ADVENT: Does Your Life Have Value? :: PODCAST

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 12/18/2016 by Pastor Steve

Looking at the caller-id, when the phone rang this past week, I figured it was something important.

Pastor Steve, I was speaking to Cecil’s wife and she said his time is short. She was wondering if you would come over and see him.

Absolutely. I love my job and I love serving God by serving people in need. When I arrived, I asked his wife, “Why did you call me? What do you want me to do?” She was at a loss of words, so I said, “Did you call me to help him make his peace with God?” She said, “Yes.” And it wasn’t a “yeah” it was a “YES”.

Cecil didn’t look good, but he didn’t look as near to death as I’d expected. I saw no evidence of the congestion that is often evident in the hours before death. But Cecil hadn’t spoken for a while. His eyes were closed, and he wasn’t opening them. So I simply introduced myself and said, “Cecil, I am Rev. Shields. We’ve met before. I am here to help you make your peace with God.” To everyone’s surprise, he replied, without opening his eyes, “Okay.”

I explained that Christ is the One who makes peace with God possible. That Jesus had paid for our sins when he went to the cross. And that as we turn to him, trusting him, he changes our hearts and we find forgiveness of sin and release from shame. We find peace with God.

Then I prayed aloud, telling him, that if he agreed with what I was saying — if my words aligned with his thoughts, he should say them to God in the silence of his heart.

God, I know I’ve messed up. I have sinned. But I believe that Jesus died for me. I turn to him, asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me, because of Christ. Amen.

When I said the word, amen, Cecil said, “Thank you.”

I took my leave and when I arrived at home, there was a message on his answering machine from his son. Cecil had died in the time it took me to return home.

When things like that happen, it shows you the value of life — both the life of those you influence for Christ and the very life you live.

This podcast talks about finding meaning in life.

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How Hopeful Are You? :: PODCAST

Presented at Curwensville Alliance by Pastor Steve Shields on 11/27/2016

The First Sunday of Advent

In the weeks between now and Christmas, we are going to celebrate something called Advent. Advent is a word having to do with the arrival of something or someone who is important. When a famous person is due to make a speech, you might hear the MC saying, “As we await the advent of the keynote speaker, let’s talk about….”

Advent means arrival.

I personally like the word Advent better than I do Christmas, because, to me, Christmas has been diluted. People use it to mean anything and everything relating to this coming time of year. 

On the other hand, Advent is unmistakable.

It refers to one thing – the birth of Jesus, celebrated by you and me on December 25.

Our church has an Advent wreath with candles that we light. Occasionally, when I ask my peers if they are doing Advent some have replied, “No – I’m not Catholic.” But Advent is neither Catholic nor Protestant — or perhaps I should say that Advent is both Catholic and Protestant! 🙂 The tradition was in place a thousand years before the Protestant Reformation.

Advent is something Christians celebrated since early on in church history.

There are five candles in the wreath, each standing for something. The names of the four outer candles have changed through the centuries, but the center candle remains the same: The Christ Candle.

This year, our outer candles will speak of four things Christ brings:

  • Hope
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Life

This podcast speaks of the hope God gives us because of the Christ of Advent.

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May the Advent of Christ be a means whereby the Father imparts hope to you.
~Pastor Steve

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Some of Our Stories – Real God, Real Life, Real People : PODCAST

Presented on October 9, 2016 at Curwensville Alliance

Several years ago, some people at Curwensville Alliance verbalized our identity, as a people.

The words they came up with: Real God — Real Life — Real People

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This past Sunday the Elders at Curwensville Alliance shared their stories with the people — just as they do when taking in members. It was great to hear how a Real God enters into their Real Lives and influences them as Real People.

NOTE: It’s important to these men that those listening understand that they are NOT holding themselves up as models of what it means to follow Jesus; rather, they are simply sharing their stories in the hopes that others may be encouraged as they follow Jesus.

May you find encouragement as you listen to the stories of Jim Bell, Dave Clark, Josh Tkacik, and Jeff Spaid.

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