The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 3:15-17 & Luke 3:21-22
19 mins 12 secs
Views: 43
The ministry of John the Baptist was so impressive that the gathering crowds wondered if he might be the Messiah, but all the Gospel writers are careful to frame his ministry to keep the focus on Jesus. In our Gospel this week we read: “John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming “I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16 As Christians we are baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and implicit in that is receiving this baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. And then we have the privilege of living the rest of our lives , both here and in eternity, in the presence of that transforming love.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:1-13
14 mins 47 secs
Views: 29
This week is the first week of Lent and our readings are amazing. There are themes of salvation, protection, trust, provision, gratitude, tithing, proclaiming, fasting, and victory over temptation. Our Gospel quotes our Old Testament reading, and our Epistle quotes our Psalm for the week. I encourage you to read through them before Sunday and let them soak into your heart and mind. And may this first week of Lent draw you closer to God; deeper in your understanding, and more aware of your dependence on His mercy and care.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:14-21
16 mins 22 secs
Views: 51
We do not like limits and laws. Our culture (and Disney) tells us that we can grow up to be and do whatever we want if we hold to our dreams. So we want all the good parts in the story we inhabit. We desire the highest positions, the best toys, the best spiritual gifts, the leading roles… but a roomful of Elsas is not how the story works; and a roomful of people jostling for the same gifts and position of leadership is not how the Body of Christ works. Instead, we are parts of a body, interdependent, distinct, and necessary. Likewise, our culture tells us that God’s law is out of date, restrictive, even hateful. But that is not how our scriptures this week describe the law. Instead it is a beautiful and glorious thing; perfect, reviving the soul, rejoicing the heart, and enlightening the eyes. It is in the hope of right application of the law, that the psalmist cries out those familiar words “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord my rock and my redeemer.” But even this law -this beautiful gift- is insufficient for us who are unwilling or unable to follow it. So, the Word of God made flesh is our salvation, and it is in Jesus, in whom that word, that law, and that promise is fulfilled… in our lives, in our church and in the world.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:21-30
14 mins 34 secs
Views: 70
This week, we continue on in Luke following Jesus' return to His hometown after a year away traveling and teaching his disciples. (Luke 4:21-30) At first, it seems that the people are pleased to hear from Jesus. Verse 22 tells us, “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” The amazement doesn’t last long though, this is the hometown crowd, and they have grown up with him. Can you just imagine the eyebrows lifting as they turn to each other and say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?" Jesus, hearing their reaction, says to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum. I tell you the truth; no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.” Strong words for this Jewish, hometown, audience. These words made the people furious and they tried to take Jesus by force to the top of a hill nearby to throw him off, but He walked right through the crowd and went on his way. His time had not yet come. How do you see Jesus? Who is He to you? How do you react when convicted of your sin?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 5:1-11
19 mins 9 secs
Views: 69
Some of us become Christians in quiet gradual ways, and many enter into various ministries in response to nudges from the Holy Spirit or reasonable alignment of skills and talents. However, our readings this week are about more dramatic moments of calling. Isaiah is so overwhelmed with an image of God’s glory and an understanding of his purpose, that he offers his life and voice to that mission. That decision shapes and defines the rest of his life; and that prophetic voice shapes the life of Israel and still speaks to us today. Peter is so overwhelmed by Jesus that he falls at his knees and answers Jesus’ call to become a fisher of men. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he calls them back from their spiritual ambitions to the core of the Gospel, and reminds them that Jesus called each of the disciples, apostles, and even Paul himself to carry on the mission of God. Our calling does not set us apart or above one another, but instead, God calls us uniquely and individually into a shared life and a common mission. How have you experienced God’s call? What ministry is He calling you into?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 6:17-26
16 mins 45 secs
Views: 48
Some of us become Christians in quiet gradual ways, and many enter into various ministries in response to nudges from the Holy Spirit or reasonable alignment of skills and talents. However, our readings this week are about more dramatic moments of calling. Isaiah is so overwhelmed with an image of God’s glory and an understanding of his purpose, that he offers his life and voice to that mission. That decision shapes and defines the rest of his life; and that prophetic voice shapes the life of Israel and still speaks to us today. Peter is so overwhelmed by Jesus that he falls at his knees and answers Jesus’ call to become a fisher of men. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he calls them back from their spiritual ambitions to the core of the Gospel, and reminds them that Jesus called each of the disciples, apostles, and even Paul himself to carry on the mission of God. Our calling does not set us apart or above one another, but instead, God calls us uniquely and individually into a shared life and a common mission. How have you experienced God’s call? What ministry is He calling you into?
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 6:27-38
14 mins 40 secs
Views: 85
Last week in the Gospel of Luke, just after choosing the 12 disciples, Jesus began to teach them how to be apostles. In the Gospel for this Sunday we continue on to the second part of this teaching in Luke chapter 6:27-38. Our reading is part of what is called "Luke's sermon on the Plain", which parallels Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Remember that the Beatitudes go deeper than material poverty and physical hunger, Jesus is telling them --and us-- that we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and be poor in spirit. The verses following the Beatitudes are a point-by-point negative counterpart to the blessings described. But now Jesus' teaching takes a more personal turn as He describes how they --and we-- must love our enemies and not judge others. Here is a sample of what we will hear on Sunday: "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return." How can we ever measure up to Jesus' standards? Well the answer is we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit. But thanks be to God! He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 8:26-39
13 mins 11 secs
Views: 114
Ever have one of those days when everyone around you seems to turn their back on you, ignore you or even worse, act like you don't exist? Well, in our readings for Sunday, God seems to be having one of those days with Israel. God responds to Isaiah's prayer asking for divine deliverance by saying, "I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig's flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." In other words, where were you Israel when I was ready and waiting for you? But what comes next is very scary for Israel, because God now lets them know how angry he is with them. " These (things that you did) are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. Behold, it is written before me: “I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their lap both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together, says the Lord; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their lap payment for their former deeds.” So Israel, be prepared because judgment is coming. But, and this is a big but, God also acknowledges that there will be a righteous remnant left that is worth saving. Thus He declares, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there." This will be a long time coming, but in Jesus we are restored as Abraham's offspring, and heirs according the promise. In Galatians, Paul reminds us, "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus and heirs through hope of His everlasting covenant." Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 9:29-36
14 mins 51 secs
Views: 27
What does the glory of God look like on a human face? When Moses went up to the mountain to speak with God, he came down with a face that was glowing with the reflected glory of God. It gave credence to his claim to be speaking God’s commands, but it was so frightening that he veiled his face. Jesus took three of his disciples up a mountain to pray, and his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white with the glory of God present in Jesus. Peter is so stunned, he makes random suggestions about building booths. The disciples are given a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. And we, who live post-ascension, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, should be transformed by gazing on the glory of the Lord.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 9:51-62
14 mins 17 secs
Views: 45
This week, our readings are about following God into his mission --even when it is inconvenient, difficult or at odds with our plans. The Samaritan village doesn’t want to receive Jesus because his face is set for Jerusalem; they don’t like where he is going. Elijah throws his mantle on Elisha while he is plowing and watches to see his reaction to this call. Others want to follow Jesus, but on their own terms, in their own time. But when we choose to follow Christ, we choose to live by the Spirit and also to be guided by the Spirit into the ministry and mission to which God has called us.