1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Welcoming God’s salvation (Luke 2.21-38; Psalm 131) [sermon 01-01-2017]

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    December 30, 2016 by jmar198013

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    Like Simeon, each of us can reach out for Jesus, and rejoice before God: “my eyes have seen your salvation.” And God’s salvation is a wide-open welcome that reaches down into our depths.

  5. Peace among those whom he favors (Luke 2.8-20) [Christmas sermon 2016]

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    December 23, 2016 by jmar198013

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    One of the many ways the scriptures serve us is by training us how to see what’s going on around us. To wait on God. To look for God at work in unexpected places. To find the holy in what might seem insignificant. To be able to recognize what God is doing in and through other people. Maybe especially people who often get overlooked. The story of Christmas does all that for us.

  6. In the bleak midwinter (Luke 1.26-49) [Sermon 12-18-2016, Advent 4 2016]

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    December 16, 2016 by jmar198013

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    We find ourselves now in a world captive to a bleak midwinter. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s harsh. Out there, and often even in our own hearts. During Advent we remember how God sent his Son to thaw our hearts and lives out of the winter this world has long been frozen in. And during Advent, we remember that Jesus will come again, to break the grip of winter forever.

  7. The King is coming, bringing joy (Isaiah 61) [Sermon 12-11-2016, Advent 3 2016]

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    December 9, 2016 by jmar198013

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    The prophet Isaiah pointed back toward the Jubilee to inspire joy in the remnant of Israel in the present, and hope for their future. During the season of Advent, the church does something similar. We remember that the Messiah of Israel, God’s anointed king Jesus, came into the world bringing joy.

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