1. The King is coming, bringing hope (Joel 2.12-13, 28-29) [Sermon 12-4-2016, Advent Year 3]

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    December 3, 2016 by jmar198013

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    Joel’s prophecy begins with terror–fields and vineyards stripped bare by locusts, and the threat of the Day of the LORD, when God will come to shake things up. But it ends with hope–not only will God restore what the locusts took, but he promises a day of hope for all flesh, and all creation, when all will be restored. The season of Advent likewise points us back to a dark time, when a poor man and woman lay their vulnerable firstborn son in a feeding trough. But that child was God’s visitation, bringing hope to all peoples and all creation. Thus is hope born in us, and through us, the world.

  2. The King is coming to rescue (Daniel 6.6-27) [Sermon 11-27-2016, Advent 1]

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    November 22, 2016 by jmar198013

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    Suspicious of Daniel, the Jewish exile who prayed three times a day for God to liberate his people, royal officials of the Persian empire ramrod a piece of legislation that requires all prayers to be made to the emperor, King Darius. Or be fed to the lions. When Daniel disobeys, Darius learns too late that he has been conned. The man everyone is praying to cannot save his most trusted advisor, Daniel. He himself is limited by the law he signed. Only Daniel’s God–and ours–can rescue him. God’s people and the whole creation still live in the shadow of oppressive forces of the satan, sin, and death. But like Daniel, we await the King of Kings who will rescue his people and save the creation. That is the hope of Advent people.

  3. “I’m here; send me!” (Isaiah 6.1-8) [Sermon 11-13-2016]

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    November 10, 2016 by jmar198013

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    Like Isaiah, we live in unsettled and unsettling times. Things are changing, which is a constant in our world. But so many feel left behind. Lost. Unheard. Many are afraid of what the future holds for them, if anything. Many live in despair. In fear. In rage. In confusion. We also live in a time when so many unclean lips go unchecked, and the words they speak do real harm. We are surrounded by the walking wounded. In such a time, may we be people with clean lips. God needs us to be his lips, to speak words of hope, comfort, and healing to our wounded neighbors. To use our words to build others up, not tear them down.

    God’s invitation extends to us, from Isaiah’s day to our own: “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”

    May you and I—all of us—respond as Isaiah did: “I’m here; send me.”

  4. Jonah’s way, or God’s? [Sermon 11-06-16]

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    November 4, 2016 by jmar198013

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    In the book of Jonah, God shows faithful mercy to both Nineveh and Jonah. Israel and the nations. That means we should not be surprised when God shows faithful mercy to the church and the world. To me, to you, and the other guy. And by leaving God’s question hanging in the air, our storyteller gives us a choice: Will we choose Jonah’s way? Or God’s?

  5. In the midst of death, God brings life (1 Kings 17.1-24) [Sermon 10-30-2016]

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    October 29, 2016 by jmar198013

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    In a time of drought and famine, God provided Elijah a brook to drink from, and ordered ravens to feed him. When the brook dried up, God sent him to stay with a widow in enemy territory, and God fed his prophet, the widow, and her son through the duration of the drought. When the widow’s son got sick and died, God raised him. These stories lead us to the heart of God’s character, and to the heart of the Gospel: even in the midst of death, God is the giver of life.

  6. The house God is building (2 Samuel 7.1-17) [sermon 10-23-2016]

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    October 21, 2016 by jmar198013

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    God promised King David that his offspring would reign forever, and that his son would build a temple for God. Those promises find their fulfillment in Jesus, who is a son of David, and a new temple for us.

  7. Hannah’s prayer (1 Sam. 1.9-11, 19-20; 2.1-10; Luke 1.46-55) [Sermon 10-16-2016]

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    October 14, 2016 by jmar198013

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    God opened Hannah’s womb. And when he did, he opened up a new future for her. Her hope and future came to her as a son. When our hope and our future was as barren as Hannah’s womb, God sent us his Son Jesus, to make a future with hope for us all. Jesus is God’s faithfulness to us.

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