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Showing posts from June, 2014

Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

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Hear the sermon here
One of the oldest temptations the church faces is fragmentation. We are constantly and continuously tempted to walk away from each other. In university I took a class on Christian history. My professor, Dr. Robinson, held up a book that listed all the known Christian denominations, which at that time numbered at somewhere over 20,000. Many of these denominations consisted of only one church. He then told us his two favorite churches/denominations. One was “the Church of God on Turtle Hill”, the other (in the same town) was “The True Church of God on Turtle Hill”.  It’s amazing how a whole history can be imagined in the one word “true”. You can imagine there was some sort of a disagreement that happened. It could have been over something theological- like how faith and works determine your salvation. But, it might also have been the result of an argument about the color of the carpet. Whatever it was it caused a division in the church and there arose “The TRUE Churc…

God in the messiness of life- Gen 21

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Read the Scripture here Genesis 21:8-21
Hear the sermon here
Genesis begins with God creating a beautiful world. It is a world where human beings live in harmony with each other, with animals, with creation, and with God. It is the world we were all created to live in. It is a world where our talents and capacities find their perfect match, and where we would know work but not toil. It is a world of continuous and developing contemplation of the infinite God and the bliss that goes along with it. The first couple, we are told, eat from the forbidden tree. It is a rejection of God’s leadership. They have decided that they know better. They eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and bad, and to gain knowledge of the “bad” they must leave paradise. This is what we know as the Fall. To bring human beings back into full relationship with Him, God puts in motion a plan. That plan begins with a man and his wife- Abraham and Sarah. In their old age God calls them away from the land of their ance…

Why the Trinity?

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Hear the sermon here
There is a threenesss to Christian worship. We read in our Gospel reading today the command to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). In Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan river the voice of God is heard and the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove (Luke 3). There is a threeness about Jesus’ baptism. From Paul we receive the blessing “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13). There is a threeness to Christian worship.

Some might this this is a bit strange. The first Christians were all Jewish. They never actually believed they were a part of a new religion. They believed they were a part of a further development of Judaism. To them the Messiah has now come, but they still considered themselves Jews. One of the things that set Judaism apart from other religions that surrounded them was that they believed in the worship of only one God…

Pentecost

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Acts 2 Hear the sermon here
We have to rewind a little. We have been looking at the books of Acts and what happened to some of the disciples after the day of Pentecost, which was a Jewish festival that happened 50 days after Passover. The day of Pentecost resulted in Peter preaching to the crowd that resulted in numerous people following Jesus and living as a new community. Eventually this community catches the attention of the leadership that had Jesus killed and Stephen is stoned. One of those approving of Stephen’s stoning was Paul and after encountering the risen Jesus he starts preaching about Jesus to anyone who will listen. All this starts with the day of Pentecost.             The preacher John Stott said, “As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead”. The Spirit is the life of the church. The goal of the Christian life is to love and serve God and through this we enter a shared life with God. God becomes an everyday reality for us and there i…