Sermons on Spiritual Growth
“To Sin or Not to Sin?”…that is the question
What is sin? What does it mean to be “free from sin?” While God does indeed cover us with grace, it does not give us permission to embrace sin (however we define it). Yet, are we inherently sinful by nature? Oh, the confusion! Join us as Minister Lea Gilmore reflects upon this complex passage which scholars spend a lifetime trying to understand. – Sermon from May 21, 2023
Who is Jesus Really Criticizing Here?
Traditional interpretations of the Parable of the Wedding Banquet are anti-Semitic and inconsistent with the biblical text. Those who mistreat the king’s messengers are not “the Jews.” They are members of the religious establishment who conspire with political powers to enrich themselves and advance their own power at the expense of others. Then there is the matter of the guest with no robe. Who is that? It might just be us.
Filled With What?
In Matthew’s beatitudes, Jesus proclaims that the hungry will be filled. But what will they be filled with? Is Jesus talking about a spiritual or metaphorical hunger? Matthew’s beatitudes are often read as a more spiritualized list of blessings, compared to their blessing counterparts in the Gospel of Luke, but a closer reading shows Jesus’ literal and practical meaning. The Kingdom of God is defined by actions of literal feeding, eating, and rejoicing. Thanks be to God!
Celebrating and Transforming Heritage
As we celebrate Heritage Sunday at Govans, Pastor Tom will reflect on how Isaiah envisions a day when we stand before the mountain of God as nations. Isaiah’s vision is not of individuals coming before God, but groups of people with the ethnic, cultural and even national diversity intact. Yet, Isaiah does not stop there and calls on those gathered nations to transform the harmful parts of their heritage into something new as they beat their swords into ploughshares.
Are You With Them?
Are we saints? How can we be sure? Is that even the right question to ask? We explore what it might mean to be model Christians as we discuss the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke. – Pastor Billy’s sermon from November 6, 2022
Stewardships of Virtue and Goodness
We often think about being stewards of material things like money, stuff, or the earth. We also think about being stewards of our time and talent. But, can we also be stewards of goodness and virtue? Pastor Tom uses David’s prayer of repentance as a jumping off point to explore this question.
The Ten Commandments Explained by the Animals
How would the animals explain the Ten Commandments to humans? It seems like humans don’t do a great job following the commandments, so maybe we need to hear them from a different perspective.
Doing Hard Things Together Through Faith
The Crossing of the Red Sea is an archetypal story of communal rebirth. It is a story of a people acting on faith together and being transformed as a result. We can draw strength from this story as we face challenges that we haven’t chosen. We can also be inspired to choose to do hard things together so that we are stronger as a community when larger challenges arrive.
100% Responsibility: What It Is and What It Is Not
In our story today, Joseph is faced with almost impossible choices. He has no good options. Yet, in each situation he makes the best choice he can. Each time he takes 100% responsibility for his decisions, never blaming the unfairness of the situation. What does it mean for us to take 100% responsibility for our choices? And just as important, what does it not mean?
Leading Like a Christian: Claiming a Gospel Vision
How do we lead as Christians in this moment of tumult and transition? Pastor Billy will begin a five-part series on Christian leadership this Sunday to complement Pastor Tom’s summer series on critical social justice concerns. Throughout this series, we’ll use the books of Ezra and Nehemiah from the Hebrew Bible as guides for how we can be faithful leaders in this moment. This Sunday, Pastor Billy will preach on Ezra 1 and 3. You’re invited to read through both…
Living Like the Philippians Dignity, Not Domination
In chapter two of Philippians, Paul and Timothy cite an ancient hymn or poem about Jesus, highlighting Jesus’ humility and obedience (2:5-11). Examining the original language of the hymn, however, allows us to better understand the political context and meaning of the passage; together, we wrestle with the political imagery Paul is invoking. – Pastor Billy’s Sermon from May 29, 2022
The Dangers of Idolatry and How to Avoid Them
Idolatry may sound like an old- fashioned word, but helping people avoid it is one the Bible’s core teachings. Pastor Tom offers an unflinching review of the ways we tend to exchange an unmediated relationship with the indefinable Creator God for relationships with people and things. After looking at how our personal lives and our religious lives tend toward idolatry, he then offers ways we can approach our religious practice that help us avoid the trap of idolatry. – Pastor…