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Sermons from Main Branch

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The Once and Future King

The time of the Christian life, and the time of Christian experience, is a time of waiting. But it is not a time of just waiting around. It is a time of sanctification, when as we go out into the world, we grow in truth, sometimes through suffering. It is a time when Christ has ascended and left his brothers and sisters in the world precisely so that he can send the Spirit of truth that will give them growth. He prays that we will grow in truth. He prays that we will endure. Not only does he pray for these things for us, in the Spirit he himself comes to us, so that in this time of waiting we might be made holy and truthful and thus be made one with him and with the Father, with whom he is one. In a time of ambiguity, in a time of untruth, in a time of suffering, this counts a lot. So, on this day, as we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, let us look to him to come to us that we might be made holy in this world, that we might persevere, that we might tell the truth.

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Profiles of God

We are humans, children of God, living and breathing with a fullness that no single picture can capture. And that is how we must approach others also. As the passage states, we are God’s offspring—all of us—God includes us, and shows us the beauty in everyone, who they are both online and offline. And, just like someone’s online profile whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or anything of the sort, cannot tell you who they are and what they truly look like, we must not limit God to the profiles we create. God cannot be contained by the temples and shrines, the statues and yes, the profiles, we make. God is bigger than all that. God’s love is bigger than all that.

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Thinking Outside the Box

There is no single image of God that captures him entirely. God is a friend who cares about each one of us, and wants us to live a happy and good life. He comforts you when you’re sad and helps you through bad things. God, as our friend, is not far from any one of us. So maybe, just maybe, if we search for him, we might find him, because he has already found us.

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From Here to There

Christ means to call us to great things, to great lives of peace and generosity of spirit. He means to lead us out from a limited point of view to one that takes in the whole world. It is because that is what he wants for us, that he goes out to find us where we are. The Church needs to tell us how to live, but we can only really be that place if we can teach people how to move from here to there. To do that, we have to show them the way, teach them to discern and care about the truth, and give them the communion and fellowship of the Spirit that they need for life. That, of course, means doing these things ourselves in all the ways that we can do these things – fellowship, conversation, Bible study, prayer, service, worship above all. But it especially means doing them for our children and the next generation.

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Gateway Beliefs

Ethicists distinguish between two kinds of freedom. There is freedom from, which is a freedom that comes by having restraints lifted and taken away....On the other hand, there is a freedom for. Freedom in this case may need to be highly disciplined and orderly. It may demand that we follow good advice diligently. Now, this kind of freedom is surely more work than freedom from things. It requires learning the virtues and skills needed to live freely, to live in peace and harmony with your neighbor and to have the internal freedom that allows you not to have to wrestle continually with your competing inner desires. With those virtues we can have a good life, one that is free in a much deeper sense than any simplistic freedom from things can give. Learning what it takes to have the freedom for a good life can fulfill life and change it.

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