February 11, 2018. "I've Got a Secret." Mark 9: 2-9.

What is the most unusual thing that has happened to you?  For most of us most of the time, life can be fairly routine.  But occasionally, we have a day we remember for the rest of our lives.  The day may include an event.  The day may include a message.  Transfiguration Day was memorable.  The day had a memorable event.  The day had a memorable message.  The lives of the disciples were changed.  Today we live on the other side of Easter.  But we often behave as if Easter has not come.  We have a message to tell.

January 28, 2018. "Developing Credibility." Mark 1: 21-28.

What gives a person credibility?  What takes away credibility?  We are experiencing a crisis of credibility.  At the start of his ministry, Jesus had to establish credibility.  Today we read of Jesus' first act of public ministry.  Jesus encounters an unclean spirit.  Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit.  By rebuking the unclean spirit, the fame of Jesus spread.  Today, many think they gain credibility by putting down others.  But real credibility comes by doing good deeds.  Our world is full of unclean spirits.  We develop credibility by living the gospel and changing the world.

January 7, 2018. "Order Out of Chaos." Genesis 1: 1-5.

What part of God's creation do you find most awesome and inspiring?  We live in a magnificent creation.  The creation forces us to ask some big questions.  Experiencing defeat, devastation, and exile, Israel asked some big questions.  When under stress, people look for answers up there, out there, and in there.  Genesis is a proclamation of faith, not a narration of science.  God is distinct from creation.  God is the source of all creation.  In creation, God brings order out of chaos.  We are the culmination of creation.  Baptism creates order in our chaotic lives.  

December 24, 2017 (Evening). "The Hope of Christmas." Isaiah 9: 2-7.

Where is hope needed today?  The world lives in darkness with long nights, suffering, and ignorance.  The world has known darkness before in the time of Isaiah, the time of Jesus, and to some extent at all times.  People yearn for hope.  Isaiah sees hope in the midst of darkness.  A coming ruler will bring hope.  The content of this ruler will be peace.  The effect of this ruler will be joy.  We believe this ruler is Jesus.  Tonight we celebrate the coming of this ruler.  

December 17, 2017. "Hope for Defeated People." Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11.

How many of you like art?  What kinds of art do you like?  What is your favorite work of art?  Art is an important means of communication.  Today Isaiah paints a bleak picture of God's people.  Isaiah 61 uses picture language to describe a glorious future with an ordination service, prison release, national celebration, renewed city, forest of mighty trees, wedding, and spring garden.  Many people today experience the agony of defeat.  They need to see a picture of hope.  People yearn for a spiritual renewal.  People yearn for a moral revival.  People yearn for a social revival.  The Third Sunday on Advent is called Rejoice Sunday.  The people of Israel rejoiced over the coming of the Lord.  The people of Israel had this-worldly hopes.  We rejoice over the coming of Christ.  Our hopes are this worldly and next worldly.  The Bible gives us a picture of hope for defeated people.

 

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