Essential: God’s Power

Pastor Craig Carter According to Luke’s gospel, Jesus ended His earthly ministry by speaking these words to His disciples: “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (Luke 24:49 NLT) It’s interesting that Jesus’ final words focused on “power” because that’s exactly how He was introduced as well. When Jesus’ mother, Mary, was informed that she would give birth to a son who would be the Lord’s Messiah, she asked how this was possible. The angel answered, …

Essential: God’s Presence

Pastor Craig Carter As our regathering and rebuilding process continues over the summer, we’re looking at what is essential to our existence as a congregation in a sermon series by that title. So far, we have identified that the most basic ingredient needed is God Himself and secondarily, we need each other to truly be the Church, the Body of Christ. Now we’re exploring specific things provided by God and His people. As we resume in-person worship for the first time in three months and occupy a place to call our own after 20 months, I’d suggest we don’t want …

Essential: God’s Perspective

Pastor Craig Carter As most of you are well aware, we were scheduled to resume in-person worship in our newly renovated church facility last Sunday, June 7. With everything in place and ready to go, we received word on Friday, two days before the planned opening, that we did not have the required certificate of occupancy and services could not be held in the building until several issues were remedied. Needless to say, that news was quite disappointing and very frustrating since we have endured delay after delay and setback after setback in the twenty months since the destruction of …

Essential: God

Pastor Craig Carter I set aside some time this past Tuesday, June 2 for sermon preparation. I was excited about preaching my first message in our newly renovated building after being “homeless” for nearly 20 months, having had our two facilities destroyed by Hurricane Michael. As I settled into my study, I received a text alert that Tropical Storm Cristobal had formed off the Mexican coast, in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. I looked at our 10-day local forecast and for Sunday, June 7, it stated: “Eyeing the tropics.” A bit ironic, don’t you think? But it’s not altogether surprising …

A Hopeful God

Pastor Craig Carter According to the Apostle Paul, “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT) In our current sermon series, we’ve been looking at these enduring realities. First, we explored how we can ensure these virtues are part of our lives. Now we’re studying how they have their origin in the very character of God. To put it simply: You and I are to be faithful, hopeful, and loving because God is. Today we’re going to explore the hopeful nature of God. In his letter …

A Trusting God

Pastor Craig Carter It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that something has gone horribly wrong in the world in which we live … and I’m not just talking about the current pandemic. With or without reports about Covid-19, every day we hear news of sickness, famine, disasters, violence, and all manner of evil. Who’s to blame for it all? Who’s responsible for the sad state of affairs? Well, the simple answer is: God is … at least indirectly. Let me explain. According to the opening chapter in the Bible, “God created human beings in his own image…” (Genesis …

Love that Lasts Forever

Pastor Craig Carter Happy Mother’s Day 2020! Today we are going to continue our investigation of what the Bible describes as enduring realities: “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT) Having explored faith and hope in two previous sermons, today we’re going to turn our attention to the subject of love. Why is it eternal? And why is love the greatest of all things? The Apostle John gives us the answer in his first epistle when he states quite simply, “God is love.” (1 John …

Hope that Lasts Forever

Pastor Craig Carter Last week I introduced a sermon series on three things that last forever – faith, hope, love. We began our investigation of these eternal realities with a description of faith provided by the writer of Hebrews: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) In this definition, we see the close connection that exists between faith and hope. Hope is the starting point of our faith and so, without it, there is no faith. We observed last week that faith has …

Faith that Lasts Forever

Pastor Craig Forever I heard someone remark recently that they feel like they’re in the movie, Groundhog Day. Remember that film where Bill Murray lived the same day over and over again? The current Covid-19 pandemic kind of makes us feel that way, doesn’t it? After only a month of the stay at home order and social distancing guidelines, it seems like there is no end in sight as one day runs into the next. If my mom were still alive, I know what she’d be saying, “This too shall pass.” Of course, it may pass like a kidney stone, …

Easter Sunday – That’s A Winner!

Pastor Craig Carter Happy Easter! Since I’m a pastor, you’re probably not surprised when I say this is my favorite time of the year. Not even the Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing has kept me from thoroughly enjoying this week as we celebrate the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, church buildings all across America are empty today, but so is the tomb. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! This is also my favorite time of the year for another reason. You see, not only am I a pastor, I’m also an avid sports fan. …