As a church, the combination of a hurricane and pandemic has stripped away much of what we hold dear and previously considered indispensable parts of our fellowship. We have learned to live without a church building, Sunday School classes, children and youth meetings, fellowship meals, even in-person worship.

As we begin to rebuild our life together, what should we consider essential? Is there anything you and I can’t live without? What is absolutely critical to our existence as a body of believers?

As we continue our regathering and rebuilding process this summer we will look at various aspects of what is ESSENTIAL. Specifically, we’ll explore what God and the people of God provide.

Week 1: God is Essential

Let's set the stage by looking at the most basic ingredient – God. “What do we need most? Who can’t you and I live without?” Members of our children’s church will know the answer. Shout it out: GOD!

It’s the conclusion David reached when he cried out in Psalm 142:5 NLT: I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide


Week 2: God's Perspective

It’s been said that “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” And in order to react in a good and godly fashion, we need God’s perspective. Our new sermon series, Essential, is a study on what is truly important in life. In this message Pastor Craig Carter discusses why God’s perspective is essential when we face disasters, detours and delays.

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide

Week 3: God's Presence

As our regathering and rebuilding process continues over the summer, we’re looking at what is essential to our existence as a congregation.
In this message we discuss why God’s presence is critical as we move forward.  


Week 4: God's Power

In the early days of Methodism, John Wesley wrote in a letter: “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power.” 
If that indictment is true, do we understand the significance of that finding? Do we even care? Do we realize how truly necessary God’s power is?
In this message we discuss why God’s power is critical to us as His followers. 


Week 5: God's Freedom

When we read Bible stories of when Jesus was sent to set the captives free, or to free the oppressed, or give sight to the blind, we need to remember that He wasn’t just working on behalf of first century Jews who were under Roman authority. His work also frees those of us living in the present day who are captive to sin.
In this message we discuss why, coupled with God's Power, God’s freedom allows us to live free from our sin, our past, and our selves.


Week 6: God's Promises

In recent weeks, we've looked at what is Essential in our relationship with the Lord. So far, we’ve seen that God and His perspective, presence, power, and freedom are truly necessary in life. Today we add to that list, God’s Promises

You and I cannot live without God’s promises nor should we want to. God’s promises keep us going and on track.

In this sermon Pastor Craig looks at four of God's Promises (among the 7,000+ found in the Bible) - promises to rescue us, love us, give us wisdom, and be present with us. 

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide

Week 7: Unwavering Faith

This week we're looking at how Unwavering Faith is essential for life. Times are tough these days, but it wasn’t easy for people in Scripture either. In fact, it was really hard sometimes.
Join us to walk through through the story of Job, a man who went through incredibly hard times but never lost faith in God.


Week 8: The Word of the Lord

Just as we cannot physically exist without food, we cannot spiritually live without the Word of the Lord. We need to hear God’s voice for guidance, wisdom, knowledge of the truth, and to discern right from wrong.

Today we will study the experience of a young boy named Samuel, whose story is recorded in the Old Testament book of I Samuel. We can learn several truths from his experience about the way in which the word of the Lord comes to us.

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide

Week 9: God's Forgiveness

Sin is a problem we all wrestle with. It is clear that there is no room for sin for individual Christians or in the church, so what are we to do about the sin in our lives? We are to take steps to lessen our exposure to sin, confess our sin and change our behavior, and we must also embrace forgiveness. 
This week Pastor Craig Carter helps us consider how God’s forgiveness is essential for life. During this worship service we will celebrate Holy Communion. Participate at home with any type of juice and bread.


Week 10: God's Anointing

In a sermon recorded in Acts chapter 10, Peter claimed that God’s anointing was the secret to Jesus’ success during His earthly ministry.

In fact, the most common title given to Jesus points to His divine anointing: Christ literally means, “the anointed one.” As Christians, we are literally “the little anointed ones.” Join us as Pastor Craig shares why God’s anointing is essential and truly necessary to live for Christ.

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide

Week 11: Belonging

In the first message of our Essential sermon series, we noted that Jesus said the two most important things in the world are loving God and loving others.
We’ve looked at some of the essential things that God provides – His presence, His perspective and His power to name a few. Now we’ll turn our attention to the essential benefits provided by the Church.
The church is not a place, but a people who belong to Jesus Christ and to one another, therefore the first essential benefit provided by the Church is a sense of belonging.


Week 12: Believing

Last week Pastor Craig proposed that the essential process for people choosing to follow Jesus Christ could be described as Belong, Believe, Become. We then looked at how the church is called the body of Christ, a temple, and is like a family - and how important it is that people are welcomed into our community and made to feel as though they belong. This week we consider what we believe that is essential, and next week we will consider how we become all that God intended us to be.

Study Resources:
>> Pastor's Notes
>> Individual/Group Study Guide

Week 13: Becoming

The question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is usually answered with a career field. Think instead about the question, “What character traits do you hope to see in your children when they grow up?” What is your answer to that question?

God is more interested in our character than our career. Who does God want us to be? What kind of character does He want us to develop?

In this series wrap-up message, we discover why it is essential for us to become who God wants us to be.