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Showing posts from October, 2015

Sermon, "Prayerful: Persistence," Luke 18:1-8

Sermon 10/25/15 Luke 18:1-8
Prayerful: Persistence

            What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Christian values” or “Biblical values”? Maybe faith, hope, love, joy, peace? Some of those fruit-of-the-spirit words Paul talks about? Of course, those things are in there, in the scriptures. Lots of good lessons about all that good fruit we might cultivate in our lives, just like we talked about over the last several weeks. But there’s also several stories that seem to highlight values, personal characteristics, that we don’t really know what to do with. Jesus commends to us in one parable a household manager who deceives the master of the house for his own benefit, and he’s labeled as shrewd, something, apparently, we’re meant to admire. In our Bible Study last spring we read several stories about women who were tricksters, finding sneaky ways to exercise some control in a society where they had little power. And these trickster women become, in fact, part of the family tree of J…

Sermon, "Prayerful: Confession," Nehemiah 1

Sermon 10/18/15 Nehemiah 1
Prayerful: Confession             We are in the midst of what promises to be an extremely long election season, especially when you consider that we still have one election day before the actual election we’ve been hearing all about lately. The presidential election in 2016 is already taking up a lot of our energy. What are you looking for in a candidate? I’ll tell you one thing I’m looking for: a candidate who can apologize well, and can apologize sincerely, can apologize with humility. A candidate who can simply and clearly admit when they are wrong.             I remember back in 2008, when Sarah Palin was on the ticket for the office of Vice President. She was speaking in Boston, one day, and talked about Paul Revere’s famous ride, and she made some reference to him riding to warn the British, instead of warning the colonists. Palin made a mistake, and in my opinion, the media went a bit overboard in jumping on her words, which seemed to me more like misspe…

Sermon, "Fruitful: Jesus's Fruit," 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Sermon 10/4/15 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Fruitful: Jesus’s Fruit
            In case you’ve missed it, we’ve been talking about fruit! Fruit, fruit, and more fruit. Next week, many of you will be helping out at our booth at the Apple Festival, but for those who are here, we’ll close with a final reflection on what it means to be fruitful, before we turn to some of our particular expressions of fruitfulness at Apple Valley, namely that we increase our fruitfulness by being prayerful, invitational, and missional. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you won’t hear any more about us being fruitful. I’m hoping that we’ll be returning again and again to being clear about the fruit we’re seeking. My hope would be that everyone here would feel confident expressing an answer if someone asked what fruit we’re trying to produce at Apple Valley.             Still, on the last day we’re all together focusing on this in worship as our main theme, what is it that is left to be said. When I first sketched o…

Sermon, "Fruitful: Just Fruit," Isaiah 5:1-10

Sermon 9/27/15 Isaiah 5:1-10
Fruitful: Just Fruit
            Last week, I gave you some homework. I asked you to think about the “so thats” that make up what you do and why, and what we do here at Apple Valley and why. Apple Valley is here so that what? We worship so that what? We act in ministry so that what? I hope you had an opportunity to struggle and wrestle with these questions a bit this week. If you haven’t yet, and you need another worksheet, or if you didn’t get one last week, I have more right here for you! We spent some time at our Bearing Fruit Book Study talking about these questions, thinking hard about how we answer them. I’ve you’ve been finding it a bit challenging, I’ll give you a helpful strategy. You can’t always settle for your first answer. You aren’t always getting to the heart of the matter the first time you fill in the blank. So you have to adopt the attitude of a curious child. The favorite question of a curious child is “why?” But children don’t often just s…