Connect. Grow. SERVE. - June 16, 2013
"Connect. Grow. SERVE."
Text: Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-16
The last of a three-part series, we explore what it means to use the right tools in the hands of the right person for the right job. The elements of service are so tightly woven into the fabric of the Christian faith that it's essential for every believer to be utilizing their gifts and talents in service to the Master. To do anything less is to miss out on all that He has for you. Pastor Jon concludes the message by exploring the relationship between the three core values that we've been discussing: Connect. Grow. Serve. …
Connect. GROW. Serve - June 9, 2013
"Connect. GROW. Serve"
Text: 2 Peter 1:3-8
If we are truly connected to God, then it stands to reason that we will grow. But Peter indicates that we can't simply sit back and expect this growth to occur, but that we must "make every effort" to add to our faith. We also realize that we don't reach a point of "arrival" but that we have these things in "increasing measure." All of this for the purpose of being effective and productive in the Kingdom of God. …
CONNECT. Grow. Serve. - June 2, 2013
"CONNECT. Grow. Serve."
Text: Romans 5:6-11
What is "The Church"? The first in a three-week series, we explore our core values and mission. Using the biblical images of a vine, the body, and a building, Pastor Jon explores what it means to be reconciled to God and to help others connect with God. Prior to the sermon, the congregation watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_4u8TRorUw …
Glory in our Sufferings - May 26, 2013
"Glory in our Sufferings"
Text: Romans 5:1-5
Pastor Jon considers the themes of honor and shame, which were two of the guiding criteria in the ancient cultures. The Apostle Paul challenges to not "fit in" with the dominant culture, but to glory in our sufferings... and to know that our hope will not put us to shame. …
Ashes to Fire #14: "It's a Family Thing" - May 19, 2013
Ashes to Fire #14: "It's a Family Thing"
Text: Romans 8:9-17
The celebration of Pentecost is truly "A Family Thing," as nobody else celebrates this holiday quite like Christians. Pastor Jon explores the themes of family resemblances, family brokenness, and family restoration in this concluding sermon in the Ashes to Fire series. …
Ashes to Fire #13: "A Great High Priest" - May 12, 2013
Ashes to Fire #13: "A Great High Priest"
Text: John 17:20-26
In looking at this portion of the "High Priestly Prayer of Jesus," we are reminded that on the night Jesus was betrayed, He prayed for US. The contents of that prayer inform the way in which we ought to live together as the Church, and the mission that we ought to be engaged in. We are also reminded that Jesus continues to pray for us as He is seated at the right-hand of the Throne of God. …
Ashes to Fire #12: "Not Afraid" - May 5, 2013
Ashes to Fire #12: "Not Afraid"
Text: John 14:23-29
The Holy Spirit. Peace. Be Not Afraid. These promises of Jesus are so intertwined that it's hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. When we truly understand the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, made available to all people for all time, then we will walk in peace, and never be afraid. We know that "never once did we ever walk alone." …
Ashes to Fire #11: "Love Like Jesus" - April 28, 2013
Ashes to Fire #11: "Love Like Jesus"
Text: John 13:31-35
In light of the New Covenant established on the night that Jesus was betrayed, we need to take a serious look at the New Commandment given by Jesus - to love others as Jesus loves us. This sort of love is to be the defining hallmark of the Christ-follower, for the world will know that we are Christians because of our love. In this sermon, Pastor Jon explores what this love looks like, and how it is lived out in the new covenant community. …
Ashes to Fire #10: In the Arms of the Shepherd - April 21, 2013
Ashes to Fire #10: "In the Arms of the Shepherd"
Text: I Thessalonians 5:1-11; John 10:22-30; Psalm 46
Following the tragic events of this week, Pastor Jon considers the "illusion of security" that we sometimes cling to. The texts today remind us that we can't find "peace and safety" in our government, economy, military, or anything else in this world which is bound to fail. When all else fails, we are reminded that the Good Shepherd will shelter us, and that no one can snatch us out of His hand. …
Ashes to Fire #9: Under Construction - April 14, 2013
Ashes to Fire #9: "Under Construction"
Text: John 21:1-19
We recognize that we are often like Jesus' disciples: even if we don't deny Him like Peter, or betray Him like Judas, we are often like the others - silent, doubting, confused, scattered, and afraid. And like the seven disciples in today's lesson, we sometimes return to "business as usual" - the familiar and comfortable routines we knew before we met Jesus. Today's sermon reminds us that Jesus lovingly pursues us, even though we're still under construction. …
Annual Meeting: "Now Thank We All Our God" - April 7, 2013
Annual Meeting: "Now Thank We All Our God"
Text: I Corinthians 3:5-9; Luke 17:11-19
Before we rush ahead into the "New Thing" that God is doing, it's important to return to the Savior, praising Him for what He has done, is doing, and is going to do. In his Annual Report, Pastor Jon highlights some of the great things that have happened this year, reminding us that this is not the story of any one pastor, board member, teacher, or member; but the story of God Himself. He will build His church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Mt. 16:18). …
Ashes to Fire 7: "Breaking the Chains" - March 31, 2013
Ashes to Fire 7: "Breaking the Chains"
Text: I Corinthians 15:20-26; Isaiah 65:17-25; Luke 24:1-12
Pastor Jon explores the imagery of bondage throughout scripture and literature, considering the ways in which Christ breaks the chains of injustice, sin, and death. Easter reminds us that Christ has already defeated the last enemy, death itself. In so doing, we can be confident that all other enemies are defeated and all other chains are broken. …
Ashes to Fire #6: "Not a Rock" - March 24, 2013
Ashes to Fire #6: "Not a Rock"
Text: Luke 19:28-40
As we explore the themes of the Triumphal Entry, we are confronted with the question of whether we accept Jesus on His terms, or attempt to define Him to meet our own expectations. Did the "Hosannas" fade because the road was too tough... the cross too difficult... or because Jesus wasn't who they expected Him to be? As disciples, it is our job to praise God regardless of the circumstances. If we remain silent, then the rocks will cry out. …
Ashes to Fire #5: Prodigal Mary - March 17, 2013
Ashes to Fire #5: Prodigal Mary
In a Gospel Lesson full of literary devices, we consider the ways in which Mary's lavish gift helps us to give of ourselves fully to our Lord. Our extravagant worship should always be in response to our understanding that God has given everything for us. …
Ashes to Fire #4: Embraced by Grace - March 10, 2013
Ashes to Fire #4: "Embraced by Grace"
Text: Luke 15:1-2, 11-32
Victor Hugo provides a powerful way to look at the characters in today's Gospel lesson. From Les Miserables, the characters of Javert and Valjean help us to understand the lives of the elder and younger son in the parable of the Prodigal Son. One has been forever changed after being embraced by grace, while the other is bound by rules and legalism. As we remember our own encounter with God's grace, we are reminded to extend that same embrace to others--that they might somehow catch a taste of the transforming grace of God. …
Ashes to Fire #3: Keep Short Accounts - March 3, 2013
Ashes to Fire #3: "Keep Short Accounts"
Text: Luke 13:1-9
When tragedy strikes, there is no shortage of "Christian spokespeople" prepared to declare that the tragedy was somehow indicative of God's judgment on a particular person or group of people. And yet, when people ask Jesus about tragic events, he (politely and tactfully) tells them to MYOB - Mind Your Own Business. In this message, Pastor Jon considers the ways in which we ought to primarily be concerned about nurturing our own spiritual growth, keeping short accounts with God and with others. …
Ashes to Fire #2: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" - February 24, 2013
Ashes to Fire #2: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem"
Text: Luke 13:31-35
As Jesus moves steadfastly toward Jerusalem, he does so fearlessly, knowing that the timing if his death is entirely in the hands of the Father. Lamenting the broken systems and lost people in Jerusalem, Jesus continues to make intentional decisions which lead to his arrest and execution. And yet, we still get a sense for the Father-heart of God, as Jesus longs to gather under his wings the very people who will seek to do him harm. In a reversal of our English idiom about the fox guarding the hen house, here we see the hen walking straight into the lair of the fox. …
Ashes to Fire #1: Wilderness Survival Guide - February 17, 2013
Ashes to Fire #1: "Wilderness Survival Guide"
As we begin our wilderness adventure with Jesus, we consider the ways in which His identity formed the foundation from which He faced temptation. Jesus knew who He was, whose He was, and Who went with Him. In the same manner, as dearly loved children of God, we survive the wilderness by being firmly rooted in our identity and the knowledge that the Holy Spirit goes with us. …
Transfiguration: Going Back Down the Mountain - February 10, 2013
"Transfiguration: Going Back Down the Mountain"
Text: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Concluding the Season After Epiphany, the Transfiguration reminds us that we meet God in order to be transformed; that we go up the mountain in order to return to the valley; and that we enjoy the privilege of a personal relationship with God. As we go back down the mountain into the valley, we are to be the representation of God--ambassadors to the world. …
Missio Dei - February 3, 2013
Text: Luke 5:1-11
Jesus invites Peter, James and John to partner with Him in fulfilling the Mission of God. It is the same call that is issued to every follower of Jesus, and yet we have often been content to sit back and wait for the world to come to us. We are reminded of the response of Isaiah: "Here am I, send me." …
Epiphany: Pursuing the Revelation of Christ - January 6, 2013
"Epiphany: Pursuing the Revelation of Christ"
Text: Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12
While much of our traditions about the Magi are based in speculation and legend, we can make some educated guesses about their journey and the sacrifices that they made. These educated guesses help us determine some lessons that we can learn from the Wise Men in our pursuit of Jesus. …
The Year of Jubilee - January 27, 2013
"The Year of Jubilee"
Text: Luke 4:14-21
In proclaiming the Year of the Lord's Favor, Jesus doesn't seem to be talking about land ownership and freedom for slaves as much as He is talking about spiritual poverty & blindness, and setting people free from the law of sin and death. In a move that angers His listeners, Jesus extends this Year of Jubilee to all people, not just the Jews. What would it mean to press the "giant reset button" on your life? What does it mean to truly understand that your future is not controlled by your past? …
Discipline of Celebration - January 20, 2013
"Discipline of Celebration"
Text: John 2:1-11
Jesus continues to demonstrate obedience and submission as His mother asks Him to perform His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. In turning water into wine, Jesus not only reminds us that He has power over the material elements in this world, but that He is the full embodiment of the God who celebrates with His children. Jesus doesn't cut any corners, but turns the water into the best wine imaginable, reminding us that we can bring the ordinary "stuff" of our lives to be transformed into something extra-ordinary for God's glory. …
Voluntary Submission in the Kingdom of God - January 13, 2013
"Voluntary Submission in the Kingdom of God"
Text: Philippians 2:1-11; Luke 3:15-22
Pastor Jon looks at the Baptism of our Lord through the lens of the Kenosis hymn found in Philippians 2. By considering Baptism as a voluntary act of submission, we recognize that in order to live into our baptism will entail great risk as we subvert the kingdoms of this world. …
Family Resemblances (#4): Love - December 23, 2012
Family Resemblances (#4): "Love"
Text: I Corinthians 13
And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love. - I Cor 13:13. Pastor Jon concludes our Advent Series with a look at what it means to be shaped by Godly Love. Paul tells us that nothing else that we do will last, and even the good things that we do are fruitless if not for Love. How will they know you are a Christian? What token will you give? What sign will you show? …
Family Resemblances (#3): Joy - December 16, 2012
Family Resemblances (#3): Joy
Text: Psalm 126, Luke 3:7-18, Philippians 4:4-13
Exploring the tension between Advent Hope and our present circustances, Pastor Jon identifies the need for Joy and Contentment. Even as we know it's acceptable to "sow in tears," we rejoice that Christ identified with those tears, that the Light of the World came down into darkness, and that He walks with us even through the valley. …
Family Resemblances (#2): Peace - December 9, 2012
Family Resemblances (#2): "Peace"
Text: Matthew 5:38-48; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
During this second week of Advent, Pastor Jon explores what it means to reflect the life of the Prince of Peace. Jesus not only came to bring a message of peace on earth, but came in a manner consistent with that message. What does it mean for you to be an ambassador of God's Peace this Christmas season? …
Family Resemblances (#1): Hope - December 2, 2012
Family Resemblances (#1): Hope
Text: Zechariah 9:9-12
This Advent, Pastor Jon looks at some of the "Family Resemblances" that ought to be found in the family of Christ-followers. We begin our series with a look at what it means to be a "prisoner of hope." Christ-followers ought not be characterized by hand-wringing and head-shaking, but with a calm assurance that Christ is bringing about His Kingdom in all of its fullness. …
Christ the King: Consider the Cost - November 25, 2012
"Christ the King: Consider the Cost"
Text: Luke 14:25-35
Christ the King Sunday is an annual reminder that Christ is to be lord of our lives throughout the year. Pastor Jon looks at some of the hard teachings of Jesus as he journeys toward Jerusalem and the cross. Have you considered the cost of discipleship? The invitation is given to all, but the costs of being a subject in the Kingdom are great. …
All for What? - November 18, 2012
All for What?
Text: Mark 13:1-8
In the second of this two-part message on Mark 12:38 - 13:8, Pastor Jon further explores what it must have meant for the widow to tragically give her two last coins for a failed system that was condemned for destruction. We are reminded to make sure that we give of ourselves to the things that will last--the things of the Kingdom of God. While buildings and programs may be useful tools to build the kingdom, they are only a means to an end. The kingdoms of this world will pass away, and all that will remain is the Kingdom of God. …
Giving All - November 11, 2012
Placing this passage in its broader context helps us to understand that the primary message wasn't about the widow's sacrificial giving, but about the exploitation by the Pharisees. Pastor Jon takes a closer look at this passage, suggesting that churches and religious institutions have used these verses in precisely the ways that Jesus is condemning. "Giving All" is about more than just money. …
E100 #21: Where They Need No Sun - October 28, 2012
E100 #21: "Where They Need No Sun"
Text: Revelation 21-22
At the conclusion of our five-month journey through E100, Pastor Jon considers the themes of light and darkness. Sometimes we need to turn to the end of the Story to be reminded of its grand and glorious conclusion! And in the in-between-time, we are reminded that we are the light of the world. …
E100 #20: FaithDeeds - October 21, 2012
E100 #20: "FaithDeeds - October 21, 2012"
Text: James 2:14-26
During our Faith Promise for Missions Convention, Pastor Jon takes a closer look at this passage from the book of James. Our actions, our words, our deeds, and even our financial decisions are a reflection of our faith in Christ, and the ways in which we have been transformed by the character and nature of the heart of God. …
E100 #19: Rightly Dividing the Word - October 14, 2012
E100 #19: "Rightly Dividing the Word"
Text: 2 Timothy 2:15
The apostle Paul's encouraging letters to Timothy, a young church leader in Ephesus, have instructed local pastors for centuries; however, the advice to Timothy contains a wealth of information for Jesus' followers who desire to share God's good news. Those who are chosen to lead our churches are not the only ones who minister in our communities. When we believe in the universal love of God we can become the shadow of Jesus on the dusty roads of our villages. …
E100 #18: The Fruit of the Spirit - October 7, 2012
E100 #18: "The Fruit of the Spirit"
Text: Galatians 5:16-26
In light of the multiple directives in scripture to "produce fruit," Pastor Jon looks at this familiar passage from Galatians. Paul instructs us, not to keep score and a list of dos and don'ts, but to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. If we are rooted in God's Word, drinking deeply from the Living Water, and abiding in Christ, then we can be confident that the Spirit will produce fruit within us. …
E100 #17: Running on Fumes - September 30, 2012
E100 #17: "Running on Fumes"
Text: Acts 9:1-19
The story of Paul is exhausting! We struggle to keep up with the passion and determination of this Apostle. And yet, we recognize that Paul did not accomplish all of that by his own strength and ability, but because of a constant reliance upon the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. …
E100 #16: Homecoming - Koinonia - September 23, 2012
E100 #16: "Homecoming - Koinonia"
Text: Acts 2:42-47
On this Homecoming Sunday and 45th Anniversary Celebration, Pastor Jon helps us to consider how the local church should be shaped in the Image of the Triune God. Since the early church, communities of Christians have been defined by Koinonia - Communion by Intimate Participation. We conclude our service by welcoming 6 new members to our congregation. …
E100 #15: You Are What You Eat - September 16, 2012
E100 #15: "You Are What You Eat"
Text: Luke 22:7-34
Our text today highlights the dichotomy between the Kingdom Narrative and the narratives of this world. While the disciples are attracted to money, power and greatness; Jesus demonstrates a Kingdom built on poverty, brokenness and servanthood. As we gather around the Table, we are formed and shaped by the grace that we find there. …
E100 #14: Miracles 101: Ephphatha - September 9, 2012
E100 #14: "Miracles 101: Ephphatha"
Text: Mark 7:32-37
The miracles of Jesus are examples of God's spiritual intervention in our lives. Although we may not hear or see what happened, we are still changed. Pastor Gloria highlights Gospel stories of individuals whose response to unexpected release demonstrated their belief about the Source of their miraculous provision. …
E100 #13: Who Is My Neighbor? - September 2, 2012
E100 #13: "Who Is My Neighbor?"
Text: Luke 10:25-37
The Good Samaritan gives us a concrete example of how we ought to reflect the character and nature of God. After looking at a couple of lessons from the parable itself, Pastor Jon takes a closer look at the context of the parable, suggesting that the Bible often calls us to specific behaviors, regardless of the behavior of others. …
E100 #12: Stepping Down into Darkness - August 26, 2012
E100 #12: "Stepping Down into Darkness"
Text: John 1:1-18
By celebrating Christmas in August, we hope to get a fresh reading of the Christmas texts, hearing again what it meant for Jesus to empty Himself and step down into our darkness. The Incarnation provides us with a model of how we ought to live, walking through dark valleys, moving into the neighborhood, and embodying the Kingdom of God to all we meet. …
E100 #11: Broken Cisterns - August 19, 2012
E100 #11: "Broken Cisterns"
Text: Jeremiah 2:1-12; 31:31-34
After providing an overview of Jeremiah's life, Pastor Jon explores the words of Jeremiah, which reveal to us the character and nature of the heart of God. God continues to remember His people, even though they have forgotten Him and traded the Glory of the Living God for gods made of wood and stone. Instead of drinking deeply at the springs of living water, they have built broken cisterns that cannot hold water. …
E100 #10: Mindful of our Frame
E100 #10: "Mindful of our Frame"
Text: Psalm 103
Bonhoeffer reminds us that there is no forgiveness without repentance. This morning a closer look at Psalm 103 reminds us that God is a god of both justice and mercy, and that confession is telling God the truth that He already knows. …
E100 #9: When the Brook Dries Up - July 29, 2012
E100 #9: "When the Brook Dries Up"
Text: I Kings 17:1-16
Alluding to the business parable, "Who Moved My Cheese?" Pastor Jon takes a look at how we deal with change in our lives. When everything seems to be going smootly, we find it easy to trust God. But when the brook dries up, we are tempted to be angry, or live in denial, or be paralyzed by fear. Instead, like Elijah, we must listen to the voice of God and trust that He can redeem the situation. …
E100 #8: Be Not Conformed - July 22, 2012
E100 #8: "Be Not Conformed"
Text: I Samuel 8:1-20
As we continue our journey through scripture, we consider what it means for the Israelites to have wanted to "be like other nations," and to have a king. As we consider the implications for us today, we recognize that not only are we tempted to be like the world around us, but that our churches are tempted to try to imitate other churches, and we are often tempted to try to be like other Christians. Instead, God calls us to fulfill our unique and special role within the Kingdom of God. …
E100 #7: Our Kinsman Redeemer - July 15, 2012
E100 #7: "Our Kinsman Redeemer"
Text: Ruth 1-4
Pastor Jon offers a brief devotional on the book of Ruth, highlighting that we care for widows, orphans and outsiders because we are all widows, orphans and outsiders. It is only because of our Kinsman Redeemer that we can consider ourselves part of the Family of God. …
E100 #6: Consecrate Yourselves - July 8, 2012
E100 #6 - "Consecrate Yourselves"
Text: Joshua 3:1-13
By exploring several texts, Pastor Jon considers the themes of preparation and consecration. We considered the possiblity that we may not see God's hand at work because we are not properly prepared to encounter an Almighty and Holy God. …
E100 #5: God Remembers - July 1, 2012
E100 #5: "God Remembers"
Text: Exodus 3
As we explore the narrative of the Exodus, we are encouraged with the reminder that God remembers His children, even though they appear to have forgotten Him. …
E100 #4: Higher Ways - June 24, 2012
E100 #4: "Higher Ways"
Text: Genesis 45:3-8; 50:15-21
The story of Joseph reminds us that God will keep his promise to his people, and that He watches over those of integrity and faithfulness. At the same time, we're reminded that our current situations may not make much sense until we can look back and see God's hand at work. After all, God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. …
E100 #3: Promises, Promises - June 17, 2012
E100 #3: "Promises, Promises"
Text: Genesis 22:1-19
Abraham gives us an example of someone who was willing to trust that God would keep His promises. Despite Abraham's spotty history at keeping the covenant, we recognize that he was willing to offer Isaac back as the firstfruits of the promise. The principle of firstfruits is a reminder that God is the rightful owner of all that we are and claim to possess. …
E100 #2: Living Stones - June 10, 2012
E100 #2: "Living Stones"
Text: Genesis 11:1-9
As we begin our journey through the Grand Narrative of Scripture, we explore what it means to be created in the Image of God, and how humanity has continued to live out a tarnished reflection of that Image. This week, Pastor Jon looks at the Tower of Babel, exploring the nature of the particular sin which led to the building of the tower. Instead of building a tower to our own glory, we are exhorted by the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism - that "the chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever." …
E100 #1: A Peculiar Story: The Story that Shapes Us - June 3, 2012
E100 #1: "A Peculiar Story: The Story that Shapes Us"
Text: 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Join us on the E100 Challenge, as we journey through 100 Essential Bible Lessons this summer. Today, Pastor Jon introduces the series, and shares about the ways that the people of God are shaped by the Story of God. We explore what it means to read the Bible formationally instead of informationally. Learn more about our journey through E100 at http://e100capenazarene.blogspot.com. …
A Peculiar Companion - May 27, 2012
"A Peculiar Companion"
Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14
On Pentecost, we are reminded that Christ came not only so we could have eternal life, but that we could have abundant life in the here and now. Pastor Jon takes a look at Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, and reminds us that God desires to breathe His Spirit into our lives, even though we may feel cut off and dried up. …
A Peculiar Commission - May 20, 2012
"A Peculiar Commission"
Text: Acts 1:1-11
The last words of Jesus to the disciples were a commission to be witnesses to the whole world. That commission has been handed down from disciple to disciple to disciple, until it has reached you. What sort of a witness are you? Who is depending on you to be the next link in the chain so they can come to know Christ? …
A Peculiar Condition - May 13, 2012
"A Peculiar Condition"
Text: John 17:6-19
In the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, recorded in John 17, we discover that Jesus not only prays for the disciples, but he prays for us as well! In this prayer, we also learn of our peculiar condition--to be in the world but not of it. As subjects in the Kingdom of God, we must be careful of the "Caesars" that would demand our allegiance, and instead make sure that our identity is found in Christ alone. …
A Peculiar Commandment - May 6, 2012
"A Peculiar Commandment"
Text: John 15:9-17
Pastor Jon continues to unpack what it means to be "A Peculiar People" by looking at some of Jesus' teachings. This week we explore the "New Commandment" that Jesus gives the disciples on the night he was betrayed. As we discover what it means to "love as Jesus loved," we learn that this is a very specific commandment, calling us to be shaped by the cross of Christ. …
A Peculiar Connection - April 29, 2012
"A Peculiar Connection"
Text: John 15:1-8
Jesus teaches that if we are connected to the vine, we will bear fruit. Pastor Jon explores this peculiar connection, highlighting some of the lessons we can learn from the grapevine, and what it means to talk about "Abiding in Christ." …
A Peculiar Commitment - April 22, 2012
"A Peculiar Commitment"
Text: John 10:1-18
As we understand what it means to follow the Good Shepherd, we are challenged by the knowledge that He has a peculiar commitment to the sheep... and calls us to have a peculiar commitment to Him and to each other. …
Annual Meeting: A Peculiar People - April 15, 2012
"Annual Meeting: A Peculiar People"
Text: I Peter 2:4-12
At our Annual Meeting we give thanks to God for the year we have completed and we look forward into the future, anticipating what He might choose to do in and through us. Join us as we celebrate the God who is making "All Things New," and hear the ways in which the people of the Cape Elizabeth Church of the Nazarene are "A Peculiar People." …
Easter: The Great Reversal - April 8, 2012
"Easter: The Great Reversal" Text: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
On this Easter Sunday, Pastor Jon suggests that the truth of the matter is revealed to us on Good Fridayâ€¦. all of creation is hushed on Black Saturday, holding its collective breathâ€¦ and on Resurrection morning, Jesus breathes out this word: BUT.ã€€ And the Great Reversal begins. Sins are forgiven. Addictions are broken.ã€€ Marriages are restored. Hope is renewed.ã€€ Purpose is discovered.ã€€ And death itself begins to work backward. …
Paul (#1): Never the Same Again - June 26, 2011
"Paul (#1): Never the Same Again"
Text: Acts 9:1-19a
We begin a new journey, studying the life of Paul as recorded in the book of Acts. We begin with a look at Paul's conversion experience, and reminder that Christ and the Church are so inseparable that to persecute one is to persecute the other. Paul's life reminds us that God can save anyone. As we embark on this journey with Paul, we are reminded that an encounter with Jesus is life-changing, and that we can never be the same again. …
Discovering Jesus in the Church - June 12, 2011
"Discovering Jesus in the church"
Text: Acts 2:1-21
Pastor Jon concludes our Easter series on "Discovering Jesus" with this Pentecost message. As God's Spirit came down over the Church, we are reminded of similar events in the Old Testament: creation, the giving of the law, and the dedication of the temple. In the Church, God reveals the "new thing" that He is doing, as the Church is the visible expression of the Body of Christ for the world today. It is through the work of the Church that we came to know Christ... and it is through the work of the Spirit-empowered Church that the world will come to know Him. …
Discovering Jesus in Scripture - June 5, 2011
"Discovering Jesus in Scripture"
Text: Luke 24:44-53
On Ascension Sunday, we are reminded that Jesus showed the disciples that He is revealed in Scripture: the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (writings). Pastor Jon talks about a proper understanding of scripture, and how we are to read all of scripture through the lens of the person and work of Jesus. All of scripture is useful because it reveals Jesus to us, And when we keep our primary attention on the most important parts of the story, the rest of Scripture shifts into proper focus. …
Discovering the Father through the Son - May 29, 2011
"Discovering the Father through the Son"
Text: John 14:1-14
As Christians, we don't worship a nebulous, nameless God... the god that is often invoked by our pledge, on our money, or during a civic prayer. We worship the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We don't have to guess what God is like, because the Father is made known to us through the Son--the exact representation of God's glory. Pastor Jon continues our Easter series, looking at what it means to discover God and to make Him known. …
Discovering Jesus in the Flock - May 22, 2011
"Discovering Jesus in the Flock"
Text: John 10:1-12
Continuing in our series this Easter season, Pastor Jon looks at this familiar passage from John, considering that we also discover Jesus in community, and that the Good Shepherd desires to bring the sheep into the fold. As we live in relationship with one another, we discover Christ at work in us. We are His people. We are the sheep of His pasture …
Discovering Jesus on the Road - May 15, 2011
"Discovering Jesus on the Road"
Text: Luke 24:13-35
If we look closely at the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we may recognize ourselves on the road--unable to recognize the answers that are before our own eyes. Through this account, Luke reminds us that we can discover Jesus in the ordinariness of life... on the road... in our doubts... in our disappointments... in our questions... and in the breaking of bread. …
Seeing is Believing - May 8, 2011
"Seeing is Believing"
Text: John 20:19-31
Pastor Jon explores the familiar story of "Doubting" Thomas against the backdrop of the commonly-stated belief, "seeing is believing." Our faith is not simply an examination of the evidence provided, neither is it merely mental assent to a series of doctrines or propositional statements. Ultimately faith requires that we believe, in order that we might "see with the eyes of our heart." …
Annual Meeting: All Things New - May 1, 2011
"Annual Meeting: All Things New"
Texts: Various, including: Ephesians 5;, Isaiah 6:1-3, 9:2, 26:19, 43:16-21; Revelation 21:1-5
Together, we celebrate the God who is making all things new, breathing new life into this congregation, and building His Kingdom. As Pastor Jon looks back over the past year, he highlights several victories, and considers the ways that God may be preparing us for even greater things in the year to come. …
Easter: Jesus Calls You by Name - April 24, 2011
"Easter: Jesus Calls You by Name"
Text: John 20:1-18
On this Easter Sunday, Pastor Jon talks about the importance of our names... and how God knows us and calls us by name. It was when Jesus called Mary's name in the garden that she recognized him. How will you respond when he calls you by name? …
Palm Sunday: Ride on to Die - April 17, 2011
"Palm Sunday: Ride on to Die"
Text: Matthew 21:1-11 and Psalm 24
After setting the stage for the Triumphal Entry, Pastor Jon stops to explore what Matthew might have meant when he said, "the city asked 'who is this?'" One possibility is that Matthew was offering a liturgical comment, identifying that the priests may have been reciting Psalm 24 as Jesus entered the city. What does it mean for us to hear, "Lift up your heads, o ye gates, that the King of Glory may come in"? …
Life Transformations 4: The Resurrection and the Life - April 10, 2011
"Life Transformations 4: The Resurrection and the Life"
Text: John 11:1-45
As we conclude our mini-series on Life Transformations, Pastor Jon looks at the graveclothes of Lazarus as a metaphor for the things in this world that keep us captive--whether destructive forces and addictions... or the good things that keep us from the best things that God has for us. Just as Lazarus finds freedom through the voice of Jesus and the community around him, we find freedom through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and our local communities of faith. …
Life Transformations 3: Invisible People - April 3, 2011
"Life Transformations 3: Invisible People"
Text: John 9
In this passage, Jesus sees a man who has been mostly invisible his entire life. Failed by the people who ought to know him best, this man responds to God's transforming grace--finding not only physical sight, but the salvation that is found in Christ. His firm and bold witness inspires us to tell our story in simple yet concrete ways. …
Life Transformations 2: Living Water - March 27, 2011
"Life Transformations 2: Living Water"
Text: John 4:1-42
Jesus breaks all societal norms when his afternoon is seemingly interrupted by an encounter with a woman at the well. What divine appointments might God bring your way this week? How can offer living water to the people on the fringes? …
Life Transformations 1: Born Again - March 20, 2011
"Life Transformations 1: Born Again"
Text: John 3:1-21
In this first of four sermons on transformation, Pastor Jon offers some comparisons between Nicodemus and the "rich young ruler." As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, we're called to consider if we are holding onto our carefully constructed life. Many things can take the rightful place of God in our lives... status, reputation, money, etc. Jesus' call to be "born again," may also be a call to give up some of those elements of a carefully constructed life in order to follow Jesus with our everything. …
Sermon on the Mount 8: Rock of Ages - March 13, 2011
"Rock of Ages"
Text: Matthew 7:15-29
In this concluding study on the Sermon on the Mount, Pastor Jon quickly recaps our Ash Wednesday service (recording not available), and then looks at Jesus' conclusion to the Sermon. Jesus Himself places great importance on these teachings, suggesting that if we hear the Sermon but don't allow it to shape us, then we are like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. Pastor Jon suggests that, "We donâ€™t get to wait until the storm hits to decide what type of house we have builtâ€¦ that decision is made moment-by-moment and day-by-day." …
Sermon on the Mount 7: The Narrow Road - March 6, 2011
"The Narrow Road"
Text: Matthew 7:1-14
This portion of the Sermon on the Mount reminds us that it's easy to choose the path that leads to destruction. With many narratives competing for our attention, it's vital that we learn to detect the counterfeit narratives. That's why we practice retelling the Grand Narrative, affirming our faith in Christ, and gathering around the Table. …
Sermon on the Mount 6: Seeking First the Kingdom - February 20, 2011
"Seeking First the Kingdom"
Text: Matthew 6:25-34
We continue our journey through the Sermon on the Mount with another look at "Kingdom Economics." Pastor Jon provides some images to help us consider the ways that the Kingdom of God is vastly different from the kingdoms of this world... and how the narrative of our US culture is not the narrative that Kingdom-subjects are called to live. …
Sermon on the Mount 5: Who is Your Master? - February 13, 2011
"Who is Your Master?"
Text: Matthew 6:19-24
The last few sections of the Sermon on the Mount have been about "Kingdom Politics," and now we turn our attention to "Kingdom Economics." After considering what it means to have a good eye, to only serve one master, and to store up treasures that will not rot, Pastor Jon asks us to consider the ways we've been living into the kingdom of our culture, instead of the Kingdom of God. …
Sermon on the Mount 4: Who is Your Enemy? - February 6, 2011
"Who is Your Enemy?"
Text: Matthew 5:38-48
"Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, give the shirt off your back." As they've been adapted by our culture, these phrases have lost much of their first-century cultural context. Pastor Jon explores the subversive nature of Jesus' style of resisting the kingdoms of darkness, suggesting that we need to reevaluate our understanding of who the Enemy really is. …
Sermon on the Mount 3: Surpassing Righteousness - January 30, 2011
Text: Matthew 5:21-37
In this section, we find some of the most difficult words of Jesus contained in the Sermon on the Mount. After offering three different methods of interpreting the text, Pastor Jon calls us to give thanks to God for His grace, which enables us to have a righteousness that surpasses that of the pharisees--His righteousness. …
Sermon on the Mount 2: How's Your Flavor? - January 23, 2011
"How's Your Flavor?"
Text: Matthew 5:13-20
After describing the different Jewish sects of Jesus' day, Pastor Jon takes a look at this section of the Sermon on the Mount through the eyes of the Zealots, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. As we listen to these words of Jesus, we hear Him calling us to engage our world as salt and light. …
Sermon on the Mount 1: A Living Blessing - January 16, 2010
"A Living Blessing"
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus begins His portrait of the Kingdom of God with a series of blessings, reminding us that God is on the side of the meek, the poor in spirit, and the peacemakers. As subjects of this Kingdom, we're called to be the conduits of these blessings to the world around us. The Beatitudes don't simply end with us, but are a call for us to be the living blessing to those who need to see the Kingdom of God revealed in their lives. …
Sermon on the Mount Prequel: A Subject in the Kingdom of God - January 9, 2011
"A Subject in the Kingdom of God"
Text: Matthew 4:12-25
As we enter into the New Year, Pastor Jon urges us to consider the ways that the Kingdom of God is revealed among us. Matthew 4 provides the context for Jesus' best known sermon, "The Sermon on the Mount." During this season after Epiphany, we'll take a look at this sermon, and how it calls us to live as Subjects of the Kingdom of God. …
Where are We Going? - December 5, 2010
"Where are We Going?"
Text: Romans 15:1-13, Isaiah 11:1-10
Pastor Jon takes a second look at Advent as a road trip. Last week we considered the question, "How much longer?" This week we ask, "Where are we going?" Isaiah paints a picture of the destination in his description of the Peaceable Kingdom. Paul offers some suggestions for how we ought to prepare, and the gifts for the journey that God gives us: endurance, encouragement (hope), and peace (reconciliation). …
Are We Almost There Yet? - November 28, 2010
"Are We Almost There Yet?"
Text: Romans 13:8-14, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 24:36-44
On this first Sunday of Advent, we are challenged to consider the time--that the return of Christ is imminent. Indeed, it is closer now then when we first believed. The question that is before us is not when Christ will return, but how we ought to live in the in-between-time. The Season of Advent reminds us that our moments today are part of the flow of God's interaction with all of history--past, present, and future. …
The Twelve Prophets #15: Zechariah and the City without Walls - November 7, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #15: Zechariah and the City without Walls" Text: Zechariah 2:1-13 Zechariah uses construction and building imagery to help the returning exiles understand their God-given purpose and ultimate destination. In chapter 2, he paints a pic…
The Twelve Prophets #14: Haggai and a Dream Deferred - October 31, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #14: Haggai and a Dream Deferred" Text: Haggai 1:1-2:9 As the exiles beginning to return from captivity, the initial enthusiasm for rebuilding the temple eventually wanes. Haggai attempts to remind the Jews of God's dreams for them, i…
The Twelve Prophets #13: Habakkuk and Theodicy - October 10, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #13: Habakkuk and Theodicy" Text: Habakkuk 1:1-2:4 (Note: Unfortunately, Sermon #12 on Nahum was not recorded, and so is not included in our podcast) Pastor Jon continues our journey through the Minor Prophets, this week looking at Ha…
The Twelve Prophets #11: Zephaniah and the Remnant - September 26, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #11: Zephaniah and the Remnant" Text: Zephaniah 3:12-20 In looking at the prophet Zephaniah, we must also explore the historical events of the day. Pastor Jon looks into the lives of Kings Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah, and th…
The Twelve Prophets #10: Micah and Court - September 12, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #10: Micah and Court" Text: Micah 6:1-8 One of the most familiar passages of Micah (Micah 6:8) is part of an oracle that represents a trial--a court case between God and His people. Pastor Jon explores the format and conten…
The Twelve Prophets #9: Micah and Peace - September 5, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #9: Micah and Peace" Text: Micah 4:1-5 We continue our study in the Minor Prophets, turning our attention toward the Southern Kingdom of Judah, with a look at the prophet Micah. Micah looks forward to the Peaceable Kingdom,…
The Twelve Prophets #8: Hosea and Taking God for Granted - August 29, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #8: Hosea and Taking God for Granted" Text: Hosea 5:15-6:6 In our continued journey through the Minor Prophets, Pastor Jon suggests that the Israelites of Hosea 6 had adopted the dangerous practice of taking God (and His gra…
The Twelve Prophets #7: Hosea and Faithfulness - August 22, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #7: Hosea and Faithfulness" Text: Hosea 1-3 Continuing on our journey through the Twelve (Minor) Prophets, Pastor Jon looks at Hosea and his relationship with Gomer as a picture of God's chesed (lovingkindness or extreme faithfulness)…
The Twelve Prophets #6: Amos and Complacency - August 15, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #6: Amos and Complacency" Text: Amos 6:1-7 This sermon takes a second look at the book of Amos, this time exploring the spiritual complacency that came from the wealth and luxury experienced by the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Th…
The Twelve Prophets #5: Amos and Justice - August 8, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #5: Amos and Justice" Text: Amos 5:18-27 It was the best of times... Under Jeroboam the Second, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had experienced unprecedented growth, security, and wealth. As we learn from studying the prophet Amo…
The Twelve Prophets #4: Joel and the Locusts - August 1, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #4: Joel and the Locusts" Text: Joel 2:1-32 Joel uses a locust swarm to warn the people of a great judgment that will come if they do not repent. And this must be a true repentance of the heart, not simply being sorry because th…
The Twelve Prophets #3: Obadiah - July 25, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #3: Obadiah" Text: Obadiah Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, contains a prophetic oracle against the nation of Edom. Pastor Jon loffers some thoughts on how Christians today ought to be careful of falling into the…
The Twelve Prophets #2: Jonah and the Great City - July 18, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #2: Jonah and the Great City" Text: Jonah 3 & 4 Pastor Jon continues our survey through Jonah by looking at the way the narrator repeats the word 'great.' Jonah is called to do the work of God in the Great City of Ninevah, a…
The Twelve Prophets #1: Jonah Gets Down - July 11, 2010
"The Twelve Prophets #1: Jonah Gets Down" Text: Jonah 1 & 2 Today we embark on a 16 week journey through The Twelve Prophets (commonly referred to as The Minor Prophets). Pastor Jon looks at the first part of the book of Jonah as an image of our…
Galatians #6: Parting Words - July 4, 2010
"Galatians #6: Parting Words" Text: Galatians 6 This completes our six week series in the book of Galatians. Pastor Jon takes a look at some of Paul's practical comments, and then considers what it means for Paul to say, "I bear on my body the marks…
Galatians #5: The Fruit of the Spirit - June 27, 2010
"Galatians #5: The Fruit of the Spirit" Text: Galatians 5:13-25 Pastor Jon takes a look at this familiar passage from Galatians, exploring what it means to live according to the Spirit instead of according to the law. Paul teaches that the Spirit at…
Galatians #4: One of These Things - June 20, 2010
"Galatians #4: One of These Things" Text: Galatians 3:26-4:7 Paul challenges our natural inclination to sort and categorize people based on race, economic status, or gender. Indeed, the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and all people are we…
Galatians #3: Hypocrisy and Integrity - June 13, 2010
"Galatians #3: Hypocrisy and Integrity" Text: Galatians 2:11-21 This is the third of six sermons on the book of Galatians. Pastor Jon suggests that one of the biggest criticisms facing the church is that of hypocrisy--a charge that goes back to the earlie…
Galatians #2: Anchored in Jesus - June 6, 2010
"Galatians #2: Anchored in Jesus" Text: Galatians 1:10-24 How do you face criticism and false accusations? Paul faced his accusers confidently, offering them evidence of his good fruits, references from other believers, and the story of his calling. Ultim…
Galatians #1: Christianity Plus - May 30, 2010
"Galatians #1: Christianity Plus" Text: Galatians 1:1-12 Pastor Jon begins a 6 week series on the book of Galatians with an overview of the letter to the Gentile believers in Galatia. Paul challenges those who are teaching adherence to the law, and encour…
Are You Really Listening? - November 8, 2009
"Are You Really Listening?" Pastor Jon combines several texts of scripture to illustrate the words of James 1:22 (Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourself, do what it says.) From the Israelites in the wilderness to the disciples' treatment…
To the Other Side of the Tracks - October 25, 2009
"To the Other Side of the Tracks" Text: Mark 6-8 Pastor Jon retells Mark 6-8 in broad sweeping strokes, paying particular attention to the geographical movement that Jesus makes. Based on some material by Ray Vanderlaan, this sermon explores the message t…
Made Clean from the Inside Out - October 11, 2009
"Made Clean from the Inside Out" Text: Mark 7:1-23 Pastor Jon looks at some of the traditions of the Pharisees to help us better understand Jesus' call in Mark 7. As we seek being cleaned from the inside out, we also recognize that it's not about changing…
Recognizing Jesus - October 4, 2009
"Recognizing Jesus" Text: Mark 6:30-56 Our text from Mark 6 shows sequences of events where people either recognized, or failed to recognize, Jesus. We are reminded that Jesus is Jesus--both when things are going well and there's plenty of food, and when…
Buffet Christianity - September 27, 2009
"Buffet Christianity" Texts: Mark 6, Amos 7 Pastor Jon takes a look at the question of "Who is Jesus?" By looking at the stories of King Herod & John the Baptist, and Amaziah & Amos, we see the great dangers of elevating ourselves above the Word of God or…
Cape Elizabeth Church of the Nazarene - Weekly Sermon Podcast
Pastor Jon Twitchell brings weekly biblically-based sermons to the Cape Elizabeth (Maine) Church of the Nazarene. You're invited to listen in through this podcast. Get more information at www.capenazarene.org.