The New St. John’s
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?

Right Side Up: Law Bar of Clearance

Right Side Up: Law Bar of Clearance

September 8, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Matthew 5:17-32, 48 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. The law reveals to us our desperate need for grace.
II. Our relationships require full reliance upon God's grace.
III. Jesus offers us the gift of a perfection we fail to achieve.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Come up with a silly law that will help the world.
- Why is it valuable for Jesus to move His listeners to a point of crisis? What are other ways Jesus may have accomplished this unifying action?
- Why is it significant that Jesus focused on interpersonal relationships when emphasizing the standards of the law?
- Does grace "let us off the hook" from following the commandments of God? Why or why not?
- Did you experience the conviction of Jesus' teaching in this passage? How do you respond to the conviction, if so?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Right Side Up: Happy / Blessed

Right Side Up: Happy / Blessed

September 1, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Matthew 5:1-16 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Happiness is a byproduct of full reliance upon God.
II. God’s blessing comes by way of unselfish love.
III. Our joy does not depend on the favor of our circumstances.
IV. If you stand out in these ways, it’s really God who stands out.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What's your favorite part about a lakeshore or seaside?
- Describe some of the sights, sounds, smells, etc. of the setting when Jesus was teaching on the mount.
- How do you think the beatitudes frustrated people who heard them in Jesus' time? How do they frustrate people today?
- Of these places where Jesus invites you to greater blessing and happiness, to which do you feel God most calling you?
- In what way do you "put God's light under a basket" in your life? Why do you suppose you do that?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Let Go: of Bitterness

Let Go: of Bitterness

August 25, 2019

by Pastor Mary McQuilkin
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Ephesians 4:29-32 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. We don't get to choose how others act, we choose how we react.
II. We let go of bitterness when we choose forgiveness.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What anger are you holding on to that has turned into bitterness?
- What is making it seem easier to hold on to your bitterness than forgive?
- Do you have a person or situation that you need to work on forgiving?
- What are some ways that you can practice kindness and forgiveness this week?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?

Let Go: of Fear

Let Go: of Fear

August 19, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, August 18, 2019
1 John 4:11-21 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. What we believe about Jesus affects our capacity for love.
II. Fear is powerless when we abide in God’s love for us.
III. Real courage is best reflected in vulnerable, sacrificial love.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Do you have any phobias? Do you remember how they started?
- Tell about a time when knowing God's love helped make you more courageous.
- The popular verse, "We love because He first loved us" is found in this morning's passage. Why does the order of who loved first matter?
- Why can't this kind of fearless love simply be a passive, warm affection towards others?
- What fear do you need to release so its grip on you loosens? Where do you need the assurance of God's love to overcome that fear?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?
Let Go: of Excuses

Let Go: of Excuses

August 11, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, August 11, 2019
John 5:1-13 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
I. Jesus does not force restoration upon us.
II. Our excuses can keep us from experiencing abundant life.
III. Not everyone will appreciate your new-found liberty.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What's the best reason you've ever given for being late to something?
- What is the significance of Jesus asking the man if he wants to get well? What do you think would have happened if he didn't?
- Compare and contrast this morning's scripture to Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:3-5. What do they have in common? What seems to be different?
- If you were to give up some of your favorite excuses, what are some of the external challenges you'll face?
- What excuse do you need to let go of you to experience freedom?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?
The Spirit of Eutychus

The Spirit of Eutychus

August 5, 2019

by Bishop Frank Beard
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Acts 20:7-12 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES:
The sleepy spirit of Eutychus believes:
I. We've got time.
II. It's none of my business.
III. It's enough to sit in the premises without standing on the promises.
IV. Death is preferable to life. 

Paul responded in power by:
I. Showing empathy.
II. Embracing the fallen.
III. Employing the Spirit.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Where's the most awkward location you've fallen asleep?
- The early part of this passage focuses on Paul's words of encouragement for the disciples. Why do you think that was so important for Paul?
- Paul's travel schedule gave him a sense of urgency to his work. What gives you a sense of urgency about sharing your faith?
- If you witnessed the miracle the people experienced at the gathering, how would you respond?
- How is the spirit of Eutychus on display in your life?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?
Against the Grain: Praying With Lions

Against the Grain: Praying With Lions

July 28, 2019

by Rev. Mary McQuilkin
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Daniel 6 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES
I. When we are faithful to God in all that we do, others can see it.
II. God honors our commitment.
III. Things on earth are fleeting, but God is forever.

FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- What is your practice of prayer?
- Are so faithful to what you believe that others know that about you?
- Have you ever had a time when you felt like you were praying surrounded by lions?
- What is God saying to you through today's scripture?

Against the Grain: Read the Writing

Against the Grain: Read the Writing

July 21, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Daniel 5 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES
I. Some things are still sacred.
II. Your reputation can make or break opportunities.
III. God calls us to speak truth to power.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- Describe a time when you’ve been the last one to know about something.
- What was the fault found in Belshazzar when he saw the disembodied hand writing on the wall?
- What remains sacred for Christian people today? Is that true for all Christians?
- How do we build up a reputation that allows us the chance to speak God’s truth to people of influence?
- What godly truth do you need to share with someone in a position of power? How will you address that this week?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?
Against the Grain: Faith in the Furnace

Against the Grain: Faith in the Furnace

July 15, 2019

by Rev. Grant Armstrong
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Daniel 3 
Donate Online - Secure, web-based giving for St. John's UMC

SERMON NOTES
I. All that glitters isn’t God.
II. “Even if He doesn't…” is a statement of faith.
III. False gods have no power to save.
 
FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION
- If someone were to create a statue of you, what would the plaque on the statue read?
- The scripture drives home that Nebuchadnezzar’s idol is made of gold. Is there a connection between wealth and perception of power? How does that align with the kingdom of God?
- How do you think Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego felt when they faced the decision between idol-worship and burning-in-a-furnace? Is there anything that puts you on the spot like that?
- What gives you the strength to stand for God, even when it may cost you?
- What is an idol you need to reject and deny this week in order to honor God?
- What is God saying to you through todays scripture?