Messages from our Ministers

Do Not Get Lost in the Woods

January 3, 2021

Epiphany Sunday

by Pastor Charles

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

Happy New Year. I hope you had a wonderful and exciting Christmas and New Year. Have you already made your New Year’s Resolutions? Well, you are running out of time if you have not. Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to eat healthy and exercise more. A more spiritual resolution for Christians may be to read the Bible and pray more. I do not know what is on your list, or if you even have one, but I do know one priority that ought to be at the top of everyone’s list for 2021. It is to worship God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Today’s sermon talks about staying focused during this New Year. Stay focused on God and do not get lost in the woods.

Have you ever been lost before? I have been lost several times, especially in the big cities and towns. I remember getting lost on my first visit to both Washington DC and New York City. The many tall buildings and busy road networks, among other things, makes someone new to the area easily lost. Thisseems to be the case with the magi or wisemen in today’s scripture reading.


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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

December 27, 2020  

Pastor Joel Plisek

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-40

 

If anything, the year 2020 could be entitled the year of waiting. We waited to hear if we had a job. We waited to get our job back.  We waited to see how mom and dad, parents, grandparents, and children were doing.  We waited in line for food.  We waited to find out the state of our 401K. We waited to find out who the President was.  We waited to buy toilet paper.  We waited to burry our loved ones.  In many ways we are still waiting.

The old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait,” but I want to ask, when does that start? For those who are feeling this way I have a story for you.  It is about two people, Simeon and Anna, who are both examples of faithful waiting even though it took many years for joy to become a reality.   The coming of Christ involved all manners of waiting on God. A young maiden, a dying man and an old widow all model hearts yielded to God.


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Jesus Christ Is the Reason for Christmas

December 24, 2020
Pastor Charles Nyamakope
 

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20

Beloved friends, peace and grace to you. We gather here for many reasons tonight. What are your reasons? It is Christmas Eve, a time so many have been waiting for. Can you feel it? Can you feel that buzz in the air? Family members have arrived, phone calls are being made, words of love and greetings are exchanged. Friends, Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas.

As Luke tells it in his Gospel, there were no expectations other than a birth. If mystery were in the air for Mary and Joseph, it was only the question of where Mary and Joseph could find a room. If there was beauty to be celebrated, it was only the glow of a mother with a child safely born. We want Jesus to be in our midst.

At Christmas time, we too want to let Jesus show – in our church, in our community, in our lives. Christ is born! Joy to the world! The Lord is come. And we are grateful. The nativity story from Luke 2 is so well known to us, we probably could recite it. But because of


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You Are Highly Favored

December 21, 2020
Pastor Charles Nyamakope

Scripture Reading: Luke 1: 26-38

Greetings to you all in the name of our lord Jesus Christ. Today’s message is from the Gospel of Luke in which we are told about Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary. I like this story for it is the one that opens Jesus’ infant narratives as shown in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. In today’s message we are called upon to see the blessings God gives us. Mary is highly favored by God to be the mother of Jesus Christ. We are also highly favored in many ways that we cannot even imagine.
Today’s story begins with Angel Gabriel visiting Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to announce the good news to Mary. Gabriel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Before we get deep into this discussion, we might need to know who Mary is. She is “a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David” (Luke 1:28). In other cultures, we would say Mary is engaged and ready to be married to Joseph.

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Jesus is Coming

December 6, 2020

Pastor Charles
 

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1-8

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today is the second Sunday of Advent. Last Sunday the message was on the angel Gabriel visiting Zachariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the coming of the messiah. Today’s message is from the Gospel of Mark on the ministry of John the Baptist. The Gospel of Mark’s version of the ministry of Jesus is probably the earliest to be written. This gospel was written probably around AD 70, from Rome, or maybe from Antioch to the Gentile believers, or followers of The Way.

We are not even sure who Mark the writer of this gospel is. Tradition claims this is the same John Mark we read about in the book of Acts (13:13), who traveled with Paul and Barnabas, spreading the good news throughout the Mediterranean and starting churches.


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Anticipate the Miracle

November 29, 2020 

Pastor Joel Plisek               

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:5-25

What event lets you know that Christmas is right around the corner?  How do you know the season of Advent is here?  Apple pie for breakfast tells me Advent is here.  I walk into the kitchen after Thanksgiving Day and find some pie left over, and I weigh my options between pie and cereal. It is the most wonderful time of the year; it is a trigger for me that lets me know that Christmas is coming.

What about you?  Maybe it is a movie on TV?  Or Christmas parties?  Or maybe it is putting up lights and decorations.  Do you have those little triggers that indicate to you Christmas is coming? 

Here is the interesting thing that I have noticed, as we grow older, we can lose the eager anticipation.  The reason is that there are a lot of to do lists.  There are a lot of responsibilities. The eager anticipation that we have as children can be replaced with


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Do the Right Thing for the Day of the Lord is at Hand

November 22, 2020

Pastor Charles 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25: 31-46

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Today’s scripture reading is perhaps one of the most famous parables in the Bible. It is a powerful reminder of our shared responsibility to care for the most vulnerable, the “least of these,” the last, and to care for one another. This story is important to everyone as we are called upon to protect and care for each other from the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Today’s parable uses a very traditional Middle Eastern plot where the king goes to wander the streets of his kingdom disguised as a commoner or a poor person to see for himself how things really are. The important question here is: How do we act when no one is


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Watch and Be Sober

November 15, 2020

Pastor Charles

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

In last week’s sermon we learned that Christ’s death has turned our death into sleep, and thus we should not be afraid of death anymore. Sleep is a good thing when it brings a long-expected rest to us. But sleep can also be a bad thing – especially when we are not supposed to be asleep. Falling asleep while driving may result in a serious accident. We can see how important it is for those who perform critical tasks to stay awake and remain alert. This will help us now to understand our own need to watch and be sober as we live the Christian life in the last days.  Paul writes the brethren in Thessalonica to Watch and Be Sober as they wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

1. Why We Need to Watch and Be Sober 

A. We are called to do so for the Day of the Lord is approaching (1 Thes 5:1-3)

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Preach, Pray, or Die

November 8, 2020

Pastor Joel Plisek
 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

Our former Bishop Scott Jones loved to make this statement on the Annual Conference floor when the business was winding down; he would turn to one of his senior staff members, wanting them to do a closing prayer, and he would say, “Jack Preach, Pray or Die…it’s your choice.”

The idea was that as pastors we needed to be ready at seconds notice to do one of those three things: Preach, Pray or Die. 

I bring that up because pastor Charles called me Friday evening to let me know that I would be preaching on Saturday and Sunday.  Pastor Charles was at a pastor’s gathering and it turned out that one of the other pastors there came down with COVID-19.  As a precaution Charles is taking a test, but he can’t take it until Tuesday.  So, he and his family are isolating themselves, please keep them in your prayers. At this time, he does not feel like


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