Category Archives: Holy Spirit

  1. Perfect strangers, united in Christ (Ephesians 1.3-14) [sermon 8-11-19]

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    August 13, 2019 by jmar198013

    Ephesians 1.3-14 is a word of praise from Paul, where he tells the story of what God has done, is doing, and will do through Christ. God’s goal, he says, is to join all things together under Christ. The church reflects God’s purposes by uniting all kinds of people in Christ–people of every race and color and nation and language. That sounds like a beautiful ideal, but it comes with culture shock and growing pains. The classic sitcom “Perfect Strangers” gives us a glimpse of the challenges we will have to negotiate for the church to look like the mosaic of humanity God intends. But it also shows us the joy that can arise when God transforms perfect strangers into a family in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

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  2. God is the hero: Reading Ephesians with “Mr. Belvedere” (Ephesians 1.1-2) [sermon 8-4-19]

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    August 6, 2019 by jmar198013

    In the classic sitcom “Mr. Belvedere,” a cultured English butler becomes a housekeeper for a middle class family in Pittsburgh, PA. As the title suggests, Mr. Belvedere is the hero of the show–he’s there to rescue that family. When we read scripture, are we looking for help or a hero? The first two verses of Ephesians make clear who the hero of the story is. And that we need a hero–not just a helper.

  3. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” [sermon 6-16-19]

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    June 22, 2019 by jmar198013

    Christ didn’t establish the church and then add the Spirit. Instead, Christ sent the Spirit and the church was born. We see this event, the birth of the church, in Acts 2. In fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32, the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. The Spirit empowers the church to carry on the mission God began with Christ. The scope of that mission in universal, for the Spirit empowers men and women, young and old, slave and free. The scale of the mission is cosmic, for it involves all creation. And the target of the mission is salvation.

  4. The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me: the Holy Spirit and Christ’s mission [sermon 6-2-19]

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    June 18, 2019 by jmar198013

    WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets were and are a hot fashion accessory among many Christians. But before we can answer and apply that question to our own lives, we must first ask, What DID Jesus Do? Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Christ was sent by God on a mission to bring justice, compassion, enlightenment, and liberation. If these are not our mission, we are not doing what Jesus did. And if Christ had to rely on the Spirit to carry out his mission, so will the church, as we continue the mission he began.

  5. When the Spirit inspires arts and crafts [sermon 5-26-19]

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    June 18, 2019 by jmar198013

    One of the most overlooked aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit is that the Spirit inspires and nurtures creativity in humans. The Spirit imparts wisdom, insight, and skill to empower people to do beautiful things for God’s glory and the common good. One place we learn this is from the construction of the tabernacle in the book of Exodus, where it says the Spirit gave Bezalel and the other artists and craftspeople their talents.

  6. All scripture is God-breathed [sermon 5-19-19]

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    May 19, 2019 by jmar198013

    The scriptures came to us through the Holy Spirit. And the same Spirit who inspired them helps us interpret them.

  7. The Spirit groans [sermon 5-12-19]

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    May 16, 2019 by jmar198013

    The Spirit is first described in scripture hovering over creation as it is being born (Genesis 1.2), like a mother bird brooding over her nest. Romans 8.22-23 says that now creation and Christians are groaning together, like a mother in labor pains. Romans 8.26 says the Spirit groans with us, as we await the birth of a new creation. The Christian hope for the future is not the annihilation of this world, but its renewal. The same Spirit who midwifed creation at its birth will give new life to our bodies (Romans 8.11) and set all creation free from bondage to decay.

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