Sermons by Shawn Reese
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?
John 6:41-71 We finish Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse this week. Jesus goes deeper into what it means to keep coming and keep believing in him. His language is arresting as he talks about ingesting his flesh and blood. The shocking language offends many of his disciples, causing them to turn away. Yet the language he uses speaks to us taking his life into ours so that his life becomes our life, that we may abide with each other and share life together. What an incredible invitation to us – the living God wants to share life with us! And, of course, this text looks forward to our identifying feast, communion. Although it is not the first Sunday of the month, we will take communion together at the end of the service. For those of you at home, I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus (the elements do not need to be special). For those of you at our live parking lot service, we will serve pre-packaged elements to you.
John 6:22-40 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” It sure is a strange way to talk about yourself, isn’t it? I am bread? I could understand if he would have said maker of bread, or baker of bread or giver of bread. But, I am bread? A person is bread? Really? No one ever spoke like this! Come this Sunday as we explore this famous saying by Jesus.
John 6:1-21 As we come to John 6 this week, we are confronted again with our view of God. Jesus goes back to Galilee during Passover, where he finds a great crowd following him. He has compassion on the crowd and feeds them using a small lunch, then collects 12 baskets of leftovers. Jesus seems to be connected to a world of great abundance. Are you connected to this world? Is the God you serve a God of abundance or scarcity? Join us in person for Mornings Together or on our live stream as we explore this well-known text. Communion At the end of Sunday’s service we will again take communion “together.” For those of you at home, I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus (the elements do not need to be special). For those of you at Mornings Together, we will serve pre-packaged elements to you.
John 5:31-47 The Jewish Authorities have begun prosecuting Jesus on charges of blasphemy because he is “making himself equal with God” (5:18). In turn, Jesus has entered his defense. He and His Father are working together in dependent unity. Some of this work includes giving life and pronouncing judgment, quite audacious claims for any human to make. As you can imagine, everyone standing there would be asking Jesus for evidence for these audacious claims. Knowing this, Jesus now calls to the stand three witnesses for his defense, but also offers a closing argument rebuking these authorities. In the end, we must give our verdict. Will we pronounce Jesus innocent or guilty?
John 5:19-30 After healing the lame man in John 5:1-18, the Jewish authorities begin to bring formal charges against Jesus because he is “making himself equal with God” (5:18). In our extraordinary text this week, Jesus begins his defense of his actions. This is Jesus’ longest exposition on his relationship to his Father, including the authority that his Father has given him to bestow life and render judgment. The culmination of these verses is the Gospel where Jesus invites all people to believe in him and move from death to life, a movement that can happen right now. In these breath-taking verses, Jesus makes himself the core decision for all people for all time. So, what will you do with him?
John 5:1-18 We begin a new section in the Gospel of John this week. In these middle chapters of John, by what Jesus says and does, he sets himself apart from any other person who has ever lived. To begin, he heals a man who was lame for 38 years. Before he heals him, though, he asks him a curious question: Do you want to get well? Instead of answering the question, the man seemingly responds with complaints and excuses. It’s a good question for us to consider. Do we want to get well? Jesus, God with us, stands at the door and knocks, and offers us living water. Do we really want to get well?
John 4:43-54 At the end of his Gospel, John tells us that he has written his masterpiece so that ““you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). In these early chapters of John, we have seen several people come to genuinely believe in Jesus. His mother and disciples in chapter 2 and the Samaritan woman and the Samaritan townspeople in chapter 4. This week, we see Jesus, the Word, speak but a word (actually 5 words) to a desperate father, and the question is – will this man genuinely believe Jesus’ words or not? Join our livestream this week as we explore what genuine faith in Jesus, the Word, looks like. Communion At the end of Sunday’s service we will again take communion “together” while apart. I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus (the elements do not need to be special). If you attend Mornings Together, we will serve pre-packaged elements to you.
John 4:27-45 “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Is 52:7). Evangelism. Sometimes we hear that word and immediately we cringe. Unfortunately the word is heard negatively these days. But, we shouldn’t cringe with this word, for evangelizing is simply “good-news-izing,” telling people in word and deed the amazingly wonderful good news of Jesus. This is exactly what the woman at the well did. She met Jesus, was loved by him, then turned around and loved her neighbors by sharing the amazingly wonderful good news. What can we learn about this essential element of our faith from this woman at the well who became a well? Join our live-stream this Sunday to complete our studies in this profound scene.
John 4:19-26 This Sunday we will enter back into John, and enter back into the Samaritan woman at the well scene. Near the end of the conversation with Jesus, the woman asks about worship. Jesus has just told the woman her story, exposing the skeletons in her closet. He does this not to shame her but to show her that he loves her regardless of her skeletons. This causes the woman to want to worship. Jesus then explains what authentic worship in spirit and truth means. Since we are designed to worship, this text is fundamental to what it means to be human. Join the live-stream this Sunday to explore this important theme.
Philippians 2:5-11 We continue our studies this Sunday in the book of Philippians. And, we come to holy ground. In this text, known as a hymn to Christ, we find a different kind of God. Into a world where “gods” are expected to use absolute power, power to advance themselves and power to exploit others, we find these extraordinary words. Here, we find a God who seeks to not advantage himself, but to humble himself in obedient servanthood. This God becomes defined by a cradle, a cloth (John 13) and a cross, giving himself away in self-giving love. And what are we to do with this good news? Paul invites us to model this kind of love to a desperate and hurting world.
John 4:1-26 This week we come to one of John’s famous passages, where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. She is an outcast, Samaritan and woman. He is a rabbi (even God), Jew and man. Throughout their conversation, we find that she is empty, her water pot symbolizing her emptiness. In the same way she needs to continually fill her water pot with water, she is continually filling her life with relationships that ultimately do not satisfy. And, what does Jesus do? He jumps over every single dividing wall between him and her to love her, then offers her living water that will satisfy her deepest thirsts. “Come and see” this life-giving text via live-stream this Sunday.