VISIT US:
36 East Victoria St.
Santa Barbara
FOLLOW US:

12.02.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Waiting has got to be one of the most difficult things to do, especially when we are suffering and it seems that God does not see. Come, this first Sunday of Advent to hear what God promises as we wait for Christ to return and restore what is broken.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent most closely mirrors the daily lives of Christians and of the church, asks the most important ethical questions, presents the most accurate picture of the human condition, and above all, orients us to the future of the God who will come again.

—Fleming Rutledge

Nothing can save us that is possible.

—W. H Auden, “For the Time Being”

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

2 Peter 3:1-13

3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 

Isaiah 8:17-9:3,6-7

17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

9 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness

   have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

   on them has light shone.

3 You have multiplied the nation;

   you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you

   as with joy at the harvest,

   as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

 

6 For to us a child is born,

   to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

   and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and of peace

   there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

   to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

   from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father, the light of your salvation shines in the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yet we live as if your light cannot defeat darkness.
Forgive us for doubting your salvation.

Through your Spirit, you never abandon us; your name is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Yet when life becomes difficult, we fear your presence has left us.
Forgive us for turning to other things for comfort.

Jesus, at your return you promise to wipe away all tears and heal all pain.

Yet instead of trusting you to restore your world, we take matters into our own hands.
Forgive us for doing what is right in our own eyes.

Lord, of these things we repent.

Help us to trust you, live as your light, ever-waiting for your return.
Come, Lord Jesus!

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Words: Wendell Kimbrough (c) 2012 Wendell Kimbrough
Music: Bruce Benedict, (c) 2012 Cardiphonia
cardiphonia.org

lyrics

1. Long in darkness Israel wandered;
Long in mortal shadows, we
Walked in bondage and self-pity,
Trod in paths of sin and grief.
In the prophets’ words He told us,
Long the God of Israel spoke;
He alone in strength would save us
From the hands of all our foes.Every valley be exalted!
Every mountain be made plane!
Crooked ways repent and straighten;
All creation bend in praise!

2. He shall raise a mighty Savior;
Born of David’s lineage, He
Comes in cov’nant love to claim us
From our sins to set us free.
Light to those who dwell in darkness
Life to those from death who flee
Joy unto the earth, and gladness,
To your pathways dawning peace!

Refrain

3. Jesus, Lord, and mighty Savior,
David’s Son and yet his King,
Dawning light of our salvation,
Of your saving pow’r we sing!
Stand, Oh lame, and dance ye broken,
Know the Savior’s healing grace;
Come, Oh deaf and hear him singing;
Turn, Oh blind, behold his face!

Refrain

 

11.25.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Do you ever feel like your passion for Christ and his mission has gone a bit lukewarm? Come hear what Jesus has to say about the causes of and cure for lukewarm love as we conclude our series on the letters to the churches Revelation.

 

REFLECTIONS:

We can grow up in homes in which the food finds the table, the clothes find the drawers, the money finds the college funds, and the family even finds the church each Sunday; but somehow our souls remain undiscovered, hidden in the shadows of our caregivers’ well-intentioned mindlessness.

Curt Thompson

Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioural consequences.

—Dan Siegel

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 55:1-11

1“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.

 

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

   and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

   it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

 

Revelation 3:14-22

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

God of everlasting love,

We confess that we have been unfaithful to you and to one another.
We have worshiped other gods: money, power, comfort, and convenience.
We have served our own self-interest instead of serving only you.
We have not loved our neighbor as you have commanded.

Forgive us, Father, and raise us from sin by your Holy Spirit, that we may be your faithful people, following our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

11.18.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

We are all given names that we did not choose. There are our legal names of course, but we are named in other, more subtle ways as well. Often, these are names that exaggerate our flaws. Flakey. Lazy. Class Clown. We sometimes spend our lives trying to earn a new, better name. But what name does God want to give us. Join us this Sunday as we look at Jesus’ letter to the church of Philadelphia.

 

REFLECTIONS:

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.

C.S. Lewis

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 62: 1-3, 10-12

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.

 

Revelation 3:7-13

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

 

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.

-silent confession-

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 the glory of your Name. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Words: Joseph Swain (alt Twit), Music by Kevin Twit
©2013 Kevin Twit Music (ASCAP)

lyrics

1. Come ye souls by, sin afflicted,
Bowed with fruitless, sorrow down;
By the broken, law convicted,
Through the cross, behold the crown;
Look to Jesus; Look to Jesus; Look to Jesus;
Mercy flows through Him alone.
2. Take His easy, yoke and wear it;
Love will make your, obedience sweet;
Christ will give you, strength to bear it,
While His grace, shall guide your feet
Safe to glory, Safe to glory, Safe to glory,
Where His ransomed captives meet.
3. Blessèd are the, eyes that see Him,
Blest the ears that, hear His voice;
Blessèd are the, souls that trust Him,
And in Him, alone rejoice;
His commandments, His commandments, His commandments
Then become their happy choice.
4. Sweet as home to, pilgrims weary,
Light to newly, opened eyes,
Like full springs in, deserts dreary,
Is the rest, the cross supplies;
All who taste it, All who taste it, All who taste it
Shall to rest immortal rise.

11.11.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

No one likes a fake. We value authenticity in the people we spend our time with and the products we consume. Yet we rarely discuss our own fraudulent behavior. Like knock-off watches or plagiarized speeches, we can manage our reputations with well-placed comments and little white lies. We can even fabricate our spiritual lives to appear more holy, devout, or put together than we really are. How do we get the real thing? How do we become the people we want to be? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series in the Book of the Revelation.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

“(Sardis is) a church quietly drowning in its own inoffensiveness, unable to believe that its reputation for being alive is no longer deserved.”

N.T. Wright

 

“Moral and spiritual vigilance is God’s appointed way to glory. Self satisfied presumption will fall.”

John Piper

 

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Proverbs 16:2

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Most merciful God,
Whose Son, Jesus Christ, was tempted in every way, yet without sin,

We confess before you our own sinfulness:
We have hungered after that which does not satisfy;
We have compromised with evil;
We have doubted your power to protect us.
Forgive our lack of faith;
Have mercy on our weakness.

Restore in us such trust and love
That we may walk in your ways and delight in doing your will.
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel vision, no op’ning skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach me to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The presence of Thy descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

credits

from Fragments of Grace, released June 15, 2011
Words: George Croly, 1854
Music: Karl Digerness, 2006
©2006 Karl Digerness Music

11.04.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Secrets are seductive. They draw us in, make us feel special, and create a bond with the secret-teller. If knowledge is power, then secret knowledge is an especially potent possession, creating an advantage for the “insiders” over the “outsiders.” The Bible tells us that God is a god who reveals; he is a secret-teller. What does he want us to know? Join us this week as we continue our series on Jesus’ words in the Book of the Revelation.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.

—Lewis B. Smedes

 

The best merchants in the world aren’t the ones predicting what’s cool next; we’re the ones dictating what’s cool next.

—Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Jeremiah 17:9-14

9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
11 Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,
so is he who gets riches but not by justice;
in the midst of his days they will leave him,
and at his end he will be a fool.
12 A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.

 

Revelation 2:18-29

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Gracious God,

our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.

10.28.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

As Christians, we confess that “in God, we trust!” But what happens when our faith in the Savior becomes mingled with a faith in the little “saviors” of our culture? Do our lives suggest that we trust in God alone, or in “God plus fill-in-the-blank”? Come hear what Jesus has to say to a compromising church as we continue our series in Revelation.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

We take pride in our tolerance of the excesses of others…But love detests what destroys the beloved. Real love stands against the deception, the lie, the sin that destroys…the more a father loves his son, the more he hates in him the drunkard, the liar, the traitor…Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference…to be truly good one has to be outraged by evil.

Rebecca Manly Pippert, Hope Has Its Reasons

 

In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair…the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.

Dorothy L. Sayers

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 106:6-8, 13-14, 28-29, 34-36, 39-40, 44-45, 47

6 Both we and our fathers have sinned;
we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
7 Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
that he might make known his mighty power.

13 But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;

28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29 they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.

34 They did not destroy the peoples,
as the Lord commanded them,
35 but they mixed with the nations
and learned to do as they did.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.

39 Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and played the whore in their deeds.
40 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he abhorred his heritage;

44 Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
when he heard their cry.
45 For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

47 Save us, O Lord our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

 

Revelation 2:12-17

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

God, our Father,
We confess that we have doubted your Word and your promises. We have compromised the truth by turning to the idols of our culture for help and comfort.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

silent confession

Jesus, Bread of Life,
We confess that we have hungered after the pleasures, prestige, and possessions of this world rather than trusting you to fulfill our deepest longings.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

silent confession

Spirit, our Helper,
We confess that we have tried to fabricate meaning and security through our jobs, our friends, and our projects rather than resting in the promise of your kingdom.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

silent confession

Triune God, have mercy on us and cleanse us from our sin according to your steadfast love.

Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

I will build my house
Whether storm or drought
On the rock that does not move
I will set my hope
In your love, O Lord
And your faithfulness will prove
You are steadfast, steadfast

By the word you spoke
All the starry host
Are called out by name each night
In your watchful care
I will rest secure
As you lead us with your light
You are steadfast, steadfast

I will not trust in the strength of kings
On your promise I will stand
I will shout for joy,  I will raise my voice
Hallelujah to the Lamb!
You are steadfast, steadfast

In the moment of emptiness
All was fulfilled
In the hour of darkness
Your light was revealed
In the presence of death
Your life was affirmed
In the absence of holiness,
You are still God.

You are steadfast, steadfast
You are steadfast, steadfast.

WRITTEN BY SANDRA MCCRACKEN, LESLIE JORDAN AND JOSH SILVERBERG (WITH ADAPTATIONS FROM HENRI NOUWEN)

10.21.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Our most solemn vows include the line, “‘Til death do us part.” Yet, if you’ve ever loved anyone or anything, chances are you know betrayal. You know what it’s like to be cheated, to be disappointed, to be left behind. And you likely know what it’s like to leave as well. How can we keep our hearts faithful to the ones we love? Is there someone who will love us to death and beyond? Join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series on Jesus’ letters to seven churches in the Book of Revelation.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Eighty-six years have I served Christ, and he has never done me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

Polycarp, The 12th martyr in Smyrna

 

What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American Dream that says, “You are limitless”? Everything is not possible. The mighty kingdom of God is not yet here. What if ‘rich’ did not have to mean ‘wealthy’, and ‘whole’ did not have to mean ‘healed’? What if being the people of “the gospel” meant that we are simply people with good news? God is here. We are loved. It is enough.

Kate Bowler,
Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved

 

SCRIPTURE:

Daniel 3:4-18

4 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

 

Revelation 2:8-11

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

 

 

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 the glory of your Name.

Silent Confession

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

10.14.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

Romances tend to burn hot in the beginning and cool down with time. Some have lost so much heat we wonder if there is even a spark left. At this point many leave in hopes of finding a new lover and start the process all over again. Others simply settle for living like roommates. Fortunately, there is another way, and it relates to our relationship with God as much as marriage. What do we do when our love has grown cold? Join us this Sunday as we begin a sermon series on Jesus’ letters to seven churches in the Book of Revelation.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Hope is a memory of the future.

—Gabriel Marcel

 

God doesn’t want a roommate…he wants a bride.

—Peter Hiett

 

In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.

—C.S. Lewis

 

SCRIPTURE:

Deuteronomy 6:1-12

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

 

Revelation 2:1-7

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

O Lord, great God,
all holy, Father most gracious,
filled with mercy and steadfast love,
we are embarrassed to come before you,
for we have preferred the ways of this world to your ways

Lord, have mercy.

for we have rebelled against your wisdom
and we have gotten into trouble,

Lord, have mercy.

for we have rejected your fatherly guidance
and have gotten lost altogether.

Lord, have mercy.

To you belongs righteousness, O Lord,
and to us confusion of face.

Lord, have mercy.

O Lord, great God,
all holy, filled with awe, majestic, and awesome
Father, most gracious,
filled with mercy and steadfast love,
incline your ear to our troubles.
Hear us when we pour out our sorrows before you.

Lord, have mercy.

Forgive us,
not on the ground of our own righteousness,
but on the ground of your great mercy
found in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Savior and the mediator of the covenant of grace.

Lord, have mercy.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

10.07.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

We like stories that resolve. We can close the book, put it on the shelf, and walk away.  But the story of Jesus doesn’t give us a lot of resolution. It doesn’t end with a cross but an empty grave and a risen Jesus. It doesn’t let us close the book and walk away. In Mark’s telling, it is not the end of the story, but merely the beginning. It invites us to find ourselves in the story, and contemplate it’s next chapter. For those who follow Jesus, it’s a journey into the unknown. Join us this Sunday as we wrap up our series on the Gospel of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven.

—N.T. Wright

 

The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise.

—Brennan Manning

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you.”

3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,

in whom is all my delight.[b]

4 The sorrows of those who run after[c] another god shall multiply;

their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out

or take their names on my lips.

5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.[d]

8 I have set the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[e] rejoices;

my flesh also dwells secure.

10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption.[f]

11 You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

Mark 15:39–16:8

39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he [that is Jesus] breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son[b] of God!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.[c] And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph[d] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from death to life
and crowned him Lord of all.

We confess that we have not acknowledged his authority.
We have refused your salvation by attempting to be saviors.
We have boasted in our own achievements.

(silent confession)

Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, following our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Love Divine, victorious.
Risen Life, all glorious.
One with the Father, one with us.

No more need we fear the grave.
Someday soon you’ll wipe our tears away.
The night is breaking into day.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Sin and death you overthrew.
Risen One make all that’s sad come untrue.
Son of God make all things new.

Love divine, victorious.
Risen savior, glorious.
King of kings reign over us.

Christus Victor!

Christ has died, victorious.
Christ is risen, glorious.
Christ will come again for us.
Love divine, victorious.
Risen savior, glorious.
King of kings reign over us.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

from Love Divine, Victorious, released February 11, 2015
by Karl Digerness; arr Minna Choi
© 2013 Karl Digerness Music
all rights reserved

09.30.2018

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: 

The symbol of the cross is ubiquitous in our culture. We see it perched on top of steeples, tattooed onto forearms, and hung on gold chains around necks. It’s easy to forget that the Romans designed crucifixion to torture and humiliate their enemies. No one in the ancient world would have made jewelry out of an instrument of death. But maybe that’s the point of Jesus’ death on the cross: to take what’s beastly in this world and make it beautiful. What else does it mean? Join us this week as we follow Jesus to the cross in the Gospel of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,

“I will make the sun go down at noon
   and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
   … like mourning for an only son.”

The Prophet Amos, 760–755 BC

 

Faith in God’s dominion, which sometimes hides itself in contrary appearance, precedes the miracle that brings it into the light.

—Joel Marcus

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 22:1-8

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,

and by night, but I find no rest.

 

3 Yet you are holy,

enthroned on the praises of Israel.

4 In you our fathers trusted;

they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 To you they cried and were rescued;

in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

 

6 But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;

they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;

let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

 

Mark 15:16-38

16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

(silent confession)

Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Redeemer of the world, grant us peace.
Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: