1. Do you see this woman? (Luke 7.36-50) [Sermon 2-19-2017]

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    February 17, 2017 by jmar198013

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    Jesus wants Simon—and everyone else—to “see this woman.” Because she’s the proof of the parable he’s just told about the two debtors. “This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven,” Jesus says. “So she has shown great love.” The extravagant love she has poured out on Jesus is a sign that she already knows she’s been forgiven. God has released her and welcomed her home. All she’s doing is showing her deep love for the one who unleashed that forgiveness into her life.

  2. Jesus and John (Luke 7.18-35) [Sermon 2-12-17]

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    February 10, 2017 by jmar198013

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    John came calling the people to cry, and he was right. Jesus came calling the people to dance, and he was right, too. The Pharisees and scribes thought John was demonic and Jesus was a drunk. And they were wrong. You know what that means? It means there are times and seasons when we need to hear a call like John’s to weep over our sins and repent. But Jesus also calls us to joyful celebration, to acknowledge God’s justice, and feast on God’s love.

    Children of wisdom will know when it’s time to cry, and when it’s time to dance.

  3. Walking in the ways of Elijah and Elisha (Luke 17.1-17) [sermon 2-5-2017]

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    February 3, 2017 by jmar198013

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    When the people saw Jesus at work, they said: “God has come to help his people.” And just maybe, if we follow Jesus—bringing the Good News of God’s salvation to the dark and desperate corners of our time, even across enemy lines—people will also see our work, and conclude that God has come to help them. Through his people.

  4. Setting the Sabbath free (Luke 6.1-16) [Sermon 1-29-2017]

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    January 27, 2017 by jmar198013

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    The Sabbath was meant for the release, rest, and healing of those who had been slaves. But what happens when a law that was meant to give comfort to former slaves morphs into another form of bondage? How can it be a day of rest and release if you’re so worried about doing it wrong, you can’t really celebrate it? Those Pharisees would have people become slaves to the Sabbath. Jesus came to set people free. And he came to set the Sabbath free. So it could serve humanity, the way God meant it to.

  5. Filling the empty nets (Luke 5.1-11) [sermon 01-22-2017]

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    January 18, 2017 by jmar198013

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    Peter was as empty as his nets when Jesus climbed on board his fishing boat one morning. When he told Peter to “push into deep water and drop your nets for a catch,” Peter obeyed. And the nets were so full they nearly burst and the boat was about to sink. The fullness of Christ filled his empty net, and the emptiness in him.

    Jesus called for Peter to come with him and “fish for people.” That call comes to us today, too. We are called to cast wide the net of his saving love into the depths of our world through our obedient discipleship. Like Peter, we acknowledge that we are imperfect fisherfolk. But like Peter, we also know it’s Christ working through us to fill the nets.

  6. An agenda for ministry (Luke 4.14-30) [Sermon 01-15-2017]

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    January 13, 2017 by jmar198013

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    Jesus told his neighbors, in no uncertain terms, that God didn’t intend for Jubilee to be proclaimed only to them. Jesus had come to preach the Good News of God’s salvation to all the poor folk. To heal all the blind folk. To proclaim forgiveness and release to all the captives. Yes, even the tax collectors and Samaritans and … even the Romans. God had sent him to proclaim Jubilee to everyone. Even their enemies. And that’s what got them mad enough to throw Jesus off a cliff. Because there’s this human tendency to think blessing is a zero-sum game. Good news for somebody has to mean bad news for somebody else. There can’t be a “year of the Lord’s favor” without a corresponding “day of vengeance for our God.” Jesus came to show us it doesn’t really have to be that way.

  7. John baptizes Jesus (Luke 3.1-22; Ps. 51.6-17) [Sermon 01-08-2017]

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    January 6, 2017 by jmar198013

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    Luke has recorded for us the precise moment when Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach good news to the poor. It was right after he was plunged into the same waters as the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, and those who cried out for God’s favor. In other words, people just like you and me.

    He didn’t save us from on high.

    He got right down in that dirty, muddy water with us.

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