June 3, 2018. "Observing the Sabbath Day." Deuteronomy 5: 12-15.

What does it mean to remember the Sabbath?  Today's lesson is from Deuteronomy.  The Sabbath is to remember the exile.  The better know discussion of remembering the Sabbath is in Exodus 20.  The Sabbath is a time for creation to rest.  In today's gospel, Jesus makes a pronouncement about the Sabbath and then heals a man.  We are beginning a new part of the church year.  We respond in faith because of God's grace.  We receive power to change the world by working in response to God's mighty deeds and resting in the arms of God.  The Sabbath was made for us.  Empowered by the acts of God and resting in God's grace, we can Live the Gospel and Change the World.

May 27, 2018. "Count Me In." Isaiah 6: 1-8.

How does God communicate with you?  Communication with God is a hot topic these days.  The Bible is full of call stories.  The call of Isaiah follows a classic pattern: awareness of God's presence, awareness of one's own sin, forgiveness by God, willingness to serve.  Isaiah was called and sent by God to be a failure.  Isaiah was called and sent by God to suffer.  Jesus was called and sent by God to die.  God does not call us to be successful but to be obedient.  God does not call us to escape the world's problems but to engage them.  God does not promise us an easy life but to sustain us in life and be with us in death.  Today is Holy Trinity Sunday.  What is keeping you from the full service of God?  Live the Gospel and Change the World.

May 13, 2018. "Selecting Christian Leaders." Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26.

What is the best way to select a leader and why?  Our world struggles with how to identify strong leaders.  People are not interested in democracy.  Other styles of leadership appear autocratic.  The early church struggled with leadership.  The early church sought ways to involve the Holy spirit in leadership selection.  The Holy Spirit did provide leaders.  These leaders supported the church.  Many of these leaders were women.  We believe the Holy Spirit will provide leaders for the church today.  What are the qualities of a Christian leader?  They include faith in the resurrection, willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, a life of prayer, and commitment to the church and its people.  How can we nurture Christian leaders?  Speak well of leaders.  Be role models ourselves.  Affirm one another.  Do not reinforce inappropriate behavior.

April 29, 2018. "Church Unity." John 15: 1-8.

How is the church united today?  How is the church divided today?  The 500th anniversary of the Reformation helped unite the church.  Yet today, in other venues, division is evident.  In John 15, Jesus uses a common Old Testament allegory to describe the church.  Jesus reinterprets the allegory.  The church is united in Christ.  The church bears fruit.  But today, Christians try to divide the church.  Disunity clouds our message.  This is God's church.  In unity, we are to Live the Gospel and Change the World.

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