1. Becoming God’s answer (John 17.20-26) [Sermon 05-08-2016, Easter 7c]

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    May 2, 2016 by jmar198013

    Jesus in Gethsemane_jpg

    What Jesus desires the world to see in the lives of his people is the love of God the Father. He prays to Father God that when the world sees us bound together in one heart and mind, “then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.”

    It is not enough for the world to believe that a God, or God in general, sent Jesus. The problem is, as Jesus says, that the world has never known his Righteous Father.

    Even God’s people have often fallen into the trap of believing in—and worshiping—a God who turns out upon closer examination to have been made in our image. A God who is nothing but a projection of how we would rule the world if we were still us, but really, really big, and with superpowers.

    But that’s not the God Jesus wants the world to believe sent him. Jesus wants the world to believe that HIS FATHER sent him.

    The cross shows us a God whose power is made perfect in the weakness of his crucified Son.

    Father God is saying, through the cross and resurrection of his Son: “The world condemns and kills. The world makes crosses, and nails victims to them. That’s because the world doesn’t know me! I am not-the-world. I suffer with the condemned and humiliated. I raise up the victims. I break the power of crosses.”

  2. Old School Church of Christ Preacher Name Generator

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    May 1, 2016 by jmar198013

    Church of Christ Preacher Name

    One of the things that always impressed me growing up was the distinguished-sounding names of some of our old-time preachers. …
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  3. Not as the world gives (John 14.23-26) [Sermon 05-01-2016 Easter 6c]

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    April 28, 2016 by jmar198013


    During John’s telling of the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples many things as he is preparing for his death, and resurrection; and finally, to return to his Father, God. One assurance he gives them during all the turbulence and upheaval that will follow his departure is: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.”

    How does the world give? The world does not give peace. The world gives us fear so we will buy their versions of peace: military, personal, financial, or material security. But Jesus gives his peace. A peace that comes from knowing that we are perfectly loved by the Father; and “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4.18).

  4. Glorified by love (John 13.31-35)

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    April 23, 2016 by jmar198013


    A few hours before he was arrested and executed, Jesus told his followers: “Everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another as I have loved you.”

    He didn’t say everyone will know his disciples by their right doctrines, their fancy buildings, their cutting-edge programs, their animatronic Noah’s Ark exhibits, their wealth, their fancy worship productions, their politics, or their family values. He said everyone will know his disciples by their love.

    And since people are prone to say and do all kinds of things to each other and call it love, Jesus put an even finer point on it: “Love each other as I have loved you.”

    How has Jesus loved you?

  5. The shepherd’s voice (John 10.22-30) [Sermon 04-17-2016, Easter 4c: Good Shepherd Sunday]


    April 17, 2016 by jmar198013


    In John 10.22-30, Jesus says that his sheep listen to his voice and follow him.

    Do they listen because they are his sheep? Or are they his sheep because they listen? Do they follow Jesus because he is their shepherd? Or is Jesus their shepherd because they follow?

  6. Epilogue (John 21.1-19) [Sermon 04-10-2016, Easter 3c]


    April 8, 2016 by jmar198013


    In the Epilogue to John’s Gospel, the risen Jesus makes the word forgiveness become flesh for his estranged disciple Peter. The good news is, it isn’t just a story about Peter being reconciled to Jesus. It’s a story for each one of us, too.

  7. Forgiven people forgiving people (John 20.19-31) [Sermon 04-03-2016, Easter 2c]


    March 31, 2016 by jmar198013


    John 20.19-31 takes place over a period of 8 days, beginning Easter night. As the story begins, the disciples are holed up in a hideout somewhere. When the story draws to its climax, 8 days later, they’re still there.

    As the story unfolds, all sorts of interesting questions emerge: Why are they locked in a house? Who are they really afraid of? Why didn’t they go look for Jesus after Mary told them he was risen? Why wasn’t Thomas with them? And why were they still locked up in the house more than a week later?

    This sermon addresses all those questions, and more. And from those questions and answers emerges a snapshot of who Jesus calls his church to be: A forgiven people, forgiving people.



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