Using the story of Legion, Pastor Mark breaks the silence around mental illness and raises questions about how it is dealt with, or fails to be dealt with, in the Christian church. The sermon text is Mark 5:1-20.
Pastor Jason poses the question of whether Jesus can make a mistake. Can Jesus be wrong, or change His mind? Jason tells the story of the Greek woman who comes to Jesus asking Him to cure his daughter who is possessed by a demon. Jesus first rejects her request, but then reconsiders; Jesus finally listened to the woman. Jason points out that the #MeToo movement is calling for men to listen to women about sexual harassment, and our default position should be to believe what we hear, rather than skepticism. The sermon text is Mark 7:24-30. The sermon concludes with the video, “Praying” by Kesha. The audio feed is included in the podcast.
All of us deal with shame. All of us are afraid sometimes. In this week’s scripture we see how someone who was at the end of her rope followed Jesus even with all of her fear and shame and we get to see the ways in which Jesus helps her stand again on her own two feet. How might following Jesus do the same for us? The sermon text is Mark 5:24b-34. The reading of the scripture and discussion by the congregation are included in the podcast.
Rev. Mallory Moore, Executive Director of The Crossing campus ministry on the UW Madison campus, discusses campus ministry, the challenges facing college students, and talks about how campus ministry can communicate to college students the comforting message of Isaiah 43:1-7, in which God says to the Israelites, “Be not afraid, for I am with you …” Included in the podcast is the ensuing discussion by the congregation.
There are storms in our lives. Following Jesus does not make them go away. In fact, Jesus is often the one who called us out onto the water in the first place. But He is with us and He asks us to have faith. Pastor Jason discusses how to respond to the storms that often buffet our lives. The sermon text is Mark 4:35-41. Included in the podcast is the reading of the scripture and congregational feedback.
Rules are necessary for life in community. Policies are important for organizations to function. Traditions are cherished connections to history and meaning. But all of them can go bad. They can lose sight of their original purpose to foster life, and to support community. Jesus reminded us that rules, policies, and traditions are created to benefit people, and not vice versa. The sermon text is Mark 3:1-6.
Pastor Jason reflects on the year 2017 coming to an end and offers some challenges to us for the coming year. He draws a comparison between our current situation with that of the early Christians when Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty, but He had not yet revealed Himself and had not yet ascended into heaven. The sermon text is Mark 16:4-8. Included in the podcast is the resulting feedback from the congregation.
Advent is a season of waiting, of anticipation, a season to reflect on the darkness in preparation for the light. With the help of a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRP8d7hhpoQ) of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Pentatonix, Pastor Jason explores this season of Advent and how we might embrace the darkness and the anticipation to prepare ourselves for the coming of the light. Included in the podcast is the audio feed of the video and the ensuing discussion by the congregation.
Tyler Heggestad, guest preacher, tells the story of Gideon, who was told by God to reduce the size of his army to 300 men before attacking the Midianites, whose army had 135 thousand well trained and battle hardened soldiers. Talk about God asking a person to do something that seems totally unreasonable! But Gideon followed God’s command and went into battle with only 300 men. The sermon text is Judges 6:12-15, 7:2-5. Included in the podcast is the subsequent discussion where people in the congregation talk about times they undertook a task because God was leading them to do it, but it seemed daunting beforehand.
Pastor Jason talks about the meaning of advent, the four weeks before Christmas. Advent is the season where we are instructed to remember expectations, to think about what we still dream for. For thousands of years the people of God expected someone to come and change the world to reflect what they knew to be true about God and His desire for humanity. Jesus was the fulfillment of that dream, but not in the way they expected. Christmas morning is a sign that God’s promises are still there, and that we are part of a bigger story.