Variety Pack

May 19, 2024
1 Corinthians 12:4-13


There are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit,
and there are varieties of services but the same Lord,
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God
who activates all of them in everyone.

from 1 Cor. 12:4-6


The assembly line is synonymous with Henry Ford and Model T cars. Every car went through the same process, creating an affordable and reliable product.

This influenced and shaped churches. It affected the way we taught and prepared our members. Rather than the labor-intensive handcrafting of Christian growth, maturity, faith, and life, we turned to the efficiency and reliability of standardized prepared curricula, classes, and programs. We lifted up uniformity in Christian practices, proclamation, theology, and ministry. To a certain degree, this contributes to the increasing number of young people finding the Christian faith irrelevant.

Our oneness in Christ is a core element of our faith and salvation. But God's intention is for us to develop and become a unique part of the body of Christ.

Through the Holy Spirit, God brings amazing uniqueness - not uniformity. Being one in Christ brings wonderfully different expressions of call and ability - not based on what we can do, but what God can do. Not upon our limited understanding, but on God’s eternal purposes and calling. Not just for ourselves, but for all of God’s people and the world. Not so we can boast, but for the glory of God and bringing people to him in the grace and love of Jesus.

Faith of Our Mothers

May 12, 2024
2 Timothy 1:1-7


I am reminded of your sincere faith,
a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois
and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

from 2 Timothy 1:5


Mothers and other amazing women play a vital and unique role in our lives and faith. They make a lasting impression on us—not just in our physical resemblance but also in how we understand God, ourselves, and the world around us—often in good ways, but for some, in painful ways as well.

The Apostle Paul opens his second letter to Timothy by celebrating the impact of Timothy's mother and grandmother on his life and faith. Growing up with their love and example shaped Timothy and equipped him to be a teacher and minister of the gospel, preparing him to share with others what his mother and grandmother shared with him.

Holy Hanging Out

May 5, 2024
John 15:1-12


As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you;
abide in my love.

from John 5:9


He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

There is a difference between visiting and moving in. You may deeply enjoy being there when you visit, but knowing you will eventually leave flavors everything. The difference between things that are temporary and those that are permanent is immense.

Jesus invites us to "Abide in him as He abides in us."

Abiding in him is very different from visiting him. It is living in Jesus' footsteps, living with him, not just talking about him. Abiding in Christ isn't going to church like we would a museum, appreciating what we see and experience, only to go home.
Abiding with Jesus is living with him and for him.

Impulsive Love

April 28, 2024

1 John 4:7-12


Since God loved us so much,
we also ought to love one another.

from 1 John 4:7-12


He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Jesus' resurrection profoundly transforms not only our relationship with God but also our relationships with others, including those who have sinned against us.

If God loves us enough to send his Son into the world so that we might live and Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, that immense love leads us to love others as we have been loved.

This maybe hard. People do terrible things to each other, and we may have wounds that remain with us. But the immense mercy of God's love leads us toward healing and forgiveness—not just for ourselves but also for our forgiving others.

More than Expected

April 21, 2024

Luke 24:36b-49


Jesus himself stood among them
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

from Luke 24:36b-37


He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Many things catch us by surprise, not because they are unbelievable, but because we are not expecting them. Jesus' resurrection was no exception. Despite Jesus telling them what would happen, his disciples and the women were surprised, confused, and even scared when the risen Jesus appeared to them.

Knowing they could not do what needed to be done, Jesus' followers also expected Jesus to do the big work. Instead, Jesus gives them the job of continuing what he has begun. They are not left alone, however. Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem to be clothed in God's unlimited power rather than relying on their own weakness.

Those gathered in that room looked for their own explanation for seeing Jesus instead of Jesus, the Messiah, fulfilling God’s promises and plans.

Bigger and Better

April 14, 2024

Luke 24:13-35


Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

from Luke 24:31


He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

The challenge to our faith isn't that we expect too much, but that we expect too little.

Our shortsighted expectations are obstacles to fully knowing and experiencing God's grace. We prefer for God to do things our way, rather than our doing things God's way. Many would prefer to win the lottery than the joy God offers that wealth can never buy. We prefer lives of leisure when the deepest and most satisfying joy comes from serving others. Our ultimate fear is death when, in Jesus, the death of our bodies is birth into new life.

Upon reaching their destination, instead of saying goodbye to the person they were walking with, they invited Jesus to their home, demonstrating hospitality towards a stranger, despite their personal disappointment and disillusionment. It was then that their eyes were opened and their world changed as they recognized the risen Jesus. What they previously believed to be defeat was revealed as a victory.

Resurrected Outlook

April 7, 2024

Philippians 3:4b-14


I want to know Christ
and the power of his resurrection.

from Philippians 3:10


There are things in life that you never go back to once you experience them. They make a lasting impact on your life. Things that once seemed important lose their appeal in light of these new discoveries.

Jesus was that for the Apostle Paul. In light of Jesus' resurrection, he left behind many of the things he was once proud of. He forgets what is behind him in his quest for God's call in Christ Jesus.

He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Looking for Jesus - Easter Sermon

March 31, 2024

Mark 16:1-8


You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.

from Mark 16:6


The women went to where Jesus' body had been placed, expecting to finish preparing his dead body for burial.

The great news of Easter is not that their expectations were met but rather that Jesus was not dead like they expected but had risen from the dead.

The good news of the Gospel isn't found in God meeting our expectations but shattering them, revealing far more than anything we could ask or imagine - then using us to reveal the news of the risen Christ to others.

He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

It is Finished - Sermon

March 24, 2024

John 19:16-30


When Jesus had received the wine,
he said, “It is finished.”

from John 19:30


On our way to Easter, we must go by way of the cross.

For obvious reasons, we spend more time celebrating Jesus' birth and resurrection than we do his death. Joyful Christmas carols and triumphant Easter hymns fill our worship for weeks before Christmas and after Easter. And yet, scripture repeatedly points to the cross as evidence of God's great love.

It would be hard to stand at the foot of the cross and watch someone suffer, let alone God's only son. But it is here that we see how much God so loved the world, as well as you and me.

What Matters to the King?

March 17, 2024

Luke 21:1-4


"Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them,
for all of them have contributed out of their abundance,
but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

from Luke 21:3-4


When you don't have much, what you use it for says a lot about your priorities.

Jesus arrived in Jerusalem without much time left before his crucifixion. In the last sermon, we considered Jesus cleansing the Temple of those who turned it into a "den of robbers" as well as healing the people who were lame or blind who followed him in. What he does says something about Jesus' priorities.

One of the other things he did was to watch people giving their offerings. He noticed that a widow, who had extremely little to live on, offered everything to the Lord.

He recognized her as the one who gave the largest offering to God. Some gave from their abundance but she offered everything.

Giving all that she had, out of the little she had, revealed the strength and priority of her faith.