Improv | Advent Week 4

Throughout the Christmas story, two things are clear: (1) God is in control, and (2) God is not in charge. This is an important lesson for everyone who feels pushed around by others.

Where God Should Be | Advent Week 3

One great surprise about God revealed in Jesus at the incarnation is God’s vulnerability. God is not confined to safe or polished spaces. Instead, he enters our mess. He shows up in “places God isn’t supposed to be,” exposing himself and entering our realities, messy as they might be. To this end, we don’t have to leave our own vulnerable states or situations to find God. He meets us there. He joins the struggle with us, making himself vulnerable right alongside us.

What’s in a List? | Advent Week 2

When we come to the “list” passages in the Bible, our eyes glaze over: measurements, records, genealogies – maybe these are part of historical record, but wouldn’t the Bible be better if we took them out? That’s probably true…. unless there’s something in the list that is (itself) a story. This sermon will walk through one of those infamous lists, helping us freshly imagine why these (even these!) verses of the Gospels can be truly Good News.

Stumbling Over Christmas | Advent Week 1

To people living in the first century, the claims of the first Christians concerning the incarnation were scandalous. Here’s a handful that are so outrageous even Christians have a hard time believing them. Yet the gospels want us to practice them as we enter a season, Advent, that is all too familiar to us.

With | 2022 Advent Week 4

The most important word in Christmas is not ‘for’ but ‘with’ (“God with us!”). Between them is vast difference. Only by being ‘with’ us does God deliver us. Only by being ‘with’ others (not just ‘for’ them) can we participate in their deliverance.

In the Darkness | 2022 Advent Week 3

Advent Week 3 “In the Darkness” Sermon

Peace on Earth | 2022 Advent Week 2

This is the Second Week of Advent Sermon Peace on Earth

Night Before Christmas | 2022 Advent Week 1

To understand the message of Christmas, we must view it through another lens, a place rooted in the past, in the struggle of waiting, in the loss and frustration of those who were caught in the political, economic and social pressures of that day. Against the backdrop of that “night,” the birth of a child – a new king with a new kingdom – is “good news (gospel) of great joy.”

Unreliable Witnesses | Ironies of Christmas Week 4

That the first witnesses would be shepherds whose testimony was inadmissible in court. Of all the people God could have told on the night of Jesus’ birth, he chose to tell shepherds first. They were the first to visit, the first to inform the Holy Family, the first to tell everyone what they’d seen and heard. But why? Wasn’t there anyone else awake? Couldn’t anyone more reliable have been found? Or does God intend something else for his witnesses, something greater than evidence or argument?

Underwhelming Signs | Ironies of Christmas Week 3

That the “sign” for all of this would be so underwhelming. Of all the signs that God is present and active – a pillar and cloud, a shadow falling backward or a virgin giving birth – why is this one, at zero hour, so underwhelming? Wasn’t there a better way for God to make His point? Or did He have a better point to make?

Unlikeable Characters | Ironies of Christmas Week 2

That God would use people Israel hated to position Himself to save the world. According to St. Paul, Christmas came “in the fullness of time,” and according to the gospels, the most unlikely people paved the way: Caesar Augustus, Herod, and the Roman government. Why and how did God use the Romans to accomplish His plans for the world?

Suspicious Origins | Ironies of Christmas Week 1

The “Holy One to be born” came from seemingly suspicious origins – Egypt, Nazareth, a suspect lineage, and an unmarried mother. Why would God choose such questionable origins to usher in one who would “save his people from their sins?” What is revealed about God’s character and how he interacts with humanity? Could it be that our expectations, just like Israel, have been misplaced?

The Salvation of God | Season of Advent Week 4

On the night he arrived, God introduced us to a different savior and a different kind of salvation that was unlike any we’d known before. This salvation – from God – is as hard to comprehend in our day as it was in theirs, even for Christians who, for the last nine months, have been looking elsewhere. But how, exactly, is God’s salvation so different? And what difference does it make in a year like this one?

All This Is Temporary | Season of Advent Week 3

Joy is not found in the absence of pain, discomfort, and suffering. Rather, joy is found in the contentment with what is to come.

Peace on Earth | Advent Week 2

The good news of Advent, foretold in Isaiah’s poetry and found in the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, is not a passive peace or shallow Shalom, but nothing short of the full redemption of all humanity reconciled to God and the restoration of all things.

At the Scent of Water | Advent Week 1

In Advent we wait in hope for God to break in upon us with something new, something beyond our power to do. This newness is rooted in God’s own activity and is embodied in the earthly, human form of Christian community.

Ordinary Obedience | Week 14

Luke 2:25-32, 36-38 Additional Resources Sermon Summary Video Full Service Video Video Download Audio Download Group Discussion Guide Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on email Related Messages

2019 Advent Service

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Delayed Obedience | Week 11

Obedience takes time. Sometimes it cannot be done in day, not even in the day we are told. Like Zechariah, we must wait for another day when the opportunity presents itself, then we must be true and faithful to that moment before God will open new possibilities.

Minority Report | Week 10

Sometimes obedience means believing the impossible, saying the absurd, holding onto he improbable simply because we’ve heard God’s Voice. It means being the minority report. Sometimes the certainty of it is unclear, even to us, so it is only by looking back that we know what the will of God was.