Announcement: Welcome

March 15, 2018 by  
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Announcement: Pastor’s Corner

August 12, 2010 by  
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Sermon: The Value of a Life

March 18, 2019 by  
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March 17, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16

Five-Week Series: ONCE UPON A TIME – The Parables of Jesus
Week 2: The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

Sermon: The Seriousness of Sin

March 7, 2019 by  
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Ash Wednesday
March 6, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 18:1-9

As We Forgive

February 22, 2019 by  
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Download: As We Forgive

Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we tell God that we “forgive those who sin against us.” Do we mean that? This is much easier said than done! Sometimes it can be very challenging to let go of a grudge. We tend to hold on to bitterness, and our hearts can get wrapped up in an offense.

Jesus speaks emphatically about our need to forgive others. “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). These are strong words! Jesus is intertwining our willingness to forgive others with God’s willingness to forgive us. Only in forgiving others do we experience God’s forgiveness.

Words of confession and forgiveness are some of the most powerful yet difficult words we ever speak. At the beginning of a worship service, we often start with a time of confession. “Almighty God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed.” In these or similar words, we apologize for the error of our ways. God knows we have not lived as we should, and our confession is a way of clearing the air and starting fresh in our relationship with God. We do this in human relationships, too. If we exchanged harsh words with a friend the last time we talked, we might start our next interaction with a modest confession. “So…about that last time we talked…sorry about that.”

It is humbling to speak those words of apology. Many people are not brave enough to do it. Our pride often gets in the way. We tend to think that the other person should be the one to apologize. But when we set our own ego aside, we can usually see our own fault in the fractured relationship. Apologies take many forms, depending on the situation and the person. “I’m sorry” is a good way of expressing regret. Saying “I was wrong” is taking responsibility for what we did. Other people want us to make restitution and hear us ask, “What can I do to make it right?” Repentance is saying “I’ll try not to do that again.” And sometimes it’s best to be direct and simply ask, “Will you please forgive me?”

We need these words of confession in healthy relationships! We need these words in our relationship with God and with one another. Is there someone in your life to whom you need to apologize? The day I wrote this I gave an apology to someone I hurt the day before. I had been overly critical, which left an icy tension. Once I apologized, the ice thawed, and we both felt much better. I hate to imagine how many more days our own little “polar vortex” would have continued if we hadn’t taken Jesus at his word. The best time to say we’re sorry…is as soon as possible.

Same goes for the words, “I forgive you.” Every single day we have opportunities to forgive others. Much of the time they don’t even know there is an offense. Most of these offenses are small and don’t even warrant an apology. We can forgive even if they haven’t apologized. We might not even need to tell them. To forgive is a choice. The road of forgiveness can be a journey, but the path leads us to freedom.

My family tells a story of my grandfather Jake. At a family reunion, his sister came up to Jake and said, “I just want to let you know, I forgive you.” And Jake said, “For what?” “For that comment you made last year about me gaining weight!” Grandpa Jake was a kind man and had only agreed with something she said about herself. He had no idea he caused offense. But she had festered on this for a year! Refusing to forgive left her in pain. This is why Jesus spoke so strongly about our need to forgive. When we refuse to forgive, the offense continues to hurt us.

We need to forgive others as much as, if not more than, they need to be forgiven. Theologian Lewis Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Jesus desperately wants us to be set free from all that weighs us down. When we forgive someone, the claws of the offense come off of us, and we can heal. To forgive is not to say that what happened was okay…it is to say it will no longer actively hurt me and hold me back from my future. Jesus urges us to let go of the grudges we hold. Release the bitterness. Be set free.

In Christ,

Pastor Matthew Poock

“Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
(Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

The Parable of the Lost Key

February 22, 2019 by  
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Download: The Lost Key

I realized it on a Tuesday morning when I was about to leave for the gym. My key to the van was not on the hook where it was “supposed” to be. I was immediately confused. I rarely lose things, and I have a pattern of putting things “in the right spot.” It was early in the morning, so I took the car and resigned myself to looking later when the household was awake to help (and be questioned).

Wouldn’t you know it; no one had even seen my key. It was just one gray key on an orange key chain from my last triathlon! Where could it be? I scoured the house. Perhaps it got knocked off a counter before I could hang it up. Did I happen to walk around the house with it? I checked the floors and under the furniture. I checked my dresser and all the pockets of all the pants and coats I had recently worn. No key. It was lost. I prayed “Oh God, you know where my key is. Would you tell me? Would you lead me to it?” I wonder how many such prayers God hears these days, especially about keys, glasses, and cellphones.

I re-traced my steps. I had last used it on Sunday, when I took the family to worship. But I didn’t drive the van home from church; we’d switched vehicles. (Don’t even try to wrap your mind around Sunday mornings in our household.) Maybe it was still at the church building. I searched my desk and my office. I searched the whole building, actually. What if it was in my hand as I was cleaning up after worship? I talked with our staff, in case anyone had seen it. Maybe it got knocked off my desk and into the trash. I asked our custodian Kenny if he noticed it. No sign of it.

On that Sunday evening, the last day I knew I had my key, we had taken the van to the pool in Oregon for family swim. Did I take the key then? I couldn’t remember. So I called the pool; they checked their lost and found for me. No key. The next Sunday, when we went to swim again, to be sure, I looked through their lost and found for myself. Nothing. (But people sure do lose a lot of things!) One last time I talked with my kids. “Have you seen my key? Were you playing with it?” The search was cold.

I finally gave up. Only God knew where my key was, and I was not going to find it by force of sheer will. There was nothing more I could do.

It can be hard to let something go. Whether it’s a lost key or an old grudge. Whether it’s a dream that cannot be, or a critical comment that’s stuck in your brain. What might God be inviting you to let go of as we enter this New Year? Maybe you need to let go of unhealthy expectations for yourself. Maybe you need to let go of unfair judgements of others. Maybe you need to let go of worries or doubt. It’s easy for these kinds of things to rob us of the peace that God has for us every day. A simple prayer mantra – “let go and let God” – can help us rely on our faith and restore our peace. It’s a way we invite God to do God’s work in us when we realize we can’t do it on our own. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to let go and give up our illusion of control.

God, on the other hand, refuses to let go… of us. Jesus told parables about a lost coin, a lost sheep, and a lost son in order to reveal the truth about God’s relentless pursuit of you and me. Sure enough, we are the lost “key” more often than we realize. We go astray. We wander from God. But God will never give up on us. God will not stop searching for us until God has found us and we are safely home. Even now, God is seeking you out. God is longing to find you, every day, and bring you into God’s embrace. In letting go, we let God find us. There is no greater thing than to be found in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9).

After a few weeks of suffering the loss of my key, I finally let go and decided to have a new key made. That very day, my son was in the kitchen to get a plastic sack from the “bag holder” that hangs by our key hooks. “Your van key!” It had fallen not 5 inches from where it was supposed to be. The lost was found as I let go.

Letting go, letting God,

Pastor Matthew Poock

“I once was lost, but now am found.”
-John Newton, Amazing Grace

Sermon: The Mess of the World

February 18, 2019 by  
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February 17, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 13:24-43

Nine-Week Series: All I Need to Know I Learned from Jesus
Week 7: “Clean up your own mess.”

Sermon: World’s Greatest Teacher

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Pastor's Corner, Sermons

February 10, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 7:1-14, 24-29

Nine-Week Series: All I Need to Know I Learned from Jesus
Week 6: “Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them.”

Sermon: The Heart of a Balanced Life

February 4, 2019 by  
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February 3, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 6:7-21

Nine-Week Series: All I Need to Know I Learned from Jesus
Week 5: Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon.

Sermon: Don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

January 21, 2019 by  
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January 20, 2019
Preacher: Pastor Matthew Poock
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-17

Nine-Week Series: All I Need to Know I Learned from Jesus
Week 3: Don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

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