Christ the King Sunday

With as much death, suffering, and pain there has been in the world in these past few years many of us in the world are raw from our past lives and need a healing touch from Jesus. I promise you that if you encounter Jesus you will not be the same. If you encounter the healing love and mercy of Jesus you will be calmer, kinder, and less reactionary. Christ the King can give you are new heart filled with love and mercy.

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The Kinsman Redeemer

In this third sermon in our series on the Book of Ruth, we see Naomi craft a plan to help Ruth find rest in the home of a loving husband who will protect her and care for her. The plan is a risky one and could easily have been misinterpreted! In fact, many have interpreted Naomi’s plan as risqué and provocative, but it need not be seen as such. It would not be in line with the character of the woman we have come to see in Ruth, or of the “worthy man,” Boaz.

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Coincidence? I Think Not!

As Christians, we don’t believe in luck. We see the hand of God in the arrangement of circumstances. At the same time, the Bible affirms that we are each free to make choices. There is, of course, a difficult tension in these two ideas, but we hold them together because the Bible holds them together. In the Book of Ruth “there’s a string of ‘just-so-happens’ that would never have happened without human effort and could never have happened without God’s unseen, providential hand working in His ordinary ways” (David Roseberry, “The Ordinary Ways of God”).

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When Everything Goes Wrong

You might think of 2020-2021 as “The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad” years: a Global pandemic, racial tension, political discord, and an insurrection in the Capitol Building. Just when we thought things were getting better, the Delta surge! This is not unlike the situation we read about at the beginning of the Book of Ruth. Today we begin a new sermon series as we meet Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

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Marriage and Divorce

In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches about divorce in response to a question from the Pharisees. Jesus is not speaking to make the divorced person feel condemned, he is addressing the Pharisee’s faulty thinking. Jesus points beyond their debate to the very beginning, to the very first marriage, to show how God intended for marriage to be permanent…”till death do us part.” Part of the the beauty of marriage is in this permanence. But it doesn’t always end that way because of the hardness of our hearts.

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability is trusting that God wants the best for you and wants to provide what you need. Take it all to the Lord, not just the cleaned up version but the hard core nitty gritty side of your life. He knows it all already, keeping things from God is like trying to keep things from a good godly parent who knows you better than you know yourself. You are important to God and He wants to hear your real heart and real circumstances. The Lord longs to be there for you and to be a part of your solution and the Lord is not afraid of your drama and extreme feelings or emotions.

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The Way to the Top

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). This might seem backwards to you, it would have seemed backwards to the disciples as well. The way of the world is to promote yourself. To fight your way to the top. To make sure you get ahead so you aren’t left behind. This attitude comes from a lack of trust in God.

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Evident Faith

I’m glad that we began our worship this morning with “A Mighty Fortress,” one of Martin Luther’s most famous hymns, because today we are going to dig into the Letter of James which Luther deemed “an Epistle of straw” when compared with the letters of Paul and Peter.

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Christian Marriage

Jesus wants us to have thriving marriages and to struggle for the good in each other. Jesus wants to be in the midst of us challenging us, changing us, and showing us how to live more kindly, more gently, and more lovingly. If you choose to walk in the spirit then your closest relationships in life are supposed to be filled with gentleness, love, kindness, and faithfulness. I would encourage you to take some time and reflect on how God might be wanting to help you in your life.

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Shocking Words

Today we hear these words about Jesus’ flesh and blood in sixth chapter of John as words of comfort. Imagine, however, that you didn’t know these words. They would be shocking! Jesus was known as a rabbi or teacher in his day and he spoke these words in the synagogue at Capernaum (v. 59). Imagine if I as your pastor said these same words. How would you react? “Unless you eat my flesh, you have no life in you!”

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