Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mission: Possible - I'd tell about Jesus but no one's asking.

From Pastor Sarah – Mission: Possible

Last week I preached about the encounters we can have with the living spirit of God when we take time to listen to people’s concerns.  I told about Professor Lucy who, through teaching film to students craving to find artistic expression and mentoring, was also able to share her faith.  

Rarely will someone ask you about Jesus.  Far more often, they will tell you that they long for a different kind of life; they will share a joy, a desire, a heartbreak: they’ll ask for prayers for healing.  In every human encounter, there is the possibility for the Holy Spirit’s presence to create healing and peace.  Rather than see mission as something that only happens at church or through church programs, we find renewed grace when we see our whole lives as part of God’s mission.  

 Someone sent me this article about an official at the Pentagon who started to integrate his faith with his work. If I'd read it before the sermon, I would have used it as an example. 

Listen to the sermon here.

This week I will preach on a vision that Peter had where God told him to eat animals that were considered unclean.  When Peter protested, God retorted: “Never consider unclean what God has made pure.”  Peter was wondering what the meaning of the vision could be when it became clear.  Some people who weren’t Jewish wanted Peter to come and teach them.  This apparently blew Peter’s mind.  That God would work through people who weren’t Jewish was astounding and it directly contradicted plenty of passages in Scripture that said otherwise.  But, not one to argue too much with God, Peter went to the family and found indeed that the Holy Spirit was with them.  His mind was changed.  His mission was clear.

1)      Have you ever met someone who fit in a category you’d been taught to dislike only to find yourself surprised by the encounter?
2)      Do you think God can work through everybody?
3)      Has God ever made your mission crystal clear?
Be at Peace,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mission: Possible - Last Week/Next Week

I sense that Peace Lutheran Church - where I serve as Pastor - is on the brink of doing some new exciting things to share the gospel. I don't know what they are yet, but my first step in making them a reality is cultivating a hunger in the church to grow and reach new people.  To that end, I'm doing a sermon series for Easter based on the book of Acts called Mission: Possible.  Here's the synopsis/preview for last week/this week.

Renewal in one’s own faith life is the first step to sharing the good news with other people.  The same Peter who had denied Jesus turned into a bold witness to the gospel.  What happened? He encountered the resurrected Jesus who loved him despite his betrayal.  Jesus forgave Peter, gave Peter a new start, and it made all the difference.

How has Jesus made a difference in your life?  This question is sometimes impossible for people who’ve been in church forever to answer.  It’s critical for our sense of mission to be reminded that we are people in need of God’s love and we’ve got it.  The more we live with the awareness of that amazing grace, the more courage we’ll have to share it with others.

Listen to the sermon here.

This week I will preach on the conversion of Saul.  Saul persecuted Christians and then, an experience of the resurrected Jesus on the road and just like that, he becomes Paul, the biggest champion of Jesus.

It leads to the question: why don’t you think God can change you too?  Adults come up with all sorts of excuses for why we can’t do new things (too old, too set-in-my-ways, too comfortable, too poor, too tired, too many people relying on me, too embarrassed, too afraid).  God can ALWAYS do new things.  If God could change Saul into Paul, God can transform your life too.

1)      Is there an area of life you’d love to change but don’t know how?
2)      Do you believe that in the future, you could serve God in a new or different way?
3)      When is the last time you remember having the courage to make a big change?
Be at Peace,
Pastor Sarah

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