What Do You Say to a Burning Bush? – September 13, 2020

Scripture: Exodus 3:1-15

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3:4-6)

Moses’ call began with curiosity and his initial conversation with God included exploration, fear, confusion, questions, and more as he began to sense the identity of the presence in the burning bush. What do we say when the burning bush speaks to us?

A Fearful Pharaoh vs. A Quartet of Courageous Women – September 6, 2020

A Fearful Pharaoh vs. A Quartet of Courageous Women – September 6, 2020

Scripture: Exodus 1: 8-2:10  Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”

Synopsis: The story of the Exodus begins with fear…fear of a numerous people by a new king who arose over Egypt, who worried that they would become more powerful than the Egyptians, and who put in place ways to oppress and enslave them. Four women defied the orders of the king in different ways: the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, the Levite Woman, and the daughter of Pharaoh. Moses was born in a time of fear, but the women who surrounded him showed a way of dealing with the oppressive nature of power. How do we apply their courage to our time today?

The With-God Life of the Kingdom of Heaven – August 30, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 16: 21-28 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. (Matthew 16:24-25)

Once we know who Jesus is, and the difference he makes in our lives, Jesus is free to share more deeply what living a with-God life is truly like. There is a depth that comes from understanding suffering and denial on the way to eternal life, if we will open our hearts to that way, instead of denying any good in it. In this way, we will experience God’s kingdom on earth   . . . just as it is in heaven.

Just Who Is this Jesus? – August 30, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 16: 13-20

He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)

Peter is the first to declare Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah and his declaration becomes the rock upon which the church itself is built. Who do we say Jesus is? And why does that make a difference? Take a look at 6 different ways of experiencing Jesus that are common to most of us.

When Rules Don’t Help – August 16, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 15: 6-20 

So you do away with God’s Law for the sake of the rules that have been handed down to you. Hypocrites! Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human rules.” (Matthew 15:6-9)

When human instructions take over in our faith journey, and they don’t follow God’s commandment to love, we are displeasing to God. Learning to discern when we are following humans rather than God is an important part of our faith journey- and often leads us into paths that are rather dangerous and unpopular.

When We Begin to Sink – Aug 9, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 14: 22-33

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed. Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus said, “Come.”  (Matthew 14:26-29)

Following Jesus can be a scary proposition, even as it draws us in, feeds us, and helps us embrace new challenges. But Jesus always bids us to come, to confront our fears, and to trust that he will be there to grab our hands when we begin to sink.

There’s Plenty for Lunch – August 2, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 14: 13-21

But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” (Matthew 14:16)

The story starts with the disciples lamenting the lack of food for the huge crowd that was there to listen to Jesus. The radical learning? When we are following Jesus and standing together in love, there is always enough. 

A Plethora of Parables – July 26, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through all the dough.” (Matthew 13:33)

The parables of the mustard seed, the yeast, the treasure, the merchant, the net and the treasure chest all give us glimpses of the abundance of God’s kingdom…and what acceptance of the abundance can mean for us as Jesus followers. Why and how was this radical news?

Seeds and Weeds – July 19, 2020

Seeds and Weeds – July 19, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

“The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then how is it that it has weeds?’ (Matthew 13:27)

Why, when we try so hard to do what is right, do we still see so much hatred and division and evil in the world?  God plants good seed…how do we get weeds, and what do we do about them? How this different way of looking at the world truly includes all who desire to grow in God.

Scattered Seeds and Readied Soils – July 12, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 13: 1-9;18-23   Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. (Matthew 13:8) 

Both what is planted and the ground in which it is planted are crucial for growth—both in farming and in the church. How do we as a church determine what seeds to plant, and how to cultivate our community to receive what God wants to plant?