Sermons by Shawn Reese

Sermons by Shawn Reese

The Ugliness of Religion

John 11:45-57 This week we see the fallout of the raising of Lazarus, and it is not good. The Religious Authorities meet to decide the fate of Jesus. And what we see are defining characteristics of “religion,” and they are ugly: a desire for power, a desire for control and a desire to exalt self. John interprets the response of the Religious Authorities by pointing us in the right direction, we are not children of religion, rather we are “children of God.” Over against the ugliness of religion, we are invited into a beautiful relationship of love as children of a good, good father.

From Death to Life

John 11:1-44 This week we come to the climactic deed of Jesus’ ministry. We’ve seen Jesus stand before plain water, then turn it into wine. We’ve seen Jesus stand before lameness and blindness, then heal a lame man and a blind man. We’ve seen Jesus stand before thousands of hungry people with five loaves and two fish, then multiply the loaves and fish to feed all of them. Throughout the Gospel of John, he has shown his authority over all of creation. Now he stands before death and says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” He then calls a dead man out of the grave, and the dead man actually walks out. Come Sunday as we explore this astonishing text.

The Sheep of His Pasture

John 10:19-42 In John 10, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” Throughout the chapter, he also says repeatedly that his sheep hear his voice in order to know him and follow him (v 27). But, is it really possible to hear Jesus’ voice today? For the first group of disciples, it was obviously possible. They literally heard his voice, and they literally followed Him down the road. But, is it possible for us today? Come this Sunday as we finish the Good Shepherd discourse by focusing on hearing Jesus’ voice.

The Good Shepherd

John 10:1-18 It is amazing how the language of shepherd and sheep still connects across cultures and across generations. Even in the hyper-high-tech world of California, the image of shepherd and sheep has not lost its captivating power. This Sunday we will continue our studies in John where Jesus claims, “I am the good shepherd.” He then explores the relationship he has, as the good shepherd, with his sheep. Join us as we study this famous discourse and appropriately respond by taking communion together as his sheep.

From Darkness to Light

John 9:1-41 This week we enter back into the Gospel of John in chapter 9 with the healing of the blind man.  In one of the most brilliantly told narratives in all of Scripture, Jesus reveals what it means that he is the light of the world.  Not only does he shine his light into physical darkness but also into spiritual darkness.  Not only will this blind man see physically, but even more importantly, he will see spiritually.  The eyes of his heart will be opened to clearly see who Jesus is.  So, how are your eyes?  Have they been touched by the grace and truth of Jesus?

A Whole New World

Luke 24:13-35 He has risen! … He has risen indeed! Just like that song in Disney’s Aladdin, when Jesus rose from the dead, he ushered in “A Whole New World.” As we explore the Emmaus Road scene for Easter this Sunday, we will reflect upon the characteristics of this whole new world that Jesus has brought with his resurrection. Note that this Sunday will be a communion Sunday, and as is PBCC tradition, we will have testimonies from our body at the end of each service.

I AM

John 8:21-58 Although this week is Palm Sunday, we will stay in the Gospel of John, chapter 8 this week.  And, we come to holy ground.  As Moses took off his shoes when he stood on holy ground, so should we as we enter this text.  Jesus has already claimed to be the giver of living water and claimed to be the light of the world.  In this text, he claims to be the great I AM – during the Feast of Tabernacles!  Come this Sunday as we explore the background to this great claim as well as the implications of this great claim.

The Light of the World

John 8:12-20 The Feast of Tabernacles is now over.  After a week of joyful festivities, including the morning water drawing ceremony and the evening lighting ceremony, the focus now shifts to the following day.  Jesus has just poured a shower of grace and mercy over a woman caught in adultery.  Presumably that evening, where the lights of the Temple had been ablaze each night of the previous week, Jesus makes another great claim, “I am the light of the world.”  Into that dark night and into this dark world, Jesus says he is the light.  Come and join us this Sunday as we explore this extraordinary claim.

I Do NOT Condemn You

John 7:53-8:11 Last week we heard Jesus’ invitation to come and drink his living water. This week, we get an example of how this living water washes over someone. The religious leaders bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to have him pronounce his verdict on her. What will he do? Will he condemn her to death or will he let her go free? Join us this Sunday as we explore this ugly-turned-beautiful scene.

Come and Drink

John 7:25-52 We enter back into our studies in John this week in the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles. As we explore the details of this feast, we continue to see conflict and division over the identity of Jesus. The authorities even send officers to arrest Jesus. And, on the last day of the feast, above the joyous crowd celebrating the feast, Jesus shouts his great invitation, “If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! And, if you do, out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water!” It’s a stunning and remarkable invitation, which is why those officers come back without arresting Jesus. And why? In their words, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” Indeed, no one has ever spoken like Jesus did.

Is He Good?

John 7:1-24 This Sunday we enter back into the amazing Gospel of John. Over the next five weeks, we will explore chapters 7 and 8, the very heart of the book. Hostility and conflict surrounding the identity of Jesus characterize almost every scene in these two chapters. The instant pot is building pressure. Who is he anyway? Is Jesus “a good man,” meaning is he really connected to God, the source of all goodness (John 7:12)? Or is he an imposter? These two chapters invite us to decide for ourselves, and a lot hangs in the balance.

Blessed are the Pure in Heart: Simeon and Anna

Matthew 5:8, Luke 2:22-40 This Sunday is our last Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday before Christmas!  Advent is a time of waiting, of longing, of hoping.  What do you find yourself longing for this week before Christmas?  Perhaps it is gifts?  Perhaps it is a vaccine?  Perhaps it is a return to the ordinary?  Whatever it is, we all know that waiting is difficult.  Especially in a culture expecting instant gratification, waiting is not fun.  In our text this week, we meet Simeon and Anna who are waiting, waiting for God to bring salvation and redemption.  But, more importantly, these two characters, who demonstrate a purity of heart, show us how to wait well.  Are you waiting well this Advent season?