Category Archives: evil

  1. Believe it or not — that’s us! (Ephesians 6.10-20) [sermon 8-6-2017]

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    August 1, 2017 by jmar198013

    In the classic sitcom, “The Greatest American Hero,” a regular guy is given a superhero suit that empowers him to fight against dark forces. Christians are also given a sort of superhero suit, which the apostle Paul called “the full armor of God.”

  2. 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.

  3. Dreams and schemes (Gen. 37.3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50.15-21; Luke 6.35) [sermon 09-25-2016]

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    September 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    Joseph had big dreams. His brothers had twisted schemes. But God had dreams and schemes of his own.

  4. God’s faithfulness from the beginning (Genesis 2.4b-7, 15-17; 3.1-8) [Sermon 09-11-2016]

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    September 8, 2016 by jmar198013

    God placed the human “in the garden to farm it and to take care of it.” On the surface, it sounds like he put humans on the earth to farm and garden. To till the soil, to prune, to dig irrigation ditches and the like. This is true. But the truth runs far deeper. The root meaning of those two verbs is to serve and to protect; or to serve and to preserve. Back in Gen. 1.26, 28, God said: “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge”; and he instructed humanity to: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it.” Our relationship to the earth and the other creatures is a major part of what it means to be made in God’s image and likeness. God created humans to master the earth and take charge of the other creatures. But Gen. 2.15 reveals a more essential aspect to God’s image in us: we’re only faithfully mastering and taking charge when we are serving and protecting the rest of creation. God’s sovereign rule is also about serving and protecting, serving and preserving. That’s why Jesus—who is the image of God for us—said that he “didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people” (Mark 10.45). God is the master, and God is in charge. But in Jesus’ life and death, we learn that God uses his sovereign freedom to serve us and protect us; to serve us and provide for us; to serve us and set us free. This is what God had in mind for humans when he formed us from the earth. God wanted us to be here for the rest of creation, as he is here with us and for us.

  5. The resurrection of Job (Job 42.7-17) [Sermon 08-07-2016]

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    August 5, 2016 by jmar198013

    Job 42.7-17 describes Job’s restoration to life–I like to call it a resurrection–after an intense period of loss and suffering, and a crisis of faith. God calls Job to intervene for his accusing friends with sacrifice and prayer. Job is restored when he does this priestly duty.

    Job is restored to life and the human vocation–to be God’s priests, representing God in his earthly temple. God blesses Job as Job chooses to embrace life with all its risk. Job takes back up the human vocation to be fertile and multiply; and take charge of the beasts. So God blesses him with ten children, and double the animals he had before.

    Job’s restoration gives us all hope for the time described in Rev. 21. When the heavens and earth will be renewed as God’s temple forever; God will wipe away all tears; and dwell among his people.

  6. What will Job’s answer be? (Job 38.25-27; 41.1-8; 42.1-6) [Sermon 07-31-2016]

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    July 29, 2016 by jmar198013

    In Job 42.1-6, Job declares that he is done protesting. He’s finished lamenting. He’s ready to climb off of his ash heap and get back to work.

    And what is that work? Well, God has made us to be gardeners and warriors and artists and teachers and healers and lovers and nurturers and thinkers and builders and all sorts of other work we can do in God’s image and likeness. We can choose to live out the human vocation. To work for and fight for the things that are in our power.

    And leave what is out of our power—Behemoth and Leviathan, whirlwinds and death and the satan—up to God.

  7. The LORD answers Job (Job 31.35-37; 38.1-11) [Sermon 07-24-2016]

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    July 8, 2016 by jmar198013

    After Job suffered multiple injustices, he saw that the world is often not predictable, orderly, or fair. His eyes were opened to a world of unjust suffering. And he wanted to know why God allows such chaos and evil.

    God appears to Job in a whirlwind, and shows Job that God is not the author of chaos and evil. God has been fighting against the chaos, and working to restrain evil, from the beginning. And he challenges Job: “Gird up your loins like a man!” In other words, God calls Job to come off of his ash heap, and be involved in life. God calls Job to join him in the hard work of fighting against chaos, evil, and injustice.

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