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2019-01-06 Message- Star Words, Following The Jesus Star

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Today is Epiphany, the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Did a few of your ordered Christmas gifts arrive after Christmas?! Sure, it happens. While upsetting, we and the recipient are likely to appreciate the gift. The Three Kings did not arrive late. They were right on time before they even met him, they knew he was worthy of their best. We, too, celebrate the day when the Star of Bethlehem, a very bright moving star, came to a rest just above the spot where Jesus lay, ending its journey from the East and leading a caravan of Magi to the Christ child. The word Epiphany literally means a season of light and Jesus is the source, he is the Light of the World! He is the shining Star.

Celebrities in our culture are VIP’s from sports, to entertainment, to politics. Some stars are rising and others falling and we should be careful not to follow their words too carefully. You just don’t know where they will lead you! We can also be our own “star” as if wearing the T-Shirt that reads, Its All About Me. The Three Wise Men remind us that we are not the star, but rather Jesus is and we have an opportunity to reflect his light, no tonly in our community of faith, but even better, to the community at large! That is our mission as a church. And God invites you to give your very best, too. Can 2019 be the year you give Jesus your very best so that you can live your very best selves, the abundant life Jesus’ promised to us? I think it can!

Today, as you are sent out after worship, I will open this box of Frankincense and Myrrh and if you’re ready to give your best to Jesus, go ahead and take a piece. We have plenty for all of us. But its up to you.

Wow, the Three Kings presented their best and they didn’t even know Jesus. Now here we are, all these years later, and we have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord, we know that God did not send his son into the world to condemn it, but that the world through him would be saved! Now that’s Good News. Star Words for the year ahead.

2019-01-06 Message For Kids- Frankincense, Myrrh, And Its Never Too Late to Give Our Best

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The Three Kings, the astronomer, astrologer, Magi, knew something about Jesus before they even met him. The knew he was special because they saw the brightest star in the sky, brighter than anything seen before. It guided them to Jesus. And they present gifts to Jesus fit for a king. Gold. Frankincense, and Myrrh. We’ve seen gold. But Frankincense and Myrrh are pretty unusual. Here is a special box of these unique nuggets which are derived from the gummy sap that oozes out of the Boswellia and Commiphora trees when their bark is cut. It’s so rare that these items were essential currency and worth a great deal. So the Three Kings gave Jesus something very special. They just didn’t reach into their pockets and see what they found. They prepared and brought their best. You know? God loves us, and wants us, our very best and even loves us when we seem to offer our worst! But as we look forward to a new year, I wonder if you’re ready to give God your unique best? Your best time, energy, and attention. If you’re ready to do that, please take some Frankincense and Myrrh with you. Carry it with you, or keep it in a special place in your room to remind you that God loves you and you decided to give him your very best this year.

2018-12-24 Message- Churches, Mattress Stores, and Deputy Shepherds Beyond the Manger

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Luke 2:15-18

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. Beyond the Manger was inspired by the writing of Joseph Martin and Ray Bakke.

Find out what churches, mattress stores, and shepherds can teach us beyond the manger!

Beyond the manger, We hear no Silent Night

There are no sounds of animals, No star is shining bright

Beyond the manger.

Beyond the manger, We see healing in the streets

Words of hope and forgiveness meet, But now we hear the angry crowd

The sounds of the hammer fall, I see a rugged cross, the chill of night.

Beyond the manger.

Beyond the manger, We see no see no swaddling clothes,

No host of angels sing, There is no candle glow.

Beyond the manger.

Beyond the manger, On the dump outside of town

Amazing grace breaking his heart, The messiah hangs upon a cross

Beyond the manger.

Because the tomb was empty, our lives can be filled

Beyond the manger.

Like the shepherds, you have met at the manger tonight. And can now see beyond it! To the life, words, signs, and work of Jesus. To the cross. The empty tomb. The ascension and promised return!

And you are being sent out as deputy shepherds! That’s right. Each of you has a job to tell the community: There is hope. Spiritual resources are available for young and old. Our mission is to those who have not been reached. To proclaim the Good News about Jesus, and if necessary, use words!

What have you heard? Will you make it known?

What gift have you received? Will you share it?

What hope and peace have you felt? Will you go and tell the amazing news!?

Then our entire community can see God’s amazing love and get the spiritual resources it needs for wellness and living the abundant life Jesus promises!

Now, get up, deputy shepherds, and go!

2018-12-24 Message for Kids- God Sent You A Christmas Card

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What an exciting time of year! Christmas! One of the joys of Christmas is the Christmas Card. Has your family received Christmas Cards? I especially like the ones with a photo on them, a photo of the family. I have some to share with you. Here’s a favorite of mine: It’s of my dog, Finn. Yes, that’s right, he sent his one Christmas card this year! Even better, here is a dear friend’s family pictured on their card. And another. Here’s a family photo, very nice! We love photo Christmas cards because they tell a story. They show us what the family is like. Did you know that God sent a Christmas card to you? Oh, yes, God sent an amazing Christmas card and its of the scene right here: the manger. A long time ago Jesus was bored. Jesus is God’s son and you can see that Jesus was bird in a house with the animals all around. What animals do you see? And others were there, too. Here is a shepherd. The shepherds were out watching their sheep at night when thousands of angles appeared. Here’s our angel. Imagine all these angels telling the shepherds to hurry up and go see the baby, who is God’s Christmas card to us. God’s love letter, the Bible, tells us all about Jesus. And Jesus grew up and showed us how we are to live our lives by doing things for others just like you have been. Cleaning chores, making meals with your family, baking cookies for your neighbors, showing love to others, helping kids at school, all these are practical ways to give because God gave us a most incredible gift of his son Jesus who gives us life that will never end! Jesus said, if you see me, you have seen God. That’s one amazing Christmas card, isn’t it? Let’s pray and thank God for Jesus, and for showing us the way this Christmas.

2018-12-23 Message- People Of Blessing, People Of Song

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Part 4: People of Blessing, People of Song In Advent LightLuke 1:39-55. Dr. Kevin Yoho

Let Mary and Elizabeth be our guide to being a people of blessing and song. Here’s the good news: God‘s plan always included us to be adopted into God‘s family (Ephesians 1:5). Our purpose is to be involved in God‘s family. Some of us may have an awesome amazing human family, or others may have a different experience. Perhaps because of our stage in life, or because of the circumstances and choices we have made our family is differently configured. But in the community of faith, like here at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, everybody is family, everybody belong and has a place. We hope you feel this way today. Here’s why:

God cannot love you any more than he did when Jesus rose again from the dead for you. And, God cannot love you more than he loves you now, and into the future, no matter how unclear, unsettling, that future is. We, like Mary, can have an open heart and when we accept the blessings God has for us, we start singing! What’s amazing is that our future is can be awesome because its in God’s hands. “To as many as received him, who believed on his name, shall be called the children of God.”

2018-12-16 Message- Eagle and the Dove (Christmas Doing)

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Image ©Barstow Creative Images, used with permission and courtesy of Robert Barstow.

This year’s Advent Message Series is titled The All-Inclusive Story featuring the animals of Christmas. Animals, you ask? Yes! You can become a part of the story, too!

The eagle’s sharp eyesight and the dove’s spirit will inspire us this week as we over-hear John the Baptist challenge the community who met him at the Jordan River. It was as if he posted on his Facebook page and live-streamed his message for all to see. What did John say about Jesus? What were the “take-aways” for parents, shopkeepers, and military types? What are we required to DO for Christmas? This week, our lesson from Luke 3:7-18 will challenge our preconceptions about Christmas and exchange them for eagle-eyes and a dove’s spirit which will provide a foundation for experiencing the presence of God in our lives today. Everyone is welcome to come and worship with us every Sunday in December. Enjoy special music, an interactive and inspiring message from God’s word, and a joyful community of faith!

Listen and consider how you can put “doing” into Christmas!

2018-12-16 Message for Kids- Doing Christmas

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Christmas includes the tradition of exchanging gifts with those we care about. And also it includes volunteering and serving others in new ways. We call these activities acts of kindness. Christmas is about doing. Last week you selected an activity, what did you do. Read a book with a friend. That’s awesome! Well this week, I will offer you three challenges! Are you up to it? I have some great “gifts”, acts of kindness suggestions in this Advent Tin for you to choose from! Reach in a see what your challenge is this week. Great. Invite a friend to Christmas Eve service. Pick another. That’s a really good one: Help in the kitchen. Another. Make a Christmas card for a neighbor. God wants us to show our gratitude for his “indescribable gift” of Jesus! Thank you for being with me today! Be blessed as you do Christmas this week! Let’s pray.