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January 30, 2011, Matthew 5:1-12
"Who Wants THESE Blessings?" [Audio] [No PDF]
We call it "the sermon on the mount," but it is not a sermon. Matthew 5-7 is a collection of the gathered teachings and commands from Jesus to the followers. They begin with a list of the ways they are blessed to follow him. But when we look at mourning, being humble, and suffering persecution for the sake of right living, we have to ask, "Who wants THESE blessings?"
January 23, 2011, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, JOHN 1:35-42
"Impulse Buy or Commitment?" [Audio] [PDF]
We live in a world where distractions and commercials get our attention to help us buy on impulse before we think. When Jesus walked up to the fishermen and said, "Follow me," he had chosen them before, and they said "yes." It was no impulse buy. It was an immediate commitment!
January 16, 2011, Isaiah 62:1-5, JOHN 2:1-11
"Beneath the Surface" [Audio] [PDF]
Jesus turned water into wine at his mother's urging. We ask for miracles, too, when we pray for things we cannot make happen. For Jesus, the miracle was a "sign" that pointed to his mission and told people he was a Savior. When we look beneath the surface of our wants and needs, we see "signs" of God's love and grace all around. The real miracle is the way that Christ makes us signs of his grace for others to see.
January 9, 2011, Isaiah 60:1-6, MATTHEW 2:1-13
"Wisdom = Seeing + Seeking" [Audio] [PDF]
We sing "We Three Kings of Orient Are" and celebrate the mix of fact and fiction in the story. They were not Kings, there may not have been three of them, we don't know where they came from, and they were too late to be part of the scene at the manger. What the story does tell us is that foreigners could see a star that pointed them to a strange God, and they had enough wisdom to do more than see. They went seeking.
January 2, 2011, 2nd Sunday in Christmastide, Ephesians 1:3-14, Matthew 2;13-21
"The Other Cost of Christmas" [Audio] [PDF]
In the escape to tensil and holiday celebration, we forget that Christmas is the announcement of the birth of a Savior to will overcome sin and Evil, ours and the world. We know there are evil people in the world - like Herod - who do terrible things - like murder children. But they remembered and told the story, because God was willing to bear the other cost of Christmas so that Evil would always be conquered by divine love.