Category Archives: church history

  1. In God the Father, Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth

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    September 13, 2018 by jmar198013

    The Apostles’ Creed begins the same way the Bible does: With God. Specifically, with the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this message, we explore the three ways the Apostles’ Creed describes the first person of the Trinity: God the Father; Almighty; creator of heaven and earth. We learn, among other things, that this means our lives and our world are not accidents.

  2. God in the furnace (Daniel 3) [Sermon 12-3-17, Advent 1)

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    December 2, 2017 by jmar198013

    In Daniel 3, God didn’t keep his faithful saints from going into the fiery furnace. But God did go through the fires with them. What can we learn from their experience to give us hope in this life? How will we change when we truly trust that God goes with us in everything?

  3. Old School Church of Christ Preacher Name Generator

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    May 1, 2016 by jmar198013

    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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  4. Two parades (Luke 19.28-40) [Sermon 03-20-2016, Palm Sunday Year C]


    March 19, 2016 by jmar198013

    During Passover in Jesus’ day, the Roman governor Pilate would enter Jerusalem, leading a battalion or two of Roman security forces. On war horses. It was a mighty display of shock and awe. Peace through strength.

    But Luke didn’t even bother mentioning Pilate’s Passover parade in his Gospel. Everyone already knew about that.

    Instead, Luke made sure to tell about the time Jesus led a bootleg Passover parade through the other side of the city. He rode in on a (borrowed) donkey. His parade consisted of rowdy disciples singing off-key hymns (and butchering the words); and throwing their garments on the ground.

    Two parades going on at opposite sides of the same town. At roughly the same time. And the two parades tell two different stories about peace, and what a peaceable kingdom looks like.

    We must all choose to join one of those parades. You can’t be in both, because they’re on opposite ends of town.

    Which parade will you be in?

  5. The Love of an Advent People a/k/a Mary’s Protest Song (Luke 1.39-55) [Sermon 12-20-15 Advent 4c]


    December 19, 2015 by jmar198013

    In Luke 1.39-55, the pregnant virgin Mary visits her also pregnant post-menopausal cousin, Elizabeth. As the two ladies confer over their miraculous pregnancies, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb begins to dance. And Mary begins to sing.

    Mary sings a protest song straight out of the Little Red Hymnal of the Old Testament Prophets and Maccabean revolutionaries.

    This Advent, don’t try and tame the Magnificat. It’s downright subversive.

  6. Birth Pangs (Mark 13.1-8) [Sermon 11-15-2015]

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    November 13, 2015 by jmar198013

    In Mark 13.1-8, Jesus tells his disciples that the temple would be destroyed. For them, this was the end of the world. But that’s not all–Jesus also warned of opportunistic con-men, world conflict, the shaking of foundations, and widespread hunger. Scary stuff, but Jesus says: “this is the beginning of the birth pangs.” These shake-ups are necessary contractions in the birthing of a new world.

    The questions we are left with, then, are: What is there among us—in our lives, in our church, in our world—that will not endure in this new world that is being born? What are we doing about it? What can you and I and we do to help midwife this new creation?

  7. Take up your cross and follow (Mark 8.27-38) [Sermon 9-13-15]

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    September 13, 2015 by jmar198013

    My sermon for September 13, 2015 at Central Church in Stockton, CA.

    In Mark 8.27-38, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ.” Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone. Why?

    Perhaps the point is, before we go out and tell people “Jesus is [Lord/Christ/Savior, etc.],” we should know what we are talking about. Peter gave the correct answer (“You are the Messiah”), but was still tragically wrong [insert “Princess Bride” reference here]. Jesus says that those who want to follow after him must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow. Do we even know what that means?

    Maybe we say a lot of things–“Jesus is Lord” or “that’s my cross to bear”–and, like Peter, have no idea what those things even mean. And then we might end up doing a lot of unJesusy stuff in Jesus’ name.



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