The Heart of the Matter – Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020

 Bishop Robert Hoshibata preaching

Scripture: “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37-38)

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability… ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon those bound, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy . . .’” (Acts 2:4, 17-18)

Throughout this season, we have proclaimed that love is that which binds us (the root of “religion”) to God, to Jesus, to each other. Love IS our religion. On the day of Pentecost, the church received the power of the Holy Spirit to let this message flow out to all. The power of this message is ever-so important to spread in the world today. Let us be a community of messengers letting living truth flow from our hearts.

Open the Eyes of My Heart – May 24, 2020

Open the Eyes of My Heart – May 24, 2020

Scripture: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you . . . (Ephesians 1:17)

You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what [Abba, God] promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:48-49)

The story of the last time the disciples saw Jesus is a story of blessing. Jesus says that as witnesses to his presence and resurrection, they too will be filled with the power to carry on his ministry, to be his hands and feet in the world. To see the world through the eyes of Jesus is to see through the eyes of love.

Kept in Our Hearts – May 17, 2020

Paige McDowell and Olivia Goforth preaching

Scripture: Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3:13-22)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever… They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14: 15-21)

To “sanctify” something is to set it apart as holy and consecrated. The resurrected Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will be with them when he is gone. Holiness resides within each one of us. It calls us to see that holiness in others. It calls us to do the right thing in the name of Love, even when the right thing isn’t popular.

No Trouble in My Heart – May 10, 2020

Scripture: Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. Let your face shine upon you servant; save me in your steadfast love. (Psalm 31:5, 15-16)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1-2)

Jesus himself cried out to God from the Hebrew Scripture that were his holy texts, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” He reminded his disciples, and reminds us, to trust in God when our hearts are troubled. Steadfast love is what God shows and what we are called to offer each other.

Hearts Overflowing – May 3, 2020

Scripture: Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46)

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:1-10)

Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd several times in his ministry. In this passage, the sheep know the shepherd’s voice and they follow because this Shepherd offers abundant life. What does a loving Christian community look like? What would it take to live with glad and generous hearts?

Straight from the Heart – April 26, 2020

Straight from the Heart – April 26, 2020

Scripture: Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32)

Jesus’ table ministry was a preeminent way that he showed and shared the depth of love unseen in his time. He ate and spent time with those considered unworthy of his attention. Even in his post-resurrection appearances, it was in the breaking of bread that he was “recognized.” Whenever we gather around his Table, we remember that, at the heart, his message was unconditional love.

With Glad Hearts – April 19, 2020

Scripture: I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. . . (Acts 2:25-26)

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. (Psalm 16:7-9)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” ~ John 20:19

To live as “Easter people” is to live knowing that death is not the final world. What would we do differently if we really believed that we are loved beyond all endings? That there was nothing to fear? Today we imagine Jesus at our “right hand,” counseling us throughout our days, “peace be with you,” as we look together at how we interact with one another…despite our differences…simply because we love.

A Matter of Heart – April 12, 2020

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Invitation to Journey with Jesus – April 5, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 21: 1-11; 26:14 – 27: 66

And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21: 10-11)
Holy Week begins with the recognition of Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth and moves toward betrayal and death before the truth emerges about life that will change everything. This was Jesus’ story. It is now OUR story. Palm/Passion Sunday takes us through Jesus’ journey, a journey that mirrors our own.

Falling Upward – March 29, 2020

Scripture: John 11: 1-45 

When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11: 43)

Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of our physical life, but instead, we discover Jesus calling us, like he did Lazarus, to “come out.” We discover ways of living life to its fullest, embracing all its nuances, ups and downs. We join Lazarus on our second journey in life…after dying to self, we are raised to follow Christ.