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God Seeks: salvation

God Seeks: salvation

Isaiah 55:1-11 (Testify, week 3) This morning we continue to explore the statement of faith of the United Church of Christ. As I've mentioned this is not a list of doctrines; it's a story. It's even organized and written in story language with God as the main character. This statement is not a fence that defines our boundaries; it's the...
God Calls: creation

God Calls: creation

Guest Preacher: Rev. Dr. Marshall Cook Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (Testify, week 2) The Bible is the foundation of our faith. I’m always amused by the reactions of children to many of the stories. For example, a Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, “My Mommy looked back...
We believe in God

We believe in God

1 John 1 & John 1 (Testify, week 1) Chuck Townley and I have an ongoing discussion about the word "testimony." And when I say "ongoing" I mean that we've been talking about this on and off for probably two years now. Testimony. Like many of you, Chuck has had some bad past experiences with that word. He has heard...
Walk Humbly. Or Not.

Walk Humbly. Or Not.

Micah 6:1-8 One of the hardest things to realize about yourself is that you are living out of line with your own values. That you believe something or are doing something that you actually don't think is right. If we are serious about self-awareness and spiritual growth we will all have this painful experience at some point because none of...
Love Mercy. Or Not.

Love Mercy. Or Not.

Micah 6:1-8 This morning we continue our series on doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. I think that if we, as individuals and a congregation, if we focus on doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, if we do those things to the best of our ability, we will find lasting joy and we will...
Do justice. Or not.

Do justice. Or not.

Micah 6:1-8 In this season of Pentecost we have been inspired to be an expansive church. But we know that "the church" can't be something that the people aren't. So for the last three weeks we have considered how our biases lead us to be exclusive instead of expansive. Addressing our biases is the work of a lifetime. So, as...
We Are Part of the Solution

We Are Part of the Solution

Matthew 7:1-5 (But Now I See, part 3) This morning we are wrapping up our three week series on faith and bias, called "But Now I See." The first week we talked a little about what bias is and how it functions in our brains. Biases are reactions we have that are unexamined and uncharitable. Bias is responsible for a...
We Are Part of the Problem

We Are Part of the Problem

Matthew 7:1-5 (But Now I See, part 2) This is our second week in a three week series on bias. If we want to fulfill our calling to be an expansive church, then we have to deal with the things that make us exclusive. We all have biases that lead us to think and act in particular ways. Biases are...
Expanding Beyond Our Bias

Expanding Beyond Our Bias

Matthew 7: 1-5 (But Now I See, part 1) "My Wife and My Mother-in-law" by W. E. HIll, 1915 So, when I was in college, one night I went to a concert with some friends of mine.  But we went to see a Christian recording artist named Ginny Owens.  Some of you may be familiar with her work.  She’s incredible. ...
Pentecost: an Expansive Church is Born

Pentecost: an Expansive Church is Born

Acts 2 and Galatians 3 Pentecost is one of my favorite church holidays. Maybe even my very favorite. Christmas and Easter are great, but they feel cultural as much as spiritual. But nobody except Christians care about Pentecost. Pentecost is when the church is born, when the followers of Jesus become a force to be reckoned with in the world....
The Woman Who Loved Much

The Woman Who Loved Much

Luke 7:36-50 (Unsung Sheroes, part 5) This morning we wrap up our series exploring the stories of Unsung Sheroes in the book of Luke. Stories about women in the Bible are a mixed bag and often times we find what we came looking for, whether that's subjugation or liberation. But the gospel of Luke has more stories about women than...
The (Im)Perfect Hostess

The (Im)Perfect Hostess

Luke 10:38-42 (Unsung Sheroes part 4) We are now almost finished with our series exploring the stories of Unsung Sheroes in the book of Luke. Stories about women in the Bible are a mixed bag and often times we find what we came looking for, whether that's subjugation or liberation. But the gospel of Luke has more stories about women...