Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

  1. Amen! [sermon 11-25-18]

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    November 25, 2018 by jmar198013

    The Apostles’ Creed tells God’s story from creation to new creation. From birth to death to resurrection. And at the very end, it calls on us to say, “Amen!” to this story. What if “amen” isn’t just the word we say at the end of a prayer? What if “amen” is a way of life before the God who has said, “yes” to us–and will continue to say, “yes”?

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  2. Baptism: a story as old as heaven and earth (Acts 2.37-42) [sermon 8-13-2017]

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    August 8, 2017 by jmar198013

    In Acts 2.38, Peter told the assembly: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When 3000 came forward to be baptized, they were plunged into an old, old story that promised a new beginning. Baptism tells a story as old as the heavens and the earth. And it’s a story that will be re-told in the new heavens and new earth.

  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

    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. Real talk on generosity (2 Corinthians 8.1-15) [Sermon 06-26-2016]

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    June 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    There’s a feedback loop between fellowship and generosity. That’s how the Jesus model of generosity works. And that’s what Paul hoped the Judean Poor Relief Fund would accomplish: bonding the Jewish and Gentile churches together as a family. A big, diverse, messy, rich, robust family that shows the world how generous God is.

    When we follow the Jesus model of generosity—the self-giving way, the way of sharing-as-fellowship—it changes us. It transforms our hearts, our worldview, our values. We discover that our most valuable treasures are found in each other. And, like the man said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  5. Real talk on the new creation (2 Corinthians 5.11-21) [Sermon 06-19-2016]

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    June 17, 2016 by jmar198013

    To say that the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is good news because it means that there is a new creation. And this new creation is possible because the fallen creation died with Christ; and when he rose, he brought a new creation with him. And in this new creation, everyone and everything is reconciled to God. This is a very big, very good gospel.

    I want to celebrate this very big, very good news. I want us to celebrate the gospel—this gospel—together. But I suspect that some of you might be sniffing around this very good gospel for horse manure. And that’s okay. Some days, I do, too. So if any of you are thinking, “Preacher, either Paul was full of it; or you are; or both of you are”; I get it. That’s totally understandable.

    When we look around our world, everything doesn’t look reconciled, does it? When we examine our lives, everything doesn’t feel reconciled, does it?

    Some preachers will just tell you not to trust what your eyes can plainly see; what you have learned from experience; or what your heart already knows. But there is a very real tension between what Paul has told us, and what we see and feel and experience every day. It would be dishonest of me; or of you; or anyone, to deny that this tension exists.

  6. Real talk on vulnerability (2 Corinthians 4.1-15; Matthew 5.13) [Sermon 06-05-2016]

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    June 3, 2016 by jmar198013

    The vulnerable places in our lives don’t have to be places of shame or blame or anxiety or endless frustration. They can be the very places where God’s awesome power pours into our lives, and baptizes every bit of us in his transforming grace.

    A wise old rabbi named Bob Dylan once said: “Ain’t no use jiving, ain’t no use joking: everything is broken.”

    A few years later, another wise old rabbi named Leonard Cohen answered: “There is a crack in everything: that’s how the light gets in!”

    According to Paul, that’s how the light gets out, too.

  7. Real talk on forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2.1-10; Matthew 18.21-22) [Sermon 05-29-2016]

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    May 27, 2016 by jmar198013

    The church just isn’t the church without forgiveness. After all, we Christians understand ourselves first of all (or at least we should) as people who need to be—and have been—forgiven by God. But then what does forgiveness mean? Does it mean, for instance, that once an apology has been offered and accepted, everything goes back to how it was before? Is forgiveness a reset button? Must we forget what we have forgiven? Or do victims get a say in setting future boundaries? Are there conditions that need to be met in order for forgiveness to take place? If we insist that victims extend unconditional forgiveness, isn’t that grace for the offender, and law for the victim?

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