The Blessing of Christ-Centered Community

May 10, 2015
Rev. Carla Williams
Philippians 1:3-11
The Power of Anticipation

 The Blessing of Christ-Centered Community

Although seasons of transition often kindle emotions of fear and anxiety even for Christ-followers, these seasons are also an opportunity to keep praying and thanking God for His abundant grace and abiding presence.

 Paul writes his letter to the believers in Philippi while imprisoned in Rome, unsure that he will ever see his beloved friends again. While the letter as a whole conveys important information, verses 3-11 represent a two part prayer through which Paul conveys his joy, his gratitude, his confidence, his affection, and his longing for their continuing future.

  • Paul opens his prayer with thanksgiving directed to God, for the faithful church in Philippi.
  • Then Paul prays for them, that the believers’ lives would grow into the fullness and practice of both love and discernment.

 Carla’s Final Thoughts: Thank you, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, for reflecting the kind of congregation that has caused my heart to soar with joy and gratitude and with confidence and affection. Like the apostle Paul, I will continue to pray for your future. Keep your eyes on Jesus – the author and perfecter of faith – all for the glory of God and the Kingdom that is coming on earth, as it is in heaven.


God’s New Society: Living a Life Worthy of Our Calling

Rev. Carla Williams
Ephesians Sermon Series
Ephesians 4:1-16

 Living A Life Worthy of Our Calling

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul has set forth a foundational reality of the Gospel: that by grace alone, God has reconciled Jews and alien Gentiles to Himself, and brought them together in the  Person of Jesus the Son.  This action has created a new society, the ecclesia of God,  the body of Christ.  Now, Paul announces that God’s “yes” to both Jew and Gentile believers calls for a response from all believers (then, and now)

  • Be zealous in leading a life worthy of your calling (4:1-6)
  • Live into the unity that already exists as a result of one calling, one
  • Lord, one faith, one baptism by practicing the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerant love.
  • The gifts of God’s grace are gifts for both salvation (charis) and for service (charismata)  (4:11-16)
  • Evidence of a growing, healthy body of Christ is based on an ever maturing and growing faith, undergirded by truth and love. (4:14-16)

Questions for Reflection

  1. Read Ephesians 4:1-16.  In all of its diversity and differences, what  are the essentials that hold the church together?
  2. If humility, gentleness, patience and tolerant love are evidence of healthy church and maturing Christians, which of these four do you personally wrestle with in your own life?
  3. In what ways can our congregation of St. Andrew’s live into unity, without uniformity?
  4. What has challenged you the most about today’s text?


The Man Who Came by Night

Sermon Notes

Rev. Carla Williams


Encountering Jesus / John 3:1-16; John 7:45-51; John 19:38-40

The Man Who Came by Night

Today we continue looking at personal encounters with Jesus from the Gospel

of John.  This series is based on the book In the Beginning There Was the Verb written by our very own Presbytery Pastor Brad Munroe.  Today our Scripture

invites us into Jesus’ conversation with a Jewish Pharisee, Nicodemus.

Nicodemus seeks out Jesus after dark and engages in an intense, uninterrupted, heart to heart conversation with Jesus.

Jesus challenges Nicodemus’ Pharisaic, rational but misinformed perspective: 

You must be born anew.

To perceive and enter into God’s reign (Kingdom) is the result of what a person receives by the Spirit, not by one’s own achievements and goodness.

To believe into Jesus is to entrust one’s whole sense of being to the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus.

To be baptized with water is to identify oneself with Jesus.

God takes the initiative and offers new life.  God acts for His own sake through His Son Jesus.  Not wanting to smash people into submission, God is the Hound of Heaven who woos each one into love for His name’s sake.  St. Augustine:  

“God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.”

What new insight has God’s living VERB spoken to you today?