Sermon for August 28, 2022 – Proper 17

Psalm 81:1, 10-16 • Jeremiah 2:4-13 • Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 • Luke 14:1, 7-14 This week’s theme is faithful following. The call to worship Psalm presents the stubborn resistance of Israel. The Old Testament reading from Jeremiah also takes Israel to task for its unfaithfulness. The epistolary text in Hebrews presents various exhortations that give a picture of a faithful disciple. The Gospel reading from Luke challenges fearful hearts reluctant to follow Christ. Our Seating Doesn’t Determine Our Standing Luke 14:1-14 (NRSV) Our text today presents us with yet another story of Jesus around a meal table. Why do so many stories of Jesus involve eating and tables? The stories abound. One of the first attacks on Jesus had to do... Read the article

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Sermon for August 21, 2022 – Proper 16

Psalm 71:1-6 • Jeremiah 1:4-10 • Hebrews 12:18-29 • Luke 13:10-17 This week’s theme is God’s abilities. In the call to worship Psalm, the psalmist makes his appeal to God’s ability to save him from the wicked. The prophet Jeremiah is being told not to fear as God assures him of his ability to rescue him. The author of Hebrews tells us that God has the ability to sustain us. And in Luke, we see God’s ability through Christ to heal and restore a broken woman. Straightened Up in Christ Luke 13:10-17 Read or have someone read Luke 13:10-17 Let’s consider, for a moment, the kind of life this woman must have led before encountering Jesus. It’s safe to say that she probably needed a lot of assistance. She couldn’t do... Read the article

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Sermon for August 14, 2022 – Proper 15

Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 • Isaiah 5:1-7 • Hebrews 11:29-12:2 • Luke 12:49-56 This week’s theme is healing judgement. The call to worship Psalm is a call for Israel’s restoration who is likened to a ravished vine that was once flourishing. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah tells a parable of a vineyard with a message of judgement. The Gospel reading from Luke presents some sharp sayings of Jesus concerning judgement. The epistolary text comes from Hebrews listing examples of faith from Israel’s history as forerunners to Jesus’ faithful obedience. Peace & Division Luke 12:49-56 (NRSV) Read or have someone read Luke 12:49-56. As you heard or read today’s text, I suspect there was part of you that raised an eyebrow. You... Read the article

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Sermon for August 7, 2022 – Proper 14

Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 • Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 • Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 • Luke 12:32-40 The theme for this week is seeing the invisible God by faith. In Psalm 50, the psalmist sees God in the beauty of creation. Isaiah warns us that God “hides himself” from those who practice empty religion. This means that those who put religion over God will have a difficult time building a relationship with him. To see God, his followers must care for others, especially those in need, and be obedient to him. The author of Hebrews, in defining faith, cites Abraham’s belief in God’s promises as a model of faith. In Luke, Jesus exhorts believers to seek heavenly treasures (invisible) over earthly possessions (visible). We are also encouraged to... Read the article

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Fear

Trigger warning: this article discusses the 9/11 tragedy. Please do not read further if it could exacerbate any pre-existing trauma. On September 11, 2001, I was working for Boston Public Schools (BPS), and our central office was at the heart of the downtown area. My job was to coordinate the district’s afterschool programs, among other tasks. When the four planes crashed, taking the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon with them, a new kind of fear gripped my heart. It felt like reality was unraveling, because the unthinkable was happening. My wife is from New York, and we had close family who worked in the area — family we could not reach. Also, there were rumors that another plane was headed to Boston with a mission to hit a... Read the article

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Church Hack: The Art of Neighboring

Jesus invites us to participate with our triune God in drawing humanity close. Loving our neighbor is allowing the love of God to flow into us and then out of us— it cannot remain blocked and still in us. When we allow ourselves to be a channel of God’s love, we experience the love of God more fully and holistically, which then enables us to know God more intimately. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we often don’t have the space to develop relationships with our neighbors. How can we love what/who we do not know? This month’s Church Hack outlines some tips to build relationships with your neighbors. #GCIchurchhacks To view and download this month's church hack visit: ... Read the article

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Place-sharing with our Neighbors

Jesus set the example of place-sharing and invites us to participate with him. By Jillian Morrison, Associate Pastor, Glendora, CA Who is my neighbor? This question was posed to Jesus more than two millennia ago and it is still asked today. Jesus answers the question with a story demonstrating that anyone can be our neighbor, emphasizing the importance of showing mercy to the hopeless and marginalized (Luke 10:25-37). While anyone in the world can be considered our neighbor, those who live geographically near us are also in that category, and those we have the most contact with, and the best opportunity to place share. This means that our neighbor is at home, our immediate neighborhood, at work, the one square mile around where the... Read the article

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Place-sharing in Ordinary Time

Among Christ followers, ordinary is special, it is holy, it is missional. By Elizabeth Mullins, Publications Assistant The liturgical calendar plays out God’s story. Where are we situated in it? Let’s look at a couple passages to illuminate this time in God’s overarching story where we find ourselves—that is, after Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection but before the full culmination of his kingdom, before Christ’s second coming. In John 3, Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. They must be born again. Then Jesus says, No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake... Read the article

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Pentecost and What Happened Next

What happened after Pentecost gives us direction for mission and development. By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator Last month we celebrated Pentecost, the account of which can be found in Acts 2:1-47. On the day of Pentecost, we see a work of the Holy Spirit that demonstrates the inclusive expansion of Jesus’ kingdom. Luke tells us that 3,000 were added to their number that day. Pentecost teaches us about the nature of Jesus’ mission and our participation in it. I believe that what happened next can teach us something perhaps as important about the development of Christ followers. We see in Acts 2:42-47 that the inclusion of new believers was transformational – personally and collectively. The way of life changed for... Read the article

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Ordinary Time

What is it, and what does it have to do with me? When Greg Williams asked me to start focusing on the Christian worship calendar in Equipper, I thought, “Sure, that will be good for a couple articles. What else?” I had no idea of the depth of meaning and purpose we find in the worship calendar. I knew Christmas and Easter were important; I liked the candles and focus on Jesus’ coming for Advent, and I enjoyed celebrating the birth of the New Testament church on Pentecost, but the other days didn’t seem to have as much meaning. Man, was I mistaken. Focusing on just bits and pieces of the worship calendar is missing the truth that everything revolves around Jesus and reminds us he is the center of the center. Further, it keeps us... Read the article

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