Text Sermon (Blog Format)

December 2018

God Gave Us a Light

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This...

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John's Unromantic Christmas Story

Yesterday here at Immanuel on Christmas Eve, we heard and pondered the well-known words of Luke chapter 2. As we read, listened to, pondered those words, we pictured Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem; Joseph anxiously and hurriedly trying to find a vacant room. We could picture Mary so carefully wrapping the baby Jesus in pieces of cloth and laying him down in a manger. We can almost hear the angel’s announcement and the songs of the heavenly host. We can picture how the...

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You Desert, Your Place of Safety

You probably don’t want to experience what Ricky Gilmore did in the desert. He was hitchhiking to a nearby town when a couple picked him up. As a thank you, he offered to grill them steaks but they insisted that they go for a little joy ride instead. But the joy ride turned out to be a nightmare because after an argument they kicked Ricky out of their car in the middle of the desert not close to any town. The problem was: Ricky is a paraplegic and this couple had earlier dropped off his...

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You Were Meant for Joy

Michele De Leeuw is 57 years old. This past August, she was with her husband Karl at their home in Sterling Heights, Michigan, when she suffered a heart attack. Karl called 911 immediately, but by the time the paramedics arrived, Michelle had been without oxygen for 15 minutes. The paramedics got her to the hospital, but it didn’t look good. Six days later, her family was told that she had only 5 percent brain function, 25 percent heart function, and a zero percent chance that her...

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What God Values Most

You can tell what is important to someone by the way they tell a story. What’s included? What parts of the story do they focus on? What details get the most time? This will certainly reveal what the story teller cares about most – what they see as important and value most. Read one news story from two different media outlets. It’s the exact same story. It happened only one way. The facts do not change. Yet, CNN and Fox News may tell the story in very different ways. One sees...

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God Answers Our Cry for Peace

“God isn’t fair.” One the biggest and most common criticisms of Christianity, accusations and finger pointing toward Christians from the unbelieving, secular world, is that our Big, Powerful, Good, God is not fair. He is not fair. The world points out examples of social and political injustice and it asks, “Where is your God?” They point at a community like Thousand Oaks, California. They say, “One week those residents endure one of the deadliest shootings in...

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Good News to and from Zechariah

Most people think I have a pretty nice life. I think people say, “He’s got it so good. His whole life revolves around God’s word. He teaches people about God, he talks about God, he gets paid to answer questions about what God has told us. He doesn’t really have any big problems.” I’ve been doing this 25-30 years, really my whole adult life. But people have no idea about what goes through my mind. For quite a while now everyone has been so kind to my wife;...

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Find Hope for the Holidays

You may have heard about the wildfires that destroyed so much of California recently. One town, the town of Paradise, was destroyed completely. A relative of mine who lives out there told me that what happened to the town of Paradise would be like the city of Manitowoc burning to the ground in only eight hours. That’s what happened in Paradise, California. The parents of Nick Maes lived in Paradise. Their house, like every other, was completely destroyed. And inside their house, along...

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