Steve DeNeff - Eph. 1:15-19, 3:16-19; Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-12; 2 Thess. 3:10-13; 1 Thess. 1:11-12. We talk a lot about spiritual growth but what, exactly, is it? How do we know if we’re growing spiritually. Using the letters and the prayers of Paul, we’ll identify seven areas of growth that happen in a believer’s life between the time they become a Christian and the time they leave this world. Are they happening in you? Which one?
Lenny Luchetti - Luke 15:11-32. Throughout the Bible, God removes barriers that separate people from him, from each other, and from life needs. We see this especially in the life and teaching of Jesus, specifically in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15). The church is an extension of Jesus’ ministry. Or are we? Do we possess the empathy that ignites in us the compassion, courage, and commitment to cut the curtains that keep people from the abundant life?
Steve DeNeff - 2 Timothy 2:1-7. Proverbs says that “the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,” (11:30) meaning that the life of one good person is multiplied a hundred times in the people around them. So Jesus and Paul both tell us to reproduce ourselves in others who, in turn, will do the same with people in their own community. This sermon will focus on how living things reproduce, each after its own kind, and call CWC to become a multiplying presence in our community and beyond.
Emily Vermilya - Matthew 19:16-22; Hebrews 11:1-3;6. So often, as we grow in our walks with Christ, we ask God to increase our faith. We desire to see evidence of God at work around us so that we have greater assurance and reason to believe in his authority and power. But the author of Hebrews tells us that faith comes before proof—that it grows in the absence of something, rather than just in its manifestation. If this is true, then perhaps we must be intentional to cast off or give up things that prevent our faith from growing.
Steve DeNeff - Ephesians 4:17-5:2. As disciples we are called to “learn Christ,” which involves more than merely accepting him. To learn Christ requires a process and curriculum for “putting off” the old self” and “putting on the new self” the one we were created for in the first place. This looks different for each one of us. For some, it involves “speaking truthfully” instead of lying. For others it means “building others up” instead of tearing them down. But this practice of “putting off (and) putting on” can be learned over time once we know how to do it. In this message I’ll outline a change cycle, to show that this is how people are transformed, and give practical next steps for learning Christ.
Steve DeNeff - 1 Samuel 17:1a, 4, 8-11, 16-24, 32-37, 40-50. It’s been said that you can’t have the right friends if you don’t have the right enemies. In this popular story, we are called to confront our enemies in the Name and power of God. But our posture is not one of anger or violence, but one of humility and complete trust that “God will hand our enemies over” in His time and in His way. Our battle is not for our sake, and it is not in our armor, but in His “so that the whole world will know that there is a God and that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s,” (17:46-47).
Eric Crisp - Ruth 1. What do we do when life has become “bitter” for us or, worse yet, it seems that “the LORD himself has raised his fist against us?” The book of Ruth gives us a snapshot of one seemingly insignificant family during the days when the Judges ruled in Israel. God seems silent and for Naomi and Ruth, the future looks bleak. But Ruth and Boaz show us how living in the freedom of and maybe from the law sets them free. They are living in the way of the Gospel and God continues to be faithful to His promise through this exceedingly significant family.