Sermons from 2021
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.
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.
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.
This Sunday is Freedom Sunday where we are joining with over 1500 churches around the world to deepen our understanding for God’s heart for justice and renew our commitment to fight modern day slavery around the world. In our text, Isaiah exposes the hypocrisy that so often plagues the people of God that prevents us from experiencing his presence and then he entices us with the indescribable joy that opens up to us when we enter into God’s work of justice. It’s not as difficult as you might think!
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.
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?
Mark 8:22-26 When do people start looking like trees? When Jesus isn’t finished working on you. This Sunday, we will be taking a look at one of the most unusual miracles Jesus ever performed during His earthly ministry — a miracle that reminds us that He isn’t finished with us, that there is more to see, and that He can open our eyes in ways no one else can. “Jesus, the Great…Ophthalmologist?” (or “Is Your Vision 2020?”)
Dan 7 Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a 4-part statue, which Daniel interpreted for him as four kingdoms (Daniel 2). In its counterpart chapter (7), Daniel has a dream of four beasts which are interpreted as four kings. He also sees one like a son of man receive eternal dominion from the Ancient of Days. What are these kings and kingdoms? What is the relationship between the beastly empires and the human kingdom? Can they coexist?
Dan 6 A large empire requires a large imperial bureaucracy. Daniel flourished in this system and rose to the very top because of his excellence. But both King Darius and Daniel get caught in a bureaucratic nightmare, trapped by a law which cannot be repealed. By this law Daniel must be fed to the king’s hungry lions even though he is the king’s loyal subject. We all know the outcome because the story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den is one of the best-known in the Bible. But why is this story in the Book of Daniel? Can we put ourselves back in the story and feel the tension as Daniel dared to stand alone against the king and his officials? Please read Daniel 6 in preparation for Sunday.
Dan 5 After four chapters about Nebuchadnezzar the Great, the first Babylonian king of the Jewish exile, Daniel moves on to Belshazzar, the last king. As the king was enjoying a great feast, disembodied fingers wrote a message on the wall. One person’s graffiti is another’s art, as shown by the world-famous graffiti artist, Banksy. In this case, God’s graffiti is a prophetic message to the king: your days are numbered; you’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting. These are now common sayings. Why was the writing on the wall for Belshazzar?
Luke 15:11-32 “There was a man who had two sons…” This is the opening line of what some have called the greatest short story ever written. In it, Jesus describes God as a Father like never before. Our internal picture of God as Father can be shaped and affected by so many different experiences in our lives, but Scripture and Scripture alone should paint that portrait. This Sunday, we’ll listen as Jesus, the One who knows the Father better than anyone else, describes God as a Father. We’ll meet the Father as He wants to be known, the Father as He truly is, and we’ll seek to answer the question: Is this the Father I know?