Note: During the Sundays of Easter, we will examine some familiar and popular ideas that many Christians proclaim and believe to be true. However, we come to discover these are half truths at best. Thus the series title: “Half Truths” based on Adam Hamiliton’s book Half Truths… God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say.
Sunday, April 23, 2017; Second Sunday of Easter; Pastor Kathy at women’s retreat. Carl Thomas is preaching. Title: “ A History of Splits” Read: Joshua 24:15New Revised Standard Version (NRSV); Theme: The idea: Differences should never be papered over; whole cultures rightly can feel demeaned or even dismissed as a result. Differences have created both improvement and regression in the church. Unity is not about forced “togetherness” so much as it is inclusion. That said, sometimes splits are necessary to preserve or advance an ideal. Takeaway……Life is tough, and often unclear, both outside and inside the church.
Sunday, April 30, 2017; Third Sunday of Easter; Pastor Kathy gone at a Continuing Education Event. Don Fado preaching. Sermon title: When We Become Weary in Well Doing”; Theme: ways to avoid good works fatigue. What is our motivation for doing good things? Why do them? What sustains us? ; Read: Galatians 6:1-10 in the Message.
Sunday, May 7, 2017; Fourth Sunday of Easter; Pastor Kathy on vacation; Carl Thomas Preaching; Title: Let’s Look at Metaphors…. Again (What Easter Eggs and Resurrection Share With Each Other); Read: Sheep Luke 15:4-6 SV; Theme: Truth is not just about facts. For example, “how do you quantify love?” Talking snakes in Genesis and roaring beasts in Revelation always point to something other than factual data for their meaning and value. We’ll look at the whole Bible (it won’t take that long) to see how metaphor is the very soul of biblical truth, and life meaning as well.
Sunday, May 14, 2017, Fifth Sunday of Easter; “Half Truths: Everything Happens for a Reason”; Read: John11:17-44 (The Message). Do we really believe that everything that happens is God’s will? Does God really cause car accidents that kill our youth? Does God really fix the outcome of the World Series? Does God really set-up poverty, earthquakes, wars,
Sunday, May 21, 2017; Sixth Sunday of Easter; Title: “Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”; Read Psalm 10:14b, 17-18a (New Revised Standard Version); Theme: This phrase is probably 1/3 true. We don’t send around waiting for God to miraculously right the wrongs in society. God does work through people to change the world but there are two important senses in which the saying is fundamentally unbiblical. Sometimes we use the phrase to avoid our obligations as followers in the way of Jesus to help others. The fact is some people truly cannot help themselves. They may be trapped in poverty or struggling financially and they cannot climb out of this without help.
May 28, 2017; Seventh Sunday of Easter; Title: Half Truths: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle. Theme: Like many spiritual half- truths this has some scriptural basis look at 1 Corinthians10:11-17 as the source for this idea. The problem with the phrase is that it suggests that God wills bad things to happen to us. The real promise of scripture is not that we won’t go through hard times but that during all times, good or bad, God wants to be our help and our strength.
Sunday, June 4, 2017; Pentecost; Pride Sunday; Title: Half Truths: Love the Sinner, Hate the Sinner; Read Matthew 7:1-5 (The Message); Theme: Jesus well understood the human tendency to judge others and focus on their sin and this is why, in the Gospels, Jesus taught we should avoid it. Instead we are encouraged to focus simply on loving our neighbors, including our neighbors who are our enemies. When love the sinner is our mantra we put ourselves in a position of seeing others as sinners rather than neighbors.
Sunday, June 11, 2017 First Sunday after Pentecost; Lodestar Sunday, one service at 11 AM; Kathy will be at Lodestar. Don Fado preaching.
June 18, 2017 (Elk Grove); Second Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Half Truths: God Said it, I Believe it, That Settles it”. Read Deuteronomy 21:18-21; 23: 12-14; (New Revised Standard Version); Theme: What could possibly be half true about this statement? One challenge is that it over simplifies scripture. If we use this statement as an approach to the Bible we can find ourselves setting all kinds of unusual limits on our behavior, even down to where we are allowed to go to the bathroom or murdering our kids for misbehaving.
Sunday, June 25, 2017; Third Sunday after Pentecost; Title: “Half Truths: God Wants you to be Happy”; Read Luke 12: 13-34; God wants you to be happy. The question is what are the things that bring you happiness? That’s what God wants to work on. God wants to shift your happiness a little further away from you, and your circumstances, and on to something that doesn’t fade–that doesn’t fail–that can’t be stolen and can’t be destroyed. Happiness in the model of Paul, and of Jesus, comes from being a part of God’s kingdom, from being loved and used by God. It comes from using your life to make something or someone else whole. Using your life–your time, your money, your energy, your work, your retirement, whatever you’ve got–pouring it out to make something right in the world.
Sunday, July 2, 2017; Fourth Sunday after Pentecost;
Sunday, July 9, 2017; Fifth Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy is at confirmation camp; Children’s Musical Workshop performance.
Note: Short series on living with questions
Sunday, July 16, 2017; Sixth Sunday after Pentecost; Title: The Leading Question. Theme: Questions we all have them, we all ask them. They generally make us uncomfortable. But what role do they really play in our lives, in our success and in our ability to become the people God created us to be? Read Matthew 18: 1-5.
Sunday, July 23, 2017; Seventh Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Questions are the answer; Theme: How many of us find that during our lives we are really searching for answers. We think that having the right answers will not only help us get ahead but help us feel more prepared for what lies ahead. However, many leaders would argue that rather than finding answers, it’s really having the courage to ask the right questions that moves us forward in our own lives. Read: Matthew 7:7-12
Sunday, July 30, 2017; Eight Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Just Ask; Theme: We get stuck in the storms of life. And whenever we are facing the tough stuff, we tend to forget that we are not alone. It isn’t always our own ability that gets us through things. God is asking us to trust the promises the divine makes which enables help to come. Just ask. Read Romans 8:31-35, 37.
Note: Short series on: The Art of Neighboring. Loving our neighbor is imperative to our identity as people who follow in the Way of Jesus. But Jesus asks us the question who is your neighbor? Do you know? Who exactly are we supposed to love and what does that love look like?
Sunday, August 6, 2017; Ninth Sunday after Pentecost; Communion; Title: The Art of Neighboring: What if Jesus Really Meant What He said?” Theme: Is our neighbor the wounded enemy lying on the side of the road? Is everyone our neighbor? Is it our enemies, the broken hearted, beaten and bruised? Or is it possible that Jesus meant what he said when he invited us to love our neighbors, you know the people next door? Read Luke 10:25-37
Sunday, August 13, 2017; Tenth Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy on Vacation; Elias Burgos is preaching (Kaiser Chaplain)
Sunday, August 20, 2017; Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy on Vacation; SSP Sunday
Sunday, August, 27, 2017; Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost; Title: The Art of Neighboring: The Power of Invitation and Interruption; Theme: Do you ever stop to welcome an interruption? How are you when you are moving from here to there when you are doing ordinary life? How do we use these moments when our lives have been disrupted? What can they say about the art of neighboring? Read: Luke 8:43-48.
Sunday, September 3, 2017; Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Communion; Kathy on vacation; Carl Thomas is preaching.
Sunday, September 10, 2017; Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy on vacation; Don Fado preaching
Sunday, September 17, 2017; Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy here but Schuyler Rhodes is preaching
Series Title:Generosity. Money is a sensitive issue in our culture and yet it is central to our commitment to follow in the Way of Jesus. And it is also a yardstick to measure our understanding of grace. In this sermon series we are going to experience why Christian giving is such an adventure.
Sunday, September 24, 2017; Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Confirmation Sunday; Title: Generosity: No Giving, No Grace; Theme: Jesus takes pains to show that the great division in the human race is not between the moral and immoral or even between the religious and irreligious. It is between the spiritual humble and the proudly self-sufficient. Read: Luke 18:9-17
Sunday, October 1; 2017; World Communion Sunday, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Generosity: It’s Not Just About You; Theme: Generosity means living for God and others not for ourselves. It embodies a lifestyle shaped by a deep commitment that by following in the Way of Jesus we find life’s true riches and abounding treasure. Read: Luke 17:3-10
Sunday; October 8, 2017; Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Generosity: Yes, It Includes Being Hospitable; Theme: In Jesus’ time there was no organized welfare system. Wealthy people in the community were expected to help neighbors who had economic problems but this system was not in any way rooted in compassion for the poor. Rather it was based on a system of self-interest. Jesus’ teaching was radically different. Read: Luke 14:12-24.
Sunday, October 15, 2017; Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Kathy at Couples’ Retreat; Don Fado preaching; Laity Sunday for CC
Sunday, October 22, 2017; Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost: Title: Generosity: Jesus doesn’t deal in fractions; Theme: As followers in the Way of Jesus we are called to live generously and serve others. We are called to be compassionate toward others because God shows compassion toward us first. Followers in the Way of Jesus are empowered by God’s Grace to give all of themselves in service to God, to others and to the community. Read: Luke 9:49-10:2
Sunday, October 29, 2017; Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost; All Saint’s Day Sunday; Title: Generosity: You can’t take it with you; Theme: IN the ancient world wealth was viewed as a sign of God’s favor. The belief was that the richer you were the more God had blessed you. As a result wealth was often equated with holiness. Jesus’ turns that way of thinking completely on its head. Read: Luke 18:18-30
Sunday, November 5, 2017; Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost; Communion; Title: Generosity: What do money and craftiness have to do with each other?; Theme: Today focuses on the parable about a rich man who employed a manager. The manager for the most part was free to use and invest his master’s wealth as he saw fit. A perk of the job was that he himself lived quite well. But the manager was rich in another way. His own craftiness or wisdom with money ends up securing his future. Read: Luke 16:1-14
Sunday, November 12, 2017; Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost; Title: Generosity: Worth versus Money; Theme: A true encounter with Jesus transforms the way we use power—not for ourselves but to serve others. Find out how the encounter with Jesus changes Zacchaeus’s life. Zacchaeus trades his money to keep his soul; Read: Luke 19:1-9
Paraphrases of the Lord’s Prayer