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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:

07.01.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: It’s no secret that our nation is deeply divided. Anyone who dares to speak publically to a political issue can expect applause from some people and ire from others. So how did Jesus respond when asked to take sides in a political argument, especially one involving taxes, authority, and the role of the government?  Come find out this week as we return to our series on the Gospel of Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.

—Jeff Sessions

 

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

—Acts 5:29

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

 

3 Put not your trust in princes,

   in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

   on that very day his plans perish.

 

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

   whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 who made heaven and earth,

   the sea, and all that is in them,

who keeps faith forever;

7     who executes justice for the oppressed,

   who gives food to the hungry.

 

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

8     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

   the Lord loves the righteous.

9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;

   he upholds the widow and the fatherless,

   but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

 

10 The Lord will reign forever,

   your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

 

 

Mark 12:13–17

13 And they sent to [Jesus] some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at 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.

06.24.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: What is one thing that all people desire all of the time? Happiness. We all want to be happy, but according to some recent studies, only about a third of Americans are happy. Products and techniques that promise to deliver happiness abound, but happiness still seems illusive. Why are we unhappy and what do we do about it? Is the pursuit of happiness even worth it? Does God even want us to be happy? Come find out this week as we conclude Every Moment Holy, our mini-series on the Book of Psalms.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

It is the very pursuit of happiness, that thwarts happiness.

—Viktor Frankl

 

While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.

—Timothy Keller

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

   whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

   and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

 

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

   through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

   my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer. Selah

 

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,

   and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

   and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

 

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly

   offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

surely in the rush of great waters,

   they shall not reach him.

7 You are a hiding place for me;

   you preserve me from trouble;

   you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

 

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

   I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

   which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

   or it will not stay near you.

 

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

   but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

   and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

 

Matthew 5:1–12

Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

 

SONG OF CONFESSION:

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.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Blest is the soul that’s free from deceit—
No need to hide what he says from what he means.
Blest is the heart forgiven by love,
Whose every fault our good Lord covers up.

Long I disguised and buried my shame;
Ran through the night and I groaned through the day.
Shelter I sought where I thought I was safe,
But oh silent soul, how you wasted away!

Then at last I told all my sins,
And with shouts of joy, lovin’ arms drew me in
To my one true safe place:
In the love of God and the family of grace!

So listen up, if you truly want to live:
Do not hide alone in the dark like this one fool did.
Be not like the mule as he fights against the reins.
Come let your broken heart be bound by grace!

Words and Music: © 2016 Wendell Kimbrough. CCLI Song #7064730

06.17.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: The Scriptures tell us that God is a God of justice, but if we are honest we struggle with this truth because it seems that injustice prevails. How are we to reconcile what we see and experience with what God says of himself? How can God claim to be good and just? Come this Sunday as we look at what God says in Psalm 73.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Harder yet may be the fight;
right may often yield to might;
wickedness a while may reign;
Satan’s cause may seem to gain.
There is a God that rules above,
with hand of power and heart of love;
if I am right, he’ll fight my battle,
I shall have peace someday.

Charles Albert Tindley

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel,

   to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,

   my steps had nearly slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant

   when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death;

   their bodies are fat and sleek.

5 They are not in trouble as others are;

   they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;

   violence covers them as a garment.

7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;

   their hearts overflow with follies.

8 They scoff and speak with malice;

   loftily they threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens,

   and their tongue struts through the earth.

10 Therefore his people turn back to them,

   and find no fault in them.[a]

11 And they say, “How can God know?

   Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

12 Behold, these are the wicked;

   always at ease, they increase in riches.

13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean

   and washed my hands in innocence.

14 For all the day long I have been stricken

   and rebuked every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”

   I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16 But when I thought how to understand this,

   it seemed to me a wearisome task,

17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;

   then I discerned their end.

18 Truly you set them in slippery places;

   you make them fall to ruin.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment,

   swept away utterly by terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes,

   O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

21 When my soul was embittered,

   when I was pricked in heart,

22 I was brutish and ignorant;

   I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;

   you hold my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,

   and afterward you will receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

   but God is the strength[b] of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;

   you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.

28 But for me it is good to be near God;

   I have made the Lord God my refuge,

   that I may tell of all your works.

 

Matthew 23:23

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN: A prayer of confession for cynicism

Father, you tell us in your Word that you are good and just.

But when evil seems to win
we tend to doubt your character and become cynical.

We envy the wicked;
we turn a blind eye to the oppressed,
we slander our opponents,
we lose sight of hope amidst
the injustice we see in the world.

-silent confession-

Forgive us for our smallness of faith.

In your mercy, hear us,
for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

06.10.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: Many of us will suffer from depression; all of us will suffer from sorrow. Our world is broken and that means our hearts, minds, and bodies are likewise broken and prone to suffering. What are we to do with our sorrows? Should we stuff them away, meditate them away, drink them away, or find some other escape? Come join us this week as we look to a song of sorrow from Psalm 42.

 

 

REFLECTIONS:

Christians are particularly adept at numbing themselves against painful emotions. “After all,” we reason, “we should be joyful because we know that God is in control.” Negative emotions such as fear, anger, or depression are stigmatized as inappropriate because God is love and grants us peace.

Dr. Dan Allender

 

Faith feels many different ways. It can be buoyant; it can be depressed and lifeless. Feelings don’t define faith. Instead, faith is simply turning to the Lord.

—Edward T. Welch

 

My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.

Jesus of Nazareth

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 42

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,

   so pants my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God,

   for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food

   day and night,

while they say to me all the day long,

   “Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember,

   as I pour out my soul:

how I would go with the throng

   and lead them in procession to the house of God

with glad shouts and songs of praise,

   a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,

   and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

   my salvation 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;

   therefore I remember you

from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,

   from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep

   at the roar of your waterfalls;

all your breakers and your waves

   have gone over me.

8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

   and at night his song is with me,

   a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God, my rock:

   “Why have you forgotten me?

Why do I go mourning

   because of the oppression of the enemy?”

10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,

   my adversaries taunt me,

while they say to me all the day long,

   “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,

   and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

   my salvation and my God.

 

2 Corinthians 4:7–12

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN: 

Triune God, source of all love and life,

We were made for you and our hearts are anxious, discontent, and sad until we rest in you. We confess that we often deny this truth about ourselves.

Instead of seeking you,

we occupy ourselves with distractions.

Instead of pouring out our sorrows to you,

we deny the pain of broken relationships with you, others, and the world.

Instead of praising you,

we pacify ourselves with self-pity.

 

Promise-keeping God,

have mercy on us.

 

Grant that we may hope again in your salvation, trust in your plan, and praise you for victory you have achieved in Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: Based on Psalm 42

06.03.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: We are taught from a young age that the world is a dangerous place and we need somewhere to run to for safety. A house of sticks or straw won’t do; we need a strong house to save us. Throughout the Psalms, God is called a refuge and a fortress. The Psalmists take comfort in knowing that God is their home. But what does that mean? Come join us this Sunday as we look at the well-loved Psalm 91 and kick off a short series on the Psalms.

 

REFLECTIONS:

In the Book of Psalms there is profit for all, with healing power for our salvation…All who read it may find the cure for their own individual failings. All with eyes to see can discover in it a complete gymnasium for the soul, a stadium for all the virtues, equipped for every kind of exercise.

St. Ambrose of Milan

 

I have been accustomed to call this book [of Psalms], I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which anyone can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror.

John Calvin

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

   will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,

   my God, in whom I trust.”

 

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

   and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his pinions,

   and under his wings you will find refuge;

   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

5 You will not fear the terror of the night,

   nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

   nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

 

7 A thousand may fall at your side,

   ten thousand at your right hand,

   but it will not come near you.

8 You will only look with your eyes

   and see the recompense of the wicked.

 

9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—

   the Most High, who is my refuge—

10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,

   no plague come near your tent.

 

11 For he will command his angels concerning you

   to guard you in all your ways.

12 On their hands they will bear you up,

   lest you strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;

   the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

 

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;

   I will protect him, because he knows my name.

15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;

   I will be with him in trouble;

   I will rescue him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him

   and show him my salvation.”

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN: The Psalms teach us the way we should live; they tune our hearts to sing God’s praise and to trust in him. But our sinful nature is like an “Anti-Psalm” which tunes our hearts to trust in ourselves and the idols we have made. This month we are going to confess our default setting using the words of Anti-Psalms written from the words of our sermon text; these words show the contrast between worship and idolatry.

God, you promise to be a refuge to those who are weary and heavy laden.
Yet because of my sin I falsely believe  I am homeless in a harsh land.
dwell in the shelter that I build with my own two hands;
I abide in the shadow of my latest achievement.

Silent Confession

I say to my career, my status, and my savings,
“You are my refuge and my fortress; I will trust no one else.”
And I acts as though For they will deliver me from insignificance, from loneliness, from the ravages of age, from insecurity.

I lie awake at night preparing for the terror that may come to me; when morning comes I will carry my anxieties into every waking thought.  

Silent Confession

I falsely believe that Every disaster, every disease, every deception must be accounted for;
I can abide no vulnerability. I cannot rest until I have made a plan for my defense.

If I can’t save myself, I will live in shame the rest of my days. I will get what I deserve. I must build my own legacy or be forgotten.

Silent Confession

We have believed and been formed by lies, Father. Confirm us in the truth of your gospel and conform us to the image of your Son. Use this confession and the songs that we sing to do so, amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Our mouths they were filled, filled with laughter
Our tongues they were loosed, loosed with joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord

 

Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy

 

The nations will say, “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord

05.27.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: Some of us are rule-followers, some are rule-breakers, but most of us have a difficult relationship with authority. Examples of the abuse of authority are ubiquitous, whether in political leadership or in family life. Is there an authority we can trust? How would we relate to a good and benevolent authority that had our best interest in mind? Would we be willing to give up our own authority and submit? Come hear what Jesus had to say about his own authority this week as we continue our series on the Gospel of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTION:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Y.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 5:1-2; 7; 20-21

5 Let me sing for my beloved

   my love song concerning his vineyard:

My beloved had a vineyard

   on a very fertile hill.

2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,

   and planted it with choice vines;

he built a watchtower in the midst of it,

   and hewed out a wine vat in it;

and he looked for it to yield grapes,

   but it yielded wild grapes.

 

7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts

   is the house of Israel,

and the men of Judah

   are his pleasant planting;

and he looked for justice,

   but behold, bloodshed;

for righteousness,

   but behold, an outcry!

 

20 Woe to those who call evil good

   and good evil,

who put darkness for light

   and light for darkness,

who put bitter for sweet

   and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,

   and shrewd in their own sight!

 

 

Mark 11:27-33; 12:1-12

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected

   has become the cornerstone;

11 this was the Lord’s doing,

   and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

 

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:

05.20.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: This Sunday we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We will consider the extent of God’s mission and our participation in it. Come and hear what God says to his people from the book of Mark.

 

 

REFLECTION:

We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.

—John R.W. Stott

 

SCRIPTURE:

Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-11

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

 

Mark 11:12-25

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.

20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Our God, we come in humility, confessing who and what we are.
We are often unresponsive, for we are afraid.

When your Spirit speaks,

we turn deaf ears, for we fear what you might call us to do.

When your Spirit touches our lips,

we close our mouths, embarrassed to speak your Word.

When the wind of your Spirit blows,

we close the windows of our hearts, afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives.

When the fire of your Spirit touches us,

we quench the flame, afraid of the new life it might bring.

 

Forgive us, O Lord. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Verse 1

Do you feel the world is broken? We do
Do you feel the shadows deepen? We do
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? We do
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? We do

Verse 2

Is all creation groaning? It is
Is a new creation coming? It is
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? It is
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? It is

PreChorus 1

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s Root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Chorus 1

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
He is

Verse 3

Does the Father truly love us? He does
Does the Spirit move among us? He does
And does Jesus our Messiah hold forever those He loves? He does
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? He does

PreChorus 2

From ev’ry people and tribe
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom and priests
To God to reign with the Son

Chorus 2

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
He is, He is, He is

05.13.2018

 

SERMON SUMMARY: It’s easy to serve our own needs, isn’t it? After all, they are immediate and instinctive. If we are hungry, we eat; thirsty, we drink; tired, we sleep. But to consider the needs of another takes work. It takes putting your own needs on hold until the other has been served. Mark tells us that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve his people. He calls some leaders in the church to be lead-servants by modeling service in the way of the Cross. These leaders are called Deacons, and this Sunday we will be ordaining two deacons to lead us in serving.

 

 

REFLECTION:

The world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation.

—David Foster Wallace

 

SCRIPTURE:

Mark 10:32–45

32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

Ordination Text: John 13:3–5; 12–14

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

 

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

You have told us, O God, what is good;

And what do you require of us but

to do justice,

and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with our God?

We have not listened to you, O God.

Instead, we have

neglected justice,

and spurned kindness,

and proudly walked alone.

 

Silent confession

 

In your mercy, hear our cry.

Forgive our sins and give us ears to hear and believe.