Latest sermons by this teacher

The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 19:1-10
10 mins 10 secs
Views: 14
From the time we are children, we are taught the difference between right and wrong, between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between good guys and bad guys. We have expectations on how teachers and leaders behave and who they hang out with. This week, in our Gospel, Jesus once again turns everything upside down, breaks the accepted conventions and honors a rich tax collector by inviting himself to Zaccheasus’ house. In our Old Testament reading, God also turns things upside down by saying that He is tired of the sacrifices and offerings of Israel and tired of their various purifying fasts and rituals. Instead He says: Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:16-18 Ultimately, it is not our efforts but the redemptive work of God that forgives our sins, makes us acceptable and washes us white as snow. This Sunday at the second service we will share in the joy of the angels as we baptize a new member into the family of God.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 18:1-8
18 mins 4 secs
Views: 15
This week’s Gospel is the parable of the persistent widow who receives justice from an unjust judge and our Old Testament reading is the story of Jacob wrestling with God all night and receiving an out of joint hip, a blessing and a new identity. Our epistle is Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” It is a powerful dose of the value of persistence, but what do unjust judges, wrestling blessings from God and working quickly before it is too late have to do with our relationship with a holy, loving and generous God
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 16:19-31
18 mins 10 secs
Views: 12
Our readings this week continue from last week’s readings. In our Gospel, Jesus is still responding to the Pharisees’ dismay at how he eats and drinks with sinners, with the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. Amos addresses those who think they are comfortably out of reach of the drama and judgement that will befall the rest of God’s people. Paul, writing to Timothy for the sake of a people in the midst of a complex hostile culture, teaches on godliness with contentment and the dangers of the love of money. All of this is relevant to our lives in a place where the cost of living is so high, and the prevailing expectations of our culture don’t leave space for God, family, or contentment.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 16:1-13
19 mins 53 secs
Views: 20
This week, our readings explore the interactions between the Kingdom of God and the world of finances, right in the midst of our personal lives. Paul advises Timothy on how the church should view pagan and unworthy leaders. Jesus tells the story of the dishonest steward which is a difficult parable to understand and apply. Are we to be praised when we are dishonest? Is buying influence justified if it is in the name of eternity? Surely not. Our Old Testament reading in Amos, Jesus’s conclusion, and the Pharisees response all give clues to the meaning of this parable. Jesus says “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Sometimes we don’t notice the ways we negotiate and compromise with our surrounding culture, and sometimes we react out of bitterness and fear towards the world around us, but our readings point to another way to live: in an attitude of love and generosity towards all those God has created, while never forgetting whose servant we are.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 14:25-33
21 mins 7 secs
Views: 41
Summertime is “ordinary time” in the church calendar, but ordinary doesn’t mean boring. Instead, the summer lectionary readings focus on growing in our spiritual maturity, and they are frequently challenging. Our Gospel this week seems a bit like the first hard midterm in a pre-med class… Jesus turns to the large crowds that are following him, and starts issuing challenging & (hopefully) hyperbolic statements including: Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple…Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. But in our Psalm for this Sunday, we also read: Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. Maybe the message [of these readings] is about sticking it out even when it is tough and we don't understand... Fruit in due season implies that we are not meant to be fruitful all the time, but we are grounded in God's Word all the time. Even when we feel dry and our leaves aren't so green, we are still planted by that life sustaining stream. Meditating on the law day and night... even out of season... even when it's hard. Following even when we are being pulled in a thousand different directions, and the demands on our time, money and attention leave us spinning - but being disciplined and consistent, grounded in the knowledge that our God is ultimately and supremely good beyond our ability to comprehend. And who loves us and created us for a purpose, even if we are too worn out to feel it. Being a disciple is not easy. It isn't meant to be. We cannot bear fruit if we don't first go through the growth required to be strong enough to bear fruit... and sometimes it is time to not bear fruit and just be a tree planted by the water preparing for the next season... To be prepared for hard challenges, but know that we don't face them alone... and to be grounded in God's Word so we make wise decisions knowing the season for bearing fruit will come again... To focus on God's Kingdom even when we live in this one… -- Rev Cindy Stansbury with help from Ginny Barry
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 14:7-14
12 mins 2 secs
Views: 23
So much of our lives involve working and striving and competing. In our Gospel reading this week, Jesus is observing the complicated sorting process going on as people sit down to dinner, where social rank determines who sits close to the head of the table. In our lives the jostling and sorting may be less explicit, but it is not absent. Jesus says that we should choose the lower spot & humble ourselves, rather than risk presuming and being corrected. It is another way the kingdom of God turns the affairs of men upside down.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 13:10-17
15 mins 40 secs
Views: 17
Our readings this week all touch on sabbath and worship of God. Sabbath is a concept often lost in this place we live. Like many spiritual disciplines, it is more important than we assume, but also prone to fall into legalism if we miss the spirit and underlying purpose and message of sabbath. This week in our Gospel, Jesus is scolded by for working on the sabbath by healing a woman bent over and crippled. His response is memorable: "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" "When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13: 15-17
Abraham spent years of his life living in hope of a future he couldn’t see. He set out for a unknown land believing it would be his inheritance. He lived as a nomad in that land for many years and believed that it would come to pass as promised. He lived to an old age with a barren wife without an heir, but when God said to him: “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And [Abram] believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6 “Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, … But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:12, 13, 16 We also live our lives in hope of a future we cannot see. We live on this earth, but we also live in the Kingdom of God. We live and work here in this life, but we also anticipate the moment when Christ returns in power and glory: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” … “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Luke 12:32, 40
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 12:13-21
14 mins 57 secs
Views: 35
This week, our readings are on the not so cheerful topic of the impermanence of life and the futility of our life’s work. Here in Silicon Valley, that is a hard message to hear, but of course the good news is that life here is not all there is to our life in Christ. Instead, in Colossians we read, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3 If we focus all of our attention on our success here on earth, we will always ultimately be disappointed, because life here and treasures here do not satisfy, even if we achieve them. Instead, they leave us wanting more or feeling empty. However where our treasure is, there our heart will be also, and it is when our hearts are in Christ that we are rich towards God and truly fulfilled.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 11:1-13
17 mins 54 secs
Views: 36
Prayer is communication with God. It may be full of words, emotions, and pleas. It may be quietly sitting in the presence of God. It may be songs of praise, offerings of thanksgiving, or adoration of the nature and character of our loving and holy God. It may be going out to a lonely place before dawn to find enough space to pray alone, or standing in front of a busy hospital praying for a just-met stranger. Or, in the case of Abraham, it may be audacious negotiating with Almighty God for the sake of Lot, just before the destruction of Sodom. In our Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, and his answer is the Lord’s Prayer which is at the center of our weekly liturgy. Prayer is time with God; and it clarifies our perspective, heals our soul, and refreshes our spirit. Come join us this week for worship in the midst of chaos and for corporate prayer in the midst of the isolation and noise of life in Silicon Valley.