This Sunday in Worship

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Tending

Sunday, February 28, 10:15 a.m.

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
from Isaiah 58:6-12

Isaiah. Oh, Isaiah. Poet and prophet. Prophet and poet. This passage, from the book of Isaiah, is one of the most beautiful and powerful in scripture. In it, the writer uses the metaphor of a garden, the same metaphor that’s been guiding our journey through Lent. So, in this case, who or what is the garden? Who or what is the gardener? And what’s growing? Join us this Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches the back-and-forth of our actions and God’s response, the garden that is us, the garden that is the world, and the ways all of them need tending.

This Sunday in Worship

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Planting

Sunday, February 21, 10:15 a.m.

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
from Mark 4:26-32

This is a parable. “And what’s a parable?” you might ask. Ah yes. Good question. A parable is a teaching device, frequently employed by Jesus, in which the teacher uses simple, everyday situations to illustrate deeper spiritual truths. Sometimes Jesus explained what his parables meant. But sometimes, as in this case, he left it up to the listener to figure it out. So in what way is the kingdom of God like someone planting seed? Join us on Sunday for the second installment of our Lenten “Come to the Garden” series, as Pastor Curt preaches faith-like-dirt and the mysterious ways in which God makes things grow in our lives.

This Sunday in Worship

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Tilling

Sunday, February 14, 10:15 a.m.

And to the man God said, “Because you have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
from Genesis 1-3

Let’s begin at the beginning. In the beginning, God creates the heavens and the earth, and makes a garden paradise for the first humans to live in. But the humans disobey the one rule God has put in place for them. As a result, they’re forced to leave the garden and scratch out a living in the harsh soil of the world beyond. Join us on Sunday as Seminary Intern Logan Bennett leads us into our “Come to the Garden” Lenten series by looking at that very first garden, what we had there, what we lost . . . and how we can get back.

This Sunday in Worship

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On the Mountain

Sunday, February 7, 10:15 a.m.

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white . . .
from Luke 9:28-43a

Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountain and looked out? It’s different up there, right? The air is clearer. You can see farther. And you get a glimpse of what the big picture looks like. This is what Peter and James and John experience when they go up to the mountain with Jesus. The man they’ve been traveling with, the man they’ve come to know better than they know their own families, suddenly becomes . . . something else. Or maybe it’s not Jesus who changes. Maybe they’re just seeing him–really seeing him–for the first time. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches the Jesus who is revealed to us on the mountain.

This Sunday in Worship

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The Cliff

Sunday, January 31, 10:15 a.m.

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.
from Luke 4:21-30

The “him” in question here–the guy who’s about to be pushed off the cliff by an angry mob–is Jesus. If you read the rest of the passage (and you should), it’s not immediately clear what Jesus has done to make the crowd so mad. He talks about prophets, and a widow from a place called Zarephath, and somebody named Naaman the Syrian. So what? What’s wrong with that? To this crowd, everything. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt explains the message that almost got Jesus killed, and why a new order that’s big enough for everyone might seem too big to some.

This Sunday in Worship

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Good News

Sunday, January 24, 10:15 a.m.

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of the sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” . . . Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
from Luke 4:14-21

There’s a lot of stuff in the Bible: 66 books of law, history, poems, songs, prophecy, stories, and letters, written over thousands of years by multiple authors. So how do we figure out what’s most important? How do we focus all the way in, on the center of it all? And what does the story of Jesus beginning his public ministry by reading from the book of Isaiah have to do with it? Hint: everything. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches the heart of the heart.

This Sunday in Worship

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Whenever I Speak

Sunday, January 31, 2016

O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” . . . Within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary holding it in, and I cannot.
from Jeremiah 20:7-13

Church is nice, right? It’s full of nice people doing nice things, isn’t it? Because the Bible is nice. Jesus is nice. God is nice. Well . . . sometimes. Part of what the church does is to comfort those in pain. But there’s another part too, and that’s to be a pain to those who are too comfortable. It’s called “the prophetic voice.” It’s what Jeremiah was doing thousands of years ago when he said, “Whenever I speak, I must cry out.” Like all prophets, Jeremiah was called to expose lies and hypocrisy, to stand up against injustice, and to warn the people what would happen unless they changed course. Join us this MLK weekend as Seminary Intern Logan Bennett asks what the prophetic voice might have to say to us.

This Sunday in Worship

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Dove

Sunday, January 10, 10:15 a.m.

When Jesus had been baptized, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Christmas is over. We’ve taken down the lights, stashed away the decorations, and gobbled down the last of the chocolates. At church, we’re closing the lid on the Christmas box too. Seems like we just got Jesus born, right? Well, we’re fast-forwarding. We’re leaving the miraculous night of his birth, and moving through his childhood and adolescence and early adulthood, to another day, thirty years later, on the dusty banks of the Jordan. Jesus is all grown up. He’s almost ready to begin his public ministry. But there’s something that has to happen first. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches baptism with water, baptism with fire, and baptism with the breath of God.

This Thursday in Worship

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Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 23, 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered . . .”
from Luke 2:1-7

“In those days . . .” The words are so familiar we could recite them by heart. We know this story. Mary and Joseph. No room at the inn. A baby in the manger. Shepherds in the fields. Angels singing glory, glory, glory. We know this story, and yet we need to hear it again and again. Join us this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. for our family service, or at 7:30 p.m. for our traditional service (music begins at 7:00 p.m.), as we sing carols, light candles, and remember the wonder of that night when heaven and earth intersected.

This Sunday in Worship

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Advent Is 4

Sunday, December 20, 10:15 a.m.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
from Luke 1:39-49

Love. The fourth Sunday of Advent is all about love. So why did we choose this passage from the gospel of Luke as our scripture for the week? Well, read it again. Read it closely. There’s a lot of love here. Mary the teenage nobody, unmarried and pregnant, comes to the house of her older, wiser cousin Elizabeth. She doesn’t know what to expect. Will Elizabeth believe her? Or will she be met with doubt and scorn? In the end, what she gets is pure love. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches this kind of love: gracious, unearned love.

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