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Showing posts from June, 2016

Sermon for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "Missional: The Journey," 1 Kings 19:1-18 (Proper 7, Ordinary 12)

Sermon 6/19/16 1 Kings 19:1-18
Missional: The Journey

Today we pop into the Hebrew Scriptures to the book of First Kings. We’re coming in kind of in the middle of a story here, but nonetheless, this reading from the lectionary just grabbed at me as I thought about everything happening in our world and everything happening right here at Apple Valley. We come into the story here in Chapter 19, but things have been unfolding for several chapters already. First and Second Kings chronicle a period in the history of Israel and Judah when a line of kings, starting with King Saul, ruled the people, after they had long clamored for an earthly king - not just God as ruler - so that they could be more like other nations. First and Second Kings testify to the fact that having a king is not all that God’s people hoped it would be. Some kings are faithful servants of God, but others “do what is evil in the sight of the Lord,” according to the author. And among those evil kings is King Ahab. In fact, …

Sermon for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "Missional: Needy," Luke 7:36-50 (Proper 6C, Ordinary 11C)

Sermon 6/11/16 Luke 7:36-50
Missional: Needy

We talk often about how Jesus goes out of his way to eat with sinners and tax collectors and other people who are on the fringes, who are disliked, who are rejected by well-mannered well-behaved folks. But Jesus also ate with people who were in the thick of it, right in the center of society. You have to give some credit to Pharisees who invited Jesus for a meal, because Jesus didn’t hesitate to say what he thought and stir things up, even if he was your guest for dinner! Would you want Jesus for a dinner guest? What might he say to you, to me I wonder? Jesus is asked by Simon, a Pharisee, a religious scholar and leader in the community, to eat at his home, and he accepts. He takes his place at the table, and a woman, identified only as “a sinner,” learning where Jesus was, comes with an alabaster jar of ointment. We’re not told what her sin is. Although history has often called her a prostitute, there’s nothing in the text to suggest it. She …

Sermon, "Missional: Setting the Bar High," Mark 10:17-27

Sermon 6/5/16 Mark 10:17-27
Missional: Setting the Bar High

Last week, we started our series looking at what it means to be a missional congregation. We talked about finding our purpose, or rather, aligning ourselves with God’s purpose in the world. We heard Jesus announce that his purpose was to embody God’s good news, God’s purpose in the world, which focuses on extending welcome and special invitation to all those who are marginalized and oppressed. For us, who already have heard and received the good news in Jesus, our task is to work with and for Jesus to help make sure the whole world gets the message. That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Sometimes, I think, we can be overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness in the face of the call of the gospel. Jesus wants to flip the world upside down, and we want to go with him, but this turning the world upside down leaves us a bit dizzy. Are we making discipleship too hard? Can’t we just try to follow the golden rule - do unto others a…

Sermon, "Missional: Mission Statement," Luke 4:14-30

Sermon 5/29/16 Luke 4:14-30
Missional: Mission Statement
Today, after a hiatus in our series to celebrate Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, we finally return our series focusing on those components that are my dreams, and I hope yours too, for Apple Valley: that we would be a congregation that is Fruitful, Prayerful, Invitational, and Missional. It was almost a year ago now when we first talked about what I had in mind when I said I dreamed that we would be a missional church. We focused on a key verse: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” I shared with you our denomination’s mission statement, our purpose statement. The Book of Discipline says that the mission of the church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, thus seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in the world” and further that…