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Janaury Sermons 

requested revealed

Requested 

January 14, 2018 - Join us as Pastor Lindsey shares a reflection the call of those first disciples and their recognition of who Jesus is.

Revealed

January 7, 2018 - Pastor Lindsey shared a reflection on the meaning of Baptism and the great reveal that took place and we now partake in when we celebrate and remember our baptism. 

John 1:43-51 Mark 1:4-11

 

 

Revealed - January 7th


Mark 1:4-11

 

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

 

Interpretation of the Word                    


How many of you have ever watched Home-makeover types of shows?  Extreme Home Makeover, Fixer Upper, Trading Spaces, Overhaul, Love it or list it?  I could go on, there are tons of Home-makeover shows out there on TLC or HGtv and even ABC hosted one of these shows.  People give over their homes to allows professionals redo it.  For about three quarters of an hour we see snips and clips of the house being torn apart and the designers giving up glimpses of their vision for the transformed space.  At the end of each show, the designers make a big reveal to the homeowners, who more often than not, have not been there to see the work or even participate in it.  When the moment comes the homeowners are either thrilled by the work falling in love all over again with their home or disappointed that their vision was not interwoven into the final design.

The reveal of the finished product is anticipated.  We stay tuned to see the final product, to see how the homeowner will react to the changes that have taken place.  The reveal that takes place often times leaves the homeowner filled with tears of joy.  Their lives have been changed and transformed, not necessarily in a spiritual way, but in a physical way, in a way that their space bring them joy in a way that it previously brought them stress and chaos.  In a way their lives have been born anew, their house and living space has been altered in way that they might never have been able to do on their own. 

The participants in these shows have had their homes and living spaces transformed.  We must ask the question: “what good does a neat clean space do, if there hasn’t been a change in habit to go along with the outward transformation?”  Their homes may have bene altered but has the way they engage their living space changed.  After the cameras stop rolling and the show has aired, we have no idea what their lives look like.  I often think and wonder after seeing such shows: Their spaces may have been a beautiful vision, but how down to earth were the visions for the homeowner to maintain? Especially those extravagant gardens they put in.  Is the show going to pay for a gardener to keep that up?  Because if it was me alone, it would be weeds by next summer.  I also wonder where people put their mail.  My kitchen counter seems to have a homing beacon on it for the mail to pile up.  The spaces may have been transformed but have the lives of the homeowners really changed? 

We have a chance to ask ourselves similar questions in the celebration of Baptism.  In our baptismal rite, we ask candidates for baptism: Do you renounce all evil, and powers in the world which defy God’s righteousness and love?  Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God? Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior?  We ask these questions because we believe that a transformation takes place in baptism.  It is not just the washing away of our sins, not just an act of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  It is also the revelation that we believe that God has claimed our lives for God’s own holy purposes. 

“In baptism God claims us, and seals us to show that we belong to God.  God frees us from sin and death, uniting us with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.” These are the very words that are proclaimed in our baptism rite.  God claimed Jesus in the water of the River Jordan, and we too are claimed, claimed as beloved.

Can you imagine all of things that are distractions in our lives, all the things that keep us from focusing on God, all of the piles and weeds are removed, transformed and revealed to us in baptism.  Baptism is the way in which the separations that occur in life are completely destroyed.  We proclaim and claim for ourselves in the renewal of our baptism which we remember today, that there is nothing in this life that can separate us from the love of God, not even the heavens.

Instead the heavens have been torn apart and God is no longer separate from us.  God is with us, Emanuel, here on earth.  God has now invaded the world, in a new way that cannot compared with any other interaction that God has had with creation.  God tears down the barriers that separate us from God and from one another.  In ancient Israel, it was believed that the cosmos was like a dome, that there was earth, created by God, then above the earth was the Sky holding the sun and the stars and the moon. It was then above that dome, on the other side, that God resided and ruled over the world.  So when we think about God breaking through, and tearing apart the heavens, this is the image the first century hearers of this text would have conjured up, the dome being torn open and God coming into his very creation. 

God does this so that we might be reborn, not that we can climb back into the womb of our mothers, as Nicodemus questions Jesus, but instead we are birthed a new, changed by the Spirit invading our lives. 

Just as the Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus, the Spirit invades our lives.  We might sing and envision that the Spirit is sweet and soothing as it descends from heaven, but a more apt vision of the Spirit descending would be that of a dive-bombing bird, streaming down to the earth.  When the spirit comes, it is not peaceful, it is not nice and easy, it is disruptive, it turns things on their heads, it reveals truth, and it is not sweetly flitting to the earth. C.S. Lewis once suggested that for Christians “spirit” is not lighter than matter, but heavier.  Spirit is the real substance of God acting in creation and redemption and final reconciliation.  Spirit is heavy, it is live altering, and it is invading.   The Spirit invades our lives, so that we may be completely transformed, like a house gutted and completely remodeled for the purposes God has revealed.

When we pray:  “Pour out your Spirit upon us and upon this water that this font may be your womb of new birth.  May all who not pass through these waters be delivered from death to life, from bondage to freedom, from sin to righteousness.  Bind them to the household of faith, guard them from all evil.  Strengthen them to serve you with joy until the day you make all things new.  To you be all praise, honor, and glory through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever. “   We are asking for a total transformation.  We are asking for the fall, so that we might right.  We are delivered from death so that we might live.  We are going down with Christ into the waters so that we might also rise with Christ, in a new life, a life that is claimed by God. 

This transformation is revealed us in just these few verses here in Mark.  They mark a clear beginning of ministry for Jesus; a ministry that is marked by God breaking in and breaking down barriers that have separated God’s people from God; a ministry that is marked by self-denial so that the Kingdom of God might prevail; a ministry that is marked by suffering, humility and the very weight of bearing the Spirit in the world.   

The kicker though is that if we, as the church, are to claim that we are adopted through the baptism that Jesus underwent and that we now have claim to the very power of the Spirit that invades us in baptism, then we need to fully understand what that means.  It means that we also partake in the ministry of suffering obedience that is initiated at the baptism of Jesus.  Our post-baptism lives must include a similar acceptance of self-denial.  The path that baptism opens is a road that requires us to bear our own cross, and that the only way we will save our lives is by losing it.

Friends, our path is revealed to us in the baptism of our Lord in the river Jordan and we join him in those chilly waters, as the Spirit of God invades our lives and reveals the holy purposes to which we each have been born for.  Amen.

January 16, 2018

 

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SUNDAY WORSHIP

 

Worship Service 11:00AM

Adult Bible Study   9:45AM

Children's Class  11:00AM 


 

   

SERMON ON SUNDAY: January 14, 2018 - "Requested"

 

 

 

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