Messages that Build a Christ Connection

It’s a Boy

The birth announcement. What wonderful news. A new life has come into this world. Who will she be? What will he do? What will her gifts be? What will people love about him? 

Endless possibilities. Renewed hope in the future. Someone new to love.

The coming of the Messiah, the Christ child, was announced by prophets of old and anticipated by an entire nation. Everyone knew He would be a “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

But for two parents, three Magi, and some shepherds, His coming was even more magical than thought to be possible. 

We will explore this wonderful announcement to the Lord: “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given.”

Come join us!

December 2   The Signs   Audio   Text

December 9   The Messenger   Audio   Text

December 16 The Announcement   Audio   Text

December 23 The Acknowledgement   Audio   Text

December 24 The Coming

In God We Trust

It is on our money: “In God We Trust.” Since 1957, it has been there. It’s funny that we have that phrase on our money, especially today in our materialistic society. For so many, the phrase couldn’t be more false. Many believe “In Government We Trust”, or “In Fame We Trust”, or “In Fortune We Trust”, not “In God We Trust”. 

That same could be said sometimes in the church. Though it’s clearly required in Scripture, less than a majority of church members actually tithe. Instead, offerings to God are left to the “if we have anything left over” category.

During our stewardship series, we are learning what it truly means to say “In God We Trust” and what it says about us to not only believe it, but practice it.

November 4    “In God – Part 1: What does the Bible say about Giving?”   Audio   Text

November 11   “In God – Part 2: What does the Act of Giving say about Our Ideas of God?”   Audio   Text

November 18  “We Trust – Part 1: What does the Act of Giving say about Our Obedience?”   Audio   Text

November 25  “We Trust – Part 2: What does the Act of Giving say about Our Faith?”   Audio   Text

God’s Top Hits: A Study in Psalms

Music is a wonderful thing. It touches our heart with emotions of joy, longing, and love. We can remember the tune and lyrics of a song 10, 20, 30, and more years old long after we have forgotten the events of those same days.

During our message series “God’s Top Hits”, we looked at the songbook, the hymnal, of the Bible. We did a short study of the Psalms, and were amazed at what the Psalms tell us about having a relationship with the Lord and how we are to walk in His ways.

October 7    “The Psalms: Singing Our Relationship with God”   Audio   Text

October 14  “Who Am I?”   Audio Only

October 21  “Lord, Where Are You?”   Audio   Text

October 28  “God is My Refuge and Strength”   Audio   Text

From Stressed to Rest

It is the affliction that haunts everyone at some point in their lives. We all deal with it the best we came, but it keeps coming back, over and over again. And according to health experts, it’s killing us.

Stress. There are many causes and many “cures”. Many reliefs and many relapses. What can we do to permanently turn the tide?

In our series “From Stressed to Rest” we exploreed biblical keys to dealing and relieving stress in our lives from one of Jesus’ most famous quotes.

September 9    “Come”   Audio   Text

September 16   “Take”   Audio   Text

September 23   “Learn”   Audio   Text

September 30   “Easy and Light”   Audio   Text


How Do I Pray?

There are many aspects of the Christian life that most of us wish we were better at: read and understand our Bible, gave more, served more, witnessed more, etc. And most Christians wish they had a better and more effective prayer life.

Prayer is THE essential spiritual discipline. For when we can do nothing else for God, we can still pray. 

During our series “How Do I Pray?”, we explored the keys to a powerful, meaningful, and effective prayer life.

August 12         “5 P’s of Prayer”   Audio   Text

August 19         “Kinds of Prayer”   Audio   Text

August 26        “Hindrances To Prayer”   Audio   Text

September 2   “Persistence Of Prayer”   Audio   Text

Guest Preacher: Kathy Kitchel

August 5    “Whatever It Takes”   Audio

Ruth: A Story of Redemption

Imagine it: you are a widow, a refuge from your homeland racked by famine, with no support system. You have two daughter-in-laws who are looking to you for answers, and the only thing you know to do is go home and hope for the best. One of your daughter-in-laws vow to remain with you no matter what. You return to a place where you once knew happiness, but now the only thing you feel is fear.

Imagine it: you are a young widow who loves her mother-in-law, and she wants to go back home. You can’t leave her alone, but the future seems so uncertain. Yet, you decide to go with her, accept her life, community, and faith. But what will become of the two of you?

The Old Testament story of Ruth is a story of redemption, where mourning is turned to joy, poverty turn to abundance, loneliness turned to love, and vulnerability turn to redemption. And through it all, we see the story of Jesus, who would redeem us.

We discovered the truths of Ruth and redemption.

July 8      “Tragedy and Loyalty”   Audio   Text

July 15    “Reaping”   Audio   Text

July 22    “It’s Not What You Think”   Audio   Text

July 29    “New Life, New Hope”   Audio   Text


Very few Christians would choose one of the Ten Commandments to drop and suggest it was no longer necessary. They are set in stone (literally and figuratively). 

Christians also know to follow the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your… Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31) It may be hard, but we know we are to strive towards fulfilling it.

God’s calling and commission is also clear and binding: “Go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19) This one, um, we often ignore.

In a world increasingly anti-Christian, where violence in schools and profanity on the airways rears its ugly heads on a weekly basis, has the Church’s inactivity led to the decline in our influence and the decay of the moral fabric? Are we failing to follow all of God’s commands?

During the month of June, we are challenging ourselves to “Dare2Share”, a series to look at the call and the tools of evangelism. 

Come join us!

June 3    “What would it be like if Jesus Lived in Your House”   Audio   Text

June 10  “Everyone Loves Andrew”   Audio   Text

June 17   “Going Out”   Text

June 24   “Get out of the Pews” by Guest Preacher Zach Holler

No Power Shortage

And while he was in a Roman prison, the reports of the continued growth of the church must have been a great encouragement to Paul. He wrote, “I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” And when Paul says he is praying, he means it. 

How cool would it be to know that the Apostle Paul was praying for your church! But what did he pray?

During this single message, we looked at the three things Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, and these are the same prayers we should pray for our spiritual lives and growth individually and corporately.

May 27   “No Power Shortage”   Audio   Text

The Greatest of These is Love

Listen to the radio and you will hear one emotion and topic repeated over and over again: love. It’s what the world needs now and it’s all you need. We can’t help falling into it, we call to say it, and it is a crazy thing.

We sing a lot about love. But for all the songs about love, all the novels, the paintings, the poems, none describes love more fully, more clearly, than one single chapter in the Bible.

For several weeks, we will look at the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, as we learn “The Greatest of These is Love”.

Come join us!

April 29   “The Greatest of These…”   Audio   Text

May 6       “The Character of Love”   Audio   Text

May 13     “This is What Should Last”   Audio   Text

May 20    “It’s Time To Bring Back Love As The Church’s Brand”   Text

We Have Seen Jesus

Imagine yourself one of Jesus’ original disciples. It is the weekend of the crucifixion. Your hopes and dreams of what you understood of the coming of the Messiah are destroyed. Jesus seemed to be the anointed one, the Christ. Now He’s dead and in a borrowed tomb. Could it get any worse.

Then on Sunday, you begin to hear rumors that Jesus is alive, resurrected. People begin reporting sightings and personal encounters.

This is almost more than you can comprehend. Any expectations you might have had about Jesus have now been entirely exceeded. Alive! Risen!

For a few weeks, we look at the stories of the encounters with Jesus after the resurrection and discover that our exceptions for our lives can be entirely exceeded if we are willing to encounter the risen Christ.

Come join us!

April 8   “On the Road to Emmaus”   Audio   Text

April 15   “On the Shore of the Sea of Galilee”   Audio

April 22   “On the Mount of Olives”   Audio   Text

He said, “I Am”

All of us have had to introduce ourselves to someone else. And sometimes, we’ve had to go beyond the “Hi, my name is…” introduction to something more in-depth. Most of us have also had to complete a resume, listing our educational, training, and employment history. Some have had to write a short bio of yourself, maybe for a newsletter or a web page. You write something that would be interesting to the reader without boring them. A few have gone to the ultimate: writing some kind of autobiography to tell the stories of your life.

During the season of Lent, we are looking at what Jesus said about Himself, 8 phrases of Jesus that changed the world. “He said, ‘I am…’” will transform your thinking about Jesus.

Come join us!

Feb 18      He said, “I Am”   Audio   Text

Feb 25      The Way, the Truth, and the Life   Text

March 4    The Light of the World   Audio   Text

March 11  The Bread of Life   Audio   Text

March 18  The Good Shepherd   Audio   Text

March 25  The Messiah   Audio   Text

April 1       The Resurrection and the Life   Audio   Text

The Great Invitation: What happens when we take our call seriously

What is our calling as followers of Christ? To sit and watch the world go by on its way to ultimate judgment? To hope that someone comes along side us towards heaven?

No! We have a specific calling from Christ Himself, and it starts with an invitation. “Come and see the Messiah…” is what we should be saying to those around us who don’t know the Jesus we know.

We looked at two occasions in the New Testament that tell us who we are and what we are to do.

February 4   “F.R.A.N.”   Audio   Text

February 11   “Our Calling”   Audio   Text

Guest Preachers

For a couple of weeks, we had guest preachers:

January 21   Rev. Jim Jennings: “Life with God – Working It Out”   Audio 

January 28   Kathy Kitchel: “We’re Just Like Jonah”   Audio

The Right Foot: Starting the New Year

A look at the five things that are essential as we begin a New Year.

January 14   The Right Foot: Starting the New Year   Audio   Text

The Lights of Christmas: Finding Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Christ

Advent is a special time in the life of the church. The church gets decorated. There are special and wonderful programs. Certain traditions are played out once again, including the Advent wreath.

The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th Century. However, it was not until the 19th century that the modern Advent wreath took shape. Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, is credited as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath. During Advent, the children at the mission school he founded in Hamburg would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. So in 1839, he built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 24 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday and Saturday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. The custom gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with the 5 candles known today. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and in the 1930s it spread to North America.

During this Advent, we will look at the themes of the Advent Wreath – Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Christ – in the context of another Advent tradition: reading from Isaiah’s famous passage from chapter 9:2, 6-7, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light… For a child is born to us…”

Come join us.

December 3      “Hope – Mighty God”   Audio   Text

December 10    “Peace – Prince of Peace”   Audio   Text

December 17     “Joy – Wonderful Counselor”   Audio   Text

December 24    “Love – Everlasting Father”   Audio   Text

Christmas Eve  “Christ Has Come”   Audio   Text

Generosity: Maturity of Faith

Generosity comes from God. We give thanks every day for His provisions, guidance, grace, and work through Jesus Christ. He has given us the sun, our world, the people in our lives, presence in the midst of blessing and trials, and hope for the resurrection to eternal life.

Part of the process of maturing in our faith is to become more like God in our generosity as well. We need to learn generosity in our time, talents, gifts and our service.

During November, we looked at generosity as part of our annual stewardship series.

November 5    What Does God Have to do with it? (Rev. George Cooper)   Audio

November 11   Intentional Relationship with Jesus (Rev. George Cooper)   Audio

November 19   Growing in Giving   Audio   Text

November 26   Let’s Have a Party   Audio   Text

Heroes: Amazing Stories of Faith

We love heroes. Those that face down evil and triumph for good. Those that face insurmountable odds, yet conquer. Those that show us a life without fear. Heroes are just awesome.

The Bible is full of heroes and their amazing stories of faith. They inspire and move us closer to God. They had their flaws, to be sure, but their faith has stood the test of time, and they continue to inspire young and old alike.

We looked at eight heroes – men and women, Old and New Testament – who inspire and challenge us to also be heroes of the faith.

September 10   David   Text

September 17   Hannah   Audio   Text

September 24   Paul   Audio   Text

October 1           Moses   Audio   Text

October 8           Joseph   Audio   Text

October 15         John   Text

October 22         Esther   Audio   Text

October 29         Peter   Audio   Text

What is Holy Communion?

Holy Communion is part of our regular worship, and we should understand what we believe about this sacrament of the church.

September 3   “What is Holy Communion?”   Audio   Text


Salvation. It’s a word we throw around a lot in the church. Preachers are always saying, “You need to get saved!” Saved from what? Things that go bump in the night? Bigfoot? The Boogie-Man? Why would someone need saved when most of the fears we have are imaginary. “Besides, doesn’t God love me, and won’t He take care of me, including letting me into heaven? Surely He wouldn’t send me to the other place. What kind of love is that?”

All of the world religions have a plan, a path they say leads to salvation, to heaven, or some blessed place or new existence. Even within Christianity, there are differences of opinion: Can I earn my way to heaven? Do I really need Jesus? Aren’t we all going to heaven anyway.

For three weeks, we looked at what the Bible has to say about salvation. We cleared up the confusion, found the Biblical truths, and became certain of “the Way.”

August 13   “The Way of Salvation”   Audio   Text

August 20   “The Assurance of Salvation”   Audio   Text

August 27   “The Life of the Saved”   Audio   Text

Special Speaker Stephen Luzader

Rev. Stephen Luzader, Student Ministry Pastor of Christ UMC in Kettering, delivered a message based on 2 Samuel 21:15-19 entitled “They Do Get Woolly.”

August 6   “They Do Get Woolly”   Audio

Back to the Basics

Gary talked about the basics of what the Gospel, the Good News.

July 30   “Back to Basics”   Audio

“He’s Got Your Back”

Kathy Kitchel, our Youth Director, share a message from Romans 8:12-28 entitled “He’s Got Your Back.”

July 23   “He’s Got Your Back”   Audio

Mission: Possible 2017

Each summer, we spend time talking about missions and helping us get involved – not just with the checkbook, but with our lives in service to Christ. This year, we heard from our Youth Mission Team, then from Keith Wasserman from Good Works in Athens, and then the reasons, the mandate, and the method for missions. 

June 18   “The Foundational Truths of Missions”   Audio   Text

June 25   Youth Mission Team   Audio Only

July 2       Keith Wasserman, Director of Good Works in Athens, OH   Audio Only

July 9      “The Mandate Behind Missions”   Audio   Text

July 16    “The Method Behind Missions”   Audio   Text

It’s Somewhere: Looking for Answers

As we move through life, from place to place, we all have experiences that we would say are wonderful: learning to ride a bike, getting your driver’s license, graduating from high school, going to college, getting your first real job, getting married, having children, watching them do all those things you have done, then grandchildren. These are wonderful things, and we place the memories in boxes in the mind, like keepsakes, where we can pull them out whenever we want to smile, laugh, reflect, and feel better.

Unfortunately, we all know that as we travel through this life, we experience difficult or life altering times. Sometimes they are sudden; other times, they come upon us gradually. Sometimes they are completely devastating; others times, while difficult at the moment, life goes on.

And often, we ask ourselves, “Why do bad things happen?” And we start looking through the boxes of life where we have stored ideas, experiences, that we hope will help us through.

In our series “It’s Somewhere: Looking for Answers”, we explored the Bible to find the answers to some of the most difficult issues of life.

April 23   “Why Do Bad Things Happen?”   Audio   Text

April 30   “What About Our Future?”   Audio   Text

May 7       “I Admit it: I Have Doubts.”   Audio   Text

May 14     “How Can I Have Better Relationships?”   Audio   Text

May 21     “I’m Worried All the Time.”   Audio   Text

May 28     “I’m Not Worthy: Dealing with Low Self-Esteem”   Audio   Text

June 4      “I Need a Sense of Belonging.”   Audio   Text

June 11     “How Can I Have Assurance?”   Text

Journey to the Cross

Jesus knew why He had come. He knew what lay ahead. No doubt, He had seen a crucifixion. Yet He went to Jerusalem with unwavering purpose.

But along the journey to the cross, He came across individuals and groups of people who needed Him. They were hurting, suffering, confused, angry… lost. And He stopped, saw them, and as Jesus always did, gave them new life.

During the season of Lent, we took that “Journey to the Cross,” watching from the sidelines what happened when people met the Savior, and discovered for ourselves how much Jesus can change our lives.

March 5     “A Blind Man Meets A Healer”   Audio   Text

March 12   “A Little Man Meets a Big God”   Audio   Text

March 19   “A Rich Man Meets a Man with a Treasure”   Audio   Text

March 26  “Some Kids Meet a Man with a Kingdom”   Audio   Text

April 2        “A Group of Lawyers Meet The Judge of the Earth”   Audio   Text

April 9        “A Big Crowd Meets a Humble King”   Audio   Text

April 13      “A Bunch of Power Seekers Meet a Servant”   Text

April 16      “A Few People Meet the Humanity’s Savior”   Audio   Text

Ash Wednesday 2017

March 1     “The Practice of a Disciple”   Audio   Text

Acts of a Healthy Growing Church

It is a new year. New year; new you. That’s what we would like this year, isn’t. New year, new you.

We want more money, less debt. More muscle, less fat. More health, less aches. More security, less fear. More influence, less helplessness. More wisdom, less stupid. More love for God, for others. More faith, more prayer, more witness, more power.

Honestly, we want those same things for our church. More money, less debt. More muscle, less fat. More health, less aches. More security, less fear. More influence, less helplessness. More love for God, for others. More faith, more prayer, more witness, more power.

So, at the beginning of this new year, it is appropriate for us as a body of Christ to consider what it would take to be a new us this year. One with faith, one with prayer, one with witness, one with power. We want to be a healthy and growing congregation.

Our series “Acts of a Healthy Growing Church” looked at the Early Church through the book of Acts and see how they were healthy and growing.

January 8     “We must minister in the Holy Spirit’s power”   Audio   Text

January 15   “We must maintain a warm fellowship”   Audio   Text

January 22   “We must multiply small groups”   Audio   Text

January 29   “We must We Give People the Chance for a New Life”   Audio   Text

February 5    “We must maximize the power of prayer”   Audio   Text

February 12  “We must model Christ like generosity”   Audio   Text

February 19  “We must mobilize every member for ministry”   Audio   Text

February 26  “We must move out with God’s mission”   Audio   Text

It’s Your Time

How fitting is it that we begin the New Year in worship, renewing our covenant with God, and learning from Ecclesiastes that God has placed a time for everything.

And this year, it’s your time!

January 1   “It’s Your Time”   Audio   Text