Prophets Sermon Series Preview

Prophets Sermon Series Preview

Sermon Series: Hearts on Fire: How the prophets teach us to see God at work in our current situations.

The biblical prophets give us glimpses of how people of faith responded to the challenges of extreme circumstances. Human nature is the same now as it was way back then, so their messages apply to our contemporary situations. The prophets can help us see current problems through God’s perspective, and they help us discern a hopeful path forward. 

September 27. Let Justice Roll. 

Nearly every biblical prophet says something similar to what we find in Amos 5:21-24. These passages warn us that worship without justice displeases God. The prophets invoke strong language in pointing out that the Lord despises it when we go on with our worship, revel in the beautiful music, get our spiritual batteries charged but then do nothing to address the great injustices toward the most vulnerable people in society. We need to pay attention to how we may directly or indirectly benefit from injustices.

The undeniable conclusion from all these passages is that worship should lead us to service, to action. Worship isn’t just about our needs. It’s there to remind you of who we are and what we are called to strive for throughout our whole lives. 

Martin Luther King Jr. ended the I Have a Dream speech by quoting Amos. He was saying that the American project, our moral work for justice, is ongoing. “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.”

October 4. A Glimpse into the Heart of God (World Communion Sunday)

In Hosea 11:1-11, we find God frustrated about what seems like a one-way relationship with people. God puts in all the work, and the people only give lip-service to their creator. God decides to end the relationship rather than endure constant rebellion and betrayal.  But as soon as the almighty contemplates what giving up the people would mean, God reverses course, asking, “How can I give you up?…my heart recoils within me…my compassion grows warm and tender…I will not execute my wrath upon you…” 

God’s love triumphs over God’s sense of frustration. So much for the Old Testament portrayal of God as a big meany in the sky who zaps people for going astray. No, here we see that although God gets hurt and frustrated, God commits to keep working to help us know what is best for us. So, the door is open.  No matter how many times we have broken God’s heart, the door to a restored and right relationship with God is available to you.  All you have to do is to walk right on through it.  

October 11. Church Home Improvement

The prophet in Haggai 1:2-8; 2:6-9 looks at the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem and calls for a great building project of a new Temple. The people needed to rebuild the temple and reignite their spiritual passions. The passage serves as a direct message to hang on with hope even in difficult times.  God will bring about greater glory than anything we’ve seen in the past.  Sometimes we need a little shot in the arm like the prophet issued to his people when their place of worship was destroyed, and nothing around them felt familiar. The prophet declares, “Do not fear. The splendor of the new will surpass that which has gone before. God is faithful, so keep pressing ahead.”

Bay Shore Church is pressing forward with multiple renovation projects and innovative ministries. These are testimonials to our faith that God is still active and has great things in store for the community and us. See how you can get involved in the improvement projects for our church and your spirit. 

October 18. Sermon on Isaiah TBA Pastor Susie Bjork preaching

October 25. Returning a Full Tithe

In this sermon on Malachi 3:7-12, we find the prophet calling out people for short-changing God with their spiritual commitments. Simply put, they had grown complacent and apathetic toward their spiritual obligations. The prophet argues that skimping on their tithes was a symptom of a sickly spiritual condition. 

Without imposing any “guilt trips,” through this sermon, we will explore essential questions. What does exactly does tithing mean? What are God’s expectations? How can it bring us joy and spiritual benefits? How do we address a sickly spiritual condition and find something more healthy and meaningful?

November 1. O Lord, You Know

On this date where we celebrate all souls, we read from a message from Ezekiel 37:1-14 about the great mysteries of life and death. It’s the beautiful passage of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones. God asks the prophets if the bones can yet live, and the prophet answers wisely, “Lord, you know.” When we find ourselves in the valleys where all looks lost, God knows there is still more to the story. The bones can yet live. 

November 8. More than a Fish Story

Most prophets exhibit some reluctance toward their calling. No one demonstrates this better than Jonah. Usually, when we think of Jonah, the fish gets all the attention. But this is more than a fish story. It is a story about the heart of God and God’s patience with us. In Jonah 3:10-4:3, we find that God loves all people, not just the ones who are like us. It is a story of grace and forgiveness. We will discover how God gives us a chance for contemplation and new directions. 

November 15. Daniel and the Lion’s Den (TBA) Susie Preaching

November 22. A New Covenant.

On this Sunday before Thanksgiving, we find a surprising word of hope from the gloomiest prophet. He envisions a new covenant between God and humans. A covenant not based on rules and obedience to a being in the sky. In the new covenant, everyone will do what’s right because it will be written on their hearts. It implies a new kind of relationship between God and humans. 

Exodus Sermon Series: What God is Trying To Achieve and What it Means for You.

Sermon Titles and Descriptions (August-September 2020)

Series Overview

This series will help you apply faith lessons to daily life. Maybe you watched the movie The Ten Commandments. In this sermon series on Exodus, you will discover what God is trying to achieve and what it means for you. We will discover the nature and character of God. And we will see how God calls ordinary and flawed people to do extraordinary things. God’s will is for the liberation of all people from every sort of bondage—from physical oppression to spiritual and psychological traps.  

Exodus Sermon Series showing Hebrews leaving Egypt for Bay Shore Community Congregational Church (UCC) in Long Beach, CA

August 2, 2020. How God Saves the World

With all the unrest in our world, do you wonder how God saves the world? God hears the prayers of suffering people and responds by calling ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference. This sermon based on Exodus 1:1-14 shows how God heard the cries of Hebrew slaves and worked through midwives to save children– including baby Moses. Their acts of civil disobedience against systemic racism provide inspiration for us to put ourselves on the line to make a difference. The midwives’ names, Puah and Shiphara, translated into English mean “Beauty” and “Splendor.” Discover how your beautiful acts of resistance to evil can help save the world. The Rev. Dr. David Clark, preaching.

August 9, 2020. God Calls You to Make a Difference 

God’s call to Moses from the burning bush shows that God calls flawed, imperfect people to service. This sermon on Exodus 3 demonstrates how God calls despite our flaws and failures into making a positive difference in the world. Moses was a murderer and had a speech impediment, yet God still called him. In the same way God has a purpose for you, despite your flaws. God calls us to take a daring step in faith, reassuring us that the Spirit is with us and will help you on your journey.      

August 16, 2020. “Let My People Go!”

God’s agenda is for the liberation of the oppressed. God’s special attention and focus is on the relief of human misery and suffering. Our baptismal covenant urges us to work for the liberation of anyone who is suffering. How do we raise our voices to help liberate those in bondage and to work with God for the freedom of all people. Sermon by Rev. Susie Bjork.

August 23, 2020. When Faith Feels Foolish Yahweh Makes a Way out of No Way

When we encounter obstacles faith can feel foolish, as if we have been duped by God and now we are trapped. This sermon on Exodus 14 about the crossing of the Red Sea reminds us that God makes a way out of no way. Eventually we find ourselves on the other side of our problems and realize God was with us the whole time. When you feel overwhelmed, pause and remember God’s care for you and then step forward in faith. Faith is not in vain, it is what propels us into a great future. 

August 30, 2020. How Focusing on the Past Sabotages Your Future

Focusing too much on the past, on how things “used to be” keeps us from moving forward and experiencing something better that God intends for us. When things get difficult in the midst of change we want to return to what is familiar–even if it was terrible. We innately prefer the comfort of what we know to the anxiety of being in transition. Our sermon series on Exodus reminds us that we’ll never get to the promises of God if we are consumed by thoughts of the way things were. This sermon on Exodus 16:2-21 shows us how to move toward our future. We can calm our anxiety, let go of our greed and rely on God to meet our daily needs.   

September 6, 2020. How to Love God: Lessons from the First Four Commandments

How do we apply the commandments to daily living? Can you name the Ten Commandments? Tradition holds that the commandments were written on two tablets. The first four commandments tell us how to love God and the next six instruct us on how to treat our neighbors. In this sermon on Exodus 20:1-11 we will explore the meaning of the first four commandments. While doing so, we will find ways to apply them to our lives in a way that will increase our faith and help us see how God is moving in our lives. 

September 13, 2020. How to Love Your Neighbor: Guidance from Six Commandments

Jesus summarized the second set of commandments as “Loving neighbor as yourself.” Instead of seeing the commandments as a bunch of negative things to avoid (“Thou Shall Not”), we can take a more expansive view of what the commandments mean. We can see them as positive instructions on how to love our neighbors. They are the ultimate guide on how to treat others with respect and dignity. We honor others and ourselves when we follow them. This sermon on Exodus 20:12-17 will help you find ways to think more deeply about these commandments and discover ways to honor others. Applying the commandments is not just good for others. They help us to mature in faith and lead by example. The commandments are more useful when applied by people of faith than when they are used as a political football. 

September 20, 2020. I Messed Up, Now What? Experiencing God’s Mercy

Our Exodus sermon series concludes by focusing on what we learn from the story of the golden calf in Exodus Exodus 32:1-14. God’s nature ultimately works toward grace and mercy instead of vengeance and punishment. That is when we mess up, the Almighty isn’t going to press the button that zaps us. God is going to say, “Okay, that was bad, but if you want to get back on the right track, here is a way forward.” God’s not into your destruction, but your redemption. Rev. Susie Bjork Preaching.