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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...

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 overnight, nor are they fortified without effort on our part. Spiritual disciplines are habits that function like exercises for the soul to make us more faithful disciples and more loving neighbors.

Prayer

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Audio Video Deuteronomy 6:1-9 & Romans 8:22-27

Prayer is one of the most essential spiritual disciplines and one of the most widely practiced, but that doesn’t make it simple or straightforward. In fact, some of the thorniest questions of Christian life and theology are related to the act and function of prayer. Prayer means different things to different people, and that is the way God intends it to be.

Study

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Audio Video Isaiah 55:6-13 & Colossians 3:1-11

God is mysterious and God’s ways in the world are often inscrutable. But this does not mean that Christians forsake the pursuit of understanding God. On the contrary, it means that seeking a clearer understanding of our faith is a lifelong pursuit which does not yield easy or complete answers, but which is profoundly fulfilling nonetheless.

Generosity

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Audio Video Luke 12:13-21

The pitfalls of wealth and possessions are many and dangerous, and scripture is uncommonly univocal on the matter. What is less clear is what we are supposed to do about it. Sometimes we assume that the answer is to rid ourselves of our possessions, which is impractical (and even irresponsible) in the modern world. Poverty may be the opposite of wealth, but that does not necessarily make it the antidote of wealth’s perils. Rather, the answer is the hard, steady, lifelong discipline of generosity.

Solitude / Community

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Audio Video Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 & Matthew 6:1-6

In the classic lists of spiritual disciplines, we usually find solitude: the practice of intentionally removing oneself not only from people but also from the noise and distractions that daily life brings. But because solitude has become an unintentional reality for many of us during this pandemic, it is also important at this moment to acknowledge the companion discipline of community, which may actually require more focused effort right now. The two disciplines—solitude and community—work hand-in-hand to nourish our souls and strengthen our spirits.

Fasting

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Audio Video Isaiah 58:1-12 & Matthew 6:25-34

The ancient practice of fasting has fallen by the wayside for many Christians—especially Protestants—in recent generations. As a result, we struggle to understand how giving up food deepens our connection to God. But fasting, more than just going hungry, is about discovering what we hunger for in life. And it is only after we are aware of and honest about this that we can begin to set our priorities in the proper order.

Worship

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Audio Video Romans 12:1-2

There is a great deal of overlap between worshiping and attending a worship service, but they are not the same thing. What happens when the community gathers for worship is a condensed and enhanced form of the kind of self-offering that God asks of us every day of the week. To worship is to make ourselves a living sacrifice for the health of our souls and for the good of the kingdom.