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09.09.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Most of us have an ambiguous relationship with community. On the one hand, who doesn’t love the idea of a place where everyone knows your name? On the other, most of us find the reality of cultivating and maintaining groups of friends difficult, if not elusive. How can we all want meaningful relationships so much and yet feel like they are so hard to find? Come this Sunday as we learn what the Bible says about the demand and promise of having a society of spiritual friends.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.

 —Marina Keegan

 

During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

 

Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Ecclesiastes 4:1-12

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

 

Acts 2:41-47

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Sing first verse

God of mercy, whose Son, Jesus Christ, longs to embrace us in his love,

we confess that we have  disobeyed your commands and ignored your mission;

our ears have been deaf to your call and our hearts have been cold to your love.

 

Sing second verse

Father, we confess that we have hurt others and dishonored your name.

We have hoarded our gifts instead of using them to bless others.

We have failed to reflect your love to the watching world.

 

Sing third verse

Lord, have mercy on us, and forgive us for our sins.

Receive us again as your children, not because we are worthy,

but for the sake of Christ who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen.

 

Close song

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

09.02.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

“Again the high priest asked [Jesus], “Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed?” When it comes to Jesus, the big question is: who is this man? What kind of authority does he claim and what should we make of it? Come this Sunday as we look at Jesus’ own answer to to this all important question.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

― Albert Camus, The Fall

 

The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

—Winston Churchill

 

What is truth? —Pontius Pilate

 

You can’t handle the truth!

—Col. Jessup, A Few Good Men

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Daniel 7:9-10; 13b-14

9 “As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
13b “… and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.”

 

Mark 14:53-65

53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”[b] 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

King Jesus, you are a good and just King,

But we have rebelled against your lead.

We have initiated a coup against your reign.

We have committed treason against your kingdom.

Lord, have mercy.

We have traded your perfect and just law 

for our own desires. 

We have rejected your authority 

In order to be our own kings; 

we have built our kingdoms instead of yours. 

Lord, have mercy.

We abuse our authority.

We treat our neighbors as rival kings 

and compete to conquer them.

Lord, have mercy.

Yet while we were still your enemies, 

you subdued us and made us your children.

Make us now willing and ready to follow you.

Lord, have mercy.

Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

08.26.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

If someone were making up a religion, you would think that the founding stories would be about their successes. You would think that they would tell stories of how brave and bold they were. But Mark’s gospel defies these expectations.  This week’s passage presents us with fickle disciples and a depressed Jesus. Why would they include such an account, and what might it tell us about the uniqueness of the Christian message? Come Sunday as we find out.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Up on a mountain our Lord is alone
Without a family friends or a home
He cries ooh ooh ooh
Will you stay with me?
He cries oh oh oh
Will you wait with me?

Up on a mountain our Lord is afraid
Carrying all the mistakes we have made
And he knew..ooh..ooh
It’s a long way down
Do you know..oh..oh?
It’s a long way down

—The Welcome Wagon

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 86:1-7

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,

for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;

save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,

for to you do I cry all the day.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,

abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;

listen to my plea for grace.

7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,

for you answer me.

 

Mark 14:32-52

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.

51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Lord, you said,
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Forgive us for our lukewarm love and disobedience.

Lord, you said,
“You may ask for anything in my name.”

Forgive us for trying to solve our problems without you.

Lord, you said,
“Trust in me with all your heart.”

Forgive us for submitting to fear and anxiety.

Lord, you also said,
“My blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”

Have mercy on us, Lord. We cling to the cross, trusting that you alone have the power to save. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

08.19.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

When someone invites you to a meal, they invite you into a relationship. Whether it be leftovers shared in the break room or a tasting menu at a great restaurant, the food is rarely the ultimate objective–we eat together for the company. In fact, in some cultures you can’t be friends until you’ve shared a meal. What does it mean when God invites us to share a meal with him? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series in the Gospel of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

The table is the place of intimacy. Around the table we discover each other. It’s the place where we pray. It’s the place where we ask: “How was your day?” It’s the place where we eat and drink together and say: “Come on, talk some more!” It is the place of old and new stories. It is the place for smiles and tears. The table, too, is the place where distance is most painfully felt. It is the place where the children feel the tension between the parents, where brothers and sisters express their anger and jealousies, where accusations are made, and where plate and cups become instruments of violence. Around the table, we know whether there is friendship and community or hatred and division. Precisely because the table is the place of intimacy for all the members of the household, it is also the place where the absence of that intimacy is most painfully revealed.

—Henri Nouwen

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Exodus 24:1-11

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

 

Mark 14:12-26

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

In confession, we admit our faults before a God who loves to forgive. Please spend a moment in silence, admitting your faults and confessing the ways you’ve sinned against God.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

With wondering eyes, Lord we admire
the feast prepared by grace;
Come, Lord, and set our souls on fire,
and fill each heart with peace.
These emblems of thy precious love, by faith may we receive!
And with a solemn pleasure prove, we in thy name believe.

We eat this bread, we drink this wine,
come give yourself to us.
We know you’re here, that’s why we’ve come,
to feast on thee with love.

No goodness of our own we bring;
we’re sinners vile and base;
Christ is our all; of Christ we sing,
and long to see his face.
O may we each, with heart and tongue sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”;
To him alone the praise belongs,
and we’ll adore his name.

We eat this bread, we drink this wine,
come give yourself to us.
We know you’re here, that’s why we’ve come,
to feast on thee with love.

Text: William Gadsby (verses), 1838;
Karl Digerness (ref), 2004
Music: Karl Digerness, 2004

08.12.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

We want things to work. We want things that work. But what if something’s value isn’t in what it can do, but in what it is? Are we willing to accept it then? Can we embrace the beautiful and not just the practical? Come this Sunday as we discover that we not only can embrace the beautiful, we must.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

We drink in nature, we yearn to commune with the beautiful, we crave the sublime, so that’s why the starting point for everything I do is the beautiful, not the practical.

—Theaster Gates

Do you suppose that God created diamonds only for the rich?

—Dorothy Day

Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving.

— Steve DeWitt

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Exodus 28:1–14; 31–41

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2 And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. 4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. 5 They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.

6 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance. 13 You shall make setting of gold filigree, 14 and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings.

31 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment,so that it may not tear. 33 On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. 35 And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.

36 “You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet,‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37 And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

39 “You shall weave the coat in checker work of fine linen, and you shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash embroidered with needlework.

40 “For Aaron’s sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty. 41 And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests.

 

Mark 14:1-11

14 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, 2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

 

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to glory of your Name. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER

08.05.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Turn on the news and you are likely to hear of wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, heat waves, famines, and crises all over the world. Is it the end? Are we living in the end times? What should we do? Build a bunker and store up enough food to last through the Apocalypse? What does Jesus say about the end, it’s timing, and our attempts to create security? Join us this week as we continue our sermon series on the Gospel of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.

—Flannery O’Connor

 

“Surely I am coming soon.”
—Jesus

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
—John the Apostle

 

Fear operates as an appetite or an addiction. You can never be safe enough.

—Marilynne Robinson

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Daniel 7:13-14

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven

   there came one like a son of man,

and he came to the Ancient of Days

   and was presented before him.

14 And to him was given dominion

   and glory and a kingdom,

that all peoples, nations, and languages

   should serve him;

his dominion is an everlasting dominion,

   which shall not pass away,

and his kingdom one

   that shall not be destroyed.

 

Mark 13:1-8; 32-37

And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

In confession, we admit our faults before a God who loves to forgive. Let’s spend a moment in silence, admitting our faults and confessing the ways we’ve sinned against God.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: 

Chorus 1

Come Lord Jesus come

Come Lord Jesus come

Come Lord Jesus come

Come Lord Jesus come

Verse 1

Come again to claim Your own

Come to reap what You have sown

All creation weeps and groans for You

It’s to You that we belong

It’s to You we lift our song

How our spirits look and long for You

Verse 2

Like a thief in dead of night

Come our everlasting light

Let Your brilliance shame the brightest day

With Your voice like endless seas

Wielding swords and stars and keys

Bring the nations to their knees we pray

Verse 3

For though fitful is our flame

You’re from age to age the same

Jesus faithful is Your name and true

So until the sun does rise

Till Your trumpets rend the skies

Help us keep our restless eyes on You

07.29.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Hypocrisy is an easy target; no one likes a hypocrite. We don’t trust people who preach one thing and practice another. But even good works are easier to pull off than true virtue, especially when someone else is watching. What does Jesus have to say about hypocrisy? How does it shape the way we approach God? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series in the Gospel of Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Someone told me with great amazement that so-and-so gives a tithe. How shameful it is that what was taken for granted among the Jews has now become an amazing thing among Christians.

—John Chrysostom, 4th century

 

That Jesus did not command all his followers to sell all their possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people to whom he would issue that command.

—Robert Gundry

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 1:2-4, 11-14, 16-17

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;

   for the Lord has spoken:

“Children have I reared and brought up,

   but they have rebelled against me.

3 The ox knows its owner,

   and the donkey its master’s crib,

but Israel does not know,

   my people do not understand.”

4 Ah, sinful nation,

   a people laden with iniquity,

offspring of evildoers,

   children who deal corruptly!

They have forsaken the Lord,

   they have despised the Holy One of Israel,

   they are utterly estranged.

11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?

   says the Lord;

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

   and the fat of well-fed beasts;

I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

   or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,

   who has required of you

   this trampling of my courts?

13 Bring no more vain offerings;

   incense is an abomination to me.

New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—

   I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts

   my soul hates;

they have become a burden to me;

   I am weary of bearing them.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

   remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;

cease to do evil,

17     learn to do good;

seek justice,

   correct oppression;

bring justice to the fatherless,

   plead the widow’s cause.

 

Mark 12:35–37

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.[a] 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways,

to glory of your Name. Amen.

 

SONG OF CONFESSION:

[V]
Most merciful God,
our Father of grace,
we confess we have sinned,
we have walked our own way.
Our love has been fickle,
our hearts they have strayed.
So, Lord, in your mercy,
forgive us we pray.
[C]
Restore us,
change us.
Lord, lead us on.
[B]
That we may do justly,
forever love mercy,
together walk humbly
with you.

SONG TO CONSIDER: 

07.22.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

History tells us that when forced to choose between liberty and order, humans choose order. When faced with danger, we want a Strongman to crush our enemies and make us feel safe. Was the Christ simply a Strongman? Did he come to rescue the nation of Israel from Roman occupation and sit on the throne as King of Israel? Or was his mission greater than that? What does it mean for us? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series from the Gospel of Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Christ was anointed, so that he might be our king, teacher, and priest for ever.  He will govern us, lest we lack any good thing or be oppressed by any ill; he will teach us the whole truth; and he will reconcile us to the Father eternally.

—Martin Bucer

 

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.

—Ernest Hemingway

 

I need a hero

I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light

He’s gotta be sure

And it’s gotta be soon

And he’s gotta be larger than life

I need a hero

—Bonnie Tyler

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 110

The Lord says to my Lord:

   “Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

 

2 The Lord sends forth from Zion

   your mighty scepter.

   Rule in the midst of your enemies!

3 Your people will offer themselves freely

   on the day of your power,

   in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,

   the dew of your youth will be yours.

4 The Lord has sworn

   and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever

   after the order of Melchizedek.”

 

5 The Lord is at your right hand;

   he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will execute judgment among the nations,

   filling them with corpses;

he will shatter chiefs

   over the wide earth.

7 He will drink from the brook by the way;

   therefore he will lift up his head.

 

 

Mark 12:35–37

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

   until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

 

 

SONG OF CONFESSION:

[V]
Most merciful God,
our Father of grace,
we confess we have sinned,
we have walked our own way.
Our love has been fickle,
our hearts they have strayed.
So, Lord, in your mercy,
forgive us we pray.
[C]
Restore us,
change us.
Lord, lead us on.
[B]
That we may do justly,
forever love mercy,
together walk humbly
with you.

SONG TO CONSIDER: 

07.15.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

We live in an age of multi-tasking. Thanks to our smart phones, we can catch up with friends, read the news, and pay our bills, all while watching TV, looking after our kids, or even–gasp!–driving! If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that our attentions and affections are just as divided. Yet Jesus tells us the way to fulfill all of God’s commands is to love God and our neighbors with an undivided heart. How is this possible? Come join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series from the Gospel of Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

First, man loves himself for his own sake; then, man loves God for self’s sake; the, man loves God for God’s sake; and finally, man loves himself solely for God’s sake.

—Bernard of Clairvaux

 

What you hate for yourself, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Law; the rest is commentary.

—Rabbi Hillel

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalms 27

One thing have I asked of the Lord,

   that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

   all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

   and to inquire in his temple.

 

5 For he will hide me in his shelter

   in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

   he will lift me high upon a rock.

 

6 And now my head shall be lifted up

   above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

   sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

 

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;

   be gracious to me and answer me!

8 You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you,

   “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

9     Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,

   O you who have been my help.

Cast me not off; forsake me not,

   O God of my salvation!

10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

   but the Lord will take me in.

 

 

Mark 12:28–24

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to glory of your Name. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: 

 

07.08.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY:

When the Soviet Union sent the first cosmonaut into space, he returned and famously said, “I looked and looked but I didn’t see God.” In our modern age of information we tend to doubt what we can’t understand. Yet any lover or admirer of beauty will tell you that the world is full of mysteries too great for our minds to grasp. Join us this week as we continue our series on the Gospel of Mark.

 

REFLECTION:

“I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.”

—The Apostles’ Creed

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 55:1-9

“Come, everyone who thirsts,

   come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

   come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

   without money and without price.

2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,

   and delight yourselves in rich food.

3 Incline your ear, and come to me;

   hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

   my steadfast, sure love for David.

4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,

   a leader and commander for the peoples.

5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,

   and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,

because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,

   for he has glorified you.

 

6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;

   call upon him while he is near;

7 let the wicked forsake his way,

   and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

   neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

   so are my ways higher than your ways

   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

 

Mark 12:18–27

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man[a] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: