Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: May 28, 2017
Title: Rescued From The Sheep
Text: Exodus 3:1-10


Week of May 29, 2017

Text: Exodus 3:1-10
Title: Rescued From The Sheep


All of us, whether consciously or not, have a 'future story' that gives expression to our hopes and provides us with a sense of direction and well-being in life. A crisis occurs whenever out future story is threatened or shut down.

By the time he had reached the age of 80 the story of Moses life looked nothing like the future story he had once had as a child and as a much younger man. Moses had been raised as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He was a prince of Egypt. He knew the privileges of royalty, the comfort and security of having wealth. He had every reason to believe that those things would always be a part of his future story.

But at the age of forty the direction of his life changed forever. One mistake. One decision. One careless and anger driven moment changed his life. He killed and Egyptian task master who beating a Hebrew slave.

Moses became a fugitive. He wanted to put as much distance as he could between himself and his past. He wanted to distance himself from his mistake. He went to the land of Midian where he married one of the daughters of the local priest and took up the life of a shepherd.

He settled into a story that he never imagined. And that's where he was, when at the age of 80, God found him and changed his future story yet again.


Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up."

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."

5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of flowing with milk and honey . . .

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." [1] 

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version . (1984). (Ex 3:1-10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


1   Have you lived through an experience or season of life that somehow threatened your future story? 

2. Go back and read Exodus 2:11-15. What did this event do to Moses' future story?

3.  In Exodus 3:1-10 can you identify God's future story for Moses? How did Moses respond?

4. Review the events surrounding Moses birth and early life in Exodus 2. How did those events become significant in God's call to Moses in Exodus 3?

5.  God invites us to join his mission of rescue in the world. What excuses keep us from being a part of this story?


Gracious God, our times and our lives are in your hands. By your grace you invite us into a story greater than anything we could write for ourselves. Thank you for using every experience of our lives to prepare us for your call. Use us in your story according to your will, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.     



Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. David Joynt
Date: May 21, 2017
Dreaming Together For Tomorrow
Text: Hebrews 12: 1-3



After rehearsing the names and stories of those Old Testament characters who lived by faith, the writer of Hebrews turns to a word of direct application. Since they live by faith, so can you.

The main clause of the passage above is in verse 1: 'Run the race.' But it's not just an encouragement to run--it's an encouragement to run well. To run with perseverance. The writer wants these Christians to run the race without growing weary or losing heart.

Run the race . . . but run with perseverance; do not grow weary and do not lose heart.  

On any given Sunday, churches are not likely to be populated by people who have carefully considered their faith and decided that they no longer believe it. What is far more common is that people grow weary and lose heart.

Discouragement is more prevalent than disbelief. How does this happen?

Some fall away because of tragedy, or pain, or loss:

Some fall away because of boredom; they settle into religious habits that lost any significance or meaning - the same thing over and over and over again.

Some fall away because the church let them down; they're disappointed with the realities of a flawed faith community.

The message for us from this text is simple: don't grow weary. Don't lose heart.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 


1.  In addition to the reasons above, can you think of other reasons that Christians become weary and lose heart?

2.  The text reminds us that we are surrounded by "a great cloud of witnesses." How has the heritage of faith or the examples of other faithful people been a source of encouragement to you? 

3.  We are told to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" as we run the race of faith. How does the presence of a community help us to do this? Asked another way, will we do this if we try to follow Jesus in isolation from others?

4.  Jesus is said to be the "author" or "pioneer" of our faith, as well as the "perfecter." How do these images speak to you? In what is Jesus both the source and the goal of our faith? 

5.  What are some of the other things in this world that we often "fix our eyes" upon?


Lord Jesus, we pray today for all who are growing weary and losing heart in their walk with you. Help us to be a community to each other, surrounding one another in the present in the same way the faithful of days past surround us. We will keep our eyes on you--the source and the aim of our faith. Grant us grace to run well, we ask in your name. Amen.  


Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: May 14, 2017
Series: Rescued: Rescued From The Nile
Text: Exodus 2: 1-10



Text: Exodus 2: 1-10

Sermon Date: May 14, 2017


This week we go back to the story of Moses’ birth. When Moses came into the world, an edict from Pharaoh directed the people to throw new-born Hebrew boys into the Nile River. In the midst of this dangerous world, Moses’ mother took a risk by hiding her baby boy in the very place that was meant to be his watery grave. She released her child to the care of God-–and God returned the child to her in a surprising way.   


Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17-–“Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law.”

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking

(1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you?

(2) What questions does the story raise in your mind? 


Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes[a] and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4 And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. 5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child's mother. 9 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.


1.  The story of Moses’ birth features the role of three women: Moses’ mother, sister, and thedaughter of Pharaoh.

  •       What do each of these women do in the story?
  •       What do these actions tell us about them?

2.      The ‘sovereignty’ of God is a phrase that tells us that God is at work in all things for his purposes, ordering events to bring about his will. How do we see the sovereignty or providence of God at work in this story?

3.      Read Hebrews 11:23. What does the writer of Hebrews want us to take away from this story about Moses’ birth?

4.      What are some ways that we can practice ‘releasing’ those we love into the car of God? Why is this so difficult for us?

5.      In your personal time of prayer, name someone whom you entrust to God’s care and guidance.


Merciful God, we are quick to affirm that you work all things together for our good. We are slow to trust that promise in the areas of life that we most treasure. The mother of Moses opened her hands and released her child to your care and the working of your providence. We grasp at what we love, fearful that our open hands will lead to loss. Remind us of the words of Jesus, who told us that only as we hold life loosely can we truly find life. In these moments we open our hands–to give ourselves to you anew and to receive the rescuing grace you offer to us in your son, in whose name we pray. Amen.      





Going Deeper With The Sermon

KC_Bulletin Template Cover_May 7_Page_1.jpg

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: May 7, 2017
Series: Rescued: Rescued From Himself
Text: Exodus 2



Text: Exodus 2

Sermon Date: May 7, 2017


This week we enter into an episode from the life of Moses that took place after 40 years of life as the grandson of Pharaoh. He has lived his entire life since infancy in the context of Egyptian royalty, but in a moment all of that is changed by a single decision and act. We look to this story to see how God is faithful to rescue us from ourselves.  


Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17--"Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law."

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking (1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you? (2) What questions does the story raise in your mind?


11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.[a] 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, "Why do you strike your companion?" 14 He answered, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid, and thought, "Surely the thing is known." 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well. (Exodus 2:11-15 ESV)


1.  Can you recall an experience in your life that initially seemed like "the worst that could happen" but later proved to bring the "best possible" outcome or result? 

2.  Look at Exodus 14:4, 17, 18. How does God's act of "rescue" serve to gain glory for God?   

3.  Can you identify specific words or phrases from the scripture text above that capture the nature of human guilt? 

4.  We sometimes use / hear the phrase "Catholic guilt." What is meant by that phrase? How is it different from the story above? How is it different from a passage like Psalm 32:1-5?

5.  How did God redeem this episode from Moses' life and use it for a greater purpose?

6.  Read further into the story in Exodus 2. How does the event in vv. 16-19 bear some similarity to the story of vv. 11-15? What does it tell us about Moses?   

 7.  Moses was disturbed and outraged by the injustice he saw being inflicted on a Hebrew slave. Do you see things in this world that burden you? How might you join God in his rescuing work in this world?


Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: April 30, 2017
Text: Rescued: The Life of Moses



TEXT: Exodus 14:5-18

Sermon date: April 30, 2017


When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!"

6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.

7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.

8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.

9 The Egyptians-all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops-pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"

13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."[1]

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version.
(1984). (Ex 14:5-18). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17 - "Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law."

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking (1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you? (2) What questions does the story raise in your mind?


1.  Read Exodus 13:17-18 as well as Exodus 14:3. What do these verses suggest to you about the way God guides his people (us!). 

2.  Look at Exodus 14:4, 17, 18. How does God's act of "rescue" serve to gain glory for God?   

3.  In Ex. 14:101-12 we see the initial reaction of the people to the threat that confronts them. How would you describe this reaction, and do you see anything familiar in their words or behaviors?  

4.  Look closely at 14:14-15. On the surface, these sound like two different messages to the people. What is Moses saying to the people? What is God saying to the people?

5. Eugene Peterson calls the Red Sea a "dead end" that followed a period of euphoria (having been set free from slavery). How do we experience "Red Sea" moments in our lives?  

6. How will you seek to "be still" and allow God to do his saving work in your own Red Sea moment?   

 7.  How will you "move forward" and respond to God in faith and trust as you face the seemingly "dead end" places of your own life?


Saving God, you show up in ways we never could have imagined in places where we never wanted to be--and you do what we never expected. Do so even this day, and help us both to be still and to step out as we trust you with our lives, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.  

Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: April 23, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Do You Love Me?



Text: John 21:4-19

Sermon date: April 23, 2017


Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.

6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[a ] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"


1.   Compare vv. 4-7 with Luke 5:1-11. How are these stories similar / different, especially with regard to Peter?

2.  John tells us that Jesus' appearance at the Sea of Galilee was the third time he had appeared to his disciples (v. 14). What are the distinctive features of each appearance that John is referring to? What happens in each of them?

3.  How does Peter's action in v. 7 fit with what we might know of his character or personality, especially compared with the other disciples in v. 8?

4.  Spend some time thinking through the conversation between Jesus and Peter in vv. 15-17. In what ways was this a painful or difficult conversation? In what ways was it a comforting conversation?

5.  Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. What kind of lasting impact did Peter's conversation with the resurrected Jesus have on his thinking and ministry?    

6.  Commentators struggle to understand what Jesus was referring to when he asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" Two likely answers are:

Do you love me more than these (other disciples)?

Do you love me more than these (things connected with being a fisherman)?

Which possibility seems most compelling to you and why?

7.  Silently in the background of John 21 is Peter's repeated denial of Jesus. What does this story tell us about how Jesus deals with "lapsed followers" who have denied or rejected him at some point?  

Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: April 10, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Go and Find a Donkey





Text: Matthew 21:1-11

Sermon date: April 9, 2017


21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 "Say to the daughter of Zion,

'Behold, your king is coming to you,

    humble, and mounted on a donkey,

    on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.'"

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" 11 And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."

To begin:

Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17--"Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law."

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking (1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you? (2) What questions does the story raise in your mind?


1.  Jesus gives two disciples a word of instruction as they make their approach to Jerusalem. If you had been one of those two disciples, what would your response have been to his instruction? What would your conversation have been like as you followed what Jesus said to do?

2. What is Matthew trying to show his readers by quoting the words of Zechariah 9:9?

3. Use the footnotes in your Bible, a study Bible, or biblegateway.com to look at the phrases the crowds shouted as Jesus made his way to Jerusalem. Talk about related scriptures and what these words might have meant to the people.

4.  Do you see a tension between the words of Zechariah and the shouts of the crowd?

5. In v. 10 there is a question about Jesus' identity. What do you notice about the response given in v. 11? How does this compare with our first "Red Letter" session (see Matt. 16:13-18).    


1. Jesus gives an unusual but clear instruction in vv. 2-3. What kinds of things make it hard for us to be obedient to what Jesus has plainly said? Compare Prov. 3:5-6.

2. Maybe there's some ordinary thing in your life that "the Lord has need of?" What might that be?

3.  Do we ever get caught up in the enthusiasms of the crowds around us? What would you have thought of a Rabbi riding a donkey? 

4. Do we still place certain "expectations" on Jesus? What were they in this story? what are they in our lives?



Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: April 2, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Do You Want To Get Well?


After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids-blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" 7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed." 11 But he answered them, "The man who healed me, that man said to me, 'Take up your bed, and walk.' " 12 They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working." [1]


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 5:1-17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

To begin:

Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17 - "Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law."

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking (1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you? (2) What questions does the story raise in your mind?


1.  What do you think of Jesus' question in v. 6? What do you think Jesus might have been doing with this question? 

2.  Just as importantly, what do you think of the man's response in v. 7? How would you characterize his answer to Jesus? What might it tell us about him?

3.   See verse 13. Why do you think Jesus "withdrew from the place?" John gives us an answer - but what is the significance of what John tells us?

4.  What is the common thread that seems to tie verse 14 back to verse 6?

5. What do you think Jesus was saying to this man in verse 14? What might be worse than 38 years of "being an invalid?"


1.  What are the 'pools' that people are sitting by, waiting and hoping that somehow this pool will make them well, make their lives work?

2.  Are there ways in which people become comfortable with their illness? Does the brokenness of life ever become the 'norm' that we accept?

3.  What would a 38 year affliction do to a person's expectations and their sense of hope?

4.  How can we come to "learn" or "know" of the stories of suffering that are around us?


Merciful God, we live our days waiting on something or someone that will make us whole. All the while you invite us to look to you for the wholeness we seek. Forgive our misguided searching. Forgive us for looking to you only as the means of some greater thing in which we have placed our hope. Pour out your grace that we might find help an healing in you alone, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.


Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: March 26, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Seeking and Saving the Lost


He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

                                                                                                      New American Standard Bible


1.  This event in Jesus' life takes place as he makes his way to Jerusalem. Read Jesus' words in Luke 13:31-35. What will take place upon Jesus' arrival and entry into Jerusalem?

2.  Zaccheus is a curious character-a perennial favorite of children's Bible stories. What do you know about tax collectors in Roman Palestine? Read Luke 18:9-15 for some possible insight. Who might we consider the modern equivalent of a first century Tax Collector and why?

3.  We are told that Zaccheus was a short man and therefore had to climb a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Does it strike you as ironic that in making Jesus more visible to himself, Zaccheus made himself more visible to Jesus?

4.  Even as Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem in order to be faithful to the Father's plan, he takes the time to visit with Zaccheus. Is this encouraging to you? If so, why?

5.  Re-read verse 5. Jesus addresses Zaccheus with a tone of urgency. Why might that be?

6.  Zaccheus responds to Jesus invitation joyfully. Not everyone is joyful, however. Some grumble--who? Why might this be their reaction? Have you ever found yourself grumbling at God's generosity to someone?

7.  What is Zaccheus' response to Jesus presence? What does he say in verse 8? What's remarkable about Zaccheus' offer?

8.  Read Exodus 22:1, Leviticus 6:5, and Numbers 5:7. How does Zaccheus' offer compare with the requirements of the Mosaic Law?

9.  How does Jesus respond to Zaccheus' offer? Jesus remarks, "he [Zaccheus] also is a son of Abraham" (v. 10). What do you think this means? Read Romans 9:6ff.

10.  Re-read verse 10. What is Jesus' mission according to this verse? 


Gracious Heavenly Father,
We come before you in many ways the same as Zaccheus-small, weak, un-popular, and in need of grace. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus who has reached out to us and has come into our lives and has wrought in us the grace of salvation. Help us, like Zaccheus, to turn from our sin and to do that which is right, all to your honor and glory.

Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: March 19, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: I Am He


John 4:7-30, 39-42


1.  The Pharisees believed that Jesus had baptized more disciples than John the Baptist. How does Jesus respond? What does this suggest about the Kingdom of God and unhealthy competition?  

2.  John records that Jesus did not baptize any disciples. Why might that be? Does reading 1 Corinthians 3:4-6 help you answer this?

3.  What do you know about the relationship between Jews and Samaritans in biblical times? Note that verse 9b can also be translated, "Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans." What's the significance of Jesus sharing a cup with this woman?    

 4.  In verse 10 Jesus refers to "the gift of God." In the context of this conversation, what might this "gift of God" be referring to?

5.   The woman perceives that Jesus is special: "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet" (v. 19). Is her statement correct?

6.  Notice that Jesus unconditionally accepts the woman and yet Jesus also affirms that true worship requires worship in "spirit and truth" (v. 24)-authentic worship that is based in truth-and that "salvation is from the Jews" (v.22). What's significant Jesus approach to the woman? What two things does he manage to achieve? 

7.  How does Jesus respond to the woman's statement about his identity: "I know that the Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes he will tell us all things" (v. 25)? If you have access to a concordance or a bible dictionary, try to find where else Jesus refers to himself as the Messiah in such ambiguous terms. Why might he have saved this uniquely direct revelation for this woman? 

8.  Clearly the Samaritans and the Jews hated one another and their hatred was based in theological differences as well as other factors, yet Jesus reached out to this woman. Who is someone who you dislike? What could you do to reach out to him or her?  

9.  Consider verse 27. What attitude do the disciples display toward this woman?

10. According to verses 39-42 what is the result of Jesus' tenderness toward this woman?


Gracious God,
Thank you that Jesus models for us your desire to unite all people in the truth of your gospel. Help me to welcome all people and to point them to the forgiveness found in Christ alone and to the transformation possible in Jesus' power. Amen.

Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: March 12, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Do You Still Not Understand?


14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." 20 "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." 21 And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?" 


1. Read Mark 8:11-13. Immediately prior to this episode, the Pharisees had demanded a sign from Jesus in an attempt to test him. How does Jesus respond? What does this suggest about Jesus' ministry and about his miracles?

2. The feeding of the four thousand takes places just a few verses prior to this event-probably earlier the same day. Mark connects the two episodes by reminding us that, "they had forgotten to bring bread" (v. 14). The disciples then get into a discussion about the fact that they have but one loaf between them. What does this suggest about their powers of observation and the nature of their faith in Christ?

3. Jesus issues a warning to his disciples: "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod" (15). Reread 8:11-13 and also Luke 23:6-12. What is Jesus referring to? What is the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod?

4. Hearing them disciples discussing their shortage of food, Jesus proceeds to ask them eight questions. What are they? What point is Jesus trying to make?

 4.1.   Question 1:
4.2.   Question 2:
4.3.   Question 3:
4.4.   Question 4:
4.5.   Question 5:
4.6.   Question 6:
4.7.   Question 7:
4.8.   Question 8:

5. In response to Jesus' final question, the disciples respond correctly-"seven" (v. 20). How does Jesus respond to this correct answer? What does this suggest about the disciples' understanding of the identity and ministry of Jesus?

6. Have there been times in your life when despite the fact that Jesus is present, you are unsure of what he is actually doing? Why? How has God used those times to deepen and grow your faith?



So often we see but do not understand. Indeed, we cannot understand and receive your grace unless you first draw us to yourself and give us new life. Turn our hearts back to you. Open our minds and our hearts to understand your purposes both in our lives and in the world. Help us to follow you faithfully, even as our faith matures.

Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: March 5, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Who Do You Say I Am?


13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 "Well," they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."15 Then he asked them, "But who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven." 20 Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


1. Jesus first question is, "who do people say the Son of Man is?" What answer is he given? What do each of the four responses (v. 14) have in common? What does this suggest about Jesus' ministry? 

2. Jesus then poses the question, in a more direct way, to his disciples: "But, who do you say I am?" (v. 15). Who answers first? How does he answer Jesus' question (v. 16)? Read John 11:27. How does Martha's response compare with Simon Peter's?

3. Read Matthew 8:27 and 14:33. How has the disciples' understanding of Jesus identity changed and developed?

 4. How does Jesus respond to Peter (v. 17)? What does this tell you about the nature of saving faith?

5. Jesus calls Peter, "the rock" (v. 18) and says that upon "this rock, I will build my church" (v. 19). Protestants typically understand Jesus to be referring to himself when he says, "this rock" rather than Peter (which is commonly held by Roman Catholics). Which view do you favor and why?

6. In verse 20, Jesus instructs his disciples not to reveal his identity as the Christ (the Messiah) to anyone. This is called "the Messianic secret" in New Testament studies. Why do you think that Jesus might have desired this?


Heavenly Father, we know that it is only by faith that comes as a result of grace that we can profess with Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Help us to make that good profession today and to bear witness to him in all that we do.





Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: February 26, 2017
Text: Devoted: Praying Together




And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." 38 And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.     
                                                                                                   Mark 1:34-39                                                                

Q. What is Prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of sin, and thankful acknowledgment of all his mercies.

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A. 93


A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of sin, and thankful acknowledgment of all his mercies.

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A. 93

1. Jesus pattern of prayer is outlined in 1:35. When and where did Jesus pray?

2. When and where do you pray? Do you have a regular habit of prayer like Jesus? If not, take a few minutes to write out when, where, and how you will pray.

3. We are told that Jesus prayed in "desolate places." Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 and Hebrews 12:12, 13. Is there a connection between Jesus praying in the "desolate places" and the Christian life? If there is, what does that suggest about the nature of Christian discipleship in a fallen world?

4.  The disciples search for Jesus and, upon finding him, reproach him for his absence. How does Jesus reply? What does Jesus' response tell you about his purpose and the role of prayer in his life?

5.  Read Luke 19:10. What is Jesus' mission? How does prayer connect with that mission? Reflect on your mission (see Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:16-20). How does prayer connect with our mission?


Lord our God, we come into your presence. Hear our prayers, we entreat you. Let your will be done among us; let your will be done for each one of us individually, and for our time. Let everything go according to your will, even if the way leads through tribulation, fear, and need. For in the end your goal will be reached. In the end you will fulfill your purpose, and your kingdom will come. Your kingdom will come to the honor of your name and for the redemption of all people still suffering on earth. Let your Word bring us blessing. May we go forward joyfully in the patience of Jesus Christ until times change, until a new day dawns and we are allowed to see your glory and your peace. Amen.




Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Beth Case
Date: February 19, 2017
Text: Devoted: Growing Together


"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work."


1According to Pastor Beth, some who believe the world is becoming a better place, and some who believe it's getting worse. Which you are? Why? Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9. What did Paul think?

2.  Robert Fulghrum famously said, "Everything you need to know you learned in Kindergarten." Paul wrote that Timothy should "continue in the Scripture you've learned..." (v. 14). Pastor Beth challenged us to continue. In light of your current circumstances, what does continuing look like for you?

3. 19th Century preacher Dwight L. Moody said, "The Bible is not for information, but for transformation." How is the Bible being used by God to and you and to shape you into the person God desires you to be? How will you interact with, and incorporate Scripture into daily life?

4.  Do you have a "life verse"? What is it? How did you pick it? If not, consider finding a life verse in 2017-a verse or passage of scripture that has special meaning to you, and that is especially important in bringing meaning and purpose into your life.

5. According to verse 17, one purpose of the Scripture is that it prepares and equips us for the good works that God has for us (compare Ephesians 1:10). What good works are you engaged in and what role has the Bible played in preparing you for them?


Lord our God,
we thank you that in spite of all the evil, we may look toward the good and toward a change for the better. For your love, your Spirit of love, can be with us. In spite of all that has gone wrong, we can change. Through genuine faith we can become worthy in your sight. Everything can turn to the good. The nations can become glad, rejoicing in life because you are working among them to help them change. Amen.

{Christoph Friederich Blumhardt}


Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: February 12, 2017
Text: Devoted: Life Together


"You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.  On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.

May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus."


1.  It's easy for us to have many acquaintances-people we know at the level of information and   impressions. How many honest-to-goodness, know-everything friends do you have? How many of them are connected to this body of believers?

2.  It's easier to talk about community than practice it. In what ways do you intentionally practice Christian community? What makes Christian friendship different from other friendship?

3.  At several places in this letter Paul seems to struggle with a sense of loneliness (read 1:15; 4:9, 20). Have there been times in your life when you struggled with loneliness? Are you struggling now? What is one concrete step you could take to move into community? Is there a person that God is laying on your heart to reach out to and invite into community? What is stopping you? 

4.  Paul prays for his friend Onesiphorous. He was the kind of friend who brought out the best in Paul, and enabled him to handle difficult circumstances. Christ-centered friendships "leave us better than they found us." How are you growing Christ-centered friendships?

5.  Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor--Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

   A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." What does this tell you about friendship? 

6.  Paul is in the midst of difficult times. He writes that Onesiphorous was, "not ashamed of my chains." True friends step into our mess. Think for a moment, who would call you at 2 a.m. to take them to the hospital? Who would you call?

7.  Loneliness is antithetical to the Gospel. In Christ we are brought into relationship with God and with one another. Read Ephesians 2:19ff. (below) and see if you can write it in your own words.


Lord Jesus,
Thank you that we are no longer foreigners and strangers. Instead we are fellow citizens with God's people and also members of God's household. Thank you for the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and most especially for Christ Jesus who is himself the chief cornerstone, though rejected by many. Thank you that in him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple set apart for you. Continue your good work of building us together to become a dwelling in which you live by your Spirit.


Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: February 5, 2017
Text: Devoted: Eating Together


17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is foryou. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judge ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another--34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home-so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.


1.  In this passage, Paul is addressing a worship problem that the church in Corinth wasexperiencing. What was it? What was happening?

2.  Paul notes, "...there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized" (v. 19). What do you think he means by this? How does division with a congregation reveal the hearts of those involved in the conflict?

3.  Notice that Paul writes that what he received from the Lord, he passed on to the churches concerning the institution of the Lord's Supper (v. 20). In what ways are you "passing on" the faith that you received to those who follow behind you?

4.  Paul includes a caution to those receiving the body and blood of Christ. When we receive communion, we must prepare (v. 28) so that we worthily eat and drink the elements and commune with God. Do you prepare for the Sacrament? What are some things you might consider doing to prepare to meet with Christ in the bread and cup?

5.  What do you think that Paul means by, "...if we judge ourselves truly, we would not be judged" (v. 31)?

6. When God judges and disciplines his people, it is toward a certain outcome. According to verse 32, what is that end?

7.  What is Paul's final instruction concerning the Lord's Supper? What might this suggest about the nature of the Supper? Is it just about communing with God or is it more than that?



I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
  before the gods I sing your praise;

2 I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
    for you have exalted your name and your word
    above everything.

3 On the day I called, you answered me,
    you increased my strength of soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
   for they have heard the words of your mouth.

5 They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
   for great is the glory of the Lord.

6 For though the Lord
   is high, he regards the lowly;  
   but the haughty he perceives from far away.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
   you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
   you stretch out your hand, 
   and your right hand delivers me.

8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: January 29, 2017
Text: Living Large: Following Jesus Into The Neighborhood



25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" 27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" 37

He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

                                                                                                                                (Luke 10:25-37)


1.     Luke 10:25 Gk him
Luke 10:35 The denarius was the usual day's wage for a laborer



God commands his people to love our neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). Not only that, we are to love our neighbors as we "love ourselves." While loving our neighbors seems complicated; it's really not. It boils down to treating them as we would wish to be treated. Specifically: (1) opening our eyes to our neighbors' needs, (2) opening our hearts in compassion toward our neighbors, and (3) opening our hands to aid our neighbors, and (4) opening our wallet to share our resources with our neighbors.


1.  When Jesus asks the lawyer to answer his own question ("what shall I do to be saved?" v. 25), how does the lawyer respond?  

2.  The lawyer shows insight. Read the following verses: Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:4. Compare them with Jesus' statement in Matthew 22:37-40. How are they alike or different?

3.  Jesus unpacks the lawyer's answer by telling a story. Who is the hero of the story? Why is this surprising?

4.  The story happens along "the Jericho road" (v. 30)-a high crime area in ancient Israel. Does this have any significance to the story? Why or why not?

5.  Two characters pass the injured man. First, a priest; then, a layman. Finally, the Samaritan comes to the man's aid. Who would you have expected to respond? 

6.  Jesus poses the question: "which one of these was a neighbor to this man?" In this instance, what does Jesus mean by neighbor? Is it related to proximity? Is it related to action? What do you think?

7.  The lawyer responds, "...the one who showed him mercy" (v. 37). We often talk about justice. How is justice different from mercy? Is there any significance in which word we use?

8.  In light of these verses, what is God calling you to do?


Gracious God,
Give us the grace to follow you into our neighborhoods. Help us to show your love, care, and concern for all those whom we encounter there. Through our small deeds and actions, may they come to place their faith in Christ and receive life eternal.




Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: January 22, 2017
Text: Living Large: Following Jesus In The Home



Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Colossians 3:12-17


1. The apostle Paul tells us that in order to be Christian disciples we need to take action. That action is clothing ourselves with Christ's character. How do we do that? What are some tools or means that God has given us to grow in grace? How are you using these tools in your own life?

2. Martin Luther said, "The family is the smallest church." How does your family shape and develop one another's faith Do you worship together-at home or with the church? What is one thing you could do to invest in growing one another's faith?

3. It's more important, and certainly more realistic, to have grace in family relationships than perfection. How can you intentionally grow as a grace-filled family?

4.  We're told to "let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts." How do we experience the peace of Christ? How do we get it?

5.  The peace of Christ seems to be related to the "word of Christ" dwelling richly in us. How do we get the "word of Christ" into our souls? Which of the list of things given in verse 16 appeal to you especially? Why?

6. Paul sums up by saying, "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (17). What does it mean to do something "in the name of Christ"? Does acting in such a way change how you think about parts of your life?


            We acknowledge how difficult it is to live in perfect accordance with our faith in the Lord Jesus, especially at home. Thank you for your promise that your Spirit dwells within us and is working to transform us--moment by moment--into the likeness of Christ. Help us to submit to that work and also to actively pursue godliness. Help us to live out the virtues listed here in order that together we may bring you glory and honor. Amen.





January 7-14, 2017


Here is a picture of our lunch together with eleven other leaders of the local church. A special time of fellowship.

Here is a picture of our lunch together with eleven other leaders of the local church. A special time of fellowship.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Today is our first full day in Tirrases, Costa Rica, and the second day of our trip. We started off our day with a lively and joyful worship at Concepcion, 30 minutes ride from Tirrases, where we deeply felt the presence of the Holy Spirit!

We helped set up the tent that becomes their church "building" on Sundays and met some of the members and community participants. As the worship ended and the tent was folded again, we went to have lunch with some of the local leaders.


We returned to play soccer (futbol) with kids and adults who attended the service (in the pouring rain!).

We were invited to a member's house to learn about the church's future plans for a community project in their neighborhood. A huge dream that God has put in their hearts!

We finished the day with an outdoor dinner prepared with much love and a time of fellowship at Capilla del Camino.  We then departed with our host families for the night.

(From Katia Faroun)

My favorite part of Sunday was the soccer game.  There were 30 people playing or watching a great game in the rain.  No one complained about the rain or mud or the ball going over the hill 20 times. It was just a group of adults, youths, and children from different places, races, and languages that became one through worshiping together in the morning and then having a great time together.

(Leslie Pohl)

Monday, January, 9, 2017

Wonderful time of devotional and Bible study this morning based on Genesis 32:23-33 when we discussed facing fear and seeking God to do so.

Later, with strong winds but blue skies, we departed from Capilla del Camino.  We were surrounded by a group of over 25 children from 6 to 14 years old, excited for the day and ready for the 20 minutes walk that took us to a nearby park.


So much fun to be participating in games and suggesting games to this group of kids!  Most of them never got tired during the few hours that we played non-stop! With the end of the morning and after we ate a simple lunch the skies darkened and the rain returned; everybody was going home. Unexpectedly one of the children's leaders offered to take all of us on an adventure to visit a dam an hour away.

The generosity of her husband and herself was so evident as they pointed to a large 14 passenger van which was the means of the husband's work. They did not want any payment simply the joy to show us their beautiful part of the country and the opportunity to share a time of fellowship with us.  The rainy weather did not matter any longer as they pointed to us coffee fields, lush hills, the cattle in the field, a craftsman's display of coffee wood's carvings, a suspended bridge (of course all of us had to walk on it even under the rain) and finally the dam.

At the end of the day burned from the sun in the morning, and our muscles aching from the games we played with the children, we could still thank God for his mercy and care through the love, laughs, and kindness we received from our Costa Rican friends.

Pastor Manuela on behalf of the Costa Rica team.

Tuesday, January 10 

We started the day with the encouragement of 1 Cor. 13:1-13 in preparation for the health fair that the local church together with Omega International hosted for the residents of Tirrases. The fair consisted of 4 stations: Welcome and short presentation of the gospel, health screening, eye screening, and individual prayer as needed.

So many people came that instead of the fair going from 10 am to 3pm, it went till 6 pm.  Our eyes were really opened when we heard the prayer requests of the attendees and their many needs (physical and spiritual).


After the fair ended we went to Omega International's headquarters and learned about their story and mission: to help the youth of Costa Rica and neighboring countries stay on the path of God by keeping themselves holy and pure, providing teaching and celebrations for quinceañeras and couples that want to be married and have not done so for multiple reasons, as well as supporting single mothers.  We were able to give them two large duffle bags filled with beautiful dresses and suits donated by our congregatons towards these ministries.


From Katia Faroun


Katia's favorite moment: I loved playing with the kids at the health fair. I was able to show them how to take photos with my camera and they loved teaching each other afterwards. We also played some "futbol"/soccer (but with a two litre bottle. Whatever works!)