Category Archives: Christianity

  1. Four signposts of Easter (Matthew 28.1-10) [Easter 2019]

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    April 21, 2019 by jmar198013

    The “Great Commission” in Matthew 28.18-20 is usually treated as an evangelism text, but it’s also an Easter text–it’s the risen Jesus’ words to his church, to tell us our mission. It’s what we do because Jesus is risen. Matthew’s Easter story presents us with four “signposts” that point us in the right direction as we do the work our risen Jesus has given us to do: “he is not here” (he’s at the Father’s right hand with all authority); “he has been raised” (his resurrection promises our resurrection); “go and tell”; and “don’t be afraid” (because he is with us always).

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  2. Turning over tables (Matthew 12.12-17) [sermon 4-14-19, Palm Sunday]

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    April 15, 2019 by jmar198013

    On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. After he got there, he went to the temple, where he famously turned over the tables of merchants and money-changers, and chased people away. What does this story mean for us? Are we called to imitate what Jesus did, in our churches or in the world? In order to apply this story in a faithful, responsible way, we need to remember three things: 1) Who turned over the tables; 2) Who he chased out (and why); and 3) Who he let in. If we don’t keep these three things in mind, we’ll just make a mess!

  3. The story of the valuable coins (Matthew 25.14-30) [sermon 4-7-19]

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    April 9, 2019 by jmar198013

    Jesus once told a story about a man leaving on a journey who divided his wealth between three employees, entrusting it to their care. When he returned, two of them had doubled the investment he had left them, but one had buried it in the ground and gained nothing. This story teaches us that God has set us up to succeed. So we can work creatively to build up and beautify his Neighborhood without living in fear of failure.

  4. The ten bridesmaids (Matthew 25.1-13) [sermon 3-31-19]

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    April 1, 2019 by jmar198013

    In Matthew 25.1-13, Jesus told a story about ten bridesmaids. Five were wise and prepared for the great wedding feast, but five were foolish, and were shut out of the feast. This story teaches us that we need to know what we’re waiting for, and live wisely while we wait. Because we don’t know when our living hope will appear.

  5. Many are invited, but few are chosen (Matthew 22.2-14) [sermon 3-24-19]

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    April 1, 2019 by jmar198013

    In Matthew 22.2-14, Jesus tells a story that teaches us God’s Neighborhood is like a royal wedding feast. And God is always inviting people to his feast. But God’s hospitality is not unconditional.

  6. The last will be first … : a visit in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (Matthew 20.1-16) [sermon 3-17-19]

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    March 17, 2019 by jmar198013

    Jesus once told a story about day-laborers who were offended by their boss’ generosity. He told this story to show us that, in God’s Neighborhood we do not earn our way. We receive gifts from God. The Bible word for this is grace. And grace is completely countercultural to dominant mindsets, like entitlement and meritocracy.

  7. The seventy-seveners: a visit to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (Matthew 18.21-35) [sermon 3-10-19]

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    March 17, 2019 by jmar198013

    Jesus told us to forgive “seventy-seven times.” This wasn’t a hard number–his point is that, in God’s Neighborhood, we can never write anyone off completely. In God’s Neighborhood, forgiveness is one of our most precious supernatural resources. We are often stingy with precious things, but forgiveness is meant to be shared freely.

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