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August 2018 Sermons

 

Missed a sermon?  Enjoyed it so much you want to read it?  Want to check that you heard that?  Below are the recent sermons from August 2018.  We encourage you to use the reflection on the Word in your faith practice.  May they lift you up and enrich your faith.  Enjoy!

 

 

Hymn Sing Sunday #2

August 26, 2018 - Join us as we sing our favorite hymns!  Bring one or two of your own favorites and come ready to sing!!

Join us and See

August 19, 2018 - Join us for an inspiring message from Pastor Lindsey
 John 6:1-21 John 6:51-58

Hunger and Thirst 

August 12, 2018 - Pastor Lindsey shared a message of hope in the midst of fear.  We focused on the living Bread and thirsting for relationship with God, in Christ.

Tuned in

August 5, 2018 - Pastor Lindsey shared a sermon that challenged us to turn on and tune into just what we're hearing from Scripture. 

John 6:35, 41-51 John 6:24-35

 

 

Hunger and Thirst


As some of you might remember, we spend most of the Month of August in John 6 talking about bread. Which, let’s be honest, for a person who is abstaining from most if not all bread is a little torturous! I mean come one here Jesus, give a girl a slice!

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never thirst!

41 The Jewish opposition grumbled about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

42 They asked, “Isn’t this Jesus, Joseph’s son, whose mother and father we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

43 Jesus responded, “Don’t grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that whoever eats from it will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

This is the Good News and Word of our Lord.

I don’t know about you, but I have to tell you, I am both hungry and thirsty, at least in a temporal sense. I mean it is almost lunch time and most of us ate breakfast hours ago! It is surely long past time for a snack! We all get those hunger pains. You might even be feeling them now, as you anticipate Covered-dish. Right? You might even be thinking, if Pastor Lindsey AND Jesus would just hurry up, then we might not have to be hungry anymore… as the tables in the Fellowship hall have already been set! Come one Jesus, move over… get out of the way!

So this morning, we might find that we actually identify with the crowd that has gathered around Jesus. For when we are in need or distress, when we are hurt or afraid, we want to see a God who shows up in strength and through miracles, We want to call upon a God who answers clearly and quickly, with an answer that we can rely on! We want a God who is there, really, really there when we need it.

It is therefore little wonder that when the people in the crowd, and maybe even ourselves, are a little put off, offended, upset, angered, grumbling in the parking lot, after they hear Jesus suggest that he, a man, a common ordinary looking man, that they saw raised in their community, a man whose father and mother they know, might just BE the answer they are looking, the answer to their deepest longing and their greatest needs. Yeah Right! Doubtful.

And boy are we hungry and maybe even thirsty. We hunger for more than a handful of fish and a few loaves turned into a feast, water into party wine, and scarcity into abundance. We hunger for more than that! We hunger for community that is loving and supportive. We hunger for a culture that identifies the problems that break us and instead of leaving us broken, seeks out, embraces, and creates practical, realistic solutions that build us and the community up.

We hunger and thirst not for an imaginary Golden Age, or what used to be, even if that is what we tell ourselves that we want. IF we are honest, there has not been a time in our history, American or World History, when people did not have to struggle for food, for rights, for a place in the world, so to say we want to return to an era that has never existed is a more than a little difficult. So our hunger and thirst cannot possibly grow out of some sentimental longing for what is really just an imaginary happy time.

We hunger and thirst because we are afraid.

We are afraid of death. We are afraid of our rights being infringed upon. We are afraid of our loved ones being ripped from our arms, because of gun violence, because of government officials, because of hurts and grudges that won’t be mended. We are afraid, that if we share what little we have, there might not be enough for us when we really need it. We are afraid of people who look different, who worship different, who love different, who dress different. For the most part, deep down, we are afraid of just about anything and everything!

We have become so afraid and have let that fear rule our lives that we have become hyper-aware of what other people “might do” so much so that we fail to live. We fail to live the abundant life that we have been given. We become like the ancestors Jesus tells us about. “You ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and they died.” They worshipped false idols; they grumbled against God when they didn’t get their way; they ate the bread, but they were not nourished by it. They were still afraid, and so they died, still living in fear.

Yet, Jesus, yes the young man from Nazareth, whose mother and father we know from the market, is calling us to something more: a life that gives our fears, as big or small as they may be, to God. This is a chance to eat the bread that gives us life, more life than we can ever imagine. It brings us into community and heals us.

This is also a chance for us to see that God is a God who doesn’t just sit high in the sky, watching all things transpire without a care for what is taking place. If we’re honest, we wonder about what kind of God gets involved in the mess of life? In the 1st century, it was ridiculous to think of a God who has anything to do with the ordinary, the mundane, the dirty. None of the other Gods in the ancient world, would EVER dare to get involved in human life, unless to have a little fun at humanity’s expense. Gods are supposed to be great, and powerful, not living in our midst, walking around with tired, dusty sandals. And seriously, what God is WILLING to suffer the pains and problems, the indecencies and embarrassments of human life? It is just crazy pants talk.

Instead, Jesus shares about a God who comes down from heaven to feed us; to alleviate our fears. “This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that whoever eats it will never die.” God came to be with us, took on this mortal flesh with us, so that we might all live in abundance of love not fear.   God does not despise the ordinary or the common, but rather seeks it out, in order to accomplish something so much greater. God makes us a promise to take hold of us and make us God’s own, to remain with us and never let us go.

We gather here, not just on Sundays, but any day of the week to be reminded that we are loved, that we are claimed, that we are so much more than the fear that swirls and whirls around us, telling each of us that we are not enough. You my friends are enough for God to love. Just as you are. Without one plea. Come and see. Taste and Eat. Be satisfied by the One who loves you so dear. Amen.


 


 



Tuned in 

 

John 6:24-35

 

24 When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Bread of life

26 Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One[a] will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.”

28 They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”

29 Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”

30 They asked, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”[b]

32 Jesus told them, “I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 They said, “Sir,[c] give us this bread all the time!”

35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

 

Interpretation of the Word

 

This is week two of John 6 and week two of looking at bread in the context of the Gospel. The challenge of preaching through these weeks, is to hear this text and hear a word for us. So we need to listen with our ears tuned in and turned on. Tuned in to what this text is saying about God and turned on so that we might also hear what it means for our lives, today.

So first let’s tune in. Let’s take a look at what this text is saying about God. Because it most definitely IS saying something about God, who God is and what God does for us.

God is not always where we most often expect to find him. We have been known to look for God in very specific places, such as temples, cathedrals, roadside chapels, opulent sanctuaries, mountain top experiences. And yet the place where we most often encounter God is in the unlikeliest of places during the most unsuspecting of moments. In someone’s living room as we visit with them; or on the back porch as we watch the mist rising off of the lake; or in the grocery store, on the floor as we play with children and grandchild. In the places we already are. We don’t always have to go looking for God, as though God is lost. God is already there, that is what Omnipresent means after all, present all over, all the time. There is no place that we can go to hide from God or escape God, God is already there, waiting for us. So when we hear that the crowd was surprised that Jesus was already at Capernaum, we are reminded that God is everywhere, and even more so in the places we least expect to find him.

Jesus is a bit tongue in cheek here when he replies to the crowd, the only reason you are looking for me is because I filled your bellies, right? And can we blame the crowd? We like to return to the places where the food is good and our bellies were filled, especially if it was reasonably priced and we left feeling satisfied! In that same vein, we are less than likely to go back to a place where the service was terrible, the portions were small and overpriced and in the end didn’t taste all that great or leave us feeling satisfied. That is often the reason we return to specific churches, or to certain places, because we were fed there, whether it was spiritual food or physical food or maybe both. We return because of the experience of being fulfilled. We want to repeat that.

If we continue with the food analogy, Jesus is like oatmeal that sticks to your ribs and leaves you feeling full for hours, instead of like a fast-food bacon, egg and cheese muffin. While the bacon may be mouthwatering and the cheese just the right amount of melty, after about 30 minutes we need a snack or a second sandwich. Oatmeal on the other hand tends to leave us full until it is lunch time! Ok, not a fan of oatmeal, how about this one: Jesus is like a Katz’s Deli Rueben, piled high with meat and kraut, instead of a BigMac. While that special sauce at one time could draw us all in, now there is more shredded lettuce than meat patty packed in between those sesame seed buns. How about this one: Jesus is more like Chicago deepdish pizza topped with all the best meats and veggies and cheese melted in each nook and cranny, instead of thin crust, thin like a tortilla, pizza. Don’t want too many carbs? Toss out the yeasty dough and in its place put a low carb flatbread, that bends when too many toppings are added and breaks when it is heated to crispy. In my experience, thin crust can’t stand up to the heat or the pressure of being pizza. Jesus is steak and loaded baked potatoes, instead of Chinese beef and broccoli.

Friends, if your mouths aren’t watering, well I’m sorry, maybe there is something more satisifying out there for you as a comparison. Ultimately experiences with Jesus are those that leave us satisfied, not looking for our next meal. When we encounter God we are renewed, as though new life has been breathed into us. There is this amazing feeling and sense that we can truly do ANYTHING through Christ who strengthens us. This is the kind of satisfaction that Jesus is talking about. Jesus uses something we know, something our parents knew, our grandparents knew and is asking us to look inward. Does this bread that we eat every day really satisfy us? Does the bacon, egg and cheese muffin, the BigMac, the thincrust pizza, the loaf of fresh bread really, I mean really satisfy us for the long term? Jesus is really going against the dominant culture of what we know, while at the same time using what we know to express just how much MORE Jesus is.

If we’re tuned in, we will see that what feeds us really just leaves us hungry. What feeds us keeps us captive. What feeds us keeps us apart. What feeds us is crumbling from the inside out. This earthly bread that we consume prevents us from being truly satisfied. God is satisfying and life giving.

God gives life to the world.

Now let’s get turned on. If you are at home with me, you will know that I have difficulty with the TV. It never wants to turn on at the first press of the power button. Sometimes I have to press it two or three or even four times before the silly thing will turn on. Roy on the other hand, can always get it with the first click. This might be a sign that I have better things to do than binge watch some show on Netflix, but if anything I am persistent. We have had a good laugh over my seeming inability to turn on the tv. Let this NOT be a metaphor for our being able to turn on so that we can hear what God is saying in John to us today.

I recently disagreed with a nutritionist who insisted that I needed to eat specific grain based foods, specifically bread and crackers, in order to get certain nutrients. It was my opinion, formed from the work and research of other nutrition experts, that bread in its current form is part of the larger problem, and that rather than eating a slice of bread, I preferred to eat things closer to their original form, and preferably with fewer preservatives. This seemed like an obvious and smart choice, to me. However, that was NOT the opinion or teachings of this nutritionist. We agreed to disagree.

But if we’ve tuned in to what Jesus is saying this morning, we need a new food, a different grain and a better bread. This is not some bread that was passed around yesterday and is left over. Nor is it fresh loaf of bread that will stale and grow mold if left out on the counter too long.   Instead it is a renewal of spirit that Jesus brings to all those who decided to go with him, as he works against the grain. We need a food that is life giving, that can’t be measured on a scale, then bagged or sold to the highest bidder.

The only food that I have encountered like that is living as Jesus has taught and called us to, and that isn’t something we can eat in a physical sense. But it is something that we can embrace and share. It is caring for our neighbors, no matter the skin color, no matter their lifestyle, no matter their marital status, no matter their ability to contribute financially. It is looking beyond what we see on the surface and digging deeper, sitting in the hard moments, the moments where we feel as though we have nothing to offer and yet, still offering ourselves, our very presence.

God’s call inspires us to respond by devoting our lives in their entirety to fulfilling God’s vision, bringing health and wholeness to the world and the body of Christ.

Grace inspires us to live a life worthy of our calling as Christ’s companions and followers. Following Jesus requires us to be agents of unity and reconciliation, lived out with our unique and particular gifts. Our calling is to embody the full stature of Christ, taking our roles within the body of Christ.

God is calling us to be renewed, revived, resuscitated in such a way that we move from the feeling of not enough to there is plenty to go around. Jesus is asking us to turn to his way of living, of acting, of interacting with the world. A way that is wholly counter-cultural and does not embrace the fleeting bread of this world, away from the doughy goodness, but instead invites us to participate in a ministry that is truly life changing.

October 20, 2018

 

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SUNDAY WORSHIP

 

Worship Service 11:00AM

Adult Sunday School 9:45AM

Children's Sunday School - starting again September 9


 

   

 August 19, 2018 - Summer Worship

 

 

 

 

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