September 2, 2018. "Combating Hatred." Deuteronomy 4: 1-2, 6-9.

What do you think is our nation's biggest social problem?  In today's gospel, Jesus addresses the subject of hatred and discrimination.  Combating hatred is a major issue of our day.  Racism remains a major form of discrimination.  Yet we show hatred in other ways such as sexism, social class distinctions, religious hatred, and homophobia.  The problem is spiritual.  We are guilty of corporate sin.  God's Word points us to the solution.  Christ died to overcome hatred.  Hatred did not end on the 1960s.  In the 2010s, focus on what comes from within.  Repent of your own sin.  Judge others by obedience to God and not by other standards.

August 26, 2018. "A New Start." Joshua 24: 1-2, 14-18.

Describe a time in your life when you got a new start.  Life is full of new starts.  This week we start a new school year.  In today's lesson, Israel is getting a new start with new land, a new leader, and new challenges.  Israel could not go back.  Israel had to set priorities for the future.  Each day gives us a new start.  We cannot go back.   Whom will this congregation serve?  Whom will you serve?  Will you grow in faith or stagnate?  Contribute or expect to be served?  Reach out to others or turn inward?  Practice our guiding principles or ignore them?

August 12, 2018. "Handling Stress." 1 Kings 19: 4-8.

How do you experience stress?  All of us know stress and disappointment.  Sometimes our feelings escalate into depression and burnout.  In today's lesson, Elijah is a victim of burnout.  In fear of Jezebel, Elijah traces the steps of Moses in reverse.  Elijah wants to die.  The angel of the Lord comes to Elijah twice. Later God comes to Elijah in a still, small voice.  God keeps coming and giving to us.  What can Christians do to avoid burnout?  They can maintain control over their lives, have realistic goals, keep a balance in life, be free, develop a support group, and rely on resources of their faith. 

July 29, 2018. "The Dimensions of God's Love." John 6: 1-15.

What is this?  For what is it?  In today's gospel, Jesus loved the hungry people.  God loves us in Holy Communion.  God's love has several dimensions of height, width, depth, and time.  Our response to God's love is our stewardship.  Stewards evidence the fruits of the Spirit in their lives.  Stewards use their gifts to build the body.  Stewards implement a plan of action.  We receive God's love in Holy Communion and share God's love through our stewardship.

July 22, 2018. "Living Chaotic Lives." Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.

How has your life become more chaotic in recent years?  Most Americans live busy, chaotic lives.  Many yearn for something else.  In Mark 6, Jesus and the disciples are busy.  They need a vacation to "re-treat" themselves.  Yet they cannot get away from the needs of the world.  Jesus has compassion.  Followers of Jesus need to care for themselves.  By caring for themselves, they care for others.  Self-care requires intentionality.  Most people need balance.  Treat yourself in the presence of God.

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