“Just as” Love

John has a thing for making a big deal out of small words. “Just as” (kathos in Greek) occurs some 31 times in the Gospel and James Boyce observes that this word from the whole context of our passage today. “Just as I have loved you…just as the Father has loved me…” The word lets us in on a little secret related to the relationship between Father, Son and the disciples. It might also help frame the way we think about the love that is often thought about on Mother’s Day.

Readings: John 15.9-17

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Out of Africa

We welcome Dan Welch.

On my trip to South Africa there were several opportunities to see how God is at work today, 8,000 miles from Syracuse. I stood in awe of his creation, could see how his compassion has touched the people of South Africa, and that he has given our brothers and sisters the courage to face their challenges with hope.

Readings:

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Power Source

The larger context of this passage (which begins back in chapter 3) describes the healing of a man who couldn’t walk by Peter and John…and the reactions of folks, mostly religious leaders, to that healing. The question is posed to these two gents: “By what power, and in whose name, have you done this?” What was…or maybe better who was their power source? Peter and John sure know! What and who is our power source?

Readings: Acts 4.5-12

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On Not Trying to Babysit the World

The Gospel reading BEGINS with the word PEACE. Psalm 4 ENDS with the word PEACE. What is shalom? It’s what comes when trust is in the right place and in the right person!

Readings:  Luke 24:36b-48   Psalm 4

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Thomas for The Trenches

More often than not when Thomas comes on the scene around this time of year I wag an accusing finger at the guy. It might be the same finger I want to put into the side of Jesus! Thomas is a guy for the doubt in all of us…especially in those times when it is hard to believe. Taken with the Acts passage we might reflect this morning on how the community of Christ-followers might be a ‘sign’ that encourages belief.

Readings: John 20:19-31  Acts 4:32-35

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Resurrection is Personal

I’m not going to Wax on, Wax off this sermon to prove a point that the story of the Resurrection is true. The more important point is does the Resurrection matter to “you”? It probably does when you experience a death of a close friend or family member.  Each one of us has an experience or a thought about Resurrection which influences what we do or don’t do on a daily basis. Hearing personal experiences from others can have a much greater impact than what I can say on this topic today.
Enjoy this karaoke moment where you will hear the sharing of these personal experiences from our fellow congregants.

“The Lord has Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed!”

Readings:  Mark 16: 1-8   John 20: 1-18

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Good Friday – “The Carpenter’s Tale”

Please enjoy the story of Good Friday from a Carpenter’s perspective. Pastor Bob does such a wonderful job acting the part of the carpenter that at points, I forgot I was watching my Pastor’s performance and was caught up in the story.
Come back in time with us and listen to the carpenter’s words from his shop entrance. See the board Jesus’ hands will be nailed to. Feel the racing and anguish of the carpenter’s heart start to take form within your own heart.

This piece was written by a college friend of Bob’s, Bill Kennedy who teaches theater at Capital University in Ohio. For rights and permission to perform the piece in your faith family please contact: Bill at his email address
bkennedy email
or Pastor Bob via his email which can be found on the Leadership page under the heading “Happenings”.

 

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What’s the Story

What movie comes to mind when you hear “apple, dwarfs and mirrors”?
Snow White, of course.
These elements tell the “Story” of Snow White.
What elements tell the “Story” of the Gospel?
Listen within to find the answer.
Hint, it’s in all 4 Gospels.   Enjoy.

We welcome Crystal Etzel today.

Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

 

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Series – The Seven Deadly Sins

The Sin of Envy

This series, based on Will Willimon’s book Sinning Like a Christian, will explore “the seven deadly sins.” The 7 Deadly Sins are not directly ‘Biblical’ but as Jessica Miller Kelley puts it, they are “perhaps more incisive than the 10 Commandments in…their personalness.” Given that reality, it seems appropriate to engage, during Lent on a personal reflection of our brokenness.

So…what does it take for us to be able to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice?’ What makes it so hard for us to celebrate the goods and services that others receive?

ENVY…it is the emotional root of hatred. This morning we will look at how this sin is evident in our lives and how we might deal with it.

Envy is the emotional root and a subtle form of hate—resenting the good and rejoicing in the bad that occurs to one’s neighbor. It is a social sin, hurting our relationships (even to the point of murder, as in the case of Cain and Abel), and squelches joy in its tracks, as it maximizes others’ good fortune and minimizes the blessings we ourselves enjoy. Envy leads us to criticize others and to attribute others’ success to sheer luck, which makes us passive and (contrary to popular belief) unmotivated to work harder ourselves. A close cousin of Pride, Envy weighs and ranks and compares, making our neighbors into competitors, and our own blessings a prize to be boasted, rather than a gift to be shared.

Reading: Genesis 4:1-8, Mathew 20:1-16

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The Sin of Anger

Anger is a natural response to knowing certain things and relationships and circumstances are NOT as they ought to be. Is it ever right to be angry? (Paul says, ‘Be angry, but do not sin.”) We will just touch the tip of the iceberg here! But hopefully this morning’s sermon will help deal with this emotion that can be very destructive.

Readings:   Psalm 137:7-9   John 2:13-17    Matthew 5.21-26

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The Sin of Greed

It is so hard in this day and time and in every age since…to know how much is enough. We are bombarded everyday and myriad ways with the message that all we need is just a little bit MORE! Many argue that HOW MUCH MORE is relative. Indeed it is…but does that justify our greed?
Jesus sure didn’t have or take much with him on his itinerant ministry. Should that matter much to us? This morning we will talk about how worry is related to greed…and our desire for more.

Readings:   Matthew 6:19-24

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The Sin of Gluttony

I love to eat and drink…all kinds of good things. So did Jesus! So much so, apparently, that he was called a glutton and a drunkard. Am I in good company or are there some things I need to learn about matters of flesh. The answer to both is YES!

Readings: Philippians 3:17-21 Matthew 6:25-33

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The Sin of Lust

We humans are obsessed with sex. And if not obsessed with the having of it ourselves, we are obsessed with analyzing and critiquing others’ bedroom activities. The inclusion of Lust among the Seven reminds us of the relational impact of sin.

Readings: 2 Samuel 11:1-17     Matthew 5:27-30

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The Sin of Sloth

Sloth is NOT about laziness necessarily. It is about NOT CARING ABOUT THE THINGS OF GOD AND THE SPIRIT ENOUGH TO ENGAGE IN THE WORK AND WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH AND GROW IN AND WITH CHRIST!

Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:1-9   John 5:1-9a

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The Sin of Pride

There is a very delicate balance between pride and arrogance. How can that balance be struck? Do you know ‘humble confidence’ when you feel it? We SEE it clearly in Jesus as he rides in Jerusalem. So how can we show it to others? The apostle Paul is very helpful on this level.

Readings:  Genesis 3:1-7     Philippians 2:3-11      Matthew 21.1-11     Matthew 6.1-18

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Words, Words, Words

In this “sermon” Moses suggests that even as God had spoken through him for many years, that it would be the same going forward. WORDS…or better, a spoken word would be critical to and for people of faith. As one scholar writes: “Very near the heart of the Christian experience is a person talking.”

Reading: Deuteronomy 18.15-20

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