WORSHIP PREVIEW

 

 

Sunday March 8, 2020                              2nd Sunday in Lent

Scriptures: John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: How are these things possible?                                                                                                                                                  The Rev. Daniel Gómez, Preaching

In the 3 rd chapter of the gospel of John, a religious “leader” comes to Jesus by night. This leader is known as Nicodemus the “teacher,” someone who is in the know. Why does he come to Jesus by night? Is he avoiding being seen by others conversing with the new guy who is introducing a new way of thinking?

As a teacher of the Law, Nicodemus is expected to already have the answers and not need to bring up the questions. Nicodemus gives Jesus a sort of exam by asking “Who are you?” Being a powerful and intelligent person, Nicodemus comes to Jesus asking; what do I (as a competent & intelligent person) need to do to get in on whatever it is that you are pushing?

Jesus doesn’t really respond to Nicodemus’s interrogation. What is your plan, Jesus? Are you offering us some new technique for salvation? What are your steps that you say we must follow if we are to save ourselves? Nicodemus is both powerful and educated. He is one of those people who, having had so much success in striving, planning, setting goals and working for what he wants in life; thinks that all he has to do is find out Jesus’ program, get with it, master it, and then he will be “saved.” Then, Jesus responds…“God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.” Salvation is what God does!

Nicodemus reminds me of another highly educated and important person-the Oxford professor C. S. Lewis. Lewis wasn’t really searching for anything special in his life. He was being searched for until that time when “God closed in on me,” and he exclaimed with surprise, “So, it was you all along.” Lewis didn’t search for God… it was God all along, who was searching for him.

Sunday, March 15, 2020                                3rd Sunday in Lent
Scripture Lesson: John 4:5-42
Sermon Title: “How Can We Smash the Barriers”                                                                                                              The Rev. Dr. Larry R. Norris, Preaching

The longest conversation of Jesus in the Gospels is with the woman of Samaria at the well. This is a story that we can relate to because it is also our story. Most of us know about barriers. There have been times when we have erected barriers to protect ourselves from others because we perceived them as “different” or as a “threat”. There have been times when we have hit headlong the barriers that others have erected to keep us out.

The narrative of the woman at the well is a story about smashing barriers. The woman mounted significant barriers. She erected a barrier of prejudice. Jews and Samaritans hated each other to the core. She erected the barrier of social custom. Jewish men and women did not interact in public. There was the barrier that Jesus was an “outsider” to the Samaritan woman. Usually Jews did not travel in Samaria. Finally, there was the barrier of dishonesty. The woman did not “level”with Jesus about her life.

Here is the question: What are the barriers in our lives that keep us from connecting with Jesus?

Sunday March 22, 2020                                 4th Sunday in Lent                                                                                         

Scripture Lesson: John 9:1-41                                                                                                                                                        Sermon Title:  “Here’s Mud in Your Eye”                                                                                                                                  The Rev. Pamela Wagner, Preaching

“As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. Thus begins the first act of the story. In John’s Gospel, Jesus sees a blind man who survives by begging. Jesus does a very strange thing. He puts mud in the man’s eyes and sends him to a pool of Siloam to wash. The word “Siloam” meant “sent.” The blind man was sent to “Sent” and told to wash.

He came back seeing, but by this time, Jesus has disappeared. Jesus, in fact, disappears from the story for a long time.

 

Now the formerly blind man’s neighbors begin arguing. Was the man now standing before them actually the same man who was born blind? How could that be? The man says, “Yes, it is me!”“Well, who did it?” “Jesus.” “Well, where did he go?” “I don’t know.”

We have the man who is now able to see with his eyes, but not with his heart. He does not know the one who had sent him. 

Do we?

Sunday, March 29, 2020                                     5th Sunday in Lent

Scripture Lesson: Romans 8:6-11
Sermon Title: “What’s In Your Nest?”                                                                                                                                        The Rev. Dr. Larry R. Norris, Preaching

We learn from Paul in the New Testament book of Romans that our personalities are not unlike two natures that live in one nest. One “nature pulls us to the things of this “world,” and the other “nature” pulls us toward the things of the “Spirit.” The question is, “Which nature are we nurturing?”

The real question before us this week is to explore the meaning of authentic spirituality. When Paul talks about the “flesh” and the “world,” he is talking about anything that puts God as less than top priority in our lives. In John 4, Jesus tells the woman at the well that he will give her a “spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

What is this living water? One thing seems certain. Jesus is not talking about “religion.” He is showing us something
deeper and more significant, and that centers around a deep “spirituality” that empowers us to worship God “in spirit and in truth.”

Sunday, April 5, 2020                                                  Palm Sunday               (Holy Communion)
Scripture Lesson: Matthew 21:1-11
Sermon Title: “Where Are We In The Crowd?”                                                                                                                            The Rev. Dr. Larry R. Norris, Preaching

With Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the time of Passover we begin the final chapter of his life. He came into the Holy City at a time when it was packed with pilgrims. The streets were congested and the Temple was teeming with out-of-towners. There was always the possibility of trouble.

Demonstrations by protestors, mob violence, and even assassinations were all within the realm of possibility. Here comes Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt, and he is greeted like any other pilgrim at this time: “Blessed is the
one who comes in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13c).

We must be careful to avoid interpreting this event as some kind of shallow “marketing” stunt by Jesus to gain appeal. His convictions were motivated by an awareness of
scripture, history, and the cries of the crowd. Their voices echo their deep hope: “Hosanna,” which means “Save now!”