Showing posts from April, 2015

Risen Week 4 - "Cornerstone"

This week we are concluding the sermon series that we've been working on for the past several weeks--a sermon series entitled, "Risen."  We've been struggling with an important question each week during this series--a question that anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ needs to be answering on a daily basis.  Here's the question:  "Jesus is risen... now what?"  Do we celebrate Easter as a one off event, and then just go back to business as usual for the rest of the year?  Or is there something more?   What does it mean that Jesus is risen?  What does it mean for you and me? For the church?  For all of Creation? This has been at the heart of our study for the past month--a study that we're going to conclude today.   I'm actually going to go directly to our text this morning.  So if you have your Bibles, go ahead and open them to Acts 4:5-12.  This story is actually the continuation of the story we explored last week.   Peter

Risen: Week 3 - "Why Are You Surprised?"

This week we'll be continuing our sermon series for the season of Easter, a series entitled "Risen."   The question that we've been struggling with over the course of this series is a challenging one.   Easter Sunday came and went.  Now what do we do?  Do we simply celebrate Easter and move on as if nothing happened?   If we believe that Jesus is risen, that he's alive--then what does that mean for us?  For all of Creation?  For our church?  For our culture?   Today we take another step in answering that question.  The passage of scripture that we'll be studying today from the book of Acts is about an unexpected moment of delight and transformation that shocked a bunch of people--who honestly had become used to disappointment.   As I was thinking about the sermon this week, I remembered a story I had read some time ago about some unusual signs that were being used by the English Historical Trust in Great Britain .  These signs were not at all w

Risen - Week 2: "Powerful Grace"

This week we are continuing the sermon series that we started last Sunday--a Sunday that happened to be the  Sunday of Sundays in the Christian calendar .  We celebrated Easter with style last week.  For the second year in a row we had over 800 people experience worship at First Church.   At our casual service, the Crossing we had 100 more people in the room than we did last year.  Everyone dressed up, wore hats and looked awesome.  Families came en masse, some of them even brought their wayward Uncle Larry, who never goes to church.  And now it's the Sunday after the Sunday.  Most of the snowbirds are gone.  Uncle Larry isn't here.  It's just us.   Easter is over.  Jesus is risen.  Now what?   This feeling that we have today is not unlike what the disciples of Jesus felt after his resurrection.  There was joy at first, then elation, then unbelievable purpose and then he left.  Jesus appeared to them, he ate with them, taught them some more, commanded them to

Would Jesus Deliver Pizza To A Gay Wedding?

I was listening to a story on the news the other day about the owners of a small pizzeria who found themselves at the center of the ongoing debate about civil rights for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc.  A local TV news reporter, who knew that the owners were overtly Christian , essentially set them up by asking one of the family members on camera if they would cater a gay wedding .   Predictably, they said that they wouldn't, and then went on to explain that the reason why they wouldn't is because they are Christians , and believed that catering a gay wedding would mean that they supported gay marriage, which they didn't.  There was a national backlash against these folks by people who support gay rights.  The owners of the pizzeria were threatened, harassed and eventually had to shut down their business for a time.  All of which prompted a national backlash by conservative talk show hosts, pundits and pastors who helped raise hundreds o

Risen - Week 1: "We Are Witnesses"

Today is Easter-- Resurrection Sunday . Today we're going to celebrate--even Presbyterians celebrate on Easter.  We might be the frozen chosen, but at least once a year we thaw out enough to raise the roof. All over the world today Christians will be celebrating Resurrection Sunday.  They'll be celebrating their belief that God became one of us in order to save all of us.  That through Jesus, God entered into the world in human form, and--in the words of the Gospel of John --took up residence in our neighborhood. Jesus preached and taught and did amazing things that gave hope to the downtrodden, marginalized and poor.  This caught the attention of the power brokers of his day:  religious leaders, politicians, military leaders, to name a few.  The worst thing that can happen to those in power, who are not concerned with the greater good, is for the huddled masses to find hope.  So they executed Jesus by crucifying him on a cross.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb and