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2019-04-28 Message for Kids-

By Sermons

Do you have a nickname? Sure. Many of us do. Some are very complimentary. Others, not so much. But if a nickname may fit us initially, we can always change our nickname to describe the best of us. For example, do you remember the disciple’s name who doubted Jesus was alive after dying on the cross for us? Yes. Doubting Thomas. Actually, Doubting was not his first name! It was his nickname given by others describing his lack of faith. We doubt when we don’t fully believe, when we don’t yet understand something entirely. Like when our parents tell us not to eat too much sugar, Or to go to bed early. We say to ourselves, “That can’t be true! Its just too crazy!” So we can give nicknames to our parents. They are “out of it”, or “Mean” or “Don’t understand me.” But we figure out most of the time these nicknames, labels, don’t need to stick because people can grow and change. We grow. Our parents grow.

Doubting Thomas grew, too. He came to understand that Jesus was truly alive! Its unfortunate that through the centuries we have kept Thomas in the Doubting box. Instead, let’s start a new tradition. Thomas’s nickname is Believing Thomas. And that’s a great nickname for us, too.

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

By Sermons

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!

Christmas- The Gift That Keeps Us Growing

By Intersections

Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.


“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish(John 1:14).


Hello friends,

Every day of the year is special. To someone. Yourbirthday is special, for example! In fact, every single day of the year has been co-opted to celebrate or commemorate one thing or another. Did you know that January is “National Bath Safety Month” and “Penguin Awareness Day” is January 20? The list is endless! Among thousands of personal, regional, national, and religious special days, Christmas, December 25, is unique. It’s the day we have chosen to especially celebrate God’s Gift when long ago, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood”(John 1:14). What a day!

No doubt your memories of Christmas’ past are expressed through today’s traditions and customs. They help you unpack Christmas’ meaning. Seasonal food favorites. Special ornaments and events. Christmas movies and holiday music. Gatherings and gift-exchanges. Christmas Eve candlelight worship. The traditions go on and on. Sometimes the pastfamiliar traditions can overwhelm us as we miss loved ones, reminisce about by-gone days, or just feel a bit lonely during Christmas. Now is a great time to remember that from that First Noel, Christmas was always about the futureinvading our present.

Those former memories may be little more than nostalgic, but the real gift of Christmas is anything but! All things can become new…again. Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

We can incorporate and build upon Christmas memories when we invest time to learn and grow. We can create new memories, making this Christmas, and every Christmas to come, vitally different, better.

Can you imagine a thriving Christmas, not merely surviving it?! This year, let’s take all the best of Christmas’ pastand open our arms and spirits to new ways to receive God’s gift of Christmas now? And help others do the same. Our greater Cape May community needs to experience Christmas anew this year, and you can be a part of that experience.

And what is that Gift ready to be opened this year? Jesus. Jesus is the Gift. The Gift that keeps on giving. It’s Jesus moving into our neighborhood, now. Today. Sure, he was born in the pastto Mary and Joseph among the animals in crowded Bethlehem. But it’s (also) todaythat God is with us. Today, God can blossom afresh into our lives.

This week, all month, and as the new year unfolds, make time to talk with God. Pause long enough to listen, too. (Check out our online resources for your very own 30-Day Challenge.) Let God know you are grateful as you recall the best of your Christmas’ past, but that you want the Spirit to energize your life this Christmas!

God wants to inspire your thoughts. (Pick up the Bible and take fifteen minutes to read Nehemiah, chapter 1 and Romans, chapter 12. Consider how Nehemiah responded to the cries of his community and how the Apostle Paul urged the house churches to renew their minds for action.) Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

This Christmas, God can empower us to live our very best selves. Or, sure, we can remain stuck in Christmas’ past, repeating fine traditions but not learning or growing into God’s preferred future. Overhearing the Greatest Story Ever Told is O.K., but not letting the radical Good News transform our life is just a missed opportunity. God Is With Us, Emmanuel(Isaiah 7:14, 8:8; Matthew 1:23), as God’s emerging future unfolds with our every step. How exciting this Christmas could be!

The first New Testament letter was sent to the house churches in the city of Thessalonica, in modern-day Turkey. Paul begins his letter thanking God for the way their lives were changing. He praised them for how they let the Good News shape their community. Each believer responded to God’s invitation to faithfulness in their own, unique way. It was all good. And different. Their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” empowered them to revolutionize their neighborhoods, improve people’s lives, and it elicited some of Paul’s strongest affirmations and expressions of gratitude.

Be a Part of the Advent Adventure. It All Begins December 2

Cold Spring Presbyterian Church enjoys many wonderful traditions during Advent and Christmas that 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! This year’s Advent Message Series is titled The All-Inclusive Storyfeaturing the animals of Christmas. Animals, you ask? Yes!

The pastor, Jerome (347-420 AD), helped early believers learn the four gospels using familiar creatures, each representing Mark (the Lion, 12/2), Luke (the Ox, 12/9), John (the Eagle, 12/16), and Matthew (men and women, 12/23). Let’s open God’s Gift of Christmas together using these traditional illustrations.

Melissa and I wish you a very merry Christmas. Remember: Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

2018-11-18 Message- Ropes Of Living Hope

By Sermons

Have you ever felt at the End of your rope?! Sure, we all have. The rope is a familiar metaphor for many of life’s experiences and activities. Sometimes we can feel like we’re getting all Tied Up, or walking a Tightrope just to get through our day, or wistfully longing for the simple joy of Jumping Rope as a child in the neighborhood. Remember playing Tug-of-war on the field? It may have Ben a while since you enjoyed the Rope Swing in your backyard. Ropes can also keep us on the path and guide us in the best direction. 

Our energizing message this week is from Mark 13 and Hebrews 4 and you are invited to consider Jesus’ promise to be with us in our present and our future. While visions of the “end times” may result in some anxieties, the end times is not at the end of our rope. Rather, Jesus promises to be faithful to us… “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Even when Jesus envisioned the future destruction of Herod’s Great Temple, do not fear. Even the uncertainties ahead can result in normal fears, God promises to stand with us in our fear, to tie us as with a safe and secure rope, not only to himself, but to one another. Sure, we may not immediately correlate encouragement and safety to former church experiences, but at Cold Spring Church, we not only stand on the promises of God, we stand on the promises of God together.

Did you know that the The Latin root of the word “religion” is re-ligare, which means to be tied to a yoke? Many monastic orders still require the monk to tie a rope around his waist. It’s not a rope that keeps the cassock from falling. It was a symbol of God’s promises. The rope symbolized that we are all bound together in ropes of hope and faith and love.

Find Ropes of Living Hope this week at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church.

2018-11-04 Message- Embracing An Olive Tree Faith

By Sermons

This week we are departing from the lectionary readings to talk about the roots of faith and how our faith can be rebooted for the future as we build on the promises of God. The theme is the Olive Tree. From Genesis to Revelation and everywhere in between, the olive tree is a metaphor for our faith. From the olive branch returned by the dove to Noah to the great olive tree in the new heaven and earth of Revelation, anointing oil inaugurated kings, blessed believers, and it was on the Mt. of Olives that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. You will never look at the olive the same way again!

2018-10-21 Message- What do you want me to do for you

By Sermons

Remember growing up with the Sears Christmas Wish Book? I do. Flipping through pages filled with toys and gift ideas delighted kids of all ages as they marked their favorite items, hoping mom and dad noticed in time for Christmas. What did you wish for?

Beginning in 1886, 22-year-olds Richard Sears and Alveh Roebuck did more than wish for a brighter future when they started a retail business that sold, well, anything. Whatever you wanted, watches, clothes, furniture, chances were that Sears, Roebuck, and Co., could deliver it to your door. In fact, they could deliver the door, too, attached to the pre-fabricated house you purchased out of the catalogue! The business seemed to peak in 1969, ironically as it built what was then the “largest skyscraper in the world” in Chicago.

Diversifying into other product lines from brokerage, insurance, and pre-internet services failed to improve the company’s health, and by the 1990’s, Walmart, and later internet companies like Amazon, made the Sears and the Christmas Wish Book obsolete. Desperate attempts to stay afloat couldn’t save the struggling retailer, which listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities. An economist explained the retailer’s demise: “Sears and Kmart simply trudged along and thought that was good enough.” Good enough is rarely good enough, and on October 15, the Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after 132 years in business. While sad, there’s more for us to learn from the wish book story.

What do you want? Jesus asked this question of his good friends, James and John, and you wouldn’t have guessed what was on their wish list! This Sunday, let’s get our wish lists out for Jesus to examine. We will also take a look at Job’s wish list, too, and we’ll discover that God delivered more than Job bargained for!

2018-10-21 Message for Kids- I have the faith of a mustard seed, and I’m not afraid to use it

By Sermons

What do you need when you go trick or treating? Candy, right? What’s you favorite? Sure. Twist. Snickers. Skittles! But, what do you need? Not candy! How about faith? Jesus said that if you have faith even a small as this mustard seed, you can move mountains! Here is a mustard seed. Can you even see it? It’s super small. It’s one of the very smallest of the seeds, yet it grows and produces a great plant. You probably don’t need more candy, and guess what? You don’t need more faith, either. All you need to do is trust in God and know that God loves you more than you could possibly know, and wants your very best and has given you all you truly need in Jesus Christ. So this Halloween, as you fill your bag with candy, fill your life with faith and see what God will do!

What do you want for halloween? Candy?

What do you need for Halloween? Faith!

Ministry of Loneliness

By Intersections

Lonely? Find hope here!

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25: 35).

While most countries around the world seem hyper-focused on security, the economy, education, jobs, housing, and justice (to name just a few important topics), there is a newly created governmental office in the United Kingdom that few saw coming. It’s the Ministry of Loneliness. Yes, loneliness. Not its promotion, of course, but an entire government office dedicated to reducing loneliness across the country. I think you will agree that Cold Spring Presbyterian Church is committed to addressing loneliness across our community, too.

The Ministry of Loneliness was launched after a twelve-month investigation reported that nine million Britons suffer from loneliness: fourteen per cent of the population. The elderly and the young were both cited in the studies as particularly affected. And this loneliness diagnosis is not Britain’s alone. Japan has identified elder loneliness, too. What’s going on?

Technology: All of our technology and communication improvements makes it easier and cheaper than ever to say connected, we are actually feeling less connected than ever! What we are learning is that as media/device use goes up, social interaction goes down.

And making maters worse, our time spent on device is less about producing content or helping us pay better attention, and more about consuming entertainment. We have tools of communicating, which is great. But we are not very good using tools to help us connect to the people and places in our life that matter the most.

Patterns of Behavior: We can be stranger-averse. That is, we can resist interacting and even noticing strangers in our community. From an early age we were admonished, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Stranger danger! Good advice. Well, for kids its absolutely great advice. Why? Because the developmental resources of a youngster is not sufficient for them to detect and defend themselves from danger. Their experience is limited. It’s necessary that children develop a sense of caution, especially around older kids and adults that could pose a risk.

But we’re not kids anymore. In stores. At church. On walks. At the beach. From cookouts to sports, and even the more solitary activities like gardening and fishing, can find us creating zones of isolation. For example, my grandparents’ house had a front porch from which they freely connected to those that passed by. By contrast, nowadays we have moved our “front porch” to the back and call it a “deck.” We tend to listen to narrow bands of information that can unintentionally reinforce our own tightly held opinions that can’t benefit from an exchange of ideas and promote understanding and learning. How many strangers do we stop and talk to?

Engage or Not Engage? Some of us just like to strike up conversations with others. Maybe our personality is more expressive. Perhaps we have had more trusting experiences with others that give us a sense of confidence and hopefulness that the next time we meet a stranger it will be positive. We may regard talking to strangers as polite behavior. But it can even be enjoyable to meet someone new and sometimes informative.

One the other hand, it’s perfectly acceptable to be more reserved. Change can be challenging for anyone. Meeting a stranger is being face to face with change. Some of us don’t like to initiate conversations with those we haven’t met before. We keep to ourselves. Maybe it’s a learned behavior that helps us feel safe. We have our reasons for avoiding unknown situations, or we just seem to keep hearing our parents’ advice echoing in our ears, “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Our learned resistance to welcoming strangers can unfortunately reinforce a culture of loneliness. We can go through our day feeling alone, even if we are surrounded by crowds of people. We can even feel like a stranger among a sea of strangers, unintentionally act distant, express distrust, and feel truly isolated. Extreme feelings of isolation are often associated with anxiety, fear, and depression. Because we focus our vision inward, we eventually feel stuck within our limited self-referenced experience. Organizations and even churches can promote a sense of loneliness, too. What can we do about loneliness? There is hope!

What Does the Bible Say? From the earliest of times, the Bible urged that kindness be extended to strangers, and not just as they pass by, but to make strangers your friends. The Bible consistently challenges the status quo with paying attention to those who have been excluded. Consider:“You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt”(Deuteronomy 10:19). “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God”(Leviticus 19:34).

Of course, Jesus came to us as a stranger and became our friend, our Savior. He said we were to treat everyone as we would treat him. In the crowds of people, where people can feel lonely, Jesus reached out to make everyone feel welcomed. No one was excluded. Think about the lost coin, lost sheep, and the lost coin, for example. In Acts, the earliest followers of Jesus seemed to be pretty attached to staying in Jerusalem, a place of relative familiarity and safety, rather than head off to places and peoples unknown. They were shocked that “even Gentiles” believed in Jesus, that you can eat all foods, and you didn’t have to become “Jewish” to become a “Christian.”

Take a Step. We can do something today to make a difference in our community, especially for those who may be experiencing severe loneliness. According to Talk-To-Me-London, a non-profit organization established several years ago to promote community building, we need to challenge existing norms around talking. Try these suggestions.

  1. Just begin to talk to strangers.It’s risky, but if you try, you might experience very positive outcomes! This advice is often overlooked because it’s just too simple of a solution, but doing so can help a person who feels isolated to make a new connection.
  2. Think about yourself.Think about what you would like more of – maybe time with friends or family, if so invite others with you. Often if you are lonely you think people do not want to visit. This is understandable but often people will respond to an invitation and will come and spend quality time with you. Pick up the phone, reach out!
  3. Take care of yourself.If you can do something to improve your health, take small steps to eat well, take gentle exercise and keep active, all of these things can help you to relax more fully in your own company.
  4. Get connected.Take a walk. Go to worship. Volunteer. Cold Spring Church has many activities that can be perfect places to meet new people. Volunteer to help others get ministry goals accomplished. Check our calendar for activities that are already scheduled. Cape May offers abundant activities, centers, and groups. Walking groups and tours. Singing groups. Book clubs and even bridge.
  5. If you feel very lonely, speak now to a health worker.Long term loneliness could contribute to later depression and other health problems. Your GP, primary care physician, should be able to direct you to local services that can help.

Every friendship you value now initially started as conversation with a stranger. Imagine the possibilities. Talking to strangers can help create a better world. Jesus’ mission was to show us what a real friend is like (John 15:13). Remember that God loves you (John 3:17-18) and Jesus “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14), and into your home, among your family and friends, to bless your life (John 10:10). “Behold!” Jesus said, “I am right there at your door.” Ready to bless your life. Just open the door and you will find that amazing, abundant, hopeful life that lasts forever! (Rev. 3:20ff).

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? …The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:35-40 NASB)

It is hard to change people’s attitudes about talking to strangers but we can all do our part in bringing about more conversations between strangers. So let’s continue to be welcoming and innovative as we organize activities that create spaces where people feel freer to talk, and by working with others across our community, we can raise awareness of the importance of talking to strangers.

As our tagline says, Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, Energizing Spirits. Transforming Lives.

All Are Welcome!


Pastor Kevin