December 5th 2017
Do Not Be Afraid: Zechariah's Story   Have you ever felt like you missed some great opportunity in life and had to let go of those dreams?  If so, then you may be in just the right place for God to surprise you with what he has next in store.  But remaining open may take some confidence, courage, and strength to overcome the fear that often accompanies stepping out into new territory.  The priest, Zechariah, certainly must have fe
November 27th 2017
A common belief among American Christians today is that if we are just good moral people, we can feel good about ourselves and keep God (who is largely uninvolved with our day to day lives) off our backs.  The problem is that it steers us toward the unending tread mill of feeling like we need to do more, more, more.  In other words, If we just pray more, serve more, give more, read our bibles more, etc. more, then we will earn our favor with God and our way to
November 20th 2017
It is interesting how our American culture values Thanksgiving as a holiday, but has largely forgotten the one to whom or why we even give them thanks. The Bible is very clear that we give thanks to the Lord because of his goodness and his love that never ends. We give thanks to the Lord simply because he is God and worthy of our praise. We give thanks to the Lord for the many ways he has blessed us for food, shelter, careers, loving relationships, etc.  We give tha
November 13th 2017
A New Name Names are incredibly powerful. To name someone means: you know something about their character; you know something about them; or you have authority over them. Sometimes names can bless, while other times they can harm. In the Bible, God often renames people as a way to identify how God plans to use them in the future. Jesus renamed Simon son of John, Peter, which means "rock". At Jesus' baptism, God renamed Jesus "his beloved Son whom he loves and in who
November 7th 2017
The Bible tells us that sometimes God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise... like when Jesus healed a blind man by spitting on the ground and putting mud in his eyes.  Jesus'  followers assumed that this man was born blind because of sin whereas Jesus said it was so that God's power might be displayed through his life.  The truth is that Jesus saw this man as loved by God and worthy of his time, energy, and attention. Everyone els
October 30th 2017
Jesus had a way of being with people that allowed them to be themselves and share their stories with him.  It was in this sharing that his healing touch had huge impacts.  Indeed, probably one of the most important missional activities that we can do as a Church is to create spaces where people can share life and stories together.  In today's scripture story, Jesus healed a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  But her healing
October 23rd 2017
Our country seems so divided along political lines that we can sometimes dehumanize those who believe or think differently than we do.  Sadly we can forget that every human has been created with the very image of God imprinted upon their souls. A step toward the dangerous act of loving our neighbor requires us to remember this foundational truth. Then and only then can we begin to see them as God sees them.  The truth is that God looks at peop
October 16th 2017
Let's admit it..we all look at the world through distorted lenses. Right? The truth is that our sinfulness often clouds our vision of others and we make judgements about them without having the full picture.  God alone has the right to judge.  Right?   This week, Phil Hickok looks at the story of the woman who scandalously "wasted" precious oil by anointing Jesus' feet. She was judged.  She was objectified.  And she was see
October 9th 2017
Obviously gun control is a hot bed topic today with the violence in Las Vegas last week.  It has been interesting, amidst the liberal and conservative shouting's, that no one has asked, "So what does Jesus have to say about the issue?"  So that is what we did today, heard from Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew as his disciples brandished swords to protect themselves as Jesus was arrested. What?  Jesus' disciples had weapons!  What do w
October 5th 2017
Can you imagine the fear and excitement that Zacchaeus the tax collector must have felt when he heard Jesus call him down from the tree? He was just trying to get a glimpse of the man who had said "Blessed are they who do what is right, for they shall be filled".  Zacchaeus was empty.  He had cheated, stolen, and swindled his own people of hard earned tax money that he had collected for the Roman Government.  Can you also imagine the disdain