in which we find ourselves and say, “This is us.”

  • This week we’ll conclude our series in Mark by looking at the Transfiguration story. Jesus brings the disciples to the top of a mountain in order to reveal His full divinity. What is the purpose of this? And how might it encourage us as we go through the peaks and valleys of our own faith journeys?

  • In today’s story from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus blows away the church establishment of his day by calling a person with an awful reputation.  Then, to make matters worse, he goes to the man’s house to party with all his buddies of similar reputation!  What does this tell us about Jesus and his mission?  What does it tell us about what it means for us to share in that mission? 

  • Today we continue to trace the mission of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.  Each week we are discovering something else about Jesus, about his mission, and about what it means for us to share in that mission.  In today’s story of twists and turns and disappointments we learn about the healing that matters most to Jesus.

  • This week, we’ll look at another story of healing in Mark, Chapter 1.  To be a leper in the ancient world was a desperate situation.  We’ll see what Jesus’ care for the man means for us, in the hard and broken parts of our own lives.

  • We continue our series from the Gospel of Mark by focusing on Jesus’ healing ministry.  What are we to make of the stories of healing miracles?  What do they tell us about Jesus?  What relevance do they have for us today?  And how do we share in this aspect of Jesus’ mission as a 21st century church?

  • Today we are happy to welcome back to our pulpit Rev. Dr. Neal Plantinga, Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship and former president of Calvin Seminary.  Rev. Plantinga will also lead the intergen class on Worship in the Walnut Room during the Sunday Morning Classes hour.

  • This morning we are going to look at the story of Jesus calling His first disciples.  These ordinary fishermen were compelled to drop everything, and leave their lives behind in order to follow a man they barely knew.  What is Mark trying to teach us about Jesus with this story?  And how can we, like the disciples, remain open to God’s leading – even when it interrupts the comfortable life we know?

  • The season of Epiphany is when the church reflects on how God revealed his light and glory in the ministry of his Son Jesus.  We will focus on stories from the Gospel of Mark as we learn what it means for us to “share together in the Mission of Jesus.”

  • On this New Year’s Sunday we turn again to a familiar Christmas story to find encouragement and direction for the journey ahead.  For all that is uncertain about the future, the gospel offers us certainties to carry us forward.  

  • This Christmas, we are reminded of God’s deep love for the world, expressed in Jesus’ coming to earth. Christ is the “light of the world,” and the darkness has not, and will not, overcome His light. This morning, we find hope in that promise, no matter what our circumstances may be like.

  • This week, we’ll continue our “Advent Conspiracy Series” by thinking about how we use our resources during the Christmas Season.  Does our giving and spending line up with God’s will?  Do we use our resources like people who are content with God?  Or, do we struggle with a love for money that is out of line for God’s people?

  • Today is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, a season of waiting that is intended to deepen our awareness of God’s great actions – past, present, and future.  Above all we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promises to send a Savior to rescue the world from sin and make all things new.  Our theme for this season is “The Advent Conspiracy.”  We will learn together to celebrate the season in a way that is truly Christ-centered and counter-cultural.

  • Today is Christ the King Sunday, a day in which the Christian Church around the world celebrates and focuses on the reign of Christ over every square inch of the universe.  It is also the day that we recognize as a Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  We will devote a time of prayer to intercede for suffering brothers and sisters around the world and ask the Lord to protect and bring relief.  As a conclusion to our fall “one another” series of messages, we hear the call to “Encourage One Another” from a passage of the Bible well suited to this day.

  • Today we continue our “one another” series by exploring a lesson well suited to this post-election Sunday: “live in harmony with one another.”  What does it mean to live in harmony (“be same-minded”) when we know we have such differing perspectives on so many things (including politics!)?

  • This week, we’re back in 1 Corinthians.  Paul is critical of the Corinthian Christians, because the way they practiced communion discriminated against the poorer members of the Church.  This was a problem because according to Paul, communion is just as much about our relationships with one another as it is about our relationship with God.

     

  • Today is Reformation Sunday, in which we acknowledge with gratitude the great renewal movement that God stirred within his church 500 years ago, a movement out of which the Christian Reformed Church was born.  One of the foundational truths embraced by the reformers was understanding that we are saved by Grace Alone.  This morning we learn how the grace of God, the grace that saves us, flows through us in the call to “forgive one another.”

  • Many of us have friends or family members, people we know and love, who somehow grew tired of the Gospel story they learned and have exchanged it for another story to live by.  It brings heartache and leaves us wondering “what happened?”  Our Bible lesson speaks to the temptation to abandon God’s story and tells us what God is doing to keep us connected to that story.

  • This morning we’re going to look at Paul’s words to the Galatians.  He encourages them to proactively care for others, and “carry one another’s burdens.”  We might find it easy to comfort those who are grieving or worried.  But in the context of this passage, Paul is encouraging the Galatians to help one another carry the burden of sin, and to restore one another gently when sin gets the best of them.

  • In Romans 15 Paul expresses his confidence that the Christians in Rome were “filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”  How could he be so sure?  And would he say the same thing about us?!  Our message today will address these questions.

  • We live in a time and a country where deeply held differences of opinion and perspective often lead to antagonism, hatred, or worse.  But as we learn this morning, God enables and expects a radically different response when those differences live within the church.

  • This week we are looking at a passage from 1 Corinthians.  Paul is writing to a church that is struggling with divisions and hostility between its members.  In order to promote peace, Paul uses the image of the body to remind the Corinthians that they are interconnected as part of the Body of Christ.  If one suffers, they all suffer.  This idea runs counter to the individualistic culture of Corinth, as well as our own culture today.  But what could the church be like if we took Paul’s words seriously?

  • Dave Ramsey, the Founder of Financial Peace University, uses his syndicated radio program to proclaim the message that the key to financial peace is to be debt free.  In our Bible lesson for today, we learn that at the heart of the Christian life there is a debt from which we are never free.

  • Today we begin our new season of activity at Third.  Our theme for the year is “Doing Life Together.”  In the coming weeks we will focus on a number of the “one another” commands in the New Testament (love one another, forgive one another, accept one another, etc.).  There are 59 such commands in the Bible.  This morning we learn something startling and wonderful about the church that explains what’s at stake in hearing and following these commands.

  • This week we’ll look at passages from Leviticus and Romans and think about what it means to be a “living sacrifice” for God.  What does it mean to make a sacrifice?  And how can we do all that we do – no matter how mundane or ordinary – as an act of worship?

  • Upon the birth of Jesus the angels announced “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”  In his most famous sermon Jesus declared “blessed are the peacemakers.”  But in today’s Bible lesson we hear Jesus say, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  I have come to turn a man against his father and a daughter against her mother.”  For peace-loving, family-loving folks, this teaching is a real head-scratcher.  What in the world is Jesus getting at?!

  • This morning we continue our series of messages on “things I wish Jesus hadn’t said.”  We will focus on a teaching of Jesus that is particularly challenging for Christians living in America. 

  • This week we continue exploring Jesus’ challenging teachings in Matthew.  In this passage, Jesus equates all forms of lust with adultery, which encourages us to take this sin seriously.  We will explore God’s good design for intimacy, and how the Gospel offers healing and hope when we fall short of God’s standards.

  • This morning we begin a new series looking at some of Jesus’ more-challenging teachings.  Even though following Jesus may cost us everything, it is ultimately the best way to live.  This morning we’ll talk about the different forms of persecution Christians face, and why Jesus would say we are blessed when we experience hardship because of our faith.

  • This week we’ll finish our series, “How Our Faith Informs Our Politics” by thinking about how we relate to one another in midst of our differences.  How can the church be unified in a culture that is so deeply divided over political issues?

  • On this Fourth of July weekend, we turn to the teaching of Jesus to consider “the place for patriotism” in our lives.  This is the third in our four-week series exploring “how our faith informs our politics.”

  • The current presidential campaign is not the first in which a candidate has seized the slogan, “Make America Great Again.”  In recent history both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton used variations of the same.  The question of course is what constitutes “greatness.”  This morning we hear God’s Word from Psalm 72, which envisions a ruler and nation that is truly great.  What can we learn from this passage? 

  • This morning we begin a series of messages on “How our faith informs our politics.”  The political disarray in our world and in our nation can leave us discouraged and disoriented.  The Word that God speaks to us in Psalm 97 offers a new orientation and a hopeful perspective. 

  • According to an African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Parents, friends, neighbors, shop-keepers, teachers, police officers – they all play a role in shaping a child’s life and character.  In our Bible lesson today, we discover that it also takes a village to raise a Christian.

  • This week, we are thinking about Paul’s advice to “train for godliness.”  We’ll think about what this means, and how we can apply some of the same principles of physical training to our spiritual life, as we seek to become more like Christ.

  • Today is the first Sunday in what we call “the growing season.”  In recent months we have heard the good news of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Spirit.  Now we spend a season exploring together how to Grow to be more like Christ in our lives. 

  • “Missionaries in Kalamazoo” - This morning we will be thinking about what that means as we seek to be Christ’s witnesses in the world, and what Luke 10 can teach us about how we share Christ’s love with the people around us.

  • We know that we serve our Risen Lord by serving others. It can be hard at time to figure out how to use our time and talents to serve others. Let's explore together how to do that as we celebrate what is already going on in the life of our congregation and community. 

  • "The Servants God Uses"

    2 Kings 5:1-19

  • Not a day passes that we are not reminded that there is a whole lot of evil in the world.  Some of it is big and scary and half way around the globe.  Some of it is big and scary and touches us personally and deeply.  It won’t work to pretend the evil is not there.  So how do we face it without being overwhelmed by despair and worry?  We find the answer in our lesson from Revelation 7. 

  • Revelation can be a difficult book to untangle, and many Christians have different ideas about how to interpret John’s vision.  This morning we will see that John’s vision is meant to be an encouragement to a persecuted and challenged church.  And as we look at chapters 4-5, we will see John encourages us by drawing our attention to the heart of the Gospel message.

  • The Easter season is here!  As we move on from Resurrection Day we will turn to the book of Revelation to explore what it means to “face life with Easter Imagination.”  There is so much in the world today – in our personal lives and current events – that would make us wonder about the impact of Christ’s resurrection.  The last book of the Bible provides great encouragement and a wonderful perspective to help us live as Easter people.

  • Welcome to all who join us for worship on this glorious Resurrection Day!  One of the great gifts that we receive as a result of Christ’s resurrection victory is the gift of Hope.  This morning we will explore what it means to practice the Habit of Hope in our lives, and what a powerful difference it makes.

  • As we continue to focus on Lenten Habits, we will also consider a habit of faith that is motivated by the generous grace we have received in Christ.

  • This week we are continuing our series about Lenten Habits.  We will be talking about Lament – our expressions of grief, anger, and sadness before God.  We will look at Psalm 13 as an example of Biblical Lament, and consider how we can incorporate Lament into our own relationship with God.

  • During this Lenten season we are looking at different “habits” or spiritual practices that have been followed by Christians through the ages as ways to prepare for their celebration of Easter.  Last week we looked at fasting.  Today we focus on the habit of confession.  Confessing our sins to God might be one of the most common habits in our lives.  But what about confessing to one another?  What does that mean and why does God invite us to do it?

  • This week marks the beginning of Lent – a time of year Christians use to prepare their minds and hearts for Easter. During Lent, we are going to look at different Lenten Habits that help us reflect on our need for God’s grace, and appreciate what Christ accomplished on the cross. This week, we will begin the series by talking about fasting.

  • Today we turn to an episode in the Gospel of Luke that cntains some genuinely "hard sayings" of Jesus. In a time when many churches are in delince and eager to welcome new members, this story may make us wonder if we would want Jesus to be in charge of our New Member Class!

  • This week we're looking at the story of the bleeding woman who approaches Jesus for healing. Despite her shame and discomfort about her condition, she sought Jesus' help, and had faith that He would have mercy on her. How can we grow in our faith to do the same, and bring the hurting, difficulty of our lives before Jesus more readily?

  • The message from the story of Rahab (Joshua 2) reminds us that the decision to make room in our lives for Christ to come is both risky and wonderful.

  • Making room in our lives for Christmas is one thing.  Making room for Christ in our lives is altogether more and different.  As we will see in our advent series of messages, making room for God to enter our lives can be both wonderful and disruptive.  Today we see what it meant for Abraham and Sarah.

  • As we move through another election season it is awfully hard not to be cynical when it comes to promises of change.  The approval ratings are for the President have been depressing and those for Congress have been historically low.  So we could simply shrug off Christ the King Sunday with a yawn or embrace it with faith, hope and enthusiasm. 

  • "The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me"

    Luke 4:18

  • Jesus says that when we (his followers) let our light shine other people will see our good works and glorify God.  Sounds impressive!  But how does that happen?  How would our neighbors know to honor God for what they see in our lives?  How do our good works differ from the good things that are done by people who are not following Jesus?  This morning we will explore these questions as we think about the witness of our everyday lives

  • This week we add an “epilogue” to our Great Commission Series.  We’ll think about what it means to witness with our speech, and why our words (or lack thereof) can be important for the way we reveal Jesus to the world.

  • There are certain defining moments in the course of history when individuals or groups of people were called to act in ways that were both heroic and risky, bold and scary.  Our Bible stories for today describe two such defining moments and at the same time help us to understand our own.  Most importantly, these stories point us to the promise of God that carries us in such moments.

  • This morning, we explore what it means to teach others to obey Jesus’ commands.  Part of the ministry here at Third Church is to teach and shape the way we think through worship, classes, small groups, etc.  But do we pay as much attention to the way we teach others through our example?  Are we willing to say, as Paul did, imitate me, as I imitate Christ?

  • Today is Worldwide Communion Sunday, a wonderful occasion for us to consider the call of Jesus to “move out and make disciples of all nations”!  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper with a sense of our unity with disciples all over the world.

  • The prospect of “making disciples” can feel intimidating to many of us.  However, we can find comfort and encouragement when we remember that it’s Jesus who works through us, and not us who work for Jesus.  How does Jesus’ authority over all things in heaven and on earth shape the way we do ministry, and reach out to friends and neighbors who aren’t part of the church?

  • Today we conclude our series of messages from the book of Jonah with a picture of God that powerfully moves us into a new church season.

  • In honor of Labor Day weekend, this morning we’re reflecting on what it means to do our work in the name of Jesus.  God cares more about our hearts and relationships than our achievements and salary.  And so whether we work in or out of the home, for pay or as a volunteer, all of us are given opportunities to serve God through the things that we do.  What kinds of attitude does God require of us?  And how can we learn to see all that we do as an act of worship?

  • At the end of last week’s lesson the prophet Jonah had been cast overboard into the stormy sea and was sinking to his death.  But to our (and Jonah’s!) great surprise, the Lord rescued him in a most remarkable way.  The disobedient prophet deserved his fate, yet God delivered him.  Why?  How did his experience impact him?  More importantly, how does Jonah’s experience speak to us? 

  • This morbing we begin a 4-week series from the Book of Jonah. As we will discover along the way, it is a story full of surprises that carries a deeply relevant message for the contemporary church.

  • This week we conclude our series on relationships by looking at Paul's words to the Ephesians about marriage. In a culture marked by rugged individualism, what does it mean for two to become one and to submit to one another? And what does marriage teach us about the character of God, regardless of our own marital status?

  • This week, we're looking at how our relationship with God impacts our relationships with one another. Paul calls us to love one anotgher as Christ loved us. What does that look like in our everyday lives? And how can we draw on God's power to love and serve those who are differeent than us in some way?

  • This morning, we are continuing our series on relationships by thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves. How does God's love for us shape our self-image? And how can we experience freedom from the need to seek other's approval?

  • This morning, we begin a four-week series looking at different relationships in our lives. Today we are thinking about our relationship with God. How do we have a faith that is more than just religion and rituals? How can we come to truly know, and be in relationship with God the way we were created to?

  • Last Sunday we heard the good news that God gives us the Holy Spirit to turn our freedom in the direction of love. We learned about "walking in the Spirit", being led by the Spirit", keeping in step with the Spirit", and have the "fruit of the Spirit". In today's lesson Paul applies that teaching to a very practical pastoral concern in the life of every church: "What should Holy Spirit led people do when other members fall into sin?"

  • Freedom is a wonderful gift if exercised responsibly. But in the world at large and in our personal lifes we can find many examples of freedom being misused. Freedom in Christ is a key theme in Galatians 5. We focused on it in last week's message. Today we return to this theme and God's encouraging word about how we exercise our freedom in ways that enrich our lives and the lives of our neighbors.

  • This is Fourth of July weekend. Across this great country Americans are celebrating our freedom with family, friends, and fireworks. We are a nation that cherishes the freedom espoused in the Declaration of Independence. This morning we turn our attention to an even more fundamental and transforming "declaration of independece" issued by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5.

  • We are tempted to find our identity in all sorts of different things - our jobs, our families, the products we buy, the car we drive. But Paul's words in this passage remind us to find our identity in our relationship with God, first and foremost. What would it mean for us if we could truly know and believe this amazing truth?

  • We often like to think of ourselves as "good people." We recognize that we are "imperfect" or that we make "mistakes," but in general we like to focus on our positive traits. However, Paul shows us that God's Law paints an unflattering picture of us. The Law shows us the depth of our sin, and our need for forgiveness. When we acknowledge this, then we are free to follow law in order to show the world who He is, and what He is like, instead of trying to earn His favor.

  • It happens often in life. We get off to a good start and then something happens and things come undone. It happens in school, in sports, in careers, in relationships with others. As we discover in our Bible lesson today, it also happens in our relationship with God.

  • There is a word for the behavior of someone whose "talk" says one thing and whose "walk" says another - Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is always damaging, but particularly so when Gospel "walk is not aligned with Gospel "talk." This morning we hear the call for the Gospel to align our Walk with our Talk.

  • There are some things in our lives that we consider to be "non-negotiable" - policies or practices to which we are so committed that they are not open to debate. For example, the curfew rule for the teens in your home or the personal finance rule about no major purchase unless the cash is in hand. As we open a series of messages from the letter of Galatians, we  wonder if there are any aspects of our faith that are non-negotiable.

  • There are times in our lives when we feel like laws get in the way of our freedom and enjoyment of life. We may even feel that way about God's Law in the 10 Commandments. But there is another perspective we want to explore this morning. From this perspective what God gave to the Israelites and to us on Mt. Sinai was a great gift.

  • This morning we celebrate Service Sunday, as we recognize our calling to be people who serve. In Exodus 19 and 1 Peter 2, we see how Christians - like the ancient israelites - are God's chosen representatives in the world, and how our identity should lead us to willingly and generously serve others.

  • Our passage this morning begins the "second act" of Exodus. God's people have been freed from slavery in Egypt. The question is - what happens now? God begins this new stage of the journey by calling His people to learn and obey His commands for them, so that they may be able to fulfill thier purpose as His witnesses in the world. And as we'll see, just as this was true for Israel, so it is true for the 21st century Church.

  • This morning we come to one of the best known and intriguing parts of the story of the Exodus - the ten plagues.

  • We continue our series of messages from Exodus focusing on the story of God calling Moses.

  • This morning we turn to Exodus 2 and focus on the way the adult Moses bursts onto the scene in Egypt. He is a man possessed by a deep sense of justice. When he sees people being mistreated, he steps right in to help them and set things right. You might know some folks like this. And if you're feeling mistreated in your life, you'd love to have someone like Moses on your side. The question is, will such strength of character be enough to rescue the Israelites from their tyranny in Egypt (and is it enought today to rescue people from the tyranny of evil)?

  • As the story of Exodus continues, the major storyline that emerges is the conflict between God and Pharaoh. This conflict is about control of the Israelite people, but it's also about proving who has ultimate power and authority. In our passage this morning, we'll see how God is working to bring victory to His people in spite of Pharaoh's actions, and how that gives us hope for whatever circumstances we might be facing in life today.

  • Today we begin our worship journey through the season of Lent on our way to Good Friday and Easter. Our journey over the coming weeks will take us through the book of Exodus, which offers a clear window into God's great work of deliverance. We begin this morning where salvation always begins - with tyranny and enslavement to the power of evil.

  • Zacchaeus was one of the least liked people in Jericho, and few would have expected him to be in God's good graces. Yet because of Jesus' kindness toward him, Zacchaeus responds with deep faith. This morning we'll think about what it means that we worship a God who often works in unexpected ways. And how that influences the way we interact with the people around us.

  • Imagine a candidate for public office campaigning on a platform of higher taxes, a longer workweek, and the need for great sacrifice! That would raise more eyebrows than votes. So why would Jesus look out over a large crowd of followers and would-be followers and tell them that "you can't follow me unless you hate the rest of your family and take up your cross for me"?  This morning we consider Jesus' call to discipleship.

  • Suffering is all-too prevalent in our world. As people around us struggle with sickness, broken families, anxiety over finances, and many other issues, it is natural to ask "where is God in all of this?" We long for God to bring healing and restoration. And yet, as His witnesses in the world, God may look at us and ask "where is the Church in times of suffering?" This morning we'll explore how we follow Jesus' example, and demonstrate God's care for those around us who are going through something difficult.

  • So what reslutions did you make for the New Year? Lose weight? Exercise more? Less TV? More devotional time? How about: "This year I'm going to unconditionally love the people who seem to have it in for me?" "This year I'm going to go out of my way to do good things to those people in my life who can't stand me?" "This year I'm going to put on the top of my prayer list the people who are bent on making my life miserable?" Who was Jesus kidding when he instructed his followers to do these things?!

  • This morning we begin a series of messages from the Gospel of Luke that follows the theme of "Jesus in the Neighborhood," How does Jesus move among the people around him? How does he interact? What do we learn about our mission from what we observe in Jesus?

  • Every New Year, we think about goals we have for the coming year, or the ways that we want to improve ourselves. And while there's nothing wrong with setting big goals, we sometimes miss the significance of the ordinary, everyday things we do in life. This morning Jesus tells us that the greatest  commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor. We'll see how this encourages us to love God by having an impact on the people right in front of us.

  • Every New Year, we think about goals we have for the coming year, or the ways that we want to improve ourselves. And while there's nothing wrong with setting big goals, we sometimes miss the significance of the ordinary, everyday things we do in life. This morning Jesus tells us that the greatest  commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor. We'll see how this encourages us to love God by having an impact on the people right in front of us.

  • Sometimes we hear things without understanding them - be it song lyrics, words from a friend or family member, or even the message of Scripture. As we prepare for Christmas, this passage reminds us of the love God has for His people, and His commitment to be in relationship with them, in spite of their sin. It challenges us to ask ourselves if we really believe God wants to be in relationship with us, or have we allowed other voices or influences to tell us otherwise.

  • It's an exciting morning of worship at Third! Our service today will include the presentation of the Christmas Story by our children and youth. We will also hear the good news from one of the most familiar prophecies in the Bible.

  • We all love before and after stories of transformation in which a person's circumstances are bleak at the start but beautiful at the end. It's the stuff of fairy tales, Disney movies, and the gospel!  This morning we hear the good news from the ultimate Before and After story, Isaiah 35.

  • When we think of spiritual disciplines that help us live from the inside-out, we don't always think of "rest," But the practice of Sabbath is an important way that we can both love God, and love others.

  • Many of us are reluctant at ask for help from others, and from God in prayer. Yet Jesus invites us to pray with confidence that God will hear us, and will respond to our prayers.

  • We live in an increasingly polarized country in an increasingly polarized world. The causes for division are multiple - racial, economic, political, religious, etc. Is there any place where people from various backgrounds and experiences and circumstances can actually find community together? As a matter of fact, there is.

  • Let's say that you strike up a conversation with a new neighbor, co-worker, classmate. He says, "So tell me about yourself." You might answer by telling him what you do, where you are from, or about your family, etc. These are all part of your identity. This morning we continue our series on LIving Inside Out by focusing on our "core identity."

  • This morning we continue our fall series on Living Inside Out. Our focus is on Desire. To be human is to desire. We all desire or long for things, people, experiences. Psalm 84 points us to the one desire that integrates all others. As Henri Nouwen wrote, "Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires.

  • Today we celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness in bringing Pastor A. J. to Third Church to assist us in fulfilling our mission in God's kingdom.

  • If "X" marks the spot on the treasure map for the kingdom of heaven, where do you suppose the "X" should be placed? This morning we return to Matthew 13 and more parables of Jesus. You may be surprised to see where Jesus puts the "X".

  • When groups of people come together, they form distinct cultures - be it residents of a city, employees of a corporation, or members of a church. This morning we're looking at Luke's description of the early Christians in Acts 2:42-27. In the passage, we will get a sense of the culture of the first church, and ask ourselves how that compares with the culture of Third Christian Reformed Church today.

  • One of the earliest lessons we learn is to say “thank you.”  You would think that the practice of gratitude would be a “no-brainer.”  So why does Colossians 3 tell people living in the Easter Colony to “be thankful?”  What makes gratitude so challenging that we need the power of the Risen Christ to live it out?  And what is it in our world that makes gratitude so difficult to cultivate?

  • Happy Birthday, Church of Jesus! Pentecost is the day when God poured out his Spirit upon his people and gave birth to the church.

  • Not a day goes by that we are not reminded that we live in a world afflicted by anger, hatred, estrangement, bitterness, violence, manipulation, tension and war. But in the midst of that world there is the Easter Colony, where "the peace of Christ rules in our hearts." On this Ascension Sunday we reflect on the practical implications of living in union with the Prince of Peace.

  • What do you think is the key to a church's effective "witness" ministry? What is the key to a flourishing "community life" in a church? Are these two different keys or the same? We will explore these questions this morning as we continue our series on "Life in the Easter Colony."

  • This morning we return to our series of messages on "Life in the Easter Colony." We will focus on a behavior we practice together which is absolutely necessary for any group of people to experience true community - the practice of Forgiveness.

  • A colony is a settlement of people living in a foreign country while holding citizenship in another. It is a fitting metaphor for the church in any country or age. We are people whose citizenship is in the kingdom of heaven even though we live in the midst of another country. Using the letter of Colossians as our guide, we will spend the next couple months exploring what it meant to live as God's "Easter Colony" in the midst of this "foreign" country.

  • Alleluia! Christ is Risen! We welcome all who join us for worship on this glorious Easter Sunday as we remember and celebrate what God has done for us in bringing back our Lord Jesus from the dead.

  • Sometimes recovery from surgery takes a long time and may involve physical therapy. The doctor will probably advise, "Now don't overdo it. I know you're anxious to get back into your normal routine. Just stick to your therapy and take your time." Being restored to full health is not a quick fix, so it's important to understand what it takes and how it will happen. As we discover in the Palm Sunday story, the same is true of the coming of God's kingdom.

  • Often churches are more effective in preaching sin and obligation then proclaiming grace and gratitude. Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year, sermon after sermon beats out the message of sin and the message of "you have to do more than better." In that regard, says the Preacher in Hebrews 10, worshipers can relate to the experience of Old Testament believers. The good news is what Christ has come to do for us... once and for all.

  • It's been said that most contemporary Christians are about as casual and dispassionate about their prayer as they are ordering from a fast food restaurant. "God, I would like some of this and a side of that." And then we wait as if God is obligated to fill our order. In our lesson from the book of Hebrews we discover the key to approaching our Holy and Almighty God with prayers that are audacious and passionate.

  • On this second Sunday of Lent we will continue to Fix our Eyes on Jesus as we return to the book of Hebrews to hear good news about the suffering of our Savior.

  • This morning will conclude our Epiphany series of messages by focusing on the story of Jesus' transfiguration in Matthew 17.

  • Do a web search on "the end of civility" and you will be startled at the number of entries. The common refrain is a discouraged lament at what's happening in American society. We are becoming increasingly adversarial. whoever disagrees with us is "the enemy"! Then add to the mix the theme of "revenge" that is a wildly successful formula for Hollywood and television. All of which makes Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount profoundly counter-cultural and at the same time wonderfully liberating.

  • Many a church body has split in two because one group thought the other was not being faithful to the Bible. When Jesus began his ministry there were some deeply committed Jews who questioned his commitment to the Bible. This morning we hear how he responded and consider what his response means for our own relationship with the Bible.

  • According to a Gallup poll conducted last summer, 77% of Americans believe that the influence of religion is declining in this country, the highest such percentage in 40 years. So how does that square with Jesus' declaration that his followers are "the salt of the earth and the light of the world"?

  • "The Word Became Flesh"

    John 1:1-18

  • In our lifetimes we have witnessed the sweeping power and influence of the technological revolution. There is hardly a corner of the planet that has not been affected by it. In this morning's Bible lesson Matthew introduces the launch of Jesus' public ministry. We learn that the central theme and thrust of his ministry is about a revolution more sweeping and powerful than any the world has ever known.

  • Jesus taught us to pray "lead us not into temptation," a petition we are wise to pray daily. We know that God is a God of deliverance and protection and salvation, a God who has our best interests in mind. But then we come to the story of Jesus' temptations in Matthew 4 and read that no sooner was Jesus affirmed in his baptism than "the Spirit led him in to the wilderness to be tempted (tested) by the devil." How do these things fit? And what does Jesus' experience with temptation mean for us?

  • We will reflect on the significance of ordination in the light of the story of Jesus' baptism and "ordination" in Matthew 3.

  • The Christmas season is one that brings choirs to the fore, whether in community concerts, performances of Handel's Messiah, or worship services. Choir anthems belong to this special season of the year. Our Bible lesson this morning tells the story of the most famous choir and anthem of the season - the heavenly choir singing their Glorias for the shepherds outside of Bethlehem.

  • For some of us, being silent for nine minutes seems impossible! Imagine what it must have been like for Zecharia to be silent for nine months! But when his son is born and his tongue loosened, Zecharia breaks out in a magnificent prayer-song that carries a beautiful and encouraging message for us.

  • Last week we considered Mary's prayerful response to the incredible message of the angel - "Let it be to me according to your word." Today we focus on her prayerful response to the greeting she receives from her older cousin Elizabeth. As we listen to her prayer-song, we marvel at how deeply she understand the meaning of what's happening to her - the meaning not just for her, but for us and for the world.

  • This morning marks the beginning of the Advent season. We begin our annual re-telling of the story of salvation by focusing on the coming of Christ and the Christmas story. This year we will look at the "Christmas Prayers" that play such an important part in the birth narrative of the Gospel of Luke. Today we consider Mary's prayerful reply to the appearance of the angel Gabriel.

  • "God Is Our Refuge"

    Psalm 46

  • Pastor Angela Taylor-Perry is passionate about church's ministry of prayer and we are grateful to have her close our series of messages on When God's People Pray.

  • Enthusiasm for the kingdom of God is wonderful. So is a desire to "get out there" and be active for God. This morning we learn why God doesn't want us running ahead of ourselves with our zeal.

  • David Hubbard wrote: "The purest form of love is given with no expectation of return. Measured by this standard, earnest prayer for others is a magnificent act of love." This morning we will explore this insight through the lens of 1 Timothy 2.

  • In a healthy marriage or friendship, the way we communicate changes over the years. The conversations we have and the way we have them tends to change. Why is that? And is the same thing true of our conversations with God/

  • In his book Prayer best-selling author Philip Yancey suggests that the best and simplest answer to the question "Why pray?" is "Because Jesus did." But why did Jesus pray? He is God's Son, he is one with the Father, he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. So why did he pray and what does his praying mean for us?

  • Never in history have humans been so well networked with one another as we are today. Technology enables us to stay connected in real time with people all over the world. The far greater challenge for us is to stay connected with God. This morning we are encouraged by the story of the early church in Acts.

  • Our message this morning is based on Paul's prayer for the church in Colossians 1, a prayer that has much more in it than we see at face value. We will dive into the bigger picture of what we could be doing in our prayer lives for the larger body of Christ here in Kalamazoo and around the world. 

  • This morning our "Summer with Samuel" gives way to a fall focus on prayer under the theme, "When God's People Pray."

  • There are times in life when it is important to pause, step back, and try to put things into perspective. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestone events are often the time to do that. In our lesson this morning old Samuel gathers the people of Israel at Gilgal for his farewell speech. He uses it as an occasion to put things into perspective for them. It is a perspective that is as relevant for us as it was for them.

  • We all know the story of Alladin and his Wonderful Lamp. When the lamp was rubbed a powerful genie appeared who would grant whatever the holder of the lamp desired. This morning we return to the books of Samuel and explore a series of stories that illustrate how tempting it is to think of God the same way - like a genie to be possessed.

  • We begin a summer series of messages from the book(s) of Samuel.

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Walking in Pain Together"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    2 Corinthians 1:3-11

    Rev. Kevin Heeres

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Navigating the Pain"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    Psalm 51

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Just Be Honest"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    Matthew 5:3-5

  • What a fabulous occasion for worship today!

  • "Promises for Christ-Lovers"

    1 Peter 1:3-8

  • Today we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost. From the Gospel of John we will discover what makes the Holy Spirit gift such a powerful and transforming gift to us - communally and individually.

  • Today marks a double celebration. One is almost officially endorsed and celebrated through most of the world the other is officially ignored throughout the world. One raises the value of Hallmark stock. The other doesn't register at all with Hallmark. For one you've received reminders for several weeks. For the other you may have been caught by surprise when you arrived at church this morning. One is pleasant and politically correctly. The other is jarring. "Happy Mother's Day." "Jesus is Lord!"

  • Today is Service Celebration Sunday at Third Church. We rejoice and praise God together for the ways he blesses our neighbors near and far through us! We will discover in Psalm 67 how God blesses us... to be a blessing to others.

  • April 22 was Earth Day.  People the world over honor this day for a variety of reasons that reflect different viewpoints on the significance of our planet. Our "Easter Song" for today is Psalm 148, which offers a remarkably refreshing and inspiring perspective on the earth... and all of God's creation.

  • "Crowned with Glory and Honor"

    Psalm 8

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28

    Ms. Jessica Driesenga

  • There are certain songs, whether sacred or secular, that we associate with certain events in our lives. They may move us to tears or laughter, but when we hear them, they conjure up memories of those events. For that reason they hold a special place in our lives. Each week during Eastertide we will focus on another song from the Psalms. Hopefully they will come to hold a special place in our lives as reminders of Easter and what it means for us.

  • Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! On this Resurrection Day we rejoice in the glorious truth that God conquered the power of death by raising his Son Jesus from the dead. We also rejoice in the glorious truth all who belong to Christ have been raised from spiritual death to eternal life. 

  • Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem with the crowds shouting their "Hosannas" and waving palm branches. It is also the day that opens the door to Holy Week and our journey through the sufferings of Jesus to the victory of resurrection. We return to the parable of the Prodigal Son and focus on the father's encounter with the older brother. As we will see, it is an encounter that anticipates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

  • We welcome to our pulpit Pastor Ron De Young, who has served with Bronco Campus Ministries at Western Michigan University since 1997.

    "Thinking About Our Wealth In Christ"

    Ephesians 1:1-10

  • Many of us are familiar with home coming scenes in our own experience. We've waited at the gate at the airport for that loved one to come down the ramp. Hugs and kisses all around. It's warm and joyous. This morning we return to the Parable of the Lost Son and focus on the homecoming scene. What are we to make of the father's actions in this scene? Is this love, joy and relief, or is there more going on?

  • This morning we continue our Lenten series of messages on the parable of the Prodigal Son (or "the Two Lost Sons" or "the Waiting Father"). We will focus on the lostness of the younger brother and his (re)discovery of the meaning of grace. 

  • "A Pardoning Fool?"

    Isaiah 55:1-13

     

  • What are we to make of the Gospel story of the poor widow who threw her last two pennies into the offering plate? Is this a story about the widow's admirable sacrificial giving or about the "church's" heavy handed manipulation?  Or both?

  • This morning we turn our attention to a parable that often makes North American Christians feel uncomfortable, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. While it certainly has implications for a world deeply divided between the "haves" and the "have nots", at its heart is a message of Good News about the meaning of the Kingdom ushered in by Jesus.

  • What does forgiveness have to do with generosity? We will explore that question this morning as we unpack the story of Jesus' visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee and the remarkable actions of a local prostitute who intrudes herself into the scene.

  • Did you get your flu vaccine for this season? It's not too late and all indications are that it would be the better part of wisdom. The virus is all around us. But it's not the only virus that threatens us, nor is it the most serious. There is another virus that is all around us, one to which we are all susceptible. As one pastor/theologian suggests, "It is always in our bloodstream." This morning we explore what that virus is and what vaccine is available.

  • "The Magi's Catechism" - Matthew 2:1-12

  • This morning we conclude our series of messages on "The Gifts of Christmas." It is so very fitting that on this Christmas Sunday we consider "The Gifts of Gifts" from John 3:16.

  • We live in a world where communication has been turned into an art form, a science, an obsession. Everywhere we turn there is someone tweeting, texting, or talking on their cell phone. On this final Sunday of Advent we focus ofn God's communication with the world and the glorious Gift he has given in Christ.

  • We continue our Advent journey to Christmas with a conderful celebration of God's faithfulness this morning.

  • This morning we continue to reflect on "The Gifts of Christmas." Our scripture lessons give us a fabulous picture of God's plan of salvation for all of his creation. Waiting for that picture to become reality requires the gift of Patience.

Sermons Online

  • Click On Date To Listen To Audio Sermons, Click Below To View Video Of The Service.

    Full service videos are posted on an outside site at video.com/thirdcrc.

  • The message from the story of Rahab (Joshua 2) reminds us that the decision to make room in our lives for Christ to come is both risky and wonderful.

  • Making room in our lives for Christmas is one thing.  Making room for Christ in our lives is altogether more and different.  As we will see in our advent series of messages, making room for God to enter our lives can be both wonderful and disruptive.  Today we see what it meant for Abraham and Sarah.

  • As we move through another election season it is awfully hard not to be cynical when it comes to promises of change.  The approval ratings are for the President have been depressing and those for Congress have been historically low.  So we could simply shrug off Christ the King Sunday with a yawn or embrace it with faith, hope and enthusiasm. 

  • "The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me"

    Luke 4:18

  • Jesus says that when we (his followers) let our light shine other people will see our good works and glorify God.  Sounds impressive!  But how does that happen?  How would our neighbors know to honor God for what they see in our lives?  How do our good works differ from the good things that are done by people who are not following Jesus?  This morning we will explore these questions as we think about the witness of our everyday lives

  • This week we add an “epilogue” to our Great Commission Series.  We’ll think about what it means to witness with our speech, and why our words (or lack thereof) can be important for the way we reveal Jesus to the world.

  • There are certain defining moments in the course of history when individuals or groups of people were called to act in ways that were both heroic and risky, bold and scary.  Our Bible stories for today describe two such defining moments and at the same time help us to understand our own.  Most importantly, these stories point us to the promise of God that carries us in such moments.

  • This morning, we explore what it means to teach others to obey Jesus’ commands.  Part of the ministry here at Third Church is to teach and shape the way we think through worship, classes, small groups, etc.  But do we pay as much attention to the way we teach others through our example?  Are we willing to say, as Paul did, imitate me, as I imitate Christ?

  • Today is Worldwide Communion Sunday, a wonderful occasion for us to consider the call of Jesus to “move out and make disciples of all nations”!  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper with a sense of our unity with disciples all over the world.

  • The prospect of “making disciples” can feel intimidating to many of us.  However, we can find comfort and encouragement when we remember that it’s Jesus who works through us, and not us who work for Jesus.  How does Jesus’ authority over all things in heaven and on earth shape the way we do ministry, and reach out to friends and neighbors who aren’t part of the church?

  • Today we conclude our series of messages from the book of Jonah with a picture of God that powerfully moves us into a new church season.

  • In honor of Labor Day weekend, this morning we’re reflecting on what it means to do our work in the name of Jesus.  God cares more about our hearts and relationships than our achievements and salary.  And so whether we work in or out of the home, for pay or as a volunteer, all of us are given opportunities to serve God through the things that we do.  What kinds of attitude does God require of us?  And how can we learn to see all that we do as an act of worship?

  • At the end of last week’s lesson the prophet Jonah had been cast overboard into the stormy sea and was sinking to his death.  But to our (and Jonah’s!) great surprise, the Lord rescued him in a most remarkable way.  The disobedient prophet deserved his fate, yet God delivered him.  Why?  How did his experience impact him?  More importantly, how does Jonah’s experience speak to us? 

  • This morbing we begin a 4-week series from the Book of Jonah. As we will discover along the way, it is a story full of surprises that carries a deeply relevant message for the contemporary church.

  • This week we conclude our series on relationships by looking at Paul's words to the Ephesians about marriage. In a culture marked by rugged individualism, what does it mean for two to become one and to submit to one another? And what does marriage teach us about the character of God, regardless of our own marital status?

  • This week, we're looking at how our relationship with God impacts our relationships with one another. Paul calls us to love one anotgher as Christ loved us. What does that look like in our everyday lives? And how can we draw on God's power to love and serve those who are differeent than us in some way?

  • This morning, we are continuing our series on relationships by thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves. How does God's love for us shape our self-image? And how can we experience freedom from the need to seek other's approval?

  • This morning, we begin a four-week series looking at different relationships in our lives. Today we are thinking about our relationship with God. How do we have a faith that is more than just religion and rituals? How can we come to truly know, and be in relationship with God the way we were created to?

  • Last Sunday we heard the good news that God gives us the Holy Spirit to turn our freedom in the direction of love. We learned about "walking in the Spirit", being led by the Spirit", keeping in step with the Spirit", and have the "fruit of the Spirit". In today's lesson Paul applies that teaching to a very practical pastoral concern in the life of every church: "What should Holy Spirit led people do when other members fall into sin?"

  • Freedom is a wonderful gift if exercised responsibly. But in the world at large and in our personal lifes we can find many examples of freedom being misused. Freedom in Christ is a key theme in Galatians 5. We focused on it in last week's message. Today we return to this theme and God's encouraging word about how we exercise our freedom in ways that enrich our lives and the lives of our neighbors.

  • This is Fourth of July weekend. Across this great country Americans are celebrating our freedom with family, friends, and fireworks. We are a nation that cherishes the freedom espoused in the Declaration of Independence. This morning we turn our attention to an even more fundamental and transforming "declaration of independece" issued by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5.

  • We are tempted to find our identity in all sorts of different things - our jobs, our families, the products we buy, the car we drive. But Paul's words in this passage remind us to find our identity in our relationship with God, first and foremost. What would it mean for us if we could truly know and believe this amazing truth?

  • We often like to think of ourselves as "good people." We recognize that we are "imperfect" or that we make "mistakes," but in general we like to focus on our positive traits. However, Paul shows us that God's Law paints an unflattering picture of us. The Law shows us the depth of our sin, and our need for forgiveness. When we acknowledge this, then we are free to follow law in order to show the world who He is, and what He is like, instead of trying to earn His favor.

  • It happens often in life. We get off to a good start and then something happens and things come undone. It happens in school, in sports, in careers, in relationships with others. As we discover in our Bible lesson today, it also happens in our relationship with God.

  • There is a word for the behavior of someone whose "talk" says one thing and whose "walk" says another - Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is always damaging, but particularly so when Gospel "walk is not aligned with Gospel "talk." This morning we hear the call for the Gospel to align our Walk with our Talk.

  • There are some things in our lives that we consider to be "non-negotiable" - policies or practices to which we are so committed that they are not open to debate. For example, the curfew rule for the teens in your home or the personal finance rule about no major purchase unless the cash is in hand. As we open a series of messages from the letter of Galatians, we  wonder if there are any aspects of our faith that are non-negotiable.

  • There are times in our lives when we feel like laws get in the way of our freedom and enjoyment of life. We may even feel that way about God's Law in the 10 Commandments. But there is another perspective we want to explore this morning. From this perspective what God gave to the Israelites and to us on Mt. Sinai was a great gift.

  • This morning we celebrate Service Sunday, as we recognize our calling to be people who serve. In Exodus 19 and 1 Peter 2, we see how Christians - like the ancient israelites - are God's chosen representatives in the world, and how our identity should lead us to willingly and generously serve others.

  • Our passage this morning begins the "second act" of Exodus. God's people have been freed from slavery in Egypt. The question is - what happens now? God begins this new stage of the journey by calling His people to learn and obey His commands for them, so that they may be able to fulfill thier purpose as His witnesses in the world. And as we'll see, just as this was true for Israel, so it is true for the 21st century Church.

  • This morning we come to one of the best known and intriguing parts of the story of the Exodus - the ten plagues.

  • We continue our series of messages from Exodus focusing on the story of God calling Moses.

  • This morning we turn to Exodus 2 and focus on the way the adult Moses bursts onto the scene in Egypt. He is a man possessed by a deep sense of justice. When he sees people being mistreated, he steps right in to help them and set things right. You might know some folks like this. And if you're feeling mistreated in your life, you'd love to have someone like Moses on your side. The question is, will such strength of character be enough to rescue the Israelites from their tyranny in Egypt (and is it enought today to rescue people from the tyranny of evil)?

  • As the story of Exodus continues, the major storyline that emerges is the conflict between God and Pharaoh. This conflict is about control of the Israelite people, but it's also about proving who has ultimate power and authority. In our passage this morning, we'll see how God is working to bring victory to His people in spite of Pharaoh's actions, and how that gives us hope for whatever circumstances we might be facing in life today.

  • Today we begin our worship journey through the season of Lent on our way to Good Friday and Easter. Our journey over the coming weeks will take us through the book of Exodus, which offers a clear window into God's great work of deliverance. We begin this morning where salvation always begins - with tyranny and enslavement to the power of evil.

  • Zacchaeus was one of the least liked people in Jericho, and few would have expected him to be in God's good graces. Yet because of Jesus' kindness toward him, Zacchaeus responds with deep faith. This morning we'll think about what it means that we worship a God who often works in unexpected ways. And how that influences the way we interact with the people around us.

  • Imagine a candidate for public office campaigning on a platform of higher taxes, a longer workweek, and the need for great sacrifice! That would raise more eyebrows than votes. So why would Jesus look out over a large crowd of followers and would-be followers and tell them that "you can't follow me unless you hate the rest of your family and take up your cross for me"?  This morning we consider Jesus' call to discipleship.

  • Suffering is all-too prevalent in our world. As people around us struggle with sickness, broken families, anxiety over finances, and many other issues, it is natural to ask "where is God in all of this?" We long for God to bring healing and restoration. And yet, as His witnesses in the world, God may look at us and ask "where is the Church in times of suffering?" This morning we'll explore how we follow Jesus' example, and demonstrate God's care for those around us who are going through something difficult.

  • So what reslutions did you make for the New Year? Lose weight? Exercise more? Less TV? More devotional time? How about: "This year I'm going to unconditionally love the people who seem to have it in for me?" "This year I'm going to go out of my way to do good things to those people in my life who can't stand me?" "This year I'm going to put on the top of my prayer list the people who are bent on making my life miserable?" Who was Jesus kidding when he instructed his followers to do these things?!

  • This morning we begin a series of messages from the Gospel of Luke that follows the theme of "Jesus in the Neighborhood," How does Jesus move among the people around him? How does he interact? What do we learn about our mission from what we observe in Jesus?

  • Every New Year, we think about goals we have for the coming year, or the ways that we want to improve ourselves. And while there's nothing wrong with setting big goals, we sometimes miss the significance of the ordinary, everyday things we do in life. This morning Jesus tells us that the greatest  commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor. We'll see how this encourages us to love God by having an impact on the people right in front of us.

  • Every New Year, we think about goals we have for the coming year, or the ways that we want to improve ourselves. And while there's nothing wrong with setting big goals, we sometimes miss the significance of the ordinary, everyday things we do in life. This morning Jesus tells us that the greatest  commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor. We'll see how this encourages us to love God by having an impact on the people right in front of us.

  • Sometimes we hear things without understanding them - be it song lyrics, words from a friend or family member, or even the message of Scripture. As we prepare for Christmas, this passage reminds us of the love God has for His people, and His commitment to be in relationship with them, in spite of their sin. It challenges us to ask ourselves if we really believe God wants to be in relationship with us, or have we allowed other voices or influences to tell us otherwise.

  • It's an exciting morning of worship at Third! Our service today will include the presentation of the Christmas Story by our children and youth. We will also hear the good news from one of the most familiar prophecies in the Bible.

  • We all love before and after stories of transformation in which a person's circumstances are bleak at the start but beautiful at the end. It's the stuff of fairy tales, Disney movies, and the gospel!  This morning we hear the good news from the ultimate Before and After story, Isaiah 35.

  • When we think of spiritual disciplines that help us live from the inside-out, we don't always think of "rest," But the practice of Sabbath is an important way that we can both love God, and love others.

  • Many of us are reluctant at ask for help from others, and from God in prayer. Yet Jesus invites us to pray with confidence that God will hear us, and will respond to our prayers.

  • We live in an increasingly polarized country in an increasingly polarized world. The causes for division are multiple - racial, economic, political, religious, etc. Is there any place where people from various backgrounds and experiences and circumstances can actually find community together? As a matter of fact, there is.

  • Let's say that you strike up a conversation with a new neighbor, co-worker, classmate. He says, "So tell me about yourself." You might answer by telling him what you do, where you are from, or about your family, etc. These are all part of your identity. This morning we continue our series on LIving Inside Out by focusing on our "core identity."

  • This morning we continue our fall series on Living Inside Out. Our focus is on Desire. To be human is to desire. We all desire or long for things, people, experiences. Psalm 84 points us to the one desire that integrates all others. As Henri Nouwen wrote, "Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires.

  • Today we celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness in bringing Pastor A. J. to Third Church to assist us in fulfilling our mission in God's kingdom.

  • If "X" marks the spot on the treasure map for the kingdom of heaven, where do you suppose the "X" should be placed? This morning we return to Matthew 13 and more parables of Jesus. You may be surprised to see where Jesus puts the "X".

  • When groups of people come together, they form distinct cultures - be it residents of a city, employees of a corporation, or members of a church. This morning we're looking at Luke's description of the early Christians in Acts 2:42-27. In the passage, we will get a sense of the culture of the first church, and ask ourselves how that compares with the culture of Third Christian Reformed Church today.

  • One of the earliest lessons we learn is to say “thank you.”  You would think that the practice of gratitude would be a “no-brainer.”  So why does Colossians 3 tell people living in the Easter Colony to “be thankful?”  What makes gratitude so challenging that we need the power of the Risen Christ to live it out?  And what is it in our world that makes gratitude so difficult to cultivate?

  • Happy Birthday, Church of Jesus! Pentecost is the day when God poured out his Spirit upon his people and gave birth to the church.

  • Not a day goes by that we are not reminded that we live in a world afflicted by anger, hatred, estrangement, bitterness, violence, manipulation, tension and war. But in the midst of that world there is the Easter Colony, where "the peace of Christ rules in our hearts." On this Ascension Sunday we reflect on the practical implications of living in union with the Prince of Peace.

  • What do you think is the key to a church's effective "witness" ministry? What is the key to a flourishing "community life" in a church? Are these two different keys or the same? We will explore these questions this morning as we continue our series on "Life in the Easter Colony."

  • This morning we return to our series of messages on "Life in the Easter Colony." We will focus on a behavior we practice together which is absolutely necessary for any group of people to experience true community - the practice of Forgiveness.

  • A colony is a settlement of people living in a foreign country while holding citizenship in another. It is a fitting metaphor for the church in any country or age. We are people whose citizenship is in the kingdom of heaven even though we live in the midst of another country. Using the letter of Colossians as our guide, we will spend the next couple months exploring what it meant to live as God's "Easter Colony" in the midst of this "foreign" country.

  • Alleluia! Christ is Risen! We welcome all who join us for worship on this glorious Easter Sunday as we remember and celebrate what God has done for us in bringing back our Lord Jesus from the dead.

  • Sometimes recovery from surgery takes a long time and may involve physical therapy. The doctor will probably advise, "Now don't overdo it. I know you're anxious to get back into your normal routine. Just stick to your therapy and take your time." Being restored to full health is not a quick fix, so it's important to understand what it takes and how it will happen. As we discover in the Palm Sunday story, the same is true of the coming of God's kingdom.

  • Often churches are more effective in preaching sin and obligation then proclaiming grace and gratitude. Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year, sermon after sermon beats out the message of sin and the message of "you have to do more than better." In that regard, says the Preacher in Hebrews 10, worshipers can relate to the experience of Old Testament believers. The good news is what Christ has come to do for us... once and for all.

  • It's been said that most contemporary Christians are about as casual and dispassionate about their prayer as they are ordering from a fast food restaurant. "God, I would like some of this and a side of that." And then we wait as if God is obligated to fill our order. In our lesson from the book of Hebrews we discover the key to approaching our Holy and Almighty God with prayers that are audacious and passionate.

  • On this second Sunday of Lent we will continue to Fix our Eyes on Jesus as we return to the book of Hebrews to hear good news about the suffering of our Savior.

  • This morning will conclude our Epiphany series of messages by focusing on the story of Jesus' transfiguration in Matthew 17.

  • Do a web search on "the end of civility" and you will be startled at the number of entries. The common refrain is a discouraged lament at what's happening in American society. We are becoming increasingly adversarial. whoever disagrees with us is "the enemy"! Then add to the mix the theme of "revenge" that is a wildly successful formula for Hollywood and television. All of which makes Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount profoundly counter-cultural and at the same time wonderfully liberating.

  • Many a church body has split in two because one group thought the other was not being faithful to the Bible. When Jesus began his ministry there were some deeply committed Jews who questioned his commitment to the Bible. This morning we hear how he responded and consider what his response means for our own relationship with the Bible.

  • According to a Gallup poll conducted last summer, 77% of Americans believe that the influence of religion is declining in this country, the highest such percentage in 40 years. So how does that square with Jesus' declaration that his followers are "the salt of the earth and the light of the world"?

  • "The Word Became Flesh"

    John 1:1-18

  • In our lifetimes we have witnessed the sweeping power and influence of the technological revolution. There is hardly a corner of the planet that has not been affected by it. In this morning's Bible lesson Matthew introduces the launch of Jesus' public ministry. We learn that the central theme and thrust of his ministry is about a revolution more sweeping and powerful than any the world has ever known.

  • Jesus taught us to pray "lead us not into temptation," a petition we are wise to pray daily. We know that God is a God of deliverance and protection and salvation, a God who has our best interests in mind. But then we come to the story of Jesus' temptations in Matthew 4 and read that no sooner was Jesus affirmed in his baptism than "the Spirit led him in to the wilderness to be tempted (tested) by the devil." How do these things fit? And what does Jesus' experience with temptation mean for us?

  • We will reflect on the significance of ordination in the light of the story of Jesus' baptism and "ordination" in Matthew 3.

  • The Christmas season is one that brings choirs to the fore, whether in community concerts, performances of Handel's Messiah, or worship services. Choir anthems belong to this special season of the year. Our Bible lesson this morning tells the story of the most famous choir and anthem of the season - the heavenly choir singing their Glorias for the shepherds outside of Bethlehem.

  • For some of us, being silent for nine minutes seems impossible! Imagine what it must have been like for Zecharia to be silent for nine months! But when his son is born and his tongue loosened, Zecharia breaks out in a magnificent prayer-song that carries a beautiful and encouraging message for us.

  • Last week we considered Mary's prayerful response to the incredible message of the angel - "Let it be to me according to your word." Today we focus on her prayerful response to the greeting she receives from her older cousin Elizabeth. As we listen to her prayer-song, we marvel at how deeply she understand the meaning of what's happening to her - the meaning not just for her, but for us and for the world.

  • This morning marks the beginning of the Advent season. We begin our annual re-telling of the story of salvation by focusing on the coming of Christ and the Christmas story. This year we will look at the "Christmas Prayers" that play such an important part in the birth narrative of the Gospel of Luke. Today we consider Mary's prayerful reply to the appearance of the angel Gabriel.

  • "God Is Our Refuge"

    Psalm 46

  • Pastor Angela Taylor-Perry is passionate about church's ministry of prayer and we are grateful to have her close our series of messages on When God's People Pray.

  • Enthusiasm for the kingdom of God is wonderful. So is a desire to "get out there" and be active for God. This morning we learn why God doesn't want us running ahead of ourselves with our zeal.

  • David Hubbard wrote: "The purest form of love is given with no expectation of return. Measured by this standard, earnest prayer for others is a magnificent act of love." This morning we will explore this insight through the lens of 1 Timothy 2.

  • In a healthy marriage or friendship, the way we communicate changes over the years. The conversations we have and the way we have them tends to change. Why is that? And is the same thing true of our conversations with God/

  • In his book Prayer best-selling author Philip Yancey suggests that the best and simplest answer to the question "Why pray?" is "Because Jesus did." But why did Jesus pray? He is God's Son, he is one with the Father, he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. So why did he pray and what does his praying mean for us?

  • Never in history have humans been so well networked with one another as we are today. Technology enables us to stay connected in real time with people all over the world. The far greater challenge for us is to stay connected with God. This morning we are encouraged by the story of the early church in Acts.

  • Our message this morning is based on Paul's prayer for the church in Colossians 1, a prayer that has much more in it than we see at face value. We will dive into the bigger picture of what we could be doing in our prayer lives for the larger body of Christ here in Kalamazoo and around the world. 

  • This morning our "Summer with Samuel" gives way to a fall focus on prayer under the theme, "When God's People Pray."

  • There are times in life when it is important to pause, step back, and try to put things into perspective. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestone events are often the time to do that. In our lesson this morning old Samuel gathers the people of Israel at Gilgal for his farewell speech. He uses it as an occasion to put things into perspective for them. It is a perspective that is as relevant for us as it was for them.

  • We all know the story of Alladin and his Wonderful Lamp. When the lamp was rubbed a powerful genie appeared who would grant whatever the holder of the lamp desired. This morning we return to the books of Samuel and explore a series of stories that illustrate how tempting it is to think of God the same way - like a genie to be possessed.

  • We begin a summer series of messages from the book(s) of Samuel.

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Walking in Pain Together"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    2 Corinthians 1:3-11

    Rev. Kevin Heeres

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Navigating the Pain"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    Psalm 51

  • "Life Hurts... God Heals... Just Be Honest"

    Series, "Life Hurts, God Heals"

    Matthew 5:3-5

  • What a fabulous occasion for worship today!

  • "Promises for Christ-Lovers"

    1 Peter 1:3-8

  • Today we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost. From the Gospel of John we will discover what makes the Holy Spirit gift such a powerful and transforming gift to us - communally and individually.

  • Today marks a double celebration. One is almost officially endorsed and celebrated through most of the world the other is officially ignored throughout the world. One raises the value of Hallmark stock. The other doesn't register at all with Hallmark. For one you've received reminders for several weeks. For the other you may have been caught by surprise when you arrived at church this morning. One is pleasant and politically correctly. The other is jarring. "Happy Mother's Day." "Jesus is Lord!"

  • Today is Service Celebration Sunday at Third Church. We rejoice and praise God together for the ways he blesses our neighbors near and far through us! We will discover in Psalm 67 how God blesses us... to be a blessing to others.

  • April 22 was Earth Day.  People the world over honor this day for a variety of reasons that reflect different viewpoints on the significance of our planet. Our "Easter Song" for today is Psalm 148, which offers a remarkably refreshing and inspiring perspective on the earth... and all of God's creation.

  • "Crowned with Glory and Honor"

    Psalm 8

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28

    Ms. Jessica Driesenga

  • There are certain songs, whether sacred or secular, that we associate with certain events in our lives. They may move us to tears or laughter, but when we hear them, they conjure up memories of those events. For that reason they hold a special place in our lives. Each week during Eastertide we will focus on another song from the Psalms. Hopefully they will come to hold a special place in our lives as reminders of Easter and what it means for us.

  • Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! On this Resurrection Day we rejoice in the glorious truth that God conquered the power of death by raising his Son Jesus from the dead. We also rejoice in the glorious truth all who belong to Christ have been raised from spiritual death to eternal life. 

  • Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem with the crowds shouting their "Hosannas" and waving palm branches. It is also the day that opens the door to Holy Week and our journey through the sufferings of Jesus to the victory of resurrection. We return to the parable of the Prodigal Son and focus on the father's encounter with the older brother. As we will see, it is an encounter that anticipates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

  • We welcome to our pulpit Pastor Ron De Young, who has served with Bronco Campus Ministries at Western Michigan University since 1997.

    "Thinking About Our Wealth In Christ"

    Ephesians 1:1-10

  • Many of us are familiar with home coming scenes in our own experience. We've waited at the gate at the airport for that loved one to come down the ramp. Hugs and kisses all around. It's warm and joyous. This morning we return to the Parable of the Lost Son and focus on the homecoming scene. What are we to make of the father's actions in this scene? Is this love, joy and relief, or is there more going on?

  • This morning we continue our Lenten series of messages on the parable of the Prodigal Son (or "the Two Lost Sons" or "the Waiting Father"). We will focus on the lostness of the younger brother and his (re)discovery of the meaning of grace. 

  • "A Pardoning Fool?"

    Isaiah 55:1-13

     

  • What are we to make of the Gospel story of the poor widow who threw her last two pennies into the offering plate? Is this a story about the widow's admirable sacrificial giving or about the "church's" heavy handed manipulation?  Or both?

  • This morning we turn our attention to a parable that often makes North American Christians feel uncomfortable, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. While it certainly has implications for a world deeply divided between the "haves" and the "have nots", at its heart is a message of Good News about the meaning of the Kingdom ushered in by Jesus.

  • What does forgiveness have to do with generosity? We will explore that question this morning as we unpack the story of Jesus' visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee and the remarkable actions of a local prostitute who intrudes herself into the scene.

  • Did you get your flu vaccine for this season? It's not too late and all indications are that it would be the better part of wisdom. The virus is all around us. But it's not the only virus that threatens us, nor is it the most serious. There is another virus that is all around us, one to which we are all susceptible. As one pastor/theologian suggests, "It is always in our bloodstream." This morning we explore what that virus is and what vaccine is available.

  • "The Magi's Catechism" - Matthew 2:1-12

  • This morning we conclude our series of messages on "The Gifts of Christmas." It is so very fitting that on this Christmas Sunday we consider "The Gifts of Gifts" from John 3:16.

  • We live in a world where communication has been turned into an art form, a science, an obsession. Everywhere we turn there is someone tweeting, texting, or talking on their cell phone. On this final Sunday of Advent we focus ofn God's communication with the world and the glorious Gift he has given in Christ.

  • We continue our Advent journey to Christmas with a conderful celebration of God's faithfulness this morning.

  • This morning we continue to reflect on "The Gifts of Christmas." Our scripture lessons give us a fabulous picture of God's plan of salvation for all of his creation. Waiting for that picture to become reality requires the gift of Patience.

  • Today is "Christ the King" Sunday, the culmination of the Christian calendar. It is a day for triumphant and exuberant Alleluias of praise to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Such a majestic theme may make it hard for us picture Jesus handcuffed, beaten, and being interrogated by Pontius Pilate. Are we able to celebrate the meekness of Christ the King as well as the majesty?

  • This morning we welcome to our pulpit Pastor Ron De Young, who has served with Bronco Campus Ministry at Western Michigan university since 1997.

  • This morning we conclude our series of services on the Gospel in Life. We hear the good news about the glorious future God has in store for his world and his people and consider how that shapes the way we bring the gospel to life today.

  • Tim Keller observes that "a sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of mercy is the inevitable sign of a person who has grasped the doctrine of God's grace." This morning our study of Gospel in LIfe brings us to the topic of "Justice: A People for Others."

  • Election Day is right around the corner. Many American Christians (and churches) face elections with a conviction that the impact of our witness will be impacted one way or another, depending on how the election turns out. But is that true? Is the power of the church's witness dependent on leveraging political control or power? Our scripture lessons today suggest quite a different picture.

  • What a wonderful day to celebrate God's gifts of grace to us! We hear the good news of our glorious calling to be his "chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, God's special possession."

  • We like to think that right and wrong desires are polar opposites, that sin is easy to avoid because sin is the exact opposite of virtue. The difficulty of Christian living, however, comes in acknowledging that idolatry (the sin beneath the sin) is often about loving the right thing in the wrong way. It is about taking a good thing and shaping your life, your heart, your mind and will in such a way that that good thing becomes the ultimate thing.

  • In his book Gospel in Life Tim Keller contends that "both religious and irreligious people are avoiding God as Savior and Lord. Both are seeking to keep control of their own lives by looking to something besides God as their salvation. We discover it in Paul's personal testimony in Philippians 3.

  • We are excited to open our new church season with a series of services based on themes from Timothy Keller's book, Gospel in Life, a study of how "grace changed everything." We begin today by considering how the prophecy of Jeremiah (29:1-14) speaks into our calling as residents of the Kalamazoo community.

  • It is fitting that on this Labor Day weekend we arrive at a point in the story of Acts where we see what can happen when "the gospel meets the marketplace." Our secular world would prefer that Christ-followers would keep their faith to themselves and practice it at home or at church. But as we see in our Bible lesson, the power of the gospel cannot be contained in a corner of life.

  • It is fitting that on this Labor Day weekend we arrive at a point in the story of Acts where we see what can happen when "the gospel meets the marketplace." Our secular world would prefer that Christ-followers would keep their faith to themselves and practice it at home or at church. But as we see in our Bible lesson, the power of the gospel cannot be contained in a corner of life.

  • Strategic encouragement - that's what it is when someone comes alongside you and says just the right thing at just the right time to encourage you and help you see things more clearly. In our Bible story this morning God provides strategic encouragement to Paul in the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances. What does that tell us about the God who calls us to follow in his mission?

  • Join us as we celebrate God's work throughout the week during our Vacation Bible School. All week the kids have experienced the story of Daniel unfolding day by day. This morning, we hear that story again!

  • A simplified definition of the word "crazy" is: "Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." It may be an apt definition of "crazy" but it also pretty well defines Paul's evangelism strategy. What does it mean to faithfully witness to God's salvation? and how are we to gauge "success"?

  • Acts 16, from the story of Lydia to the jailer's conversion is a story of liberation - a profile of those who appear free but are bound in chains and those who are bound in chains but are truly free. Like Paul, many of us are citizens in nations that guarantee our right to freedom. But what is the freedom of following Christ? And what does such freedom require of us?

  • When we speak of God's leading we sometimes use the language of "open doors / closed doors." I was praying to God's leading in finding a new job and he opened the door to... Our new business venture seemed to be coming together so well, but it turned out to be a closed door. As we continue our journey in the story of Acts, we discover the upside and the downside to discerning God's leading.

  • As you read the story of the Bible and of the church history and focus on the human side of the equation, you have to wonder how the church has survived into the 21st Century! This morning we have another head-scratching episode from Acts that has Paul and Barnabas squaring off in a bitter dispute that threatens the church's mission work. How does God expect his mission to soar like an eagle when he puts it in the hands of turkeys like us?!!

  • Report from Synod this past week, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church (our denomination) met in Ancaster, Ontario to discuss the ongoing Kingdom work and witness of the church. Two thousand years ago, the Synod of the Christian church (our ancestors in faith) met in Jerusalem to discuss the ongoing Kingdom work and witness of the church. In both cases, a thoroughly human, temporal and pragmatic exercise. But could it be more than that? could it be that the Holy Spirit also shows up in the ordinary somewhat prosaic activities of trying to be the church together?

  • God gives us much to celebrate in worship this morning - the good news that radiates through the scripture lesson.  May this be a day of great encouragement for all of us as members and guests as we bask in the grace or our glorious God!

  • This morning we continue to follow the story of Paul's first missionary journey in the Book of Acts.

  • Last summer we began a series in the work of the Spirit, told in the stories of the early church. This morning we pick up where we left off to discover that the Holy Spirit is still on the move, empowering the witness of the church and the advance of the Gospel.

  • There is a difference between "dabbling" and being "sold out." Some of us dabble in the world of fitness, making irregular appearances at the gym or reintroducing our backsides to the bicycle seat. Others of us are sold out, passionately committed to our workout regimens. When Jesus gives a holy shout-out to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, it is clear he has the "sold out" in mind. So who are these people? What is their passion? And why does Jesus cheer them on?

  • "Blessed are the Peacemakers" - Matthew 5:9

    Series, "The Upside Down Kingdom"

  • Our worship today will bear the character of this Service Sunday. Through songs, prayer, and faith stories we will praise the God who has poured his mercy into our lives so that it may flow through us to bless our neighbors. It only seems fitting that on Service Sunday we turn to the fifth Beatitude, "Blessed are the Merciful."

  • Revisiting the Old Testament story of Hagar, we look forward to the reversal of fortune provided only by God's grace. But this grace is not only spiritual and heavenly, it is also concrete and earthly, real in us and through us each time we share the Lord's Supper, for all are equal at the banquet table of God.

  • Grief is a universal human experience. For some of us it is personal and deep. The last thing we would be inclined to say to someone in mourning would be "Congratulations!" Yet that is what Jesus says in the Beatitudes. "Congratulations to those who mourn! Blessed are they!" What's up with that?! Another illustration of the Upside Down Kingdom of God.

  • On Easter Sunday we concluded our series on the Lord's Prayer. It is a very short step from "He is Risen" to "for yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever!" So now in the Easter season we wonder what life is like in the Kingdom of God. How do our neighbors (and neighborhoods!) see the Kingdom life in us? For this we turn to the Beatitudes of Jesus. Here we find Good News about the shape of life in the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes give us a picture of the Upside Down world of the Kingdom.

  • Originally the Lord's Prayer ended with concerns over temptation and evil. Very quickly, though, the church added words of victorious praise. Like the story of Holy Week itself, suffering, evil and death play an important role but they are not the conclusion of the matter. Resurrection provokes the "Alleluia, Amen" of our victorious praise. 

  • It just so happens that we have arrived at Palm Sunday at the same time that we have reached the last petition of the Lord's Prayer. What connection could there be between the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and asking the Father to "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil"?

  • As God's forgiven children, we know that we are called upon to forgive one another. So often, though, we settle for "counterfeit" forgiveness. Through imaginative re-tellings of a most beloved parable, of the Prodigal Son, we will see the difference between genuine and fake forgiveness, grow in gratitude for God's great grace and, perhaps, gain clarity, strength and wisdom to live out forgiveness in our own human relationships.

  • It has been said that our understanding of "act of God" has been largely determined by our insurance policies. The connection of God with daily affairs has disappeared. What a gift then that Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us our daily bread."

  • Oh, dear. We are only up to the second request of the Lord's Prayer and already Jesus turns political! He doesn't teach us to pray "Lord, bless our nation," but rather "your kingdom come." Does this sound like it might be a bit troublesome? Are we sure we want to pray this request? What is Jesus doing to us (or rather, for us) by teaching us this prayer?

  • It has been said that "in praying the Lord's Prayer we become the people God has called us to be in Jesus." What better way then to journey through Lent and prepare for Good Friday and Easter then to spend time with the prayer that Jesus taught us! This morning we focus on the first request, "Hallowed be your name."

  • The last of Jesus' "I AM" statements begins the Savior's "Farewell Discourse." Facing his own death, the inauguration of his resurrection kingdom, and the needs of his disciples as they begin the enterprise of the church - what needs to be said? What comfort and what challenge is Jesus' offering?

  • "in my Father's house are many rooms. I am going there to prepare a place for you." These words of Jesus are among the most beloved in the Bible. They comfort us when loved one's die and when we feel overwhelmed by the troubles of life. They assure us of a destination and give us hope. But when Jesus declared " I AM the Way" to the Father's house, was he speaking about the destination, the journey, or both?

  • As people who follow the Resurrected Savior, what kinds of lives are we encouraged to live? How does the hope of eternal life permeate our everyday life?  If death is not intended as the end, what should be our goal and aim in living?

  • Most of us do not know any shepherds and we do not have shepherding experience on our resumes.  So when Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Gate he used images that 21st Century North American suburban believers stretch.  But if we have found the 23rd Psalm to be a source of comfort in our lives, we are well on our way to catching why and how Jesus claims are such good news for us.

  • John paints in stark contrasts:  life and death, truth and lies, light and dark.  But we live in a world where, if we don't prefer the dark, we at least acknowledge the presence of a lot of grey.  What do Jeus' words mean?  What eternal claims is He making about himself?  How is this the Good News?

  • Seven times in the Gospel of John we hear Jesus speak of himself as the "I AM", clearly echoing the words of God in Exodus 3 when he told Moses his name - I AM who I AM."  Today we consider Jesus' words, "I AM the Bread of Life."  What do we learn about God who is "I AM" in these words of Jesus?

  • Epiphany Sunday celebrates the fact that, in Christ, the nature of God is revealed to us.  the "I am who I am" God of the Old Testament becomes concrete, embodied and at least somewhat more comprehensive to us in Christ/s New Testament teaching.