Sermon for December 22, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-16 • Psalm 80:1-7 • Romans 1:1-7 • Matthew 1:18-25 This week’s theme is the intervention of God. As God’s people, we believe that he not only makes sense of history, he also intervened in it. Isaiah 7:10-16 discusses the intervention of God in the strange, multi-meaning words about a virgin that will one day bear a child. Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 is a lament asking for God’s intervention on Israel’s behalf. In Romans 1:1-7, Paul introduces the gospel as God’s great narrative history throughout history that culminated in God Himself entering history. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story of God's intervention in the lives of two young people to change history forever. The sermon is based on this Matthew passage... Read the article

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Sermon for December 15, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10 • Psalm 146:5-10 • Luke 1:46-55 • James 5:7-10 • Matthew 11:2-11 This week’s theme is Jesus brought the kingdom of God. The prophet Isaiah said the kingdom is coming and you will see people healed, the blind will see, the mute will sing praises. The Psalmist looked forward to the time when God gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free and gives sight to the blind. Matthew recounts Jesus telling John’s disciples to describe what they see, “the blind receive sight, the lame wall… the deaf hear, the dead are raised…” Mary sings of this kingdom in her song. The sermon is from Mary’s song in Luke 1 and reminds us that a significant part of the kingdom message is that God has chosen us to... Read the article

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Sermon for December 8, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10 • Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 • Romans 15:4-13 • Matthew 3:1-12 The theme of these passages is the arrival of the kingdom. The kingdom, which arrived with Christ, is discussed or hinted at in these passages. Isaiah 11:1-10 describes the kind of supernatural peace and joy of the kingdom. Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 shares a vision of a kingdom well-ruled which points to the wholeness of the kingdom. In Romans 15:4-13, Paul rings out the call of the gospel to the Gentiles—the unity of the kingdom in that now all people are God’s chosen people. Matthew 3:1-12, on which the sermon is based, tells of John the Baptist heralding the arrival of the rightful king—God himself. Prepare the way of the Lord! John the Baptist:... Read the article

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Sermon for December 1, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5 • Psalm 122:1-9 • Romans 13:11-14 • Matthew 24:36-44 This week’s theme is The Lord is coming. This first week of Advent looks to the future return of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. The prophet Isaiah talks about God’s kingdom being established and there will be no more war. The Psalmist talks about the peace that comes when we go to the house of the Lord. Matthew reminds us that Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, but the Lord is coming. The sermon focuses on Romans 13, where we are reminded that salvation is near and we want to put our hope in Jesus. Putting on Jesus Romans 13:11-14 (NRSV) For most churches in the Western tradition, today marks the beginning of the new church year,... Read the article

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Advent Themes and Symbols

Advent encompasses God’s story from the garden of Eden in Genesis to the establishment of the New Jerusalem in Revelation. Bobby Gross, author of Living the Christian Year, says this: “The biblical scope of Advent stretches from the garden in Genesis to the New Jerusalem in Revelation… In one sense, the whole of the Old Testament is text for Advent: the creation of the world and the fall of humankind, the choosing of one family to bless all families and one nation to bless all nations, the exodus of that nation from captivity, the giving of the law and settling of the land, the choosing of kings and building of a temple, the sins of the people and cries of the prophets, the exile in Babylon, and the return to live under Persians,... Read the article

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The Christian Calendar: Ordering our Days

Written by Eugene Guzon, Superintendent of Asia Have you ever noticed how easy it is for life to go unnoticed due to the busyness, noise, and clutter of each day? If we are not careful, we miss many opportunities to enjoy God’s presence and the deeper revelations of his glory. A couple of weeks ago I was driving up to the mountain city of Baguio in the Philippines and I pulled over to enjoy a particularly beautiful sunset. More recently, I watched the sunrise beyond the mountains of Yangon during a quiet, early morning flight to Myanmar. These two events reminded me of the faithfulness of God. He set the sun to rise and set every single day. It is because of the rising and setting of the sun that we have days— days that turn into... Read the article

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The Three “Comings” of Jesus

Advent: Jesus then, Jesus now, Jesus in the future Want to know a secret? I used to think Advent was all about Christmas, and the four common themes of Advent—Hope, Peace, Joy and Love—were symbols reminding us what Jesus brought to this world. While there is truth to what I used to believe, I have come to see that the season of Advent is much more. Advent is derived from Latin and means “to come” or “the coming.” It is a time of waiting with expectation, anticipation, longing and preparation. It reminds us the world yearns for deliverance—a deliverance provided only by the Messiah. It is a time to celebrate that light has come into a darkened world, that hope has arrived in the form of a child, that peace is in our future. ... Read the article

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Sermon for November 24, 2019

Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6 • Luke 1:68-79 • Colossians 1:11-20 • Luke 23:33-43 This week’s theme is Christ the King.  Jeremiah 23:1-6 shares the prophecy of the King who will come and rule over Israel and Judah. In Luke 1:68-79, Zechariah prophesies over his son John the Baptist that he will herald the arrival of the true King. Colossians 1:11-20 tells of the King Jesus through whom all things – the earth and all the kingdoms in it – were created. Through him everything was created and through him all things will be reconciled. Luke 23:33-43, on which our sermon is based, tells about the servant King as he hangs on the cross, and even in that moment reaches out the thief next to him who asks to be remembered in the Kingdom. ... Read the article

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Sermon for November 17, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 65:17-25 • Isaiah 12:1-6 • 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 • Luke 21:5-19 This week’s theme is created for eternal relationship. The prophet Isaiah talks about our eternal relationship—a time of no dying or weeping or pain. The former things are not remembered. In chapter 12, Isaiah reminds Israel that God is our salvation; he comforts; he brings joy. In his letter to believers in Thessalonica, Paul gives details about how to live in that relationship. The sermon, from the passage in Luke, talks about how people get caught up in signs and the destruction of the temple, but these things aren’t what life is about. Life is about being in relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. All Shook Up Luke 21:5-19 NRSV This... Read the article

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