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Sermons

Ephesians: Salvation for Service

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is less anchored in the actual circumstances of a particular faith community than some of Paul’s other letters are. Instead, Ephesians reads almost like a sermon, with Paul hitting head-on some of the most important theological issues of the early...

Holy Habits

Devout Christians have long sought after something called “holiness.” We have misunderstood this pursuit as a striving toward perfection, which is obviously out of our reach in this life. Holiness is better understood as spiritual strength or fortitude, and our spirits are not made strong...

Upside Down

Life in the midst of a global pandemic is not at all what we have come to expect it to be. In fact, it feels in some very significant ways that the world itself has been turned upside-down. This is disorienting and disconcerting. It changes our outlook, our actions, and our relationships. And it...

Grace in the Wilderness

The prophet Jeremiah declares that the people of God "found grace in the wilderness" (Jer. 31:2). Although Israel's years of wandering were filled with challenges, the wilderness was where God shaped them and where God's abundant grace was made manifest to them. We are living through our own kind...

Origins

Before the particular history of the people of Israel begins in earnest with God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12, there is another history—a prehistory. The stories of Genesis 1-11 which make up this prehistory are origin stories: stories that invite us to think about why the world is the way that...

Maundy Thursday 2020

Everyone Will Know Thursday, April 9, 2020

Last Words

When the four gospel accounts are combined, Jesus speaks seven times from the cross, commonly referred to as the "Seven Last Words" of Christ. During the weeks of Lent we take a careful look at these important sayings of Jesus, spoken in his dying moments. In so many ways, they distill not only...

20/20 Vision

Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light" (Matt. 6:22). At the start of a new year and a new decade, it's a good time to get our (spiritual) vision checked. Are we seeing things clearly, or has our vision been blurred, blocked, or...

(Not Yet) Advent

"Advent" means arrival, and in the life of the church Advent marks a very special arrival: that of the Christ child, born to a poor family in a rural backwater of the Roman Empire. But the fact that Jesus has already arrived is only half of the story—the "already" of Advent is balanced by a deep...

James

The biblical book of James is a letter quite unlike any other, sometimes appearing to argue with other parts of the New Testament while still relying on the teaching of Jesus. This letter addresses the Christian community in the midst of trying circumstances and urges a faith that grows out of...

The book of Ecclesiastes might be the only book in all of scripture that we read and think, "Why is this even in the Bible?" In spite of that, some of the ideas and the language present in this Old Testament wisdom text have woven themselves into popular culture in such a way as to become intimately familiar to many of us (though we may not realize that Ecclesiastes is their source). How can we come to terms with the cynicism and despair of this text, and how does the dim outlook of its author square with the good news of the gospel?

Dust in the Wind

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Audio Video Ecclesiastes 1:1-18

The "Teacher" of Ecclesiastes has a bone to pick: life just isn't all it's cracked up to be. With words that seem to fly in the face of all that we believe scripture teaches and that Christians should stand for, the Teacher affirms the absurdity of life and the futility of finding purpose. What do we do with this text?

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Audio Video Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; 5:10-20

The Teacher investigates whether happiness can be attained through the pursuit of pleasure and riches. While he finds temporary enjoyment in these things, lasting joy remains elusive. Our tendency to chase after wind in our own pursuit of happiness means there is plenty for us to learn from the Teacher's fruitless quest.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Audio Video Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

What we have learned to hear as a poem celebrating the beauty and balance of time and praising God for God's sovereignty turns out to be further evidence for the Teacher of Ecclesiastes that life and all its pursuits are utterly absurd. What is our place in a world in which we have no control over what happens, and what does that say about God?

A Change Is Gonna Come

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Audio Video Ecclesiastes 3:16 - 4:3; 9:7-12

In some concluding reflections on the challenging argument put forth by the Teacher of Ecclesiastes, we consider what to take and what to leave—what the Teacher has taught us, and what he still stands to learn.