Sermons

Sermons

Love and Unity

John 17:20-26–The Bible makes a clear point – God is love, and Jesus is God. If we want to understand love, to see it in action, we need only look to Jesus. Even though appreciated for its religious value, Jesus’ love often seems disconnected from popular expressions of love in our nation. For example, according to the National Retail Federation, US consumers spent $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day last year. The same organization reported that Americans spent nearly $1 trillion…

SURRENDER: Peter’s struggles after surrendering

John 21:15-19–All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Surrender: Jacob’s Stubborn Resistance to God

Genesis 32:22-32 All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on…

Surrender: Hannah’s Quick Surrender to God

All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Surrender – Abraham’s Gradual Surrender to God

All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Good News; the Great Joy of Jesus’ Birth

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the…

Through Jesus we receive Unity

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the world…

Through Jesus, we receive purpose

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the…

I am Thankful for Jesus’ Wisdom

Colossians 2:1-3– How often do you struggle to know what to do? The multi-billion-dollar industry of ‘knowledge influencers’ focusing on things like self-help books and YouTube tutorials indicates that question offers more than a hypothetical scenario. The money and time devoted to those who seem to have answers evidences our recognition that we need wisdom, that we need guidance and knowledge to know what to do. That same need drives the Bible’s story, which traces the failures of pursuing wisdom…

I am Thankful for Jesus’ Transformative Power

2 Corinthians 3:12-18–Considering our upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving, we are using our Sunday mornings this month to explore things for which we should be thankful. However, more than mere opportunism motivates this series; we are using the holiday as an occasion to focus on thankfulness because it occupies an essential place in our Christian identity (cf. Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Therefore, this lesson considers another reason motivating our thankfulness: I am thankful for Jesus’ transformative power.

I Am Thankful for God’s Mercy

James 5:11– Considering our upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving, we are using some of our Sunday mornings this month to explore things for which we should be thankful. However, more than mere opportunism motivates this series; we are using the holiday as an occasion to focus on thankfulness because it occupies an essential place in our Christian identity (cf.Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Therefore, this lesson explores another reason motivating our thankfulness: we are thankful for God’s mercy.

I am Thankful for Trials

James 1:2-4 — Everyone desires a life of stability, peace, and abundance. While the look of such a life might vary from person to person and from time to time, everyone wants some form of that life. Driven by that longing, we tend to lament our struggles and envy those who seem to possess that life (cf. Psalm 73:1-15). That desire also motivates individuals to hold out God’s promise to cause “all things to work together for good, for those…

Tough Questions: How Can a Loving God Allow So Much Suffering?

James 1:2-4 — A dam failure in Derna, Libya, on September 11 of this year killed an estimated 18,000-20,000 people. In August of this year, estimated deaths and injuries caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached 500,000. Cancer resulted in more than 600,000 deaths in the US alone in 2022. Suffering and death amplify when we move from large perspectives to personal ones; it becomes raw and heartbreaking when it moves from statistics into the lives of people we know.…

Tough Questions: Doesn’t Christianity Denigrate Women?

1 Timothy 2:8-15 — “Patriarchy” – contemporary Westerners consider that word synonymous with oppressive, misogynistic attitudes. Increasingly, people associate it with the Bible, whose contents build on an extensive narrative featuring patriarchs. That connection strengthens when one considers comments made by the apostle Paul, a figure whose influence in shaping the church is exceeded only by Jesus. Consider: “Women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law…

Tough Questions: Isn’t Christianity homophobic?

Corinthians 6:9-11–We live in a society filled with marketing, entertainment, and legislation promoting tolerance. However, that tolerance demands that we accept (and support) others’ values and lifestyles regardless of our convictions. The positive portrayal of tolerant people and the negative depictions of those who reject that tolerance creates interpersonal, public, and even legal risk for us. So, the tough question, “Isn’t Christianity homophobic?” presents a challenge we must consider, especially given our culture’s escalating advocacy for same-sex relationships.

How Can You Take the Bible Literally?

2 Timothy 3:16-17– A 2022 Gallup Poll assessed Americans’ views of the Bible that reported: •        20% believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” •        49% believe the Bible is “inspired by God, not all to be taken literally.” •        29% believe the Bible contains “fables, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.” At first glance, one might lament that only 20% believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” Reports that…

A Firm Foundation

Luke 1:1-4 — Two contradictory things coexist in our culture. A 2017 Barna report found that 93% of Americans believe Jesus was real, while a different Barna survey reported that 52% of Americans believe “Jesus was human and committed sins like other people.” A strange scenario presents itself to us – people believe enough evidence exists to prove Jesus’ existence, yet they reject the implicit and explicit claims that evidence makes about his identity. The tension between our society’s beliefs about…