This week in our Gospel reading, the disciples return from their first foray into ministry without Jesus accompanying them, and He calls them to a deserted place to rest with Him. Our Old Testament and Psalm are about the Lord as our shepherd - caring, providing and protecting us. In Ephesians we are reminded: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in His flesh He has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” -Ephesians 2:13-14 “In Him the whole structure [the church] is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in Whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” Ephesians 21-22
How do we react to the voice of truth? In our Old Testament reading, Amazia, the priest of Bethel, tries to discredit and send Amos away to go prophesy somewhere else. In or Gospel, Herod hears of Jesus and is afraid; convinced that this is John the Baptist returned from the dead... What do yo do when you've murdered a prophet? When you've silenced a message from God? How can you hear past your guilt and fear to hear the message of salvation and grace? The Word of God is not something we can hold indefinitely, passively. It is spoken for a reason, has its own agenda and purpose and as we are exposed to it, we are changed by it. Just as in New Testament times, God is in our midst, in spirit and in truth and we respond by receiving or rejecting the Word of God.
Last week, we talked about hope that does not disappoint. This week, we will look at the climates of unbelief that Jesus encountered on his journey to his hometown. How do we create a climate around us that is filled with the glory of God and not unbelief or doubt? Stay tuned for the answer...
This week we are reminded that the Kingdom of God is like … something out of our control. God is the one who reigns in the kingdom of God. We act, but we don’t control outcomes; we may scatter or sow seed, but it is God who makes the plants grow, sometimes into things that are far beyond our expectation, or in places we don’t expect. As Christians, we surrender ourselves to God, and pursue God above all else, even above our own plans, dreams, reputation, and credibility. Come join us this Sunday to see what God is doing in our midst
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 4:35-41
15 mins 25 secs
Views: 262
In our Gospel this Sunday, the disciples are in a boat, in the midst of a storm, and afraid they are about to die, they wake up Jesus and resentfully ask “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” It is interesting that they question not His power, but His character, not His ability, but His willingness to help. But when He stands up, speaks once, and the raging sea listens and obeys, Jesus then asks the disciples, “why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” They are overwhelmed by His power and the implications of that power, but it seems Jesus’ question is addressing theirs and could be paraphrased: “do you know me so little that you thought I would let you die?” How often do we fail to ask God for help because we doubt either His power or His character? How much of our life do we live as if we are out of the reach of God’s power and love?
This week we are reminded that the Kingdom of God is like … something out of our control. God is the one who reigns in the kingdom of God. We act, but we don’t control outcomes; we may scatter or sow seed, but it is God who makes the plants grow, sometimes into things that are far beyond our expectation, or in places we don’t expect. As Christians, we surrender ourselves to God, and pursue God above all else, even above our own plans, dreams, reputation, and credibility. Come join us this Sunday to see what God is doing in our midst
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Mark 3:20-35
13 mins 28 secs
Views: 287
Last week, we learned about the Sabbath and how we might obtain our sabbath rest. This week, we look into the consequences of our sin and how Jesus has saved us for eternal life with Him. As 1 Cor. 4 16-18 says: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 2:23-3:6
16 mins 5 secs
Views: 290
Sometimes, Sabbath as an ongoing spiritual discipline feels like one more obligation, one more constraint to add to overburdened, over-pressured lives. Especially in Silicon Valley where the concept of Sabbath is completely alien. In our Gospel this week, the disciples gather grains of wheat as they walk through a field, and the Pharisees object. Jesus holds out their misplaced priorities to them by making them choose whether it is right to heal on the Sabbath, and they are even more outraged. The rest of our readings gather around this notion of Sabbath, its history and purpose and its limitations. It is clear that God’s purpose in establishing Sabbath was to lift burdens, and free us from slavery, not impose more bondage. However, are we then free as Christians, to spend our time without constraint and without obligation? Come join us this Sunday as we look at how we are called to live eternal lives, neither slaves to time, nor unaccountable free agents.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
15 mins 28 secs
Views: 193
Last week we celebrated Pentecost and the Holy Spirit empowering the disciples and initiating the Church. This week is Trinity Sunday -- our annual tackle of the mystery of our triune God. In particular, this year’s readings look at how we enter into the triune life of God. Psalm 29 ascribes glory and praise to the power of the voice of the Lord as He sits on His throne. Isaiah sees God gloriously seated on a throne and cries out “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” – Isaiah 6:5. In Romans we are reminded to live according to the Spirit because “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:14-16 And in John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” And that “whoever believes in him may have eternal life". "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” -- John 3:15-17
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
John 15:26-27 & John 16:4-15
15 mins 26 secs
Views: 181
This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, when after days of waiting and praying in Jerusalem, as instructed, the disciples experienced the mighty rushing outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate. The clamor of voices praising God was so loud that it drew a crowd, and as Peter preached, all those gathered heard him speak in their own language, their own dialect. It is the beginning of a new era. I frequently refer to us as living in a post-resurrection world, but we are also living in a post-Pentecost world… and nothing will ever be the same.