Category Archives: Holy Spirit

  1. The gift(s) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.1-4; Galatians 4.1-7, 5.16-26; Luke 11.11-13) [Pentecost sermon 2017]

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    May 31, 2017 by jmar198013

    In Acts 2, Peter told those who were baptized at Pentecost they would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We see that this gift didn’t show up primarily in the form of speaking in tongues and other flashy miracles, but in the Spirit creating a family out of a bunch of strangers.

  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. Fulfilling Isaiah (Acts 8.26-39) [sermon 5-7-2017]

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    May 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    The work of the church is to continue what God and Jesus and Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch began. To “take up the cause of all the black sheep,” the ones who have been considered unclean and excluded from God’s people. To bring them to the Good News of God’s salvation—that God has heard them crying out in their shame and humiliation. That they are not strangers to God. That God knows and loves all his children. That Jesus has borne their shame and rejection in his cross. That in the incarnation, death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ, Father God has “embraced the company of the lowest.” Our work as the church is to keep fulfilling Isaiah 56 through the Good News of Isaiah 53. We need to know who the foreigners and eunuchs of our time are to do this. I believe we are wise enough to know this.

    Because the bottom line is, God has embraced the church in our shame and uncleanness through the waters of baptism. And Jesus’ word to us is the same as it ever was: Do unto others as I have done for you.

  4. Low points and high spots (Acts 6.1 – 7.2a, 44-60; Luke 23.33-34a, 46) [sermon 4-30-2017]

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    April 26, 2017 by jmar198013

    Many look to the book of Acts as a blueprint for how the church ought to be, but it’s really more of a portrait of how the church was–and often is.

    Luke makes sure we see both the low points and the high spots of the first decades of the church. We see some of these in our lesson today, as the church deals with a problem of neglect of minority widows; overwhelmed (and out of touch?) leadership; and the brutal lynching of one of its ministers. These stories all show us both low points and high spots in the life of the early church.

  5. John baptizes Jesus (Luke 3.1-22; Ps. 51.6-17) [Sermon 01-08-2017]

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    January 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    Luke has recorded for us the precise moment when Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach good news to the poor. It was right after he was plunged into the same waters as the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, and those who cried out for God’s favor. In other words, people just like you and me.

    He didn’t save us from on high.

    He got right down in that dirty, muddy water with us.

  6. The King is coming, bringing hope (Joel 2.12-13, 28-29) [Sermon 12-4-2016, Advent Year 3]

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    December 3, 2016 by jmar198013

    Joel’s prophecy begins with terror–fields and vineyards stripped bare by locusts, and the threat of the Day of the LORD, when God will come to shake things up. But it ends with hope–not only will God restore what the locusts took, but he promises a day of hope for all flesh, and all creation, when all will be restored. The season of Advent likewise points us back to a dark time, when a poor man and woman lay their vulnerable firstborn son in a feeding trough. But that child was God’s visitation, bringing hope to all peoples and all creation. Thus is hope born in us, and through us, the world.

  7. Don’t lead us into temptation (Luke 11.4c) [Sermon 09-04-2016]

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    September 1, 2016 by jmar198013

    One of the passages Jesus drew upon when the devil tempted him was Deut. 6.16: “Don’t test the LORD your God the way you frustrated him at Massah.” This refers back to an event that happened in Exodus 17. The people came to a place where there was no water, and were afraid God had left them to die of thirst. They lost faith in God, and were about ready to kill Moses. Testing God means refusing to trust that our Father is good and generous and just, and at work in our lives and in his world. It means giving up on God and going our own way. If Jesus had succumbed to any of the devil’s temptations: turned the stones to bread; enforced his will through political means; or stunned people into submission with self-promoting miracles; if Jesus had done any of those things, he would have been testing God. Because that’s not the way God had made for him. God gave Jesus the way of suffering with people and serving them. Not the way of self-promotion and self-service. Jesus still had to go through the Exodus of death and resurrection. To lead us all through the Red Sea of his blood to set us free, and bring us to the home God has promised us.

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