Faithful Waiting

November 12, 2017
Liturgical Day: the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost; Year A

waiting for Jesus
grounded, gracious, generous
faithfully watchful

Summary:
There is much in our world — in our lives — that is capable of distracting us from what matters most. Christ calls us to live in a way that is watchful and wakeful, always on the lookout for signs of God’s presence.

Some discussion Questions:
1. In what ways can we prepare to welcome Christ into our lives?
2. What would it look like in our day for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a flowing stream?
3. How are these words from the Apostle Paul in 1st Thessalonians an encouragement to the Christians in Thessalonica?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-11-12 sermon

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Blessed Are You

Date: November 5, 2017
All Saints Sunday; Year A

richly blessed by God
in good times and in bad times
saints show us the way

Summary:
It is fashionable to speak of being blessed. Jesus does so in today’s Gospel, but he understands it in a unique way. On All Saints Sunday we give thanks for those who have shown us this way, and who have been blessed by God.

Some discussion Questions:
1. When have I been aware of God’s blessing in my own life?
2. What future hope does 1st John 3:1-3 provide for those who have faith in Jesus Christ?
3. According to Revelation 7:9-17, what promise is offered to those who find the life of faith difficult and challenging?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-11-05 sermon

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You Will Be Free, Indeed

Date: October 29, 2017
Reformation Sunday; Year A

if Christ sets you free
then you will be free, indeed
reformation life

Summary:
Reformation Sunday is a chance for us to reflect on our heritage as Lutherans. 500 years into this journey we reflect on how we’ve grown together, and explore how Reformation themes continue to shape our lives today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. From what does my faith, or my relationship with God, free me?
2. According toJeremiah 31:31-34, what new reality is God making possible in my life today?
3. Based on Romans 3:19-28, how can I thank God for loving me and welcoming me unconditionally?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-10-29 sermon

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In Whose Image?

Date: October 22, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 24A

a matter of faith
created in God’s image
giving back to God

Summary:
Leaders from Jerusalem argue with Jesus about coins minted in the Emperor’s image. Jesus challenges them to remember that they are created in God’s image, and are called to honor that with all they say and do.

Some discussion Questions:
1. In my life, what are the things of the Emperor (the government, society, culture…) and what are the things of God?
2. In Isaiah 45:1-7, What role does Cyrus of Persia (576 – 530 bc) end up playing in the history of Ancient Israel?
3. According to 1st Thessalonians 1:1-10, how do the Thessalonians live out their role as a people “called” by God for faithfulness?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-10-22 sermon

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Grace and Faithfulness

Date: October 15, 2017
Liturgical Day: The 19th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 23A

welcomed to the feast
called by Christ to faithfulness
robed to do God’s will

Summary:
The Parable of the Wedding Feast speaks of God’s grace in welcoming outsiders to the table. It also reminds us that guests at the table are responsible to behave in ways that honor the one who has invited them. So the question becomes: how do we honor God with our lives?

Some discussion Questions:
1. What does Jesus mean by disparaging the invited guest who doesn’t wear a wedding robe?
2. When has God been a source of deliverance for me?
3. In considering Philippians 4:1-9, on what would St. Paul have us meditate, to help us continue living as God wishes us to live?

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Christ, the Cornerstone

Date: October 8, 2017
Liturgical Day: The 18th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 22A

the presence of God
a cornerstone for our lives
reflecting the Christ

Summary:
In the first century, some experienced Christ as a stumbling block and some as a cornerstone. The same is true today. May we open our hearts to the life God invites us to know, and may our faith in Christ become a cornerstone for our living.

Some discussion Questions:
1. When have I experienced Jesus as a stumbling block, and when has he been a cornerstone for my living?
2. According to Isaiah 5:1-7, how does God respond, when Israel is not “producing the fruit” they are expected to produceQ?
3. In Philippians 3:4-6, how does Paul compare what he has accomplished to what Christ has accomplished (vs. 7-9)?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-10-08 sermon

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On Faith, and Changing One’s Mind

Date: October 1, 2017
Liturgical Day: The 17th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 21A

an invitation
change your minds and believe him
faithfulness to God

The Parable of the Two Sons; Andrei Moronov (2012)

Summary:
For many people, their embraced faith allows them to believe what they wanted to believe in the first place. But for followers of Jesus, we experience new life when Jesus changes our mind, and sends us in new directions.

Some discussion Questions:
1.Why were the chief priests and the elders of the people reluctant to embrace John and Jesus?
2. According to Philippians 2:1-13, in what ways are my attitudes similar to how Jesus lived in this world?
3. Reflecting on Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, what does the life of a righteous person look like in my time and place?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-10-01 sermon

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“God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday

Date: September 17, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 19A

serving our neighbor
Christ’s church, better together
reflection of Christ

Summary:
From the beginning, Lutherans have had a strong commitment to being caring neighbors to those in need. We will live this out today by serving throughout the community. It is what it means to be Christ’s Church! Better Together!

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why does Jesus direct Peter to forgive for what seems an impossible amount of times?
2. In Romans 14:1-12, what advice does Paul give to Christians who disagree over maters of practice and belief?
3. Reflecting on Genesis 50:15-21, when has something distressing in my life happened, through which God was able to do good?

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A Cross-Shaped Life

Date: September 3, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 17A

following Jesus
loving and serving others
no matter the cost

Christo Crucificado, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1627

Summary:
We, like Peter, can find it hard to understand and embrace a life that has suffering and sacrifice at its core. Yet Jesus declares this is what leads to true life. May we heed his call, and as we give to others may we know his presence.

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why does Jesus refer to Peter (upon whom he promises to build the church) as Satan in this text?
2. In Jeremiah 15, how does the Prophet describe the people of ancient Israel?
3. According to Romans 12, in what circumstances would it be wise if I attempted to “overcome evil with good?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-09-03 sermon

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Who Do You Say that I Am?

Date: August 27, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 16A

Peter’s confession
Messiah and Son of God
a rock-solid faith

Christ’s Charge to Peter, by Rafael (1515-1516)

Summary:
Peter confesses Jesus to be Messiah and Son of the Living God, and Jesus declares that this confession will be the rock-solid foundation of the church. How is our faith, and our capacity to trust in God above all else, a foundation for living?

Some discussion Questions:
1. What does it mean to trust Jesus with all of our heart, even when we find ourselves in the midst of trouble and difficulty?
2. What gifts has God given me? (In Romans 12:1-8, the Apostle mentions ministry, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, compassion…)?
3. What does it entail, in my life, to “pursue righteousness?”

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-08-27 sermon

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