In this first passage from the Colossians series, the apostle Paul celebrates the spiritual growth of the new church in Colossae. Pastor Mark introduces this new sermon series and encourages the St. Paul's Congregation with news of how the gospel is growing and bearing fruit throughout the world.
Pastor Mark revives a Christmas Sermon preached by his father when he was a child. The message encourages us to have the excitement and faith of a child, but to ponder the meaning of Christmas with the meditation skills of an adult.
Pastor Mark explores Mary's emotional journey from anxiety to adoration, as she grapples with the news that she is to be the mother of the Messiah. The Magnificat and the story behind it reveal significant lessons in trust and how to grow in faith during trying times.
In this sermon, the St. Paul's Chorale helps Pastor Mark communicate Isaiah's admonition to "Prepare the way of the Lord" with selection from Handel's "Messiah." The sermon encourages us to prepare for the coming of Jesus by receiving God's comfort (Is. 40:1-2), repenting of our sins (Is. 40:3-4), rejoicing in our hope (Is. 40:5), and repeating God's message (Is 40:9).
Pastor Mark launches this Advent Series with an exploration of Zechariah's Song, the Benedictus. God works in times os silence to deepen our faith and praise. As you listen, you will understand how the 400 years of silence between the testaments, and the 9 months of Zechariah's silence during Elizabeth's pregnancy were important for God's work of preparation for the first Christmas.
Discipleship is much more than conversion. Ruth was a woman who, after making a commitment to Naomi's God, put feet to her faith. Both Ruth and Boaz participated in their own providence through reponsible human behavior. Little by little, Ruth and Naomi begin to see God's plan unfold in their tragic situation.
"Can I trust God when He allows pain and suffering in my life, especially when I see little or not purpose in it?" That is the question raised in the first chapter of Ruth. This message, from Ruth 1:1-22, shares important truths about suffering, which will help God's people see the smiling face of God behind a frowning providence.
Pastor Mark winds up the sermon series on discipleship with a study of Romans 15 and the "one anothers" in this passage. Relationships are foundational for discipleship, but also for a joyful life. Memories of "Life Together" on the family farm, and "Life Together" on the camino illustrate the value of relationships in discipleship.
Pastor Mark continues to discuss the various stages of discipleship, emphasizing what is needed for spiritual growth in each stage. The early church is used as a model, including their devotion to teaching and fellowship (Acts 2:41-47), their emphasis on training others for ministry (Acts 6), and releasing others to make disciples (Acts 8).