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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...


Hebrews 12: Why the living need the dead

28 October 2018 - As All Saints Day approaches, Rev. David Pileggi spoke on why we should celebrate this Christian feast day and why we should remember the dead. Isn't this feast day Catholic? some may ask. The holy day started as a day to remember the martyrs in Roman times. We shouldn't fear death. We should take courage from the millions of faithful who have gone before us. When we or others ask if the Christian faith is real, if it's true, we can look at thousands of years of history...


Mark 10: Imitating our Servant King

21 Oct. 2018 - Rev. Aaron Eime reminds us that Jesus, the King of Righteousness, is not like the kings of this world. He is gentle and doesn't lord his authority over us but rather serves us. Jesus challenges us to drink from his cup of suffering and to serve others as he has served us. Readings: Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45


Mark 10: On what are you depending instead of Jesus?

14 October 2018 - In today's passage, a rich young man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Rev. David Pileggi highlights that Jesus' answer is out of love and not condemnation. The Kingdom of Heaven is a movement of people who call Jesus King and allow Jesus to rule and reign. Jesus is challenging the young man's dependence on his wealth. What are you depending on instead of Jesus? Readings: Amos 5:6-7,10-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31


Mark 10: Jesus' cure for broken relationships

7 October 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi tackles Jesus' teaching on divorce, reminding us to keep Jesus' words within the context of discipleship. Jesus calls us to pick up our cross and follow him into a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Divorce is result of our refusal to open ourselves to his transformation. God's intention for marriage is to bless the couple, society, and all creation. It is also meant to be a picture of God's commitment to his people. If hard-heartedness is the cause...


Mark 9: Lessons in spiritual warfare

30 Sept. 2018 - The Christian Feast of Michael and all the Angels reminds us of our victory we have (through Messiah) over the Adversary. Rev. David Pileggi calls us to take spiritual warfare seriously but to approach it soberly. Michael the Angel does not himself rebuke Satan but rather says, "The Lord rebuke you!" In Mark 9, we learn that we must be charitable and generous with believers that are different that us. Disunity gives place to the devil. David also reminds us that Jesus was a...


Sukkot: Remember God’s Gifts & Respond

23 Sept 2018 - The holidays are for us to remember God's salvation and his provision. Concerning the Feast of Booths, Rev. David Pileggi says that while it brings great blessing, the challenge for us Christians is to approach this holiday in a mature way. Otherwise we will have confusion and division. Readings: Deuteronomy 16:13-17; Nehemiah 8


Rosh Hashanah: Wake Up Call!

9 Sept 2018 - On the morning before Rosh Hashanah, Rev. David Pileggi tells us how in this spiritual new year, it is time for us to take stock, to examine ourselves for those things that offend God and our neighbor, to seek reconciliation, to humble ourselves and repent. The sound of the shofar (ram's horn) is to wake us from our slumber, to warn us to stay awake. What is staying awake? Being careful how we live before God, especially as we live under the great pressure of this world....


Mark 7: What defiles us or makes us holy?

2 Sept. 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi walks us closer to the Pharisees so we can understand better where they were coming from and why the were attracted to Jesus but also why they argue with him. In Mark 7, it's not that Jesus disagrees with the Torah but with the Pharisee's interpretation. Jesus is not overturning the commandments. The issue is what makes us holy and what defiles us. What does defile us? The disobedience of the human heart. Readings: Psalm 15, Mark 7:1-23


John 6: 'To whom shall we go?'

26 Aug 2018 - Rev. John Howanstine ask us how we react when Jesus asks us to do something we don't understand? Do we humbly sit under his teaching or do we walk away in disgust and pride? Scripture readings: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69


John 6: The bread of salvation

19 August 2018 - Rev. David Pileggi reminds us that Jesus promises us -- even in the sinful, broken world we live in -- we can share in the eternal, divine life that the Father gives the Son. This is not just some legal standing. This is about relationship. How are relationships in the Bible cemented? With the sharing of food. Why does Jesus go beyond the language of abiding and clinging on to eating in John 6? Jesus is referencing the rich biblical connection of food and intimate...


John 6: Our Daily Living Bread

12 Aug 2018 - As the lectionary has us linger a bit longer on John 6, Rev. David Pileggi delves into the implications of Jesus identifying himself as the Bread of Heaven. Believing in the Gospel of John is a commitment. Believing in Jesus is committing to a relationship with him. Are you feeding on God's manna daily? Readings: Exodus 16:1-8; Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51


John 6: The Bread of Heaven

5 August 2018 - Rev. John Howanstine reminds us that we do not live by bread alone. After Jesus fed the 5,000, the crowds returned to have their bellies filled again. Jesus instead declares himself the Bread of Heaven, calling us to feed on him. For those of us who long for intimacy with Jesus, the Communion Table is a trysting place where the LORD has ordained for us to meet him. Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29; John 6:24-35


John 6: Lift up your hearts

29 July 2018 - Rev. John Howanstine says that Jesus knows we are weak but he calls us to take heart, to be strengthened, to have courage. He wants to transform us from dimly burning wicks into great lights in the world by giving us his own strength. Readings: 2 Kings 4:42-44, Psalm 145:10-19, Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-21