Category Archives: reconciliation

  1. Falling towers and fruitless fig trees (Luke 13.1-9, 31-35) [sermon 3-12-17]

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    March 8, 2017 by jmar198013

    The story of this fig tree receiving special attention—extravagant mercy and generosity—calls us all to see ourselves as that tree. Like Jesus said elsewhere: “Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much.” We’ve been given much. Maybe we need to see a warning hidden in all our blessings: a judgment is coming if we don’t bear fruit worthy of repentance.

  2. Setting the Sabbath free (Luke 6.1-16) [Sermon 1-29-2017]

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    January 27, 2017 by jmar198013

    The Sabbath was meant for the release, rest, and healing of those who had been slaves. But what happens when a law that was meant to give comfort to former slaves morphs into another form of bondage? How can it be a day of rest and release if you’re so worried about doing it wrong, you can’t really celebrate it? Those Pharisees would have people become slaves to the Sabbath. Jesus came to set people free. And he came to set the Sabbath free. So it could serve humanity, the way God meant it to.

  3. The King is coming, bringing joy (Isaiah 61) [Sermon 12-11-2016, Advent 3 2016]

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    December 9, 2016 by jmar198013

    The prophet Isaiah pointed back toward the Jubilee to inspire joy in the remnant of Israel in the present, and hope for their future. During the season of Advent, the church does something similar. We remember that the Messiah of Israel, God’s anointed king Jesus, came into the world bringing joy.

  4. 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.

  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. Becoming God’s answer (John 17.20-26) [Sermon 05-08-2016, Easter 7c]

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    May 2, 2016 by jmar198013

    What Jesus desires the world to see in the lives of his people is the love of God the Father. He prays to Father God that when the world sees us bound together in one heart and mind, “then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.”

    It is not enough for the world to believe that a God, or God in general, sent Jesus. The problem is, as Jesus says, that the world has never known his Righteous Father.

    Even God’s people have often fallen into the trap of believing in—and worshiping—a God who turns out upon closer examination to have been made in our image. A God who is nothing but a projection of how we would rule the world if we were still us, but really, really big, and with superpowers.

    But that’s not the God Jesus wants the world to believe sent him. Jesus wants the world to believe that HIS FATHER sent him.

    The cross shows us a God whose power is made perfect in the weakness of his crucified Son.

    Father God is saying, through the cross and resurrection of his Son: “The world condemns and kills. The world makes crosses, and nails victims to them. That’s because the world doesn’t know me! I am not-the-world. I suffer with the condemned and humiliated. I raise up the victims. I break the power of crosses.”

  7. Epilogue (John 21.1-19) [Sermon 04-10-2016, Easter 3c]

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    April 8, 2016 by jmar198013

    In the Epilogue to John’s Gospel, the risen Jesus makes the word forgiveness become flesh for his estranged disciple Peter. The good news is, it isn’t just a story about Peter being reconciled to Jesus. It’s a story for each one of us, too.

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