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SermonSuite January 15, 2017
John 1:29-42
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
From Pulpit to Pew is a free weekly newsletter from SermonSuite.com designed to assist clergy with their sermon-writing tasks. Each newsletter includes an article from SermonSuite on the art of preaching, as well as quality sermon illustrations relating to the weekly lectionary texts. In addition to the homiletics article and sermon illustrations are SermonSuite highlights for the week and a listing of all resources available from SermonSuite for the week's lectionary readings.
In this issue:
  • Thank God For The Church — Sermon by James L. Killen, Jr. excerpted from Sermons On The Second Reading: Series I, Cycle A based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (SermonStudio).
  • Second Sunday After Epiphany — Worship resources by Beverly S. Bailey based on Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 excerpted from Lectionary Worship Workbook, Series IV, Cycle A (SermonStudio).
  • Mold Me and Make Me — Children's sermon based on John 1:29-42 by Brett Blair and Tim Carpenter excerpted from The Big Influence Of Small Things (SermonStudio).

Sermons On The Second Reading: Series I, Cycle A

Thank God For The Church
Sermon by James L. Killen, Jr. excerpted from Sermons On The Second Reading: Series I, Cycle A based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (SermonStudio).

Try to visualize yourself on the way to church. Not too difficult? Let's make it a little harder. Imagine that the year is 55 A.D. and that the place is the city of Corinth in Roman Greece. You are a member of the thriving church that has grown up there and you are on your way to a meeting at the house of Gaius. Lots of people will be gathering both from the church that usually meets at the house of Gaius and also from the churches that meet in the houses of several other Christians. News has been passed around that a letter has come from Paul and everyone is eager to hear what Paul will have to say about the things that are going on in the church.

It is late afternoon and you are walking from your house on the edge of the city nearest to the harbor to the house of a prominent citizen near the center of the city. A gentle breeze blows in from the gulf. You reach a high point on the road and pause to look around. You are surrounded by very fine buildings. Some remnants can be seen of the buildings of the old Greek city that the Romans destroyed before refounding it again a hundred years later. You look back toward the gulf to see the sun setting over the water. The harbor is crowded with ships. Corinth is located on a narrow isthmus between two major bodies of water. Many shippers choose to drag their ships overland the few miles between the two or to off--load and then reload cargo to make their trip shorter and safer. The port is busy. Corinth has become the business and commercial center of Greece. It will never become the intellectual and cultural center that Athens is, but it is probably the second most important city in the country. This is a busy and prosperous new city. There is little old aristocracy. There is opportunity to move up in business. There is an openness to new ideas and new people. There are many people from many parts of the world here. It is an interesting place to live.

As you turn back to continue your walk, you look up and see the high mountain, Acrocorinth, hovering beyond the city. On it are the ancient fortifications and ornate temples. One of the most prominent is the famous temple of Aphrodite that has made Corinth famous for giving a religious sanction to the sexual permissiveness that is a part of the Greek culture of the day. That is a problem for the church. It is only one of the many problems that come from living in a pluralistic culture.

Finally, you arrive at the house where the church will be meeting. It is a beautiful villa with a large courtyard. The church at Corinth is unique among the early churches in that it has among its members a few of the wealthy and prominent citizens of the city. Of course most of the members, like most of the early Christians in other places, are poor, hard working servants. Some are well educated and hold responsible positions, but they are still clearly of the lower social and economic classes. Some of the newer members of the church still feel awkward about coming into this fine home. Most are not accustomed to being welcomed into the homes of the prominent, except possibly as servants. But all are welcomed. Paul, who was the founding apostle of this church, made it clear that there should be no distinctions among the followers of the way. Everyone remembers that he said, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

Paul was a very important person to most of the members of the church in Corinth. You remember Paul. He was an intense and energetic person, very deeply committed to what he was doing and saying. He had once been a devout Jew who actually persecuted the church. But after his conversion, he became the chief missionary to the non--Jewish world. He had learned how to articulate the teachings of the Christian faith and to interpret them to people from all sorts of national and religious origins. You remember when Paul came to Corinth. It was a number of years ago. He was on one of his missionary journeys and he recognized the openness to the gospel and also the strategic importance of this place for the spread of the Christian faith. He was clearly excited about the possibilities he saw in the church in Corinth. He spent a year--and--a--half here preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, instructing the converts in the Christian faith and life, and training the people in churchmanship. Paul made a large investment of his energies in this church before moving on. Clearly, he thought it had an important mission to accomplish in the spread of the Christian faith throughout the world....click here for the rest of the sermon


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Worship Resources for
Epiphany 2 | OT 2

Lectionary Worship Workbook, Series IV, Cycle A
Second Sunday After Epiphany
Worship resources by Beverly S. Bailey based on Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 excerpted from Lectionary Worship Workbook, Series IV, Cycle A (SermonStudio).

Hymns
Jesus, Priceless Treasure (LBW457, 458, PH365, NCH480, UM532, CBH595)
Jesus Calls Us, O'er The Tumult (LBW494, NCH171--172, UM398)
On Jordan's Bank The Baptist's Cry (PH10, CBH183)
Just As I Am, Without One Plea (PH370, NCH207, UM357, CBH516)
Come Gracious Spirit (CBH303)
Like The Murmur Of The Dove's Song (PH314, NCH270, UM544, CBH29)
Spirit Of God, Descend (NCH290, PH326, UM500, CBH502)
All Praise To You, O Lord (LBW78)

Anthems
I Waited For The Lord, Mendelssohn, G. Schirmer, SATB
From the Messiah: Behold The Lamb Of God, G. F. Handel, SATB
Little Lamb/Pequeno Cordes, Patterson, CGA
Like The Murmur Of The Dove's Song, White, CGA, Unison/2--part

Call to Worship
Leader: Grace to you and peace from God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
People: We give thanks to our God always because of the grace given us in Christ Jesus.
Leader: God will strengthen you to the end.
People: God is faithful; God called us into the fellowship of Jesus Christ through this church.
All: Let us worship this faithful God....click here for the rest of the resources

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Chris Keating
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Isaiah 49:1-7

There’s a steady refrain to Isaiah’s Servant Songs in chapters 40-55 that may sound familiar. The servant’s calling to ministry is framed around a central task: it’s time to make Israel great again.
     The servant is called both to the ministry of raising up the displaced tribes of Jacob and fulfilling Abraham’s calling to be a blessing to the nations. To do otherwise would obscure the projection of the light into the world. God is calling this fragmented and hurting community to fulfill the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 so that salvation “may reach to the end of the earth.”
     Epiphany is the season of light -- yet our tendency is to manage the light so that it shines largely on our own turf. We grow weary of saving others. We yearn for security. We tell ourselves that taking care of our own takes precedence over helping others.
     That sort of inward-focused protectionism has come of age recently.
     Protectionist fears can generate gale force winds that make it hard to see the sweeping beams of God’s promises. Isaiah pulls the camera back, however, summoning the servant of God to see a broader vocation. God’s servant is called to a ministry that includes interests at home and abroad. To borrow from the environmental movement’s long-held axiom, Israel is called to think globally, and to act locally.
     For missional-minded Christians, it could also be an Epiphany alert to pray globally, while also serving locally....more
Positive Identification

A while ago, I received an invitation to my high school reunion. Now I'm not going to tell you which one, but I've been out of high school for a while. At any rate, getting that invitation took me back to those days in Madison, Indiana, and caused me to think about some of the people who were in my class. I began wondering where they are, and what they're doing. I know about three of them: one is mayor of Madison, and another is the editor and owner of the newspaper, and one teaches classes to those who want to become nurses.
     I guess that all doesn't really matter, but because of that reunion announcement, I caught myself remembering certain moments or events that happened during high school and thinking back to what we were like then -- the people we were, or at least who we thought we were. What I realized is just how much our past shapes...more
Wayne Brouwer
Refocus
The only way to defeat pride is to make it irrelevant. Once, when conductor Arturo Toscanini was preparing an orchestra and chorus for a performance, he was forced to work with a rather temperamental soprano soloist. His every suggestion was turned aside by her haughty opinions. At one point she loudly proclaimed: “I am the star of this performance!”...more
Peter Andrew Smith
Show Me Jesus
John 1:29-42

“I want to believe, Pastor,” Jay said. “Can you show me Jesus?”
     “Come with me.” Pastor Lyle led Jay through the door to the church hall where people were setting up tables and chairs.
     “This is a meal we host for anyone who needs it.” Pastor Lyle motioned to a woman pushing a cart loaded with silverware and glasses. “Jean, this is Jay. He’ll be helping out this morning.”...more
Janice Scott
Friends for Christ
The Churches' Advertising Network nearly always comes under fire. The picture of Christ which adorned advertising hoardings around country a year or two ago at Easter, was that of Che Guevara overlaid with an image of Jesus from a classical painting. It produced a black on red poster...more
Mary Kay Eichelman
What's My Name?
Object: Name tags
How many of you know my name?  But do you know all my names?  I'm also known as Aunt ________.  or Uncle _______ and cousin ________.  Some people call  me by a nick name ______. So I have several names. Some of you might have more than one name.  (Ask the children their nicknames.)...more

 

Children's sermon
The Big Influence Of Small Things

Mold Me And Make Me
Children's sermon based on John 1:29-42 by Brett Blair and Tim Carpenter excerpted from The Big Influence Of Small Things (SermonStudio).

Exegetical Aim: God made us to praise him.

Props:
An earthenware bowl, some clay, and an apple or orange.

Lesson: I have a bowl to show you. What is a bowl used for? (response) We use a bowl for food, don't we? Place the fruit in the bowl. That makes the bowl look much better, doesn't it? Now the bowl is doing what it was made to do. Do you know how this bowl was made? (response) Let me show you. Hold up the clay. What is this? (response) Clay. That's right. As you say the following, mold the clay into a bowl shape: A potter takes the clay, puts it on a wheel, adds a little water, and molds the clay into a bowl.

Application: The Bible says that God is the potter and that we are the clay. What do you suppose that means? (response) Yes, God made us just exactly who we are. And God made us for a purpose. Just like a bowl should be used for food, God made us for a reason. Do you know why God made you? (response) According to the Bible, we all were made to give glory to God. All we say and all we do should give glory to God. Hold up the bowl with the fruit inside. A bowl that holds food is a good bowl, because it is doing what it is made to do. When we give glory and praise to God, we are doing what we are meant to do. Always be willing to love others, to forgive one another, to help those who are poor and needy, and to serve God, because all of those things bring glory to God. Hold up the clay. And that's what we are made to do.

Let's Pray: You are the Potter; we are the clay. Mold us and make us; this is what we pray. Amen....click here to read on the web

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