Category Archives: ethics

  1. Reading the Bible like Paul (Luke 18.9-14; Gal. 1.13-17; 2.11-21) [sermon 5-21-2017]

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    May 19, 2017 by jmar198013

    Paul read, interpreted, and applied the scriptures filtered through the story of Jesus and his own experience as a sinner who received mercy. That may be the most valid Christian hermeneutic there is.

  2. Reading the Bible like Jesus (Acts 15.1-18) [sermon 5-14-2017]

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    May 11, 2017 by jmar198013

    Acts 15 is a story of the leaders of the early church reading the Bible like Jesus. It’s a good example to follow. That’s why it’s there.

  3. Neighbors (Luke 10.25-37) [sermon 3-5-2017]

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    March 2, 2017 by jmar198013

    What must I do to gain eternal life? That was the scribe’s original question. Jesus’s final answer is to go and do what the Samaritan did that day. And in two thousand years, I don’t believe his answer has changed.

  4. 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

    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.

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

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    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?

  7. Jesus and the poor with us always (John 12.1-8) [Sermon 03-13-2016, Lent 5c]

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    March 9, 2016 by jmar198013

    Less than a week before Jesus’ death, his friend Mary anointed his feet with perfume that cost a year’s wages. His disciple Judas complained: “That could have been sold, and the money given to the poor!”

    But Jesus said: “You will always have the poor with you. But you will not always have me.”

    But what if Jesus IS always among us in the form of the poor we serve? Remember, Jesus was a poor homeless man on the verge of death. And Mary poured out a year of wages to make sure he smelled good! What if that’s our example to follow? What if Jesus’ point is we should be THAT extravagant when we serve the poor?

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