Jesus tells us to bear witness. What does that mean? How do we do it? What are we bearing witness to? Pastor Mark offers a definition of witnessing to God that may surprise you and avoids the unpleasantness associated with the more common definition of what it means to be a witness to God. The sermon text is Acts 1:6-8. The reading of the scripture and the discussion by the congregation is included in the podcast.
The writer of John’s letter calls for us to love each other in the Christian community. Pastor Jason points out how this love is different from love for one’s partner or family or for those in need. He asks the congregation two questions: (1) When was the last time you felt loved in the church?, and (2) When was the last time you felt judged in the church? He calls for us to do more of the former and less of the latter. The sermon text is 1 John 3:16-18. The reading of the scripture and the response of the congregation to the first question are included in the podcast.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians states that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus”. Pastor Mark notes that this is counter to the current trend in society towards increasing tribalism; we are drawing the lines more sharply between liberals and conservatives; citizens, legal immigrants, land undocumented immigrants; rural versus urban, rich versus poor, and on and on. Mark asserts that these lines or divisions are simply made up; they exist only in our minds, and that we need to avoid these artificial distinctions as we follow the example set by Jesus. The sermon text is Galatians 3:26-28. The ensuing congregational discussion is included in the podcast.
Failure is part of all of our lives. As is death. As Christians the story of the resurrection affects how we see these things. Resurrection gives us hope that death is not the end and that our failures do not define us. The sermon text is Matthew 28:16-20. The sermon is followed by a talkback time, which is included in the podcast.
Common Table member Rhiannon Tibbetts draws on experiences in her life to illustrate the ways God reveals His open-hearted mercy for humanity. The sermon texts are Matthew 11:4-5 and Luke 23:39-43. The ensuing discussion by the congregation is included in the podcast.
Peter denied Jesus three times. Does that mean he failed? Does Jesus give up on him? Is there nothing left for him to do in the Kingdom of God? The sermon text is Mark 14:27-29 & 66-72. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast.
Pastor Jason takes on the question of why Jesus had to die. The sermon text is John 12:23-28. The resulting feedback from the congregation is included in the podcast.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”. This is the eternal question for each Christian has to answer for themselves. The sermon text is Luke 9:18-20. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. Our guest preacher is Carolyn Cross, a member of the congregation.
Pastor Jason uses the story of the feeding of the five thousand as a model for doing ministry in our community, both as individuals and as a church. This model has seven steps: (1) realization and compassion, (2) despair and doubt, (3) inventory and collaboration, (4) prayer, (5) generosity, (6) mutuality, and (7) count on God to work a miracle. The sermon text is Mark 8:1-9. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast.
Pastor Jason reminds us that Jesus does not promise us a pain-free life. Jesus teaches us that in the midst of suffering there is beauty, that in struggle there is growth, that in failure we acquire wisdom. We do not wish to glorify pain and suffering, but we need to realize that it is part of life. It is through suffering and pain that we grow and are changed for the better. The sermon text is Mark 8:31-35. The ensuing discussion by the congregation is included in the podcast.