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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Recent sermons

(Click on any sermon title to view a .pdf file of the sermon)

Sermons 2017 | Sermons 2016 | Sermons 2015 | Sermons 2014 | Sermons 2013 | Sermons 2012 | Sermons 2011 | Sermons 2010 | Sermons 2009 | Sermons 2008 | Sermons 2007 | Sermons 2006 | Sermons 2005

Shalom -- Isaiah 2:2-5 (6/24/2018)

It means we are saved from destructive and self-destructive behaviors, that we are saved from anything and everything that takes the beauty and goodness of life away, that we are saved from anything and everything that sets us against God and against each other. We are saved by Jesus from all of this, but that's only the half of it! We are equally saved by Jesus for ... not just from, but for.

For? For shalom! For intimacy with God and intimacy with each other. For living in harmony with the earth and in harmony among nations. For appreciating beauty and preserving beauty and creating beauty. For living. For living good and full and enriched and enriching and joyful lives ...

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Courage -- Genesis 12:1-3, Romans 12:1-2 (6/10/2018)

Don't be lukewarm, Christian! Don't be so lukewarm that you easily adjust your temperature to whatever happens to be around you. Burn hot! Let God change your mind and heart completely!

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Community -- 1 Corinthians 12:7 (5/20/2018)

The Spirit's presence is shown among us when we are "many:" people of many different ideas, many different gifts, many different traditions, many different cultures, many different races, when we many are willing to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to serve and to be served by each other, to be together, because being together, being in community, is what we are made for.

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They never stop singing -- Revelation 4:1-8 (5/13/2018)

When you are in the presence of God, when you are aware of being in the presence of God, when everywhere you look you see the manifestation of the glory of God, there is always something to sing about! Isn't there? Heaven is full of music!

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A new song -- Psalm 98 (5/13/2018)

Why should you sing? Well, do you want to just sit there close-mouthed while the rest of creation is singing and shouting and clapping around you? Do you want to miss out on the party? Do you want to miss out on the joy?

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Acceptance -- Acts 10:34-48 (4/29/2018)

Lauren Reisinger

Practicing acceptance makes us better. Practicing acceptance makes us resilient. Practicing acceptance helps us heal. Practicing acceptance makes us flexible. Practicing acceptance rids us of our fear. Practicing acceptance is good because God says so.

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Creation -- Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 (4/22/2018)

Our story, from beginning to end, is all about here, all about being here. We belong here. We belong where God put us, where God made us to be. We cannot understand ourselves apart from being here, because we too are created. We are made of the same stuff as the rest of creation. Apart from creation, we simply do not exist.

This is our life and this is our hope: to be here, to live here in a world that God has made good and will make good. Our hope is not that one day we will go to God. Our hope is in the God who comes to us ...

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Humility -- Job 42:1-6 (4/15/2018)

And when you are humble, when you are clear-eyed and honest about yourself, when you are pure in heart, you will see God.

If you are pure in heart. Not pure. Not unblemished. Not wholly right. But pure in heart. Purity of heart, Kierkegaard said, is to want one thing. To want one thing. To want one thing ...

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Grace -- Ephesians 2:4-10 (4/8/2018)

What does it mean to be loved wholly, unconditionally, no matter what? What does it mean to know that someone has given up everything for you? Can you walk away from that? Can you shrug at it, consider it of little matter in your life? When it is your life?

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Terrified -- Mark 16:8 (4/1/2018)

If Jesus lives, we cannot go back. We can never go back and live as we have always lived. Our lives -- your life, my life -- are no longer our own. We have been ransomed, our freedom bought and paid for, by his blood. He has a claim on us.

He has won us our freedom, but with that freedom comes tremendous responsibility. To live. To live with him. To live for him.

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All of you will run away -- Mark 14:27 (3/25/2018)

"All of you will run away and leave me," Jesus said. And they did.

Not because they didn't love him. But because they couldn't. Because they couldn't go where Jesus was going. This Jesus must do alone, all alone.

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Filled with alarm -- Mark 10:32-34 (3/18/2018)

Jesus told you he is the way. His is not an easy way, and the prospects of following where he leads are alarming. If you do follow, you may lose, no, you will lose your life, at the very least, because it will no longer be yours.

So if you want to be safe, stay in Galilee. Don't go to Jerusalem. Keep hugging that tree. But if you do ... you will never see the view and you will never see Jesus and you will never enter the kingdom of God.

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Still running the race of faith -- Hebrews 12:1-2 (3/11/2018)

At Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

In a sprint, the finish line is right there and you run as fast as you can to that line. But in the marathon, you can't see the finish line. You don't focus on the finish line, you focus on the next step and the next and the next. Running a marathon is about now, right now, right now running steady, right now staying faithful, right now serving God day by day by day. You don't know what's around the next corner, but you keep on running 'til you get there, and when you get there ... you keep on running!

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Listen to the teacher! -- Mark 10:17-27 (3/11/2018)

Lauren Reisinger

Jesus looks at all of us with love regardless of our mistakes, our flaws, our sins. But he does request that we make an effort to at least change -- because it would be such a shame to receive such careful words only for us to not act on them. Jesus would not want us to walk out of these doors today, on this very Sunday, only to not have learned from what He has to say. Jesus wants us to learn from our wrong doings and to let go of whatever it is that’s weighing us down. Whatever it is that's limiting us of living our best lives. Whatever riches we have. Whatever fears we have. Whatever anxieties that are holding ourselves hostage. Jesus wants us to listen to Him. To have immense courage and to trust and follow Him and listen to Him closely.

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From the depths -- Mark 7:31-37; 8:11-13 (3/4/2018)

Jesus groaned. From the depths. From the depths of his being. From the depths of his longing, his fierce longing for God's kingdom to come, his fierce longing for the day when all creation would be set free.

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Surprised -- Mark 6:1-6 (2/25/2018)

Jesus was surprised! Isn't it wonderful? Jesus was surprised! It is a reason for hope. What if they had written Jesus off as they did and Jesus were to say to himself: "I’m not surprised"? What if Jesus were to consider your stubbornness or my inconstancy or our faltering efforts as faithfulness, and say, "I’m not surprised"?

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An emotional Jesus -- Mark 3:1-6 (2/18/2018)

Jesus was ripped! He looked around at them -- mouths shut, hearts cold -- and he seethed with anger. Anger at their silence. Anger at their indifference. Anger at their callousness. Anger at their stubbornness.

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And he felt sorry for them. He grieved for them, because he was not indifferent, because he was not callous, because he cared for the man with the paralyzed hand and for all these people with paralyzed hearts!

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The church's one foundation -- 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (2/11/2018)

Paul is stating a fact, not making an appeal. He is not saying to the church: "Make sure that you make Jesus Christ your foundation and nothing else." He is saying: "Jesus Christ is your foundation, the one and only foundation which God has laid and upon which you are built." As a seminary professor of mine liked to say, "The indicative precedes the imperative." The gospel is not about what we must do, but about what God has done. God has laid the foundation for the church, for any and every church, and that foundation is Jesus.

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God and the "gods" -- Mark 9:38-41 (2/4/2018)

Religion has been and still is a frequent source of contention among peoples, a contributing cause to discrimination and animosity and outright war. Shame! Shame on us when we judge or alienate people in the name of the one who came to bring peace to the earth! Some might suppose the problem is religion itself, that humanity would be better off without, but I strongly believe just the opposite. We are divided, set against each other, not because we have too much faith, but because we have too little ...

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What does God see in me that I don't see in me? -- Mark 5:21-43 (1/28/2018)

Lauren Reisinger

Jesus heals us and helps us every single day. We are touched and renewed and made well again and again and again. We just have to pay attention ...

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A house divided against itself -- Mark 3:20-30, 4:35-41 (1/21/2018)

I am distressed and that's just this week! This week, the same week that saw a government shutdown and the presentation by our current president of fake news awards and the use of profanity by the same president to describe nations of majority black populations, including Haiti.

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How does Jesus help families facing problems with addiction? -- Mark 2:1-12 (1/14/2018)

How does Jesus help? Jesus is light. Jesus helps by shining light onto our lives, bringing what is hidden in the shadows into the open, letting us see clearly, letting us see ourselves as we are. Jesus' light exposes our denial, our rationalizations, our unwitting or willful self-deception. Jesus helps by offering us a clear choice: to follow or go our own way, to trust God or ourselves, to live or to die. Sometimes the choice is that stark.

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What is a miracle? -- Mark 1:4-11 (1/7/2018)

The miracle is not showing us some other strange and wonderful world that we have never seen before, but showing us this world as we have never seen it before, still familiar but now full of wonders. The miracle is not what is out of the ordinary, but that the ordinary is miracle.

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