There is an urban legend that travels amidst story tellers and preachers of an old indian chief once left his reservation to visit the city. As he walked down a sidewalk with his urban guide, he suddenly stopped. And there, among the cars and people and all of the noises that cities bring, he said, “Do you hear it?” The guide was perplexed. The chief then bent down, and then leaning low to the ground, he pointed to a wide crack in the base of the sidewalk, and said, “There is a cricket creaking.” The story is meant to show the contrast between the ears of those who spend their time in quiet places and those surrounded by many distractions. This week, we will learn about what Jesus hears, feels, and is sensitive to, as we explore the story of Jesus and the woman with the issue of blood.
It is hard for us to appreciate the relationship Jesus has with outcasts as those living in the year 2017. Perhaps if we were seen trading secrets with known terrorists or barbecuing with the KKK (white robes and all), we might understand how socially unacceptable, or even dangerous, this was. Yet, he did and it was a central element of what caused Christianity to emerge as a dominant religion by the 300’s AD. This week, we will get close to Jesus and see why and how he could be so close to those who were and are dirty sinners.
In the Old Testament, the glory of God came both as a blinding light and a heavy weight of substance. God comes in glory and it is so intense, it must be hidden; by a cloud, a fire or a curtain. Isaiah, Moses, and all of Israel, tremble when God comes near. And, God says things like, “Take off your shoes” or “Do not touch the ark or you will die.” When Jesus transfigured (showed his glory) on a mountain with his friends, a NEW reality appears- glory comes to man through a man. It is a game changer. This week, we will look at the glory of God in the person of man. May we be amazed at this glory!
God appears to those he loves both in a gentle voice and in a loud shout. Either way, he comes in love. In the story of the conversion of St. Paul, we learn both of God’s power to bring about our conversion and of the willfulness of man to resist. Join us for this sermon as we look at the ways God loves us through his pursuit and results that come from him winning our wayward hearts.
Gifted people are often unaware of how profound their gifts are and shocked when someone points out to them just how special they are. The amazing cook, for instance, tends to think that, “Anyone could have made that dish.” The soccer player with lightning fast reflexes and rhythmic coordination wonders what the big deal is in the midst of his practice. Those of us who have to work to make food taste good or who have to practice for hours to get our body to move a ball with our legs, know how hard it is. The gifted, however, think their proficiency is “normal” because it is a gift. Peter, disciple of Jesus, was gifted. In this sermon we explore the joy of receiving a gift and what it reveals about us and God.
The late 19th century Anglican Bishop JC Ryle once said, “The foe we have to do with keeps no holidays, never slumbers, and never sleeps. So long as we have breath in our bodies we must keep on our armor, and remember we are on the enemy’s ground. ‘Even on the brink of Jordan,’ said a dying saint, ‘I find Satan nibbling at my heels.’ We must fight till we die.” Like Ryle, Jesus did not see evil as an abstraction. Nor did he believe that man could “evolve” being belief in a personal Devil. If we are to take Jesus seriously as a teacher, prophet, savior, and ruler, we must take seriously the contention that is occurring in the heavenly realms between Jesus and the Devil and between the Devil and man. This week, please join us as we talk plainly about the reality of The Devil in 2017 and ways that we can defend ourselves from his attacks.
CS Lewis once said that “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” This week we will get a glimpse into the life of Jesus as a teenager, see the commonalities that we share in our humanity, wonder at the love that motivates God to befriend us, and discover ways that we can enter into the mysteries of the Divine. Join us as we continue to see ways that God has revealed himself to us in this special series.
Jay Slocum Preaching
In the opening chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, we experience the most intimate and physical contact with God through the witness of Jesus born in very gritty conditions to a very unlikely couple. And, it is in this setting that Shepherds desire to worship him as their king. Immediately following this scene, we encounter a world-renowned power broker who wants to murder this child, Jesus, and brilliant intellectuals of the day who desire to worship him; the contrast in Matthew can, at times, seem confounding. God gets born in the dirt. The maker of the world en-fleshed is chased down by Herod. Soon thereafter, Jesus as a little boy sits on the lap of his poor-girl-mother and we get to witness a group of Magi bowing down to worship him. It is as if Matthew is trying to tell us that things are not always what we seem, that God works in ways we are unaccustomed to, and that if we are to be in relationship with God Come Near, we will do well to suspend some of our contemporary assumptions about who is in, who is out, who is good, who is bad, what is up and what is down. Join us this Sunday as we consider a classic passage from the Bible and learn new ways to see how much God loves us and to what extent he will go to prove it. Doing so, however, will require us to have an open mind about some of the beliefs that we hold dear.
This Christmas Eve, Join us in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ as we celebrate with a dynamic service that will include traditional Christmas carols, candle lighting and readings from Luke’s Gospel. Followed by a delicious Christmas buffet. If you have friends or neighbors who have no Church home, please invite them to join us.
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