What’s Hidden in the Manger? :: ADVENT

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 11/27/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

Why may the Goodness of God seem hidden to us?

Because we take it for granted. We don’t see it because it is always there, right in plain sight.

Because pearls don’t sit well before swine.

Because the enemy blinds us to God’s Goodness. We can be so focused on other things – even good things- that we totally miss God’s Goodness.

The manger is filled with compassion!

Compassion is an emotional word, and stands opposed to indifference. Compassion is an action word. Compassion is a connection word. Advent demonstrates that connection like little else.

Focus your eyes on what’s hidden in the manger. Make it your aim to let God define Himself. Fill your mind with truth about God’s Goodness. His compassion that reaches out to connect with us. His grace that shows us blessing when we deserve judgement. His patience that gives us one opportunity after another to turn to him. His loyal love that keeps all His promises to us. His faithfulness that doesn’t shift or fail or give up on us.

Intrigue Intersection :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 11/13/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

As we take a look at intrigue as a dangerous intersection, let’s start with the types of intrigue.

There is intrigue with the unfamiliar, intrigue with the forbidden and intrigue of the more. Not all intrigue will lead you on a dangerous path.

So how do you choose correctly at the intrigue intersection?

First, choose your friends wisely. Just like your mother said, you become like your friends.

You consider the outcome of the path. How will the path effect your relationship with God and your relationship with other people?

Stay on target.

How should you respond to intrigue?

Find pleasure in what you have. You find strength in who God is. You find joy in who God is making you.

Escapism Extension :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 11/06/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

The cross is the crux of our faith. The cross is where forgiveness was purchased. The cross is where our old self died. The cross is where we are called to die daily.

Escapism is the tendency to want to avoid stress, difficulty, pain, heartache, and responsibility at all all cost.

Everyone feels like escaping occasionally. Escaping can be healthy as Jesus shows when He would get away from the crowds and connect with the Father.

Escaping is unhealthy when it becomes avoidance. It can show up as procrastination, over-indulgence in hobbies or unhealthy dependence.

Escapism feels like relief in the moment. Humankind struggles with laziness. Satan deceives us into avoiding responsibility.

How do we get off the escapism extension?

We can pursue wisdom. We can face life’s challenges head on. First, we can take it to the cross!