In the 10th chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd. He is to those who believe in him like a shepherd to his sheep. He knows them by name, and they recognize his voice and follow him and only him. For those who want to follow Jesus in this time when we’re bombarded with many different, often strident voices, how do we distinguish the voice we want to follow? And do we trust him enough to follow with the obedience of sheep? (This recording begins with dialogue from the film “The Gospel of John.”)
February 28. 2016
In this morning’s segment of John’s dramatic narrative, Jesus encounters a man who was born without sight. When Jesus opens his eyes, many other things get opened as well — his life, his witness … and a lot of questions that open conversations. Will they open us as well? And what will we see?
As we continue reading through John’s Gospel, we come to yet another section marked by increasing confusion and controversy. Not only are people torn and divided about what they believe about Jesus; they’re also torn and divided about what he offers and invites them to. Some are drawn by his invitation to have their deepest needs met. Some are insulted and resent the implication that they are needy. What about us? How needy are we? How un-free are we? Can we hear Jesus’ words to us as the truth that sets us really free?
As we continue reading through John’s gospel, we come to a story in which Jesus again stands against the clear, established Jewish law. The authorities bring to him a woman who has been caught “in the very act of committing adultery.” What, they want to know, does Jesus think should be done with her? People have their stones in hand, ready to punish her according to the law. But when Jesus invites any one of them who’s never sinned to throw the first stone, it puts the whole situation in a different light.
We conclude our three-week look at what it means to live as a follower of Jesus in a world that doesn’t follow him. In this message, we narrow our focus down to a very particular relationship between the church and the world – in this case, the world of Islam. Without succumbing to fear and hostility or to easy answers, we’ll look at the top ten ways Christians are called to be as we reach out and engage with Muslims.
We continue a three-week look at what it means to live as a follower of Jesus in a world that doesn’t follow him. How, in Jesus’ words, do we live “in but not of” the world? Last week we looked at the concept of “boundaries” and the image of “resident aliens” as possible ways to help us visualize how we might begin to do that. Today, we’ll explore the challenges and clashes that can happen at the boundary between church and world. Respecting that there are, in fact, boundaries and borders between the church and the world, we’ll look at what happens in real life when (a) the church goes on mission into the world and when (b) the world comes into the church. Border crossings can be exciting and life-changing, but they also can be dangerous and life-threatening.
We begin a three-week look at what it means to live as a follower of Jesus in a world that doesn’t follow him. How do we understand ourselves and handle ourselves as a group of Jesus-shaped people? How do we relate to our surrounding culture and society? How, in Jesus’ words, do we live in, but not “of” the world? Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore different concepts (especially “boundaries”) and different biblical images that can help guide our thinking (Salt, Light, Yeast, Flock, Exiles, City of God, and Resident Aliens).
The apostle Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is God’s power for salvation.” Today, as we recall the Reformation that began with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on indulgences, we celebrate the power of the Gospel – God’s message of good news – and we give our attention to how that message opens us into resurrected lives in Jesus Christ.
We continue our summer message series on finding abundant life by considering the topic of contentment. Why do so many of us feel stuck with feelings of if only and what if? Why does achievement fail to bring us lasting joy? Why, with all of our modern conveniences, do we feel so discontent? We consider these questions, and explore God’s fuller, better, more lasting intentions for us. Rachel Quest, our Ministry Coordinator, brings the message.
We begin a message series on finding the abundant life that’s God’s will for us and God’s gift to us. It may seem strange, but we’re going to begin with Finding Rest. We’ll consider the much-neglected commandment about taking time for Sabbath rest. How can we find rest in an era of full-to-bursting schedules, overwork, and highly scheduled leisure time? Where is God – and where is God’s desire for us – in all of this?