Category Archives: discipleship

  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 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Transfiguration (Matthew 17.1-8) [sermon 3-3-19]

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    March 5, 2019 by jmar198013

    The Transfiguration (Matthew 17.1-8) isn’t just a cool story about a glowing Jesus and two long-dead Bible heroes making an appearance. Instead, this story reveals to us who Jesus really is, and the wrong and right ways to respond to him.

  6. A story about wheat and weeds: a visit to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (Matthew 13.24-30) [sermon 2-17-19]

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    February 19, 2019 by jmar198013

    On “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” he had the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where he would use stories to help kids learn how to navigate life in their world. Jesus had his own version of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: his parables. He told these fantastic stories where unexpected things happened, to help us learn how to live by the values of God’s Neighborhood in our world now. This message focuses on a story he told about weeds growing up in a field of wheat, to teach us to be patient with our world and its evils.

  7. Do unto others as God does unto you: life in God’s Neighborhood, part 3 (Matthew 7.12) [sermon 2-10-2019]

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    February 19, 2019 by jmar198013

    Most everyone knows the so-called Golden Rule (Matt. 7.12): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But there’s a very important word we tend to leave out: “Therefore.” That word connects how we treat others to how our heavenly Father treats us (Matthew 7.7-11). Using God as our standard means using our imaginations, asking questions, and remembering God’s mercies toward us.

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