Dec 20, 2015
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a guarantee that the recipients of your gifts would love them? We give gifts with the hope that they will be appreciated (and not returned).  Ultimately, however, no matter how awesome our gifts are they can only bring temporary satisfaction.  Our satisfaction cannot be guaranteed by a "thing."  When God gave us Jesus, He gave us a guarantee of satisfaction.  In this message, Pastor Mike shows us how three symbols are essential to this guarantee - the cradle, the cross, and the crown. The cradle represents the saving ministry of Christ's birth, the cross represents the spiritual mystery of Christ's birth, and the crown represents the sovereign majesty of Christ's birth.
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  • Dec 20, 2015Satisfaction Guaranteed
    Dec 20, 2015
    Satisfaction Guaranteed
    Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a guarantee that the recipients of your gifts would love them? We give gifts with the hope that they will be appreciated (and not returned).  Ultimately, however, no matter how awesome our gifts are they can only bring temporary satisfaction.  Our satisfaction cannot be guaranteed by a "thing."  When God gave us Jesus, He gave us a guarantee of satisfaction.  In this message, Pastor Mike shows us how three symbols are essential to this guarantee - the cradle, the cross, and the crown. The cradle represents the saving ministry of Christ's birth, the cross represents the spiritual mystery of Christ's birth, and the crown represents the sovereign majesty of Christ's birth.
  • Dec 13, 2015The Gift That Keeps Giving
    Dec 13, 2015
    The Gift That Keeps Giving
    Every year, we eagerly anticipate the gifts we will receive at Christmas.  But most of the gifts we receive are just "stuff." Would it really matter if we didn't get these gifts? There are gifts we can give that have more significance, such as time spent with family and friends.  The most significant gift ever given, though, was a person - Jesus.  What if this greatest gift had not been given?  If Jesus had not come, the Father would be unapproachable, the Gospel would be un-preachable, prayer would be unprofitable, and heaven would be unattainable.
  • Dec 6, 2015The Gift of Grace
    Dec 6, 2015
    The Gift of Grace
    Luke 1:26-33 contains the announcement of Jesus' birth to Mary.  Mary was chosen by God to give birth to the Savior, not because she was of royal lineage, or wealthy, or beautiful.  It was the grace of God.  Grace, by definition is undeserved - it is not earned.  In spite of our circumstances, God chooses to use us for His purpose and for His glory. Mary was amazed and, naturally, surprised by the announcement. But as a result, Mary developed a sense of God's presence, she devoted herself to God's plan, and she delighted in God's power.
  • Nov 29, 2015Peace, Good Will to Men
    Nov 29, 2015
    Peace, Good Will to Men
    Biblically speaking, gifts are an important part of  Christmas.  God gave us the greatest gift of all on the first Christmas.  This series explores the Gift and gifts of Christmas.
    For most people, peace is the absence of conflict. The world at the time of Jesus' birth was a world in conflict.  Rome ruled its provinces with an iron fist.  Judea was experiencing that provincial rule, and peace seemed far away.  Our world today is still in the midst of conflict.  War among nations, terrorism, domestic violence - these are some of the things that threaten our way of life. But the promise was not to bring peace among men. Jesus came to bring peace with God - peace within.  In this message, Pastor Mike explores the realm of peace - eternal, internal, and external; the resources of peace - the person, promises and provision of Christ; and the results of peace - the addition of God's presence and power.
  • Nov 22, 2015The Soul Music of Thanksgiving
    Nov 22, 2015
    The Soul Music of Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving is a song of praise that begins deep within the soul.  Even in times when you are hurting, giving thanks for what you have can help you heal.  The Psalms are the soul music of the Bible, and they contain deep expressions of thanks and praise.  Psalm 103:1-5 presents a call to thanksgiving as well as the cause of thanksgiving, reminding us not to forget what God has done for us.
  • Nov 15, 2015Compelled to Missions through the Doctrine of the New Humanity
    Nov 15, 2015
    Compelled to Missions through the Doctrine of the New Humanity
    In Ephesians 2:1-3:13, the apostle Paul reminds the church that we have one gospel to proclaim, and we are one church united in Christ.  Therefore we have one mission:  To proclaim the mystery of the gospel to the nations.  Paul was compelled to that mission. Having been saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, and being a part of the beauty of the church, we also are compelled to be on mission.
    Scott Carter and his wife, Crystal, have been married almost 17 years, and have 5 children. They have served all over Asia with the IMB for over 18 years (including service as singles). Most recently they were involved in church planting in a global city in SE Asia.
  • Nov 8, 2015…And in Conclusion
    Nov 8, 2015
    …And in Conclusion
    In this final message in the Embassy Living series, Pastor Mike draws from Peter's closing instructions to the early church under persecution.  We have an enemy that threatens our peace and safety.  What, then are we to do? We must divert the attention by being humble, cast off worry, and resist the enemy. And the God of all grace will strengthen and establish us.
  • Nov 1, 2015Biblical Leadership
    Nov 1, 2015
    Biblical Leadership
    The early Church relied on the apostles to teach and lead them to be followers of Christ.  But as the Church spread across the known world, local congregations appointed "elders" to lead them.  In 1 Peter 5:1-5, the apostle encourages the elders to to be godly leaders.  Pastor Mike draws from this passage to encourage the church to pray for their leaders, and to encourage church leaders, as Peter does, to lead willingly, not grudgingly; eagerly, not greedily; and to be exemplary, not domineering.
  • Oct 25, 2015Looking Forward to the Future
    Oct 25, 2015
    Looking Forward to the Future
    In 1 Peter 4:7-9 the apostle speaks of the end of all things and how we are to conduct ourselves as we anticipate Christ's return.  God's redemptive plan has been moving forward throughout history, and the time of Jesus' return is near. We should be waiting, looking forward to His return, but at the same time doing His will and living for Him. As we watch and wait, we are to pray with clarity, love with consistency, share without complaint, and serve the church.
  • Oct 18, 2015Grace in Times of Suffering
    Oct 18, 2015
    Grace in Times of Suffering
    Suffering is an unfortunate part of life. As we live our Christian life, with our Christian worldview, we will collide with the world and its secular worldview.  Sometimes this results in persecution.  But some believers have an attitude of "gloom, despair, and agony on me."  We need to learn to find grace in those times when we suffer for the sake of righteousness.  We need to be persuaded that God is in control, be prepared to testify, yet be polite and respectful.