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As Christians, we say we believe in God's provision, but do we really believe that God will always provide for our basic needs, no matter what? And what is the difference between our needs and our wants? Does he only provide for believers, or does he provide for all who are in need? And how does that work? These are some of the things we look at in today's episode, which is part 2 of a series called "Victory in Faith."

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on June 5, 2016

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Believing God's Power (1 Kings 18:20-39)

We will be looking at the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah in a new 4-part series titled "Victory in Faith." In this first installment, we look at Elijah's classic showdown on Mount Carmel with the 450 prophets of Baal. And we will discover that when God calls us to do the impossible, he makes the impossible possible when three criteria are met. First, it must have a Biblical and historical foundation. Second, it must be for the purpose of bringing glory to God. And third, it must result in turning hearts to Him. When these three things are met, nothing God asks us to do will be impossible, when we believe God's power.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on May 29, 2016 (portions recorded at Ebenezer UMC)

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Revealed to the World (Ephesians 3:1-12)

Epiphany Sunday is the observance of the end of the Christmas season. The word "epiphany" means a revealing, and in the letter of Paul to the church at Ephesus, he indicates that the incarnation of Christ is a revealing of God's mystery to the world, and that mystery is that 1. Gentiles are fellow heirs, 2. they are part of the same body, and 3. they are recipients of God's promise, along with the Jews. This revelation is incredible, because previously it was thought that God's grace and salvation were available only to those born of Abraham's seed. Yet Paul tells us that all of creation from the beginning of time has been under God's grace, and that this mystery has been revealed to the world in Christ.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on January 1, 2017 (portions recorded at Ebenezer UMC)

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The Word Made Flesh (John 1:1-14)

I found it interesting that Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, but what may have been more interesting is the reaction many people had to having service on Christmas day. My rebuttal was usually in the vein of, "Well, if you don't want to come to church on Christmas, then don't." That might seem a bit blunt, but honestly, we as Christians are challenged to a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ than simply indulging in the gluttony of Christmas gift-giving. After all, what gift could possibly top the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus? None that I can think of. Through the opening stanzas of John's gospel we hear the incredible truth that Jesus is God, and that God became flesh and dwelt among us. It's a startling revelation that, once we as Christians fully understand it, we are never the same.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on Christmas Day, 2016

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A King James Primer

For anyone who listens to my podcast, you know that at Hudson UMC we use the King James Version. Now, there is a very basic reason for that, and it's not because I prefer the King James or that we are a King James-Only church. Some time ago, long before I came to Hudson, the church purchased new pew bibles and in order to fund them, sold memorial plates to go into the Bibles. While I prefer a modern translation (such as the NASB, ESV, or even NKJV), I don't mind reading from the King James because that's the Bible I grew up with, and it's the second (and third) translation that I read cover to cover. I have two King James Bibles that are covered in highlighter and margin notes. So I'm not intimidated by the King James, because very early on I figured out how to read the King's English.

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We hope you are finding some deeper meaning to this season of Christmas, and that's what this Christmas Eve message was all about this year. We see it every year in the malls, in the extravagant light displays, in the mounds of presents under the tree, and so I just want to ask us all, do we get it? Do we really get what this holiday is all about? Because beneath the veneer of wrapping paper and bows and stockings and twinkling lights, there doesn't seem to be even a fleeting glimpse of the Christ child for whom this celebration is all about. Now, I had planned a message based on Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. But as sometimes happens, God laid it upon my heart to change the message at the last minute. And so here is the message from Christmas Eve, following an extended scripture reading that we had at Hudson United Methodist.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on Christmas Eve, 2016

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Dare to Dream (Matthew 1:18-25)

We're still working our way through the Advent sermons, though, and the fourth Sunday of Advent focuses on the word "Dream." Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had at least three dreams that we know of from Matthew's gospel account, and each time he acted on them swiftly and obediently. The question for all of us today is, do we dare to dream big dreams when it comes to God's kingdom work, or are our dreams limited by our inability to imagine beyond what we are capable of? Our God is a God of great possibilities, and he even gives us the faith to dream bigger.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 18, 2016

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Seeing Differently (Matthew 11:2-11)

We are continuing our Advent journey and the word for the third Sunday is "See." When John the Baptist found himself in prison he began to have doubts. After all, he had given his entire life to onepurpose, determined before he was even conceived. That purpose was to proclaim the coming Christ. And now, in prison, he was thinking, is this it? Or did I waste my whole life? Jesus' response to John's inquiry reminds us that sometimes we need to stop seeing things the way the world wants us to see them, and start seeing things the way God does.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 11, 2016

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Turning Back (Matthew 3:1-12)

The second sermon in our Advent series focuses on the word "Turn," and we look at what it means to repent, to turn away from sin and turn back to God. The concept of repentance is what separates Catholicism from Protestantism, and is so pivotal that it was the content of the first four of Martin Luther's 95 Theses. What is it about repentance that is so central to the Christian faith? We're about to find out.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 4, 2016

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Keeping Watch (Matthew 24:36-44)

Well, the Advent season is upon us, and everywhere we look we see signs of Christmas rapidly approaching. Of course, the Advent season is not like the secular Christmas season which seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. Where the secular world is preparing for the arrival of a jolly old elf in a red suit, the church is preparing for another arrival - the return of Christ on earth. And so we begin our sermon series based on the words: Watch, Turn, See, Dream, Peace, Word, and Reveal. This week, we hear the words of Jesus as he proclaims the advent of his second coming, and we learn what it means to keep watch, keep vigilant, keep ourselves prepared for Christ's imminent return.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on November 27, 2016

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