Tag Archives: walking on water

Living Like Jesus: Take Courage! – Sermon on Mark 6:34-52

July 29, 2018

If you thought this series on Living Like Jesus was going to be a checklist of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ you are probably disappointed by now. Living like Jesus isn’t that simple, is it? We have to look for God in the interruptions and depend on God alone to provide for our needs. When evil seems to be taking over, it’s only by claiming our identity in Christ that we can overcome that evil.

As we learned last week, we have to stay in the boat with Jesus, instead of running ahead to where we think he’s going. And living like Jesus means having gut-wrenching compassion for those who don’t know him. That means allowing ourselves to be touched as the “fringe of his cloak” in order to be Christ’s healing touch in the world.

Today’s reading gives us the final installment of this sixth chapter of Mark. We’re about to move out of the mundane and into the miraculous.  Continue reading

Identity Crisis: Faith Meets Doubt – Sermon on Matthew 14:22-33

This sermon, revised here for August 9, 2020, was originally the second in a four-part series, Intersections: Where Faith Meets Life, preached on August 13, 2017. In its current form it is second in a new series: Identity Crisis. Watch  the 2020 version on Vimeo.

Young people are good at questioning the Christian faith. They want to know things like:

  • “Is God real?
  • Why are churches so messed up?
  • Why are so many Christians hypocrites?
  • Can I trust the Bible?
  • Is it wrong to doubt God?

When we deny the power of these questions – or worse, ignore them – others might suspect our faith isn’t strong enough to handle doubt. But we don’t have to have all the answers. Admitting that we don’t know everything there is to know about God is actually the first step in finding the depth of faith Jesus wants to develop in us. It’s the beginning of finding our identity in something that is greater than ourselves. Continue reading

What Did You Expect? Sermon on Matthew 22:1-11 Palm Sunday A

April 9, 2017

So tell me, how has Jesus shown up in your life over these past five or six weeks, as we’ve been asking God to unbind our hearts? What did you expect when we began this Lenten journey, and how has reality matched your expectations? Let’s do a quick review.

First, we learned that the “E” word, Evangelism, doesn’t need to be a scary thing. Evangelism is simply sharing your faith with other people. Even a reluctant evangelist, like Ananias, can tip someone into God’s love like a domino, starting a chain reaction that can go in unexpected ways. Kris shared her story of bringing her grandchildren to church after they had questions about her Nativity set. Like Ananias, Kris tipped someone into God’s love.

We learned that, before we can effectively share our faith with others, it needs to be a healthy and mature faith. We need to develop a strong relationship with God, going deep with Jesus often in prayer. So we set up the prayer wall, and began adding our prayers to it, prayers for people and situations God had laid on our hearts.

During the third week of Lent, we looked at the trinity of relationships – our relationship with God, with each other, and with those outside our church. We saw that unresolved conflict within the church can prevent people outside the church from developing a relationship with Christ, and some of us must have started working on resolving a few conflicts, because a spirit of peace has begun to fill this place. At least one visitor has noticed this.

In week four, we learned what brought Sue into a life of faith when we played the “Who Am I?” game. We heard how our own personal story is a powerful means of bringing others to Christ. The Samaritan woman at the well showed us that the Kingdom of God is for all who believe, regardless of backgrounds, ethnic roots, or cultural differences. Christ offers living water to all, a well springing up to eternal life. And we have jars of that living water to offer to others.

Last week, the paralytic who was let down through the roof, and Lazarus who was brought up from the grave, drew our attention to barriers that prevent people from wanting to know Christ. Some barriers are internal, and others are external. Bo Wright shared his and Dru’s experiences as they looked for a church when they moved here to New Ulm, and why they settled on First Church as their church home.

All of these stories, whether from our own experiences or from the Scriptures, have something in common. In every case, God has shown up in unexpected ways. Continue reading

Bread for All – Sermon on John 6:1-21 Pentecost 9B

July 25, 2021
Video

If you thought our sermon series on Living Like Jesus was going to be a checklist of Dos and Don’ts you may be disappointed by now. Living like Jesus isn’t that simple, is it? We have to look for God in the interruptions and depend on God alone to provide for our needs. When evil seems to be taking over, it’s only by claiming our identity in Christ that we can overcome that evil.

As we learned last week, we have to stay in the boat with Jesus, instead of running ahead to where we think he’s going. And living like Jesus means having gut-wrenching compassion for those who don’t know him. That means allowing ourselves to be touched as the “fringe of his cloak” in order to be Christ’s healing touch in the world. Living like Jesus is a pretty tall order. In fact, it requires our full commitment, our complete surrender.

Today we jump from the sixth chapter of Mark to the sixth chapter of John’s gospel to find a story that will serve as the hinge between our focus on Living Like Jesus, and the next few weeks’ focus on Christ as Bread for All. It’s the same story we would read in Mark 6 or Matthew 14 or Luke 9 – all four gospel writers tell this story. And I thought about using Mark’s version, just so we could wrap up Mark 6 and tie a nice bow on it. But I think it is just as important to begin the sixth chapter of John’s gospel at  – well, the beginning.  Continue reading