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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...

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 is a pretty good metaphor for what God is doing through Jesus: working to bring about the kingdom of God—to turn this world upside-down.

Upside Down Hopes

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Audio Video Mark 10:35-45

James and John approach Jesus with an audacious request: to be given a special status when Jesus is glorified. But since they misunderstand the nature of Jesus' glorification, they are sadly mistaken about what sort of status he is able to offer them. Jesus reorients our hopes and ambitions around a completely different idea of glory.

Upside Down Power

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Audio Video Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus was not just contesting the political powers of his day, he was contesting our very notions of power itself. In his teaching and in his life, he reveals the ways that God has set about unmasking our misguided notions of what is strength and what is weakness.

Upside Down Community

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Audio Video Matt 5:13-16 & Gal 3:23-28

Jesus upends the ways we relate to one another in radical and disconcerting ways. We understand ourselves and others by drawing boundaries—boundaries that we use to define ourselves just as much as we use them to define others. Jesus eliminates the boundaries and instead proposes a boundary-less community that is united by a common purpose: to be salt and light.

Upside Down Wisdom

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Audio Video 1 Corinthians 1:17-25

The cross makes no sense—it is almost that simple. It’s a source of scandal to good religious folks and utter nonsense to the outside world. But it is the decisive location and the central symbol of God’s action in human history, and it looks for all the world like foolishness.

Upside Down Justice

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Audio Video Amos 5:18-24 & Matt 20:1-16

The word “justice” echoes around our nation today on the lips of protestors and police officers, activists and agitators, preachers and politicians. But there is precious little agreement on what this loaded word actually means. Meanwhile, the Bible has its own take on justice: a notion of justice which both resembles and radically upends contemporary American understandings of the word.

Upside Down World

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Audio Video Isaiah 11:1-9 & Rev 21:1-5a

God's plan for creation from the very beginning is not the evacuation of the faithful from a world destined to decay. God's plan is a new heaven and a new earth: all things remade and renewed—the world itself turned upside-down.