Sermons

Current Series

It's Time

I have often thought that those who wear a digital watch really are those who need to know what time it is and those who wear an analogue watch are those who need to know how much time they have left.  At least, that is how I have been about what type of watch I wear.  How many times a day do you check your watch or your phone?  Does it depend whether or not it is a work day or a weekend?  Do you feel yourself always wondering, “How much time until….?”  Does time really matter to you at all?  Or maybe, as the new year approaches, you are feeling like it is simply time to do something!  Perhaps you are tired of a habit, a way of life, a thought pattern, or something else that makes you finally stop and say, “IT’S TIME.”

As we stride into 2022, we will look at some things that could conceivably alter the way you live into this new year.  We won’t concern ourselves with diet plans, or exercise strategies, or things that we hardly ever succeed at in any way.  Let’s take a deep dive into how we exercise our spiritual life.  Let's take a deeper look into those things that nourish our souls.  Let’s talk about how we might transform our lives in a way that might make an eternal difference.  

Come Darkness, Come Light

Images of light and darkness are common and meaningful themes in the Bible.  In the very opening lines of the Bible, we find these two forces in play, seemingly pitted against one another.  But in the end, light overcomes the darkness.  In our world, we might think of darkness as evil, scary, painful, and void of joy and hope.  None of us like the thought of being in the dark, left alone to deal with darkness, or experiencing spirituality, what some have called the dark night of the soul.  The reality is that  darkness is simply the absence of light.  So how do we maintain light so that we have no darkness?  Or is darkness necessary so that we appreciate light?  

As we begin our journey into the four weeks of Advent, preparing for the celebration of Christmas, the coming of light into the world in the form of the Christ-child, we will explore darkness and light in ways that help us prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, or as the Apostle John writes, “the light that shines in the darkness.” John 1:5a

You are probably decorating your house with lights this season.  Perhaps you are adorning your Christmas tree with lights of a variety of colors.  If you have a mantle, maybe you have placed lights there also to help bring in the light of the season.  However you choose to light up your house, don’t forget to invite the Holy Light into your home, your family, your soul, and yes, even into those darkest of places that fill all our lives.  

Feed My Sheep
The Bible talks a lot about shepherds feeding and caring for sheep, sheep being lost and found, and sheep needing guidance. Seemingly simple metaphors sometimes result in us “modern” folk thinking we already have it all figured out.
But when we take a deeper look, there are more questions to be asked:
Who are the “sheep?” Is it me, us, them?
And how do we care for these sheep?
Do we get to decide who the sheep are and how we care for them?
How do we move past the transactional and take the time to listen and walk alongside?
And, the big one: how are we preparing our hearts and minds for the practical and spiritual work that God wants us to do as individuals and as a faith community?
For the Bible Tells Me So

Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian Henri Nouwen said, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”  It is a struggle to choose joy all the time every day!

We reciprocate love for God and each other in all the ways we show up, are faithful, and offer gifts and talents to be used to further the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. We choose joy because of the emotion we feel watching children parade up to the altar for children’s time as we excitedly and anxiously await their beautiful thoughts and questions. We choose joy because we have the honor to celebrate the lives of loved ones as we say farewell to them, if only for a little while. We choose joy seeing young people grappling with their faith, asking tough questions, and then claiming their faith through Confirmation. We choose joy, but the underpinning of our joy comes from the one relationship that never fails or falters, never waivers or ends, and never lets us down. That relationship is with God, experienced through the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In our new worship series, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” we focus on the things of faith and church and of God that bring joy, and how our gifts for ministry bring joy to others. The value of our gift is not in the amount, but in the heart with which it is given. We never take for granted the sacrifice we make to God to ensure the ministries of His son, Jesus Christ, are carried out through our Holy Spirited hands and feet. Whatever gift you have to offer, do so with generosity and joy - our relationship with the Savior the kindles joy in our lives.

Reflect, Reclaim, & Renew
All of us have suffered some sort of loss in our lives. Whether it be the loss of a beloved friend or family member to death or betrayal, the loss of a dream, the loss of health, or anything else that was and is no more. Before we, as individuals, can continue effectively functioning in our life-after-loss, we need to pause and reflect.
After reflecting, how do we get back lost time? How can we rekindle relationships? How do we regain momentum? And what about those who were taken from us way too soon and without the opportunity to engage in a proper celebration of their lives? To reclaim these and the other losses doesn’t mean that we do not remember, recall, or recollect. Part of reclaiming is to do all these things. But it also means something even more challenging: to envision, imagine, and visualize the new thing that God is raising up in us and in our church body. We will bring with us, into this new thing, the lessons, memories, and some activities from the past, but the end result will be something new and exciting.
Every so often we must renew things in our life: subscriptions to magazines, gym memberships, or even our driver's license. If you are like me, I have most of these on auto-renewal. If we are not careful, the spiritual life we have subscribed to when we claimed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, can begin to feel like it is on auto-renewal as well. We don’t give much thought to the terms and conditions of the cost of our salvation, much less the fine print (my Bible has small letters) of the covenant, and perhaps we also need to re-examine the vows we took when we said, “I do, I will , or I believe.” A re-commitment doesn’t have to be a daunting task - renewal can be an exciting, life-giving opportunity!
Who Is Jesus?

Current Worship Series

Who is Jesus? Liar, Lunatic, or Lord.

In one of his greatest writings, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes this about who Jesus was:  “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Walking with his disciples one day, Jesus asked the straightforward question, “Who do people say that I am?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  Then he asked a heart-stopping question.  He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Who do you say that Jesus is?  That question might very well determine how you express, live-out, and demonstrate your faith to an ever-watchful world.  Over the next 8 weeks, we will explore this question in our new sermon series, Who is Jesus? Liar, Lunatic, or Lord.  

Turning Points

How do you build a church? The Book of Acts explains to us the ups and downs of the very first church, the community of faith that Jesus set the disciples up to create in his name.

He didn’t give them a handbook for what was to come, but he did give them a few rules - love God and love others - and a purpose: “... you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” - Acts 1:8b

And they would do this by the power of the Holy Spirit, which would bind them together as a family in the name of God. Still, they would run into their issues as the church formed:

Who can join up? How do we deal with opposition? What do we do with our enemies? How do we do life together?

As we continue into a season of reclamation, as we lean into hope as Easter People, as the world returns to health, what can the formation of the first church tell us about what God wants to do with us today?  How do the turning points of the first church’s story coincide with the issues we encounter in this place and time as we rebuild and encounter God moment by moment? Join us as we explore "Turning Points: Moments That Made the First Church."