This Sunday’s Service

January 21, 2018: Come and See; Come and Be

Posted on : Jan 18th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Early on in each of Gospels we find the stories of Jesus calling his first disciples with the simple words “Follow me.” That is certainly the case in our scripture passage this week in the Gospel of John chapter 1 verses 48-52. In this story we hear how Jesus calls a person named Phillip with those same simple words. Immediately after responding to Jesus’s call to follow, Phillip turns and finds a friend telling them all about this Jesus and invites them to, “come and see” what he is all about.

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January 14, 2018: It Takes Faith to Know When Religion is Wrong.

Posted on : Jan 11th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Religion has always had the best intention of bringing people into a deeper awareness of and a closer relationship with the Holy. Each religion provides different ways of doing that, but basically the goal is the same. Most of us trust and value the teachings of our religion. We find them helpful and useful in our everyday lives. But even though religion has lofty spiritual values, it is nonetheless crafted by humans.

I believe one of the hallmarks of growing in our faith is having the faith to know when religion is wrong. For some people, the very thought of religion being wrong is anathema. They just can’t possibly believe their religion could be wrong. For others it is reality. Their religion is wrong, or portions of the teaching of their religion are wrong.

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January 7, 2018: Sometimes, it Takes Faith (in God)

Posted on : Jan 4th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

There are many times in our lives when we find faith to be trying. Trying to be faithful can test our faith, our patience, our very trust in God. In moments of doubt and testing, I always find it helpful to look at the faith stories of others. Moses is one of my favorites.

From the very moment that Moses encounters God as told in the story of the burning bush, good old Moses is a definite “NO! God, You’re asking the wrong guy. Anyone but me, please.” Moses is not reluctant. He’s just absolutely sure that he’s not the one to follow God. He graciously offers his brother to serve in his place, but for some reason, God has faith in Moses, which is more than Moses has in God.

Even after Moses reluctantly agrees to follow God, things do not go well. Moses asks Pharaoh ten times to “let God’s people go.” And every time, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. Each request came with increasingly awful plagues:

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December 24, 2017: Christmas Eve Service

Posted on : Dec 21st, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Please join us
for our
Christmas Eve Candlelight service,
Sunday night
8pm.

(Note: We will NOT have worship on Sunday morning this week – only Sunday evening!)

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December 17, 2017: Are you a Nobody or a Somebody?

Posted on : Dec 14th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

The continuing accusations and revelations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse have certainly opened up a national conversation about the use and abuse of power by powerful men. You might synthesize the situation like this: Some powerful men think they are Somebody – Somebody Special, who have the right to overpower Nobodies – people who are not powerful or famous. Each of the persons (mostly women but also a few men) who has come out about being sexually harassed or abused has shared that the reason they did not speak up at the time is because they felt powerless and feared losing their employment or having their careers destroyed if they said anything. That scenario of the powerful keeping the powerless silent has worked for a very long time. That is, until just a few weeks ago when for some reason, the stories of the powerless were actually heard and believed.

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December 10, 2017: God DNA: Unto us a child is born

Posted on : Dec 7th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Two weeks ago, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged to be married. Social media went crazy as all did the other media. Talk show hosts and news anchors were giddy. Photographers and journalists couldn’t wait to get a picture of the engagement ring. And for 3 ½ minutes – the time allotted to the average “breaking news” story – the world heard good news.

Whether you are a “Royal watcher” or not, most of the world adores Prince Harry because (in the words of my British grandmother) he’s such a scallywag. Scallywag mean rascal. The biblical word for Harry is “wild ass” (Gen 16:12). But I think there is more to it than that.

At a time in the world where there is much darkness, fear, disrespect and anger, there was one moment of joy found with this good news. It was refreshing, wonderful news about LOVE. Love between two people want to celebrate that gift.

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December 3, 2017: “God DNA”

Posted on : Nov 30th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

What do sex trafficking and the virgin birth have to do with one another?

I was stunned to learn that according to the U.S. State Department, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. It is the world’s second largest criminal activity after drugs. There are some 5.5 million children trapped in the human trafficking industry. I find those statistics stunning and at the same time, disgusting and revolting.

You may recall a few weeks ago when Judge Roy Moore was accused of sexual misconduct with girls who were 14 to 16 years old, a Baptist minister tried to come to Mr. Moore’s defense by noting that Joseph – as in Mary’s husband – had the same propensity for young girls. When I heard that, I wanted to scream. But, such is the truth about the way the story of the young girl, also called “virgin” Mary has been interpreted over the years. It came about because of the Church’s obsession with sex. That obsession against sex, and a mixture of bad theology, have led us to believe that somehow God or the Holy Spirit miraculously (some say immaculately) impregnated Mary.

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November 26, 2017: “Who Is God?”

Posted on : Nov 21st, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

One of the questions that appears throughout much of scripture is, “Who is God?”

Moses had a profound religious experience with God. It’s as close to a face-to-face (read: heart-to-heart) encounter as one ever gets with God. It pretty much changed Moses’ total life-path. Then reality sinks in. Moses said to God, “And when I go back to the people and tell them of this experience, they are certainly going to ask me who you are?” Ok, Moses used the words, “What’s your name?” In the ancient world, one’s name defined who you are. They were pretty much the same. God answers with one of the most ambiguous, non-defining names. “Just tell them, “I am who I am.” In Hebrew those same words also mean “I’m becoming who I am becoming.” In other words, God can’t be limited by name and God’s very being is evolving, changing, becoming.

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November 19, 2017: Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Posted on : Nov 16th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Every so often the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and says, “Whoa! Look at that!” So it is with this wonderful admonition from the Apostle Paul to the young Christians in Thessalonica. For those who don’t know, Thessalonica is somewhere between Barstow and Las Vegas. Only joking. Today, Thessalonica is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Macedonia. It was a very populated and wealthy city. In the 2nd century A.D. the historian Lucian mentions it as the greatest city of Macedonia. It was important, not only as a harbor with a large import and export trade, but also as the principal station on the great Via Egnatia, the highway from the Adriatic to the Aegean Seas.

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November 12, 2017: You Are TOO Generous!

Posted on : Nov 9th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I love the scripture reading for this Sunday, Exodus 36:2-7, with its focus on the generosity of the people of Israel during the building of the Tabernacle. While there are many places in the Bible that refer to the requirement to tithe, i.e. giving 10 % of what you have to God, our lesson for Sunday emphasizes the fact that the people gave willingly and gladly so much so that Moses had to send word for the people to stop giving! Wouldn’t it be amazing if that’s the message churches had to send out to their members: “We’ve got more than we need. Stop giving!” Unfortunately, that’s not something we usually hear. Too often it’s more about how there is a shortfall in the budget or an emergency that requires more money. Our scripture lesson and the chapter before it, Exodus 35, states over and over that the people gave willingly according to how they were led and according to the gifts they were given. So it wasn’t just money they were offering – they were giving the things they had made: craftsmanship, beautiful woven cloth, carpentry work, their intelligence, design ideas, leadership abilities, and more. Their talents inspired them to such an extent that they wanted to give. For them, it was about so much more than just money. It is a very rewarding experience to have a talent for something and to be able to share it with others. Nothing motivates like being invited to express yourself with something you’re really good at. That’s exactly what happened with the Israelites as they built the Tabernacle. They were excited about sharing their gifts.

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