Epiphany - Faith
January 8 | Matthew 2:1-12 | Faith, Hope, and Love of the Magi
The Magi are Pagan elite who feel compelled to go and meet the God of not just Israel, but in fact the world. Their presence at the manger signals a balance in Matthew’s gospel. In the last chapter, the resurrected Christ sends the church out into all the world (the Great Commission). But here in the beginning, the Magi represent the world coming to God.
January 15 | John 1:29-42 | Faith: the Mystery of Jesus’ Calling
Jesus’s first words to the disciples are, “What are you looking for?” There’s more to this question than what meets the eye. John’s Gospel is full of double meanings, and for Jesus’ first words to be this question seems to be the invitation for us to reflect on the mysteries of faith. This becomes apparent when we hear Jesus’ second words, “Come and see.”
January 22 | Matthew 4:23-25 | Faith: the Mystery of God's Kingdom
Jesus’ ministry’s begun. For the next three years Jesus loves, teaches, and heals Galileans. The crimson thread that connects these years and these miracles is the announcement of the kingdom of God. Every miracle, sermon, lesson, conversation, and meal disclosed a little bit more of the mystery of God’s kingdom. Matthew 4:23 reminds us, “Jesus went throughout Galilee proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.”
January 29 | Matthew 5:1-12 | Faith: the Mystery of the Beatitudes
The Beatitudes zero in on Jesus’ core message. He came to offer a paradigm shift. Blessed are not the rich but the poor. Blessed are not the mighty but the meek. Blessed are not the warlords but the peacemakers. In God’s kingdom, there’s a role reversal taking shape. This sermon will show how these Beatitudes are the core, ethical guidelines for Christians.
February 5 | Matthew 5:13-20 | Faith: the Mystery of Salt and Light
A few weeks ago, Emma Carver was baptized. Lacey told her that she was now salt of the earth and light of the world. Jesus says the same in the sermon on the mount. When we lean in to our faith, we experience the mystery of what it means to preserve goodness and shine God’s light.
Feb 12 | Matthew 5:21-37 | Faith: the Mystery in Jesus’ Teachings
From divorce to adultery to anger to oaths, Jesus has a lot to say in the Sermon on the Mount about what is right or not. Jesus’ teachings are radically different than even the Torah. There’s a moral dimension to his words that must be uncovered.
Feb 19 | Matthew 5:38-48 | Faith: the Mystery of Loving Your Enemy
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Ghandi said this, and it mirrors the words of Jesus. Despite our dislike or hatred toward another, Jesus calls us to love them. For when we do, the anger no longer has power over us. Jesus’ teaching on love and enemy is difficult to embrace, but its central to his discipleship and life.
February 26 | Matthew 6:24-34 | Faith: the Mystery of Mindfulness
Do not worry about your life or clothes or food or wealth. When you do, you make these things into false gods that control you. Jesus calls us to be mindful of who we are and where our allegiances align. When we can name them, we can start controlling them instead of the other way around. This lesson is difficult, but it’s necessary to live like Christ.
LENT - HOPE
March 5 | Psalm 32 | Hope is Found in Repentance
Hope is found when we repent of our sins and realize we love a God who forgives. Repentance means acknowledging our own sin and our need for God to intervene. It happens when we star in the face of sin and do an about face. King David sings in Psalm 32, “happy are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin is covered.” The way we get forgiven is to repent. They way we find hope is to repent.
March 12 | Isaiah 61:1-6; Ephesians 4:11-16 | Hope is Found through Ministers of God (Installation of Pastor Lacey)
Today we install Pastor Lacey B. Davis as our Minister to Families with Children. Her calling, talents, dedication, and spirality enhance our church’s ability to be more like Christ. Today we honor those gifts, celebrate what God is doing through her as we worship God together. The Old and New Testament readings for the sermon scripture illustrate what God intended for the priestly class all along. People like Lacey are called to stand in the gaps of those who have no one, and they’re called to mend the saints.
March 19 | Psalm 95 | Hope is Found in Worship | Pastor Ben
March 26 | Psalm 23 | Hope is Found in the Shadows of Death
To quote Hamilton, “Death doesn’t discriminate between sinner or saint. It takes and it takes and it takes.” Death happens to us all. When we come face to face with it, we’re left wounded. During this week of Lent, it’s important to reflect on our mortality but then know there’s hope. When death surrounds us, it feels like the darkest valley, but we can fear no evil . . . God is with us. This is hope.
April 2 | Psalm 130 | Hope is Found in Supplication
Out of our depths, we cry to God. We ask over and over, “Why did you do this to us, God?” This reminds us of the Jesus’ cry of dereliction. It’s painful, but real. Psalm 130 gives us permission to pray prayers of supplication. And when we do . . . we find hope. As 130:5 says, “I wait of the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” This hasn’t changed today.
April 9 | Matthew 21:1-11 | Hope is Found Riding a Donkey (and a Colt)
Matthew’s version of Palm Sunday is great. Jesus rides two donkeys, the citizens lay down cloaks instead of palm branches, and Jesus entered into a city in turmoil. It’s not the narrative we’re used to hearing, but it bears hope that we need to hear.
Easter - LOVE
April 16 - Easter | John 20:1-29 | Love: Easter Changes Everything
Five scenes. Five interactions with the resurrected Jesus. Five different responses, yet five completely changed lives. This is what happens when we meet the resurrected Christ, everything changes. Everything. And it’s still happening today.
April 23 | Acts 2:14a, 22-32 | What Makes Your Heart Burn? | Pastor Lacey
April 30 | Acts 2:14a, 36-41 | Love: Peter’s Message to the Gentiles
The early church started like this: The disciples proclaimed the good news of the resurrection and people decided to follow. The very first converts heard a straightforward pitch from Peter and by the end of the day Christianity had sprouted 3000 more believers. The message of the early was this: “Repent and be baptized.” This message is still true today.
May 7 | Acts 2:42-47 | Love: The Result of Peter’s Message to the Gentiles
Sermon Synopsis: Scripture says, “awe came upon everyone” so much it caused them to give away their processions and to live in a practicing community. It’s referring to the transforming acts of the disciples as they live out their understanding of the love of Christ.
May 14 | Exodus 20:12 | Love: Honor Your Father and Mother
What does it mean to honor you father and mother? Should you when they hurt, abuse, or neglect you? Scripture gives a powerful reason and explanation on how we can honor our parents even when they don't earn it.
May 21 | Acts 7:55-60 | Love: Stephen’s Message to the Jews
Not everyone is ready for an inclusive love. Some people abhor it. Jesus lived, died and resurrected for all people giving all people access to this Divine Love. But not everyone is ok with this message. Some even kill because of it. This is what happens to Stephen, our first martyr.
May 28 | Acts 17:22-31 | Love: Paul’s Message to the Athenians
The gods we put in our lives are weak imitations to the one true God of Love. Paul sees this firsthand in Athens, but he doesn’t get mad. Instinctively, he calls their attention to their alter to the unknown god and declares he knows who this is. It’s God. The true creator of heaven and earth. This message converts many to become followers of Jesus Christ.
June 4 | Pentecost | Acts 2:1-21 | Love: The Coming of the Holy Spirit
The early church emerged in unprecedented fashion. Scripture says the Spirit arrived like tongues of fire. People were speaking in all languages proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord. This fire, this passion for following Christ, is still alive today.