Fall Discipleship Opportunities

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Our Fall Preaching Series

“A Place at the Table”

September 11/Fall Kick-Off
Text: Luke 15:1-10
Theme: You are missed
Big Idea: People separated from God and the church can stray like the lost sheep, and helpless like the lost coin.
Notes: The two parables taken together show humanity’s misery in being lost, and God’s joy in finding them. Something or someone of value is missing and the response must not be apathy, or isolation from sinners (see Luke 15:1-2), but an earnest search to find what is missing.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

September 18
Text: Luke 16:1-13
Theme: Money lessons from Jesus
Big Idea: Never allow money to bar you from heaven. Its value is limited when it comes to life in God’s kingdom. Recognize its limits and use it for others, not selfishly.
Notes: This story is probably the most difficult parable in Luke. Its point is clear enough—be generous and responsible with your resources—but how it makes the point leaves many readers confused. Read carefully, the parable teaches the relationship between money and the eternal kingdom of God.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

September 25
Text: Mark 10:13-16
Theme: Let the children come
Big Idea: Creating pathways to children’s discipleship.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

October 2   
Text: Acts 10:34-43
Theme: God shows no partiality and neither should we
Big Idea: Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to all people, the church is called to reach beyond racial, cultural and religious barriers.
Preacher: Rev. Amanda Golbek

October 9 
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Theme: Remembering to give thanks
Big Idea: Giving thanks to God and those God uses is essential to a joyful life.
Notes: God’s graciousness is often ignored and unappreciated. What is the chief goal of human life?” the Westminster Catechism famously asks in its opening question and answer. “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” is the answer. A chief way we do that is by thanking God moment by moment for the gifts that God has lavished upon us. Gratitude sounds a keynote and sets the tone for all of life, which means that Christians should just generally be the most polite, thankful people around. As Lewis Smedes reminds us, “Life is out of joint when we fail to give thanks.”
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

October 16 
Text: Luke 18:1-8
Theme: Faith in God’s goodness
Big Idea: Faith in God’s goodness is the surest path to faithful praying.
Notes: To the so-called “theologically sophisticated,” prayer can sometimes seem to be an odd spiritual practice. If God is all-knowing, sovereign and all-caring, then why bother him with our requests? The answer to the dilemma of prayer is that it is not intended to do something for God, but for us. It is one of the mechanisms of relationship that God gives to his children to be in touch with him. God may not need prayer, but we do.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

October 23/Congregational Meeting
Text: Psalm 65
Theme: In Praise of God’s abundant generosity
Big Idea: Psalm 65 encourages believers to worship the Lord as the God of grace, God might, and God plenty.
Notes: The occasion for Psalm 65 is not readily known. Many possibilities are offered: e.g., an autumn festival which looks ahead to a coming year of plenty, and perhaps includes rituals that call down the expected blessing; or, in view of the lush pastures it describes, it could be a spring celebration such as the offering of first fruits at Passover; or again, a national deliverance after famine (note the opening allusions to prayers heard and sins forgiven). Whatever event or season it first celebrated, its grateful delight in God as Redeemer, Creator and Provider makes it a rich and many-sided act of praise, not merely a psalm for a harvest festival.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

October 30/Stewardship Sunday
Text: Psalm 32:1-7; Luke 19:1-10
Big Idea: Forgiveness from the stain of sin opens wide the door to honesty and generosity
Notes: The penitential words on 32 find concrete expression when Jesus encounters Zaccheus. Earlier Jesus lamented how hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! … but … what is impossible with men is possible with God (18:24, 27). Zacchaeus was just such a rich man, for whom God had done the impossible, and brought him into the kingdom. As a recipient of God’s forgiveness, Zacchaeus becomes generous with his resources, even seeking to make restitution for past wrongs. He is a rich man who gets through the eye of the needle.
Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ray Hylton

The ACTS Prayer Model

We believe regular time in prayer with God is essential to our growth in relationship with him and others. Here is an easy-to-remember prayer model you can use to begin the process of regular prayer with God.

A – Adoration: We bring glory and praise to God, acknowledging his greatness in each of his three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

C – Confession: Acknowledging where we have failed in walking in the ways we are called, we confess our sins, trusting completely in his desire to forgive them, and in the completeness of that forgiveness through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

T – Thanksgiving: We recall God’s specific goodness to us as individuals, as members of families, groups, and institutions, and as part of the local and universal body of Christ. We give thanks for the provision we have received and for the blessing of God’s presence in our lives.

S – Supplication: Knowing that God loves us, we bring our cares and concerns, desires, dreams, and needs, as well of those we know, love, work with, and are part of community with. We pray for our leaders at all levels of responsibility, from small group leaders to heads of state.

We also suggest adding the final step:

L – Listening: Be quiet and set your mind to listening to the Lord. Have a paper and pencil ready to write down whatever and whomever comes to mind, praying for them and asking God for wisdom about why these thoughts have come to mind.