Prayer: With Any Sincere Request You Get the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:1-13)

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The disciples have asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In the center of Luke 11:1-13 is the Parable of the Midnight Request. The moral of the story? If a grouchy father will stubbornly get up at midnight and give his neighbor who without shame requests bread for his guest, then imagine what our heavenly Father will do for his children who come to him in need.

Toward a Sustaining Faith (Matthew 14:22-31; 1 Peter 1:3-9)

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This Sunday we consider faith and doubt from Peter’s success and failure at water-walking. Peter’s faith was fickle -- lots of “successful failures” in which Peter successfully and courageously stepped out, and then failed miserably. Sound familiar? But toward the end of his life his faith expression is strong and solid. Our purpose Sunday is to study how we can nurture a faith that will endure and become increasingly vital, sustaining us throughout our lives.

Forward in the Gospel (Philippians 1:12-18)

This is Pastor Larry Showalter's final sermon as Senior Pastor of Ruggles Baptist Church. 

The subtitle of this sermon is, "Is What's Happening to Me Accomplishing Something for God?"

You are where you are. But what are you doing here in this workplace, in this academic institution, living in this neighborhood? Does God really have a purpose for your being here, or are your circumstances coincidental? Are you “lucky” or “unlucky” to be where you are?
 
Here’s a challenge: to receive your circumstances as from God, and to discover why he has you where you are. Is what’s happening to me/you accomplishing something for God?

An Illustrated Story of the Gospel (Romans 3:24)

This Easter Sunday we are taking a break from the series, “The Roots of Our Redemption” to dwell on our redemption. The Scripture for Sunday is one short verse, Romans 3:24.
“All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

 
Through a series of illustrations we hope to present the story of the Gospel this Resurrection Sunday. On Good Friday it looked like Jesus was defeated on the cross. What looked like defeat on Friday was actually an epic victory over evil confirmed by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is alive!

Fear of God's Judgment (Genesis 6:1-8)

This difficult passage clearly demonstrates the judgment of God. How do you live the abundant Christian life in view of God’s ability to wipe you out? The prospect of God’s judgment serves to eliminate from your options that you can come to Jesus and do whatever you immorally want. Are you looking to see what you can get away with in your Christian walk? Instead of focusing on your brokenness, give greatest attention to knowing and loving God so that your love for him motivates you to live in harmony with his will. But how do you live this way if you are afraid of his judgment?

And God Created Woman (Genesis 2:18-25)

For the first time in God’s creation something is not good. Adam is alone. In another dramatic and creative act of God woman is created from man. Even greater still, this relationship between the first man and woman is an image of the relationship God desires with you. Amazing that God is so passionate for an intimate and ongoing relationship with people like us. This relationship between the first man and woman reveals the root of our redemption. (For the “punchline” read Ephesians 5:21-33, especially verses 31-32)

The Christ Song: Descended Then Exalted to the Highest Place (Philippians 2:6-11)

At Bethlehem God became human. It’s an enormous descent when God the Son leaves the Godhead (Trinity) and is birthed as a baby in Bethlehem. A huge descent! But once his mission is accomplished, he is exalted to the highest place, returning to the Godhead as Jesus Christ our Lord and God. You are invited to come and experience this enormous plunge Jesus endured for us from highest high to the lowest low and back again so that we might live in a relationship with God forever.

Mary's Song: Moving from Anxiety to Adoration (Luke 1:39-56)

We're looking at Mary’s Song (Luke 1:39-56), often called "The Magnificat" from the first line, "My soul magnifies the Lord." Mary is a troubled teenager who finds herself in an anxious yet glorious situation. Troubled because she is pregnant and unmarried, yet she knows she’s a virgin.
 
But when God speaks to her, affirming his plan for her, she moves quickly from anxiety to adoration. It’s remarkable what a spoken word from God will do to the countenance of your soul. A word from God to you could move your soul from anxiety to adoration in an instant. Come…let’s talk about it.

Jesus Catering Serves Up Faith (John 6:1-15, 25-29)

This week’s “Life-Changing Encounter with Jesus” is Jesus feeding thousands from a boy’s lunch. The hope from this encounter is that everyone would recognize him as the Messiah, the Son of God. However the Scripture indicates that they run after him because he provided food when they were hungry. That was quite a trick; let’s see it again! They didn’t get it that he is Lord and God. Careful that you are not using the Lord as your Celestial Caterer or Servant in order to get what you want, instead of serving the living God who wants to be the Lord and Master of your life.

Finding this Life-Changing Relationship with Jesus (John 20:30-31)

The new fall series is called “Life-Changing Encounters with Jesus.” Our plan is to bring together the purpose of John’s Gospel with our new mission statement. Both emphasize our life-altering relationship with Jesus and inviting others to join us on this journey.

Blessed Are You Who Fear the Lord (Psalm 128)

You probably will not be talking soon with your colleagues at work or your fellow classmates about being blessed by fearing the Lord. But the topic of Psalm 128 does present us with the opportunity to look more deeply and at our walk with the Lord. What does it mean to 'be blessed?' And of course how do you fear the Lord who loves you deeply and desires your presence?

The Lord Is for You/He Is Our Help (Psalm 124)

It may be a challenge to believe that the Lord is on your side, that he is for you. That is the assumption in Psalm 124. It starts, “If the Lord had not been on our side.” He was and is. The Psalm ends with these words, “Our help is in the name of the Lord.” In between these first and last verses are expressions of difficult experiences we are confronted with in our lives. The challenge: in the midst of life’s challenges to believe and experience that the Lord on your side and he is your help no matter what.

I Need a Break from Life in Boston (Psalm 120)

Today we begin a new sermon series entitled "An Ancient Playlist for a Timeless Journey." Psalms 120-134 are collectively known as the Psalms of Ascent. Jewish families would often sing these Psalms as they ascended the hill to Jerusalem to worship there. 

So it’s Memorial Day weekend when we honor those who gave themselves to preserve our freedom. In New England we also recognize it as the start of the summer season. You need a break from an intense year. This series is about our journey, leaving our everyday lives for a higher place. It’s like a church going off on retreat for the purpose of regaining a more godly perspective. It’s for reviving your relationship with God and enjoying his presence. Psalm 120 starts at the low place, the first steps getting us ready for the journey. Likely you need a break from an intense year in Boston. Here we go...

Do This In Remembrance of Me (Matthew 26:17-30)

The spiritual meaning in the sacraments of baptism and communion is significant. But consider the lighter side. We celebrate significant events in our lives like birthdays and anniversaries. What more significant event is there than your spiritual birth and living it out? Baptism is a public celebration of the time of your spiritual birth, and communion is remembering the significance of that birth day throughout your life.

The 11th Commandment: Making the Gospel Visible (Luke 7:36-50, John 13-15)

Today's sermon topic is about community and the local church. All of us are in communities that are not God-centered. It happens with friends, colleagues, and families at schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. So how is church community different? What makes it supernatural, unique, spiritually alive? It happens when members of the community are experiencing the reality of God's forgiveness. Love for God and for each other is released. But this does not mean it is easy loving one another. You'll need a Bible. Turn to Luke 7 and John 13-15 to see the "visible gospel."

The Resurrection: Confirmed -- Debt Paid in Full (John 19:28-30; 20:1-10)

We have this sense that if we do a little good, it will make up for whatever bad we have done. It’s kind of like credit card debt: if I make the minimum payment the balance will go away, eventually. But if the debt is huge and increasing, there is no way it will be paid off in a lifetime. Spiritual indebtedness is the same – there is no way you can pay off your debt to God in your lifetime. You discover that doing business God’s way results in a tremendous saving (pun intended).