What does real freedom look like? How is it that we can live in one of the most “free” nations in the world, and yet still feel so stuck? Maybe the reason is that we don’t understand what freedom is really all about. Reflecting on the Apostle Paul’s words from Romans 6:12-23, Pastor Eric explores what it means to be enslaved to sin, enslaved to ourselves, or enslaved to God. One of those ways is the path to freedom.
The words of Matthew 10:24-39 are challenging. That’s even more the case hearing words about Jesus creating family conflict on the day we welcome families of our Vacation Bible School kids to worship as kids shared music they learned during the past week! But, this is the Gospel reading that was assigned for the day. And there is very good news found in these hard-to-hear words! So often, we feel “stuck” in our jobs, our relationships, our life, or our souls. What if the reason is that we are living in an illusion of peace? What if there is a way into life that is real? We can follow Jesus out of our illusions and into life that is real, full, and eternal.
Jesus calls disciples, travels with disciples, trains disciples, and then he sends them out to minister to others. In this sermon, “Simple Instructions,” Pastor Paige explores what Jesus’ instructions to the twelve disciples in Matthew 9:35-10:23 mean for us today. The sermon highlights how we are called and sent out to share the good news that in Jesus, the kingdom of heaven has come near.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity isn’t about weird math where 1+1+1=1, or scoring obscure philosophical points. It’s a way of naming the God of the universe who loves us with infinite love. In today’s sermon, Pastor Eric looks at Genesis 1 and 2 and Matthew 28 to unpack what we can discover about the saving, healing presence of the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
On the Festival of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in wind and flame. The Spirit is the risen Jesus’ continued presence with the disciples as they move into a new future. Pastor Paige explores the many gifts that Jesus gives the disciples in the Pentecost reading from John 20:19-23, including his peace, the proof of his death and resurrection in the marks on his body, and his breathing on them in order to give them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowers, enlivens, and enlists believers today as well. Through the Holy Spirit, God sends us out to share the good news of Jesus’ love and grace.
In 1Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11, we are told to “resist” the devil. What does that mean? Is it all about our willpower? Is it all up to us? Actually, there is some good news of great promise. This isn’t just a matter of temptation; it’s a matter of becoming the people God created us to be. In this last sermon of our “Forged” series, we will look at how, in our struggles against evil, Jesus is always at work to forge us into tried, tested, and true instruments of his kingdom.
Sermon based on Psalm 66:8-20 and 1Peter 2:19-25. What happens when life seems to turn against us? Trying to get an answer to “why” won’t get you anywhere. But while we don't always see the “victories” in life, Jesus is always at work to make you victorious. What if our trials are the very places where our character and destiny are forged?
As we continue our sermon series about being strengthened and forged by God in the midst of our struggles, Pastor Paige explores the image of Jesus as our cornerstone from 1 Peter 2:2-10. God gives us Jesus as the foundation upon which we build our lives. Like Jesus, we are “living stones,” growing in faith and expanding our community as we invite others into God’s marvelous light. 1 Peter proclaims that together we are “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” As believers, we are called to share God’s mercy with others and invite them to stand with us on the cornerstone that is Jesus Christ.
Ever feel like you don’t belong? In today’s sermon based on 1Peter 1:17-23, we explore two kinds of “misfits:” the outcast, and the exile. Christians live as “exiles” in this world. What does that mean? How can that calling be a blessing, not just to us, but to the world around us?
Today we begin a new sermon series based on 1Peter. Our theme is “Forged: From Counterfeit Hope to Strength That Is True.” Today (1Peter 1:3-9), we look at the difference between pretending that we can somehow avoid struggles and trials and instead discovering the real strength that comes from the presence of Jesus in our trials.
In this sermon on John 20:19-31, Pastor Gordon Simmons, a member of Reformation, tells us the good news of the forgiveness and peace not just given to us, but offered to all people, in the resurrection of Jesus.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia! We’ve all experienced trying to solve a problem and getting frustrated when nothing we do seems to help. That’s what Mary Magdalene was feeling on that first Easter morning in John 20:1-18. She was grieving and unable to locate Jesus’ crucified body. The miracle of Easter is that God was doing something entirely new. Something that would solve the problem. Not only the problem of a missing body, but of death itself. Pastor Paige explores how Easter opens up a new future, God’s bright and beautiful future, for everyone.
“What is truth?” Pilate asks Jesus in the middle of our Lord’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion on Good Friday. It’s a question we all wrestle with, especially in our world today. Who speaks the truth? Who can I trust to tell me the truth? What is truth? Pastor Paige points to the cross to answer Pilate’s question. The cross of Christ gives us hope that even as sinners who hide from the truth of our condition, Jesus still loves us. He gave up his life, so we could experience the truth of God’s never-ending mercy for us.
On Jesus’ last night with his disciples before the crucifixion, he gave them the sign of foot washing as a symbol of how they are to love one another. (You can find this story in John 13:1-17; 31-35.) He also instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion, as Paul tells in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. At this meal, we are transformed. Indeed, at this table, the world finds new life. Come to the table.
Palm Sunday is also known as the Sunday of the Passion, from the Latin passio, to suffer. We remember Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and his suffering, trial, torture and execution less than a week later. How did this happen? And, what does it mean for our own spiritual lives? This sermon, based on Matthew 27:11-54, will prepare you for the observance of Holy Week and Easter.
In this beloved story from John 11:1-45, Jesus dramatically raises his friend Lazarus from the dead. But don’t we all have a little bit of Lazarus in us? Parts of us that are at best lost and hurting, if not outright dead? Listen to hear how Jesus summons all of us to new life, even though this means risks, and how he calls us to be a community where we who once were dead are “unbound.”
We continue hearing the rich stories from the Gospel of John where Jesus interacts with ordinary people and creates a stir with his words and deeds. Pastor Paige puts the congregation into the story of John 9:1-41. She explores why the characters in this story were so upset and confused by Jesus healing a man who was born blind. Shouldn’t that miracle be something to rejoice over? Jesus takes the most humble of elements, dirt and spit, and uses them to create a miracle. How might Jesus be using the ordinary materials of our lives to transform us and others today?
In John 4:5-42, Jesus offers those who believe in him "living water." But what most often keeps us from finding true refreshment for our souls is that we want to keep God squeezed into our ideas, leaving us with only enough space in our hearts for little "sips" of God.
Nicodemus, a religious leader, comes to Jesus at night. They get into a deep discussion of how God creates faith, and how we become children of God (John 3:1-17). Nicodemus doesn’t fully comprehend the free gift of God’s love and grace, but as he talks with Jesus, he moves in the direction of greater insight. Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to the wind, and invites Nicodemus to consider how God’s Spirit is on the move. Jesus points Nicodemus to the fullness of God’s love, for everyone, everywhere, in one of the most famous verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
We can resist anything, except temptation, right? On this first Sunday in Lent, we hear two very different stories of temptation: Adam and Eve tempted by the serpent in the Garden (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7), and Jesus tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Looking at these encounters, we discover why we can’t face temptation on our own, and how Jesus can reshape our heart and mind, so that we can think faithfully, truly, and well when we encounter evil.