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Bufe talks about Nehemiah in Bufe’s colorful way.  He talks about how Nehemiah grew into a strong leader by accepting responsibility.  Then he talks about a general named Naaman who asks Elisha for help him by healing his leprosy.  Then he talks about the young slave girl to Naaman’s wife and how she is a key person in the story.  She had 3 necessary items.  First, the slave girl had spiritual boldness.  She witnessed ‘up’.  Many of us witness 'down' but are afraid to witness 'up'.  Some of us even have trouble witnessing to a peer group level.  God used Moses and he had a speech impediment.  Secondly, the slave girl wasn’t filled with self-pity.  Some of us live in self-pity and have no forgiveness in our hearts.  Corrie ten Boom spent time in a prison camp where her sister and mother and father died and when she came out, she forgave the Nazis that held her captive.  Elisabeth Eliot forgave those in the Auca Indian tribe who killed her husband.  Thirdly, the little slave girl had unwavering faith.  In spite of her circumstances, she trusted the Lord.  Do you put conditions on when you will start believing and serving God?  Bufe ends the sermon by sharing a moving story of the unwavering faith of a woman in his church.    

2 Kings 5

Matthew 5

John 1:14

Acts 2, 4

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How focused are you on the holidays?  Bufe talks about being focused at Thanksgiving and being thankful to God.  Focus on the intangibles as well as the tangibles.  Then comes Christmas!  What should you focus on during Christmas?  Will you be consumed by what’s happening around you or will you focus on Jesus during Christmas?  How relevant is the Christmas Story to you?  Bufe talks about setting up a time of personal worship.  Make it the first thing you do each day.  He talks about our personal witness during the Christmas holidays.  Also he mentions we spend money wisely during Christmas time and not get into debt getting caught up in the spending hysteria during Christmas.

2 Corinthians 9:15

 

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My cousin, Rachel Karraker Hagenzieker singing along with Northwest Church Choir.

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Bufe talks about the government and us.  Paul and Peter both write ‘Obey the government’.  Be a good citizen.  If you are irresponsible to the state, you are irresponsible to God and God will hold you responsible.  We should pray for those in authority.  Think about the government that was in charge during the time the New Testament was written.  Nero was in charge.  But always understand our prime responsibility is to bring the good news of Jesus to the world.  

Romans 13:1-7

1 Timothy 2:1,2

Titus 3:1

1 Peter 2:13

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Do you hear the words but miss the message?  Do you set your will against hearing the message and applying it to your life?  Do you know how many people were in Galilee during Jesus’ day?   When was the last time you went to church?  Bufe talks about Jesus reading Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth.  Where did doubting Thomas go after Jesus’ death?  What did the crowd try to do to Jesus after he read them the scripture and said what he did?

Luke 4:16-30

Luke 16

Isaiah 61:1,2

John 1

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Bufe talks about birthdays.  We all have birthdays.  Usually someone remembers your birthday.  The most remembered and celebrated birthday is Jesus’ birthday, Christmas.  But many don’t associate Jesus with Christmas.  The paradox of Christmas - the purity of the baby, Jesus, with an unwed mother.   The purity of Mary, an unwed mother.  The purity of Joseph, a man much older than the teenage girl he was going to marry.  The joy of the birth when the law said to stone unwed mothers.  The baby born of a peasant girl and cared for by a blue collar worker in a stable was King of Kings and Lord of Lord.  God in a stable.  He was called Immanuel, which means God is with us.  God left heaven to be with us in the flesh!   

God gives you things that you can’t buy.  Love, peace, joy, etc., the fruits of the spirit.  

2 Corinthians 8:9, Luke 2:11, John 1:12, Luke 2:7, John 14:2, Matthew 2:11, Galatians 3:26, Luke 2:51, Galatians 5:1, Philippians 2:6,7, 1 Peter 5:4, Matthew 8:20, Luke 15:10, Matthew 2:13 and Hebrews 2.

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Are you on fire for God?  How are you serving mankind?  Bufe challenges us in this sermon.  He talks about helping the refugees that had come to Fresno.   He talks about visiting those in prison.  He talks about sending a letter of encouragement to someone who needs to hear encouragement.  He talks about the difference between having the Holy Spirit living in us and the Holy Spirit completely filling us up.   Are you a mediocre Christian or are you a Christian leading an exciting life for Christ?  Do you have the Fruit of the Spirit?  Do you know what the Fruit of the Spirit is?  Do you commit sins of omission or commission?  Who do we follow, the Spirit of God or our old sinful nature?   Bufe tells a touching story about a widow at the end of his sermon.

Matthew 10. Galatians 5

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Jesus was not a martyr.  He was our Savior.  Did you realize Jesus washed the feet of Judas knowing exactly what Judas was about to do?  Jesus teaches that the path to blessing is the path of service.  Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment to love each other as much as Jesus loves them.  Jesus way is narrow.  No one can get to the Father except through Jesus.  I love Bufe’s analogy of being lost in a big city in this.  Do you just know the truths about Jesus or have you accepted the truth of Jesus?  John 10:10 - Jesus gives life in all of its fullness.  The road is narrow but the invitation is wide.  We have to do more than follow the teachings of Jesus.  We must trust in Jesus as our Savior.  

John 13, 14

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What Shall I do with Jesus?  This was on Palm Sunday and Bufe talks about Jesus’ last days and hours on earth.  When Pilate released Barabas, Pilot asked the people, “What shall I do with Jesus?”  We need to understand who Jesus really was and decide what we are going to do with Jesus.  Will you reject him?  Or will you become a follower of Jesus? 

Matthew 26, 27.  Mark 14, 15.  Luke 22, 23.  John 18, 19.

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Wonderful medley of old hymns by Northwest Baptist Church Orchestra in Fresno.  Such talent at that church!  Beautiful!

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