Sermons on Spiritual Growth

Sermons on Spiritual Growth

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…

People Change, But You Can’t Change Them

As we ready the story of the Apostle Paul’s radical change (conversion), we will reflect on how to best respond when we feel people we love need to change due to the harm they are doing to themselves or others. There is no simple answer and set of instructions, but it involves setting good boundaries, accepting them for exactly who they are, AND seeing them for who they are called to be.

Unbinding Grief, Unbinding Life: Shouting in Windows and Mirrors

Our Lenten Sermon Series, Unbinding Grief, Unbinding Life continues with Pastor Billy’s sermon, Shouting in Windows and Mirrors. Jesus shouts at Lazarus to come forth in John 11:38-53. This is the first time John uses that verb and then he repeats it throughout the passion narrative to contrast Jesus shouting for life and the crowd shouting for death. How can we read the the Bible as both a window and a mirror (also called descriptive/prescriptive reading) and notice ourselves in…

Don’t Look it Up!…Look Up!

What does Wordle have to do with the Gospel? Why are Pharisees like Scrabble? John invites us to resist the temptation to decide what Christ can’t do by looking it up in the Bible. Instead Look up and see Christ loose in the world and imagine what Christ can do.

Keep on Gnawing

In John’s gospel, Jesus tells us repeatedly he is the “bread of life,” but how exactly does that work? This Sunday, Pastor Billy will discuss the great bread chapter of John (chapter 6), Passover, manna, feeding the 5,000, and what Jesus’ invitation to carbo-loaded, full life might mean for us today.

Containing the Uncontainable

In our passage today John uses the symbols of larger stone water jars to invite us to reflect on the structures, rituals, and practices we use to help us find reliable connections to God. Even though we can never contain God, how would you express what you hope to contain when it some to the Spirit? What do you do in your life to give you regular access it?

Invitational Faith in a Religiously Plural World

John is clearly calling us to an invitational faith. To follow Jesus means to invite others to follow Jesus. Yet, we can struggle with this calling when we believe other faith traditions are equally valid to our own. We also know as individuals we are not any better than anyone else. So what can John teach us about sharing our faith today? Come and see.

Speaking Hope on Behalf of the Next Generation

God invited Ezekiel to participate in raising the dead in the valley of dry bones. The bones did not have to do anything to be worthy of resurrection. But Ezekiel was called, as we are, to speak love, truth, and hope on their behalf. This is also what we do when we baptize a baby.

For All the Ways We Live in Exile: A Hard and Hopeful Message

Jeremiah’s message to the Israelites in exile in Babylon is complicated, hopeful, and hard. He calls for acceptance and resistance. He calls us to the hard work of externalizing home in unhappy places. In response to the forces that keep pulling us apart, he calls on us to keep reaching back to each other and remaking home.
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