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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...

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 that are at once unfamiliar and inviting. As we journey through a holiday season quite unlike years past, spending more time at home than usual, each Sunday of Advent we will enter the “home” of one of the evangelists and explore how each Gospel household celebrates Christmas.

Christmas at Mark's

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Audio Video Mark 1:1-11

The home of Mark the evangelist is spare and unadorned at Christmastime. In fact, there is not a single holiday decoration anywhere in the place. But it would be too hasty to conclude that Mark doesn’t care (or know) about the Christmas story. Instead, it is more a question of the particular way that Mark wants us to think about the coming of God into the world—which is, after all, what Christmas is really about.

Christmas at Matthew's

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Audio Video Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15, 19-23

Matthew’s house at Christmastime is a crowded place—it’s a family reunion, and there are many familiar faces and many unfamiliar, but all sharing in a common lineage. Pictures on the wall connect the living family to many who came before. The celebration of the coming of Jesus is the joyous recognition that the Savior is born into the long history of God’s loving covenant with God’s people—the family of God.

Christmas at Luke's

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Audio Video Luke 2:1-14

Luke’s house at Christmastime is as festive as festive gets. Luke gives us the Christmas story that we know and love, the story that dominates the religious imagery and iconography of this season. The deep significance of Luke’s telling, however, goes beyond scenes of quiet stables and starlit fields; it is embedded in the characters who make up the stories and the world they inhabit—a world that is being made ready for the coming kingdom of God.

Christmas at John's

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Audio Video John 1:1-5, 14

John’s house at Christmastime isn’t really decorated for the season, but that’s because John is just too busy embedding himself in the deep, theological meaning and purpose of the celebration. The gathering at his home is not so much a Christmas party as it is an engaged and impassioned discussion. With the benefit of other evangelists already having told the story of Jesus’s birth, John is free to go all the way back to the very beginning.