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Last update: 2013-06-24

Why bother serving God? (One Man for All Mankind)

2013-06-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very kind to her, and they shared her joy. When the child was eight days old, they went to the temple to circumcise him. They were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother spoke up, "Absolutely not! His name will be John." Their friends said to her, "But you don't have any relatives with that name." So they motioned to the baby's father to see what he wanted to name the child. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." Everyone was amazed. Suddenly, Zechariah was able to speak, and he began to praise God. All their neighbors were filled with awe. Throughout the mountain region of Judea, people talked about everything that had happened. Everyone who heard about it seriously thought it over and asked, "What does the future hold for this child?" It was clear that the Lord was with him. His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, "Praise the Lord God of Israel! He has come to take care of his people and to set them free. He has raised up a mighty Savior for us in the family of his servant David. He made this promise through his holy prophets long ago. He promised to save us from our enemies and from the power of all who hate us. He has shown his mercy to our ancestors and remembered his holy promise, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham. He promised to rescue us from our enemies' power so that we could serve him without fear by being holy and honorable as long as we live. "You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his way. You will make his people know that they can be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful. He will give light to those who live in the dark and in death's shadow. He will guide us into the way of peace." The child John grew and became spiritually strong. He lived in the desert until the day he appeared to the people of Israel. (Luke 1:57-80, GWV) …

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When irreversible tragedy strikes (One Man for All Mankind)

2013-06-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a city called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he came near the entrance to the city, he met a funeral procession. The dead man was a widow's only child. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. He said to her, "Don't cry." He went up to the open coffin, took hold of it, and the men who were carrying it stopped. He said, "Young man, I'm telling you to come back to life!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Everyone was struck with fear and praised God. They said, "A great prophet has appeared among us," and "God has taken care of his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding region. (Luke 7:11-17, GWV) …

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Can we trust God? (One Man for All Mankind)

2013-06-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 24s

When Jesus had finished everything he wanted to say to the people, he went to Capernaum. There a Roman army officer's valuable slave was sick and near death. The officer had heard about Jesus and sent some Jewish leaders to him. They were to ask Jesus to come and save the servant's life. They came to Jesus and begged, "He deserves your help. He loves our people and built our synagogue at his own expense." Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the officer sent friends to tell Jesus, "Sir, don't bother. I don't deserve to have you come into my house. That's why I didn't come to you. But just give a command, and let my servant be cured. As you know, I'm in a chain of command and have soldiers at my command. I tell one of them, 'Go!' and he goes, and another, 'Come!' and he comes. I tell my servant, 'Do this!' and he does it." Jesus was amazed at the officer when he heard these words. He turned to the crowd following him and said, "I can guarantee that I haven't found faith as great as this in Israel." When the men who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant healthy again. (Luke 7:1-10, GWV) …

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How do we find the best happiness? (Trinity)

2013-05-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise its voice? Wisdom takes its stand on high ground, by the wayside where the roads meet, near the gates to the city. At the entrance wisdom sings its song, "I am calling to all of you, and my appeal is to all people. "The LORD already possessed me long ago, when his way began, before any of his works. I was appointed from everlasting from the first, before the earth began. I was born before there were oceans, before there were springs filled with water. I was born before the mountains were settled in their places and before the hills, when he had not yet made land or fields or the first dust of the world. "When he set up the heavens, I was there. When he traced the horizon on the surface of the ocean, when he established the skies above, when he determined the currents in the ocean, when he set a limit for the sea so the waters would not overstep his command, when he traced the foundations of the earth, I was beside him as a master craftsman. I made him happy day after day, I rejoiced in front of him all the time, found joy in his inhabited world, and delighted in the human race. (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, GWV) …

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How to Find Peace in a Noisy World (Pentecost)

2013-05-20 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them. A person who doesn't love me doesn't do what I say. I don't make up what you hear me say. What I say comes from the Father who sent me. "I have told you this while I'm still with you. However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you. "I'm leaving you peace. I'm giving you my peace. I don't give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don't be troubled or cowardly. You heard me tell you, 'I'm going away, but I'm coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I'm going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. "I'm telling you this now before it happens. When it does happen, you will believe. (John 14:23-29, GWV) …

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How do you find light when the future is dark? (Acting on Easter)

2013-05-13 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives. It is near Jerusalem, about half a mile away. When they came into the city, Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, and Judas (son of James) went to the second-story room where they were staying. The apostles had a single purpose as they devoted themselves to prayer. They were joined by some women, including Mary (the mother of Jesus), and they were joined by his brothers. At a time when about 120 disciples had gathered together, Peter got up and spoke to them. He said, "Brothers, what the Holy Spirit predicted through David in Scripture about Judas had to come true. Judas led the men to arrest Jesus. He had been one of us and had been given an active role in this ministry. With the money he received from the wrong he had done, he bought a piece of land where he fell headfirst to his death. His body split open, and all his internal organs came out. Everyone living in Jerusalem knows about this. They even call that piece of land Akeldama, which means 'Field of Blood' in their dialect. You've read in Psalms, 'Let his home be deserted, and let no one live there,' and 'Let someone else take his position.'" "Therefore, someone must be added to our number to serve with us as a witness that Jesus came back to life. He must be one of the men who accompanied Jesus with us the entire time that the Lord Jesus was among us. This person must have been with us from the time that John was baptizing people to the day that Jesus was taken from us." The disciples determined that two men were qualified. These men were Joseph (who was called Barsabbas and was also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's thoughts. Show us which of these two you have chosen. Show us who is to take the place of Judas as an apostle, since Judas abandoned his position to go to the place where he belongs." They drew names to choose an apostle. Matthias was chosen and joined the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:12-26, GWV) …

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Where do I encounter God? (Acting on Easter)

2013-05-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 25s

During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. The man urged Paul, "Come to Macedonia to help us." As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we immediately looked for a way to go to Macedonia. We concluded that God had called us to tell the people of Macedonia about the Good News. So we took a ship from Troas and sailed straight to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis, and from there we went to the city of Philippi. Philippi is a leading city in that part of Macedonia, and it is a Roman colony. We were in this city for a number of days. On the day of worship we went out of the city to a place along the river where we thought Jewish people gathered for prayer. We sat down and began talking to the women who had gathered there. A woman named Lydia was present. She was a convert to Judaism from the city of Thyatira and sold purple dye for a living. She was listening because the Lord made her willing to pay attention to what Paul said. When Lydia and her family were baptized, she invited us to stay at her home. She said, "If you're convinced that I believe in the Lord, then stay at my home." She insisted. So we did. (Acts 16:9-15, GWV) …

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How to walk into a messy life without falling (Acting on Easter/Blue Sunday)

2013-04-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that people who were not Jewish had accepted God's word. However, when Peter went to Jerusalem, the believers who insisted on circumcision began to argue with him. They said, "You went to visit men who were uncircumcised, and you even ate with them." Then Peter began to explain to them point by point what had happened. He said, "I was praying in the city of Joppa when I fell into a trance. I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered by its four corners from the sky. The sheet came near me. I looked into the sheet very closely and saw tame animals, wild animals, reptiles, and birds. I also heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter! Kill these animals, and eat them.' "But I answered, 'I can't do that, Lord! I've never put anything impure or unclean into my mouth.' "A voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Don't say that the things which God has made clean are impure.' This happened three times. Then everything was pulled back into the sky again. "At that moment three men arrived at the house where we were staying. They had been sent from Caesarea to find me. The Spirit told me to go with them without any hesitation. Six believers from Joppa went with me, and we visited Cornelius' home. "He told us that he had seen an angel standing in his home. The angel told him, 'Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man whose name is Simon Peter. He will give you a message that will save you and everyone in your home.' "When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came to these people. This was the same thing that happened to us in the beginning. I remembered that the Lord had said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized by the Holy Spirit.' When they believed, God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So who was I to interfere with God?" When the others heard this, they had no further objections. They praised God by saying, "Then God has also led people who are not Jewish to turn to him so that they can change the way they think and act and have eternal life." (Acts 11:1-18, GWV) …

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Following Jesus: What's in it for me? (Acting on Easter)

2013-04-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 24s

From Miletus Paul sent messengers to the city of Ephesus and called the spiritual leaders of the church to meet with him in Miletus. When they were with him, he said to them, "You know how I spent all my time with you from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. I humbly served the Lord, often with tears in my eyes. I served the Lord during the difficult times I went through when the Jews plotted against me. I didn't avoid telling you anything that would help you, and I didn't avoid teaching you publicly and from house to house. I warned Jews and Greeks to change the way they think and act and to believe in our Lord Jesus. "I am determined to go to Jerusalem now. I don't know what will happen to me there. However, the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. But I don't place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I'm running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Jesus--the mission of testifying to the Good News of God's kindness. "Now I know that none of you whom I told about the kingdom of Godwill see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am not responsible for the spiritual death of any of you. I didn't avoid telling you the whole plan of God. Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to be shepherds for God's church which he acquired with his own blood. I know that fierce wolves will come to you after I leave, and they won't spare the flock. Some of your own men will come forward and say things that distort the truth. They will do this to lure disciples into following them. So be alert! Remember that I instructed each of you for three years, day and night, at times with tears in my eyes. "I am now entrusting you to God and to his message that tells how kind he is. That message can help you grow and can give you the inheritance that is shared by all of God's holy people. "I never wanted anyone's silver, gold, or clothes. You know that I worked to support myself and those who were with me. I have given you an example that by working hard like this we should help the weak. We should remember the words that the Lord Jesus said, 'Giving gifts is more satisfying than receiving them.'" (Acts 20:17-35, GWV) …

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Why does God waste time on us? (Acting on Easter)

2013-04-15 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

Saul kept threatening to murder the Lord's disciples. He went to the chief priest and asked him to write letters of authorization to the synagogue leaders in the city of Damascus. Saul wanted to arrest any man or woman who followed the way of Christ and imprison them in Jerusalem. As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?" Saul asked, "Who are you, sir?" The person replied, "I'm Jesus, the one you're persecuting. Get up! Go into the city, and you'll be told what you should do." Meanwhile, the men traveling with him were speechless. They heard the voice but didn't see anyone. Saul was helped up from the ground. When he opened his eyes, he was blind. So his companions led him into Damascus. For three days he couldn't see and didn't eat or drink. A disciple named Ananias lived in the city of Damascus. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias!" Ananias answered, "Yes, Lord." The Lord told him, "Get up! Go to Judas' house on Straight Street, and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. He's praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias place his hands on him to restore his sight." Ananias replied, "Lord, I've heard a lot of people tell about the many evil things this man has done to your people in Jerusalem. Saul has come here to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to put anyone who calls on your name in prison." The Lord told Ananias, "Go! I've chosen this man to bring my name to nations, to kings, and to the people of Israel. I'll show him how much he has to suffer for the sake of my name." Ananias left and entered Judas' house. After he placed his hands on Saul, Ananias said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way to Damascus, sent me to you. He wants you to see again and to be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. Then Saul stood up and was baptized. After he had something to eat, his strength came back to him. Saul was with the disciples in the city of Damascus for several days. He immediately began to spread the word in their synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. Everyone who heard him was amazed. They asked, "Isn't this the man who destroyed those who worshiped the one named Jesus in Jerusalem? Didn't he come here to take these worshipers as prisoners to the chief priests in Jerusalem?" Saul grew more powerful, and he confused the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. (Acts 9:1-22, GWV) …

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How I Know Jesus Rose from the Grave (Easter Sunrise)

2013-04-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

I'm telling you a mystery. Not all of us will die, but we will all be changed. It will happen in an instant, in a split second at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will come back to life. They will be changed so that they can live forever. This body that decays must be changed into a body that cannot decay. This mortal body must be changed into a body that will live forever. When this body that decays is changed into a body that cannot decay, and this mortal body is changed into a body that will live forever, then the teaching of Scripture will come true: "Death is turned into victory! Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" Sin gives death its sting, and God's standards give sin its power. Thank God that he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57, GWV) …

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How to Get a Guaranteed Return (Easter)

2013-04-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

I will create a new heaven and a new earth. Past things will not be remembered. They will not come to mind. Be glad, and rejoice forever in what I'm going to create, because I'm going to create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people to be a joy. I will rejoice about Jerusalem and be glad about my people. Screaming and crying will no longer be heard in the city. There will no longer be an infant who lives for only a few days or an old man who doesn't live a long life. Whoever lives to be a hundred years old will be thought of as young. Whoever dies before he is a hundred years old will be cursed as a sinner. They will build houses and live there. They will plant vineyards and eat fruit from them. They will not build homes and have others live there. They will not plant and have others eat from it. My people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will enjoy what they've done. They will never again work for nothing. They will never again give birth to children who die young, because they will be offspring blessed by the LORD. The LORD will bless their descendants as well. Before they call, I will answer. While they're still speaking, I will hear. Wolves and lambs will feed together, lions will eat straw like oxen, and dust will be food for snakes. "They will not hurt or destroy anyone anywhere on my holy mountain," says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25, GWV) …

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How do we love those very different from us? (Called to Call: Jesus)

2013-03-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 23s

Then Jesus appeared. He came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to stop him and said, "I need to be baptized by you. Why are you coming to me?" Jesus answered him, "This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us." Then John gave in to him. After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. Then a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love--my Son with whom I am pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17, GWV) …

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What gives life value? (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-03-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 22s

Open the gates of righteousness for me. I will go through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which righteous people will enter. I give thanks to you, because you have answered me. You are my savior. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The LORD is responsible for this, and it is amazing for us to see. This is the day the LORD has made. Let's rejoice and be glad today! We beg you, O LORD, save us! We beg you, O LORD, give us success! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD'S house. The LORD is God, and he has given us light. March in a festival procession with branches to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I give thanks to you. My God, I honor you highly. Give thanks to the LORD because he is good, because his mercy endures forever. (Psalms 118:19-29, GWV) …

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What's the Point of Life? (Called to Call: John)

2013-03-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

This was John's answer when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" John didn't refuse to answer. He told them clearly, "I'm not the Messiah." They asked him, "Well, are you Elijah?" John answered, "No, I'm not." Then they asked, "Are you the prophet?" John replied, "No." So they asked him, "Who are you? Tell us so that we can take an answer back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" John said, "I'm a voice crying out in the desert, 'Make the way for the Lord straight,' as the prophet Isaiah said." Some of those who had been sent were Pharisees. They asked John, "Why do you baptize if you're not the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water. Someone you don't know is standing among you. He's the one who comes after me. I am not worthy to untie his sandal strap." This happened in Bethany on the east side of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing. (John 1:19-28, GWV) …

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When You Can’t Wake from the Nightmare (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-03-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

A song for going up to worship. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, it was as if we were dreaming. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs. Then the nations said, "The LORD has done spectacular things for them." The LORD has done spectacular things for us. We are overjoyed. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, as you restore streams to dry riverbeds in the Negev. Those who cry while they plant will joyfully sing while they harvest. The person who goes out weeping, carrying his bag of seed, will come home singing, carrying his bundles of grain. (Psalms 126:1-6, GWV) …

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Called to Call: Elisha (When God Plans Change in My Life)

2013-03-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Elijah found Elisha, son of Shaphat. Elisha was plowing behind 12 pairs of oxen. He was using the twelfth pair. Elijah took off his coat and put it on Elisha. So Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye. Then I will follow you." "Go back," Elijah answered him. "I'm not stopping you." Elisha left him, took two oxen, and butchered them. He boiled the meat, using the oxen's yoke for firewood. He gave the meat to the people to eat. Then he left to follow and assist Elijah. (1 Kings 19:19-21, GWV) …

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How To Avoid The Big Fail (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-03-11 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

A psalm by David; a maskil.
Blessed is the person whose disobedience is forgiven and whose sin is pardoned. Blessed is the person whom the LORD no longer accuses of sin and who has no deceitful thoughts. When I kept silent about my sins, my bones began to weaken because of my groaning all day long. Day and night your hand lay heavily on me. My strength shriveled in the summer heat. Selah
I made my sins known to you, and I did not cover up my guilt. I decided to confess them to you, O LORD. Then you forgave all my sins. Selah
For this reason let all godly people pray to you when you may be found. Then raging floodwater will not reach them. You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyous songs of salvation. Selah
The LORD says, "I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you. Don't be stubborn like a horse or mule. They need a bit and bridle in their mouth to restrain them, or they will not come near you." Many heartaches await wicked people, but mercy surrounds those who trust the LORD. Be glad and find joy in the LORD, you righteous people. Sing with joy, all whose motives are decent. (Psalms 32:1-11, GWV)

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Called to Call: Ezekiel (When Following God Gets Painful)

2013-03-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 22s

On the fifth day of the fourth month in the thirtieth year, while I was living among the exiles by the Chebar River, the sky opened, and I saw visions from God. On the fifth day of the month, during the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiakin, the LORD spoke his word to the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, in Babylon by the Chebar River. The power of the LORD came over Ezekiel. As I looked, I saw a storm coming from the north. There was an immense cloud with flashing lightning surrounded by a bright light. The middle of the lightning looked like glowing metal. In the center of the cloud I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were shaped like humans, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, their feet were like those of calves, and they glittered like polished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on each of their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings. Their wings touched each other. The creatures went straight ahead, and they did not turn as they moved. Their faces looked like this: From the front, each creature had the face of a human. From the right, each one had the face of a lion. From the left, each one had the face of a bull. And from the back, each one had the face of an eagle. That is what their faces looked like. Their wings were spread out, pointing upward. Each creature had two wings with which they touched each other. The other two wings covered their bodies. Each of the creatures went straight ahead. They went wherever their spirit wanted to go, and they didn't turn as they moved. The living creatures looked like burning coals and torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures. The fire was bright, and lightning came out of the fire. The living creatures ran back and forth like lightning. As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each of them. This is how the wheels looked and how they were made: They looked like beryl. All four wheels looked the same. They looked like a wheel within a wheel. Whenever they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without turning as they moved. The rims of the wheels were large and frightening. They were covered with eyes. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them. When the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever their spirit wanted to go, the creatures went. The wheels rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. So whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved. Whenever the creatures stood still, the wheels stood still. And whenever the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Something like a dome was spread over the heads of the living creatures. It looked like dazzling crystal. Under the dome, each creature had two wings that were stretched out straight, touching one another. Each creature had two wings that covered its body. When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings. The sound was like the noise of rushing water, like the thunder of the Almighty, like the commotion in an army camp. When the creatures stood still, they lowered their wings. A voice came from above the dome over their heads as they stood still with their wings lowered. Above the dome over their heads was something that looked like a throne made of sapphire. On the throne was a figure that looked like a human. Then I saw what he looked like from the waist up. He looked like glowing bronze with fire all around it. From the waist down, he looked like fire. A bright light surrounded him. The brightness all around him looked like a rainbow in the clouds. It was like the LORD'S glory. When I saw it, I immediately bowed down, and I heard someone speaking. He said to me, "Son of man, stand up, and I will speak to you." As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me, stood me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They are people from a nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have rebelled against me to this day. I am sending you to these defiant and stubborn children. Tell them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says.' Whether these rebellious people listen or not, they will realize that a prophet has been among them. Son of man, don't be afraid of them or the things they say. Don't be afraid, even though thorns and thistles are around you and you live among scorpions. Don't let the things they say frighten you. Don't be terrified in their presence, even though they are rebellious people. Speak my words to them whether they listen or not, because they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say. Don't be rebellious like those rebellious people. Open your mouth, and eat what I am giving to you." As I looked, I saw a hand stretched out toward me. In it was a scroll. He spread the scroll in front of me. There was writing on the front and back. There were funeral songs, songs of mourning, and horrible things written on it. (Ezekiel 1:1-2:10, GWV) …

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Why is life unfair? (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-03-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

For the choir director; a psalm by Korah's descendants. You favored your land, O LORD. You restored the fortunes of Jacob. You removed your people's guilt. You pardoned all their sins. Selah You laid aside all your fury. You turned away from your burning anger. Restore us, O God, our savior. Put an end to your anger against us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you ever let go of your anger in the generations to come? Won't you restore our lives again so that your people may find joy in you? Show us your mercy, O LORD, by giving us your salvation. I want to hear what God the LORD says, because he promises peace to his people, to his godly ones. But they must not go back to their stupidity. Indeed, his salvation is near those who fear him, and his glory will remain in our land. Mercy and truth have met. Righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth sprouts from the ground, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will certainly give us what is good, and our land will produce crops. Righteousness will go ahead of him and make a path for his steps. (Psalms 85:1-13, GWV) …

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Called to Call: Jeremiah (What plan does God have for you?)

2013-02-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

The LORD spoke his word to me, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations." I, Jeremiah, said, "Almighty LORD, I do not know how to speak. I am only a boy!" But the LORD said to me, "Don't say that you are only a boy. You will go wherever I send you. You will say whatever I command you to say. Don't be afraid of people. I am with you, and I will rescue you," declares the LORD. Then the LORD stretched out his hand and touched my mouth. The LORD said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth. Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will uproot and tear down. You will destroy and overthrow. You will build and plant." (Jeremiah 1:4-10, GWV) …

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The Source of Confidence (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-02-25 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness. You have freed me from my troubles. Have pity on me, and hear my prayer! You important people, how long are you going to insult my honor? How long are you going to love what is empty and seek what is a lie? Selah Know that the LORD singles out godly people for himself. The LORD hears me when I call to him. Tremble and do not sin. Think about this on your bed and remain quiet. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness by trusting the LORD. Many are saying, "Who can show us anything good?" Let the light of your presence shine on us, O LORD. You put more joy in my heart than when their grain and new wine increase. I fall asleep in peace the moment I lie down because you alone, O LORD, enable me to live securely. (Psalms 4:1-8, GWV) …

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Called to Call: Isaiah (How do we respond to rejection?)

2013-02-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 26s

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne. The bottom of his robe filled the temple. Angels were standing above him. Each had six wings: With two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They called to each other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory." Their voices shook the foundations of the doorposts, and the temple filled with smoke. So I said, "Oh, no! I'm doomed. Every word that passes through my lips is sinful. I live among people with sinful lips. I have seen the king, the LORD of Armies!" Then one of the angels flew to me. In his hand was a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, "This has touched your lips. Your guilt has been taken away, and your sin has been forgiven." Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom will I send? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me!" And he said, "Go and tell these people, 'No matter how closely you listen, you'll never understand. No matter how closely you look, you'll never see.' Make these people close-minded. Plug their ears. Shut their eyes. Otherwise, they may see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their minds, and return and be healed." I asked, "How long, O Lord?" And he replied, "Until the cities lie in ruins with no one living in them, the houses have no people, and the land is completely desolate. The LORD will send his people far away, and a large area in the middle of the land will be abandoned. Even if one out of ten people is left in it, the land will be burned again. When a sacred oak or an oak is cut down, a stump is left. The holy seed will be the land's stump." (Isaiah 6:1-13, GWV) …

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Does God Rescue? (Save Me: Psalms of Lent)

2013-02-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

Whoever lives under the shelter of the Most High will remain in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust." He is the one who will rescue you from hunters' traps and from deadly plagues. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor. You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day, plagues that roam the dark, epidemics that strike at noon. They will not come near you, even though a thousand may fall dead beside you or ten thousand at your right side. You only have to look with your eyes to see the punishment of wicked people. You, O LORD, are my refuge! You have made the Most High your home. No harm will come to you. No sickness will come near your house. He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock. You will step on lions and cobras. You will trample young lions and snakes. (Psalms 91:1-13, GWV) …

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Why Did Jesus Pray? (LWML Prayer Service Homily)

2013-02-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 8s

If any of you are having trouble, pray. If you are happy, sing psalms. If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord. (Prayers offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will cure them.) If you have sinned, you will be forgiven. So admit your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you will be healed. Prayers offered by those who have God’s approval are effective. Elijah was human like us. Yet, when he prayed that it wouldn’t rain, no rain fell on the ground for three-and-a-half years. Then he prayed again. It rained, and the ground produced crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you wanders from the truth, someone can bring that person back. Realize that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his ways will save him from death, and many sins will be forgiven. (James 5:13-20, GWV) …

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Called to Call: Hosea (Ash Wednesday)

2013-02-13 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

The LORD spoke his word to Hosea, son of Beeri, when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah and when Jeroboam, son of Joash, was king of Israel. When the LORD first spoke to Hosea, the LORD told him, "Marry a prostitute, and have children with that prostitute. The people in this land have acted like prostitutes and abandoned the LORD." So Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. She became pregnant and had a son. The LORD told Hosea, "Name him Jezreel. In a little while I will punish Jehu's family for the people they slaughtered at Jezreel. Then I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. On that day I will break Israel's bows and arrows in the valley of Jezreel." Gomer became pregnant again and had a daughter. The LORD told Hosea, "Name her Lo Ruhamah [Unloved]. I will no longer love the nation of Israel. I will no longer forgive them. Yet, I will love the descendants of Judah. I will rescue them because I am the LORD their God. I won't use bows, swords, wars, horses, or horsemen to rescue them." After Gomer had weaned Lo Ruhamah, she became pregnant again and had a son. The LORD said, "Name him Lo Ammi [Not My People]. You are no longer my people, and I am no longer your God., "Yet, the Israelites will become as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. No one will be able to measure them or count them. Wherever they were told, 'You are not my people,' they will be told, 'You are the children of the living God.' The people of Judah and Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint one leader for themselves, and they will grow in the land. The day of Jezreel will be a great day. (Hosea 1:1-11, GWV) …

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When the Light is Painful

2013-02-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 23s

About eight days after he had said this, Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him and went up a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, both Moses and Elijah were talking with him. They appeared in heavenly glory and were discussing Jesus' approaching death and what he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem. Peter and the men with him were sleeping soundly. When they woke up, they saw Jesus' glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Teacher, it's good that we're here. Let's put up three tents--one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter didn't know what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them. They were frightened as they went into the cloud. A voice came out of the cloud and said, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!" After the voice had spoken, they saw that Jesus was alone. The disciples said nothing, and for some time they told no one about what they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36, GWV) …

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Unwrapping God's Gifts: The Greatest Gift (Or, the Secret to True Love)

2013-02-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant. It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs. It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used. Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13, GWV) …

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Unwrapping God's Gifts: Whose Gifts?

2013-01-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether we are Jewish or Greek, slave or free, God gave all of us one Spirit to drink. As you know, the human body is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. Suppose a foot says, "I'm not a hand, so I'm not part of the body!" Would that mean it's no longer part of the body? Or suppose an ear says, "I'm not an eye, so I'm not a part of the body!" Would that mean it's no longer part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? So God put each and every part of the body together as he wanted it. How could it be a body if it only had one part? So there are many parts but one body. An eye can't say to a hand, "I don't need you!" Or again, the head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you!" The opposite is true. The parts of the body that we think are weaker are the ones we really need. The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we give special honor. So our unpresentable parts are made more presentable. However, our presentable parts don't need this kind of treatment. God has put the body together and given special honor to the part that doesn't have it. God's purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness. You are Christ's body and each of you is an individual part of it. In the church God has appointed first apostles, next prophets, third teachers, then those who perform miracles, then those who have the gift of healing, then those who help others, those who are managers, and those who can speak in a number of languages. Not all believers are apostles, are they? Are all of them prophets? Do all of them teach? Do all of them perform miracles or have gifts of healing? Can all of them speak in other languages or interpret languages? You only want the better gifts, but I will show you the best thing to do. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31, GWV) …

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Unwrapping God's Gifts: What Gifts?

2013-01-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

Brothers and sisters, I don't want there to be any misunderstanding concerning spiritual gifts. You know that when you were unbelievers, every time you were led to worship false gods you were worshiping gods who couldn't even speak. So I want you to know that no one speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is cursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person. The evidence of the Spirit's presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. The same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. To another person the same Spirit gives courageous faith. To another person the same Spirit gives the ability to heal. Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages. Another can interpret languages. There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, GWV) …

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When You're Scared

2013-01-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

The LORD created Jacob and formed Israel. Now, this is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid, because I have reclaimed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through the sea, I am with you. When you go through rivers, they will not sweep you away. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, and the flames will not harm you. I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Egypt is the ransom I exchanged for you. Sudan and Seba are the price I paid for you. Since you are precious to me, you are honored and I love you. I will exchange others for you. Nations will be the price I pay for your life. Do not be afraid, because I am with you. I will bring your descendants from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not keep them." Bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Bring everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:1-7, GWV) …

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Finding God

2013-01-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 24s

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when Herod was king. After Jesus' birth wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, "Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him." When King Herod and all Jerusalem heard about this, they became disturbed. He called together all the chief priests and scribes and tried to find out from them where the Messiah was supposed to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet wrote about this: Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. A leader will come from you. He will shepherd my people Israel." Then Herod secretly called the wise men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. As he sent them to Bethlehem, he said, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you have found him, report to me so that I may go and worship him too." After they had heard the king, they started out. The star they had seen rising led them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were overwhelmed with joy to see the star. When they entered the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary. So they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they left for their country by another road. (Matthew 2:1-12, GWV) …

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Free Upgrade (Christmas Eve Candlelight)

2013-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

After all, God's saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people. It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world. At the same time we can expect what we hope for--the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things. (Titus 2:11-14, GWV) …

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An Unfamiliar Light (Christmas Day)

2013-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

The real light, which shines on everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him. Yet, the world didn't recognize him. He went to his own people, and his own people didn't accept him. However, he gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn't become God's children in a physical way--from a human impulse or from a husband's desire to have a child. They were born from God. The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth. (John 1:9-14, GWV) …

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No Problem. He's the Son of God. (Christmas Eve) [Horizon]

2013-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 23s

The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. His mother Mary had been promised to Joseph in marriage. But before they were married, Mary realized that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was an honorable man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the marriage agreement with her secretly. Joseph had this in mind when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, "Joseph, descendant of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:18-21, GWV) …

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Christmas before Jesus: Little Solutions to Big Problems

2012-12-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah's cities. Yet, from you Israel's future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago. That is why the LORD will abandon Israel until the time a mother has a child. Then the rest of the LORD'S people will return to the people of Israel. The child will become the shepherd of his flock. He will lead them with the strength of the LORD, with the majestic name of the LORD his God. They will live in safety because his greatness will reach the ends of the earth. This man will be their peace. (Micah 5:2-5a, GWV) …

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The Danger Within: Lack of Faith

2012-12-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

Dear friends, this is the second letter I'm writing to you. In both letters I'm trying to refresh your memory. I want you to remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and what the Lord and Savior commanded you through your apostles. First, you must understand this: In the last days people who follow their own desires will appear. These disrespectful people will ridicule God's promise by saying, "What's happened to his promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of the world." They are deliberately ignoring one fact: Because of God's word, heaven and earth existed a long time ago. The earth appeared out of water and was kept alive by water. Water also flooded and destroyed that world. By God's word, the present heaven and earth are designated to be burned. They are being kept until the day ungodly people will be judged and destroyed. Dear friends, don't ignore this fact: One day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord isn't slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn't want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act. The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed. All these things will be destroyed in this way. So think of the kind of holy and godly lives you must live as you look forward to the day of God and eagerly wait for it to come. When that day comes, heaven will be on fire and will be destroyed. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and melt. But we look forward to what God has promised--a new heaven and a new earth--a place where everything that has God's approval lives. Therefore, dear friends, with this to look forward to, make every effort to have him find you at peace, without spiritual stains or blemishes. Think of our Lord's patience as an opportunity for us to be saved. This is what our dear brother Paul wrote to you about, using the wisdom God gave him. He talks about this subject in all his letters. Some things in his letters are hard to understand. Ignorant people and people who aren't sure of what they believe distort what Paul says in his letters the same way they distort the rest of the Scriptures. These people will be destroyed. Dear friends, you already know these things. So be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of people who have no principles. Then you won't fall from your firm position. But grow in the good will and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to him now and for that eternal day! Amen. (2 Peter 3:1-18, GWV) …

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Christmas before Jesus: Is God with Us?

2012-12-17 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel! Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem. The LORD has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is with you. You will never fear disaster again. On that day Jerusalem will be told, "Do not be afraid, Zion! Do not lose courage!" The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. "I will gather those among you who are troubled because of the festivals. They bear a burden of disgrace. At that time I will deal with all who have overpowered you. I will rescue those who are lame. I will gather those who have been scattered. I will make them praised and famous in all the world, though they had been ashamed. At that time I will bring you home. Yes, at that time I will gather you together. I will make you famous and praised among all the people of the earth when I restore your fortunes right before your eyes," says the LORD. (Zephaniah 3:14-20, GWV)

Note: You may notice a difference in both the sound and Pastor Dale's tone. This sermon was preached and recorded from Pastor's living room while he was suffering from a temporary illness. The audio was then played the following Sunday for those gathered while a layman led the services. Pastor would like to thank all those who helped out to make this possible so those gathered would still hear the Gospel message they came for.

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The Danger Within: Lack of Truth

2012-12-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 24s

False prophets were among God's people in the past, as false teachers will be among you. They will secretly bring in their own destructive teachings. They will deny the Lord, who has bought them, and they will bring themselves swift destruction. Many people will follow them in their sexual freedom and will cause others to dishonor the way of truth. In their greed they will use good-sounding arguments to exploit you. The verdict against them from long ago is still in force, and their destruction is not asleep. God didn't spare angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, where he has secured them with chains of darkness and is holding them for judgment. God didn't spare the ancient world either. He brought the flood on the world of ungodly people, but he protected Noah and seven other people. Noah was his messenger who told people about the kind of life that has God's approval. God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them by burning them to ashes. He made those cities an example to ungodly people of what is going to happen to them. Yet, God rescued Lot, a man who had his approval. Lot was distressed by the lifestyle of people who had no principles and lived in sexual freedom. Although he was a man who had God's approval, he lived among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day was like torture to him as he saw and heard the immoral things that people did. Since the Lord did all this, he knows how to rescue godly people when they are tested. He also knows how to hold immoral people for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow their corrupt nature along the path of impure desires and who despise the Lord's authority. These false teachers are bold and arrogant. They aren't afraid to insult the Lord's glory. Angels, who have more strength and power than these teachers, don't bring an insulting judgment against them from the Lord. These false teachers insult what they don't understand. They are like animals, which are creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. So they will be destroyed like animals and lose what their wrongdoing earned them. These false teachers are stains and blemishes. They take pleasure in holding wild parties in broad daylight. They especially enjoy deceiving you while they eat with you. They're always looking for an adulterous woman. They can't stop looking for sin as they seduce people who aren't sure of what they believe. Their minds are focused on their greed. They are cursed. These false teachers have left the straight path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam, son of Beor. Balaam loved what his wrongdoing earned him. But he was convicted for his evil. A donkey, which normally can't talk, spoke with a human voice and wouldn't allow the prophet to continue his insanity. These false teachers are dried-up springs. They are a mist blown around by a storm. Gloomy darkness has been kept for them. They arrogantly use nonsense to seduce people by appealing to their sexual desires, especially to sexual freedom. They seduce people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise these people freedom, but they themselves are slaves to corruption. A person is a slave to whatever he gives in to. People can know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and escape the world's filth. But if they get involved in this filth again and give in to it, they are worse off than they were before. It would have been better for them never to have known the way of life that God approves of than to know it and turn their backs on the holy life God told them to live. These proverbs have come true for them: "A dog goes back to its vomit," and "A sow that has been washed goes back to roll around in the mud." (2 Peter 2:1-22, GWV) …

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Christmas Before Jesus: Advent Before Advent

2012-12-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

"I'm going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way ahead of me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the promise will come. He is the one you want," says the LORD of Armies. But who will be able to endure the day he comes? Who will be able to survive on the day he appears? He is like a purifying fire and like a cleansing soap. He will act like a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify Levi's sons and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will bring acceptable offerings to the LORD. The offerings from Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the past, as in years long ago. "I will come to judge you. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, lying witnesses, and those who cheat workers out of their wages and oppress widows and orphans. I will also testify against those who deprive foreigners of their rights. None of them fear me," says the LORD of Armies. "I, the LORD, never change. That is why you descendants of Jacob haven't been destroyed yet. Since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my laws and have not followed them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of Armies. "But you ask, 'How can we return?' (Malachi 3:1-7, GWV) …

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The Danger Within: Lack of Virtue

2012-12-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who have obtained a faith that is as valuable as ours, a faith based on the approval that comes from our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. May good will and peace fill your lives through your knowledge about Jesus, our God and Lord! God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity. Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value. Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world. Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge; to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness; to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love. If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive. If these qualities aren't present in your life, you're shortsighted and have forgotten that you were cleansed from your past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, use more effort to make God's calling and choosing of you secure. If you keep doing this, you will never fall away. Then you will also be given the wealth of entering into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will always remind you about these qualities, although you already know about them and are well-grounded in the truth that you now have. As long as I'm still alive, I think it's right to refresh your memory. I know that I will die soon. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made that clear to me. So I will make every effort to see that you remember these things after I die. When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we didn't base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. For example, we were eyewitnesses when he received honor and glory from God the Father and when the voice of our majestic God spoke these words to him: "This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight." We heard that voice speak to him from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. So we regard the words of the prophets as confirmed beyond all doubt. You're doing well by paying attention to their words. Continue to pay attention as you would to a light that shines in a dark place as you wait for day to come and the morning star to rise in your hearts. First, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation. No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction. (2 Peter 1:1-21, GWV) …

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Christmas Before Jesus: The Branch

2012-12-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 22s

"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will keep the promise that I made to Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David. He will do what is fair and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live securely. Jerusalem will be called The LORD Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:14-16, GWV) …

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What Are You Waiting For?

2012-11-26 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

Pay attention to me, my people. Open your ears to hear me, my nation. My teachings will go out from me. My justice will become a light for the people. My righteousness is near. My salvation is on the way. I will bring justice to people. The coastlands put their hope in me, and they wait eagerly for me. Look at the sky. Look at the earth below. The sky will vanish like smoke. The earth will wear out like clothing, and those who live there will die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, and my righteousness will never fail. (Isaiah 51:4-6, GWV) …

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The Secret How to Live (Thanksgiving 2012)

2012-11-26 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. Practice what you've learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you. The Lord has filled me with joy because you again showed interest in me. You were interested but did not have an opportunity to show it. I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I've learned the secret of how to live when I'm full or when I'm hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, it was kind of you to share my troubles. You Philippians also know that in the early days, when I left the province of Macedonia to spread the Good News, you were the only church to share your money with me. You gave me what I needed, and you received what I gave you. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you provided for my needs twice. It's not that I'm looking for a gift. The opposite is true. I'm looking for your resources to increase. You have paid me in full, and I have more than enough. Now that Epaphroditus has brought me your gifts, you have filled my needs. Your gifts are a soothing aroma, a sacrifice that God accepts and with which he is pleased. My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus. Glory belongs to our God and Father forever! Amen. (Philippians 4:6-20, GWV) …

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Guided by the Stars

2012-11-19 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

The person who looked like a human continued, "At that time Michael, the great commander, will stand up on behalf of the descendants of your people. It will be a time of trouble unlike any that has existed from the time there have been nations until that time. But at that time your people, everyone written in the book, will be rescued. Many sleeping in the ground will wake up. Some will wake up to live forever, but others will wake up to be ashamed and disgraced forever. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness on the horizon. Those who lead many people to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:1-3, GWV) …

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Fragile Vessels (International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 2012) #idop

2012-11-12 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake. We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God's glory which shines from Christ's face. Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn't come from us. In every way we're troubled, but we aren't crushed by our troubles. We're frustrated, but we don't give up. We're persecuted, but we're not abandoned. We're captured, but we're not killed. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. While we are alive, we are constantly handed over to death for Jesus' sake so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our mortal nature. Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (2 Corinthians 4:5-12, GWV) …

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Camping with Jesus (All Saints' Day 2012)

2012-11-05 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

After these things I saw a large crowd from every nation, tribe, people, and language. No one was able to count how many people there were. They were standing in front of the throne and the lamb. They were wearing white robes, holding palm branches in their hands, and crying out in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne with the leaders and the four living creatures. They bowed in front of the throne with their faces touching the ground, worshiped God, and said, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen!" One of the leaders asked me, "Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?" I answered him, "Sir, you know." Then he told me, "These are the people who are coming out of the terrible suffering. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. That is why they are in front of the throne of God. They serve him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never be hungry or thirsty again. Neither the sun nor any burning heat will ever overcome them. The lamb in the center near the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:9-17, GWV) …

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If the Word Had Wings (Reformation 2012)

2012-11-05 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 24s

I saw another angel flying overhead with the everlasting Good News to spread to those who live on earth--to every nation, tribe, language, and people. The angel said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the time has come for him to judge. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs." (Revelation 14:6, 7, GWV) …

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Stuck in the Mine

2012-10-15 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 25s

As Jesus was coming out to the road, a man came running to him and knelt in front of him. He asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Never murder. Never commit adultery. Never steal. Never give false testimony. Never cheat. Honor your father and mother." The man replied, "Teacher, I've obeyed all these commandments since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. He told him, "You're still missing one thing. Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!" When the man heard that, he looked unhappy and went away sad, because he owned a lot of property. (Mark 10:17-22, GWV) …

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Divided to Be United

2012-10-08 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is right for him." The LORD God had formed all the wild animals and all the birds out of the ground. Then he brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called each creature became its name. So the man named all the domestic animals, all the birds, and all the wild animals. But the man found no helper who was right for him. So the LORD God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. While the man was sleeping, the LORD God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. Then the LORD God formed a woman from the rib that he had taken from the man. He brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be named woman because she was taken from man." That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, but they weren't ashamed of it. (Genesis 2:18-25, GWV) …

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Family Secrets: Healing Broken Families

2012-10-01 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 22s

If any of you are having trouble, pray. If you are happy, sing psalms. If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord. (Prayers offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will cure them.) If you have sinned, you will be forgiven. So admit your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you will be healed. Prayers offered by those who have God's approval are effective. Elijah was human like us. Yet, when he prayed that it wouldn't rain, no rain fell on the ground for three-and-a-half years. Then he prayed again. It rained, and the ground produced crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you wanders from the truth, someone can bring that person back. Realize that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his ways will save him from death, and many sins will be forgiven. (James 5:13-20, GWV) …

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Family Secrets: Family Harmony

2012-09-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

If any of you are having trouble, pray. If you are happy, sing psalms. If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord. (Prayers offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will cure them.) If you have sinned, you will be forgiven. So admit your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you will be healed. Prayers offered by those who have God's approval are effective. Elijah was human like us. Yet, when he prayed that it wouldn't rain, no rain fell on the ground for three-and-a-half years. Then he prayed again. It rained, and the ground produced crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you wanders from the truth, someone can bring that person back. Realize that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his ways will save him from death, and many sins will be forgiven. (James 5:13-20, GWV)

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

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Family Secrets: Like Father, Like Son

2012-09-17 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

Brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. You know that we who teach will be judged more severely. All of us make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn't make any mistakes when he speaks, he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. We put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and we have control over everything they do. The same thing is true for ships. They are very big and are driven by strong winds. Yet, by using small rudders, pilots steer ships wherever they want them to go. In the same way the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can brag about doing important things. A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison. With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God's likeness. Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? In the same way, a pool of salt water can't produce fresh water. (James 3:1-12, GWV)

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Family Secrets: Brotherly Love

2012-09-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, "Please have a seat." But you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or "Sit on the floor at my feet." Aren't you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Didn't God choose poor people in the world to become rich in faith and to receive the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? Yet, you show no respect to poor people. Don't rich people oppress you and drag you into court? Don't they curse the good name of Jesus, the name that was used to bless you? You are doing right if you obey this law from the highest authority: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." If you favor one person over another, you're sinning, and this law convicts you of being disobedient. If someone obeys all of God's laws except one, that person is guilty of breaking all of them. My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn't do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him? Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food and one of you tells that person, "God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough." If you don't provide for that person's physical needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn't cause you to do any good things. Another person might say, "You have faith, but I do good things." Show me your faith apart from the good things you do. I will show you my faith by the good things I do. (James 2:1-10, 14-18, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Malachi

2012-09-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

"And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you won't listen and if you won't consider giving honor to my name," says the LORD of Armies, "then I'll send a curse on you, and I'll curse the blessings you give. Yes, I've already cursed them because you don't carefully consider this. "I'm going to punish your descendants. I'm going to spread excrement on your faces, the excrement from your festival sacrifices. You will be discarded with it. Then you will know that I sent you this warning so that my promise to Levi will continue," says the LORD of Armies. "I promised Levi life and peace. I gave them to him so that he would respect me. He respected me and stood in awe of my name. The teaching that came from his mouth was true. Nothing unjust was found on his lips. He lived with me in peace and honesty and turned many people away from sin. "A priest's lips should preserve knowledge. Then, because he is the messenger for the LORD of Armies, people will seek instruction from his mouth. "But you have turned from the correct path and caused many to stumble over my teachings. You have corrupted the promise made to Levi," says the LORD of Armies. "So I have made you disgusting, and I have humiliated you in front of all the people, because you have not followed my ways. You have been unfair when applying my teachings." Don't all of us have the same father? Hasn't the same God created us? Why are we unfaithful to each other? And why do we dishonor the promise given to our ancestors? (Malachi 2:1-10, GWV)

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Majoring in the Minors: Zechariah

2012-08-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

"The LORD will save Judah's tents first so that the honor of David's family and the honor of those who live in Jerusalem will not be greater than the honor of Judah. On that day the LORD will defend those who live in Jerusalem so that even those who stumble will be like David, and David's family will be like God, like the Messenger of the LORD ahead of them. "On that day I will seek to destroy all the nations who attack Jerusalem. "I will pour out the Spirit of blessing and mercy on David's family and on those who live in Jerusalem. They will look at me, whom they have stabbed. Then they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they will cry bitterly for him as one cries for a firstborn son. (Zechariah 12:7-10, GWV)

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Majoring in the Minors: Haggai

2012-08-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the LORD spoke his word through the prophet Haggai. He said, "Now, speak to Zerubbabel (who is the son of Shealtiel and is governor of Judah), the chief priest Joshua (who is the son of Jehozadak), and the faithful few who returned from Babylon. Ask them, 'Is there anyone among the faithful few who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn't it seem like nothing to you?' "But now, Zerubbabel, be strong," declares the LORD. "Chief Priest Joshua (son of Jehozadak), be strong. Everyone in the land, be strong," declares the LORD. "Work, because I am with you," declares the LORD of Armies. "This is the promise I made to you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains with you. Don't be afraid. "This is what the LORD of Armies says: Once again, in a little while, I am going to shake the sky and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the one whom all the nations desire will come. Then I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of Armies. This new house will be more glorious than the former, declares the LORD of Armies. And in this place I will give them peace, declares the LORD of Armies." (Haggai 2:1-9, GWV)

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Majoring in the Minors: Zephaniah

2012-08-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

See the whole service at YouTube.com/user/sotridge.

Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel! Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem. The LORD has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is with you. You will never fear disaster again. On that day Jerusalem will be told, "Do not be afraid, Zion! Do not lose courage!" The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. "I will gather those among you who are troubled because of the festivals. They bear a burden of disgrace. (Zephaniah 3:14-18, GWV)

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Majoring in the Minors: Habakkuk

2012-07-30 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

The divine revelation that the prophet Habakkuk saw. How long, O LORD, am I to cry for help, but you will not listen? I cry out to you, "There's violence!" yet you will not come to the rescue. Why do you make me see wrongdoing? And why do you watch wickedness? Destruction and violence are in front of me. Quarrels and disputes arise. I will stand at my guard post. I will station myself on the wall. I will watch to see what he will say to me and what answer I will get to my complaint. Then the LORD answered me, "Write the vision. Make it clear on tablets so that anyone can read it quickly. The vision will still happen at the appointed time. It hurries toward its goal. It won't be a lie. If it's delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won't be late. "Look at the proud person. He is not right in himself. But the righteous person will live because of his faithfulness. (Habakkuk 1:1-3; 2:1-4, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Nahum

2012-07-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

God does not tolerate rivals. The LORD takes revenge. The LORD takes revenge and is full of anger. The LORD takes revenge against his enemies and holds a grudge against his foes. The LORD is patient and has great strength. The LORD will never let the guilty go unpunished. Raging winds and storms mark his path, and clouds are the dust from his feet. He yells at the sea and makes it dry. He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither. The flowers of Lebanon wither. The mountains quake because of him. The hills melt. The earth draws back in his presence. The world and all who live in it draw back as well. Who can stand in the presence of his rage? Who can oppose his burning anger? He pours out his rage like fire and smashes the rocky cliffs. The LORD is good. He is a fortress in the day of trouble. He knows those who seek shelter in him. He will put an end to Nineveh with a devastating flood. He will pursue his enemies with darkness. What do you think about the LORD? He is the one who will bring Nineveh to an end. This trouble will never happen again. The people of Nineveh will be like tangled thorns and like people drunk on their own drink. They will be completely burned up like very dry straw. From you, Nineveh, a person who plans evil against the LORD sets out. His advice is wicked. This is what the LORD says: Though the people of Nineveh are physically fit and many in number, they will be cut down and die. Though I have humbled you, Judah, I will not humble you again. But now I will break Nineveh's yoke off of you and tear its chains from you. The LORD has given this command about you, Nineveh: You will no longer have descendants to carry on your name. I will remove the wooden and metal idols from the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave because you are worthless. There on the mountains are the feet of a messenger who announces the good news: "All is well!" Celebrate your festivals, Judah! Keep your vows! This wickedness will never pass your way again. It will be completely removed. (Nahum 1:2-15, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Micah

2012-07-16 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

Now listen to what the LORD is saying, "Stand up! Plead your case in front of the mountains, and let the hills listen to your request. Listen to the LORD'S lawsuit, you mountains. Listen, you strong foundations of the earth. The LORD has filed a lawsuit against his people. He is arguing his case against Israel. "My people, what have I done to you? How have I tried your patience? Answer me! I brought you out of Egypt and freed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you. My people, remember what King Balak of Moab planned to do to you and how Balaam, son of Beor, responded to him. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal so that you may know the victories of the LORD." What should I bring when I come into the LORD'S presence, when I bow in front of the God of heaven? Should I bring him year-old calves as burnt offerings? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams or with endless streams of olive oil? Should I give him my firstborn child because of my rebellious acts? Should I give him my young child for my sin? You mortals, the LORD has told you what is good. This is what the LORD requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God. (Micah 6:1-8, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Jonah

2012-07-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

Jonah was very upset about this, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, "LORD, isn't this what I said would happen when I was still in my own country? That's why I tried to run to Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, patient, and always ready to forgive and to reconsider your threats of destruction. So now, LORD, take my life. I'd rather be dead than alive." The LORD asked, "What right do you have to be angry?" Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there. He sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. The LORD God made a plant grow up beside Jonah to give him shade and make him more comfortable. Jonah was very happy with the plant. At dawn the next day, God sent a worm to attack the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God made a hot east wind blow. The sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he was about to faint. He wanted to die. So he said, "I'd rather be dead than alive." Then God asked Jonah, "What right do you have to be angry over this plant?" Jonah answered, "I have every right to be angry--so angry that I want to die." The LORD replied, "This plant grew up overnight and died overnight. You didn't plant it or make it grow. Yet, you feel sorry for this plant. Shouldn't I feel sorry for this important city, Nineveh? It has more than 120,000 people in it as well as many animals. These people couldn't tell their right hand from their left." (Jonah 4:1-11, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Obadiah

2012-07-02 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

"The day of the LORD is near for all nations. Edom, you will be treated as you have treated others. You will get back what you have given. As you, Israel, drank on my holy mountain, so all nations will drink in turn. They will drink and guzzle down everything in it. They will be like those who have never existed. "But refugees will live on Mount Zion. It will be holy. The descendants of Jacob will get back their possessions. The descendants of Jacob will be like a fire. The descendants of Joseph will be like a flame. But the descendants of Esau will be like straw. They will be burned and destroyed. There will be no one left among the descendants of Esau." The LORD has spoken. "People from the Negev will take possession of Esau's mountain. People from the foothills will take possession of Philistia. They will take possession of the lands of Ephraim and Samaria, and the descendants of Benjamin will take possession of Gilead. Exiles from Israel will take possession of Canaan. They will possess land as far as Zarephath. Exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will take possession of the cities in the Negev. Those who are victorious will come from Mount Zion to rule Esau's mountain. The kingdom will belong to the LORD." (Obadiah 1:15-21, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Amos

2012-06-25 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

How horrible it will be for those who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for that day? The day of the LORD is one of darkness and not light. It is like a person who flees from a lion only to be attacked by a bear. It is like a person who goes home and puts his hand on the wall only to be bitten by a snake. The day of the LORD brings darkness and not light. It is pitch black, with no light. I hate your festivals; I despise them. I'm not pleased with your religious assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I won't accept them. I won't even look at the fellowship offerings of your choicest animals. Spare me the sound of your songs. I won't listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:18-24, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Joel

2012-06-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

"But even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart-- with fasting, crying, and mourning." Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Return to the LORD your God. He is merciful and compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive and to change his plans about disaster. Who knows? He may reconsider and change his plan and leave a blessing for you. Then you could give grain offerings and wine offerings to the LORD your God. Blow the ram's horn in Zion. Schedule a time to fast. Call for an assembly. Gather the people. Prepare them for a holy meeting. Assemble the leaders. Gather the children, even the nursing infants. Grooms leave their rooms. Brides leave their chambers. The priests who serve the LORD cry between the altar and the entrance to the temple. They say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Don't let the people who belong to you become a disgrace. Don't let the nations ridicule them. Why should people ask, 'Where is their God?'" Then the LORD became concerned about his land, and he had pity on his people. The LORD said to his people, "I am going to send grain, new wine, and olive oil to you. You will be satisfied with them. I will no longer make you a disgrace among the nations. (Joel 2:12-19, GWV) …

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Majoring in the Minors: Hosea

2012-06-12 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

"That is why I'm going to win her back. I will lead her into the desert. I will speak tenderly to her. I will give her vineyards there. I will make the valley of Achor [Disaster] a door of hope. Then she will respond as she did when she was young, as she did when she came out of Egypt. "On that day she will call me her husband," declares the LORD. "She will no longer call me her master. I won't allow her to say the names of other gods called Baal. She will never again call out their names. "On that day I will make an arrangement with the wild animals, the birds, and the animals that crawl on the ground. I will destroy all the bows, swords, and weapons of war, so people can live safely. "Israel, I will make you my wife forever. I will be honest and faithful to you. I will show you my love and compassion. I will be true to you, my wife. Then you will know the LORD. (Hosea 2:14-20, GWV)

Note: My voice recorder battery died during the first service, so I had to splice in the audio from the second service, where the recorder wasn't as close to me, so around 12 minutes in, the audio changes. That's why. Sorry about that. I hope it's not too distracting.

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How to See the Kingdom of God

2012-06-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish council. He came to Jesus one night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him." Jesus replied to Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus asked him, "How can anyone be born when he's an old man? He can't go back inside his mother a second time to be born, can he?" Jesus answered Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. Don't be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it's going. That's the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:1-8, GWV) …

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The Spirit of Life

2012-05-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

The power of the LORD came over me. The LORD brought me out by his Spirit and put me down in the middle of a valley. The valley was filled with bones. He led me all around them. I saw that there were very many bones at the bottom of the valley, and they were very dry. Then he asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I answered, "Only you know, Almighty LORD." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones. Tell them, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD. This is what the Almighty LORD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put ligaments on you, place muscles on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'" So I prophesied as I was commanded. While I was prophesying, suddenly there was a rattling noise, and the bones came together, one bone attaching itself to another. As I looked, I saw that ligaments were on them, muscles were on them, and skin covered them. Yet, there was no breath in them. Then the LORD said to me, "Prophesy to the breath! Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: Come from the four winds, Breath, and breathe on these people who were killed so that they will live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them. Then they came to life and stood on their feet. There were enough of them to form a very large army. The LORD also said to me, "Son of man, all the people of Israel are like these bones. The people say, 'Our bones are dry, and our hope has vanished. We are completely destroyed.' So prophesy. Tell them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: My people, I will open your graves and take you out of them. I will bring you to Israel. Then, my people, you will know that I am the LORD, because I will open your graves and bring you out of your graves. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:1-14, GWV) …

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Letting Go While Holding On

2012-05-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

I won't be in the world much longer, but they are in the world, and I'm coming back to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me, so that their unity may be like ours. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me. I watched over them, and none of them, except one person, became lost. So Scripture came true. "But now, Father, I'm coming back to you. I say these things while I'm still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have. I have given them your message. But the world has hated them because they don't belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I'm not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. They don't belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. "Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth. I have sent them into the world the same way you sent me into the world. I'm dedicating myself to this holy work I'm doing for them so that they, too, will use the truth to be holy. (John 17:11-19, GWV) …

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No Greater Love

2012-05-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

"I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me. So live in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will live in my love. I have obeyed my Father's commandments, and in that way I live in his love. I have told you this so that you will be as joyful as I am, and your joy will be complete. Love each other as I have loved you. This is what I'm commanding you to do. The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends. You are my friends if you obey my commandments. I don't call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn't know what his master is doing. But I've called you friends because I've made known to you everything that I've heard from my Father. You didn't choose me, but I chose you. I have appointed you to go, to produce fruit that will last, and to ask the Father in my name to give you whatever you ask for. Love each other. This is what I'm commanding you to do. (John 15:9-17, GWV) …

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The Lost: Son

2012-05-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the property.' So the father divided his property between his two sons. "After a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions and left for a country far away from home. There he wasted everything he had on a wild lifestyle. He had nothing left when a severe famine spread throughout that country. He had nothing to live on. So he got a job from someone in that country and was sent to feed pigs in the fields. No one in the country would give him any food, and he was so hungry that he would have eaten what the pigs were eating. "Finally, he came to his senses. He said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more food than they can eat, while I'm starving to death here? I'll go at once to my father, and I'll say to him, "Father, I've sinned against heaven and you. I don't deserve to be called your son anymore. Make me one of your hired men."' "So he went at once to his father. While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son, put his arms around him, and kissed him. Then his son said to him, 'Father, I've sinned against heaven and you. I don't deserve to be called your son anymore.' "The father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let's celebrate with a feast. My son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.' Then they began to celebrate. "His older son was in the field. As he was coming back to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called to one of the servants and asked what was happening. "The servant told him, 'Your brother has come home. So your father has killed the fattened calf to celebrate your brother's safe return.' "Then the older son became angry and wouldn't go into the house. His father came out and begged him to come in. But he answered his father, 'All these years I've worked like a slave for you. I've never disobeyed one of your commands. Yet, you've never given me so much as a little goat for a celebration with my friends. But this son of yours spent your money on prostitutes, and when he came home, you killed the fattened calf for him.' "His father said to him, 'My child, you're always with me. Everything I have is yours. But we have something to celebrate, something to be happy about. This brother of yours was dead but has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.'" (Luke 15:11-32, GWV) …

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The Lost: Coin

2012-04-30 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

"Suppose a woman has ten coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house, and look for the coin carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Let's celebrate! I've found the coin that I lost.' So I can guarantee that God's angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts." (Luke 15:8-10, GWV) …

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The Lost: Sheep

2012-04-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

All the tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus. But the Pharisees and the scribes complained, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Jesus spoke to them using this illustration: "Suppose a man has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the 99 sheep grazing in the pasture and look for the lost sheep until he finds it? When he finds it, he's happy. He puts that sheep on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says to them, 'Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep!' I can guarantee that there will be more happiness in heaven over one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts than over 99 people who already have turned to God and have his approval." (Luke 15:1-7, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: Resurrection of Jesus (Easter Day)

2012-04-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

When the day of worship was over, Mary from Magdala, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome bought spices to go and anoint Jesus. On Sunday they were going to the tomb very early when the sun had just come up. They said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. It was a very large stone. As they went into the tomb, they saw a young man. He was dressed in a white robe and sat on the right side. They were panic-stricken. The young man said to them, “Don’t panic! You’re looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been brought back to life. He’s not here. Look at the place where they laid him. Go and tell his disciples and Peter that he’s going ahead of them to Galilee. There they will see him, just as he told them.” They went out of the tomb and ran away. Shock and trembling had overwhelmed them. They didn’t say a thing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8, GWV) …

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The Big Fight (Easter Sunrise)

2012-04-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: "I will sing to the LORD. He has won a glorious victory. He has thrown horses and their riders into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song. He is my Savior. This is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will honor him. The LORD is a warrior! The LORD is his name. He has thrown Pharaoh's chariots and army into the sea. Pharaoh's best officers were drowned in the Red Sea. The deep water covered them. They sank to the bottom like a rock. Your right hand, O LORD, wins glory because it is strong. Your right hand, O LORD, smashes your enemies. With your unlimited majesty, you destroyed those who attacked you. You sent out your burning anger. It burned them up like straw. With a blast from your nostrils, the water piled up. The waves stood up like a dam. The deep water thickened in the middle of the sea. "The enemy said, 'I'll pursue them! I'll catch up with them! I'll divide the loot! I'll take all I want! I'll use my sword! I'll take all they have!' Your breath blew the sea over them. They sank like lead in the raging water. "Who is like you among the gods, O LORD? Who is like you? You are glorious because of your holiness and awe-inspiring because of your splendor. You perform miracles. (Exodus 15:1-11, GWV). …

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The Lynchpin: The Death of Jesus (Good Friday)

2012-04-20 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" When some of the people standing there heard him say that, they said, "Listen! He's calling Elijah." Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink. The man said, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down." Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice and died. (Mark 15:33-37, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: The agony in Gethsemane and arrest of Jesus (Maundy Thursday)

2012-04-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

Then they came to a place called Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, "Stay here while I pray." He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to feel distressed and anguished. He said to them, "My anguish is so great that I feel as if I'm dying. Wait here, and stay awake." After walking a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. He said, "Abba! Father! You can do anything. Take this cup of suffering away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine." He went back and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn't you stay awake for one hour? Stay awake, and pray that you won't be tempted. You want to do what's right, but you're weak." He went away again and prayed the same prayer as before. He found them asleep because they couldn't keep their eyes open. They didn't even know what they should say to him. He came back a third time and said to them, "You might as well sleep now. It's all over. The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let's go! The one who is betraying me is near." Just then, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles, arrived. A crowd carrying swords and clubs was with him. They were from the chief priests, scribes, and leaders of the people. Now, the traitor had given them a signal. He said, "The one I kiss is the man you want. Arrest him, and guard him closely as you take him away." Then Judas quickly stepped up to Jesus and said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. Some men took hold of Jesus and arrested him. One of those standing there pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of the chief priest's servant. Jesus asked them, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as if I were a criminal? I used to teach in the temple courtyard every day. But you didn't arrest me then. But what the Scriptures say must come true." Then all the disciples abandoned him and ran away. (Mark 14:32-50, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: The Last Supper

2012-04-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

After all, I passed on to you what I had received from the Lord. On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He broke the bread and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me." When supper was over, he did the same with the cup. He said, "This cup is the new promise made with my blood. Every time you drink from it, do it to remember me." Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, GWV) …

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The Dagger: Basic Training: Hands On (Lord's Supper)

2012-03-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

While they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take this, and eat it. This is my body." Then he took a cup and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood, the blood of the promise. It is poured out for many people so that sins are forgiven. (Matthew 26:26-28, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: Washing of the Feet

2012-03-26 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

Before the Passover festival, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. Jesus loved his own who were in the world, and he loved them to the end. While supper was taking place, the devil had already put the idea of betraying Jesus into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. The Father had put everything in Jesus' control. Jesus knew that. He also knew that he had come from God and was going back to God. So he got up from the table, removed his outer clothes, took a towel, and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel that he had tied around his waist. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter asked him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered Peter, "You don't know now what I'm doing. You will understand later." Peter told Jesus, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus replied to Peter, "If I don't wash you, you don't belong to me." Simon Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, don't wash only my feet. Wash my hands and my head too!" Jesus told Peter, "People who have washed are completely clean. They need to have only their feet washed. All of you, except for one, are clean." (Jesus knew who was going to betray him. That's why he said, "All of you, except for one, are clean.") After Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothes, he took his place at the table again. Then he asked his disciples, "Do you understand what I've done for you? You call me teacher and Lord, and you're right because that's what I am. So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet. I've given you an example that you should follow. I can guarantee this truth: Slaves are not superior to their owners, and messengers are not superior to the people who send them. If you understand all of this, you are blessed whenever you follow my example. "I'm not talking about all of you. I know the people I've chosen to be apostles. However, I've made my choice so that Scripture will come true. It says, 'The one who eats my bread has turned against me.' I'm telling you now before it happens. Then, when it happens, you will believe that I am the one. "I can guarantee this truth: Whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." (John 13:1-20, GWV) …

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The Dagger: Basic Training: Healing the Wound (Confession and the Office of the Keys)

2012-03-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

After he had said this, he breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you don't forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:22-23, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: Judas bargains with the priests to betray Jesus

2012-03-19 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus. They were pleased to hear what Judas had to say and promised to give him money. So he kept looking for a chance to betray Jesus. (Mark 14:10, 11, GWV) …

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The Dagger: Basic Training: Testing the Blade (Baptism)

2012-03-15 :: Pastor Dale Critchley

Romans 6:3-7

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I. Putting to the test

Weapon blades, like swords and daggers, go through a process called "testing the blade" before being ready for use. The weaponsmith puts the blade in a forge, applying extreme heat to it and leaving it in that heat for an extended period of time, a half hour in modern specialized furnaces, longer in ancient forges. Then, the glowing metal gets pulled from the heat and plunged into water or oil. The process gets repeated again and again, and each time, when properly applied, the blade gets harder, making it less likely to break in battle and better able to retain the sharpness of the blade.

What does the water do? It changes the temperature of the blade back to room temperature. That's it. There's nothing special about the water--what's special is the way it's being used. If you apply water to a piece of paper, it won't strengthen it. If you leave that same blade in the same water for long enough, it will rust. But when applied properly, simple water can harden steel.

So it is with Baptism. Without this simple, plain old water, we're not fit for spiritual battle. But with the proper application of water, we gain strength and remain sharp in the midst of life's battles.

II. When life heats up

In Scripture, God tests people like Abraham, Job, and Paul. He is not tempting them to sin, as God tempts nobody, but testing them like a blade, so that, through extreme circumstances, they grow stronger. Scripture repeatedly uses fire as a symbol of purification and strengthening, from Sodom & Gomorrah to the end of time, when God will consume this corrupt world with fire.

Meanwhile, we all know what it's like to feel the heat in our lives. Deadlines loom. Illness lingers and seems like it'll never go away. Relationships face all kinds of strain and sometimes even get broken. When the fires of life's stresses burn all around you, so you can't see past them, it's hard to see the hope past the flames. But just as God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from literal flames by being in there with them, so He did and does the same for us.

God knows what it's like to feel this world's heat, because He endured it and worse on the cross. He faced the consuming fire of God's wrath over our sin so that we could escape that fire. Just as He came to the men in the furnace to protect them, He came among us as the God-man, Jesus Christ. Isaiah says, "He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him. He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds." (Isaiah 53:4, 5, GWV) When we go through the fires of this life, God knows what it's like, and He loves us enough not only to protect us while we're in the middle of the flames, but eventually to quench the flames altogether.

III. Strengthened by water: all about alignment

So how does applying flame and water strengthen a metal blade? Metal has a crystalline structure that gives it strength, and shocking the structure tightens the crystals, the way a sponge shrinks as it dries. As we endure flaming trials, God quenches the heat with the assurance of His presence through it, and just the knowledge and assurance of Baptism gives us comfort and strength to endure all kinds of trials. As the crystals of a blade line up with each other, so the Holy Spirit, through the water of Holy Baptism, moves our hearts to line up with God's.

While Baptism is a one-time event in a Christian's life, its benefits are life-long, like a vaccine, but just as some vaccines need booster shots, so God encourages boosting the benefits of Baptism with regular doses of God's Word. And it's important to point out that being Baptized and reading the Bible are a lot more enjoyable than getting a shot, although it can be painful, too, since God's Word is a two-edged sword that not only gives us the comfort of the Gospel of God's love in Jesus, but the Law that pierces sinful pride to the heart by showing us how out-of-alignment we have taken ourselves. Ancient weaponsmiths would sometimes, instead of using water, cool their heated swords using the living bodies of prisoners or slaves. While this was a horrendous act, God pierces us through with His Sword of the Spirit, the Bible, to kill our sinful idolatrous and loveless hearts so He can raise us up as His new creation.

Unlike a steel blade, we have no strength in ourselves. Sin has weakened us to make us unable to stand in the face of temptation, but in Baptism, that old nature gets buried with the weakened body of Christ, only to be raised with the glory of the resurrection, now as those freed from the guilt of sin to live in the love of Jesus, and on the last day at the final physical resurrection to live forever with Him.

And because we've been set free from sin and death, we're free to live like we're no longer dead in our sin, free to live as the living children of God. Martin Luther said, "When you wash your face in the morning, remember your Baptism." He meant that yesterday's sins are washed away, so today, you are free from those and don't need to repeat them. It's a fresh start, free to live in God's kingdom as His child. We daily drown the "Old Adam," the sinful nature we inherited, and take on the "New Adam," Jesus Christ and the goodness He has given to us.

God has tested us and will continue to keep the heat on, but in doing so, He is preparing us so He can use us in battle against the devil. But as the battle wages on, we can rest assured that the victory has already been won, not by a sword, but three nails and a crown of thorns. And the decisive blow came not with a blade, but a rock, not thrown, but rolled away. May God keep you in the faith of your Baptism resurrection until you experience the final resurrection on the last day, in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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The Lynchpin: Cleansing the Temple

2012-03-12 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

When they came to Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple courtyard and began to throw out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the moneychangers' tables and the chairs of those who sold pigeons. He would not let anyone carry anything across the temple courtyard. Then he taught them by saying, "Scripture says, 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,' but you have turned it into a gathering place for thieves." When the chief priests and scribes heard him, they looked for a way to kill him. They were afraid of him because he amazed all the crowds with his teaching. (Every evening Jesus and his disciples would leave the city.) (Mark 11:15-19, GWV) …

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The Dagger: Basic Training: Defensive Techniques (Lord's Prayer)

2012-03-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley

(No Audio) Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Text: Matthew 6:

 Pray then like this:

 "Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

 Give us this day our daily bread,

 and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

In a battle, a lot of the skill involved comes from muscle memory. As a soldier, you strike without much thinking about what you're doing. It's more a combination of reflexes and practice, the same way an experienced driver automatically hits the brakes when seeing brake lights ahead (or when seeing a police car!).

There's a point to muscle memory. You don't want to have to devise a strategy or consider your best options when the business end of a broadsword is heading toward your face. You must act quickly, decisively, and accurately. If you don't, your opponent will have a good idea how sharp his sword really is.

Sadly, prayer can often become the same muscle memory except with our jaw muscles and tongue, especially the Lord's Prayer. It's the most profound prayer ever spoken. It's so well worded that a large percentage of our core teachings are based on it. But when you just recite it without pondering the meaning, you completely miss the point. Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes…who rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make themselves look good. The scribes will receive the most severe punishment." (Mark 12:40) Long or repeated prayers don't impress God any more than you'd be more likely to give children dessert if they said, "Dear exalted mother daughter of her mother before her and matriarch of this household, giver of maternal blessings and sweeter than the fruit of the vine and orchard, although the supper thou so bountifully providest remaineth on my plate, for my own stomach cannot abide thy Brussels Sprouts, and thus shall remain forever and ever, we beseech thee, according to thy mercy, to bestow from thy bounty a portion of the cake which thou didst form with thine own hands. Amen." OK, even that prayer would at least be from the heart—or the stomach, as the case may be—but the length wouldn't likely sway your decision if they've been picking at the food for an hour and whining about it the whole time, and the child repeating it regularly would just get annoying, not convincing.

"So then," I hear you wonder, "since it's been a year or many years since covering this in Confirmation Class, what does this mean, and how then should we pray?"

The prayer begins by hallowing God's name "Hallow" means to make something holy, but since God's name is holy, this petition is a prayer that He keep us from dragging His name through the mud. It means living a life of sacrificial love to show others the sacrificial love of Jesus. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we're called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, but while we tend to focus on the "all your mind" or "all your soul" (that is, our emotions), loving Him with all our strength, which means using our bodies to benefit others at everyopportunity, not just when it's not too inconvenient. We pay lip service to God but don't live sacrificially for others.

What happens when we don't hallow God's name with our lives? As Scripture says, "God's name is cursed among the nations because of you." (Romans 2:24) Because our lives don't show the sacrificial love of Jesus, they don't believe that such a love can exist, and we make God look bad by misrepresenting Him. So no matter how eloquently or persuasively we tell others about the love of Jesus, we won't be heard. All they can hear is the hypocrisy, because that's what they see.

But when do do hallow God's name in our lives and relationships, we bring God's kingdom among us and cause His will to be done What is God's will? That all people be saved, so that not only do we believe, but that others come to believe as we tell and show them the love of Jesus. The kingdom of God is where God and people connect, and that happens where the Gospel is heard.

We strive to keep God's will not for our benefit, but for the benefit of others. The kingdom is already among us, but in this prayer, we pray that God will use us to connect others with Him as well.

But you can't pick and choose which part of this prayer you want to pray. You can't say, "God, I want others to come to know you, but don't ask me to live sacrificially or hallow Your name in my life." We can't pray, "Father, let Your kingdom come to me that I be saved, but don't expect me to seek Your will if it means changing my life or habits."

Will His kingdom still come? Yes. But not among us and not in our community. It'll come somewhere else where His name is hallowed so that those who do come into His kingdom will grow in faith and seek God's will so the kingdom will continue to come among them.

But when we open our eyes to the reality of His kingdom and His grace, it opens our eyes to His blessings as God uses us to be a blessing to others, and we better recognize His generous hand of blessing in our lives. The more we see the abundance of His blessings, the more we trust in Him to continue to provide, which frees us to live generously, trusting in God instead of thinking His blessings will run out if we give them to others.

God promises to provide for us: "Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way," says the LORD of Armies. "See if I won't open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings." (Malachi 3:10) But we'd rather cling to what we have instead of investing in the kingdom of God. Yes, in this economy, investing is a scary word, but while investing in the stock market can be risky, there's no risk in investing in the kingdom of God. God gives us this day our daily bread so we can give it away. The God we serve is the same God Who fed an entire nation in the desert for 40 years. He's the same God! So why don't we believe He can do that now and hoard our blessings?

But that leads to the rest of the prayer. Forgive us as we forgive others, and deliver us from evil. Because we haven't trusted God with all that we have and are. We've hoarded not just our money, but our whole lives. Like the rich people that Jesus watched putting large sums of money into the offering from their surplus, we do the same with our lives. We'll give from our time surplus, if we have any. If we're particularly comfortable, we can give up a little bit, the scraps from the table of our lives, but we're unwilling to give away the comfort and convenience and just sustain ourselves on the scraps ourselves. We won't do that which causes us to lose our security.

We look at the world and (rightly) see sin. But we fail to see the world as individuals who were paid for with the blood of Christ. We label them by their obvious sin and fail to forgive them. We look at the sin of those in our lives and hold onto their sin so we can use it against them later. But Jesus came to release us from that. He forgave us when He, more than anyone, had every right to hold onto that sin and use it against us. But instead of holding onto that sin to use against us, He held onto it so that God would catch Him red-handed and charge Him guilty instead of us . "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) God hates sin. Jesus became sin on our behalf. So for our sake, God hated His Son as He embodied our sin. And in turn, we receive His righteousness: His perfection, His holiness. On the cross, God gave us His hallowed name by cursing the name of Jesus. When we hold onto others' sins or withold the love of Christ, we're cursing those whom God has chosen to bless. And so we turn to God and plead with Him to deliver us not only from the evil influences in the world, but from the evil within us.

And whether you end with the doxology: kingdom power & glory forever…and ever…or not, the prayer ends with the Hebrew word for truth: Amen. This word, Amen, doesn't mean, "Thank-you, please pull around to the first window." It means, "Yes, that's absolute truth." It's a word of conviction and assurance that God has indeed heard our prayer and will act on it. Now, that's dangerous, because if we pray for God to change our hearts and turn us from shallow living back to His sacrificial way of living and thinking, we need to be ready for that to happen, because if we pray that prayer but don't realize what we're praying, one of two things will happen: either God will be offended by our prayer like that of the scribes, or He'll actually listen in spite of us and transform us, which, if we're not expecting it, will be extremely painful. Instead, ask and trust that the giver of all good gifts will give that gift of a life that receives love and mercy so much that it overflows out of you into the people that God will bring into your life.

Now, I'm going to pray the Lord's Prayer. The words are on the screen and in your handout. Now that you've heard what that prayer really means, if you really mean it, I invite you to pray it with me, and pray it with conviction and really mean it. If you don't mean it, don't say it. It'll be an offense to God. But if you truly want God's name to be hallowed in your life, please pray with me:

C Our Father who art in heaven ,
     hallowed be Thy name,
     Thy kingdom come,
     Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
     give us this day our daily bread;
     and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
     and lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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The Lynchpin: Cursing the Fig Tree

2012-03-05 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

The next day, when they left Bethany, Jesus became hungry. In the distance he saw a fig tree with leaves. He went to see if he could find any figs on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves because it wasn't the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "No one will ever eat fruit from you again!" His disciples heard this. While Jesus and his disciples were walking early in the morning, they saw that the fig tree had dried up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said, so he said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has dried up." Jesus said to them, "Have faith in God! I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn't doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, 'Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,' and it will be done for him. That's why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours. Whenever you pray, forgive anything you have against anyone. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your failures." (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26, GWV) …

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The Lynchpin: The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

2012-02-27 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 8s

When they came near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead of him. He said to them, "Go into the village ahead of you. As you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there. No one has ever sat on it. Untie it, and bring it. If anyone asks you what you are doing, say that the Lord needs it. That person will send it here at once." The disciples found the young donkey in the street. It was tied to the door of a house. As they were untying it, some men standing there asked them, "Why are you untying that donkey?" The disciples answered them as Jesus had told them. So the men let them go. They brought the donkey to Jesus, put their coats on it, and he sat on it. Many spread their coats on the road. Others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them on the road. Those who went ahead and those who followed him were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is our ancestor David's kingdom that is coming! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" (Mark 11:1-10, GWV) …

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The Dagger: Basic Training: How to avoid cutting yourself (Ten Commandments)

2012-02-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

Then God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in Egypt. "Never have any other god. Never make your own carved idols or statues that represent any creature in the sky, on the earth, or in the water. Never worship them or serve them, because I, the LORD your God, am a God who does not tolerate rivals. I punish children for their parents' sins to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. But I show mercy to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my commandments. "Never use the name of the LORD your God carelessly. The LORD will make sure that anyone who carelessly uses his name will be punished. "Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. You have six days to do all your work. The seventh day is the day of worship dedicated to the LORD your God. You, your sons, your daughters, your male and female slaves, your cattle, and the foreigners living in your city must never do any work on that day. In six days the LORD made heaven, earth, and the sea, along with everything in them. He didn't work on the seventh day. That's why the LORD blessed the day he stopped his work and set this day apart as holy. "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live for a long time in the land the LORD your God is giving you. "Never murder. "Never commit adultery. "Never steal. "Never lie when you testify about your neighbor. "Never desire to take your neighbor's household away from him. "Never desire to take your neighbor's wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that belongs to him." (Exodus 20:1-17, GWV) …

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Going All In: The Rich Young Ruler

2012-02-20 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

As Jesus was coming out to the road, a man came running to him and knelt in front of him. He asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Never murder. Never commit adultery. Never steal. Never give false testimony. Never cheat. Honor your father and mother." The man replied, "Teacher, I've obeyed all these commandments since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. He told him, "You're still missing one thing. Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!" When the man heard that, he looked unhappy and went away sad, because he owned a lot of property. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for rich people to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were stunned by his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." This amazed his disciples more than ever. They asked each other, "Who, then, can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "It's impossible for people to save themselves, but it's not impossible for God to save them. Everything is possible for God." Then Peter spoke up, "We've given up everything to follow you." Jesus said, "I can guarantee this truth: Anyone who gave up his home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or fields because of me and the Good News will certainly receive a hundred times as much here in this life. They will certainly receive homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields, along with persecutions. But in the world to come they will receive eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." (Mark 10:17-31, GWV) …

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Going All In: Investing in High Risk Options

2012-02-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

An angel from the Lord said to Philip, "Get up, and take the desert road that goes south from Jerusalem to Gaza." So Philip went. An Ethiopian man who had come to Jerusalem to worship was on his way home. The man was a eunuch, a high-ranking official in charge of all the treasures of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. As the official rode along in his carriage, he was reading the prophet Isaiah out loud. The Spirit said to Philip, "Go to that carriage, and stay close to it." Philip ran to the carriage and could hear the official reading the prophet Isaiah out loud. Philip asked him, "Do you understand what you're reading?" The official answered, "How can I understand unless someone guides me?" So he invited Philip to sit with him in his carriage. This was the part of the Scriptures that the official was reading: "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was like a sheep that is silent when its wool is cut off. He didn't open his mouth. When he humbled himself, he was not judged fairly. Who from his generation will talk about his life on earth being cut short?" The official said to Philip, "I would like to know who the prophet is talking about. Is he talking about himself or someone else?" Then Philip spoke. Starting with that passage, Philip told the official the Good News about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water. The official said to Philip, "Look, there's some water. What can keep me from being baptized?" The official ordered the carriage to stop. He and Philip stepped into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they had stepped out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official joyfully continued on his way and didn't see Philip again. Philip found himself in the city of Azotus. He traveled through all the cities and spread the Good News until he came to the city of Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40, GWV) …

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Going All In: Prioritizing Your Priorities

2012-01-30 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

Six days before Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany. Lazarus, whom Jesus had brought back to life, lived there. Dinner was prepared for Jesus in Bethany. Martha served the dinner, and Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. Mary took a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard and poured it on Jesus' feet. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the house. One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was going to betray him, asked, "Why wasn't this perfume sold for a high price and the money given to the poor?" (Judas didn't say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the moneybag and carried the contributions.) Jesus said to Judas, "Leave her alone! She has done this to prepare me for the day I will be placed in a tomb. You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me with you." A large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was in Bethany. So they went there not only to see Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had brought back to life. The chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too. Lazarus was the reason why many people were leaving the Jews and believing in Jesus. (John 12:1-11, GWV) …

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Going All In: Living for a Cause

2012-01-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

After that happened, some astrologers came forward and brought charges against the Jews. They addressed King Nebuchadnezzar, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! Your Majesty, you gave an order that everyone who hears the sound of rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments should bow down and worship the gold statue. Your order said that whoever doesn't bow down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. There are certain Jews whom you appointed to govern the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men didn't obey your order, Your Majesty. They don't honor your gods or worship the statue that you set up." Then, in a fit of rage and anger, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Immediately, they were brought to the king. Nebuchadnezzar asked them, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don't honor my gods or worship the gold statue that I set up? When you hear the sound of the rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, will you bow down and worship the gold statue I made? If you don't worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. What god can save you from my power then?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "We don't need to answer your last question. If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. But if he doesn't, you should know, Your Majesty, we'll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up." Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with anger toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face turned red. He ordered that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than normal. He told some soldiers from his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego so that they could be thrown into the blazing furnace. Then the three men were thrown into the blazing furnace. They were wearing their clothes, hats, and other clothing. The king's order was so urgent and the furnace was so extremely hot that the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed by the flames from the fire. So these three men--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--fell into the blazing furnace. They were still tied up. Then Nebuchadnezzar was startled. He sprang to his feet. He asked his advisers, "Didn't we throw three men into the fire?" "That's true, Your Majesty," they answered. The king replied, "But look, I see four men. They're untied, walking in the middle of the fire, and unharmed. The fourth one looks like a son of the gods." Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the blazing furnace and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--servants of the Most High God--come out here." Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. The king's satraps, governors, mayors, and advisers gathered around the three men. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. The hair on their heads wasn't singed, their clothes weren't burned, and they didn't smell of smoke. Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He sent his angel and saved his servants, who trusted him. They disobeyed the king and risked their lives so that they would not have to honor or worship any god except their own God. So I order that people from every province, nation, or language who say anything slanderous about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb. Their houses will be turned into piles of rubble. No other god can rescue like this." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:8-30, GWV) …

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Are You Listening?

2012-01-16 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

The boy Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli. In those days a prophecy from the LORD was rare; visions were infrequent. One night Eli was lying down in his room. His eyesight had begun to fail so that he couldn't see well. The lamp in God's temple hadn't gone out yet, and Samuel was asleep in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was kept. Then the LORD called Samuel. "Here I am," Samuel responded. He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me." "I didn't call you," Eli replied. "Go back to bed." So Samuel went back and lay down. The LORD called Samuel again. Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, "Here I am. You called me." "I didn't call you, son," he responded. "Go back to bed." Samuel had no experience with the LORD, because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time. Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, "Here I am. You called me." Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. "Go, lie down," Eli told Samuel. "When he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD. I'm listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his room. The LORD came and stood there. He called as he had called the other times: "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Speak. I'm listening." (1 Samuel 3:1-10, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Surprise Party

2012-01-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when Herod was king. After Jesus' birth wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, "Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him." When King Herod and all Jerusalem heard about this, they became disturbed. He called together all the chief priests and scribes and tried to find out from them where the Messiah was supposed to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet wrote about this: Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. A leader will come from you. He will shepherd my people Israel." Then Herod secretly called the wise men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. As he sent them to Bethlehem, he said, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you have found him, report to me so that I may go and worship him too." After they had heard the king, they started out. The star they had seen rising led them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were overwhelmed with joy to see the star. When they entered the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary. So they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they left for their country by another road. (Matthew 2:1-12, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Birthday Party (Christmas Day)

2012-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city. This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger." Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!" (Luke 2:8-14, GWV) …

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A New Song (Christmas Eve, 11 PM)

2012-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

Sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD! Praise his name! Day after day announce that the LORD saves his people. Tell people about his glory. Tell all the nations about his miracles. The LORD is great! He should be highly praised. He should be feared more than all other gods because all the gods of the nations are idols. The LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are in his presence. Strength and beauty are in his holy place. Give to the LORD, you families of the nations. Give to the LORD glory and power. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves. Bring an offering, and come into his courtyards. Worship the LORD in his holy splendor. Tremble in his presence, all the earth! Say to the nations, "The LORD rules as king!" The earth stands firm; it cannot be moved. He will judge people fairly. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad. Let the sea and everything in it roar like thunder. Let the fields and everything in them rejoice. Then all the trees in the forest will sing joyfully in the LORD'S presence because he is coming. He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and its people with his truth. (Psalms 96:1-13, GWV) …

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Good Grief, It's Christmas! (Christmas Eve, 7 PM)

2012-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit in the highest position in heaven until I make your enemies your footstool." The LORD will extend your powerful scepter from Zion. Rule your enemies who surround you. Your people will volunteer when you call up your army. Your young people will come to you in holy splendor like dew in the early morning. The LORD has taken an oath and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the way Melchizedek was a priest." (Psalms 110:1-4, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Christmas Party

2011-12-19 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived. So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn't any room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Wedding Party

2011-12-12 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

Three days later a wedding took place in the city of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. Jesus and his disciples had been invited too. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They're out of wine." Jesus said to her, "Why did you come to me? My time has not yet come." His mother told the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." Six stone water jars were there. They were used for Jewish purification rituals. Each jar held 18 to 27 gallons. Jesus told the servers, "Fill the jars with water." The servers filled the jars to the brim. Jesus said to them, "Pour some, and take it to the person in charge." The servers did as they were told. The person in charge tasted the water that had become wine. He didn't know where it had come from, although the servers who had poured the water knew. The person in charge called the groom and said to him, "Everyone serves the best wine first. When people are drunk, the host serves cheap wine. But you have saved the best wine for now." Cana in Galilee was the place where Jesus began to perform miracles. He made his glory public there, and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Dinner Party

2011-12-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 21s

After all, I passed on to you what I had received from the Lord. On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He broke the bread and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me." When supper was over, he did the same with the cup. He said, "This cup is the new promise made with my blood. Every time you drink from it, do it to remember me." Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, GWV) …

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Come to the Party: Baby Shower

2011-11-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

Soon afterward, Mary hurried to a city in the mountain region of Judah. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard the greeting, she felt the baby kick. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child that you will have. I feel blessed that the mother of my Lord is visiting me. As soon as I heard your greeting, I felt the baby jump for joy. You are blessed for believing that the Lord would keep his promise to you.” Mary said, “My soul praises the Lord’s greatness! My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior, because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant. “From now on, all people will call me blessed because the Almighty has done great things to me. His name is holy. For those who fear him, his mercy lasts throughout every generation. “He displayed his mighty power. He scattered those who think too highly of themselves. He pulled strong rulers from their thrones. He honored humble people. He fed hungry people with good food. He sent rich people away with nothing. “He remembered to help his servant Israel forever. This is the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home. (Luke 1:39-56, GWV) …

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Thanksgiving: The Forgotten Holiday

2011-11-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

Be careful to obey every command I give you today. Then you will live, and your population will increase. You will enter and take possession of the land that the LORD promised to your ancestors with an oath. Remember that for 40 years the LORD your God led you on your journey in the desert. He did this in order to humble you and test you. He wanted to know whether or not you would wholeheartedly obey his commands. So he made you suffer from hunger and then fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had seen before. He did this to teach you that a person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that the LORD speaks. Your clothes didn't wear out, and your feet didn't swell these past 40 years. Learn this lesson by heart: The LORD your God was disciplining you as parents discipline their children. Obey the commands of the LORD your God. Follow his directions, and fear him. The LORD your God is bringing you into a good land. It is a land with rivers that don't dry up. There are springs and underground streams flowing through the valleys and hills. The land has wheat and barley, grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates. The land has honey and olive trees for olive oil. The land will have enough food for you, and you will have everything you need. The land has rocks with iron ore, and you will be able to mine copper ore in the hills. When you have eaten all you want, thank the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:1-10, GWV) …

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Throwing Away Treasure (International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church)

2011-11-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

"When you fast, stop looking sad like hypocrites. They put on sad faces to make it obvious that they're fasting. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. When you fast, wash your face and comb your hair. Then your fasting won't be obvious. Instead, it will be obvious to your Father who is with you in private. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. "Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don't destroy and thieves don't break in and steal. Your heart will be where your treasure is. (Matthew 6:16-21, GWV)

Video courtesy of Open Doors USA

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No Love Like This

2011-11-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God's dear children. And that's what we are. For this reason the world doesn't recognize us, and it didn't recognize him either. Dear friends, now we are God's children. What we will be isn't completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. So all people who have this confidence in Christ keep themselves pure, as Christ is pure. (1 John 3:1-3, GWV) …

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How much do you trust God?

2011-10-31 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. That is why we are not afraid even when the earth quakes or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea. Water roars and foams, and mountains shake at the surging waves. There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the holy place where the Most High lives. God is in that city. It cannot fall. God will help it at the break of dawn. Nations are in turmoil, and kingdoms topple. The earth melts at the sound of God's voice. The LORD of Armies is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Come, see the works of the LORD, the devastation he has brought to the earth. He puts an end to wars all over the earth. He breaks an archer's bow. He cuts spears in two. He burns chariots. Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth. The LORD of Armies is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Psalms 46:1-11, GWV) …

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Taking on Another's Sin

2011-10-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

The LORD spoke to Moses, "Tell the whole congregation of Israel: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. "Don't be corrupt when administering justice. Never give special favors to poor people, and never show preference to important people. Judge your neighbor fairly. Never gossip. Never endanger your neighbor's life. I am the LORD. "Never hate another Israelite. Be sure to correct your neighbor so that you will not be guilty of sinning along with him. Never get revenge. Never hold a grudge against any of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:1, 2, 15-18, GWV) …

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Unlikely Hero

2011-10-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

This is what the LORD says about Cyrus, his anointed one: I have held him by his right hand so he could conquer the nations ahead of him, strip kings of their power, and open doors ahead of him so that the gates would not be shut. I will go ahead of you, Cyrus, and smooth out the rough places. I will break down the bronze doors and cut through the iron bars. I will give you treasures from dark places and hidden stockpiles. Then you will know that I, the LORD God of Israel, have called you by name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by name. I have given you a title of honor, although you don’t know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no other God besides me. I will strengthen you, although you don’t know me, so that from the east to the west people will know that there is no God except me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I make light and create darkness. I make blessings and create disasters. I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:1-7, GWV) …

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Dressed for the Party

2011-10-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

"Again Jesus used stories as illustrations when he spoke to them. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who planned a wedding for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the wedding, but they refused to come. He sent other servants to tell the people who had been invited, 'I've prepared dinner. My bulls and fattened calves have been butchered. Everything is ready. Come to the wedding!' "But they paid no attention and went away. Some went to work in their own fields, and others went to their businesses. The rest grabbed the king's servants, mistreated them, and then killed them. "The king became angry. He sent his soldiers, killed those murderers, and burned their city. "Then the king said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited don't deserve the honor. Go where the roads leave the city. Invite everyone you find to the wedding.' The servants went into the streets and brought in all the good people and all the evil people they found. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. "When the king came to see the guests, he saw a person who was not dressed in the wedding clothes provided for the guests. He said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without proper wedding clothes?' "The man had nothing to say. Then the king told his servants, 'Tie his hands and feet, and throw him outside into the darkness. People will cry and be in extreme pain there.' "Therefore, many are invited, but few of those are chosen to stay."" Matthew 22:1-14, GWV …

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Privileged

2011-10-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

"although I could have confidence in my physical qualifications. If anyone else thinks that he can trust in something physical, I can claim even more. I was circumcised on the eighth day. I'm a descendant of Israel. I'm from the tribe of Benjamin. I'm a pure-blooded Hebrew. When it comes to living up to standards, I was a Pharisee. When it comes to being enthusiastic, I was a persecutor of the church. When it comes to winning God's approval by keeping Jewish laws, I was perfect. These things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ. It's far more than that! I consider everything else worthless because I'm much better off knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. It's because of him that I think of everything as worthless. I threw it all away in order to gain Christ and to have a relationship with him. This means that I didn't receive God's approval by obeying his laws. The opposite is true! I have God's approval through faith in Christ. This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith that knows Christ. Faith knows the power that his coming back to life gives and what it means to share his suffering. In this way I'm becoming like him in his death, with the confidence that I'll come back to life from the dead. It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:4-14, GWV …

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Whose Guilt?

2011-09-26 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

"The LORD spoke his word to me. He said, "What do you mean when you use this proverb about the land of Israel: 'Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and their children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live, declares the Almighty LORD, you will no longer use this proverb in Israel. The life of every person belongs to me. Fathers and their children belong to me. The person who sins will die." ""But you say, 'The Lord's way is unfair.' Listen, nation of Israel, isn't my way fair? Isn't it your ways that are unfair? When a righteous person turns away from doing right and does evil things, he will die. He will die because of the evil things he has done. When a wicked person turns away from the wicked things that he has done and does what is fair and right, he will live. He realized what he was doing and turned away from all the rebellious things that he had done. He will certainly live. He will not die. "But the nation of Israel says, 'The Lord's way is unfair.' Isn't my way fair, nation of Israel? Isn't it your ways that are unfair? "That is why I will judge each of you by what you have done, people of Israel," declares the Almighty LORD. "Change the way you think and act. Turn away from all the rebellious things that you have done so that you will not fall into sin. Stop all the rebellious things that you are doing. Get yourselves new hearts and new spirits. Why do you want to die, nation of Israel? I don't want anyone to die," declares the Almighty LORD. "Change the way you think and act!"" Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, GWV …

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A Fair Wage

2011-09-19 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

""The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing to pay the workers the usual day's wages, he sent them to work in his vineyard. About 9 a.m. he saw others standing in the marketplace without work. He said to them, 'Work in my vineyard, and I'll give you whatever is right.' So they went. "He went out again about noon and 3 p.m. and did the same thing. About 5 p.m. he went out and found some others standing around. He said to them, 'Why are you standing here all day long without work?' "'No one has hired us,' they answered him. "He said to them, 'Work in my vineyard.' "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told the supervisor, 'Call the workers, and give them their wages. Start with the last, and end with the first.' "Those who started working about 5 p.m. came, and each received a day's wages. When those who had been hired first came, they expected to receive more. But each of them received a day's wages. Although they took it, they began to protest to the owner. They said, 'These last workers have worked only one hour. Yet, you've treated us all the same, even though we worked hard all day under a blazing sun.' "The owner said to one of them, 'Friend, I'm not treating you unfairly. Didn't you agree with me on a day's wages? Take your money and go! I want to give this last worker as much as I gave you. Can't I do what I want with my own money? Or do you resent my generosity towards others?' "In this way the last will be first, and the first will be last."" Matthew 20:1-16, GWV …

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Where were you? (9/11 10th Anniversary)

2011-09-12 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

"What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us? God didn't spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him. Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ has the highest position in heaven. Christ also intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? As Scripture says: "We are being killed all day long because of you. We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered." The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can't be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation." Romans 8:31-39, GWV …

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The Faithful Guard

2011-09-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 19s

"Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the people of Israel. Listen to what I say, and warn them for me. Suppose I say to a wicked person, 'You wicked person, you will certainly die,' and you say nothing to warn him to change his ways. That wicked person will die because of his sin, and I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his ways and he doesn't turn from them, then he will die because of his sin. However, you will save yourself." Ezekiel 33:7-9, GWV …

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Which Jesus Are You Following

2011-08-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

"From that time on Jesus began to inform his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem. There he would have to suffer a lot because of the leaders, chief priests, and scribes. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be brought back to life. Peter took him aside and objected to this. He said, "Heaven forbid, Lord! This must never happen to you!" But Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get out of my way, Satan! You are tempting me to sin. You aren't thinking the way God thinks but the way humans think." Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses, and follow me. Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for me will find them. What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?" Matthew 16:21-26, GWV …

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What Does a Living Sacrifice Look Like? [Video]

2011-08-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

"Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God's compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants--what is good, pleasing, and perfect. Because of the kindness that God has shown me, I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers. Our bodies have many parts, but these parts don't all do the same thing. In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other. God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. If your gift is speaking God's word, make sure what you say agrees with the Christian faith. If your gift is serving, then devote yourself to serving. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is sharing, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully." Romans 12:1-8, GWV

Featured Video: A Thousand Questions

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How God Treats His Dogs

2011-08-15 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 17s

"Jesus left that place and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that territory came to him and began to shout, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all. Then his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away. She keeps shouting behind us." Jesus responded, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel." She came to him, bowed down, and said, "Lord, help me!" Jesus replied, "It's not right to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "You're right, Lord. But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters' tables." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, you have strong faith! What you wanted will be done for you." At that moment her daughter was cured." Matthew 15:21-28, GWV …

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Arguments against God

2011-08-08 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 22s

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have such insight. Who determined its dimensions? Certainly, you know! Who stretched a measuring line over it? On what were its footings sunk? Who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Who shut the sea behind gates when it burst through and came out of the womb, when I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it up in dark clouds, when I set a limit for it and put up bars and gates, when I said, 'You may come this far but no farther. Here your proud waves will stop'? Have you ever given orders to the morning or assigned a place for the dawn so that it could grab the earth by its edges and shake wicked people out of it? The earth changes like clay stamped by a seal, and parts of it stand out like folds in clothing. Wicked people are deprived of their light, and an arm raised in victory is broken. Have you gone to the springs in the sea or walked through the valleys of the ocean depths? Have the gateways to death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gateways to total darkness? Have you even considered how wide the earth is? Tell me, if you know all of this!" (Job 38:4-18, GWV)

Special thanks to @_7654_, @Atheist_Dave, @FlyingFree333, and my Facebook friends.

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Another Man's Treasure

2011-07-25 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

(Matthew 13:44-52) "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. When a man discovered it, he buried it again. He was so delighted with it that he went away, sold everything he had, and bought that field. "Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls. When he found a valuable pearl, he went away, sold everything he had, and bought it. "Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea. It gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, they pulled it to the shore. Then they sat down, gathered the good fish into containers, and threw the bad ones away. The same thing will happen at the end of time. The angels will go out and separate the evil people from people who have God's approval. Then the angels will throw the evil people into a blazing furnace. They will cry and be in extreme pain there. "Have you understood all of this?" "Yes," they answered. So Jesus said to them, "That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure chest." …

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What Kind of God Do You Serve?

2011-07-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

(Isaiah 44:6-8) The LORD is Israel's king and defender. He is the LORD of Armies. This is what the LORD says: I am the first and the last, and there is no God except me. If there is anyone like me, let him say so. Let him tell me what happened when I established my people long ago. Then let him predict what will happen to them. Don't be terrified or afraid. Didn't I make this known to you long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God except me? There is no other rock; I know of none. …

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Child of the King

2011-07-11 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

(Romans 8:12-17) So, brothers and sisters, we have no obligation to live the way our corrupt nature wants us to live. If you live by your corrupt nature, you are going to die. But if you use your spiritual nature to put to death the evil activities of the body, you will live. Certainly, all who are guided by God's Spirit are God's children. You haven't received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God's adopted children by which we call out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. If we are his children, we are also God's heirs. If we share in Christ's suffering in order to share his glory, we are heirs together with him. …

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How to Carry Jesus' Yoke

2011-07-05 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

(Matthew 11:25-30) At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, this is what pleased you. "My Father has turned everything over to me. Only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. "Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light." …

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Barnacles

2011-06-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

(Matthew 10:34-42) "Don't think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn't come to bring peace but conflict. I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person's enemies will be the members of his own family. "The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow me doesn't deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. "The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. The person who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. The person who welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward." …

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Countdown to Camp: Like a Lamb to the Slaughter

2011-06-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

(John 1:29-34) John saw Jesus coming toward him the next day and said, "Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one I spoke about when I said, 'A man who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.' I didn't know who he was. However, I came to baptize with water to show him to the people of Israel." John said, "I saw the Spirit come down as a dove from heaven and stay on him. I didn't know who he was. But God, who sent me to baptize with water, had told me, 'When you see the Spirit come down and stay on someone, you'll know that person is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen this and have declared that this is the Son of God." …

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Countdown to Camp: A Fish out of Water

2011-06-13 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

(Jonah 1:1-2:10) The LORD spoke his word to Jonah, son of Amittai. He said, "Leave at once for the important city, Nineveh. Announce to the people that I can no longer overlook the wicked things they have done." Jonah immediately tried to run away from the LORD by going to Tarshish. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid for the trip and went on board. He wanted to go to Tarshish to get away from the LORD. The LORD sent a violent wind over the sea. The storm was so powerful that the ship was in danger of breaking up. The sailors were afraid, and they cried to their gods for help. They began to throw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship's load. Now, Jonah had gone below deck and was lying there sound asleep. The captain of the ship went to him and asked, "How can you sleep? Get up, and pray to your God. Maybe he will notice us, and we won't die." Then the sailors said to each other, "Let's throw dice to find out who is responsible for bringing this disaster on us." So they threw dice, and the dice indicated that Jonah was responsible. They asked him, "Tell us, why has this disaster happened to us? What do you do for a living? Where do you come from? What country are you from? What nationality are you?" Jonah answered them, "I'm a Hebrew. I worship the LORD, the God of heaven. He is the God who made the sea and the land." Then the men were terrified. They knew that he was running away from the LORD, because he had told them. They asked Jonah, "Why have you done this?" The storm was getting worse. So they asked Jonah, "What should we do with you to calm the sea?" He told them, "Throw me overboard. Then the sea will become calm. I know that I'm responsible for this violent storm." Instead, the men tried to row harder to get the ship back to shore, but they couldn't do it. The storm was getting worse. So they cried to the LORD for help: "Please, LORD, don't let us die for taking this man's life. Don't hold us responsible for the death of an innocent man, because you, LORD, do whatever you want." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the sea became calm. The men were terrified of the LORD. They offered sacrifices and made vows to the LORD. The LORD sent a big fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. Jonah prayed: "I called to the LORD in my distress, and he answered me. From the depths of my watery grave I cried for help, and you heard my cry. You threw me into the deep, into the depths of the sea, and water surrounded me. All the whitecaps on your waves have swept over me. "Then I thought, 'I have been banished from your sight. Will I ever see your holy temple again?' "Water surrounded me, threatening my life. The deep sea covered me completely. Seaweed was wrapped around my head. I sank to the foot of the mountains. I sank to the bottom, where bars held me forever. But you brought me back from the pit, O LORD, my God. "As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. My prayer came to you in your holy temple. Those who hold on to worthless idols abandon their loyalty to you. But I will sacrifice to you with songs of thanksgiving. I will keep my vow. Victory belongs to the LORD!" Then the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spit Jonah out onto the shore. …

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Countdown to Camp: The Lions' Share

2011-06-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Daniel 6:2-10) Over these satraps were three officials. Daniel was one of these officials. The satraps were to report to these three officials so that the king wouldn't be cheated. This man, Daniel, distinguished himself among the other officials and satraps because there was an extraordinary spirit in him. The king thought about putting him in charge of the whole kingdom. So the other officials and satraps tried to find something to accuse Daniel of in his duties for the kingdom. But they couldn't find anything wrong because he was trustworthy. No error or fault could be found. These men said, "We won't find anything to accuse this man, Daniel, unless we find it in his religious practices." So these officials and satraps went to the king as a group. They said to him, "May King Darius live forever! All the officials, governors, satraps, advisers, and mayors agree that the king should make a statute and enforce a decree. The decree should state that for the next 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions' den. Your Majesty, issue this decree, and sign it. According to the law of the Medes and Persians no one could change it or repeal it." So Darius signed the written decree. When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. An upper room in his house had windows that opened in the direction of Jerusalem. Three times each day he got down on his knees and prayed to his God. He had always praised God this way. (Daniel 6:13-17) They replied, "Your Majesty, Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, refuses to obey your order or the decree that you signed. He prays three times each day." The king was very displeased when he heard this. He tried every way he could think of to save Daniel. Until sundown he did everything he could to rescue him. Then Daniel's accusers gathered in front of the king. They said to him, "Remember, Your Majesty, the Medes and Persians have a law that no decree or statute the king makes can be changed." So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought to him and thrown into the lions' den. The king told Daniel, "May your God, whom you always worship, save you!" A stone was brought and placed over the opening of the den. The king put his seal on the stone, using his ring and the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation could not be changed. (Daniel 6:19-22) At dawn, as soon as it was light, the king got up and quickly went to the lions' den. As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?" Daniel said to the king, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they couldn't hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven't committed any crime." (Daniel 6:25-27) Then King Darius wrote to the people of every province, nation, and language all over the world: I wish you peace and prosperity. I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel's God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end of time. He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the lions. …

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Countdown to Camp: Straight from the Donkey's Mouth

2011-05-31 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 20s

(Numbers 22:20-35) That night God came to Balaam and said, "If these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you." When Balaam got up in the morning, he saddled his donkey and left with the Moabite princes. God became angry that he was going. So the Messenger of the LORD stood in the road to stop him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, accompanied by his two servants. When the donkey saw the Messenger of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn, the donkey turned off the road into a field. Balaam hit the donkey to get it back on the road. Where the road went through the vineyards, it was narrow, with stone walls on both sides. Now the Messenger of the LORD stood there. When the donkey saw the Messenger of the LORD, it moved over and pinned Balaam's foot against the wall. So Balaam hit the donkey again. Then the Messenger of the LORD moved ahead and stood in a narrower place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. When the donkey saw the Messenger of the LORD, it lay down under Balaam. Balaam became so angry he hit the donkey with his stick. Then the LORD made the donkey speak, and it asked Balaam, "What have I done to make you hit me three times?" Balaam answered, "You've made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I'd kill you right now." The donkey said to Balaam, "I'm your own donkey. You've always ridden me. Have I ever done this to you before?" "No," he answered. Then the LORD let Balaam see the Messenger of the LORD who was standing in the road with his sword drawn. So Balaam knelt, bowing with his face touching the ground. The Messenger of the LORD asked him, "Why have you hit your donkey three times like this? I've come here to stop you because the trip you're taking is evil. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, I would certainly have killed you by now but spared the donkey." Balaam said to the Messenger of the LORD, "I've sinned. I didn't know you were standing there in the road to stop me. If you still think this trip is evil, I'll go back." The Messenger of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but say only what I tell you." So Balaam went with Balak's princes. …

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Countdown to Camp: Speaking with a Forked Tongue

2011-05-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 18s

(Genesis 3:1-24) The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden'?" The woman answered the snake, "We're allowed to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, 'You must never eat it or touch it. If you do, you will die!'" "You certainly won't die!" the snake told the woman. "God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened. You'll be like God, knowing good and evil." The woman saw that the tree had fruit that was good to eat, nice to look at, and desirable for making someone wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then their eyes were opened, and they both realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made clothes for themselves. In the cool of the evening, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking around in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees in the garden. The LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden. I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." God asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?" The man answered, "That woman, the one you gave me, gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God asked the woman, "What have you done?" "The snake deceived me, and I ate," the woman answered. So the LORD God said to the snake, "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all the wild or domestic animals. You will crawl on your belly. You will be the lowest of animals as long as you live. I will make you and the woman hostile toward each other. I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel." He said to the woman, "I will increase your pain and your labor when you give birth to children. Yet, you will long for your husband, and he will rule you." Then he said to the man, "You listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree, although I commanded you, 'You must never eat its fruit.' The ground is cursed because of you. Through hard work you will eat food that comes from it every day of your life. The ground will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat wild plants. By the sweat of your brow, you will produce food to eat until you return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust, and you will return to dust." Adam named his wife Eve [Life] because she became the mother of every living person. The LORD God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them. Then the LORD God said, "The man has become like one of us, since he knows good and evil. He must not reach out and take the fruit from the tree of life and eat. Then he would live forever." So the LORD God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden to farm the ground from which the man had been formed. After he sent the man out, God placed angels and a flaming sword that turned in all directions east of the Garden of Eden. He placed them there to guard the way to the tree of life. …

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What Churches Do

2011-05-16 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 14s

(Acts 2:42-47) The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it. The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other's homes and shared their food. At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group. …

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(Im)mortality (Easter)

2011-04-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Colossians 3:1-4) Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above--where Christ holds the highest position. Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things. You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is your life. When he appears, then you, too, will appear with him in glory. …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's all about Life (Easter Sunrise)

2011-04-24 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 7s

(Mark 16:1-7) When the day of worship was over, Mary from Magdala, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome bought spices to go and anoint Jesus. On Sunday they were going to the tomb very early when the sun had just come up. They said to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. It was a very large stone. As they went into the tomb, they saw a young man. He was dressed in a white robe and sat on the right side. They were panic-stricken. The young man said to them, "Don't panic! You're looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been brought back to life. He's not here. Look at the place where they laid him. Go and tell his disciples and Peter that he's going ahead of them to Galilee. There they will see him, just as he told them." …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's all about Death (Good Friday)

2011-04-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Acts 2:22-24) "Men of Israel, listen to what I say: Jesus from Nazareth was a man whom God brought to your attention. You know that through this man God worked miracles, did amazing things, and gave signs. By using men who don't acknowledge Moses' Teachings, you crucified Jesus, who was given over to death by a plan that God had determined in advance. But God raised him from death to life and destroyed the pains of death, because death had no power to hold him. (Acts 2:37, 38) When the people heard this, they were deeply upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter answered them, "All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's all about Cleansing (Maundy Thursday)

2011-04-21 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(John 13:1-5) Before the Passover festival, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. Jesus loved his own who were in the world, and he loved them to the end. While supper was taking place, the devil had already put the idea of betraying Jesus into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. The Father had put everything in Jesus' control. Jesus knew that. He also knew that he had come from God and was going back to God. So he got up from the table, removed his outer clothes, took a towel, and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel that he had tied around his waist. …

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The Boat: Dive out of the Boat

2011-04-18 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

(John 21:1-14) Later, by the Sea of Tiberias, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. This is what happened. Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two other disciples of Jesus were together. Simon Peter said to the others, "I'm going fishing." They told him, "We're going with you." They went out in a boat but didn't catch a thing that night. As the sun was rising, Jesus stood on the shore. The disciples didn't realize that it was Jesus. Jesus asked them, "Friends, haven't you caught any fish?" They answered him, "No, we haven't." He told them, "Throw the net out on the right side of the boat, and you'll catch some." So they threw the net out and were unable to pull it in because so many fish were in it. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put back on the clothes that he had taken off and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came with the boat and dragged the net full of fish. They weren't far from the shore, only about 100 yards. When they went ashore, they saw a fire with a fish lying on the coals, and they saw a loaf of bread. Jesus told them, "Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Simon Peter got into the boat and pulled the net ashore. Though the net was filled with 153 large fish, it was not torn. Jesus told them, "Come, have breakfast." None of the disciples dared to ask him who he was. They knew he was the Lord. Jesus took the bread, gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after he had come back to life.

Closing skit by The Skit Guys

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The Boat: Step out of the Boat

2011-04-11 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

(Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus quickly made his disciples get into a boat and cross to the other side ahead of him while he sent the people away. After sending the people away, he went up a mountain to pray by himself. When evening came, he was there alone. The boat, now hundreds of yards from shore, was being thrown around by the waves because it was going against the wind. Between three and six o'clock in the morning, he came to them. He was walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. They said, "It's a ghost!" and began to scream because they were afraid. Immediately, Jesus said, "Calm down! It's me. Don't be afraid!" Peter answered, "Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water." Jesus said, "Come!" So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink. He shouted, "Lord, save me!" Immediately, Jesus reached out, caught hold of him, and said, "You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped blowing. The men in the boat bowed down in front of Jesus and said, "You are truly the Son of God." …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's all about the Company You Keep

2011-04-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

(John 18:18) The servants and the guards were standing around a fire they had built and were warming themselves because it was cold. Peter was standing there, too, and warming himself with the others. …

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The Boat: Taking the Boat to Uncharted Waters

2011-04-04 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

(Mark 5:1-20) They arrived in the territory of the Gerasenes on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus stepped out of the boat, a man came out of the tombs and met him. The man was controlled by an evil spirit and lived among the tombs. No one could restrain him any longer, not even with a chain. He had often been chained hand and foot. However, he snapped the chains off his hands and broke the chains from his feet. No one could control him. Night and day he was among the tombs and on the mountainsides screaming and cutting himself with stones. The man saw Jesus at a distance. So he ran to Jesus, bowed down in front of him, and shouted, "Why are you bothering me now, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me." He shouted this because Jesus said, "You evil spirit, come out of the man." Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He told Jesus, "My name is Legion [Six Thousand], because there are many of us." He begged Jesus not to send them out of the territory. A large herd of pigs was feeding on a mountainside nearby. The demons begged him, "Send us into the pigs! Let us enter them!" Jesus let them do this. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea and drowned. Those who took care of the pigs ran away. In the city and countryside they reported everything that had happened. So the people came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. The man was sitting there dressed and in his right mind. The people were frightened. Those who saw this told what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their territory. As Jesus stepped into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him, "Let me stay with you." But Jesus would not allow it. Instead, he told the man, "Go home to your family, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been to you." So the man left. He began to tell how much Jesus had done for him in the Ten Cities. Everyone was amazed. …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's All about Distant Discipleship

2011-03-31 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Matthew 26:57, 58) Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the chief priest, where the scribes and the leaders had gathered together. Peter followed at a distance until he came to the chief priest's courtyard. He went inside and sat with the guards to see how this would turn out. …

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The Boat: Fishing from the Boat

2011-03-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Luke 5:1-11) One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him as they listened to God's word. Jesus saw two boats on the shore. The fishermen had stepped out of them and were washing their nets. So Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowd from the boat. When he finished speaking, he told Simon, "Take the boat into deep water, and lower your nets to catch some fish." Simon answered, "Teacher, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I'll lower the nets." After the men had done this, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. Their partners came and filled both boats until the boats nearly sank. When Simon Peter saw this, he knelt in front of Jesus and said, "Leave me, Lord! I'm a sinful person!" Simon and everyone who was with him was amazed to see the large number of fish they had caught. James and John, who were Zebedee's sons and Simon's partners, were also amazed. Jesus told Simon, "Don't be afraid. From now on you will catch people instead of fish." Simon and his partners brought the boats to shore, left everything, and followed Jesus. …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's All about Misunderstanding

2011-03-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(John 18:1-11) After Jesus finished his prayer, he went with his disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley. They entered the garden that was there. Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples often gathered there. So Judas took a troop of soldiers and the guards from the chief priests and Pharisees and went to the garden. They were carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him. So he went to meet them and asked, "Who are you looking for?" They answered him, "Jesus from Nazareth." Jesus told them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with the crowd. When Jesus told them, "I am he," the crowd backed away and fell to the ground. Jesus asked them again, "Who are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus from Nazareth." Jesus replied, "I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these other men go." In this way what Jesus had said came true: "I lost none of those you gave me." Simon Peter had a sword. He drew it, attacked the chief priest's servant, and cut off the servant's right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) Jesus told Peter, "Put your sword away. Shouldn't I drink the cup of suffering that my Father has given me?" …

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The Boat: Rocking the Boat

2011-03-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

(Jonah 1:3-16) Jonah immediately tried to run away from the LORD by going to Tarshish. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid for the trip and went on board. He wanted to go to Tarshish to get away from the LORD. The LORD sent a violent wind over the sea. The storm was so powerful that the ship was in danger of breaking up. The sailors were afraid, and they cried to their gods for help. They began to throw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship's load. Now, Jonah had gone below deck and was lying there sound asleep. The captain of the ship went to him and asked, "How can you sleep? Get up, and pray to your God. Maybe he will notice us, and we won't die." Then the sailors said to each other, "Let's throw dice to find out who is responsible for bringing this disaster on us." So they threw dice, and the dice indicated that Jonah was responsible. They asked him, "Tell us, why has this disaster happened to us? What do you do for a living? Where do you come from? What country are you from? What nationality are you?" Jonah answered them, "I'm a Hebrew. I worship the LORD, the God of heaven. He is the God who made the sea and the land." Then the men were terrified. They knew that he was running away from the LORD, because he had told them. They asked Jonah, "Why have you done this?" The storm was getting worse. So they asked Jonah, "What should we do with you to calm the sea?" He told them, "Throw me overboard. Then the sea will become calm. I know that I'm responsible for this violent storm." Instead, the men tried to row harder to get the ship back to shore, but they couldn't do it. The storm was getting worse. So they cried to the LORD for help: "Please, LORD, don't let us die for taking this man's life. Don't hold us responsible for the death of an innocent man, because you, LORD, do whatever you want." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the sea became calm. The men were terrified of the LORD. They offered sacrifices and made vows to the LORD. …

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The Boat: Who's in the Boat?

2011-03-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

(Matthew 8:23-27) Jesus' disciples went with him as he left in a boat. Suddenly, a severe storm came across the sea. The waves were covering the boat. Yet, Jesus was sleeping. So they woke him up, saying, "Lord! Save us! We're going to die!" Jesus said to them, "Why do you cowards have so little faith?" Then he got up, gave an order to the wind and the sea, and the sea became very calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!" …

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Jesus, Peter, and Me: It's All about Pride (Ash Wednesday)

2011-03-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

Note: While it uses the same texts as its namesake, this sermon series is original and not the same as that published in the Lent 2011 Concordia Pulpit Resources.

(Matthew 26:20-35) When evening came, Jesus was at the table with the twelve apostles. While they were eating, he said, "I can guarantee this truth: One of you is going to betray me." Feeling deeply hurt, they asked him one by one, "You don't mean me, do you, Lord?" Jesus answered, "Someone who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man is going to die as the Scriptures say he will. But how horrible it will be for that person who betrays the Son of Man. It would have been better for that person if he had never been born." Then Judas, who betrayed him, asked, "You don't mean me, do you, Rabbi?" "Yes, I do," Jesus replied. While they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take this, and eat it. This is my body." Then he took a cup and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood, the blood of the promise. It is poured out for many people so that sins are forgiven. "I can guarantee that I won't drink this wine again until that day when I drink new wine with you in my Father's kingdom." After they sang a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will abandon me tonight. Scripture says, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep in the flock will be scattered.' "But after I am brought back to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you." Peter said to him, "Even if everyone else abandons you, I never will." Jesus replied to Peter, "I can guarantee this truth: Before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don't know me." Peter told him, "Even if I have to die with you, I'll never say that I don't know you!" All the other disciples said the same thing.

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Rejoice with Trembling

2011-03-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Psalms 2:6-12) "I have installed my own king on Zion, my holy mountain." I will announce the LORD'S decree. He said to me: "You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. Ask me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your own possession. You will break them with an iron scepter. You will smash them to pieces like pottery." Now, you kings, act wisely. Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, or he will become angry and you will die on your way because his anger will burst into flames. Blessed is everyone who takes refuge in him. …

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Mellophobia (Fear of the Future)

2011-02-28 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

(Matthew 6:24-34) "No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth. "So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothes? "Look at the birds. They don't plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? "Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? "And why worry about clothes? Notice how the flowers grow in the field. They never work or spin yarn for clothes. But I say that not even Solomon in all his majesty was dressed like one of these flowers. That's the way God clothes the grass in the field. Today it's alive, and tomorrow it's thrown into an incinerator. So how much more will he clothe you people who have so little faith? "Don't ever worry and say, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. "So don't ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. …

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With Enemies Like That...

2011-02-23 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

(Matthew 5:38-48) "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well. If someone wants to sue you in order to take your shirt, let him have your coat too. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don't turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust. If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. …

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The Obvious Choice

2011-02-14 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

(Deuteronomy 30:15-20) Today I offer you life and prosperity or death and destruction. This is what I'm commanding you today: Love the LORD your God, follow his directions, and obey his commands, laws, and rules. Then you will live, your population will increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you're about to enter and take possession of. But your hearts might turn away, and you might not listen. You might be tempted to bow down to other gods and worship them. If you do, I tell you today that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live for a long time in the land that you're going to take possession of when you cross the Jordan River. I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. Love the LORD your God, obey him, and be loyal to him. This will be your way of life, and it will mean a long life for you in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. …

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Lessons Learned from a Potato Chip

2011-02-07 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 16s

(Matthew 5:13-20) "You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. "You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven. "Don't ever think that I came to set aside Moses' Teachings or the Prophets. I didn't come to set them aside but to make them come true. I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a period nor a comma will disappear from Moses' Teachings before everything has come true. So whoever sets aside any command that seems unimportant and teaches others to do the same will be unimportant in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches what the commands say will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I can guarantee that unless you live a life that has God's approval and do it more faithfully than the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. …

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If these walls could speak....

2011-01-31 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Micah 6:1-8) Now listen to what the LORD is saying, "Stand up! Plead your case in front of the mountains, and let the hills listen to your request. Listen to the LORD'S lawsuit, you mountains. Listen, you strong foundations of the earth. The LORD has filed a lawsuit against his people. He is arguing his case against Israel. "My people, what have I done to you? How have I tried your patience? Answer me! I brought you out of Egypt and freed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you. My people, remember what King Balak of Moab planned to do to you and how Balaam, son of Beor, responded to him. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal so that you may know the victories of the LORD." What should I bring when I come into the LORD'S presence, when I bow in front of the God of heaven? Should I bring him year-old calves as burnt offerings? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams or with endless streams of olive oil? Should I give him my firstborn child because of my rebellious acts? Should I give him my young child for my sin? You mortals, the LORD has told you what is good. This is what the LORD requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God. …

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Fishers of Men

2011-01-24 :: Pastor Jeff Stephens
Length: 23s

(Matthew 4:12-25) When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went back to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. This was in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. So what the prophet Isaiah had said came true: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, on the way to the sea, across the Jordan River, Galilee, where foreigners live! The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death." From then on, Jesus began to tell people, "Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near!" As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (called Peter) and Andrew. They were throwing a net into the sea because they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish." They immediately left their nets and followed him. As Jesus went on, he saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee preparing their nets to go fishing. He called them, and they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Jesus. Jesus went all over Galilee. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness among the people. The news about Jesus spread throughout Syria. People brought him everyone who was sick, those who suffered from any kind of disease or pain. They also brought epileptics, those who were paralyzed, and people possessed by demons, and he cured them all. Large crowds followed him. They came from Galilee, the Ten Cities, Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan River. …

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Unforgotten (Sanctity of Human Life Sunday)

2011-01-17 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Psalms 139:11-16) If I say, "Let the darkness hide me and let the light around me turn into night," even the darkness is not too dark for you. Night is as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop. Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place. …

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Live or Undead

2011-01-10 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Romans 6:1-11) What should we say then? Should we continue to sin so that God's kindness will increase? That's unthinkable! As far as sin is concerned, we have died. So how can we still live under sin's influence? Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? When we were baptized into his death, we were placed into the tomb with him. As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life. If we've become united with him in a death like his, certainly we will also be united with him when we come back to life as he did. We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin. If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, who was brought back to life, will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once and for all to sin's power. But now he lives, and he lives for God. So consider yourselves dead to sin's power but living for God in the power Christ Jesus gives you. …

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That's My Boy! #ProudDad

2011-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Hebrews 1:1-9) In the past God spoke to our ancestors at many different times and in many different ways through the prophets. In these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. God made his Son responsible for everything. His Son is the one through whom God made the universe. His Son is the reflection of God's glory and the exact likeness of God's being. He holds everything together through his powerful words. After he had cleansed people from their sins, he received the highest position, the one next to the Father in heaven. The Son has become greater than the angels since he has been given a name that is superior to theirs. God never said to any of his angels, "You are my Son. Today I have become your Father." And God never said to any of his angels, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son." When God was about to send his firstborn Son into the world, he said, "All of God's angels must worship him." God said about the angels, "He makes his messengers winds. He makes his servants flames of fire." But God said about his Son, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter in your kingdom is a scepter for justice. You have loved what is right and hated what is wrong. That is why God, your God, anointed you, rather than your companions, with the oil of joy." …

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Not the Light You Were Expecting

2011-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

(Isaiah 9:2-7) The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light. The light will shine on those who live in the land of death's shadow. You will expand the nation and increase its happiness. It will be happy in your presence like those who celebrate the harvest or rejoice when dividing loot. You will break the yoke that burdens them, the bar that is across their shoulders, and the stick used by their oppressor, as you did in the battle against Midian. Every warrior's boot marching to the sound of battle and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel in the fire. A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and peace will have unlimited growth. He will establish David's throne and kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. The LORD of Armies is determined to do this! …

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The Faithful Father (Joseph's Christmas Prayer)

2011-01-03 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 10s

(Matthew 1:18-21) The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. His mother Mary had been promised to Joseph in marriage. But before they were married, Mary realized that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was an honorable man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the marriage agreement with her secretly. Joseph had this in mind when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, "Joseph, descendant of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins." …

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Deed (Advent Midweek)

2010-12-20 :: Pastor Mark Croucher
Length: 7s

(Luke 10:38-42) As they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to him talk. But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do. So she asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me." The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. There's only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her." …

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Are You the Guy?

2010-12-13 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Matthew 11:2-15) When John was in prison, he heard about the things Christ had done. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?" Jesus answered John's disciples, "Go back, and tell John what you hear and see: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News. Whoever doesn't lose his faith in me is indeed blessed." As they were leaving, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John. "What did you go into the desert to see? Tall grass swaying in the wind? Really, what did you go to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Those who wear fine clothes are in royal palaces. "Really, what did you go to see? A prophet? Let me tell you that he is far more than a prophet. John is the one about whom Scripture says, 'I'm sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way in front of you.' "I can guarantee this truth: Of all the people ever born, no one is greater than John the Baptizer. Yet, the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it. All the Prophets and Moses' Teachings prophesied up to the time of John. If you are willing to accept their message, John is the Elijah who was to come. Let the person who has ears listen! …

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Word (Advent Midweek)

2010-12-09 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 7s

(Matthew 12:22-37) Then some people brought Jesus a man possessed by a demon. The demon made the man blind and unable to talk. Jesus cured him so that he could talk and see. The crowds were all amazed and said, "Can this man be the Son of David?" When the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man can force demons out of people only with the help of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons." Since Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is ruined. And every city or household divided against itself will not last. If Satan forces Satan out, he is divided against himself. How, then, can his kingdom last? If I force demons out of people with the help of Beelzebul, who helps your followers force them out? That's why they will be your judges. But if I force demons out with the help of God's Spirit, then the kingdom of God has come to you. How can anyone go into a strong man's house and steal his property? First he must tie up the strong man. Then he can go through his house and steal his property. "Whoever isn't with me is against me. Whoever doesn't gather with me scatters. So I can guarantee that people will be forgiven for any sin or cursing. However, cursing the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this world or the next. "Make a tree good, and then its fruit will be good. Or make a tree rotten, and then its fruit will be rotten. A person can recognize a tree by its fruit. You poisonous snakes! How can you evil people say anything good? Your mouth says what comes from inside you. Good people do the good things that are in them. But evil people do the evil things that are in them. "I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say. By your words you will be declared innocent, or by your words you will be declared guilty." …

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God's Branch

2010-12-06 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Isaiah 11:1-10) Then a shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from its roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of advice and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD. He will gladly bear the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear. He will judge the poor justly. He will make fair decisions for the humble people on earth. He will strike the earth with a rod from his mouth. He will kill the wicked with the breath from his lips. Justice will be the belt around his waist. Faithfulness will be the belt around his hips. Wolves will live with lambs. Leopards will lie down with goats. Calves, young lions, and year-old lambs will be together, and little children will lead them. Cows and bears will eat together. Their young will lie down together. Lions will eat straw like oxen. Infants will play near cobras' holes. Toddlers will put their hands into vipers' nests. They will not hurt or destroy anyone anywhere on my holy mountain. The world will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD like water covering the sea. At that time the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the people to gather around. The nations will come to him. His resting place will be glorious. …

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Thought (Advent Midweek)

2010-12-02 :: Pastor Mark Croucher
Length: 11s

(Matthew 5:43-48) "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust. If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. …

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The Monarch

2010-11-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 9s

(Romans 13:11-14) You know the times in which we are living. It's time for you to wake up. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first became believers. The night is almost over, and the day is near. So we should get rid of the things that belong to the dark and take up the weapons that belong to the light. We should live decently, as people who live in the light of day. Wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, rivalry, and jealousy cannot be part of our lives. Instead, live like the Lord Jesus Christ did, and forget about satisfying the desires of your sinful nature. …

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Unexpected Blessing (Thanksgiving)

2010-11-29 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

(Philippians 4:10-20) The Lord has filled me with joy because you again showed interest in me. You were interested but did not have an opportunity to show it. I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I've learned the secret of how to live when I'm full or when I'm hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, it was kind of you to share my troubles. You Philippians also know that in the early days, when I left the province of Macedonia to spread the Good News, you were the only church to share your money with me. You gave me what I needed, and you received what I gave you. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you provided for my needs twice. It's not that I'm looking for a gift. The opposite is true. I'm looking for your resources to increase. You have paid me in full, and I have more than enough. Now that Epaphroditus has brought me your gifts, you have filled my needs. Your gifts are a soothing aroma, a sacrifice that God accepts and with which he is pleased. My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus. Glory belongs to our God and Father forever! Amen. …

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Do Over

2010-11-22 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Luke 23:39-43) One of the criminals hanging there insulted Jesus by saying, "So you're really the Messiah, are you? Well, save yourself and us!" But the other criminal scolded him: "Don't you fear God at all? Can't you see that you're condemned in the same way that he is? Our punishment is fair. We're getting what we deserve. But this man hasn't done anything wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom." Jesus said to him, "I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise." …

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A Greater Fear (International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church)

2010-11-15 :: Pastor Dale Critchley & Pastor Berhanu Arsse
Length: 12s

(Matthew 10:24-33) "A student is not better than his teacher. Nor is a slave better than his owner. It is enough for a student to become like his teacher and a slave like his owner. If they have called the owner of the house Beelzebul, they will certainly call the family members the same name. So don't be afraid of them. Nothing has been covered that will not be exposed. Whatever is secret will be made known. Tell in the daylight what I say to you in the dark. Shout from the housetops what you hear whispered. Don't be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell. "Aren't two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's permission. Every hair on your head has been counted. Don't be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. "So I will acknowledge in front of my Father in heaven that person who acknowledges me in front of others. But I will tell my Father in heaven that I don't know the person who tells others that he doesn't know me." …

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Advocate for Evil

2010-07-26
Length: 13m 55s

Jesus died for you(Genesis 18:20-33) The LORD also said, "Sodom and Gomorrah have many complaints against the…

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In on the Secret

2010-07-19
Length: 12m 43s

Colossians 1:21-28…

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Fight Like a Lamb

2010-07-05
Length: 7m 53s

Luke 10:1-9…

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Sticks and Stones...and Bullets

2010-06-28
Length: 11m 55s

1 Kings 19:9-18…

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When You Love your Enemy

2010-06-21
Length: 8m 38s

Psalm 3…

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After God's Heart

2010-06-14
Length: 8m 46s

Psalms 32:1-7…

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Paul of Tarsus: Conspirator?

2010-06-08
Length: 14m 58s

Galatians 1:11-24…

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Do you recognize Jesus?

2010-06-01
Length: 13m 16s

John 8:48-59…

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God's Social Network

2010-05-24
Length: 12m 28s

Genesis 11:1-9…

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The Elephant in the Room

2010-05-18
Length: 9m 34s

Acts 1:12-26…

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I don't understand why.

2010-05-10
Length: 9m 23s

John 16:23-33…

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City Folk [Confirmation Service]

2010-05-04
Length: 7m 47s

Revelation 21:1-5…

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More Reliable than DNA [Examination Service]

2010-04-29
Length: 7m 47s

John 16:12-15…

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23 or 1 be 4?

2010-04-26
Length: 9m 46s

Psalm 23…

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Have you stopped abusing the wife?

2010-04-19
Length: 16m 24s

Acts 9:1-8…

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Confusion and Certainty (Easter)

2010-04-04
Length: 9m 9s

Luke 24:1-11…

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What an Honor (Easter Sunrise)

2010-04-04
Length: 9m 53s

John 20:10-18…

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Screwtape on Faith (Good Friday)

2010-04-04
Length: 7m 36s

Screwtape(Revelation 2:9-11) I know how you are suffering, how poor you are--but you are rich. I also know that th…

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Screwtape on Struggle (Maundy Thursday)

2010-04-04
Length: 8m 19s

Matthew 5:1-12…

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Screwtape on Evangelism

2010-03-25
Length: 8m 58s

Luke 10:1-3…

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The Comfy Chains

2010-03-22
Length: 12m 3s

Psalms 126:1-6…

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Screwtape on Fellowship

2010-03-18
Length: 6m 31s

1 John 1:3-7…

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Crisis Averted

2010-03-15
Length: 11m 14s

Isaiah 12:1-6…

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Don't share this sermon with anyone!

2010-03-08
Length: 12m 52s

FBI Warning(Romans 10:11-17) Scripture says, "Whoever believes i…

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Screwtape on Vocation

2010-03-04
Length: 10m 48s

Matthew 9:9-13…

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The sin of acknowledging your sin

2010-03-02
Length: 7m 44s

1 John 1:1-2:2…

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The sad connection between heart and mouth

2010-02-22
Length: 11m 53s

Romans 10:8-13…

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Screwtape on Repentance (Ash Wednesday)

2010-02-18
Length: 8m 44s

The Screwtape Sermons: Psalm 51:10-13…

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Can't Wait to Go

2010-02-15
Length: 12m 19s

Deuteronomy 34:4-12…

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Jesus, go away! (But please don't!)

2010-02-08
Length: 16m 25s

Luke 5:1-11…

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How great is that?!

2010-02-02
Length: 11m 16s

Jeremiah 1:4-10…

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The Broken Body of Christ (Sanctity of Human Life Sunday)

2010-01-25
Length: 12m 16s

1 Corinthians 12:12-31…

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Settling for Fewer Marshmallows

2010-01-18
Length: 15m 1s

John 2:1-11…

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Guilty by Association

2010-01-11
Length: 10m 19s

Luke 3:15-22…

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Peace from the Army (Christmas Eve Candlelight)

2010-01-05
Length: 8m 28s

Luke 2:8-14…

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How the Grinch Missed Christmas (Christmas Eve)

2010-01-05
Length: 6m 24s

1 John 4:7-11 You've probably heard of the Grinch and the whos....…

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The Pitter-Patter of Beautiful Feet

2009-12-21
Length: 4m 29s

Isaiah 52:7-10…

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Rejoice Anyway

2009-12-14
Length: 8m 51s

Zephaniah 3:14-18…

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What mess?!

2009-12-07
Length: 11m 40s

Malachi 3:1-7…

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Our Mobile Home

2009-11-30
Length: 14m 12s

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13…

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The Burger Joint

2009-11-24
Length: 13m 39s

Jude 20-25…

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Where to Find God

2009-11-16
Length: 12m 10s

Mark 13:1-13…

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No Substitute for the Substitute

2009-11-09
Length: 15m 49s

Hebrews 9:24-28…

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Frustration of Ease

2009-11-02
Length: 9m 4s

Revelation 7:9-17…

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Where was God When...?

2009-10-28
Length: 13m 47s

Psalm 46…

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Coated

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 13s

Note: This sermon is a parable. When you listen, when you hear, "brother," think, "Jesus."

(Romans 3:19-28) We know that whatever is in Moses' Teachings applies to everyone under their influence, and no one can say a thing. The whole world is br…

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Holier than Thou

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Luke 18:9-14) Jesus also used this illustration with some who were sure that God approved of them while they looked down on everyone else. He said, "Two men went into the temple courtyard to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. Th…

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Wrestling with God in the Darkness

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 8s

(Genesis 32:22-30) During that night he got up and gathered his two wives, his two slaves and his eleven children and crossed at the shallow part of the Jabbok River. After he sent them across the stream, he sent everything else across. So Jacob was left …

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In the presence of greatness

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 15s

(Luke 17:11-19) Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem. As he went into a village, ten men with a skin disease met him. They stood at a distance and shouted, "Jesus, Teacher, have mercy on us!" When he saw them…

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Guard Your Stuff

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 8s

(2 Timothy 1:3-14) I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day when I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did. I remember your tears and want to see you so that I can be filled with happiness. I'm reminded of how sinc…

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Praise the Lord for Spare Change

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Psalm 146) Hallelujah! Praise the LORD, my soul! I want to praise the LORD throughout my life. I want to make music to praise my God as long as I live. Do not trust influential people, mortals who cannot help you. When they breathe their last breath, the…

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Heart, Hands, Head & House

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. T…

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Uses for the Useless

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Philemon 1:10-21) appeal to you for my child Onesimus [Useful]. I became his spiritual father here in prison. Once he was useless to you, but now he is very useful to both of us. I am sending him back to you. This is like sending you a part of myself. I …

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In His Hands (Prayer Service)

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 4s

(Matthew 4:23, 24) Jesus went all over Galilee. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness among the people. The news about Jesus spread throughout Syria. People brought him everyone who w…

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Glory

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Proverbs 25:2-10) It is the glory of God to hide things but the glory of kings to investigate them. Like the high heavens and the deep earth, so the mind of kings is unsearchable. Take the impurities out of silver, and a vessel is ready for the silversmi…

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What did you expect?

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Psalms 50:1-15) A psalm by Asaph. The LORD, the only true God, has spoken. He has summoned the earth from where the sun rises to where it sets. God shines from Zion, the perfection of beauty. Our God will come and will not remain silent. A devouring fire…

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Out of the Cave

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 11s

(Luke 12:49-53) "I have come to throw fire on the earth. I wish that it had already started! I have a baptism to go through, and I will suffer until it is over. "Do you think I came to bring peace to earth? No! I can guarantee that I came to bring nothing…

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It's not like it's the end of the world

0000-00-00 :: Pastor Dale Critchley
Length: 12s

(Luke 12:22-34) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat or wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Consider the crows. They don't plant or harvest. They don't even have a storeroom…

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Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church (LCMS) Sermon

Engaging. Relevant. Pastor Dale sets aside personal opinion and politics to present the Word of God, the ultimate Truth. Offering forgiveness from guilt, guidance for your daily life, insights from the mind and heart of God, and even the cure for death itself, these weekly messages present God's love letter to you directly from Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church (LCMS), North Ridgeville, OH (near Cleveland). If you have questions or comments about anything you hear, drop us a note at shepherdoftheridge.org/contact or call (440-327-7321), and find out more about us at our website, shepherdoftheridge.org.

Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church (LCMS) Sermon


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