Sunday, December 27, 2015

Permanent Advent

Psalm 91:9–12

Mark 1:1–20

Ask yourself, “What is it time for?” The answer does not come from the watch or the calendar. It comes from Discernment of the Spirit: asking, What is this moment for? We waited through Advent. What would it be like to wait without a calendar? Fulfillment would not be a chronological point in time, but a Kairos moment. The good news of the gospel is that the Sacred comes into our lives in Kairos moments which we recognize by being open and ready. Like Advent—open, prepared, and ready—all the time. What is it time for now?


Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Posture of Love

What will it take for us to truly believe in what God has proclaimed and called us to do? Shall we stand in disbelief as Zechariah did and end up rendered mute and unable to speak aloud? This story reminds us of the importance in listening to God and others, trusting in God and acting in faith. let us explore the posture of love so that we too can receive light and be guided in the ways of peace and love.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Journey to Joy

This Sunday is the Christmas Pageant. The Kids' Church will lead us through the story of The Jesse Tree which tells the story leading up to Jesus Birth. It shares the story of the faithful people who came before. This will be a day of pageantry and joy as we sing and laugh together. Because of the interactive nature of this service, there is no formal sermon or recording of the Pageant.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Welcoming Peace

Isaiah 40:1-11 • Promise of restoration

After so many years of suffering the brutality of exile, the people of Israel are confronted with the prospect of restoration and a message of comfort from the Prophet. What a message of “Peace” for our second Sunday of Advent! Not such an easy thing, to let Peace into our hearts and into a world in which “comfort” has been so far away. Yet it is not us who makes this change—it is God who “relents” of the harshness of the sentence. It is a moment of mercy from a God who truly cannot stop loving the beloved children of Life.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Daring Hope

2 Kings 22:1–10; 23:1–3 • Finding the book of the law

The beginning of Advent is a time for repentance, longing, and new hope -- the renewal of hope. The story in Kings of Josiah's reform was just such a time -- the rediscovery of the true foundation of the covenant relationship with their God. This mysterious story shapes us in readiness for the opportunity of a New Covenant relationship that is about to be forged by the ultimate mediator between humanity and God.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Life Cycles of Faith

Isaiah 5:1-7; 11: 1-5  Israel as a vineyard.

The scriptures remind us that when trying to grow something there is no guarantee that it will be fruitful. Finding the right seeds, and ensuring that the soil is enriched and prepared, and that the seeds receive the right sunlight and water is challenging. Our faith is no different. There are times when it feels like things are growing stronger and that this will be the best harvest yet, and then there are the setbacks. How will we keep the faith in times of transitions? How will we embrace moments of failure and learn from them?
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bonds of Love

Hosea 11:1–9 Yahweh’s love for Israel

Imagine a God who knows that Love is more powerful than even his fury, even destruction. We sometimes think that compassion is only in the New Testament, but that is wrong. The Old Testament prophets were the ones who discerned the intentions of Yahweh. They knew His compassion; they knew His love, His everlasting devotion to His own children. They knew His longing for their well-being. How, today, do we open our hearts being loved so deeply and so profoundly by our own God?

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

True Prophet

1 Kings 18:20–39 • Prophets of Baal defeated on Mt Carmel

Elijah was the Father of all Prophecy. The life and power of this ancient prophet continued to inspire throughout the generations. The dramatic success of that mountain-top experience drove Elijah to the depths of his soul—a wilderness from which he emerged with a new sense of direction and God’s purpose for his life. And so today, we look to discern the ways in which the power of God can be released in our world and all might be chanels of true prophetic power.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

In the Power of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 16:13–24 • Stand firm in the faith

Paul enjoins his followers to “be strong.” The Jedi knights in Star Wars are trained in using the strength of “the force.” Finding and cultivating our strength or our power is a central motif to many primary stories and also to the Gospel, itself. Paul speaks a lot about strength and weakness; and the Church today is searching for its power in a changing world. Stewardship is about empowering the Church to become all that it is called to be.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Called to lead in spite of weaknesses

Psalm 150  Praise the Lord
2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5

David Anointed King Called to lead in spite of weaknesses In these scriptures David becomes King over all Israel. David also brings the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. David worships God with joy and reckless abandon. What qualities are important to us in a leader? What qualities are important in a leader to achieve God's purpose and mission in the world?
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Walls That Divide

Ruth 1:1-17 Ruth and Naomi

These stories of crossing the boundary -- both ethnic and geographical -- between Judah and Moab, once out of dire and bitter necessity, and once out of loving loyalty. Both are expressions of deep courage and wisdom on the part of two women whose stories became a crucial ingredient in the formulation of Israel's identity. Now, thousands of years later, we are still touched by these stories and these profound words. What does this say about our identity and the life to which the Spirit calls us?

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Remember, Practice, Interrupt and Praise

Deuteronomy 5: 1-21; 6:4-9 . 10 Commandments

As faithful followers we have been given a set of commandments (rules or guidelines) to live by. We are in a covenant relationship with God which requires us to interrupt our daily routines to remember God's promises, to practice what God commands of us and to take time to give thanks for all that God has done and given us in this life. The commandments provide us with the ability to be radically inclusive as a community. This will challenge some of our assumptions and some of our personal needs and values. On Thanksgiving Sunday we will discover what it takes to be a faith presence in this world as a testimony of our gratitude. listen view

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Whom Shall We Say?

Exodus 1:8–14; 3:1–15 • God calls Moses

We celebrate the presence of the Sacred who has many names, who has one name, who is not named. The Holy is present to us in ten thousand ways: in flame or wind, in song or silence, in word or action, in sorrow or joy. Moses discovers and presents “I am who I am” in a way that at once a profoundly new revelation and familiar from the beginning of time. We are challenged to embrace the Sacred, at once rooted to the core of our being, yet also blooming fresh before our eyes.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wrestling with God leads to Blessing

Genesis 32:22-30 Jacob Wrestles with God
Romans 9:1-5 Speak the truth in Christ

The story of Jacob wrestling with God is a good reminder that one's faith journey isn't always easy and like Jacob we should never give up. Over the past several weeks we have heard stories that call us to share. We are called to share ourselves, our questions, our gifts, and our faith stories with each other. When we do this, like Jacob we will be blessed. We will explore different ways of sharing and being blessed while finding the strength to keep on wrestling with the challenges that we face day in and day out.

 This was a Whole Family Worship and thus the sermon time was very interactive. Therefore there is no recorded sermon for this week.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Laughing With Sarah

Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7 • Isaac born to Sarah

When Sarah hears that she is to bear a child in her old age she laughs. Laughter can express many things: derision or desdain, as well as humour or joy. The birth of a child can mean many things: family, fulfilment, promise, victory, acceptance, redemption. So Isaac is born to Sarah, and the story continues.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shared Blessing

Genesis 2:4b–25 • Creation of Man and Woman

The stories of Creation reflect the awareness of a common origin amoung the human family. As such, they give a foundation from which to affirm, and indeed to cultivate the recognition of ourselves in one another—the hope of unity and peace in our world. Today, more than ever before, we long for the way to unity, peace, and global community. So we look again for wisdom in the stories of “the time when Yahweh God made erth and heaven.” What is the secret of peace for you?

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Let's get our act together!

Ecclesiastes 4: 1-16 The Value of a Friend

As we move into the fall and another exciting year of programming we hear wisdom in the words of the author of Ecclesiastes a name which is derived from the Hebrew Qoheleth. In Hebrew the root qhl has to do with an assembly or congregation (an "ecclesia") The name, Ecclesiastes, then would seem to mean "leader of the assembly." As we come together as the assembled body of Christ how will we work together in a spirit of friendship, in a spirit of comradery, in a spirit that values working together, in a spirit of discernment where we make wise choices together?

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thou shalt not turn away from God!

Jeremiah 17: 5-10 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord
Luke 6: 17-26 Beatitudes

Jeremiah pronounces a curse on those who focus on the human, who trust in what we are able to do, who take their cues from personal desire. We are being called to re-evaluate how we are living our lives, to re-evaluate what we value, and discern the difference between what we need and what we desire; what we are called to do and what do we desire to do? It is when we turn to God that we are blessed. listenview

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Power in Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 • Power made perfect in weakness

Paul describes how his strength has arisen from his (unnamed) affliction or weakness. Though it not something he would ever choose, he has experienced it transformed into something beneficial. Where have you experienced “strength in weakness”? What does it take for us to recognize opportunities for transformation of weakness into strength?

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

To proclaim and to provide - that is what is required.

Isaiah 61: 1-11 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me

As the national meeting of the United Church comes to an end and we prepare for another 3 years of living out our decisions, we find ourselves asking where is God leading us? This scripture from Isaiah invited us to ask the hard question, what is The United Church of Canada and more specifically Robertson-Wesley United Church doing in the world, in this community, and in this neighbourhood? How are we proclaiming the God's good news of transformation?

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Practising Eternity

2 Corinthians 5:1–8 • Faith is our guide

Paul describes life as a process of letting go and embracing. It is like changing clothes -- taking off the old clothes and putting on something different. The old is this world; the new is eternity. Once again, this wisdom for life is transformative, not rigid and static. Every time we let go, there is something to embrace. What are you letting go? What are you embracing? How is Eternity embracing you?

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Stewards of a New Church

Isaiah 43: 1-21 I have called you by your name, you are mine.

 Do not remember the things of old for I am about to do something new. The United Church of Canada will be holding General Council 42 from Aug 8-15 in Corner Brook Newfoundland. This is our national gathering where one of the major proposals is the consideration of a new structure for our church. Isaiah can provide us with comfort today as we reflect on story of God's people and their exile. We know that exile has raised some important questions: Where was God in the midst of disaster? What kind of a future did the chosen people of God have now? These questions resonate with us today as we seek to discern where God is leading us as a church.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Death Swallowed Up In Victory

1 Corinthians 15:35–44 • the Resurrection body

We don't often address the penetrating mystery of resurrection of the body. Paul is speaking into the mystery, not simplistic metaphysics, and this opens for us the possibility of embracing resurrection as "death swallowed up in victory": the breaking of the powers of death and the victory of Life!

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thread of Life

1 Corinthians 12:27—13:13 • Gifts of the Spirit

Living the gifts of the spirit is following the silver thread through life. when couples marry, they always know this, because they have been led to this place and receive one another as gift. we start out in life trusting, and need only to continue in that trust, even though our lives might not even stay on the same path. What gifts have you received? And how do those gifts guide you through life?

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Discerning the Body

1 Corinthians 11:17–34 • The Lord’s table

The sacrament takes us beyond all the divisions and competition to a deep discernment of the body. Body can be understood both as "my body which is for you" and as the church which is the Body of Christ. Sustaining this perception is perhaps the functional importance of doing this "in remembrance of me". As we take the Body into ourselves, how are we received into the Body?

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Do the ends justify the means?

Genesis 24: 1-4, 10-21
Rebekah - when we first encounter Rebekah we are struck by her courage, her faith, her beauty, her kindness and her hospitality. She becomes Isaac's wife and lands herself in a very dysfunctional family. By the end of Rebekah's story, she is seen as deceitful and a liar. It appears that Rebekah uses questionable means to achieve divine ends, but do the ends justify the means? Is she really one of the bad girls of the bible? How do we know that we have discerned the will of God? Will we make good choices, or will our circumstances effect our judgement?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How do we love and serve others?

Genesis 4: 1-16 Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Cain - bad boy number 1. Cain has the distinction of being the first murderer in the Bible. This story calls on us to explore the consequences of how Cain deals with rejection, and the assumptions that Cain makes from a place of hurt. Cain's pain and subsequent actions are familiar to most of us in this world. Though we may not have chosen to murder, all too often we place blame or place our anger on the people closest to us rather than taking responsibility for our actions. How will our choices reflect love rather than hate, compassion rather than hurt as we answer God's call in this world? listen

Sunday, June 14, 2015

With power comes great responsibility

Judges 16 Samson and Delilah

 The story of Samson challenges us to explore the reality that we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Samson kept secrets, and had no self-control, yet God chose him as a leader. Why would God continue to support a man who was arrogant and lustful? Was Samson a Bad Boy of the Bible or was Delilah a Bad Girl or both? How will we answer our call from God? How will we address our weaknesses and how will we use our strength?

 This was a Whole Family Worship and thus there was no formal sermon.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Behind the mask of revenge

Mark 1: 1-8 John the Baptist
Matthew 14: 1-12 Beheading of John the Baptist

For the month of June we will explore stories of both women and men who have been proclaimed as the bad boys and bad girls of the Bible. Herodias, the bad girl for the day, is the wife of King Herod. Herodias is portrayed as a trickster, as vengeful, heartless and a determined woman. In contrast her husband Herod is seen as weak and impulsive and John the Baptist is of course is portrayed as virtuous, honourable, faithful and holy. But what lurks behind Herodias' mask? What would have led her to desire the head of John the Baptist? Is she heartless or hurt? We will explore anger, gossip, grudges and discrimination and seek our forgiveness, understanding and reconciliation.



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spirit of Truth

Luke 4:16-21 • Spirit of the Lord is upon me

John 15:26—16:15 • When the Helper comes

We see the trinity when Jesus talks of the “Father” and the “Spirit.” This is the living trinity, unencumbered by dogmatic formulation. The problem with the “doctrine of the Trinity” is not that there is a formulation, but the insistence that there be only on formulation—there are may ways to speak of these holy three. And yet perhaps the best way is through stories, such as these, of the living trinity.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Look of Church

Acts 2:1-4 . God pours the Spirit into our hearts

Galatians 4:1-7 . God sent his Son

Galatians 5:16-26 . Fruits of the Spirit

The season of Pentecost calls us to focus on living the Christ-life together. The look of the church in its inception and the look of the church today has drastically changed and transformed and yet we continue to struggle with similar issues as reflected in the writings of Paul. Paul desires Christians to live in community not only with each other, but with their neighbours. Paul reminds us that in doing this, we are not meant to sacrifice ourselves, "take care that you are not consumed by one another" but rather we are called to live by the Spirit. What does this look like for the church of today?



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Together for the Journey

Galatians 3:1-9 • By faith or works of the law?

Galatians 3:23-29 • All one in Christ Jesus

Evolution and Diversity: Paul describes the life in Christ as an evolutionary step beyond law. One that is nevertheless inherent in the ancient beginnings of their tradition, it is also an idea whose time has come. And he focuses his discussion on the transcendence of differences -- here is a centre of unity that enables the broadest possible diversity within the fellowship of faith.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Christ Who Lives in Me

Galatians 1:13-17 • Preaching him among the Gentiles

Galatians 2:11-21 • Crucified with Christ

Think of all the wonderful ways we discover something new within ourselves. Christ lives in me. In crisis, one discovers unknown strength. One finds an altruistic love drawn forth by a view of suffering. Artistic inspiration comes at times unbidden, as of the muse, from far beyond us. One's ego breaks and then the heart is filled with a peace never known before.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Can I do that?

Acts 15: 1-17 . Council at Jerusalem; Faith Gives identity to both Jews and Gentiles
Stewardship is about sharing our times, treasures and talents and participating in the ministry and mission of the body of Christ. We are told today that no matter where you have come from, and in the case of the time of Paul and Barnabas it doesn't matter whether you are a Gentile or a Jew, for God knows the human heart and every fellow has received the Holy Spirit, all their hearts have been cleansed by faith, not by upholding the law. Find one's place within the body of Christ may seem overwhelming, AND yet it is as simple as asking what can I do? This was a Whole Family Worship and thus there is no recorded sermon time. It was a dramatic story with ritual annointing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Word Christ Sacrament

Acts 8:26-39 • Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch

In the reading of Isaiah, the Ethiopian immerses in the great heritage of prophecy and finds himself longing for understanding. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Philip is led to meet the Ethiopian and lead him from prophesy to its fulfillment in Christ. From there the Ethiopian moves to the baptism. Word, Christ, and Sacrament: the three-point foundation of faith.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

We cry out: "Lord receive our Spirits"

Acts 6:1-7:2a, 44-60 Stephen forgives and is martyred.

Jesus has risen and now it is our turn to live out God's mission and ministry in this world, in this neighbourhood. The scripture reminds us of our call to lift up leaders from amongst ourselves. We are called to discern together and support the people that we deem called to serve. Too often, leaders are left to stand alone, to stand by their decisions, and are persecuted for their decisions. What can we learn from Stephen? What is worth following? What are we willing to give our lives up for?
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our Hearts on Fire

Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19 I love the Lord
Luke 24: 13-35 Road to Emmaus

Meeting Jesus on the road happens more then we know. The scriptures call us to not only the ministry of witness, but also to the ministry of hospitality. To welcome a stranger puts us in a position of vulnerability and risk, but it is in the breaking of bread that we come to trust and known one another where boundaries are erased and we are moved beyond isolation to community. How will these scriptures set our hearts on fire? listen view

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Passion Witness

Luke 26:1-16 • Empty Tomb

Moment by moment throughout the entire passion and resurrection, the Disciples witnessed an array of sights, emotions, actions and reactions from others, confusion, insights, transformation. As we walk with them and imagine the experience they had, how does that moment long ago become a shaping influence in our lives today—a blessing, a guiding light, an inspiration?

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Lord Needs You!

Luke 19:29-44 . Triumphal entry, weeping over the city

We have been called to witness and praise God joyfully as the multitude of disciples did when they proclaimed to the people all they had seen and heard. We cannot be silent any more. Friends, do not allow yourselves to be hemmed in, or stifled by fear of the unknown, or silenced by the winds of change. Let us lay down our coats as a sign of willingness to follow where Jesus goes! listen view

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eyes Open

Luke 18:31-34 • Jesus foretells his death

Luke 18:35-43 • Jesus heals a blind beggar

Luke 19:1-10 • Jesus and Zacchaeus

Jesus taught the disciples plainly, yet still they did not understand. Then a blind man came to Jesus, longing to have his sight. Jesus heals him – gives him his sight. And for those of us who will see, this story becomes a picture of redemption, Jesus’ salvation masterpiece, the icon of truth. When you open your eyes, what do you see? When Jesus opens your eyes, what do you see?

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

I have a problem

Luke 16:19-31 . Parable of the rich man and Lazarus

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man is well known. The scene of one man living with wealth and opulence while another man lives in the gutter with dogs is an image that is just as shocking today as it was when the story was first told two-thousand years ago. This piece of scripture has influenced Christians, inspired artists and is a familiar contrast throughout secular society. The rich man goes to Hades and the poor man goes to Heaven. I have a problem with this.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

There's Still Time

Luke 13:6–9 • Parable of the barren fig tree

Luke 13:31–35 • Lament over Jerusalem

Luke 13:1–5 • Repent or perish

This is about urgency. The sins of the people warrant destruction; the fig tree might one more year; after rejecting the prophets, Jerusalem is now forsaken. We discern God's will for our lives and intend to follow, but does it matter when? What are you putting off? What are we as a society putting off? And what is the urgency? How long does God have to wait before giving up on us? What is at stake? And where is the Grace?

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

What have we witnessed here today?

Luke 10:25-42 Good Samaritan

 A Song of Faith states, "Through word, music, art, and sacrament, in community and in solitude, God changes our lives, our relationships, and our world." We will explore the parable of the Good Samaritan through story, through communion and through word, music and art and like the people in the story we are called to witness to the Spirit working amongst us in ways that we wouldn't expect. God indeed changes our lives. How has God changed yours? How has God changed the life of this congregation?

This was a Whole Family Worship service, and thus there was no formal sermon.
We invited the congregation to explore the story of the Good Samaritan through storytelling and art.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brokenness unveiled, bears witness to beauty.

Luke 9:28-45 Transfiguration & healing
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

Act with great boldness "But they did not understand this saying and they were afraid to ask him about this saying." We, like the disciples, suffer from an addiction to certainty and satisfaction and the pursuit of happiness. It is time to break this addiction, it is time get out of the way of the Spirit and allow the church, ourselves and our faith to be transfigured. Let us engage our story of faith through the practice and discipline of prayer and the arts and unveil our brokenness and create beauty in our suffering.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Amazement and Compassion

Luke 7:1-17 Centurion's slave and Widow's son

Jesus found the centurion`s faith amazing and he was moved to compassion by the plight of the widow. His experience of the world around him shaped his response to the people he met. Thus today we would rightly wonder, What did the world look like to Jesus? What was it like to look at people through his eyes? What does the world look like to us today when we see it with the vision of Christ? How would the "God's-eye" point of view shape our response to life?

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sabbath Grace

Luke 6:1-16 Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath

The religion of the Scribes and the Pharisees had become dogmatic and legalistic and thus, for many, hard-hearted and empty. And so, for many, there was refreshing vitality in Jesus' new vision of a gracious gospel and and open heart. Similarly today, we hear from people who are pleasantly surprised to find a church that is truly life-giving. So many in our world today still think that religion should be rigid, dogmatic, and dictatorial. How do we live the new vision? How do we state our truth clearly and engage the ones who will follow?

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Call to Abundance

Luke 5:1-11 Great catch of fish

To live with a vision of abundance in place of a perpetual view of scarcity. To live in response to God's affirming call, instead of suppressed by guilt and inadequacy. This is the new outlook Jesus offers to a world longing for good news. The disciples had to push through the negativity to become what Jesus was calling them to be. What do we have to push through in order to embrace fully the ever-new life to which the church is called?

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

An epiphany! Help me, help you!

Psalm 71 In God I seek refuge
Luke 4:14-30 Sermon at Nazareth

Jesus' sermon at Nazareth could be considered his mandate, his mission statement. He has heard the call of God in the words of Isaiah and while he was in the synagogue he proclaimed to the community who he is, what his ministry is about and his vision for the church. His mandate - radical asceticism. For Christians today a modern asceticism might be to live simply or in other words radical minimalism. What changes will Jesus' vision inspire us to make so that we may live each day with our heart and not just our head?


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Novel Outlook

Luke 3:1-22 Baptism of Jesus

John the Baptist challenges a culture that has become greedy and complacent. The alternative vision is a compassionate society. The Messiah was to come with a winnowing fork-a distinction between the world's way and God's way. Isaiah had declared that the crooked ways will be made straight. This is a counter-cultural Jesus, offering people a radically different way to look at life. Where do you see our world in need of a "new outlook"?

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Temple -- where we find our purpose and are affirmed

Psalm 148 Praise for God's Universal Glory
Luke 2:41-52 Jesus in the Temple

 Things have quieted down, the festivities have ended, visitors are heading home, and Jesus cannot be found. Mary and Joseph become frantic when they realize that Jesus is missing. When they finally find Jesus in the temple, Mary reprimands Jesus for making them worry and his response is less then charitable. He asks his parents, "Why were you searching for me? Did you know know that I must be in my Father's house?" clearly implying that this Mary's issue not his. For Jesus the temple was his home. Do we see the temple as our home too?

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