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08.06.2017

 

Sermon Summary: God’s love for us brings beauty to life and also calls for a response from us. How do we respond to this love and pursue the beauty? Join us Sunday as we consider this together.

 

Passage to Consider: 1 John 4:7-16

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

 

Confession of Sin:

Merciful God,
you pardon all who truly repent and turn to you.

We humbly confess our sins and ask your mercy.
We have not loved you with a pure heart,
nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves.
We have not done justice, loved kindness,
or walked humbly with you, our God.

Have mercy on us, O God, in your loving-kindness.
In your great compassion,
cleanse us from our sin.

Create in us a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within us.
Do not cast us from your presence,
or take your Holy Spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation
and sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

—based on Psalm 51:10-12

 

07.30.2017

 

Sermon Summary: It is evident that our world is at the same time both beautiful and needing restoration. It is tempting to right wrongs in ways that reject God’s plan for the renewal of all things. Come join us this week as we look at what it means to receive God’s blessing from Genesis chapter 27.

 

Passage to Consider: Genesis 27:1-6, 8-13, 18-19, 26-29

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau,

8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.”

18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.”

26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said,

“See, the smell of my son
is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed!
28 May God give you of the dew of heaven
and of the fatness of the earth
and plenty of grain and wine.
29 Let peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

 

Confession of Sin:

Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from the grave
and crowned him Lord of all.

We confess that we have not bowed before him
Or acknowledged his rule in our lives.
We have gone along with the way of the world
And failed to give him glory.
Forgive us and raise us from sin,
That we may be your faithful people,
Obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who rules the world and is head of the church, his body. 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, steadfastBy 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, steadfastI 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)

07.23.2017

 

Sermon Summary: How do you respond when pain, loneliness, and confusion persists? Where is God in these times? Join us this Sunday as we look at Genesis 16 and see how God meets us in our isolation and shame.

 

Passage to Consider: Genesis 16:1-10

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
7 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”

 

Confession of Sin:

God, you are holy, filled with mercy and steadfast love.

Forgive us for preferring our own ways,
for rebelling against you,
and for rejecting your guidance.

-Silent Confession-

Father, hear us when we pour out our sorrows,
enable us to trust your promises to us,
and to believe you will provide all we need. 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, steadfastBy 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, steadfastI 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)

07.16.2017

 

Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos.

—Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

The wind and the waves recognized Jesus’ voice. They had heard it before, of course, when he spoke them into being.

—Sally Lloyd Jones, Jesus Storybook Bible

For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is— limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.

—Dorothy Sayers

 

Sermon Summary: We may confess with our mouths that God is all powerful, but when we are pressed beyond our resources, do our lives reflect faith in his sovereign power and love, or do they reveal a reliance on our own strength? Come and hear more from the gospel of Mark this Sunday.

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Confession of Sin:

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.

We have neither honored you as God, nor given you thanks.

Father, in your mercy, forgive us.

We have been quick to condemn our neighbors, while ignoring our own need for you.

Jesus, in your mercy, forgive us.

We have trusted in our own resources, rather than resting in your transforming grace.

Holy Spirit, in your mercy, forgive us.

Set us free from our sins and give us the grace to grow more into your likeness, through Jesus Christ.

Amen

 

Song to Consider

07.09.2017

 

And here in dust and dirt, O here, The lilies of his love appear.

—George Herbert, Overture: Lily Pads

 

Christianity is number 1 for a reason. That is a great story. And it is a reassuring story.

—Ira Glass

 

Sermon Summary: Jesus is often depicted as a meek and mild teacher. But his message was considered radical and provocative in his own day, confounding the conventional wisdom of the religious establishment. His words continue to upend our expectations and challenge our assumptions today. Why does Jesus teach this way? Come and find out more on Sunday as Kyle continues his sermon series in Mark.

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 4:1-20

1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

 

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 or trusted in his commands.

We have boasted in our own wisdom and failed to give him thanks.

We have been deaf to his call and blind to his work in our world.

(silent confession)

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

Amen.

07.02.2017

 

Whatever has happened in your family shapes you. Events that occurred long before your birth, never mentioned in your family during your lifetime, may influence you in powerful, though hidden, ways … Every fact of your family’s biography is part of the many-layered pattern that becomes your identity.

—Monica McGoldrick

Blood is thicker than water.

—Heinrich der Gleissner

The reality of the Christian world depends upon the presence of social structures within which this reality is taken for granted and within which successive generations of individuals are socialized in such a way that this world will be real to them. When this plausibility structure loses its intactness or continuity, the Christian world begins to totter and its reality ceases to impose itself as self-evident truth.

—Peter Berger

 

Sermon Summary: With whom do you identify? An age group, a profession, a particular style? This Sunday we will look at what Jesus says about who we ought to identify with in this life.

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 3:13-19, 31-35

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder);18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot,[a] 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers[b] are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

Confession of Sin:

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. Amen.

06.25.2017

 

[R]eligion poisons everything.

—Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great.

“Religion” is what we make it. It moves from the human being to God; the arrow points from earth to heaven. The key ingredient in religion is the spiritual capacity and development of the religious person. This is such a familiar idea to all of us, whether we are believers or not, that it comes as quite a shock to discover from the Scriptures of the Old and New testaments that God is not interested in religion.

—Fleming Rutledge, “No Religion Here Today”

 

Sermon Summary: Our lives are busy, and many people suffer from the lack of physical rest. But what about spiritual rest? Often we find ourselves equally exhausted from spiritual striving. Come this Sunday to hear what God has to say about true rest and where to find it.

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 2:18-3:6

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

 

Confession of Sin:

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

Forgive us for being reluctant to follow him because his ways disturb our religious practices.

Jesus, you showed us how to care for others and meet their needs.

Forgive us for being slow to learn from you because we are bound by our own laws and sense of righteousness.

Have mercy on us Lord, and forgive us.

Renew us by your Holy Spirit and make us more like Jesus. Amen

 

Songs to Consider:

06.18.2017

 

Sermon Summary: We often approach life with either fear or a tendency to fight, having forgotten that Christ is actively at work. As we remember that Jesus is our reigning king, we can ask, how can we follow where he leads without fear? How can we love one another?

 

Passage to Consider: Ephesians 4:1-10

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

 

Confession of Sin:

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,

We offend you in 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.

06.11.2017

 

I saw them eating and I knew who they were.

—Ancient Near Eastern Proverb

If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.

—Anonymous

The mafia and the church are the two places where you have to be bad to get in.

—John Sartelle

As holy as Jesus was and as righteous as He was, irreligious people were comfortable being with Him.

—Charlie Boyd

 

Sermon Summary: It seems that everything in our world requires some sort of qualification; “What are your qualifications? “Is she qualified for the job?”, “He qualified for the Olympics”. What about grace? What are the qualifications? Come this Sunday to hear what Jesus has to say about grace..

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 2:13–17

13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

Confession of Sin:

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 and mind and strength.

We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been,

help us amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be,

so that we may delight in your will

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your holy name.

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Song to Consider: Holy Hands

 

06.04.2017

 

Everybody needs a little forgiveness.

—Patty Griffin

I wished there existed someone to whom I could say that I was sorry.

—Thomas Fowler in The Quiet American, by Graham Greene

The historian…simply cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly, without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher of Nazareth of Galilee. Though He left no impress on the historical record of his time, more than nineteen hundred years later, a historian like myself who doesn’t even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this man.

—H.G. Wells

 

Sermon Summary: This Sunday we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As we consider the Spirit’s mission to build God’s kingdom, we also ask, what qualifies a person for life in the kingdom? Come and hear God’s Word from the book of Mark.

 

Passage to Consider: Mark 2:1–17

1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Confession of Sin:

Merciful God,

We humbly confess our sins and ask for your mercy.

We have not loved you with a pure heart.

We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.

We have not done justice, loved kindness,

or walked humbly with you.

(silent confession)

Have mercy on us, O God, and cleanse us from our sin.

Create in us a clean heart

and renew a right spirit within us.

Do not cast us from your presence,

or take your Holy Spirit from us.

Restore to us the joy of your salvation

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Song to Consider: There is Power in the Blood