Sermon Archive

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

In the absence of video for this week’s message, here is a link to the manuscript of the sermon.  Please remember that the manuscript does not fully represent the sermon as preached in worship. Pastor Don’s Blog

Sunday, May 14, 2017

In the absence of video for this week’s message, here is a link to the manuscript of the sermon.  Please remember that the manuscript does not fully represent the sermon as preached in worship. Pastor Don’s Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2017

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” In our context, it may be difficult to fully appreciate the metaphor that Jesus uses here. Most of us were not raised on a ranch and we certainly have no understanding of the nomadic lifestyle lived by herders in the ancient Middle East. Tending the sheep meant living with them 24/7 throughout the grazing season. The herders were responsible for moving the herd from place to place as they followed the grazing food supply. They were responsible for the safety of the herd at night, protecting them from predators and thieves. It was a hard life, but it was vital to the community.

Jesus uses their cultural understanding of this process to point out how the religious leaders should be caring for their followers and how they often failed. He points to himself as the true Good Shepherd who offers safety and nourishment for his followers. It is an intimate relationship that provides the courage needed for young, new followers to keep going in the face of dangers and obstacles threatening to keep them from the life Jesus calls them to. We need to find a way to embrace this metaphor in our own lives. We need to draw strength from the Shepherd so that our fears and doubts do not overcome us.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village
called Emmaus.”

So, here we are, on the very day that Jesus rose from the dead and two of His disciples are high-tailing it out of town. Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. This morning some of the women report that the tomb is empty and these guys just don’t believe it. They don’t believe the stories told by the women of Jesus’ resurrection – maybe because it was hearsay and not their own personal experience.

Where is the big event they had expected? Why didn’t Jesus come out and take over as the mighty King? Their world has been turned upside down and maybe they fear what could happen to them now. Perhaps they are walking away from a place of pain and loss. They’re confused and disappointed; and they have lost their faith. The problem is that they expected the wrong things from the Messiah.

For these two disciples, doubt is leading them away from Jesus and his promises. Fortunately, Jesus goes after them to calm their doubt and bring them back.

As we take this journey together, I pray that we will all find out where doubt leads each one of us.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

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Today’s story of Jesus appearing to his disciples after the resurrection is often used as a cautionary tale for those may doubt the truth about Jesus. We label this disciple “The Doubting Thomas” as if that were a bad thing. We do little to try to understand what is behind this story.

We are beginning a new series this morning to talk about doubt and what questioning our faith does for us. We will re-visit three familiar gospel stories over the next three weeks, in an effort to strengthen our faith in the resurrected Christ. In these weeks just after Easter, it is important that we find ways to make the stories relevant to our context and that we maintain the excitement of this miracle.

I have said before that being a follower of Jesus in 21st Century America is not an easy task. Questions and doubt are inevitable. We must not be ashamed of our questions and we must not be afraid to ask them. I invite you to spend some time with us over the next few weeks exploring your own questions and seeking thoughtful answers.

As we take this journey together, I pray that we will all find out where doubt leads each one of us.

Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Easter Sunday, Main Sanctuary

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Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed, hallelujah!

This may be the best greeting of all time. It expresses hope, love, and freedom for those who believe in, welcome, and follow Jesus Christ. This is the day that we celebrate everything that the Bible promises. God created the universe and placed human beings in it to live, thrive, and care for each other and the universe that God provided. Throughout the Bible we read stories of God’s grace and humanity’s need for grace. Over and over we hear how God loves us and rescues us from the perils of our own sinfulness and selfishness. Today, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate because God proves that we are the most-loved beings in the universe. God gives up everything for us and offers us the chance to enjoy this life by living more like Jesus, as well as the promise of an eternity spent in God’s presence. What more can any of us ask for?

It is fun to spend some time with the children, hunting Easter eggs, and enjoying family gatherings. It is fine to wish each other “Happy Easter.” The trappings of a cultural Easter celebration are ubiquitous and unavoidable. Theoretically, there is no harm in this reality, as long as we keep the truth about Easter in the forefront of our minds.

Today we gather, first as Christians, and we greet one another with a joyous: “Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed, hallelujah!”