The Gift of "Now" (Luke 13:1-9)

The Gift of "Now" (Luke 13:1-9)

“Now” is a gift given to the tree (and to us) to take note of what the divine Vine-Dresser has done on our behalf. “Now” is an opportunity to draw on the gift of Life only Jesus can give. The grace period is short. The call is imminent. But the Jubilee Year Jesus came to proclaim would be one of forgiveness, restoration and second chances (4:19).

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The Problem of Half-Truths in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13)

The Problem of Half-Truths in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13)

Last Wednesday we wore the cross of Jesus in ashes on our foreheads in remembrance of the Truth that as sinners “we are dust, and to dust we shall return” (cf. Genesis 3:19). This Sunday many of us will watch as a new child of God, Rhett Russell Gagnon, receives the gift of New Life in Holy Baptism and the same image …the cross of Jesus that brings forgiveness and renewal…is traced over his forehead.

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Deep Sea Fishing (Luke 5:1-11)

Deep Sea Fishing (Luke 5:1-11)

This past week at Trinity we distributed a questionnaire asking all of you how you thought we were doing in the area of connecting people to Jesus through worship, one of the three key parts (Word of God, worship, and caring service) of Trinity’s mission statement. One part of that questionnaire asked those taking it whether they had ever invited another person to church. I was surprised (and grateful) that many of those responding answered that they had…and that the result had been positive. But a different answer I read was one I found myself relating to….”

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A "Today" that Is Real for Us Every Day (Luke 4:16-30)

A "Today" that Is Real for Us Every Day  (Luke 4:16-30)

The Good News of God’s righteous reign isn’t just in the past or for “someday,” but for now. It isn’t just for yesterday or tomorrow. Thanks to the crucified and risen Christ, it was for the people of Luke’s Gospel (and for us!) to enjoy today.

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Good Wine, Sour Wine, and Real Community (John 2:1-12; 19:28-30; 15:1-5)

Good Wine, Sour Wine, and Real Community (John 2:1-12; 19:28-30; 15:1-5)

Every Sunday I get to see something that most of you who read this posting do not. It’s the faces of all the people in our congregation as they receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion in our weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

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The Gift of the Real Three Kings (Luke 3:15-22; Isaiah 43:1-7)

The Gift of the Real Three Kings (Luke 3:15-22; Isaiah 43:1-7)

The gift of the real Three Kings is a game-changer because nothing…neither fire/brimstone nor the overwhelming force of the mightiest waters (Is 43:2) can ultimately overwhelm us and do us in. Why be anxious about tomorrow? What is left to fear?

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Seekers...and the One Who Finds (Matthew 2:1-12)

Seekers...and the One Who Finds (Matthew 2:1-12)

Last Sunday gave us an invitation to rejoice with Simeon and Anna (the faithful people of God in the temple) over a “God-sighting,” as they saw the very face of God in the person of the baby Jesus. This Sunday is a reminder that there are also those who are “on the way” to seeing Jesus. And maybe God’s way of helping them see Jesus (and so, know they are “found” by Him) is to put you and me in their path.

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Forgiveness, at Year's End (Col. 3:13)

Forgiveness, at Year's End (Col. 3:13)

Much of the advice we get from folks who smooth out the wrinkles in the fabric of our shared community is wise and helpful. But St. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, adds a more profound rationale to forgive: “Bear with one another, and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive (Col 3:13).”

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God's Exclamation Mark (Luke 1:39--56)

God's Exclamation Mark (Luke 1:39--56)

In a world overflowing with crisis, confusion, and tension, in the day-to-day world of tragic events that cause unanswered question to be asked, the gift of the Christ child is God’s definitive reply that brings hope and healing to even unlovable people: Jesus is the sign that God’s love is at the bottom of life.

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Countercultural Joy (Philippians 4:4-7)

Countercultural Joy (Philippians 4:4-7)

It really struck me this week as I was considering how joy works that there are so many images in our popular culture (especially from my favorite, classic Christmas films) that give us impressions of what true Christmas joy is. The trouble is…in some manner they all fall short of the mark.

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Seeing Possibilities (Luke 3:1-14)

Seeing Possibilities (Luke 3:1-14)

The glory of the angels is preceded by the fire proclaimed by John the Baptist for those not stirred to look around and yearn for peace. Not one of us can save the world…and at times, even on Christmas Day, we may have a hard time just maintaining peace with the people we share the world with! Yet we are children of a God who fulfills His promise to restore, renew, and work out the possibilities His Spirit brings to fulfillment in us.

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First Light (Jeremiah 33:14-16)

First Light (Jeremiah 33:14-16)

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new church year. Advent this year starts with a promise…a promise given to people who are sitting in the dark wondering if they will ever see the light of God’s favor again. It is the Promise extended to those who feel as if they are in the tomb already, with immovable rock enclosing them. It is God’s YES and it is spoken in the face of the world’s MAYBE and the Devil’s NO. It is the Promise that “[You] will be saved and live in safety.” For all of us who live after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the promise voiced by Jeremiah has been fulfilled in Christ. About this YES of God, St. Paul wrote this: “For in [Christ] every one of God’s promises is a YES. For this reason it is through Him that we say the ‘Amen’ to the glory of God.”

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Enthroned (John 18:33-37)

Enthroned (John 18:33-37)

I don’t know about you, but in this era of “fake news” and “ideological narratives” I can’t help thinking about the “capital T” Truth that Jesus describes in our text today. (To read the text from the Gospel of John, click here.) Is the real force that gives rise to meaningful human actions merely the “truth of power”…. or is it the power of Truth?

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Living with the "End" in View (Mark 13:1-13)

Living with the "End" in View (Mark 13:1-13)

Christ our King, is coming. And Jesus has already told us how things will end, saying “Do not be alarmed” (7); “do not be anxious” (11). He is coming to right every wrong. Because of all that he accomplished through his death and resurrection (which we are given to see through faith) that will not result in our own destruction and punishment, but with the free gift of eternal life and a “new creation”!

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Never Invisible (Mark 12:38-44)

Never Invisible (Mark 12:38-44)

These are busy days at Trinity. As I write this, Little Sonbeams Christian Preschool is celebrating Thanksgiving Feast Week. What a great opportunity to hang out with our preschool kids and their families…giving thanks for one another and for whatever else comes to mind! Then, this Sunday we take a moment to remember how God has made us stewards over all that we have (time, abilities, material possessions) and to pledge a portion of that for carrying out God’s mission together. Later that same evening, we welcome our WARM guests and settle in for a week of meals together, conversation with new friends, and opportunities for service. We are all people who love to be noticed for our busy-ness and generosity, but that, of course, is not what this is about. Our text this week reminds us that even when we appear to be at the very limits of what we are able to give (like the impoverished widow of our text), Jesus sees and cares for us.

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