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Elder Mike Gowens' sermon on 11/4/18 focuses on the departing Savior's encouraging promise to send the Holy Spirit, recorded in John 14:15-18. One of the distinguishing marks between the church and the world is our understanding that reality consists of more than meets the eye. A mysterious, unseen Person is at work in our lives, leading, enabling, strengthening, comforting and teaching us. The reality of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God's people is a powerful encouragement while we wait for Jesus to return.

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Too Much Grace?

In this message from 10/28/18, Elder Mike Gowens looks at the narrative of the woman who was caught in adultery, recorded in John 8:2-12. The mercy and grace Jesus extends to this woman was just too much grace for the religious leaders among the Jews. It is also too much grace for many people today, but to those who have been taught the plague of their own hearts, Jesus' words of forgiveness are truly the sweetest words ever to touch mortal ears.

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In this 10/21/18 sermon, Elder Michael Gowens summarizes the recent study of Ecclesiastes by considering "the Preacher's" own reflection recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:9-12. Although much of the book exposes the vanity and futility of life without God, the Preacher wisely continues to teach the word of God. He knows that teaching the knowledge of God from Scripture is not in vain: "Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge." This summary passage reminds us that a life spent in service to the Lord is not in vain, and that those who seek answers to life's many questions will find them in one place alone, the Book of books.

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On 10/14/18, Mike Gowens continued the "Themes from Ecclesiastes" series by looking at the important theme of "fearing God," one of the dominant motifs of the book. The last two verses of the book, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, provide the text for this sermon. Gowens begins by describing the decline of respect and reverence in popular culture, and proceeds to offer several biblical definitions of godly fear. He concludes with explanation of how this attitude of reverence for God is the most basic and fundamental virtue of a meaningful and productive life.

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On Sunday 9/30/18, Elder Michael Gowens led our congregation in consideration of the emotionally-charged narrative of Jesus' agony in Gethsemane, as recorded in Matthew 26:36-46. As the Savior anticipated the monumental task before Him, he felt tremendous pressure within His soul. There is no clearer evidence of our Lord's true humanity in all of Holy Scripture than here. And there is no greater incentive to pray when we too face the pressures of life than the knowledge that our heavenly Priest can empathize with our grief, anguish and dread.

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On Sunday 9/23/18, Elder Michael Gowens interrupted his mini-series in Ecclesiastes to bring a pastoral message of comfort based on Job 1:20-21. With worship canceled the previous Sunday due to the arrival of Hurricane Florence, the stresses of cleanup in the lives of our church membership, and the news of the unexpected death of one of our beloved church members since we last met together, Job's response to the calamities that befell him seemed especially appropriate for this occasion. 

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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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