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Sermons from Main Branch

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Nevertheless, God Persisted

Much like Samuel and Eli needed each other to recognize the word of the Lord, we need each other to do the same. We can’t be Christian on our own, and we certainly can’t be church on our own. It takes all of us, together, partners in ministry, listening together for God’s call to us.

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Do We Really Need to be Born Again?

Do we really need to be born again? If Nicodemus has anything to say about it, the answer is yes.

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Don't Forget to Look Up

Forty days after Easter, the disciples and Jesus were together. “Isn’t it time?” the disciples say. “Isn’t it time for you to restore the kingdom?” “That isn’t for you to know,” he says, “That’s up to God, not you. But you have a power all of your own—you will be the ones to tell everyone everywhere all about me.” Then, scripture tells us, “He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” And while they are still staring at where he was, but is no longer, two strangers appear and ask, “Why are you looking up?” The job of those two stranger angels was to help re-orient the disciples’ attention, and they needed someone to grab their feet and plant them firmly on the ground again. But, I can’t help but wonder if those same angels appeared to us today, if their question wouldn’t be different. I wonder if, instead of “Why are you looking up?” they might ask, “Why aren’t you looking up?” Maybe the strangers would ask us why aren’t we looking up. The disciples were looking at Jesus’ feet. We’re so often looking at our phones. But I think it matters less about where we are looking, and more about what we do with what we find. For there is nowhere we can go that is away from that love divine, all loves excelling. God spoke creation into existence, and called it good and very good. Jesus came and walked on this earth, and that means there is no patch of grass or dirt that is not holy. And it is the spirit of God swirling in the brains of God’s people today that pushes the edges of technology and innovation and erases more and more lines between known and unknown, which means, yes, even our smart phones can be used for sacred purpose, because the more we learn about this vast and wonderful world, the more we come to understand our place in it.

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Worship Makes a Difference

Worship matters because it is here, in this time and place each week, with all of you, that I am convinced anew again and again that God’s promises really are true. I’m not saying that our worship makes God’s promises true. I’m saying our worship helps me believe they are true. In that way, worship is more for me, more for us, than it is for God. I also believe worship matters deeply to God, because worship is where we practice living the way God longs for us to live. Because a central point of worship is this—because God is God of all people, of all creation—because as the psalmist puts it, “all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God,” when we come together to worship God, we pray for, care for, and care about all people. When we worship, we practice living the way God wishes for us to live, treating one another the way God wishes for us to treat one another.

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