Sermon 2 for 9/2/2018: Ask-the-Pastor - On Contentment and Wanting Worship to Matter

Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9, Psalm 15, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 20-23

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Jesus tells us to beware when piety gets in the way of fulfilling the heart of the law: loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. He warns us to beware when our piety separates us from others, for then it is also separating us from God.
— Elizabeth Johnson on workingpreacher.org

I relied heavily on commentary from Elizabeth Johnson in the sermon.  Her article for preachers can be found here: Commentary from Working Preacher.

Sermon 1 for 9/2/2018: Ask-the-Pastor on Reading the Bible

Deuteronomy 4:1-2 and 6-9, Psalm 15, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.
— Martin Luther

Sermon Notes

Some years ago, our denomination began an initiative called The Book of Faith to enliven Lutherans with resources to get back to reading Scripture. They wanted to empower us all to have direct encounter with The Word.  They wanted to cultivate biblical literacy.  David Lose did a series we studied here at church called Making Sense of Scripture.  From this curriculum, I use the metaphor of reading scripture as darts vs. chains.  So I thank this initiative for giving me such a helpful tool in teaching people how to put the grace of God made known as Jesus Christ as the primary lens we to focus on the Word.  Find out more at bookoffaith.org.

Ask-the-Pastor: The Heavy Burden of Relationships

Zechariah 9:9-12, Psalm 145:8-14, and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

THE FIRST SERVICE THAT ONE OWES TO OTHERS IN THE FELLOWSHIP CONSISTS OF LISTENING TO THEM. JUST AS LOVE OF GOD BEGINS WITH LISTENING TO HIS WORD, SO THE BEGINNING OF LOVE FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IS LEARNING TO LISTEN TO THEM.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

Sermon Notes

The story I told about Thistle Farms comes from this easy to read and lovely meditation by Becca Stevens -- The Way of Tea and Justice.  Check it out and order here.  Also check out their full work in Nashville too:

Ask-the-Pastor: Institutional Church and Spiritual Orphans -- May 21, 2017

1 Peter 3:13-20, Psalm 66:8-20, John 14:15-21

Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it has sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

References to Dietrich Bonhoeffer come from (public library and reference).