November 17, 2019
John was on the run. Why? For preaching the Word of God, and talking about Jesus. He ran through seven different cities and ended up running to the end of the world, the Island of Patmos. Those who could see the Kingdom with him understood. They too suffered persecution, and patiently endured. Those who couldn't see Kingdom chased him from town to town. Will we see Kingdom, and have the patience and endurance to help Kingdom come?
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Revelation 1 and 21
November 10, 2019
John the Baptist's sermon to the crowds began, "You brood of vipers..." They heard him, and felt convicted, and asked, "What then shall we do?" Peter's sermon to the crowds included, "God gave you the messiah, and you along with your leaders killed him." They were cut to the heart, and asked "What then shall we do?" On both occasions, there was fire as in holy breath, wind, spirit. On both occasions there was water for baptizing. The fire and water of God convict us, cut us to the heart, and compel us to live differently, as the prophets have always imagined.
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Luke 3 and Acts 2
November 3, 2019
In the scriptures, fire and water imagery are often used about God, or even by God. Fire can block or can purify, can melt or mold. Water can cover or cleanse, can drown or baptize. Fire and Water have a life-giving purpose and have a life-changing ability. In this three week sermon series, we are listening to some of the Fire and Water imagery used by God and about God, and wondering how God is guiding us, protecting us, correcting us through the fires and waters of life.
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Exodus 13 and 14
October 27, 2019
Lots of people come to Jesus because they (or we) need something from him... healing, hope, direction, unconditional love. In today's readings, a rich ruler, the disciples, and a blind beggar reach for Jesus. He responds to them all, but not with what they expected. Instead, he sends them out to give back MORE than what they received. Life with Jesus is a full, abundant life but not for ourselves. When we are with Jesus, we find our true life is found in giving ourselves away for others.
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Luke 18
October 20, 2019
(Note: This week's live recording was lost and not live-streamed to YouTube or recorded for the podcast. Rev. Joel re-recorded the message for us on Monday.)
The second line of our Mission statement is "Build Up One Another." But what does that look like? Jesus tells his disciples three different parables to might challenge our expectations around being "built up." What if being built up means showing up and crying for justice, being humble and open to change, and letting the children lead?
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Luke 18
October 13, 2019
People often came to Jesus with intentions. Some came wanting their faith increased. Others came to be helped and served. Some wanted healing or answers. Others wanted entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus pushes back against all these reasons for doing church. If not these things, then why do we do church? Why do we invite others to church? What can we tell them they will find when they come to church?
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Luke 17
October 6, 2019
When Jesus sat with his disciples in the upper room the night he would be betrayed and denied, he broke bread with them and offered them his peace. His peace is different than any peace the world tries to offer. It is wholeness, oneness, integrity of thought, feeling, word, and action... all in tune with the Spirit, the spark of God put in us all by God when God created us.
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching John 14
September 29, 2019
As Ruth the Moabite immigrant bravely comes into Judah with her mother-in-law Naomi, how will she be treated? There were codes in the Torah, Deuteronomy, about how to treat immigrants. But not everyone in Judah and Bethlehem was remembering or honoring those codes. Thankfully, Boaz did, and through the family of Boaz and Ruth, God chose to bring forward King David, and the King of Kings Jesus. God's revelation of God's own self is through the families and communities that treat immigrants by the code... fairly, justly, with respect, hospitality, and generosity.
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Ruth 2
September 22, 2019
The book of Judges is so hard to read. It has violence against the natives in a land, against foreigners into a land, and against women. Right after Judges is the book of Ruth. In it, women are treated with more dignity. Foreigners are treated with welcome, hospitality, and generosity. Of those two sides of the story, Jesus is born from the Ruth side. Jesus is a descendant of the family that loves the stranger, welcomes the outcast, and shows generosity to the foreigner. Perhaps if we were to do the same, we would find future scriptures written about us!
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Ruth 1
September 15, 2019
Jesus has a special way of recognizing the humanity in those the culture considered less than human. He often left the "normal" people to intentionally give his attention to the least in the culture... the women, the children, the oppressed, and the dis/differently-abled. Today, as CHrist's body, the church is called to be radically inclusive of those who are differently-abled. But do we? How could we? This week, one of our own young adults preaches on the call of God to see and include the differently-abled in all aspects of church life.
Emma Peacock preaching John 9 and Mark 8