Tag Archives: church

  1. Reading the Bible like Jesus (Acts 15.1-18) [sermon 5-14-2017]


    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.

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


    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.

  3. Opening the scriptures (Luke 24.13-35) [sermon 4-23-2017]

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    April 22, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus still journeys with his church, just as he did those two disciples on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. And every time we take and bless and break and share the bread that is his body and the wine that is his blood, the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our host. He is made known to us. We can join with the disciples who first proclaimed: The Lord has risen indeed! And we can know that because he has been raised from the dead, so will we.

  4. A place at the table (Luke 15) [sermon 03-19-2017]


    March 17, 2017 by jmar198013

    The story ends with the father saying: “But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.” The father insists to the older son that not only is his place in the family secure; he is his brother’s brother, whether he wants to be or not! That’s where Jesus leaves the story—with the father’s invitation to come join the feast. And that’s where the story is left with us now, too. There’s room at God’s table for us all. Those who stayed and served. And those who were lost, but now are found.

  5. 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.

  6. The Touch of Jesus [Sermon 6/28/2015]

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    June 29, 2015 by jmar198013

    In Mark 5.21-43, the author wraps one story inside of another like a pig-in-a-blanket. One is about a man who wants Jesus to touch his dying twelve-year-old daughter and heal her. The other is about a woman who touches Jesus and is healed of a twelve-year long disease. These are stories of healing. They are stories of faith wrestling with fear. But at their core, they are stories about touch. About contact. About suffering people reaching out for Jesus. About Jesus reaching out for suffering people. They are stories about the touch of Jesus. That’s why Mark wrapped them together like he did.

  7. Being who we are: a sermon for the church on its birthday


    May 24, 2015 by jmar198013

    On this Pentecost, the church’s birthday, I just wanted to encourage the church to be who we are. Instead of doing the lectionary thing and preaching Acts 2, I chose Luke 11.1-13. The church is most ourself–the church God envisions–when we partner with God to make his kingdom visible by making sure our neighbors have their daily bread; and when our communities embody forgiveness and reconciliation. The church is able to live on these terms by the good gifts of God and the power of the Spirit.



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