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Engaging Welcome

Posted on 13 Jan 2020
  “Engaging Welcome” Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Matthew 3:13-17 January 12, 2020   In the context of human frailty and sinfulness, baptism and ordination affirm the worthy and dignity of each person, as well as the call to humble, selfless service. Today, we affirm the dignity and
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Engaging Worship

Posted on 06 Jan 2020
  “Engaging Worship” Matthew 2:1-12; January 5, 2020   In the church calendar, it is still Christmas! Today is the 11th day of the season of Christmas! Do you still have your tree up? Or is it long gone, off to be shredded for someone’s mulch? Tomorrow is Epiphany, the 12th and last
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The Gift of Presence

Posted on 02 Jan 2020
The Gift of Presence What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever been given? Can you think of one? A dear saint in the first church I served would ask that question any time folks were gathered together in the Christmas season. Pete is in his 90’s now and I’m sure he’s still asking that
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Love Can’t Wait

Posted on 23 Dec 2019
Love Can’t Wait Sunday, December 22, 2019 Prayer of Illumination: God meet us in the midst of your holy words today. Let them come alive for us, so that in hearing your word we might see the love of your son Jesus and in seeing, be moved to courageously follow your Word made flesh in the
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What Can’t Wait? Joy Can’t Wait

Posted on 17 Dec 2019
    “What Can’t Wait? Joy Can’t Wait” Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:46b-55 Third Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 15, 2019     Our text for this third Sunday of Advent, Isaiah 35, speaks about the hope of return from exile. For a whole generation, the ransomed people of Israel
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What Can’t Wait? Peace Can’t Wait

Posted on 09 Dec 2019
“What Can’t Wait? Peace Can’t Wait” Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12 Second Sunday of Advent – December 8, 2019   Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and
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What Can’t Wait? Hope Can’t Wait!

Posted on 03 Dec 2019
“What Can’t Wait? Hope Can’t Wait!” Luke 2:1-5; Romans 5:105 First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019   Isaiah 2:1-5 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
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When All Seems Lost

Posted on 25 Nov 2019
When All Seems Lost Luke 23:33-43 It may seem strange to read this particular story at this time of the year. Doesn’t it make more sense to read it just before Easter? It does and we do. Today, though, is a special day on the church calendar. It is the Sunday before Advent begins which makes it
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Preparing Our Defense…Or Not

Posted on 21 Nov 2019
“Preparing Our Defense…Or Not” Luke 21:5-19 November 17, 2019   To our children who just received their Bibles – Did you know that in 1450 a man named Johann Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press, and in 1455 he produced the first book ever  printed? Does anyone know what
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Engaging our Imaginations in the Generosity of God

Posted on 13 Nov 2019
Sermon Title: Engaging our Imaginations in the Generosity of God Based on Luke 10: 25-37 Delivered November 10, 2010: Middle School Youth Sunday and Commitment Sunday   Godly Play Good Samaritan Live Enactment Wording for scripture modified from Godly Play curriculum[1]  Today we will
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Responding to Jesus’ Invitation

Posted on 06 Nov 2019
“Responding to Jesus’ Invitation” Luke 19:1-10 All Saints’ Sunday – November 3, 2019   In first century Palestine, tax collectors were recruited by the Roman government to collect taxes from their neighboring villagers by whatever means they deemed necessary. The Romans did not care how
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Embracing Humilty

Posted on 29 Oct 2019
“Embracing Humility” Luke 18:9-14 October 27, 2019   The Pharisees are often misunderstood. Because of several rather pointed comments and parables told by Jesus, we often view them with suspicion. Most Pharisees, as scholars will tell us, were relatively good people. They lived righteous
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Nevertheless, She Persisted…and We Should, Too

Posted on 22 Oct 2019
Nevertheless, She Persisted…and We Should, Too {Read Luke 18:1-8} It’s not hard to imagine this parable of Jesus acted out. I can see a dramatic version. The widow on her knees, tears streaming down her face, begging the judge for justice, the judge stone faced in his refusal. I can see a
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Gratitude and Praise

Posted on 14 Oct 2019
“Gratitude and Praise” Luke 17:11-19 October 13, 2019   Luke 17:11-19 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on
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Hold Onto Sound Teaching

Posted on 07 Oct 2019
“Hold Onto Sound Teaching” II Timothy 1:1-14 World Communion Sunday – October 6, 2019   Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy my beloved child: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus,
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Agnes Scott Sunday

Posted on 27 Sep 2019
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 If you find yourself frowning or feel your brow furrowing in response to that reading, you’re probably not alone. Maybe you’re trying to remember the last time you came to church and heard a scripture reading that left you feeling this bummed out? We came here to worship and
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Is This Seat Taken?

Posted on 16 Sep 2019
“Is this seat taken?” What are those moments in life that make us feel deeply connected to one another? Those moments where you feel your life is so intertwined with others that the unity is palpable. Those moments when grace and joy are freely shared without giving a second thought. When I see
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Holy Ground: Going Against the Grain

Posted on 09 Sep 2019
Going Against the Grain Holy Ground September 8, 2019 Romans 12:9-21     We have a rich text before us. It is so rich, in fact, that I’m going to read it again. This time, though, I’m going to read the text from Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message. I want this text to come
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Pliable in the Potter’s Hands

Posted on 09 Sep 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “Pliable in the Potter’s Hands” Jeremiah 18:1-11 September 8, 2019     Introduction of a Minute for Mission – Professor Mark Douglas from Columbia Theological Seminary: In the Richards Center at Columbia Theological Seminary, hung high on the walls of
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Fearless Hospitality

Posted on 03 Sep 2019
Fearless Hospitality (Read Hebrews 13:1-8; 15-16) Yesterday for the first time I heard the legend of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. Some of you may be familiar with it but for those who are not, I will do my best to tell it as briefly as possible. There is a town in Italy called Gubbio
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With Gratitude, Reverence, and Awe

Posted on 27 Aug 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “With Gratitude, Reverence, and Awe” – Hebrews 12:18-29 August 25, 2019 Last week, I asked for a volunteer to rebuild this structure made of many gears. My friend, Ron Johnson, had done a great job with the initial structure, but there were many gears that
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Faith as Gift and Task

Posted on 19 Aug 2019
ENGAGE IN THE MISSION OF CHRIST “Faith as Gift and Task” Hebrews 11:24-12:2   Our reading this morning comes from the letter to the Hebrews.  The original intention of the letter was to connect the story of first century Hebrew Christians who were struggling in faith to the long and
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Show Me Your Glory I Pray

Posted on 12 Aug 2019
Show Me Your Glory I Pray Let us pray.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Melt us.  Mold us.  Fill us. Use us.  Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.  Amen.    Our Scripture reading this
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God Desires Sanctuary for All

Posted on 05 Aug 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  Yahweh, Moses and the Stiff-Necked People “God Desires Sanctuary for All” Exodus 25-27 (selected verses) August 4, 2019   This may be the first and last sermon you may ever hear on these particular chapters of Exodus. These chapters of Exodus do
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God Organizes the Overwhelmed

Posted on 22 Jul 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  Yahweh, Moses and the Stiff-Necked People “God Organizes the Overwhelmed” Exodus 18 July 21, 2019   Prayer for Illumination Holy God, by the power of your Spirit…illuminate your Word…on this your day… for these your people…through me your servant…
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This Isn’t What I Ordered

Posted on 15 Jul 2019
This Isn’t What I Ordered {Read Exodus 6:2-21} This isn’t what I ordered…I didn’t ever think I’d be a widow so young. This isn’t what I ordered…my child was supposed to be perfect and happy and healthy. This isn’t what I ordered…I thought this job would be ideal and I was
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God Provides a Way

Posted on 08 Jul 2019
Exodus 14:10-16 God Provides a Way   This summer we have been reading from the Old Testament book of Exodus. It’s the second book of the Bible and it tells the story of the people of Israel, their imperfect leader Moses and their enslavement in and departure from Egypt. Departure or exit
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God Delivers the Oppressed

Posted on 02 Jul 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People God Delivers the Oppressed – Exodus 5-13 (selected verses) June 30, 2019   God delivered the oppressed slaves of Egypt. God still hears the cries of the oppressed and still works in the world through
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Forging Covenant in the Wilderness: YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People

Posted on 24 Jun 2019
Forging Covenant in the Wilderness:  YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-Necked People God Equips the Called – Exodus 3-4 (selected verses) June 23, 2019   This Sunday represents the second week of a summer series focusing on God’s wondrous works accomplished in concert with God’s endearing
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God Hears Those in Need

Posted on 17 Jun 2019
God Hears Those in Need (Forging Covenant in the Wilderness: YHWH, Moses, and the Stiff-necked People)   We’re going to be spending our summer with Moses. We’ll be reading from the book of Exodus which is the second book of the Old Testament. This morning we’ll read from Exodus 3 so we’ll
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Daily Devotion

Posted on 10 Jun 2019
“Daily Devotion” Acts 2:37-47 Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019     Birthdays are important, and how you celebrate them can be important. But what is really important is how you live your life the other 364 days of the year. Today, we celebrate the birthday of the Church, the Day of
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Disturbing the Peace

Posted on 03 Jun 2019
BELONGING in the World “Disturbing the Peace” – Acts 16:16-34 June 2, 2019 Acts 16:16-34   One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us,
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Guided by the Spirit

Posted on 28 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “Guided by the Spirit” – Acts 16:6-15 May 25, 2019   Sometimes, God answers our prayers by closing one door and opening another. Oftentimes, the door that God opens sends us in an unexpected direction…   Paul, on his second missionary journey, had intended
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With No Distinction

Posted on 20 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With No Distinction” – Acts 11:1-18 May 19, 2019   I still get surprised when reading the Bible. I have been reading the Bible for my whole life, and still I find myself inspired and encouraged when I come across a passage that speaks directly to something I have
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Listen to Her Life

Posted on 13 May 2019
Acts 9:36-43 “Listen to Her life…”   Take a moment and create a mental image of a disciple… What do they look like? Sound like? Act like? If you’d rather doodle a drawing on your bulletin, please do. Now I want you to keep this image in your mind and perhaps add to it as we hear God’s word
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BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With Former Persecutors”

Posted on 06 May 2019
BELONGING IN THE WORLD “With Former Persecutors” Acts 9:1-20 May 5, 2019   The post-Easter story of Saul’s dramatic conversion can be explored from many different perspectives. Today, I would like for us to consider the story from the perspective of Ananias. Ananias was an early leader in
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Under God’s Authority

Posted on 02 May 2019
Before we turn to scripture, let us go to God in prayer. Prayer of Illumination God of all creation, open our eyes to see what you would have us to see and our ears to hear what you would have us to hear. Send us your spirit as we listen to what you are saying to us today. Help us to see
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“The Risen! (and Vanished?) Christ”

Posted on 22 Apr 2019
“The Risen! (and Vanished?) Christ” Luke 24:13-25 Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019   Luke 24:13-35 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were
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Companions and Betrayers

Posted on 15 Apr 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS “Companions and Betrayers” Luke 22:14-24 Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14, 2019   Luke 22:14-24 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell
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Let Your Hair Down and Let Go

Posted on 08 Apr 2019
Let Your Hair Down and Let Go (The Greedy and the Extravagant) Read John 12:1-8           When we journey through the season of Lent, the weeks leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection, we are on a journey with Jesus to the cross. And in our
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BELONGING TO OTHERS “The Unrighteous and the Self-righteous”

Posted on 01 Apr 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS “The Unrighteous and the Self-righteous” Luke 15:1-3,11-32 March 31, 2019   Gracious God, illuminate your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit that we may recognize and acknowledge the various ways we have offended you, and that we may recall again your amazing,
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Youth Sunday Reflections

Posted on 25 Mar 2019
Aaron Godwin- Senior Reflection Psalm 121 spoke out to me because it reminded me of Montreat and all of the youth conferences have been going on for four years. Now I’m coming up on my fifth year of the Montreat Youth Conference.  For those that don’t know Montreat is in North Carolina
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BELONGING TO OTHERS – “Friends and Enemies”

Posted on 19 Mar 2019
BELONGING TO OTHERS – “Friends and Enemies” Luke 13:21-35 March 17, 2019     As humans, we confess we have much to fear, whether from friends or enemies. May we recognize and accept fears while bravely continuing to follow God’s purposes. Today is St Patrick’s Day – just out of
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BELONGING TO COMMUNITY “Seeking the Well-Being of the City”

Posted on 05 Mar 2019
BELONGING TO COMMUNITY “Seeking the Well-Being of the City” Jeremiah 29:4-7,11-14; Acts 2:41-47 March 3, 2019   Before we read Scripture, I want to offer two definitions and one acknowledgement. The first definition to offer is that of “welfare”.  According to Oxford Dictionary
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Belonging to the Broader Community

Posted on 27 Feb 2019
BELONGING TO COMMUNITY Belonging to the Broader Community – “Who Is My Neighbor?” II Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-8 February 24, 2019   In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and throughout the letters of Paul, we discover the foundations of our contemporary Christian practices. We discover the
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Belonging to a Governed Community

Posted on 21 Feb 2019
Our reading today comes from the 13th chapter of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. {Read Romans 13:1-14} The first half of this reading is difficult. Our FIRL small groups which discuss the preaching text ahead of each Sunday, wrestled with it and some wondered aloud why this particular
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“Belonging to a Healthy Community”

Posted on 11 Feb 2019
“Belonging to a Healthy Community” Isaiah 6:1-8; Ephesians 3:14-21 Annual Report Sunday, February 10, 2019   The story of the prophet Isaiah begins in the temple, in a certain year, the year that King Uzziah died. After ruling for 52 years, since he was 16 years old, King Uzziah died in
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Practice what you preach, but what are your practices preaching?

Posted on 04 Feb 2019
Our scripture today from Psalm 145 gives us a picture of what God’s relationship with us is like. Friends, listen for God’s word to us today… [Read Psalm 145:8-17] The Lord is gracious and merciful,     slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all,
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How Do We Deal in a Transactional World?

Posted on 28 Jan 2019
How Do We Deal in a Transactional World? (Belonging to a Business Community)             Whether we realize it or not we all live in a business community…a community of transactions, a community of consumers. We do business all day every
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Belonging to a Diverse Community “Can We Learn to Live as One Body?”

Posted on 22 Jan 2019
Belonging to a Diverse Community “Can We Learn to Live as One Body?” Isaiah 56:1-8, I Corinthians 12:12-27 January 20, 2019   Isaiah 56:1-8 Thus says the Lord:  Maintain justice, and do what is right,  for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Happy is the
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