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Sermons

Spirit of God

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christians gathered in Jerusalem and the Church was born. From that point forward, we have understood God's Spirit to be—in some mysterious, unquantifiable way—the animating force that guides, strengthens, and equips God's people to carry on...

Nothing Less

When it comes to hope, so often we either have too little or we place it in the wrong things. Some of us have trained ourselves not to hope, having been disappointed too many times along the way, and some of us have known feelings of despair for too long even to consider the possibility of real...

Exiles

The Christian church in the United States is living in a kind of exile: after centuries of enjoying social, cultural, and political power and influence, the church increasingly finds itself alienated from the centers of power that it once took for granted. Some see this as a crisis and seek a...

Enigma

There are stories about Jesus that we love to hear and to tell—stories of surprising compassion and radical love—and then there are those stories that don’t jibe with Jesus as we ordinarily imagine him. These stories present Jesus in a way that can be difficult for us to incorporate into the larger...

Home for the Holidays

Each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—approaches the story of Jesus in a unique way and with a different purpose and audience in mind. Entering into the world that each of these storytellers creates is like walking into someone’s home and encountering sights, sounds, and smells...

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...

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 of wilderness experience today, separated from people, places, and activities that once defined the contours of normalcy in our lives. In this series, we journey with the Israelites through the wilderness so that we can view our current experience as an opportunity to encounter God and better understand God's purposes for us.

Encountering God

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Audio Video Exodus 19:1-14

God did amazing things for Israel in Egypt, but it was not until they were in the wilderness that they were granted a direct encounter with the living God. In the midst of the uncertainty and fear of our own wilderness experience, we prepare ourselves to encounter God.

Supporting One Another

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Audio Video Exodus 17:8-13

The Israelites do battle in the wilderness against the Amalekites, and their fortunes rise or fall with the arms of Moses, which hold the staff of God aloft. It is ultimately by God's own power that Israel prevails, but their victory would be impossible without the help and support that Moses receives from his fellow Israelites.

Receiving from God

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Audio Video Exodus 16:2-21

The Israelites become anxious that there will not be enough to eat, not believing God capable of providing for them in the wilderness. As it turns out, receiving from God is about more than opening up our hands to the abundant gifts of God; it is also about letting go of our worry and trusting that what God provides for today is enough for today.

Struggling to Trust

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Audio Video Numbers 14:1-25

God delivered Israel from captivity. God provided them with food and water in the wilderness. God covenanted to be faithful to them. Yet when the people of God reach the borders of Canaan—the land of God's promise—they balk. They struggle to trust that the God who has brought them this far can carry them any further. The wilderness can be an obstacle to faith or it can be the crucible in which deep, lasting faith takes shape.

Finding Life

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Audio Video Exodus 17:1-7

The people of God grow thirsty in the wilderness, causing them to wonder if God is even with them at all there in that barren place. God hears their grumbling and their cries for help, and God provides. From the most lifeless object—a rock—the life-giving force of God flows forth and sustains God's people in their time of need.

Remembering and Hoping

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Audio Video Numbers 9:1-14

God instructs Israel to keep the Passover while they are journeying through the wilderness, and this may just be the most important action that God's people perform during their season of wandering. When we find ourselves disoriented or in the midst of hardship, we—like the Israelites—are anchored by our memory of God's great deeds and our hope of what God will yet do.