June 28, 2020

The fruit of peace also has a counterfeit version – relaxation or reducing stress. Those are not bad things. In fact they can help our physical and emotional health. But the peace the Spirit offers us goes much, much deeper. In order to experience it, we must rid ourselves of the things in our lives that block that peace from growing in us.

June 21, 2020

We learned three things about the Fruit of the Spirit: 1) They are found first in God; 2) They come to us through the Holy Spirit (we can’t manufacture them ourselves); 3) Their purpose is multiplication, drawing people to God. We also learned that the counterfeit version of joy is happiness. The Spirit wants to give us joy that is not dependent on our circumstances.

June 14, 2020

We’re starting a new series on the Fruit of the Spirit. The very first fruit is love. That makes sense since Paul says that love is the greatest of all the Christian attributes. Jesus gave us the example of what love looks like in the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” which I suggested should be called the Loving Samaritan. It is not a story about goodness but a story about love. What if it is more than just a story? What if Jesus really meant for us to live that way? What would have to change for us to be like the Samaritan?

June 7, 2020

Guest preacher John Carr chose one of the toughest passages – the story of Tamar in Genesis. The details are difficult for modern readers to understand and even more difficult to explain to children! But it is a story of desperation and righteousness. It’s an important story to know.

May 31, 2020

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. We celebrated this year with cupcakes (and Hot Tamales, of course). But when we say we’re looking forward to the birth of a new family member, what we really mean is we’re looking forward to having them here with us. No one looks forward to the actual birth because it’s painful and messy. But if God wants to birth something new in us, we should expect that it might be painful and messy for a while. It was for the first Church. Wind and fire and speaking in tongues, risking arrest as they shared the Good News about Jesus is pretty messy. What does God want to birth in you?

May 24, 2020

Paul’s boat was shipwrecked. It was bashed against the rocks. But God protected the people on board and they made it to safety on the island of Malta. There, Paul was able to preach the Gospel and the islanders came to know the love of Jesus. Shipwrecks seem like a complete ending to something. We can’t sail, can’t move anywhere, we’ve lost everything. Yet God frequently takes those times of total devastation and begins to bring something good from them. When have you felt shipwrecked? Can you look back and see that God was working even in the midst of your pain and loss?

May 17, 2020

I have one, personal near-death story to use as a sermon illustration and the story of Jesus calming the storm is my chance to talk about the time storm waters almost swept me away. I understand the fear of the disciples perfectly because I felt that same exact fear. But I also felt the calm reassurance that Jesus was with me in that moment, whether I lived or died. We will go through many storms in our lives, real and metaphorical. What does it mean for us to know that Jesus is with us?

May 10, 2020

The story of Jonah has some intentional humor in it. God tells Jonah to go to Ninevah but he tries to sail as far as possible in the opposite direction! We learn from Jonah, however, that we can’t run from God, hide from God. So God sends a storm to get Jonah’s attention. It is the pagan sailors who are the honorable ones in this story, not the prophet hiding in the belly of the ship. We discover that what God has asked Jonah to do is too much for him to bear – give the people of Ninevah a chance to receive God’s mercy. That’s what we learn in this story, God is merciful to people we think don’t deserve mercy. Have you ever tried to run away from God?