Sermons by Series
When we mistake God for an idol, we can falsely believe that we are in some kind of “quid pro quo” relationship with God. That goes something like this, “I give God, and his representations–the church, my money, in return I get blessings, good health, and prosperity in my life.”
Friends, God isn’t an idol, he’s alive and he invites us to be in relationship with him. And when you find yourself in a relationship with someone and they need you, you might be willing to help them, even if that help comes at a great personal cost to you.
Maybe you have this picture of God? This picture works like this: God is the boss, we are his workers doing his will on the earth. Our payday and reward are the blessings in our lives. So, when things go wrong in our lives, it’s a direct result and consequence of our failure to do our job.
With this picture of God, we are forced to make everything that happens in life make sense. Surely, a good God wants to bless his people, take care of them, and make sure their lives work. What we are really saying is, “God, since we work for you, you should protect us and our stuff from everything that is bad.” This view forces us to understand that when bad things happen, God must be using these bad things to punish us for failing to do our jobs.
Into this view of the world, Jesus has something to say.
As we make our way in this series, our main aim is help us create space to see, experience, and wake up to God’s invitation to become a people of peace, justice, and mercy in an unstable world. This sermon series isn’t designed to advance any particular political agenda or try to detail a biblical response to every social ill or problem. Imagine with me what might happen within us if we allowed the seeds of justice, peace, and mercy to take root in our lives and the way we walk out our faith? How might we understand and inhabit the Gospel or think biblically about the social issues of the day? That’s what we are hoping to do, plant some seeds.
Christmas Day is one of the most significant events in the history of the world. God took on flesh and was born into this world! And yet, with our overloaded schedules, every year it is easy to lose the true meaning of Christmas because we’re so busy going shopping and attending parties. We might slow down enough to go to church on Christmas Eve, but that’s about it. This year we want things to be different. That’s why we created this handout... to guide you during the four weeks of Advent. May this entire December and Christmas Day itself never be the same for you.
Jonah is the fifth in the collection of the minor prophets. Yet Jonah stands as one of the most familiar and popular books of the Bible–often finding its way into most children’s bibles. Any familiarity with Jonah shouldn’t cause us to quickly dismiss Jonah assuming its just a kid’s story ignoring the rich complexity this story offers with notes of compassion, mercy, and second chances, all of which together nudge us towards reconciliation with ourselves, each other, and God.
What We Presently Believe Is Not True. - An Invitation to Leave the Ordinary World
What we presently believe about the kingdom of God is not true. Some of us might imagine harps, clouds, and angel choirs when we hear the “kingdom of God” because we have been trained to only think of heaven or the kingdom of God as the place we go when we die. But for Jesus, the kingdom of God was the place where God ruled and reigned. It’s not the place we go, it’s the place that comes to us.
Jesus offers us a gift–an invitation to live life in community with him and his Father. Jesus knows there is a better way to live than being selfish and possessive, so he resists the empire’s invitation to go it alone. Instead, he gathers a faith network to share his life with, and in doing so, he makes space in his relationship with God that allows those he invites to look in on what a life infused by the ever-present, ever-speaking, ever-loving God looks like.
Over the next several weeks, Nigel Berry, our youth director, and I will preach in a sermon series we are calling “The Story of Us: The Parables of Jesus.” Each week, we will anchor ourselves within a Parable of Jesus.
We’re launching a new sermon series this morning, called, “Mirror Mirror, The Art of Being Yourself.” For this series, we will hang out with Simon, who later becomes Peter, as he and others have powerful encounters with the living God who reveals that we aren’t who we think we are. As we wrestle with this series, we are having a blast getting to know Peter, as revealed in scripture, he’s quite a character. He is the only other fully formed character in the Gospels next to Jesus. He was the first to be called by name. We find him passionate, yet very genuine. By following Peter through all his ups and downs, bad choices and good ones, his authenticity, his realization of who he really was, we get to know and understand Jesus and ourselves too. This gets us started on our own journey of self-discovery, which intersections with a good and beautiful God who sees us, accepts us, loves us, and forgives us.
Simplify: Making Room for God. Today marks the first Sunday in Lent–the time in the liturgical calendar where Christians all over the world prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter. Our Lenten journey together will take 40 days. Technically, Lent is 46 days before Easter, since most faith traditions skip the Sundays, that’s how we get to 40 days.