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Luke 6: Listen to Jesus to flourish

17 Feb 2019 - Rev. David Pileggi looks at Luke's Sermon on the Plain, saying that the words of Jesus have healing power for our whole lives. Do we cherish the words of Jesus? Do we realized we will be judged by why Jesus taught? We must apply the teaching of Jesus to our lives. We also need to beware of the deceitfulness and brokenness of the human heart. When we listen to Jesus rather than the culture or the devil, we submit to Jesus as King. Submission to his kingship brings us to a place...


Luke 5: Holiness is found walking after Jesus

10 February 2019 - Rev. David Pileggi, dedicating the sermon to the memory of Dwight Pryor, reminds us that holiness comes through discipleship. God calls us to be holy, but how does that look practically in our lives? By heeding Jesus' call to "Come and follow me" so that we can learn through intimacy and imitation. Discipleship is a process that takes effort, effort not to earn but to respond to God's grace. Readings: Isaiah 6:1-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11


Luke 4: Jesus' unexpected jubilee

3 February 2019 - Andrew McKain looks at the Jesus' sermon that so upset the people of Nazareth. Jesus preached a message of jubilee, of restoration, reversal of fortunes, healing for society, end of oppression. However, in delivering this message, Jesus crosses boundaries that made his neighbors uncomfortable. Jesus reaches out to the marginal and the outcast. Jesus announces himself as our jubilee. Instead of fixing what we think is wrong with the world, he first fixes us and frees us from...


John 2: When the wine runs out

27 January 2019 - Rev. John Howanstine challenges us to see ourselves in Jesus' miracle of turning water in to wine. The first of the signs connects with all the rest of the signs of the God who comes in covenant faithfulness to the unfaithful. When we've shamefully fallen short, the Messiah, the Creator God, the Bridegroom comes to us and transforms us. Not only that, but he points us to the coming marriage feast of the Lamb. Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 36:5–10; John 2:1–11


Luke 4: Don't limit God's mercy

20 January 2019 - R. Steven Notley walks us through the details of Luke 4:14-21 which records Jesus' first sermon, given at his hometown synagogue. What is recorded tells us quite a bit about how Jesus was seen in the community and how first century synagogues worked. When Jesus says that the Isaiah passage he reads is fulfilled, he is telling his listeners that the passage is relevant to them. His reading Isaiah 61 through the lens of Isaiah 58 communicates to the people of Nazareth and to...


Luke 3: Jesus prays, Father speaks, Spirit hovers

13 January 2018 - Sunday night, Rev. Aaron Eime took a closer look at the at the historical and religious context of baptism in first century Judaism. The baptism of Jesus is in the desert, where John the Baptist has been preparing the way of the Lord. John is calling for national repentance, and Jesus joins in. By doing so, Jesus identifies with Israel and with our humanity. In the middle of this, Jesus prays, the heavens open, and God speaks. How do we know it's God? Because God speaks his...


Luke 3: Who do you think you are?

13 Jan 2018 - What is your identity? It should be belonging to the family of Jesus, being a disciple of the Messiah. The Father affirms Jesus' identity, Rev. David Pileggi reminds us, at his baptism: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22 ESV). Jesus' response is loyal and faithful obedience to the Father. Through Messiah, we can be called sons of God, and the Father is well pleased with us, before we do anything. The proper response to this outpouring of love is a...


Ephesians 3: The Mystery of the New Humanity

6 Jan 2019 - On Epiphany Sunday, Rev. David Pileggi looks at Ephesians 3 and the mystery of reconciliation and inclusion within the Gospel. God's plan of salvation is to make a new humanity, not just save individual souls. The good news is about making a community within which God can dwell. God intends to fulfill his vision in Genesis 12, where Jews and Gentiles were to live together in harmony, interdependence and mutual blessing. God makes the community possible through the death and...


Luke 2: What Jesus learned at home

30 Dec 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi looks at what the passage of young Jesus in the Temple can tell us about Jesus' family life. Mary and Joseph nurtured Jesus in an environment of piety, Scripture, and compassion. Jesus' righteous behavior came not just from a divine download but from his upbringing by very ordinary yet devout people. Jesus at a young age knew God's calling on his life yet it was not time. Jesus obediently went home, back into obscurity, to mature until the right time. Once it...


Christmas: God brings us home to himself

25 Dec 2018 - Rev. John Howanstine asks us, as we circle the sun on this fragile island called Earth, "Where are you?" and "Where is your brother?" As we hide from God and from one another, God comes down to us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus comes to reconcile us to himself, to the Father, and to one another other. Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20


Luke 1: To honor Mary, obey the Son

23 Dec 2018 - On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Rev. Aaron Eime contemplates Mary the mother of Jesus, her humility before God and her obedience despite social pressure and ridicule. Readings: Micah 5:2-5, Psalm 80:1-7, Luke 1:39-55


Christmas: Jewish Story, Christian Holiday

Christmas technically it isn't a Jewish holiday, but it is a Jewish story. In particular, it is a Second Temple Period Jewish story with all the elements of that time: righteous people, angels, a miraculous birth, prophecy, shepherds, a star, and Gentiles paying their homage to the new-born king of the Jews. Virtually all characters in this birth story are Torah observant Jews. Yet, many traditions and customs have developed around the holiday making it harder today to see the Jewish...


Advent: Transformation begins with repentance

16 Dec 2018 - John the Baptist calls us to prepare for the coming of Messiah. Biblically, what does being ready look like? Rev. David Pileggi, tells us that readiness is living a lifestyle of repentance. Repentance is a constant activity, not a one-time act. It is not just changing our mind but changing how we live. Salvation is being in union with Jesus. Repentance allows us to deepen our relationship God by bringing us to a place of trust and reliance on God. Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20,...


Advent: Repent & Point to Jesus

9 Dec 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi asks us if the life and message of John the Baptist relevant today. Was he just a fanatic we avoid or can we learn from him? John calls us to be a voice that points to Jesus. John models for us a listening for God in the wilderness. John shows us how to prepare the way for the LORD: by repentance, changing our mind and changing direction toward God and his ways. Are we ready for Jesus' coming? Are we focusing on the essentials? Or are we minimizing repentance?...


Advent: Keep Past & Future in Focus

2 Dec 2018 - Rev. Alex Jacob, on the First Sunday in Advent, tells us that in this season we cannot just look in one direction. We cannot just look back to the birth of the Messiah, and we cannot just look forward to his Second Coming. In order to have the full picture of the Gospel in the present, we must look to the past and to the future. Readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36


Matthew 6: What is it to seek first the Kingdom?

25 Nov 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi, on Christ the King Sunday, reminds us that the Kingdom of God was Jesus' central topic of preaching. Talk of kings and absolute monarchies make us nervous, as we find them old fashioned and even suspicious. Yet Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. We are to seek God's Salvation and to partner with Messiah to announce the good news and bring healing into people's lives. Readings: Joel 2:21-27, Psalm 126, Matthew 6:25-33


Hebrews 10: Look to Jesus

18 Nov 2018 - Yoel Ben David, from Hebrews 10, reminds us that after Jesus' atoning sacrifice, we now have direct access to the Father. We no longer need to ask the priests to connect us with God. Because we have this access, through the Holy Spirit, we know that we can be assured that our sins are forgiven. Jesus' sacrifice of grace has changed our lives. What do we do with our salvation? We have been brought in a relationship with God because he wants us to build a kingdom. We are, like...


T-shirt fundraiser ENCORE ends Nov 26!

Shalom, friends. We've restarted the T-shirt fundraiser for a limited time. From now until Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, you can order both the Grafted In and Psalm 122 T-shirt designs. Prices start at $20. This maybe the last time we can start at such a low price. Because we've priced the shirts low, our printing partner requires we receive at least 11 orders of each design before they'll print. So, if you've been really wanting one of these shirts, or know some one who would love one for...


Mark 12: Remember & be grateful

11 Nov 2018 - On Remembrance Sunday, Rev. David Pileggi reminds us that the most repeated commandment in the Bible is to remember. We are to remember God's deliverance and that the purpose of his saving us is so that he can dwell among us. We cannot earn his salvation nor relationship with him, but we express our gratitude through obedience. In Mark 12, in the story of the widow's mite, we learn that God takes delight in our being sacrificial and giving. God isn't concerned with how much we...


Mark 12: The greatest commandment

4 Nov. 2018 - In Mark 12, Jesus and a scribe discuss the greatest commandment, found in Deuteronomy 6. Rev. David Pileggi walks us through the Sh'ma, Israel's loyalty oath to the King of the Universe. The Sh'ma is a radical reminder against idolatry and a warning to not succumb to the lusts of the flesh. God does not just call us to obedience but to love. The Kingdom of God exists wherever God’s will is at work. God’s will is at work wherever people are faithful to the command that we love...