Showing posts from January, 2020

Gifts of the Spirit- Teaching

Isaiah 9:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23
Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
We read in our Gospel that Jesus 
“went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matt 4:23). Teaching was an important part of the ministry of Jesus. He helped people deepen their understanding of the Scriptures- of God and of the depths of their hearts. Jesus taught not just about the Scriptures that prohibit murder, but he went deep into the human heart and taught us to see the anger that leads to murder. He used Parables to teach in memorable ways. He taught in ways that people went away with his words turning over and over in their minds and hearts.

Teaching was also important for the disciples of Jesus. The Scriptures of the New Testament are largely the product of the teaching ministry of the Early Church as they passed on the teaching of Jesu…

The Gifts of the Spirit- Service

John 1:29-42
Ministry Specialties Test Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune

Service was a big part of the ministry of Jesus. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians we read that Jesus, “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7). He ultimately served humanity by becoming the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). … Jesus' whole life is an integrated act of loving service to us and to his Father. His birth, baptism, teaching, healing, exorcism, cross, resurrection, and ascension are all about Jesus' loving service.

Once at a meal he got up and served his disciples by washing their feet, which was completely unheard of for a Rabbi to do for his disciples (John 13). That was usually the job of the lowest ranking servant. We read, 
“After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me …

The Gifts of the Spirit- Intro and Prophecy

Romans 12:1-8
Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
Today we are beginning a sermon series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the church received a special filling of the Holy Spirit, which inaugurated a new age in the life of God’s people. Part of the receiving of the Holy Spirit, was that members of the church were given certain abilities for the sake of serving. They build up the church in love, and they honour Jesus.

When Paul talks about the spiritual gifts in our reading from Romans (and in other places as well- like 1 Cor 12-14; Eph. 4:11-16) he uses the image of the body. Different parts of the body have different abilities. The eyes see. The ears hear, and so on. When each part of the body is serving the whole, the body is healthy and functions properly. … It is a good image to use for the church since the church is also called the body of Christ. The church, empowered by the S…

John 1- The Deeper Nativity

Jn 1:1-18
Watching a ball bounce across a room is very different than hearing a physicist explain the same event. The physicist would describe gravity, the density of the floor, the rubber’s ability to bounce (called the “Coefficient of Restitution”), the force at which the ball was thrown or the height it was dropped from, maybe even variables like the temperature of the room, etc. All of that would be communicated through a swirl of numbers and letters drawn into mathematical formulas that explain what we watched happen with our eyes. It doesn’t mean that watching the ball bounce across the room is less true, they are just different ways of explaining the same event. The physicist’s explanation is more abstract, but also provides a kind of truth that isn’t available to us by simple observation.

The opening of the Gospel according to John is a bit like this. Most of us know the Christmas story. The images sit easily in our minds- Mary and Joseph next to a baby in a mange…

Matt 2- The death of the innocents

Matthew 2:13-23
Our Gospel lesson today is not the sentimental picture we are used to seeing associated with the birth of Jesus. In the life of Jesus danger seems to be always looming. The birth of Jesus disturbs the balance of power. The messiah will bring with him a kingdom that is in opposition to the oppressive powers of this world.

The powers of this world are not comfortable with Jesus. The Pharisees are bothered by him. The priests, the Sadducees, and eventually the Roman Empire, represented by Pontius Pilate, are all disturbed by the presence of Jesus. Those who have power in this world do not want to give it up, and don’t like having their power challenged.

Jesus will deal with constant opposition from the powers in this world and we see the beginning of this in our Gospel reading. King Herod was a bit of a puppet king placed in power under the Roman Empire. One of the things rulers like Herod are most paranoid about is loss of their power. Herod even k…