Friday, April 24, 2009

May 3, 2009

For the week of May 3rd: Acts 4:5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18

Acts Peter and John heal a man and are arrested by the Sanhedrin – the authorities. Healing is a major part of the promise of salvation. Salvation comes from no one, but Jesus. We are in need of being healed in many levels in our life – which is why salvation is so far reaching – down to the level of the soul. The world is still in need of healing of the soul – so the world is in need of Jesus and Christianity.
John The concept of the shepherd as one who takes care of us has been a long time image in the bible. Isaiah says that the suffering servant is the messiah the one who cares for people to a fault. Jesus is telling us that he is indeed that person. He cares about and takes care of us, even in resurrection. Jesus says that there is a difference between the shepherd and the hired hand - this is a calling that will not be given up for the true shepherd.
Questions If Christianity is the only religion to offer salvation, how to we treat others? How does God define and redefine our world and what it needs? Are we an inclusive religion? How does the contrast between good shepherds and hired hands apply to today's leadership in the church? The point of the passage is not only what God does for us, but what we are willing to do for one another. Jesus, in this, becomes the prototype for leadership in both the church and the marketplace. Yet how many people in today's workforce are willing to lay down their lives for those they serve?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

Breaking Open The Scriptures
We will not be using the lectionary text for the next few Sundays. On April 19th the sermon will be based on Hebrews 12:14-25 Lectionary : Acts:4:32-35, Psalm 133, I John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31

For the seven weeks of Easter we will concentrate on the meaning of Resurrection. Why is this an important concept, and why is it unique to the Christian Faith. This concept is the core of our faith, and explains why Jesus the Christ is our Lord and Savior. How do apply these concepts to living in a secular world, where these things no longer make any sense.

Hebrews: We are not only unsure of who wrote this book, we are unsure of who the book was written to. But the author reminds us of the old tenants of faith, and demonstrates how those fundamental beliefs are still valid in the life of Jesus Christ. Our theme for this week is mountain tops.

Acts: Instead of reading a Hebrew Testament reading for the season of Easter, we always read from the book of Acts. This is the story of the formation of the first church. It gives wonderful tips on how to reach out to the world and grow the church. We don’t need a visioning session, we need to read and believe the book of Acts. Our reading for today demonstrates how the first church shared their possessions so that everyone was taken care of
What does Resurrection mean in your life?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 26, 2009

Scriptures for April 26th : Sermon based on Revelation 7:9-17. Lectionary text: Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48

Revelation: Many people are afraid of the book of Revelation, because they don’t understand the significance of the symbolism. Much of the message of the book is intended for the people at the time that it is written. But it does help us to think about the meaning of heaven. Chapter 7 speaks of those who will be with God in heaven in the end times. Literally ,144,000 chosen by God. Many people from all nations who have endured tribulations until the end. Those who are willing to take sin in their lives head on. They are those who believe in the resurrection of the dead. In times of trouble, it is knowing that we are in that number that gives us strength – or resurrects our soul.

Luke: This passage occurs after two disciples have talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It is proof that this is the same Jesus whom they knew before he died, - he shows them his hands and feet, he eats with them. Yet there is something different about him, the did not recognize who they were talking to. Once the remaining disciples are gathered, Jesus gives them peace and the great commission – go make disciples of all nations. He knew that this was a scary time for his disciples, but he wanted them to have the courage to not be afraid.

Questions: This is a scary time for many of us – what are you afraid of? What difference will the peace of Christ make in your situation? What are you doing to make disciples of others? Do you believe in bodily resurrection? Or is resurrection just a spiritual quest for you? What would you do, if you have a chance to see God face to face? How do you praise God in your every day life? What tribulations do you need strength to overcome?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 12, 2009 - Easter Sunday

Breaking Open The Scriptures
Scriptures for April 12th – Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Mark 16:1-20

1 Corinthians
Paul tells us that the most important things for us to remember about our faith are that Jesus died for our sins, He was raise on the third day. And that he appeared to those who were faithful to him and his teachings. The Risen Christ makes daily appearances, but only those who are faithful can witness his presence. Paul makes it clear that he is indeed a witness, but not because of anything that he did, but because of the grace of God. In this skeptical age, many are convinced that Jesus is not real. What does the resurrection mean to you?

There are two resurrection stories in the gospel: One in John, and this one in Mark. John focuses on the body, Mark focuses on the empty tomb. In the Mark story, there are a group of women who come to the tomb, expecting the burden of having to roll away the stone. Only to discover that the hard part is over. That is what resurrection means for us, that the hard part is over. Our sadness and suffering have not been in vain. Resurrection is not something that will happen in the distant future – it has come upon us now! Celebrate!

Questions: What does it take for any of us to realize that God is present and that Christ is risen indeed? What do you make of the difference between focal points in the two gospel accounts (John focused upon the body, Mark upon the empty tomb)? Where is your focus when you retell the story? What are the present-day implications of the Resurrection for Christians? How important is it to believe in a literal Resurrection? This is a controversial issue in some places.