Sermon Date: 7/9/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Amos 8:11-14

The dominant theme of Amos’ writing is an unwavering call to social justice as the expression of true faith in Yahweh, the God who is known for his faithfulness and mercy, but also his justice and righteousness. He spoke out against the neighboring kingdoms, the enemies of Israel.
In considering God’s judgment against his people today, in considering the plumb line of God’s righteousness and justice now, we should look at the churches, the congregations, the communities of believers – for we are God’s Israel (Galatians 3:26-29).

Sermon Date: 7/2/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Joel 2:12-17

We have idols of our hearts that separate us from the Lord; yet, the Lord is willing to redeem the situation if we return.

You don’t have to wait until Jesus returns for the judgment. In fact, most of us needn’t worry so much about his coming to us as we should recognize the certainty that we are going to Him. Our expiration dates are one day closer tomorrow morning than when we woke up this morning.

Sermon Date: 6/25/17 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: Hosea 2:14-23

During that time, in the Kingdom of Israel, you would see assassinations, idolatry, and immorality and nobody seemed to be interested in hearing the Word of the Lord. Then God called his prophet Hosea and told him to get married and raise a family. But God didn’t tell him to marry with a single woman. He was told to marry with a woman who would reflect the same level of purity and devotion that Israel demonstrated toward God. He was to marry a prostitute which indicated that the people of Israel were in a bad relationship with God.

Sermon Date: 6/25/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Acts 26:28; Acts 28:23

Today is the introduction to a summer sermon series through the Minor Prophets. The Minor Prophets provide examples that invite us to view our current situation from the perspective of God's revelation.
In the next 12 weeks we will have a sermon giving an overview of the prophet and his writing. In reality, however, the sermon each week will focus on a particular verse or set of verses as a sampling of God’s Word to us through the Minor Prophets.

Sermon Date: 6/11/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

Last week we understood that basically money is a means of storing value and of exchanging value. We can turn our money into educational experiences for children, trip, paint to change the color of the bathroom, or a haircut. But, we can also exchange our money for Kingdom of God initiatives? And, here at First Church, that's exactly what we're doing. We are reaching out to the community-at-large with initiatives like:

Sermon Date: 6/4/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Proverbs 30: 7-9

Jesus said that money was his primary competitor for worship, devotion, and allegiance. There is an enchanting and enslaving quality to money. So how much money do we need; that is, how much is enough? How do we avoid devoting ourselves to dollars and cents? Is there a way to break the cycle of fearing I won’t have enough on the one hand and being fascinated with more and more and more on the other? Proportionate giving from our income is a confession of trust in God’s provision and a practical partnership for the healing of the world in Jesus’ name.

Sermon Date: 5/28/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Micah 5:1-5

While we live in a world filled with evil, injustice, and oppression, we live by a dream of God's peace among the nations, between people, and within our own lives.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace -- his followers are people of peace.

Sermon Date: 5/21/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Daniel 1:3-20

Today, we take a look at the Holy Spirit and the long haul of life. Living under the influence of the Holy Spirit over the long haul is not so much to seek the Spirit as to marinate in the Spirit; to settle into the Spirit.
Simple practices allow us to marinate in the Holy Spirit and so be shaped by the Spirit’s work within. We can tend to God’s Spirit-breath within us by living simply, listening attentively, studying intently, and acting deliberately.

Sermon Date: 5/14/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 3:16

Today we come to one of the most challenging aspects of living daily under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is wildly contradictory to the American way of life.
When we talk about the most mystical and powerful force in the universe, the Holy Spirit, it is almost always in individual terms.

But in our focus on the individual – the focus of so much in our culture – we miss the witness of the Scripture that the Holy Spirit also fills, anoints, and empowers whole communities. The place of God’s presence, the house of God, as it were, is the community of believers…together

Sermon Date: 5/7/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Luke 2:21-32

In this second of the Fresh Air series, we will focus on how we may release the Holy Spirit’s presence and power among us on a daily basis. How do we experience the freedom of the Holy Spirit? How does the Holy Spirit have access to us every day?

Sermon Date: 4/30/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Luke 24:36-49

We cannot “live the Christian life” without the Holy Spirit. The best we can do is either sentimental aspirations or moral exhaustion. Neither is what the Scripture describes as being a “believer” The role/ministry/presence of the Holy Spirit is generally perceived as leading to either ecstasy or steadiness of some sort. The Scriptures embrace both – and much more.

Sermon Date: 4/23/17 Speaker: Tyler Hughes Bible Text: John 20

What happened to our Easter spirit? It’s Easter Monday and we’ve just celebrated Jesus Resurrection. Then why are we just feeling empty?

If God is doing a new thing in us, why does everything just sort of feel like the same old thing? We might have more in common with the earliest believers than we know. After reading and re-reading the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, we might think that it was all kind of a letdown for them too! In John 20:10 it was written of the disciples, “Then they went home.”

Sermon Date: 4/16/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Job 19:25-26

The resurrection of Jesus is not an odd event within the world as it is but as the prototypical and foundational event within the world as it has begun to be. It is not an absurd event within the old world but the symbol and starting point of the new world. The claim advanced in Christianity is of that magnitude: Jesus of Nazareth ushers in not simply a new religious possibility, not simply a new ethic or a new way of salvation, but a new creation.  (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, HarperOne, 2008, p. 67.)

Sermon Date: 4/9/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 31

On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey; the people of Jerusalem were excited about his coming. The religious leaders told Jesus to quiet the crowd. However, they couldn't dissuade him from his mission because he had proven his power over nature, sin, disease, and even over death.The Disciples thought God’s redemption plan had failed when Jesus was nailed to cross but Jesus resurrection proved that God’s plan was a success. Jesus was redeemed in death and he redeemed us all with his resurrection.

Sermon Date: 4/2/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 130

How long until God judges the earth and vindicates suffering and death? Or, another way to ask it: “How long until we can see that the suffering and waiting has been worth it?” Even more directly it might be: “Can we trust you, God? Is there any meaning in all this? Why us? How much more do you think we can stand? What are you doing, Lord? 
This Lenten season invites us into this murky place in which we may find ourselves torn between wanting Jesus to be our Good Shepherd and waiting for him to act on our behalf.
Psalm 130 gives us hope with this admonition....

Sermon Date: 3/26/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 23

Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard, summarized a recent Gallup poll that "An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait …. Our national gloom is real enough, but it isn't a matter of insufficient funds. It's a matter of insufficient certainty."
What can we do with the anxiety and uncertainty that keeps whispering in our ears and echoing in our minds? Doctors and therapists suggest many treatments; but, perhaps, who we really need is Dr. Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Let the words of Psalm 23 comfort us:

Sermon Date: 3/19/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 25

This week we come to admit that sometimes our hearts grow cold. We may have some sort of spirituality or faith, but honestly, God seems like a distant relative we see only at weddings and funerals. And so, we might conclude this whole church thing is irrelevant. The value equation doesn’t work. We’ve got better or more pressing things to do. Right? Maybe. Yet there is an itch within us, a restlessness, about who we are, why we are here, the purpose of our lives, and where the future takes us. We are all looking for meaning, purpose, and hope. Where do we find it?

Sermon Date: 3/12/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 121

The Lenten season, this time of seeking an honest assessment of ourselves and our relationship with God, with others, and with the Jesus Mission, seems particularly difficult. During this Lenten season, we are particularly focused on the kinds of things that happen in our lives which may undermine our confidence in God’s promises. The choice to follow Jesus is a choice about the path we take during the journey of our lives. Each day we are confronted with the choice between fear and faith, anxiety and anticipation.

Sermon Date: 3/5/17 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: Psalm 32

The “me” we present to others, whether in digital media or personal conversation, whether by the symbols of our consumer choices or credentials of education or employment, we often use to hide the “real me” from others. We seek to control the information we reveal about ourselves so we can control the perception others have of us. While this can take a lot of forms, from low tech to the digital world of social media, it is a very long established pattern among us. So how do we break this pattern of "hiding ourselves" from God and others?

Sermon Date: 2/26/17 Speaker: Tyler Hughes

We were created to live in community. That’s it. You and me were created to be an ‘us.’ God’s very essence - the thing that makes God, is the perfect harmony of 3 persons living in community with one another. God is 3, (the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), yet they are one! It’s not a matter of how God behaves, or how God chooses to work; it’s that his very existence is a community.We are like God in our capacity to love, our ability to give life through childbirth, our passion for creating beauty out of raw materials. And our need to exist, just as God does, in community.

Sermon Date: 2/19/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: John 9

For five weeks we have been focusing on how our vision as a congregation gets off of the page and onto the street, out of the liturgy and into our lives, beyond our intentions and into action. We want to take the step from being a spectator of the Jesus Mission and become directly involved ourselves. We want to actually help others become friends of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We need to Share Our Stories!


Sermon Date: 2/12/17 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: Matthew 14:22-33

Most of us don't realize how important we are to others. With God's grace, we are all gifted with Natural and Spiritual gifts. Natural gifts are those abilities inherited from our parents and nurtured in the context of family. Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, come directly from the Spirit of God. The “Holy Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” Natural gifts are imparted at our natural birth; spiritual gifts are given when we are born again.

Sermon Date: 2/5/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Matthew 9:9-13

We have several obstacles that get in the way of passing the living water of salvation along to others.
Our aversion to sharing our faith is at least three-fold:
1. It seems contrived
2. We aren't sure we have a faith worth sharing
3. We risk a relationship
Mostly our intention to share our faith in Jesus remains just that: an intention without any real impact.
Sharing a meal together is a universal way of strengthening relationships and sharing everything from the latest weather report and sports scores to the deepest matters of the heart.

Sermon Date: 1/29/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Mark 10:46-52

In the living of our lives in relationship with others we become bridge people for the power, grace, love, truth, and presence of God. Today, in the second part of the B.L.E.S.S. series, we take up listening as a means of blessing others.

Sermon Date: 1/23/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Acts 2:42 - 47

Though our congregational vision statement says we want to invite others to follow Christ, we are very poor at it. We need both understanding as well as practical ways to engage others in authentic conversations about Christ.
Our new series, B.L.E.S.S. invites us to begin our journey to engage others with Prayer.

Sermon Date: 1/15/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Acts 2; Matthew 20

Baptism is a sign that God has forgiven us for our sins. The water of baptism is a reminder that God has cleansed us. Baptism imparts the Holy Spirit into us. By this act God has given us the opportunity to reach out to others with his message.

Sermon Date: 1/8/17 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Matthew 2: 1-18

Epiphany, a traditional observance of Christians, recalls the arrival of the Magi from the East. We think of the Star of Bethlehem guiding the Magi from the east, of course. But the Light of Christ is much more challenging to us.The Bible says that with the arrival of Jesus, God's light has come into the world.
But many actually prefer the darkness to the light. We would rather remain in the shadow lands of the soul than let the light of Christ shine into the nooks and crannies of our desires, thoughts, actions, and loves.

Sermon Date: 1/1/17 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: Joshua 4: 10-11

Everything in life is a transition. When we are in a transition, we understand that we move to another stage in our lives; and we think that everything changes. But it isn’t necessary for everything to change. The fact is when we transition or "cross over" we just move to another stage in our lives. We see every day is not just as another day, and we see that it means something more.

Sermon Date: 12/24/16 Speaker: Scott Field

Christmas Eve 2016 - The 9:00 PM traditional candlelight service at First Church - Crystal Lake, IL

Sermon Date: 12/18/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Isaiah 60:1-4 / Isaiah 35:1-10

Sometimes Christians lack the spiritual capacity to realize all we have in Jesus. ...We are like the eight-year-old boy who rests his happiness in his circumstances rather than recognizing what we have in Christ.
The coming of Jesus, which we celebrate at Christmas, announces God's final victory, invites us to anchor our joy in him, and assures us that all will, by the grace of God, be well.
So it's no wonder that sometimes at Christmas the joy just overflows in songs and lights and decorations and gifts. It's joy to the world!

Sermon Date: 12/11/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Isaiah 9:2; 11:6-9

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep
darkness, a light will shine." Isaiah 9:2

Right now, in December of 2016 -- we experience this darkness socially, politically, and economically. What is the connection between the national example of social darkness in the Scriptures and the eruption of animosity that shrieks from OUR headlines, social media feeds, and the influential opinion-makers in our current cultural climate?

Sermon Date: 12/4/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 27

Each year during this special season of peace, love, joy, and hope -- all based upon the grace and mercy of God -- is interrupted and undermined by the various Christmas Competitions.One of the most interesting is always the competitive displays of Christmas lights.

Sermon Date: 11/27/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Genesis 1:1-5

Today begins the season of Advent. It is the season when we prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the long-awaited Messiah, our Savior, the Lord of the Universe and Hope of the World...whose name is Jesus. During these four weeks of Advent our theme will be the Advent Light. Each week we will focus on a particular perspective of God's light with a particular verse of God's Book, the Bible.

Sermon Date: 11/20/16

Faith Promise Prayer
"Lord, what would you give through me that you would not normally give to me for the exclusive purpose of healing the world in Jesus' name through First Church?"

Faith Promise is stretching, going beyond what you think you can do to further Christ’s Ministry in the World. When you decide, in your Faith Promise, to say “Lord, stretch me!” God will honor that promise and you will see the results in the lives of the people you reach out to.

Sermon Date: 11/13/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Acts 1:1-12

Touching the world in Jesus' name is right at the heart of what the Lord intended from the start. At First Church we can touch the world in a specific, intentional way. We call it Faith Promise.
Faith Promise is a way of praying for the funds that will support the work of God's Kingdom locally, regionally, and globally.

And that Prayer is:
"Lord, what would you give through me that you would not normally give to me for the exclusive purpose of healing the world in Jesus' name through First Church?"

Sermon Date: 11/6/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: John 11:1-44

   On All Saints' Day we celebrate the victory of resurrection life, the faithfulness of those who have, in the language of Scripture, run the race, fought the fight, and kept the faith. Those who, at the end of their life on earth, hear the voice of Jesus himself say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

Sermon Date: 10/30/16 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: 1 John 4:4

The Bible refers to keeping faith in God as living by faith. You see, the Christian life is by faith from first to last. We belong to Him and we have already conquered the enemy, but also he reminds us that there are some spiritual pieces that we can use in case we feel that we are losing the fight. We need to stand up firm and wear the armor of God.

So, today’s invitation is to go outside and connect with the world, using the custom of the “Armor of God” and remember that “God’s Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world”.

Sermon Date: 10/30/16 Speaker: Cesar Hernandez Bible Text: 1 John 4:4

The Bible refers to keeping faith in God as living by faith. You see, the Christian life is by faith from first to last. We belong to Him and we have already conquered the enemy, but also he reminds us that there are some spiritual pieces that we can use in case we feel that we are losing the fight. We need to stand up firm and wear the armor of God.

So, today’s invitation is to go outside and connect with the world, using the custom of the “Armor of God” and remember that “God’s Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world”.

Sermon Date: 10/23/16 Speaker: Scott Field Bible Text: Psalm 33:12-22

Many Christians have it right: this is a very difficult election in which to choose whom to support with our vote. But beyond, our loyalties to Republican or Democrat, Libertarian or Independent commitments. These are secondary loyalties. From a Christian perspective what goes into a voting decision. There are some who would contend that Christian Faith has nothing to do with politics and that candidates for office should leave their faith and values at the door of the Oval Office. For Christians, however, this is not an option.

Sermon Date: 10/16/16

Contemporary Christian and gospel singer and songwriter, Cheri Keaggy, inspired and blessed the congregation of First Church today. With her Bible and journal close by, Cheri shared her life experiences and love of the Lord through her testimony and original songs.