"Mission work" might sound intimidating, but in reality it's quite simple. Dave shares his experience with mission work, both abroad and at home, and points us in the direction of the work of the Holy Spirit, what that work looks like, and how we might submit ourselves to what it's up to in our lives...
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again! What does the "second coming" mean? How will it take place? What if we don't want the earth as we know it to end? Leanne tackles some of the bizarre realities we face in the midst of our hope in the fullness of the Kingdom come...
Leanne reflects on what sets the voice of Christ apart from the others we hear every day. Why is Christ a "Shepherd"? What is the good life? Goodlife fitness? Thrift store Jackson Pollock finds? The way of Jesus is rarely easy, and can even seem illogical, but it is the most beautiful of ways...
So this weeks sermon question: do you have a “to do” list?
Maybe it’s physical, maybe it’s mental, but a list of all the things you need to get done, should get done, or would love to do? And how long is your list? Because honestly, many of us now have MULTIPLE lists that are full with good and important things that just HAVE to get done. And it can be sort of crippling sometimes…
Well there is this story in scripture about food that fell from heaven, and it has a lot to teach us about God and about our lists.
And don’t worry, the sermon gets mega practical.
So many of us love when things are “non-institutional” and “organic… man…” So naturally we LOVE the stories about the early church: everyone sharing their resources, the poor being provided for, a genuine Spirit-led movement.
However if we read just a few more pages we stumble along the Spirit of God doing something different… essentially handing out clipboards, putting on a tie, and saying “but for real now, we’ve got to start getting organized!”
How does the Spirit work in chaos, and in order?
Eucharist Church has moved locations five times in five years… which is sort of crazy! What have we learned in that wandering, and what can we learn about wandering from the story of scripture?
These are the questions we ask as we settle into our (hopefully longer term!) new building: MacNab Presbyterian!
A quick tour of our time together on Sunday! We started in the garden outside before the gathering eating popsicles. JP came out and started leading us in music, singing “come into this place, meet us with your grace…”
We then entered into the hall where we will be gathering, and continued to worship and learn and communion together.
Finally we moved into the Sanctuary and got a tour by one of MacNab’s elders. He shared the history of the building, the stained glass windows, and the congregation… and it was super inspiring and gorgeous. We closed with a hymn and a benediction from the mega-pulpit.
Anyone have a story about a time where someone was hurt by a person who claimed to be a Christian? Where a congregation was prejudice, controlling or judgemental?
… Thought so.
In a time where SO many people have been hurt by people claiming to be Christians, it’s refreshing and encouraging to see so many communities valuing the idea of “safe church”
But there is another question worth asking: should the church be safe?
This week we also dedicated Aaron and Cath’s baby Georgia, so if you hear references to families that are joining us, or some general baby-talk, that’s why!
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.
Who is the Holy Spirit and what is s/he doing in the world?
Also, the first 15 minutes of this podcast feature an EXCITING announcements about the future of Eucharist’s public gathering. If you are someone who attends the gatherings, listen up! If you are just a “pod-rishioner” then feel free to jump to minute 15.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: "In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Leshia’s last sermon of her pastoral internship is a reflection on being like Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ… and the strangest metaphor we’ve had in a long while…
Also, the podcast begins with an introduction to Chrisy Hurn and Meredith Park, Eucharist Church’s Artist-in-Residence for the summer of 2015. They’ll be making amazing art all summer.
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
What is Ash Wednesday all about? Why does it matter? And what does it have to do with death, two year olds, and outer space?
In the ancient world people were used to meeting the god(s) on top of mountains. That was where you expected to find a god!
Jesus also reveals his divinity on a mountain, but what happens before and after this epiphany reveals even more.
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
In the first century Jesus and his followers took a massive risk, and God used them to change the world FOREVER.
In 2015 we go to church on Sunday.
How did Christianity get so… boring? And how can God shake us up again?
It all begins with three simple challenges: repent, believe, follow.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Justin tells the story of Jesus calling the disciples, and how he meets them in the midst of their skepticism!
Also, this sermon resulted in a bunch of people from our congregation telling stories of how God has made himself known in the most unexpected places. It’s really good.
John 1:43-51 43
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Throughout history and around the world, people who have had an transformative encounter with the Resurrected Jesus have walked into water, surrounded by their community, and have been dunked under and pulled back up.
So… that’s a bit of a weird thing!
Why do followers of Jesus get baptized? And equally important: why in the WORLD was Jesus baptized?
Mark 1:4-11 4
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
What do we mean when we say GOD?
Are we talking about a giant white man on a throne in the sky? Are we talking about a physical being at all? Are we talking about a crowd freaking out at a spots game?
And what does it mean to have a relationship with this Divine-Creator-Sustainer-Energy-And-Life-Behind-All-The-Cosmos?
Well, it’s kind of like a plastic cow.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
As the road to Christmas comes to a culmination, Leshia (our Pastoral Intern) takes us to visit Mary, the mother of Jesus.
And Mary gives herself a title that, to many of us, seems oppressive or wrong. She calls herself “God’s slave”.
How is THAT good news?
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
So I am immediately regretting this whole “following the church calendar and lectionary thing”.
May I present to you THE FIRST TEXT OF ADVENT 2014:
24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.
27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
So what in the world is this Jesus talking about? Is it the end of the world? The rapture? Nicolas Cage?
What do you mean the stars will fall and heavens are shaken? AND WHAT does this mean for us as disciples of Jesus?
And does this text have ANYTHING to do with Advent? Why did they pick this text (hundreds of years ago) to be read at the start of the road to CHRISTMAS?!
Please open your bible to Mark chapter 13, and let’s dive in.
We’re spending a year doing WHAT?
That’s right! For the next year we will be following the “lectionary readings” of the church calendar.
The church calendar is a tool used by the church for something like… 1700 years! Christians around the world and throughout time have been on a common rhythmn, telling the story of scripture to one another, year after year. It’s amazing, uniting, powerful… and yet foreign to so many of us!
What is the church calendar? How is it useful? How was it developed? And WHY do we feel God is calling us to follow it for a year?
The church is called to be a diverse group of people, united across all the traditional tribal lines of age, gender, background, culture, status, etc.
It’s a lovely vision, isn’t it? Only one problem: it’s really, really friggen hard to feel like an outsider, or to feel like you’re just DIFFERENT from everyone else.
What does the gospel say to united groups of diverse people?
The world Jesus lived in was ruled over by the Roman Empire. Nearly a millennium before Jesus, there lived a man named Jonah.
And the world of Jonah had it’s own Empire: the Assyrians.
And the capital city of Assyria? Nineveh.
As we dive into the text of Jonah, we also dive into the world he inhabited, and it is most certainly a violent, depraved, and wicked world.
Two side notes:
1) The quality of the recording this week is… subpar. It’s listenable, but not great. Listen at your own risk!
2) This sermon has a fairly large audio clip from Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” - the clip is about 10 minutes, but the full episode comes in at over an hour. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth listening to if you want to understand more about the Assyrians and the city of Nineveh.
To download the rest of the episode visit this link: http://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-17-judgment-at-nineveh/
For more podcasts from Dan Carlin, including his “Hardcore History” series, visit dancarlin.com
Dan, you are incredibly smart, interesting, and talented. Please don’t sue our little church. xoxo