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First UMC - Crystal Lake

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          First UMC Crystal Lake welcomes you to our church. Videos and podcasts of our sermons are published online weekly. We offer a variety of worship services; a full calendar of spiritual, service, educational, and fellowship opportunities; and a heritage of sharing the love of Jesus Christ with everyone.
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Date Title Series Speaker
4/13/2014 The Great Reversal: Palm/Passion Sunday

What a great day of celebration! Palm Sunday recalls for us the exuberant cheering of the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Palm Sunday is also one of the most difficult days of worship for Christians. Because, underlying the celebration, "the hosannas!" and "alleluias!" and the "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" is, if you know how the situation develops, a sinister, deeply disturbing, unfolding tragedy. From the ‘original sin’ in the Garden of Eden to Jesus ‘taking on the sins of the world’ with his crucifixion on the cross and his resurrection, God’s plan unfolds for all Christians.

Scott Field
4/6/2014 I Like Jesus…But Not The Church. Really? Think Again...

There is no question that the church, the community of believers, may seem strange to some. But we need more than virtual friends -- we need a real, authentic life-giving and life-sharing community. We need more than self-help programs -- we need a community that will tolerate us, contend with us, shape us, pray for us, and help us become more and more like Jesus. We need more than inspirational thoughts and motivational speeches to encourage our self-centeredness and small ambitions -- we need a community ready to risk it as partners together with one another and under the influence of the Holy Spirit sent for the healing of the world in Jesus' name. How dare we settle for anything less?

Think Again Scott Field
3/30/2014 Evil? It’s Just A Matter Of Being In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time

Maybe you've wondered yourself how come it is so difficult to live the way Jesus taught us to live. Christians have long understood that we have to contend with our own human nature, with the way the world is organized, and with our enemy the devil. It is true that Satan is out to get you. But, if you have placed your faith in Christ, you've been gotten already. Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life; and you will, thankfully, gloriously, finally, dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Think Again Scott Field
3/23/2014 What Christians Call 'God's Guidance' Is Just Coincidence...and Nothing More.

All of us have an inherent need for guidance. Our concern to receive God's guidance is highly important for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. We want to know about God's promise of guidance and where this guidance might be found.

Think Again Scott Field
3/16/2014 The Bible Is An Interesting Cultural Artifact, But Nothing More. Really? Think Again...

Even though the words in the Bible are penned by a human being, preached by a human being, and announced in the world from a human soul, they are the breath of God breathing out of a human instrument. God has instruments through whom He has breathed. God’s breath takes words and turns them into a life changing force. The words are reliable, trustworthy, without error.

Think Again Charles Yoon
3/9/2014 Prayer is Just Self-Talk for Religious People

Prayer is one of the most natural, meaningful, and precious but also confusing, challenging, and mysterious parts of faith. Even when we aren't sure we believe in Christ or how we believe in Christ, prayer is seemingly almost reflexive for many of us -- something akin to breathing. More than 80% of the people in the U.S. indicate that they pray -- whether they consider themselves religious or not.

Think Again Scott Field
3/2/2014 Faith Is Just Wishful Thinking ….And Nothing More.

The ultimate object of faith is not words about God -- these only point beyond themselves -- but the ultimate object, the One in whom we place our faith, is God. There is no question that our experiences of pain, suffering, and disappointment in life can challenge our trust in God. But, our response to that thing that happens is the opportunity for us to trust God -- or not. It is through our experiential testing of God's trustworthiness that we learn to exercise faith day by day.

Think Again Scott Field
2/23/2014 Christians Are Just Too Hung Up On The Cross. They Need To Lighten Up.

With his death, and subsequent resurrection, the cross became no longer a simple tool of execution, a means for Roman occupation forces in the 1st Century Eastern Mediterranean to keep the local population in abject fear of the law – such cruelty, such torture, such intimidation – no, with the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, the cross became a symbol uniquely mysterious and singularly important in the history of the world and the future of all humankind; which includes your future and mine as well.

Think Again Scott Field
2/16/2014 Christians Can't Decide Which 'Jesus' They Believe In

If you want to know about Jesus, where do you get your information? If you don’t want it pre-digested but want to find out for yourself, then where do you look? The answer, when it comes to Jesus, is the Bible; more specifically the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Think Again Scott Field
2/9/2014 "Christians Are Losers." Really? Think Again....

Are Christians in denial, comforting themselves with myths, fairy tales, and false hopes? Or is it precisely the opposite: the atheists, agnostics, the cynics and the skeptics have blinded themselves to what is true, beautiful, and right while the Christ-followers are of all people the one most closely connected to what is real? This isn't just a hypothetical question. It is the most important question, with the most important consequences, of anything any one of us ever faces. The great news is that it is an open question that welcomes our exploration and consideration.

Think Again Scott Field
2/2/2014 State of the Church Address

If we stay devoted to Christ, connected to one another, and focused on the needs of the world that Christ has come to redeem, we will find our way forward together. This is the simple and gracious way of God.

Journey 2014 Scott Field
1/26/2014 Why Is Church So Boring?

God responds when we come with the expectation and anticipation that we shall meet with God, experience the presence of power of the Holy Spirit, receive the promises of Christ here and now. Can we set aside our small excuses and week by week as we gather for worship, prayerfully, intentionally, and deliberately, call out: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us!"

Journey 2014 Scott Field
1/20/2014 He Stretched Out His Hand

Jesus reaches out today to us. As he stretched out His hand to the leper and touched him and made him whole, He stretched out His hands on the cross to make us whole. He reaches out to make us whole to restore us to the relationships that we should have with God and with ourselves, with our community, and with our neighbors. We are accepted, not because our skin is perfect or our spirits unblemished, but because He has entered our condition and He knows our needs and our weaknesses.

Journey 2014 Charles Yoon
1/12/2014 If Jesus Came to Church Here

Our faith can become simply the protocols of religious conformity. Put it on the list: one more thing to do – so do it conveniently, efficiently, and in a way that looks to others like we know what we’re doing. Perhaps, however, in our preference for efficiency and convenience in getting to God, we’ve missed something enormously important – that we are expected to invite others to come along with us.

Journey 2014 Scott Field
1/5/2014 Why God Prefers a Star to a GPS

Whenever we embark on the journey to connect with Jesus Christ or connect more deeply, we are risking the way things are for the way things may become. Some may be disturbed with us. Some may think we are fools. Some may try to convince us not to take the first steps on the journey. Some friends will no longer want to hang with us. And these circumstances could have an effect on our choices. And yet, engaging in this journey will bring joy to our souls; and this joy is an indicator that we are headed in the right direction for our lives.

Journey 2014 Scott Field
12/24/2013 Christmas Eve 2013

Scott Field
12/22/2013 Good News/Bad News: God Is With Us

In following Christ our minds are renewed, our loves are changed, our ambitions are expanded, and our dreams are enlarged. God is with us -- to comfort, to confront, and to commission us for the ongoing mission of Jesus. Settle for nothing less!

Flat-Footed at Christmas Scott Field
12/15/2013 Christmas: A Trivial Pursuit?

Don't miss the gift of joy offered to you in Christ. It isn't something you have to do -- it has been done. It isn't something for you to create. We are invited simply to follow the Way and in so doing we will be overtaken by JOY – the experience of confidence in God’s promises for us, for those we love, and for the world in which we live.

Flat-Footed at Christmas Scott Field
12/8/2013 It's Christmas

Waiting is hard -- really hard. And waiting is what Advent is all about. During this Advent season of preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we're trying to overcome our penchant for falling into the routine and the predictable. So we rush around trying to cram as much meaningfulness into this Advent season as possible. Instead, why don't we all sit very still and be very quiet and see if Jesus Himself, by the Holy Spirit, will come and fulfill his promises in our lives.

Flat-Footed at Christmas Scott Field
12/1/2013 Outgrown Christmas?

It's Christmas! Are you angry, anxious, or apathetic? (Choose all that apply) Our efforts to rush Christmas along distracts us from the work of watchful waiting and watchful living.

Flat-Footed at Christmas Charles Yoon
11/24/2013 In All Circumstances

In Thessalonica, Paul encouraged the early Christians with these wonderful words. He said, “Rejoice always. Pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks, for that is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The everlasting love of God enables us to give thanks in all the circumstances of our lives.

Charles Yoon
11/17/2013 Nevertheless

God's grace is sufficient for us, right where we are, facing what we face, to strengthen us so that we are well enough to be and do everything God has called upon us to be and do today. Faith counts on God's faithfulness even when we are disappointed with God.

Scott Field
11/10/2013 Can I Be Trusted?

What percentage of my income should I give to the work of God through this local church in 2014? Proportionate giving provides financial resources for the mission of the church in a way that is spiritually engaging for the individual and sufficient for the needs of the church.

Sermons On The Amount Scott Field
11/3/2013 The Divided Heart

This is an exciting time for us as a congregation! As we remember today those who have gone before us, as we come to the Lord's Table realizing we are part of the communion of saints that stretches through the centuries and crosses the boundaries between life and death, we see that it is our turn now. We are the ones to live faithfully in the present on behalf of the generations coming behind us. And so, for the Christ-follower, money is a matter of faith and trust much more than a matter of dollars and cents. We invest in the future when we finance the present.

Sermons On The Amount Scott Field
10/29/2013 A Generous Community

Money can be one of the major obstacles to the work of God in our lives. Money makes a wonderful, outstanding, powerful, incomparable tool for so many things. But it is a horrible god. So the concern for Jesus was most often whether money is used as an expression of our trust in the Lord or whether money had become lord in our lives and was using us.

CRUX Scott Field
10/20/2013 Connected Community

God places us in the community of other Christ-followers, we must be in the community of Christ-followers because this is the place where grace and truth can be applied to our wounded souls, where we can become the community of love and forgiveness, of telling the truth and living the justice of God. For Christ-followers church, the community of believers, is not an accessory or an afterthought. It is a discipline, a means of grace, as essential to the health and well-being of the Christ-follower as prayer, or Scripture, or worship.

CRUX Scott Field
10/13/2013 Devoted Community

If each one of us becomes a devoted Christian, we as a church will be a devoted community, a vital community, and a growing community. As we celebrate our 175 years ministry, we continue to share and pass on God’s unfolding story. The most important thing for our church to do is love God, love our neighbors, and make our church a devoted community. If we respond to God, walk with God, devote to God, honor God, and love God, He will do great things through us, with us, and in us and we will experience His best plan for our ministry for God’s kingdom!

CRUX Charles Yoon
10/6/2013 Practicing Christians

There are three simple characteristics of the missional community of believers. These same characteristics are the three basic practices of every Christian individual. These practices provide the opportunity for us to connect with God, for God to connect with us, and for our lives to make a difference in the Jesus mission for the healing of the world. These three characteristics are: Devotion to Christ, Connection to other believers and Generosity of our resources for others.

CRUX Scott Field
9/29/2013 Getting A Grip On the Bible

You have one life. A certain number of days. You can never recall or re-do any of them. You have two options on how you can spend your life. The Word of God is your guide for the path that leads to blessing now and forever. And it is our guide – for the community of believers – as we are sent together, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, for the healing of the world in Jesus’ name.

CRUX Scott Field
9/22/2013 Quick Start Bible Guide

The Bible is a very dramatic, sweeping, epic story. The Bible is the account, through poetry, history, song, prophecy, law, wisdom, gospel, letters, homilies, of the history of God’s redemption in Christ, an invitation to life in Christ, and the promise of the future victory in Christ. God’s salvation in Jesus Christ is the center of the entire story.

CRUX Scott Field
9/15/2013 Hammer, Sword, Fire, Honey: What’s Not to Like?

The Bible is God’s self-revelation that pulls back the curtain for us to know who God is, who we are, the purpose of our lives, and the destiny of the world. It guides us in the path that leads to the kind of life for which we are created.

CRUX Scott Field
8/25/2013 Written In Red

John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life." There is a God. This God relates to the world in which we live by love. And this love of God is expressed deeply, poignantly, powerfully, personally in the great exchange of Jesus' atoning death and victorious resurrection. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice, as a substitute for each and all of us, in order that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. There is purposefulness to God’s action.

CRUX Scott Field
8/18/2013 Returns and Exchanges

We are described as lost, wandering in the dark, broken in heart and soul, shunned, excluded, set aside, lonely, powerless, grief-stricken, living in the valley of the shadow of death, pushed this way and that by forces and powers greater than ourselves, squeezed into the mold of the world around us. But, by the grace of God, we are not without hope. In fact, amazingly, almost unbelievably, we are given a choice about our situation.

CRUX Scott Field
8/11/2013 The Tweet Heard 'Round the World...and Throughout Time

Gospel Truth is a four-part series that unpacks John 3:16 in terms of the nature of God, the necessity and provision of atonement, the possibility of conversion, and the opportunity to be a partner with God in the redemption of the world.

CRUX Scott Field
7/28/2013 Women's Weekend

Speaker, Jessie Cunningham, spoke on the topic "Sisterhood: Opening Our Arms to the Poor; Extending Our Hands to the Needy".

Jessie Cunningham
7/14/2013 Old Players, Old Game

Sports teams, like churches, get stuck in the routine, predictable, and comfortable. So do pastors. Focus on forces of innovation. The Lord is not done with us yet. This is the seasons of dreams, visions, and faithful action.

Scott Field
7/1/2013 Following and Focusing

We are supposed to fish for people, to seek and bring them into that great net known as the Kingdom of God, into that creed known as salvation, as redemption, as everlasting peace. How are we doing this? Are we fishing for people? There is so much power that flows when we witness to the love of God. There is so much power that flows when we choose to engage with someone who is troubled, or curious, or hungry.

Pastor Charles Yoon
6/23/2013 Dream On

There is a big difference between a “good dream” and a “God-dream.” In God’s dream for your life, you are to use the gifts, passions, and skills God has given you to bless the world.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
6/16/2013 No Guts, No Glory

God needs people who are more afraid of missed opportunities than making mistakes. God needs people who are more afraid of lifelong regrets than temporary failures. God needs people who dare to dream the unthinkable and attempt the impossible.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
6/9/2013 Sometimes It Takes A Shipwreck

Failure handled properly is often the best thing to happen to us. Through failure we discover that even when we fall on our faces, God is there to pick us back up again and open us up to other, better, options.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
6/2/2013 A Rooster's Crow

For most of us it is far easier to accept God’s forgiveness than it is to forgive ourselves; because we can forgive, but we can’t forget. Let the grace of God saturate and sanctify our sinful memories.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
5/26/2013 Stargazing

When things don’t fit within our pre-existing assumptions, we try to explain them away. But God loves to disrupt our routines and challenge our assumptions.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
5/19/2013 Throw Down Your Staff

It is so easy to become comfortable in our faith routines. To live life fully in the Spirit we need to take some risks and try new things.

Wild Goose Chase Charles Yoon
5/12/2013 Responsible Irresponsibility

The spirit of adventure that ought to be the hallmark of following Jesus should be adventurous. If your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you’re following the Spirit but have actually settled for something less.

Wild Goose Chase Steve Bullmer
5/5/2013 Is Heaven All That the Bible Says It Is?

Heaven and hell. What do we think about them? How can we understand them as reasonable, thinking people? Heaven or hell, which one do you choose? You see, we all have to make that decision somewhere along the way. Don’t leave it to chance! There’s not a lot we have control of in this world, but you do have control over where you go when you leave this world. You decide which of those places you want to be. You get to decide what happens to you in the future.

Questions For God Steve Bullmer
4/28/2013 How Did You Create All Life?

What’s the relationship between what you read in the Bible and what's being taught in science classes? Because they aren't the same. And the disconnect between science and religion has some scientists claiming to be atheists, and some Christians abandoning the sciences … or at least seriously questioning what the scientists are teaching. But there are many connecting points between what we learn in the field of physics and biology and geology, and what we learn in the area of theology and Scripture. Hopefully, a better understanding of scientific truths can help us end up saying, “Okay, these truths from physics help me understand my faith more clearly.”

Questions For God Steve Bullmer
4/21/2013 Does God Speak To Us Today?

As we are all unique children of God, he speaks to us in different ways. These are some of the ways: God speaks through Scripture, God speaks through nature and God's creation, God speaks through music, God speaks through His Spirit, God speaks through prayer. and God speaks to us through circumstances.

Questions For God Charles Yoon
4/14/2013 What Will My Future Be Like?

God, indeed, does have a plan for all of us. But it’s a game plan with lots of freedom, not a blueprint with every detail spelled out. Our job is not so much to find something; it’s to become someone, a reflection of His image and character in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

Questions For God Steve Bullmer
4/7/2013 Why Does Life Have To Be So Hard?

Today we begin a new series of sermons, “Questions for God.” Earlier we asked you: “If you could ask God just one question, what would it be?” And you came up with some great questions. Today we tackle a biggie: suffering and evil. This question, more than any other question, turns people away from God and away from the church. It’s a problem we all wrestle with, and without a satisfactory answer to this question, people say “If that’s how God is going to act, I want nothing to do with that God.” Christianity does have answers to real life questions. The Bible really is a guide to life. We choose to follow Jesus Christ because He is the only one who can give us the ultimate victory over life and over death. Choose to follow Christ because He is your Good Shepherd and He loves you more than you can imagine.

Questions For God Steve Bullmer
3/31/2013 Easter Sunday - "Winter Is Never the Last Word"

All ancient people recognized, as we do today, that there is a certain rhythm in our world. It’s the rhythm of the seasons that moves from springtime where there is new life, to summer where there is abundance, to fall where there is harvest, and finally into the winter where there is death. Winter is never the final word. Winter is not the end. And every day that we endure winter is a day closer to the next spring, and new life. Winter is never the last word. Springtime always comes after winter. And that’s what the Resurrection of Christ proclaims. Martin Luther wrote about it: “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

Steve Bullmer
3/24/2013 Companionship With God

Prayer is immediate access to the real, live presence of God. Prayer is companionship with God. You see, God wants to be personally involved in your life, and for personal involvement in any relationship, you have to make time and space. The gift of Jesus Christ must be received. God will not force Himself on any of us. Every person has to individually make that decision to invite Jesus Christ to come into your life and fill you with the Holy Spirit. In simple words, from a true desire of your heart, all you have to say is this: Jesus, come into my life and fill me with Your presence, that I may live forever in an intimate friendship with You.

Cry Of My Heart: A Series On Prayer Steve Bullmer
3/7/2013 Prayer, Health, and Wholeness

Jesus came to save the world, but how does that work in the lives of individual people? Discover a life-force that transcends illness and death, the power of faith in "Prayer, Health, and Wholeness."

Cry Of My Heart: A Series On Prayer Charles Yoon
2/26/2013 Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers

Today we tackle the biggest blockage to prayer: unanswered prayer. This is the cry of so many people’s hearts. This is where so many people find their expectations of the Christian faith grinding against the hard realities of life. “How come God never seems to answer my prayers?” is a question asked again and again by children, youth and adults. This is the experience that keeps people from becoming Christians. Why doesn’t God answer our prayers at times? And then, how should we understand the whole practice of prayer?

Cry Of My Heart: A Series On Prayer Steve Bullmer
2/17/2013 Living On A Prayer

We've made prayer a complicated ordeal. Jesus taught us a simple prayer for powerful connection "The Lord's Prayer". Life takes on new meaning when you're "Living on a Prayer."

Cry Of My Heart: A Series On Prayer Steve Bullmer
2/10/2013 The Secret To a Long and Happy Life

Hopefully we can live long enough and save enough money to retire. What is God’s retirement plan? And along the way, what is God’s plan for the relationships between parents, children, and “elders”?

The Game of Life Steve Bullmer
2/3/2013 Game Over: When It All Goes Back In The Box

What are you living your life for? What’s the goal? At the end of it, how will you know if you “won”? Today's message offers a hopeful message that offers practical suggestions in living a life of real meaning and significance.

The Game of Life Steve Bullmer
1/27/2013 Finding Contentment in a World Built For Greed

Life is full of reasons to be discontented. Somebody else always has bigger. Somebody else always has more. Somebody else always has better. Some of us are never really satisfied. How can we escape this trap?

The Game of Life Steve Bullmer
1/13/2013 Six of Life's Most Important Words

A right relationship with God depends on our willingness to maintain a right relationship with one another. If we are not willing to live in right relationship with our brothers and sisters, then we are not fit to come and worship the God in whose image they are made. True worship is not enhanced by better music, better prayers, better architecture, or even better preaching. True worship is enhanced by better relationships between those who come to worship. God wants us to remove the hindrances before we bring Him our praise and our gifts.

The Game of Life Charles Yoon
1/6/2013 The Gold Standard For Life

Nearly everyone has heard of the Golden Rule, but how many of us really apply it to everyday life? Discover practical ways to live by the standard Jesus set, and how this one rule increases the joy in life.

The Game of Life Steve Bullmer
12/30/2012 The Redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge

“The Redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge” is based on the movie “A Christmas Carol”) A relationship with Jesus causes Zacchaeus to repent, be forgiven, and experience redemption. Scrooge is visited by Marley’s Ghost (his Christ-figure), who helps Scrooge repent, be forgiven, and experience redemption.

Christmas Movies Steve Bullmer
12/23/2012 The Perfect Gift

A Christmas Story allows us to look inside a family Christmas from the late 1930’s era and its main plot is the obsession of the main character, 10 year old Ralphie, and his perfect Christmas gift: a Red Ryder Bee Bee Gun. The most perfect gift that God has given us is His Son, Jesus. God delights in giving the perfect gift. No matter what else you may receive for Christmas this year, God has already offered the greatest gift that has ever been given. Accept the gift of salvation in the name of Jesus Christ and in so doing you are reclaiming the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas Movies Charles Insun Yoon
12/9/2012 Load Limit

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is all about the way we stress ourselves out at Christmas time. Like bridges, every person has a “load limit” of stress they can take before they crash. Only God knows our “load limit,” and so we need to partner with him to keep our stress levels below our limits, especially at Christmastime.

Christmas Movies Steve Bullmer
12/2/2012 We're All Dreaming of a White Christmas

Today’s theme word is “Comfort,” and our theme verses are from the prophet Isaiah. “Comfort” is a word we associate with Christmas. It underlies so many of the secular songs we sing at this time of year. And the subject of today’s message, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know….” White Christmas was originally recorded in 1942, when America had gone to war and the world seemed confusing and unstable. Zechariah and the Jewish people lived in a similarly confusing and unstable world. They had been looking for the fulfillment of the promise of a Messiah for so long that many began to wonder if He was ever coming. But He did come to save His people, just as the dance troupe came to save “The Old Man’s” inn.

Christmas Movies Steve Bullmer
11/25/2012 Enjoying Giving?

The money we give to God should not be viewed so much as a debt we owe, but as a seed we sow, a seed to grow our trust in God’s willingness to bless us and to take care of us. In Luke 6:38 Jesus promised, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For when we give, we, as a local body of Christ, experience spiritual growth and unity. Our giving brings joy to our Heavenly Father. We can also get pleasure from giving if we do so sacrificially. This is a way to trust God. To enjoy giving, we must put it in the context of our love for Christ and our commitment to Him. This must be our motivation. When we give it to God’s kingdom, it becomes something that lasts forever.

In God We Trust Charles Yoon
11/18/2012 Money, Work, and Debt

Exactly how much is enough? In a culture guided chiefly by shiny, life-promising distractions, “enough” seems elusive and keeps us indebted to that next source of satisfaction. What if the Giver of Life offered freedom from this downward spiral—would you take it?

In God We Trust Steve Bullmer
11/11/2012 Naming Our Idols

Got idols? It’s hard to believe there are perfectly sane people who dress up and chant out in obsessive worship toward inanimate objects. We are so beyond that – right? NOPE. We still seek life from non-life-giving sources, don’t we? Shiny things still dazzle and lure us in.

In God We Trust Steve Bullmer
11/4/2012 David's Last Words and Legacy

Today we come to the very end of David’s life—the last words that he spoke before he passed away, and the legacy that he left behind for his children and for us. David’s final words for his son, Solomon, were, “Solomon, when we walk in God’s commandments we find life. Don’t forget that. When we stray from his commandments that’s when you get into trouble. And you know that I know this one from experience. My son, if I have any words of wisdom to pass on to you, it is this: Don’t leave Him. Don’t walk away from God—God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s teachings that lead to life.” And so, David, after he had served the purposes of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid among his fathers” (Acts 13: 36).

David Steve Bullmer
10/28/2012 For the Love of God: David and His Poetry

Today we experience David the poet, David the singer of hymns, David the lover of God. The center of the Bible is the Book of Psalms. The Psalms are literarily at the heart of the Bible … and spiritually it is the heart and soul of the Bible. Of the 150 Psalms, the words “of David” appear in 73 of them. Now that does not necessarily mean David wrote them. We’re not sure how many of the 73 Psalms were personally written by David. Certainly he wrote some of them. But we do know that from boyhood David was a musician. The Psalms are the human response to God. It is human beings crying out to God in the midst of the various seasons

David Steve Bullmer
10/21/2012 Problem Children and Struggling Parents

David loved his children deeply, but he was not a very good father. As a result they lived sinful lives that ended in death. It's unfortunate that David realized his mistakes after his sons were gone. The lesson to be learned from David is that as Christians … life doesn’t have to be that way! When you give your life to Christ, and you say, “Lord, I want to follow you,” God sends his Holy Spirit to live inside of you; to remake you into the person God dreams for you to be. That is a shaping force more powerful than anything else. When you actually surrender your life to Christ and invite the Holy Spirit in, he begins to shape you, he breaks the chains that have been binding your heart and binding your family for generations upon generations.

David Steve Bullmer
10/14/2012 Making True Friends: David and Jonathan

Friendship is very much under-estimated in its spiritual power. It’s every bit as significant as Bible study and prayer. Friendship takes what’s common in human experience and turns it into something holy. Friendship with David complicated Jonathan’s life enormously. He risked losing his father’s favor; he sacrificed his own right to the throne—he saw that David was God’s choice for king. But none of that deterred him. Jonathan became and stayed David’s friend. Jonathan’s friendship was essential. And here’s the thing to note about the relationship David had with Jonathan compared to the relationship David had with Saul: Jonathan’s friendship entered David’s soul in a way that Saul’s hatred never did.

David Steve Bullmer
10/7/2012 What a Tangled Web: David and Bathsheba

David sinned against the laws of God when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and sent her husband, Uriah, to certain death. After this, all the stories about David have a tragic twist to them. Sin has consequences. After judgment had been rendered, after the consequences took their toll, David fell on his knees before God. He cried out to God. He got on his hands and knees and said, “O God, I deserve to die.” And he cried out in anguish and pain the words to Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” And God gave him grace. That same mercy is available to you. God’s ability to redeem our lives is greater than our ability to screw them up and God has made salvation, and healing, and fresh starts in life available to all of us.

David Steve Bullmer
9/30/2012 Stabbed in the Back: David and Saul

David’s defeat of Goliath won the people over to David and away from Saul. In fact, they sang about it: “Saul has his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” With that jealousy began to eat away at Saul’s heart. David flees from Saul’s presence. He spends 10 years in hiding, living among the enemy, the Philistines, and living in caves. Saul decides that he must find David and kill him. So every time Saul leads the troops of Israel into battle against the Philistines he takes his finest troops and they go searching for David … to try to end his life. Why is Saul so paranoid about David? Well, the prophet Samuel came to Saul one day and said, “Saul, you have forsaken God, A day is coming when there will be a new king, and neither you nor your children will rule over the house of Israel. In fact, God has already chosen a new king—a man after God’s own heart. And when the time is right, He will replace you.”

David Steve Bullmer
9/23/2012 David and Goliath

Today we tell what is probably the most familiar of all the stories about David—his battle with the Philistine giant, Goliath. David had a monstrous-sized problem in his life, Goliath. Do you have a Goliath-sized problem in your life? Are you wondering how you are ever going to conquer problems that are overwhelming, monstrous, bigger than your meager resources and courage can possible defeat? God will enable you to defeat yours. You serve the living God. He has given you the resources you need to defeat your fiercest foes. What the living God does is give us the tools we need: A Bible—our owner’s manual, a worship celebration—where we encounter and reconnect with the living God, home groups and small groups—where a circle of friends love and encourage us … and faith grows. And then, when the test comes, we have the tools to defeat our Goliaths.

David Steve Bullmer
9/16/2012 Ruth: A Role Model for Women

So many of us turn away from God when tragedy strikes, which means you have turned away from the only one who can help you; the one who can take tragedy, and redeem it, and bring something good out of it. God is the one who promises to be with you, and hold you, and keep you, and will never leave you or forsake you. God does not promise that you will never experience tragedy. God promises that He will walk with you through it. What lessons can Ruth teach us? What we learn from Ruth first is that there are times when God calls us to stick by someone, even if they pretend, or maybe they even believe, that they don’t need our help. Ruth was a woman of remarkable character. She was sensitive to the Spirit of God and yielded her life to his guidance and direction. In God’s universe, the way to spiritual development is through selfless service to other people.

David Steve Bullmer
9/13/2012 God's Unlikely Heroes

David was the best king Israel ever had. He is a towering figure in the Old Testament. Only Moses has more verses attributed to him and written about him than King David. To this day, the symbol for the nation of Israel and of all Judaism is the six-pointed star, the star of … David.

David Steve Bullmer
9/12/2012 Servanthood/Portable Communion

In the Methodist Church there are only two sacraments—Baptism and Communion. They are what God does for us, regardless of what we do and in spite of who we are. That’s what grace is; grace is getting better than we deserve. We serve Jesus by serving the needs of others. Mission trips are a great way to serve others in Christ’s name. Mission trips could be considered “portable communion.” Mission trips are one very special way we can take the love and grace of Christ that we receive through this sacrament out into the world, out to the people and the places where the love, grace, forgiveness, healing, hope, and joy of Christ is needed so much and can do so much.

Passionate Living Steve Bullmer
8/26/2012 Passion Ignited!

We had a God-moment last weekend. Fire fell from heaven last weekend as 250 of us participated in Stirred2Serve. Passions were ignited, ministry happened in an amazing and unprecedented way for us. And people came away from this all-church mission project different, transformed, maybe even renamed.

Passionate Living Steve Bullmer
8/12/2012 Passionate Living with Small Beginnings

Passionate Living Charles Yoon
8/5/2012 Passionate Service

“Passionate spirituality” is important for the health and growth of a church. Studies have found that the style of worship or spirituality has nothing to do with the health or growth of a church. The secret is in the level of passion at which faith is lived out among its members. No matter what your preferred style of spirituality is—charismatic, Pentecostal, traditional, liturgical, non-liturgical, whatever, wherever the personal relationship with Christ is intensified, passionate spirituality is freed up and the church becomes a church on fire with the Holy Spirit.

Passionate Living Steve Bullmer
7/29/2012 Turn It Around

When you and I sign on to be a disciple of Jesus—when you give your life to Him and you say, “Jesus, use me however you see fit for the transformation of the world into your kingdom”—you need to expect persecution. The Bible says everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted. Everyone. No exceptions. Everyone who makes a commitment to the mission of Jesus in the world goes into the world with a target on their back—and the attacks come from unexpected sources. How do you deal with external persecution? How do you turn it around? How does this become a life attitude? You turn it around by retaliating with love. Every time we receive persecution, whatever it is, we wage peace.

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
7/22/2012 Finding Your Missing Peace

In today’s text Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” Let us think of what is the meaning of peace in the Bible? The Hebrew word for “peace” is Shalom. This word, “shalom” occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament. Shalom means “well-being, wholeness, health, security and safety for the total personality.” When fellow Jews meet each other, they greet and depart with this word, “Shalom.” They are not just wishing an absence of war or trouble but they are bestowing a blessing and wish for goodness, wholeness, and well-being.

Life Attitudes Charles Yoon
7/8/2012 The State of the Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Blessed are those who are truthful, for their life is to be admitted to God’s presence. Blessed are the single-minded, for they will experience God’s glory. Blessed are those who have full and total allegiance to God, for they will be comforted by God’s grace. Let us try to be thankful, single-minded, and fully allegiant to God. Let us ask God to have a pure heart. Then we will be blessed to see God. We will experience God’s presence, God’s glory, and God’s grace in our life. Thanks be to God!

Life Attitudes Charles Yoon
7/1/2012 Mercy Me - Mercy You

When you grasp God’s promise of mercy, then you become a channel of God’s mercy in the lives of other people. Mercy is not sentimental emotion, it is the heart of God in action. We are the Body of Christ and missions of mercy are the heart of God in action.

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
6/24/2012 Right Turn

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
6/17/2012 Meek, But Not Weak

The great thing about being meek … is that the meek inherit the earth. The meek are God’s demonstration of true greatness in the world. In the kingdom of God, it’s not how many servants you have; it’s how many people you serve. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28). So here’s the question for today: Where are you serving? Only what you do through service will live beyond you. Everything else becomes rust. Jesus is saying the future of the world is in the hands of those who serve the world. Those who are actively fulfilling Jesus’ challenge to serve are the ones who will inherit the earth. The meek are the ones who have made the conscious decision to turn their will and their lives over to the Father.

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
6/10/2012 Face The Pain

The second beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," takes us the next step in the spiritual healing process: Face the pain. To face your pain is to believe that God can transform you to the sanity of Christ-like living and esteem.

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
6/3/2012 I Can't - God Can

Being honest, most of us want to make more, be more, have more and do more, and we want to do it ourselves! Life Attitude #1 says that it’s only as we acknowledge our deep need for God that we can begin to discover real life and meaning.

Life Attitudes Steve Bullmer
5/13/2012 Deepening My Relationships

Relationships with people can be a source of strength and joy. We need each other. We all want to feel loved and cared for. Relationships matter to our emotional well-being. We are able to face tough times largely through the emotional support and compassion of our loved ones. But sometimes there are those relationships that are absolutely toxic to us. They drag us down and make us feel bad about ourselves. Toxic relationships steal our joy, health, and well-being.

The Me I Want To Be Charles Yoon
5/6/2012 The Energizing Impact of Scripture

The most dangerous force in the world is not sickness or injury or bankruptcy. It is sin. Sin is the deadliest force because it takes us out of the flow of the Spirit. Cancer and depression are terrible things, but sin is worse. Cancer affects our body, and depression attacks our mental health, but sin works its way inside and strangles our soul. Sin keeps us from becoming the person God wants us to become.

The Me I Want To Be Steve Bullmer
4/29/2012 Changing Your Mind

With VIM – vision, intention, and means – we can center into the life God has for us and become the person God had in mind when He created us. John Ortberg puts it this way: “Jesus does not come to rearrange the outside of our life the way we want. He comes to rearrange the inside of our life the way God wants.”

The Me I Want To Be Steve Bullmer
4/22/2012 Bridging The Gap

Don’t we all wrestle with the “me” we want to be or could have been and the “me” we truly are? From time to time we need to face the gap between those two “me’s” and ponder the deeper question: Who can do something about the gap? Who has the power to bridge the gap; redeem the gap? Who can begin to change it? Christians realize that the only person who can bridge the gap is Jesus Christ.

The Me I Want To Be Steve Bullmer
4/15/2012 Hope For Hurting Parents

“It’s not important where you’ve been, but what direction your feet are heading today.” God says to you, “Come on home. Come as you are. Don’t try to clean up your life first. Give me the hang ups—the good, the bad, the ugly. You don’t have to be perfect in your life. Come to me just as you are.” And God will love you unconditionally. God loves you just the way you are, and God loves you too much to let you stay that way. So God will help you make the changes both you and He want to make.

Steve Bullmer
4/8/2012 Do You Believe It?

Steve Bullmer
4/1/2012 The Next Reformation

The last reformation was a reformation of creeds. The next reformation will be a reformation of deeds. The last reformation was symbolized by one central figure. The next reformation will be led by millions of reformers living compassionately, creatively, and courageously for the cause of Christ. It will be marked by broken hearts and sanctified imaginations. And the driving force will be the love of God. A love that is full of compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy.

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
3/25/2012 The Strength of Christianity

We’ve explored what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. But compassion, wonder, and curiosity aren’t enough. Strength is the final frontier. And that is where the quest for the lost soul of Christianity takes us. So what does it mean to love God with all your strength? It means expending tremendous amounts of energy for kingdom causes. It means blood, sweat, and tears. It means servanthood and sacrifice. It means good old-fashioned hard work.

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
3/18/2012 The Mind of Christianity

There is untapped potential in all of us. Your imagination is capable of far more than you imagine. Yet somewhere along the way, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. And that is the day we stop living and start dying. Why? Because we stop learning. Loving God with all your mind means making the most of your mind by learning as much as you can about as much as you can.

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
3/11/2012 The Soul of Christianity

When you descend the flight of stairs into the soul of Christianity, what you discover is primal wonder. When you get past all the traditions and institutions, all the liturgies and theologies, all the creeds and canons, what you’re left with is raw wonder that is beyond logic and beyond words. It cannot be reduced to the logical constraints of the left brain. Wonder defies logic. Wonder defies words. Loving God with all our soul means a soul full of wonder, a soul flooded with the glory of God, a soul awed by beauty and mystery, a soul that hallows God above everything else.

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
3/4/2012 The Heart of Christianity

Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Your life may be filled with lots of mountaintop moments, but nothing even begins to compare with that miraculous moment when you give your heart to Christ. That single decision sets off a spiritual chain reaction with infinite implications. Amazing things happen when an old heart is exchanged for a new heart. When you give your heart to Christ, Christ gives His heart to you

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
2/26/2012 What's Your Catacomb?

We live in a first-world country in the twenty-first century and we're grateful for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy because of where and when we live. But think about what the Christians in the catacombs went through to worship God and serve Christ … and then think about the things we complain about in the church today…. what we call sacrifices for the cause of Christ don’t even qualify as hardships by second-century standards.

PRIMAL Steve Bullmer
2/19/2012 Why Jesus?

Jesus did not come to start a religion. Jesus did not come to earth to start an organization. Jesus came to start a revolution and He sustains this revolution on earth through this amazing community of people called Christians—the body of Christ. The revolution continues as we live in love under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, the Servant of All, and Savior of the World.

WHY? Steve Bullmer
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