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Message number three in the four part series "Themes from Ecclesiastes" looks at Ecclesiastes chapters four through seven. Elder Mike Gowens begins this 9/9/18 message in Ecclesiates 7:1-10, a passage that repeats one of the key words of the book - the word "better." Though most people pursue "the good life," the Preacher asserts that such a life in this world of trouble and sorrow is an optical illusion. Instead, he urges his young auditors to "the better life," a life marked by contentment with the necessities of life, and a life that values relationships above riches. With God at the center, life can truly be "better." 

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Elder Michael Gowens' sermon on 9/2/18 focuses on the familiar passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-15: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." The passage teaches that change is inevitable in every person's life. It also stresses that joy is available in the midst of life's changing scenes when the believer looks at life with a sharp focus on God and His glory. With this perspective of faith, life is seen as God's gift, and the simplest and most common tasks bring immense fulfillment and happiness.

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Pastor Mike Gowens' 8/26/18 sermon looks at Ecclesiastes 1-2 and the basic human quest for significance and meaning in life. After painting the pessimistic portrait of life without God, Gowens shows that all of life is supremely meaningful when God is factored into the equation of human existence. Especially for the Christian who believes in the risen Lord, life is rich with purpose and significance. Because Christ lives, labor in His name is never futile and vain. 

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Living in Liberty

In this 8/17/18 sermon, Elder Mike Gowens looks at the narrative of the man born blind in John 9, the sixth of seven miracles unique to the Gospel of John. Jesus had just taught the people that He is the Light of the world (cf. 8:12). Now, he illustrates the significance of that title by dispelling the darkness in this man's life. It was a life-changing gift of grace. The Pharisees, however, were not nearly so happy, and excommunicated the man from the synagogue. The courageous and joyful man, however, was undeterred by the fear of man. He refused to live under the burden of legalism, for Jesus had transformed his life. Though he didn't know much at first, he knew one thing very well: "Whereas I was blind, now I see." And this new believer found a warm welcome among the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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On Sunday 8/12/18, Elder Michael Gowens looks at Luke 4:16-31 and the first recorded public sermon Jesus delivered in his hometown synagogue at Nazareth. This discourse was not lengthy, but it had a powerful impact on the skeptical people gathered that day for worship. In fact, it made them so angry that they ushered Jesus to the brow of the hill in an attempt to throw him over the edge. It was an inauspicious beginning to his public ministry, but it necessarily set the tone for the coming 3 1/2 years. For the message of sovereign grace that so angered the proud townsfolk in Nazareth was truly considered to be good news to the Lord's humble poor elsewhere in his travels. Sovereign grace is still considered "the gospel" by those who know themselves to be poor and needy sinners.

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In this 8/5/18 sermon, Elder Michael Gowens looks at three primary passages of Scripture in which the apostle Paul discusses the gifts of the Spirit: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. Each passage develops the "body" metaphor of Church-life, and each emphasizes the important Pauline emphasis of "every member ministry" in the body of Christ.

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The Kingdom Parables

Guest preacher Elder Mike Ivey (TX) takes us to Matthew 13 in this final service of our July 2018 5th Weekend Meeting. Each of these parables highlights a particular characteristic of the kingdom of God. Once again, Elder Ivey brings his characteristically fresh, insightful and substantive approach to the interpretation of this important passage of holy scripture.

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In the Saturday evening (7/28/18) session of our 5th Weekend Meeting, visiting minister Elder Michael Ivey continued his exposition of 1 Corinthians 15. This message covers verses 20 through 52, and focuses on the resoration of the imago Dei at the resurrection.

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On Saturday afternoon, 7/28/18, guest minister Elder Mike Ivey (TX) brought an excellent sermon from 1 Corinthians 15:1-19. He demonstrates the logical case Paul makes in this chapter for the bodily resurrection of Christ, and for the coming event of our resurrection at the Savior's glorious return. As we wait in the meantime for the final resurrection of our bodies, we may be saved from despair as we anticipate the glory that awaits us at that triumphant day.

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Elder Mike Ivey was our guest minister during the July 2018 Fifth Weekend Meeting. This message from the initial service on Friday evening, July 27, was based on Ephesians 1:5. Elder Ivey explains the intriguing history of the Roman adoption process, then looks at the references to this concept in the Pauline epistles of Ephesians, Galatians and Romans to make application to the gracious gift of adoption into God's family.

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