Today’s reading from Mark 1:14-20 highlights a key verse that will shape Jesus’ ministry: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Pastor Paige explores what Jesus’ announcement means for us, as well as what it means that Jesus called humble fishermen to be his first disciples. Jesus didn’t worry about their skill level or experience. He simply called them to come with him and do the same work he was doing in the world. We get to be on Jesus’ dream team, too.
Martin Luther King called upon his followers to be “maladjusted” to the world – not to accept the evil that surrounds us, but to stand up against it. Jesus was maladjusted. Even in his early ministry, when he gave his first sermon, he was almost killed because of it. In the same way, we are called upon to speak out against evil wherever we see it, even if it looks like we are maladjusted to the world around us.
Every human being is on a quest, whether we are aware of it or not. Today’s sermon, from Matthew 2:1-12, focuses on the festival of Epiphany, when we celebrate the journey of the wise men to give gifts to the baby Jesus. Their quest teaches us that the real hero’s quest is to give and serve and surrender at the cradle and the cross of the Savior. When you lay your everything down before him, you will find the everything your soul has longed for.
On Christmas Eve, we celebrate the great news that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to be with us as a baby in the manger. The Christmas gospel from Luke 2:1-20 sets the stage for Jesus’ birth, as Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem to be counted in a census. Pastor Paige explores how we all feel measured and judged throughout our lives, and how God’s gift of Jesus reveals our true worth in the eyes of our loving Heavenly Father. Joy to the world, Jesus is here!
As the celebration of Christ’s birth draws near, we look to the prophet Isaiah to learn just who the Savior’s coming is for, and what its purpose is. There is great comfort and hope, as well as great challenge for us as the longed-for Messiah comes to make all things, including us, new.