36 East Victoria St.
Santa Barbara




SERMON SUMMARY: A taste of glory, in this world we all want it in some way; a little fame, distinction, kudos, or acclaim. We want it in our vocations, among our friends, and with our family members, could it also be true that we want it in our relationship with God? Come this Sunday to find out about glory and how it plays out in this life.





No man ought to look for anything in heaven but what one way or other he hath some experience of in this life.

—John Owen


Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?

—Marilynne Robinson, Gilead


And since the glory of [God’s] power and wisdom shine more brightly above, heaven is often called his palace [Ps. 11:4]. Yet … wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of his glory. You cannot in one glance survey this most vast and beautiful system of the universe, in its wide expanse, without being completely overwhelmed by the boundless force of its brightness. … Certainly however much the glory of God shines forth, scarcely one man in a hundred is a true spectator of it.

—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion




Exodus 24:1-2; 9-18

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.”

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.

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.


Mark 9:2-13

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”




God of glory,

You are the fountain of all life and the true home of every heart.


We confess that we have loved other things more than you.

We have sought power, position, authority, and recognition.


We confess that we have not loved you with our whole hearts.

We have doubted your goodness, love, kindness, and mercy.


We confess that we have wanted the benefits of following you without the cost.  

We have refused to deny ourselves, speak up, and take action.







SERMON SUMMARY: We spend our lives in the illusive pursuit of glory. Jesus offers us glory that lasts forever, but there’s a catch—it costs us everything we have. Come learn more as we continue to study the gospel of Mark.




Whoever is desirous of saving his life, let him strive for victory; for it is the victors that slay and the defeated that are slain.

―Xenophon of Athens, Anabasis, 370 B.C.


Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.

―Augustine, Confessions



Psalm 63

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,

my lips will praise you.

4 So I will bless you as long as I live;

in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

6 when I remember you upon my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

7 for you have been my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

8 My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek to destroy my life

shall go down into the depths of the earth;

10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;

they shall be a portion for jackals.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God;

all who swear by him shall exult,

for the mouths of liars will be stopped.


Mark 8:31–9:1

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”




Most merciful God
whose Son, Jesus Christ, was tempted in every way, yet was 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.

–silent confession–


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.








SERMON SUMMARY: What sort of salvation are you looking for? We often misinterpret Jesus’ saving mission when we don’t understand what we need saving from. Come learn more as we continue to study the gospel of Mark.




It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things; but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.

―C. S. Lewis


You who think of sin but lightly

Nor suppose the evil great

Here may view its nature rightly,

Here its guilt may estimate.

—Thomas Kelly


When are we closest to God? When we see ourselves as we really are.

―Fleming Rutledge




Daniel 7:1, 9–10, 13–14

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.

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.

13 … 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 8:27-33

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”




Father, you have shown us the way of life through your Son, Jesus Christ.

We confess that we are slow to learn from him,

reluctant to follow him,

and hesitant to tell others about him.

–silent confession–


Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us. Renew us by your Holy Spirit and make us more like Jesus.








SERMON SUMMARY: We are all affected by our possessions, whether they are expensive or not, new or old, abundant or scarce. We tend to find ourselves looking to them as our source of happiness. Come this Sunday to see what Matthew 19 has to say about where we ought to put our trust.




All men seek happiness, this is without exception. Whatever different means they do employ all tend to this end.

—Blaise Pascal


Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.

― Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project 


Jesus is a teacher, especially in Matthew, but Jesus is first and last a Lord, and, in fact, only when Jesus’ lordship is accepted will his teaching be able to be followed.

—Frederick Dale Bruner



Psalm 37:4-7, 23-26

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,

   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;

   trust in him, and he will act.

6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

   and your justice as the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;

   fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,

   over the man who carries out evil devices!


23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,

   when he delights in his way;

24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,

   for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,

   yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

   or his children begging for bread.

26 He is ever lending generously,

   and his children become a blessing.


Matthew 19:16-30

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,] when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[c] and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.




God, you ask us to place our complete trust in you.

Forgive us for putting our hope in possessions.

-silent confession-


Lord, you ask us to be rich in good deeds.

Forgive us for our lack of generosity.

-silent confession-


God, have mercy on us and enable us to entrust ourselves to you.

For Christ’s sake, amen.




SERMON SUMMARY: If we understand that God is in control of all things, how are we to make sense of being responsible for our lives and making plans for the future? Come this Sunday to hear what God’s word says from the book of James.




Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.


James 4:13-17

13  Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.




God of grace,
we confess that we have elevated
the things of this world above you.

We have made idols of possessions and people
and used your name for causes
that are not consistent with you and your purposes.

We have permitted our schedules to come first
and have made plans for our life according to our own interests.

Lord, and giver of life,
Forgive us for living as if our plans are certain
and as if we control the future.
Help us to learn to follow you. Amen




SERMON SUMMARY: We are made to remember; we make scrapbooks, take photos, keep genealogies, and retell stories, and yet we easily forget. Not only do we forget what others have done for us, we forget God and all he has accomplished. Come this Sunday as we take time to remember God and his faithfulness.



Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.

–Joyce Brothers


Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.

–Henri Nouwen



1 Chronicles 16:12-34

12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,

   his miracles and the judgments he uttered,

13 O offspring of Israel his servant,

   children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

14 He is the Lord our God;

   his judgments are in all the earth.

15 Remember his covenant forever,

   the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,

   his sworn promise to Isaac,

17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

   to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,

   as your portion for an inheritance.”

19 When you were few in number,

   of little account, and sojourners in it,

20 wandering from nation to nation,

   from one kingdom to another people,

21 he allowed no one to oppress them;

   he rebuked kings on their account,

22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,

   do my prophets no harm!”

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!

   Tell of his salvation from day to day.

24 Declare his glory among the nations,

   his marvelous works among all the peoples!

25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,

   and he is to be feared above all gods.

26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

   but the Lord made the heavens.

27 Splendor and majesty are before him;

   strength and joy are in his place.

28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

   bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

30     tremble before him, all the earth;

   yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,

   and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

   let the field exult, and everything in it!

33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy

   before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

   for his steadfast love endures forever!




Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin.


For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned,

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence

and blameless when you pass judgment.


You desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.


Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.




SERMON SUMMARY: In a culture dominated with soundbites, instant cocoa, and same day delivery, we can find it difficult to wait. We are impatient with the longer, slower, but complete results of writing, training for a marathon, or cooking from scratch. How does this desire for instant gratification play into our relationship with Jesus. Come this Sunday to find out as we continue our series in Mark.



A true genius admits that he knows nothing.

― Albert Einstein


I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.

― Abraham Lincoln


Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond understanding!

—Romans 11:33


For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

—1 Corinthians 13:12



Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

   the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

2 it shall blossom abundantly

   and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

   the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands,

   and make firm the feeble knees.

4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,

   “Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

   will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

   He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,

   and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness,

   and streams in the desert;

7 the burning sand shall become a pool,

   and the thirsty ground springs of water;

in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,

   the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there,

   and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;

the unclean shall not pass over it.

   It shall belong to those who walk on the way;

   even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]

9 No lion shall be there,

   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;

they shall not be found there,

   but the redeemed shall walk there.

10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return

   and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

   they shall obtain gladness and joy,

   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


Mark 8:22–26

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”




Our Father,

Forgive us for thinking small thoughts of you

and for ignoring your immensity and greatness.

Lord Jesus,

Forgive us when we forget that you rule

the nations and our small lives.

Holy Spirit,

Forgive us for minimizing your power

and squandering your gifts.


Triune God, We confess that our blindness to your glory has resulted in shallow confession, tepid conviction, and only mild repentance.


Have mercy upon us;

in Jesus’ name, amen.





SERMON SUMMARY: Christians often pray to God as “Father”, but do we really trust in his fatherly love for us? What would it look like to truly live as a “child” of God? Come and learn more as Pastor Joshua Burdette teaches from Romans 8.



The story of paradise lost becoming paradise regained is the story of God’s grace bringing us from alienation from him to membership in his family. God’s grace restores us to what Adam lost for us – sonship to the God who made us, loves us, and provides for us in every detail in life.

—Sinclair B. Ferguson


How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

—Stuart Townend


Psalm 69:1-3,13-16, 30-33

Save me, O God!

   For the waters have come up to my neck.

2 I sink in deep mire,

   where there is no foothold;

I have come into deep waters,

   and the flood sweeps over me.

3 I am weary with my crying out;

   my throat is parched.

My eyes grow dim

   with waiting for my God.


13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.

   At an acceptable time, O God,

   in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.

14 Deliver me

   from sinking in the mire;

let me be delivered from my enemies

   and from the deep waters.

15 Let not the flood sweep over me,

   or the deep swallow me up,

   or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;

   according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.


30 I will praise the name of God with a song;

   I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

31 This will please the Lord more than an ox

   or a bull with horns and hoofs.

32 When the humble see it they will be glad;

   you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

33 For the Lord hears the needy

   and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.


Romans 8:14-17

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.




Father, giver of all life, you fearfully and wonderfully made us;

But we confess that we often refuse to honor and thank you as our Creator.


Holy Spirit, you have given us a new identity in Christ;

But we confess we are hard hearted and prone to seek comfort in idols.


Lord, you nurture and care for us as a loving parent;

But we confess we reject your love and turn from your comforting voice.


God, have mercy on us, and pardon us through Jesus Christ, our Savior.






SERMON SUMMARY: R.E.M. put to song what we all know by way of personal experience: “Everybody hurts.” Sometimes the pain is so real and so deep that we have a hard time focusing or seeing a path out. Confusion sets in, then hopelessness. Where in this hurting world can we find healing? Is there a path to life? Come this Sunday as we look at John chapter 1.




Isaiah 9:1-7

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.[b]

2 [c] 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.

4 For the yoke of his burden,

   and the staff for his shoulder,

   the rod of his oppressor,

   you have broken as on the day of Midian.

5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult

   and every garment rolled in blood

   will be burned as fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born,

   to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder,

   and his name shall be called[e]

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.


John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[e] 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[f] who is at the Father’s side,[g] he has made him known.




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.”

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.

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 and live as beacons of light in this dark world, ever-waiting for your glorious return! Come, Lord Jesus.





SERMON SUMMARY: If we are honest, there are short, and sometimes long periods of time in our life when our circumstances cause us to doubt whether or not God is in control of this world. Come this Sunday as we look again at the Christmas story in order to find comfort when we are filled with doubt and fear.



Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

—Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost


We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

—T.S. Elliot


All men would be tyrants if they could.

—Daniel Defoe



Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

   for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

   till the storms of destruction pass by.

2 I cry out to God Most High,

   to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

3 He will send from heaven and save me;

   he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah


God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

4 My soul is in the midst of lions;

   I lie down amid fiery beasts—

the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,

   whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!

   Let your glory be over all the earth!

6 They set a net for my steps;

   my soul was bowed down.

They dug a pit in my way,

   but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah


7 My heart is steadfast, O God,

   my heart is steadfast!

I will sing and make melody!

8     Awake, my glory![b]

Awake, O harp and lyre!

   I will awake the dawn!

9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;

   I will sing praises to you among the nations.

10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,

   your faithfulness to the clouds.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!

   Let your glory be over all the earth!


Matthew 2:13-23

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”


19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.




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.”

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.

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.



“Joy has dawned upon the world,
Promised from creation—
God’s salvation now unfurled,
Hope for ev’ry nation.
Not with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love—
Jesus born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Cling now to a mother’s breast,
Vuln’rable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb,
Gazing at the glory;
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold—a King is born today,
Incense—God is with us,
Myrrh—His death will make a way,
And by His blood He’ll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom;
Reconciling God and man,
Christ, our mighty champion!
What a Savior! What a Friend!
What a glorious myst’ry!
Once a babe in Bethlehem,
Now the Lord of hist’ry.”