The New St. John’s
Speak Your Peace: $\^/{@?¡^/&!

Speak Your Peace: $\^/{@?¡^/&!

November 17, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Colossians 3:8-9 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Cursing connects with idolatry and condemnation, even if we don’t mean to.
II. Coarse words reveal places where we’ve disinvited God.
III. Our holy thoughts, prayers and praise open up the pockets of separation in our lives.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What is your go-to swear-word substitute?
- What are some ways people toy with “witchcraft” and curses in our current times?
- In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that the world stands condemned already because it failed to trust in the one God has sent. How do you think that impacts Jesus’ teaching about condemning others?
- Swearing often indicates places in our lives where we haven’t invited or allowed God to truly take charge. How do you find that to be true in your own use of language?
- Where will you substitute profane language with encouragement this week?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Speak Your Peace: In Times of Change

Speak Your Peace: In Times of Change

November 11, 2019

by Pastor Mary McQuilkin
Sunday, November 10, 2019
2 Corinthians 5:6-17 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Our peace comes when we hold on to faith in times of change.
II. How we live shows others what we believe.
III. We have to trust that God knows what changes we will face.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What has been the biggest change you have had to face in your life?
- Have you had a time when you had to live by faith and not sight?
- What are some things that are changing in your life right now? How are you choosing to respond to them?
- What do you do when you feel that you have no control over what is happening around you?
- Is there a time you would go back to and change how you reacted to a major change?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Speak Your Peace: The Rudder

Speak Your Peace: The Rudder

November 3, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, November 3, 2019
James 3:1-12 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. The more influence we carry, the more accountable our words.
II. Disciples have the spiritual fruit of self-control.
III. Our words make audible whatever is inside of us.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What is your favorite tongue twister?
- Have you ever discovered that you’ve been the subject of gossip? What was being said about you?
- Why do you suppose James says those who lead in the church are held to higher account than others?
- When is it most difficult to control your words about others?
- If people are made in the image of God, how do our words about people reflect our heart for God?
- What opportunities will you have this week to let your words bless others? How will you follow through?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Satisfied and Striving: Pressing On

Satisfied and Striving: Pressing On

October 28, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Philippians 3:7-14 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Our past is overshadowed by the presence of Jesus in this moment.
II. Resurrection redeems our sufferings and trials.
III. Jesus Christ is not done with us, yet.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Name something you're looking forward to on your calendar.
- Do you think Paul was more eager to forget his enviable credentials or shameful sins in exchange for knowing Christ? Why?
- Where have you seen or experienced glimpses of resurrection power on the other side of suffering?
- How would you reconcile Paul's claim that he is both content (Philippians 4:11) and still striving (Philippians 3:12)?
- Where do you sense God is currently shaping your life to become more Christ-like? How are you responding to that sense?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Satisfied and Striving: More Than Enough

Satisfied and Striving: More Than Enough

October 20, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Luke 12:13-23 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Our concerns about money are often different from Jesus’ concerns about money.
II. Good stewardship involves managing God’s gifts with an eye towards eternity.
III. Jesus always connects satisfaction with a rich relationship with God.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What is the spot in your home where things are most likely to stack up?
- Jesus noted the power money has to influence relationships. What are some ways that money might be an issue that drives a wedge between people? How can money be used to build relationships?
- How does it make you feel when Jesus says, "But God said to him, 'You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?'"
- If true satisfaction and contentedness comes from a strong relationship with God, why have people sought satisfaction from so many other sources?
- What story will your possessions tell about your life when you die?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Satisfied and Striving: Running From and To

Satisfied and Striving: Running From and To

October 13, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, October 13, 2019
1 Timothy 6:4-11 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Greed is a virus that corrupts other values.
II. Contentment is a decision more than a feeling.
III. Pursuing God is not a passive process.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Who do you think is the greediest fictional character (in movies, literature, etc.)?
- Paul cautions against people who connect with the faith and church leadership to increase their power and wealth. Why has the Christian church been vulnerable to those kinds of power-plays?
- What do you think "enough" looks like for U.S. Christians today? How might that be different from other places throughout the world, or through time?
- Why does Paul use the term "pursue" to talk about living a godly life? What is the significance of the active imagery?
- What is one way you can actively counter the temptation of greed in your life?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?
Satisfied and Striving: How to be Content

Satisfied and Striving: How to be Content

October 6, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, October 6, 2019
Philippians 4:6-14 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Gratitude is the key ingredient to feeling content and complete.
II. Wholeness comes when our thoughts and actions align with God.
III. Christ gives us the strength to be content.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Name three things for which you are grateful today.
- What's one way you can catch yourself worrying and shift gears to gratitude instead?
- The Apostle Paul often instructs disciples to direct our thoughts. What types of challenges seem to hinder you from taking control of your thoughts?
- What type of strength do you need from Christ to experience contentedness?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Right Side Up: True or False

Right Side Up: True or False

September 30, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Matthew 7:1-29 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. God will judge us by the same standard we use to judge others.
II. Empathy and understanding make the Golden Rule golden.
III. Not everyone accepts God’s widespread invitation.
IV. Accepting Christ’s call prepares us to weather the storms.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Who is your favorite TV talent show judge and why?
- How do you compare/contrast Jesus' teaching about judgement in this passage with Paul's instruction to the church in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13?
- How is the Golden Rule Matthew 7:12 an invitation to understanding and empathy?
- How does a concept of Christ's unconditional love reconcile with His teaching about a narrow road to life that is difficult to travel?
- During the Sermon on the Mount, where has Jesus made you aware of some sandy foundations in your life? How is God calling you to build on a more solid foundation?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?
Right Side Up: Real Rewards

Right Side Up: Real Rewards

September 22, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Matthew 6:19-34 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. We reveal our true desires through what we store.
II. We reveal our true desires based on where we stare.
III. Our loyalties are shown through what or who we serve.
IV. Committing to Christ's kingdom is the cure for worry.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What's something you collect? How did the collection start?
- Jesus says our hearts follow our treasure instead of the other way around. Why does that order matter?
- If someone were to look at your priorities based on the apps that drain the battery on your cell phone, what is most important to you?
- What worry revisits your mind more frequently than you'd like?
- What is the next concrete step you need to take to "seek the kingdom of God above all else?"
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Right Side Up: Paid in Full

Right Side Up: Paid in Full

September 15, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Matthew 6:1-18 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. We can show our faith without making our faith a show.
II. Jesus promises us a real and lasting reward.
III. A kingdom-focused heart is free from worry.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Tell about a time you entered into a contest of one-upsmanship.
- What are the challenges involved in living out a public faith without making it for show?
- What are some ways folks within a church may seek the applause of people instead of the pleasure and glory of God?
- Where have you intentionally invested your treasure in hopes that your heart will follow?
- What is the antidote for the sin of worry? How do you access that in your life?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?