Tag Archives: Acts of the Apostles

  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. Real talk on generosity (2 Corinthians 8.1-15) [Sermon 06-26-2016]

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    June 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    There’s a feedback loop between fellowship and generosity. That’s how the Jesus model of generosity works. And that’s what Paul hoped the Judean Poor Relief Fund would accomplish: bonding the Jewish and Gentile churches together as a family. A big, diverse, messy, rich, robust family that shows the world how generous God is.

    When we follow the Jesus model of generosity—the self-giving way, the way of sharing-as-fellowship—it changes us. It transforms our hearts, our worldview, our values. We discover that our most valuable treasures are found in each other. And, like the man said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  6. He is risen! Now what? [Communion Thoughts 4/12/2015]

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    April 12, 2015 by jmar198013

    After the thrill of Easter, however, we discover that we have to return to what is called ‘the real world.’ Perhaps we are left wondering, He is risen—now what? It’s awesome that Jesus is alive with God up there, but down here it’s still a mess. We have mortgages to pay and children to feed and wars to fight and stuff. What does Easter have to do with any of that?

  7. Being the Church in Times of Terror: A Sermon on Acts 12.1-7, delivered 8.12.12

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    August 13, 2012 by jmar198013

    Being the church in times of terror means gathering to pray, providing an alternative to the violence of the world, and locating our suffering in God’s story. Above all, it means means being faithful to who we are and trusting God for outcomes. This is what we see the church doing in Acts 12.

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