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Middle Street Baptist Church Sermons
Middle Street Baptist Church
Weekly sermons from Middle Street Baptist Church
Jan 10, 2021
The Antidote to Anxiety
Prayer Guides Celtic Daily Prayer (The Northumbria Community) – A modern prayer book with celtic influences that can guide you through morning, midday, and evening prayer practices along with guided readings and meditations. Amazon; ChristianBook.com The Book of Common Prayer – The most recent revision of a classic prayer book, first published in 1549. The early sections on Family Prayer are especially helpful. Anglican House Publishers Every Moment Holy (Douglas Kaine McKelvey) – A book of liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life—liturgies such as “A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends” or “A Liturgy for Laundering” or “A Liturgy for the First Hearthfire of the Season.” These are ways of reminding us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose even when, especially when, we are too busy or too caught up in our busyness to notice. Rabbit Room Press
Jan 3, 2021
Rejoice—with joy! Very large! Very much!
The story of the magi (wise men) is often told as part of the Christmas story, although it probably occurs at least a year after Jesus was born. Far from being distant and irrelevant, we see in their story our own story—of people far from God, who almost unintentionally find God and can’t help but worship.
Dec 20, 2020
Mercy in the Darkness (Zechariah's Song)
Zechariah finds himself unexpectedly at the crossroads of longing and fulfillment, as his son, John, becomes the last great prophet before Jesus. In his song, he grapples with the mercy of God—how God promises mercy and how God provides mercy. And we find that God’s mercy often takes unexpected turns.
Dec 13, 2020
Joy in the Darkness (Isaiah's Song)
“Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem,” God tells the Israelites in Isaiah 52, and two chapters later, “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy…” Is God so cruel as to command a ruined city to rejoice—to ask an infertile woman to sing for joy? When the world around us is bleak, how do we find joy?
Dec 6, 2020
Worship in the Darkness (Mary's Song)
When Gabriel tells Mary she is pregnant with Jesus, we usually focus on why this is such good news. And it is. But for Mary, it’s complicated. Mary is young and unmarried, and her baby bump means sure social condemnation and exile. Yet she sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my savior.” How can she sing such an exuberant song when her future is murky and uncertain?
Nov 29, 2020
Something Good Is Going On Inside
At one point Luke describes a group of friends who are willing to cut a hole in the roof of a house where Jesus is staying, just to lower their paralyzed friend through the ceiling to Jesus can heal him. To what lengths would you go to encounter Jesus? Listen as Ryan Tankersley, a pastor from our sister church, New Hope Baptist Church, challenges us to seek God no matter what.
Nov 22, 2020
Gratitude: the Antidote to Worry
This year has caused many of us to worry about many things. As our minds this year are drawn to themes of sickness and antidotes, can we find an antidote not to a virus, but to the worry so many of us feel? Terry Shanahan shares how gratitude can transform our attitude and our lives.
Nov 15, 2020
The Courage to Wait
Psalm 27 strikes us with an unresolved ending, like a dissonant jazz chord: Wait for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord. This morning we explore what it may look like to wait for the Lord, and how remembering his faithfulness in the past gives us courage to wait well.
Nov 8, 2020
Freedom and Submission
Several New Testament authors instruct us to submit to government authorities. This is especially difficult in our American culture, which has historical roots in rebellion against authority. And when nearly half of our country is dissatisfied with the results of our election, how can we nevertheless submit? The answer is found in freedom, which is not the opposite of submission, but the prerequisite to submission. You cannot submit, it turns out, unless you are truly free.
Nov 1, 2020
Our modern political world seems like a dog-eat-dog world. Kill or be killed. That attitude does not inspire gentleness and civility. Yet Jesus calls us to civility—and greater still, to love. As Christians who want to engage in the political sphere instead of running away, how can we do so with a spirit of civility and love?
Oct 25, 2020
Dignity, Responsibility, and Humility
American Christians often struggle to know how to engage politically in our world. On the one hand, withdrawal doesn’t seem like an option, but on the other hand, neither major party can seem all that appealing either. This morning we look at how God calls us to affirm the dignity of all people, the responsibility of all Christians to promote the image of God in all people, and the spirit of humility that ought to leaven all our political engagement.
Oct 18, 2020
Christ our King
In a tense election season many Christians find themselves torn. They hear from one side that Christians should vote Republican, from another side that Christians should vote Democrat, and from still another that Christians should somehow avoid politics altogether. How do we make sense of our faith in a turbulent political world?
Oct 11, 2020
Appetites and Cravings
Spiritual practices are gifts God gives us that help us to know him better and become more like him. This morning we think about fasting, a practice many of us may prefer to avoid. It is helpful to think about fasting positively, rather than negatively. That is, fasting is not about what we give up, but about how we are filled up.
Oct 4, 2020
Babbling Brooks and Lumps of Coal
Spiritual practices are gifts God gives us that help us to know him better and become more like him. This morning we think about weekly gathered worship, a difficult topic when many of us are unable to gather because of the pandemic. Yet weekly, gathered, worship is an indispensible part of our faith practice. Why does God create us with a need for community, and how can we practice the principles of gathered worship when we’re not in the same room?
Sep 27, 2020
The Gift of Rest
Spiritual practices are gifts God gives us that help us to know him better and become more like him. This morning we focus on rest and Sabbath. More than an archaic demand to “reserve a day for God,” Sabbath is God’s gift to restore and refresh us spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. So why do we not take advantage of it? Listen as we parse the true ground for Sabbath, obstacles we face to practicing Sabbath, and how Sabbath can refresh us in our modern world.
Sep 20, 2020
Spiritual practices are gifts God gives us that help us to know him better and become more like him. This morning we spend some time thinking about prayer. Jesus teaches us, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.” (John 15:7) But we have all asked God for things and not gotten them. What did Jesus mean? What is the true purpose of prayer? And how can we pray better?
Sep 6, 2020
A Bigger Story
The Book of Ruth ends with what, to our modern ears, sounds like a boring anti-climax: a list of names in a family tree. But read through the lens of an original reader, and knowing what we know about ancient cultures, we find that the author of Ruth makes a meaningful point with that list of names: God is writing a bigger story than you or I could imagine.
Aug 30, 2020
Know the God Who Knows You
In Ruth 3 Naomi instructs Ruth to take a very unusual—and some may say, suspect—series of actions. Though they had the best of intents, we might wonder at the wisdom of their actions. The text is vague enough that we don’t know for certain, but could the story of Ruth 3 still point us to Christ, and perhaps even more effectively, if Ruth turns out to be less savory than we thought?
Aug 23, 2020
In Ruth 2 we see two pictures of active faith from two very different perspectives. Naomi and Ruth demonstrate their faith from a position of weakness, while Boaz demonstrates his faith from a position of strength. Does your faith feel weak right now? Strong? Somewhere in between? This morning we ask how a simple question—“What’s next?”—can act like starter fluid for our faith.
Aug 16, 2020
The story of Ruth is a story of bitterness and mercy. This morning we ask, “How could Ruth still follow the God who had allowed so much bitterness into her life?”
Aug 9, 2020
Jonah: God's Priorities
This is the third and final part of Doran’s study and look into the book of Jonah. Part three focuses on God’s priorities and the final ten verses of the book.
Aug 2, 2020
Jonah: God's Compassion
In part 2 of Doran Morford’s 3 part study of the book of Jonah, the third chapter is explored. This time, Jonah listens to God and does what he commands. When Jonah tells the people of Nineveh that their city will be destroyed, they repent, which is exactly what God wanted. Doran helps us to understand why exactly God did this.
Jul 26, 2020
Jonah: God's Sovereignty
In Part 1 of Doran Morford’s three part study of the book of Jonah, he explores the first 17 verses of the book and takes a deeper dive into the meaning.
Jul 19, 2020
The Good Samaritan
Most Christians are familiar with Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Most American states even have “good samaritan laws.” This morning we spend some time with a very familiar story, asking the same question as the Jewish expert in the law who talked with Jesus: “What does it mean to love my neighbor?”
Jul 12, 2020
Merit and Mercy
This morning, as we look for guidance in the racial tension so prevalent today, we look for God’s heart in the Old Testament law. What is the purpose, spirit, and goal of the law, and how does God show his compassion through the law?
Jul 5, 2020
With the deep racial tension in America today, how do we respond? The answers aren’t clear, especially in a majority-white church in one of the whitest states in America. We feel that we have to do something, but we’re not sure what. Our first step is to listen to the stories of our brothers and sisters of color; our second step is to lament as we hear their stories of being treated unjustly. This morning we begin to look at repentance. To repent means to change—it’s a change of mind and a change of action. Both must be present. How does God call us to repent of the racial sin present in our world?
Jun 28, 2020
Love One Another
Love is at the heart of the Christian faith. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole self, and the second is like it: to love our neighbor as ourselves. But it’s very easy to leave love in the abstract. This morning Doran helps us to see more of the specifics. What does love actually look like, not just as an abstract idea, but as a concrete reality? How does love change your life?
Jun 21, 2020
With the deep racial tension in America today, how do we respond? The answers aren’t clear, especially in a majority-white church in one of the whitest states in America. We feel that we have to do something, but we’re not sure what. As we take time to carefully listen to our non-white brothers and sisters, we will inevitably find ourselves drawn toward lament. Although lament seems dark and hopeless, it actually paves the way forward. Hear how the gospel empowers us to lament well.
Jun 14, 2020
Stop and Listen
With the deep racial tension in America today, how do we respond? The answers aren’t clear, especially in a majority-white church in one of the whitest states in America. We feel that we have to do something, but we’re not sure what. Our first step as Christians is to stop and listen. To hear the stories of our non-white brothers and sisters, and even to lean into the discomfort we may feel. And as we listen, we can become like Christ to our brothers and sisters whose voices have for so long been ignored.
May 31, 2020
Relationship and Right
How should Christians disagree? Disagreement is inevitable, especially in gray areas where right and wrong isn’t clear. Paul gives us a window into two disagreements that early Christians faced: whether it was ok to eat meat, and whether they should still observe a Sabbath. When we sacrifice our relationships on the altar of our rights or being right, Paul says we get it wrong. How will we relate to one another, and potentially disagree, as we think about our response to the coronavirus?
May 24, 2020
The Word and Work of God
God wants to transform us—to make us more fully human. He transforms our lives through his Word. This morning we look at how God uses his Word to draw people who are far from him near to him, and to draw people who are near to God nearer to him.
May 17, 2020
Remember and Persevere
When we’re stuck in the wilderness, and there’s no end in sight, what do we do? The Israelites are at the beginning of a 40-year “exile.” How can they cope with that? God gives the answer: perseverance comes through remembering. Here’s how one simple practice can sustain us almost indefinitely.
May 10, 2020
God on Trial
In this third of three consecutive stories, God leads the Israelites further into the wilderness, they find themselves without water, they complain to God, and he provides water. It sounds familiar, but now the Israelites are really fed up. So, in effect, they put God on trial, accusing, convicting, and sentencing him. How does God respond when his people put him in the defendant’s seat?
May 3, 2020
Give Us This Day Tomorrow's Bread
Why would God lead his people to the desert where they have no food? The Israelites ask that question of God in Exodus 16, and when we find ourselves in the Wilderness, we often ask the same question. “Why have you brought me here, God?” “Are you still there?” This morning, as we look for God in the Wilderness, we see that God is not only present, but his mercy is over the top.
Apr 26, 2020
As the parched Israelites get to a desert spring so bitter they can’t drink it, they assume God is cruel, not merciful. Yet this water is the greatest mercy imaginable. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, we realize God’s mercy is sometimes so lavish that it’s beyond our understanding and even offensive. Will you allow God’s sweet mercy to overcome the bitter taste in your mouth?
Apr 19, 2020
The Week After Easter
The week after Jesus rose from the dead his followers were in disbelief. Some had seen him, but most hadn’t. They were tentative. Afraid. Unsure what to think. Thomas famously insisted, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” “Doubting Thomas” often gets a bad rap, but don’t we often feel the same way? When we have to see something to believe it, what happens when Jesus shows up? Can doubt and belief coexist?
Apr 12, 2020
Afraid Yet Filled With Joy
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to discover Jesus’ empty tomb. After suffering the disorientation and fear of watching their Lord and friend killed, they were further confronted by an earthquake and an angel “whose appearance was like lightning.” What was their response? They went where God called them, “afraid yet filled with joy.” Fear and joy are not binary opposites. They coexist, but because of the empty tomb, our joy outweighs our fear.
Apr 5, 2020
The Far Side of Suffering
Palm Sunday is a day filled with tension. We rejoice that Jesus our King enters Jerusalem triumphantly, yet he is only days from being sentenced to death. Why would God allow worship to coexist with suffering, and how can we reconcile the two?
Mar 29, 2020
Browsing for the Kingdom
Jesus teaches us to spurn anxiety about our physical needs, but in the middle of a virus outbreak, that seems difficult. How do we avoid anxiety? Jesus tells us to shift our focus. “Do not seek after those things, but seek God’s kingdom.” What does it look like to seek his kingdom? Does that mean we shouldn’t think about the virus at all?
Mar 22, 2020
Suffering and Hope
The COVID-19 virus has emerged as a sudden and unavoidable part of life, and many of our life rhythms have been thrown into chaos. Although we are only at the very outset of this outbreak and do not know how severe it will be, many of us feel anxious about both the present and the future. How ought we to think about anxiety? This morning we look to the example of Job, who found a way, in profound suffering, to insist, “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Mar 1, 2020
How Will This Make Me Look?
St. Augustine noted that pride is the root from which all other sins grow. As we think about the the seven deadly sins this Lent season, we ask, “How can we ‘achieve’ humility?” This morning we look to the story of Saul, the first king of Israel, whose downward spiral forces us to confront the possibility that our hearts might be deceived. And we ask, “If something like this can happen to Saul, where do we find hope?”
Feb 23, 2020
Most everybody understands the importance of having a firm foundation under their house. And most would agree that we should build our lives on a firm foundation. But what is that foundation? This morning we think about what it means to build our lives on a solid foundation—a foundation of stone, and not of sand, in Jesus’ words. Jesus says the firm foundation is not moralism or behaviorism, but knowing him. Which begs the question, how do we know Jesus?
Feb 16, 2020
The Straight and Narrow
Have you ever heard someone talk about trying to stay on the “straight and narrow?” The Cambridge Dictionary illustrates the phrase in this way: “The threat of a good beating should keep him on the straight and narrow.” Often we think about staying on the “straight and narrow” as a way to avoid punishment. But Jesus presents the “straight and narrow” as a path to a rich, joyful life. How do we know if we’re on the straight and narrow, and if we’re not, how do we get on it?
Feb 9, 2020
Civic Life and the Church: An irreconcilable difference?
It has been said that you should never discuss religion or politics in polite company. This morning we wade into both streams. During an election season, how does our faith affect our politics? How should we think about voting, and about civic life as Christians and as political citizens?
Feb 2, 2020
Jewels and Judgment
None of us wants to feel judged, but how often do we sense a critical spirit in ourselves? How often do we judge others? Most of us would probably say we want to be less judgmental. But how is that possible, when the natural tendency of our lives is to jump to judgment instead of inclining to understanding? Jesus teaches us three questions we can ask to diagnose our hearts, and it leads us to one central truth: God, the great judge of the universe, judged his own son so that we might be free from judgment.
Jan 27, 2020
Life in the Sty
Both Christians and non-Christians love to quote Jesus’ words from Matthew 7, “Judge not.” Nobody wants to be (or feel) judged. But as Jesus points out, we ourselves are quick to judge. Jesus is not teaching only about an action, but about a heart-level attitude. And he cautions us against applying a higher standard to others than to ourselves. Are there situations in which judgment might be appropriate? And if so, by what standard do we judge ourselves?
Jan 19, 2020
Security and Significance
As Jesus finishes his teaching about money and possessions he encourages us, “Do not worry.” To which many of us respond, “Yeah, right.” Worry figures prominently in many of our lives. We can’t imagine a life without worry, and if we could, we wouldn’t know where to start. What is worry, where are our worries rooted, and how can we overcome worry? Listen as Jesus teaches us how to find true security and significance.
Jan 12, 2020
The Heart and the Credit Card
It’s been said that any pastor who preaches as much about money as Jesus talked about money will be run out of the pulpit. Jesus had plenty to say about how we earn, spend, save, and give our money. Why does he talk about money so much? We get a hint in his famous saying, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God doesn’t need your money; he wants your heart. And your heart and your checkbook (or credit card) are closely intertwined. What does it look like to truly treasure God?
Jan 5, 2020
Time Is On My Side?
In the new year we often evaluate the previous year and make plans (resolutions) for the coming year, so that our lives can more closely match our priorities. In Matthew 6 Jesus gets to the heart of our priorities, forcing each of us to ask ourselves, “What do I truly treasure in life?” How we spend our time reveals our priorities. How can we spend our time in a way that treasures Christ?
Dec 22, 2019
Grace and Hypocrisy
Matthew begins his gospel with a long list of names. Hidden in plain sight among that list are the names of four women—unexpected, and in at least two cases, scandalous. This morning we conclude by reading about David and “the wife of Uriah” (we know her as Bathsheba). In the face of patent adultery and Nathan’s clever conviction, David responds contritely, repents, and God “takes away his sin.” Can it really be that easy? And could the same be true of us? Can God take away our sin simply through confession and turning from sin?
Dec 15, 2019
Grace and Vulnerability
Matthew begins his gospel with a long list of names. Hidden in plain sight among that list are the names of four women—unexpected, and in at least two cases, scandalous. This morning we dig into the story of Ruth, a woman who showed extraordinary trust despite dire events in her life. What does the story of Ruth reveal about her God? And could our hope possibly be even greater than hers?
Dec 8, 2019
Grace and Deceit
Matthew begins his gospel with a long list of names. Hidden in plain sight among that list are the names of four women—scandalous not only for their inclusion, but for the stories they represent. This morning we look at Tamar and Judah. Why are they celebrated among Jesus’ ancestors, given their extraordinary deceit?
Dec 1, 2019
Grace and Indecency
Matthew begins his gospel with a long list of names. Hidden in plain sight among that list are the names of four women—scandalous not only for their inclusion, but for the stories they represent. This morning we look at Rahab. Why is she celebrated among Jesus’ ancestors? What is so remarkable about her inclusion in this list? And how does she offer hope to the rest of us?
Nov 24, 2019
A Spirit-Filled Church
The early church grew at a rapid pace. In Acts 2 Peter preaches a sermon that grows the church by 3,000 new people! What happened in that early church to cause such rapid growth? How was the Spirit at work, and is he still at work in the church today?
Nov 17, 2019
Thermometers or Thermostats?
In John 17 Jesus prays for his church—both his followers at the time and us. The prayer crescendos on a note of unity. “May they be one,” Jesus implores God. This morning we think more deeply about Christlike unity. What does true unity look like (without being uniform)? Where does it come from? What is its goal? And is it possible to even approach this kind of unity?
Nov 10, 2019
Who Is The Church?
If the Church belongs to Jesus (and it does), then Jesus gets to sett the agenda. He gets to set the game plan. The plan he puts into play is to make every Christian into a player, not a spectator. What playing field has God called you to? How can you play most effectively on his behalf?
Nov 3, 2019
Whose Church Is It?
The essential mission of the church is twofold: Worship and Witness. This week we begin to examine these themes by asking, “Whose church is it?” If the church belongs to us, then we will operate one way. If it belongs to Christ, as he says, we will begin to look very different…
Oct 27, 2019
In the Political Sphere Without the Political Spirit
God calls each of us to practice our faith in a way that promotes righteousness, justice, and mercy in the world—for Christians and non-Christians alike. It is an audacious goal. Listen as guest preacher Neil Hubacker expands on how we can faithfully join God in such a bold calling.
Oct 20, 2019
The Spiritual Importance of Washing Your Face
Several months ago we read as Jesus taught (paraphrasing), “When you fast, do not look gloomy, but wash your face!” Jesus makes a point about how we practice our righteousness (in secret), but he also alludes to the spiritual discipline of fasting. Fasting is not a part of regular life for most people (even most Christians), yet Jesus assumes we will fast. This morning we look specifically at fasting: what is it, why is it still relevant to Christians, and how should we approach this unique discipline?
Oct 13, 2019
Pray Until You Pray
“When you pray,” Jesus begins as he teaches about prayer. Jesus assumes we will pray—that prayer will be a part of our daily life. But many of us find prayer to be a difficult discipline. We get distracted, or feel too busy, or don’t know where to start. How do we break through these barriers? First we have to recognize what prayer is and what prayer is for. Then we can begin to press into prayer.
Oct 6, 2019
Deliver Us From the Evil One
Most of us don’t think about evil very often—even less about Satan. He is neither a pleasant nor popular topic of conversation. Which makes him all the more effective. Jesus teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” How does Satan work in the world, and how can we resist him?
Sep 29, 2019
Forgive or Forget?
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” Jesus teaches us to pray. Forgiveness is one of the hardest spiritual practices, yet God nevertheless calls us to forgive one another as he has forgiven us. What is the true nature of forgiveness? Why is it so hard? And how is it possible to forgive, even when it is so difficult?
Sep 15, 2019
Daily Bread or Annual Bread?
“Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus teaches us to pray. In ancient cultures, when workers got paid at the end of each day, and when life was more day-to-day, this was easier to understand. But today we buy groceries for the week, get paid every two weeks, pay our rent every month, and our taxes once/year. How do we know if we’re praying for daily bread or annual bread? What’s the difference between responsibility and excess? And does God really care about insignificant things our next meal?
Sep 8, 2019
Thy Kingdom Come
Everyone has a source of authority – something or someone whose word we accept as truth. For some of us it’s God; for others a philosophy or political cause; for still others it’s ourselves. But we all submit to something or someone. When Jesus teaches us to pray, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” he challenges us to identify who our authority is, and he urges us to commit our whole self—head, heart, and hands—to that cause.
Sep 1, 2019
The Power and Primacy of Praise
Everyone worships something. Who or what do you worship? Jesus teaches us to begin our prayers, “Hallowed be thy name.” He’s not only teaching us how to pray, but he’s teaching us how to live. What does it look like to worship (or hallow) God in our lives?
Aug 25, 2019
Pagan Prayers and Pure Prayers
As Jesus teaches what real spirituality looks like, he teaches us to pray. “Don’t pray like the pagans,” he warns us. How do pagans pray? What kind of prayers are we supposed to avoid? And how do we pray?
Aug 18, 2019
Be Careful What You Wish For
We all want to do what is right (and certainly nobody sets out to do what is wrong), but how do we know what is right? Is it ok to do the right thing for the wrong reasons? And when God says he looks at our heart, what does he mean by that?
Aug 11, 2019
How do we Respond to Evil?
In the past several weeks we have read news of three mass shootings in America. How are we, as Christians, to respond? What good can we possibly do, and what hope can there possibly be? Sermon ends and pastoral prayer begins at 31:30.
Jul 28, 2019
The Other Cheek
Jesus coined these phrases during some of his most challenging teaching yet—within the context of loving our enemies. Was Jesus exaggerating to make a point, or is it really possible to love our enemies?
Jul 21, 2019
Christians believe in the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit often gets the silent treatment. Whether we don’t understand the Spirit or fear what submitting to the Spirit might look like, we all have objections. What happens when we acknowledge and face those objections? What happens when we let the Holy Spirit into our lives?
Jul 14, 2019
Standing Out Quietly
Have you ever heard someone say, “I swear to God”? What does it mean to swear to God? This morning Jesus teaches about when we make vows and oaths, and he challenges us to look at our heart-level motives in the process. Why do we feel the need to make vows, oaths, and promises, and what if there’s a better way? The comic referenced can be found at https://xkcd.com/993.
Jul 7, 2019
Divorce and Remarriage: an unreasonable standard?
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus confronts us with an exceptionally high bar for morality. This morning he addresses his most challenging topic yet: divorce and remarriage. How do we view those subjects as Christians? The answer will challenge us, but when we remember that marriage is meant to reflect God’s love for us, the pieces start to fall into place.
Jun 30, 2019
Are You Still Thirsty?
When we’re thirsty, we have to take something outside of us (water) and put it inside of us, in order to satisfy our thirst. “Are you still thirsty?” Jesus asks. God intentionally us to be thirsty beings. We are made to thirst for him, since Jesus, the living water, will fill us to overflowing.
Jun 23, 2019
Been Poolside Lately?
In John 5 Jesus asks a blind man a startling question: “Do you want to be healed?” Still more startling is what Jesus does not ask the man: “What do you believe?” Is it possible that God operates on his own terms and not ours? Is it possible that Jesus touches whomever he pleases regardless of whether we deem them worthy?
Jun 16, 2019
The Eyes and the Heart and the Eyes of the Heart
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus begins to confront us with a shocking high bar for morality. This morning he makes this bold claim: “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Is Jesus just being dramatic? A killjoy? What heart conditions does he have in mind, and how do we pursue the purity of heart to which Jesus calls us?
Jun 9, 2019
Love and Loopholes
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus begins to confront us with a shocking high bar for morality. He begins this morning by equating anger with murder. Is Jesus just being dramatic when he says anger and murder carry the same consequences? Or is he unearthing deeper matters of the heart?
Jun 2, 2019
When Jesus’ disciples asked how they could “get ahead” in God’s kingdom, they didn’t expect him to respond, “Be like a child.” This year during our annual Children’s Day celebration we reflect briefly on what childlike faith means. It is simple, dependent, and trusting.
May 19, 2019
Salt and Light
Jesus was a master at using everyday illustrations to illustrate profound truths. This morning we look at two famous statements: “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.” What does it mean that we are salt and light? How does that affect our personal faith? And how does it affect our relationships with our neighbors?
May 12, 2019
Upside-Down Kingdom pt. 2
We all want to be blessed in life, but what does it mean to be #blessed? Does it mean a great vacation, or a brand new car? Is being blessed the same as being successful? Our desire to be blessed is natural – God himself planted that desire in us. In fact, Jesus tells us exactly what the blessed life looks like. It may not be quite what you expect.
May 5, 2019
Upside-Down Kingdom pt. 1
We all want to be blessed in life, but what does it mean to be #blessed? Does it mean a great vacation, or a brand new car? Is being blessed the same as being successful? Our desire to be blessed is natural – God himself planted that desire in us. In fact, Jesus tells us exactly what the blessed life looks like. It may not be quite what you expect.
Apr 21, 2019
Believing is Seeing (Easter 2019)
After Jesus is raised from the dead John gives four quick sketches of some of Jesus’ closest followers. Eventually they all believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, but in very different ways. Yet Jesus meets each of them right where they are. He doesn’t demand that they reach up to him; he reaches down to them. As you listen to the four sketches, which is most like you?
Apr 14, 2019
Seven Last Words: Into Thy Hands / It Is Finished
“Into thy hands I commit my Spirit,” Jesus says in Luke 23; and in John 19, “It is finished.” These are Jesus’ very last words before he dies in each respective gospel. The more we understand the context in which the words were said—especially in light of the temple curtain which was torn in two—the more we see how Jesus’ death is significant for our lives. This is no mere academic exercise; Jesus’ death means the forgiveness of all our sins and a radically new life for the Christian.
Apr 7, 2019
Seven Last Words: I Thirst
“I thirst,” Jesus said as he neared his final breath. It would be easy to overlook these two words, but they are loaded with significance. What does Jesus’ thirst mean, both for him on the cross, and for us today? Jesus, the living water of God, poured out living water into our souls, emptied himself, and took upon himself the eternal thirst of hell on our behalf, so that we might never be thirsty again.
Mar 31, 2019
Seven Last Words: God-Forsaken
One of the most haunting cries in all of Scripture: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As Jesus hangs there and laments the loss of the presence of God, we can’t help but ask: Did God really forsake Jesus? And if so, does that mean he might forsake me? This morning we hear Jesus’ heart-rending cry and see why Jesus’ great anguish leads to our great assurance.
Mar 24, 2019
Seven Last Words: The Family of God
As he hangs on the cross Jesus tells his mother, somewhat cryptically, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and then immediately to John, his disciple, “Here is your mother.” In saying this he emphasized that his followers—the church—are family. We are not like family; we are family. How does the crucifixion make that possible, and how do we live as family with one another?
Mar 17, 2019
Seven Last Words: Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise
“Today you will be with me in paradise,” Jesus promised one of the two criminals who was crucified beside him. This famous promise gives great comfort to Christians, but it also raises questions. Can God really forgive a death row inmate at the last possible second? Are there crimes or people that God will not forgive? What limits does God’s mercy have?
Mar 10, 2019
Seven Last Words: Father, Forgive Them
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus’ famous cry from Luke 23 is well known, but what is Jesus really asking for? Whom is he asking God to forgive? What does forgiveness look like? Does God actually forgive them? And does God forgive us?
Mar 3, 2019
People of the Word for the People of the World
God’s delights most in his own glory, and God is glorified when we know him. This morning we conclude our series in John 17 by addressing one of the most prominent themes in Jesus’ prayer for his disciples: unity. Why is it important for Jesus’ followers to be unified? Where does unity come from? And what is the goal of unity? Listen to hear more!
Feb 24, 2019
People of the Word or People of the World
God’s delights most in his own glory, and God is glorified when we know him. But how do we know God, and not just about him? The primary way we know God is through his Word – both the scriptures and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. This morning we examine the results and promises that God makes when we commit to keeping his word.
Feb 17, 2019
The Glory of Knowing God
The greatest joy we can know is to know God. What does knowing God look like? And how do we know God? As we continue studying Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we see that God doesn’t only want us to know about him; he wants us to know him personally.
Feb 10, 2019
Glory: God's Deepest Desire
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins this way: “What is the chief end of man?””To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” We might also ask, “What is the chief end of God?” This morning we explore God’s deepest desire, and we see how God’s passion for his own glory is our greatest good.
Feb 3, 2019
Wisdom from Proverbs: Covenants and Glue (Healthy Sexuality)
With so many different voices shouting their view of sexuality to us, and with cultural understandings of sex constantly changing, how do we know what to believe about sex? This morning we conclude our series in Proverbs by studying God’s good design for sex. Sex is a gift from God, intended to be enjoyed within the boundary of marriage. While many people think this makes God sounds like a killjoy, he doesn’t intend for this to suffocate our joy, but to maximize our joy! Listen more:
Jan 27, 2019
Wisdom from Proverbs: Righting a Wrong
Conflict is inevitable. We don’t like it, but we also can’t avoid it. So how do we manage conflict in a healthy way? The book of Proverbs offers us a lot of guidance. Listen as we learn how to address conflict wisely, and how our conflict-management can honor God!
Jan 13, 2019
Wisdom from Proverbs: Somebody to Lean On
In December we studied how God comforts us and offers peace, hope, and joy in our darkness. But how can we practically offer peace, hope, and joy to one another – especially to our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who are suffering? This morning we look further in to Proverbs to see how the scriptures guide us in comforting those among us who are grieving and suffering. Ever wondered what to say when it seems like there are no words that could help? Learn what you can say to be helpful, and the things to avoid saying!
Jan 6, 2019
Wisdom from Proverbs: Work Matters
What does faith have to do with work? Quite a lot. This morning we examine what Proverbs teaches about work, and we look to tie that in with the rest of scripture’s teaching about work. How can we work creatively, redemptively, and in a way that honors God? And does my work really matter to God, anyway?
Dec 23, 2018
Blue Christmas: The Word Became Flesh
“Joy to the World,” the song goes, but not everyone feels joyful during Christmas. What do we do when the lights—the festive music—the decorations—the cards—all tell us to feel joyful, but instead we feel darkness? As we conclude our Blue Christmas series, listen to how the birth of Christ—the Word of God who became flesh—provides our truest and best hope in life, even when Christmas seems bleak.
Dec 16, 2018
Blue Christmas: Finding Joy in Darkness
“Joy to the World,” the song goes, but not everyone feels joyful during Christmas. What do we do when the lights—the festive music—the decorations—the cards—all tell us to feel joyful, but instead we feel darkness? It can help to remember that joy is not based on our circumstances; it’s a gift from God. And the truest joy comes from God’s greatest gift: his son Jesus. Listen to hear how Jesus offers a transcendent joy in our lives, even in the middle of our darkness.
Dec 9, 2018
Blue Christmas: Finding Peace in Grief
Many of us feel varying degrees of grief during the Christmas season — the pain of a loved one who is no longer with us or the sting of a soured relationship. How do we reconcile the absence of loved ones or cherished relationships with the expectations of “holiday cheer?” Listen to hear more about how Jesus offers a unique brand of peace in the midst of our grief:
Dec 2, 2018
Blue Christmas: Finding Hope in Anxiety
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” they sing. But not everyone feels that way. In fact, for many of us, Christmas brings mixed emotions. For those of us who feel anxious during the holidays—whether about family, or about the future, or about anything else—what do we do when Christmas feels more blue than white? Find out this morning how Christ gives us hope in our anxiety—even during the stressful holiday season.
Nov 25, 2018
Wisdom from Proverbs: Who's in Charge, Here?
Many things in life don’t turn out the way we thought they would, do they? Like our kids. For better or worse, we can’t manipulate or control our children. But we can influence them. What do the Scriptures—and specifically the book of Proverbs—say about how to influence our children in a positive way? How do we parent our children in a way that helps them to flourish? Listen to find out more: