Maundy Thurs ’23


Traditions & Set up: 

  1. RCL Text: Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35
  2. Order of Worship:
    1. Welcome & Prayer
    2. Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30
      1. Communion w/ music
        1. Juice & bread, PLUS: Grapes & crackers for kids to play with
        2. Song playing during communion time: 
    3. Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
      1. Hand washing stations w/ music – soap, water, towels
        1. Meriah station for individuals
        2. 2 Family stations with questions
        3. Song playing during this time – Unfailing love 
    4. Closing prayer
      1. Dismissal song; 
    1. Matthew 26: 17-30 17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city, to a certain man, and say, ‘The teacher says, “My time is near. I’m going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.”’” 19 The disciples did just as Jesus instructed them. They prepared the Passover. 20 That evening he took his place at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating he said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me.” 22 Deeply saddened, each one said to him, “I’m not the one, am I, Lord?” 23 He replied, “The one who will betray me is the one who dips his hand with me into this bowl. 24 The Human One[b] goes to his death just as it is written about him. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays the Human One![c] It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” 25 Now Judas, who would betray him, replied, “It’s not me, is it, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You said it.” 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” 27 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. 29 I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives.
    2. John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully. 2 Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. 6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.” 8 “No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.” 9 Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus responded, “Those who have bathed need only to have their feet washed, because they are completely clean. You disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 He knew who would betray him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you is clean.” 12 After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. 14 If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.  …31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One[b] has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One[c] in himself and will glorify him immediately. 33 Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’ 34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
  2. Audience Engagement: 
    1. Adult – readers, songs, communion & foot washing
    2. Kid
      1. Questions:
        1. Is swimming the same as taking a bath? What’s the difference? 
        2. Why do we wash our bodies? 
        3. Was Jesus trying to clean the disciples or do something else? 
      2. Activity
        1. Family handwashing stations
        2. Crackers and grapes to snack on

Where Are You Headed?


Message Title: Where Are You Headed?
Theme: Seeking
Main Text: Matthew 21:1-11
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a;
RCL Scripture: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
Focus: Jesus enters Jerusalem during Passover.
To consider the box we place our Messiah into because of our own expectations and ideas.
Other Notes:
PALM SUNDAY// *sanctified art curriculum// COMMUNION – Baptisms, Breakfast & Egg hunt next week!

SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 50:4-9 The LORD God gave me an educated tongue to know how to respond to the weary with a word that will awaken them in the morning. God awakens my ear in the morning to listen, as educated people do. The LORD God opened my ear; I didn’t rebel; I didn’t turn my back. Instead, I gave my body to attackers, and my cheeks to beard pluckers. I didn’t hide my face from insults and spitting. The LORD God will help me; therefore, I haven’t been insulted. Therefore, I set my face like flint, and knew I wouldn’t be ashamed. The one who will declare me innocent is near. Who will argue with me? Let’s stand up together. Who will bring judgment against me? Let him approach me. Look! The LORD God will help me. Who will condemn me? Look, they will wear out like clothing; the moth will eat them.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Have you ever met a celebrity?
    1. Did you keep your cool?
    1. I didn’t – I ran into one of my favorite comedians at a Starbucks before attending their performance and … well I froze. Fortunately, Josh was willing to ask for a photo while I just had this starry-eyed look on my face.

TRANSITION:  There is some humility that comes in the after math of being starstruck or “fangirling” as some would say. I always thought I would play it cool but I guess I played the fool.

In our text for today, We see a starstruck moment but what are the crowds hoping for?

MAIN TEXT: Matthew 21:1-11 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that their master needs them.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.[a] The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them. Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord![b]Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”


  1. Context:
    1. Each of the gospels have a different goal in their retelling of the Jesus story. You will notice their details and order may be different because of those goals. Gospel of Matthew comes from a Jewish perspective, the audience will be listening for the author to connect Jesus to the Jewish Messiah.
  2. The Triumphal Entry is one passage where the gospels have different details but the gist is the same
    1. It’s time for the Passover Festival
    1. Disciples get him a donkey (or two) to ride (how does one man ride 2 donkeys???)
    1. Jesus enters Jerusalem
    1. Cloaks (and sometimes branches) were laid on the road
    1. Some people shout praises to God
    1. Other versions of the triumphal entry:
      1. Mark 11:1-11 (short and sweet Gospel)
      1. Luke 19:28-44 (Gentile Gospel w/ humanity emphasis)
      1. Not in John (Gospel emphasizing divinity)


  1. What we don’t get from the text is the cultural details unfolding at the same time:
    1. Fascinating fact: “Each year at Passover, Pontius Pilate, Governor and representative of the Roman emperor, came to Jerusalem from his coastal residence in the west. Passover was often the scene of political disturbance and protest of the Roman rule and occupation of the Holy Land. The mission of the imperial soldiers with Pilate was to reinforce the Roman garrison permanently stationed in the Fortress Antonia, overlooking the Jewish Temple and its courts. It was best that the Governor and his cohort was on hand to tamper down the flames of insurrection. Who knows what the people shouted, if anything? No doubt the elite of the city were there to greet the representative of the Emperor. There were no whispers or uncertainty about Pilate.”[1]
      1. Scholars ponder if those branches were supposed to be used to usher the earthly ruler into Jerusalem… not Jesus.
      1. The people were practicing traditional kingly parade behavior… was it for Pilate or for Jesus?
  2. In a short period of time (Sunday to Friday) the words in the crowds shift from words of praise & pleas to words of condemnation. This has always seemed like an attitude switch that might give you whiplash. 
    1. But the people want to be free from the Roman yoke. Many are thirsty for revolution. It’s no wonder the crowds choose Barabbas (a rebel) rather than Jesus (a teacher & miracle worker). Barabbas is an emphasis of what solutions they’re choosing.
    1. Jesus did not fit the “tough” for the solutions they craved. Even Peter carried a sword expecting revolution but Jesus had a different solution designed.

APPLICATION: To consider the box we place our Messiah into because of our own expectations and ideas.

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT:  How easy is it for you to admit you were wrong or concede to another person’s argument?
    1. How would people in Germany post-WWII continue on or even the us civil war- how does a country heal after in-fighting? (we really didn’t, decades of racism and division)
  2. Reflection questions:
    1. Which parade would you join in Jerusalem? The parade for a man calling you to love your enemies or a man with power to stomp out his enemies?
      1. “If you are quick to place yourself in Jesus’ parade, I encourage you to pause and considered these questions honestly:
        1. When have you aligned yourself with systems or people who have used their power for violence or to uphold the status quo?
        1. When have you embodied power through vulnerability and love for your neighbor?“ (sanctified art questions)
    1. Either Or:
      1. Do you follow a Jesus that matches your goals and ideals?
      1. does Jesus have the same enemies as you or do you follow a Jesus who challenges you to love your enemy
      1. is your Jesus taking up arms to go into battle or is your Jesus dying on a cross EVEN for his adversaries
  3. Have we molded Jesus into a box that fits our personal preferences and ideals?
    1. Active Challenge: turn on the news and ask yourself: would Jesus have the same opinion as me about this subject or would he be pushing me to consider things from a different angle?

CONCLUSION: Where are you headed?And is the One True Jesus leading the way?



Will You Give Me A Drink?


Message Title: Will you give me a drink?
Main Text:
Exodus 17:1-7
Scripture Reading:
John 4:5-42
RCL Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42
Focus: God offers water.
To consider the intersection between our needs and hospitality.
Other Notes:
*sanctified art curriculum; Pack a Pew Sunday; Noodle Dinner; Baptism class – 2 readers


READER 1: Jesus had to go through Samaria. He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, which was near the land Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from his journey, so he sat down at the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.” His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food. The Samaritan woman asked, “Why do you, a Jewish man, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other.) 10 Jesus responded, “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket and the well is deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave this well to us, and he drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, get your husband, and come back here.” 17 The woman replied, “I don’t have a husband.” “You are right to say, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus answered. 18 “You’ve had five husbands, and the man you are with now isn’t your husband. You’ve spoken the truth.” 19 The woman said, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you and your people say that it is necessary to worship in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you and your people will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 

READER 2: 22 You and your people worship what you don’t know; we worship what we know because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—and is here!—when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. The Father looks for those who worship him this way. 24 God is spirit, and it is necessary to worship God in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one who is called the Christ. When he comes, he will teach everything to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I Am—the one who speaks with you.”[a] 27 Just then, Jesus’ disciples arrived and were shocked that he was talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 The woman put down her water jar and went into the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who has told me everything I’ve done! Could this man be the Christ?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to see Jesus. 31 In the meantime the disciples spoke to Jesus, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33 The disciples asked each other, “Has someone brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it’s time for harvest’? Look, I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest. 36 Those who harvest are receiving their pay and gathering fruit for eternal life so that those who sow and those who harvest can celebrate together. 37 This is a true saying, that one sows and another harvests. 38 I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work.” 39 Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is truly the savior of the world.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Can you define brumotactillophobia(bro-mo-tack-till-o-phobia)- The fear of foods touching
    1. Can your food touch? Or is this your ideal thanksgiving plate?
  2. How do you feel about fusion food? EXAMPLES
    1. Redneck sushi (aka sliced corndogs); Ramen burger; Sushi burrito
    1. Josh food: Hoosier heaven bowl; Hoosier Style Okonomiyaki

TRANSITION: today we are discussing theintersection of the fear of touching & cross-cultural connection – but not about food

MAIN TEXT: Exodus 17:1-7 The whole Israelite community broke camp and set out from the Sin desert to continue their journey, as the Lord commanded. They set up their camp at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people argued with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?” But the people were very thirsty for water there, and they complained to Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with this people? They are getting ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of Israel’s elders with you. Take in your hand the shepherd’s rod that you used to strike the Nile River, and go. I’ll be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Hit the rock. Water will come out of it, and the people will be able to drink.” Moses did so while Israel’s elders watched. He called the place Massahand Meribah,because the Israelites argued with and tested the Lord, asking, “Is the Lord really with us or not?”


  1. Exodus context:
    1. Post-red sea but before 10 commandments
    1. manna has happened
    1. salt water to fresh water
  2. here we are at another complaint—angry enough to stone Moses
    1. Israelites need water – they come with a legit complaint (but not in a rational mind) but really are acting “hangry” (or the thirsty equivalent).
    1. They let their necessities breed rage—they are threatening to stone Moses.
    1. Scarcity, really fear, leads to rash and irrational actions
  3. Yet God provides water

INTERPRETATION:  Jesus was the opposite of hangry even in the midst of hunger.

  1. Gospel: Jesus shows a different way to approach a potentially tense situation. Let’s set the scene.
    1. Cultural tensions between Jews & Samaritans
      1. Northern Kingdom of Israel – destroyed by Assyria
      1. Survivors returned to the land and married with gentiles = Samaritans
      1. Worship Yahweh, offspring of Jacob, BUT don’t worship in Jerusalem and DON’T associate with Jews.
      1. TYPICALLY, a Jew would take extra steps in travel to avoid Samaria. Jesus CHOOSES to go to Samaria. Jesus *had* to go to Samaria.
    1. Jesus creates a fusion dish!  Jesus took a risk and interacted with a woman, alone, at the well symbolized for meeting your spouse.
      1. Unnamed Samaritan woman-
        1. the first person towards who Jesus reveals his messiah-ship.
          1. I Am- Yahweh
          1. John 1:1 – the one who speaks (word)
        1. One of the first witnesses – becomes a vessel for living water for other Samaritans
      1. Compare to Nicodemus -John 3

APPLICATION: To consider the intersection between our needs and hospitality.

  1. Questions:
    1. Tiktok about parenting
      1. What are softer questions underneath our human defenses?
        1. Parenting in anger or after calming down
        1. Imagine if the Israelites asked God “Have you abandoned us? Do you really care?” rather than a rage -filled accusation.
    1. Fusion Christians:
      1. Are we willing to care for our neighbors (broad definition, not literal), seeking not to simply quench thirst, but to find living waters that sustain us all?
        1. DEFINE Benevolent connection –
      1. What does it look like for you to cross divides in order to connect with someone?
      1. God designed this world to run on benevolent connection. And that requires us not to just be charitable but vulnerable.
    1. Not living in fear or hanger

CONCLUSION Last week, Jesus told Nicodemus that God loved the world. This week Jesus traveled to Samaria and revealed his messiah-ship to a Jewish “enemy.” Jesus has to go to Samaria; this is Jesus showing Gods big love. When you draw lines between God and others, Go

How Do We Begin Again?


Message Title: How do we begin again?
Theme: Seeking
Season: Lent
Main Text: Genesis 12:1-4a;
Scripture Reading:
John 3:1-17
RCL Scripture:
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17 or Matthew 17:1-9
Focus: Abram and Nicodemus are asked to start again.
To consider God’s trustworthiness in the midst of stepping into the unknown.
Other Notes:
COMMUNION, *sanctified art curriculum, BAPTISM CLASS on Mar 12

SCRIPTURE READING: John 3:1-17 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew,[a] it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.” Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?” Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit[b] blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?” 10 “Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? 11 I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One.[c] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One[d] be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Who can define Thalassophobia?
    1. Thalassophobia (thuh-lah-sow-phobia) is an intense phobia or fear of large bodies of water. If you have thalassophobia, you may be afraid of the ocean, sea, and large lakes. Some people may deal with a little anxiety about the ocean.
    1. I’m gonna show pictures and videos about the ocean today—here’s your warning.
      1. It might be shocking to find out, but only 5% of the ocean has been explored and charted by humans. The rest, especially its depths, are still unknown.[1]
    1. Deep sea infographics:

TRANSITION: I don’t know about you, but I think I have thalassophobia about the unknown in general, not just the depths of the ocean. Unfortunately for us fearful folk, God still calls us into the unknown. In our text today we will connect with Abram and Nicodemus as they are called to start a new. Can we step into the unknown?

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 12:1-4a The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, those who curse you I will curse; all the families of the earth will be blessed because of you.” Abram left just as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. 


  1. In Gen 11: 31, we are introduced to a man named Abram from the line of Shem (one of Noah’s sons).
  2. In Gen 12, God’s covenant with Abram starts when he is 75 years old.
    1. Abram’s condition: married to Sarai w/ no children. His nephew Lot will inherit because Abram has no children.
    1. God promises Abram a great nation of descendants if he trusts God and goes to a new land that God has picked.
  3. God asks Abram to leave everything he’s ever known and start new.
    1. Move away from your family
    1. Move away from your Tribe/People
    1. Move away from this Land

Step into the unknown & start new


  1. Big Picture:
    1. He’s not yet the Abraham we know. God changes his name (and Sarai’s) in Gen 17- this is the very beginning of Abram’s story.
    1. His son Isaac is not born until Abram is 100- Abram waits 25 years for God’s promise!
      1. It’s no wonder that Abram was not patient – Hagar & Ishmael (also blessed to be a great nation)
      1. Imagine waiting in the unknown for 25 years – God repeating again and again that he’d keep his promise.
  2. Connect to Gospel
    1. Jesus asks Nicodemus to start again – be born again
      1. Relatable moment- Nicodemus takes Jesus literally and asks about a mother’s womb
      1. Something is changed in Nicodemus
        1. Traveling by night – under cover (what would happen if he gets caught? Would look more suspicious because he’s hiding.)
        1. Helps Joseph of Arimathea to care for Jesus’ body and bury him after the crucifixion (no longer scared to be seen associated with Jesus) – treasonous death


  1. Things to consider:
    1. “It’s vulnerable to look for something, to be unsure, to be in need, to feel like something is missing and to try to seek something without knowing where it will take you.” – Seeking by Sanctified Art
  2. BACK TO INTRO: If you were to explore the unknown of the ocean, you would discover the largest animal on the planet. Take a quick look at these majestic creatures:
    1. Blue Whales –
      1. Infographic – blue whales can be 80-100 ft long and over 400,000 lbs. their tongue is the weight of an elephant.
  3. Questions: There are majestic and wonderful things waiting for us in the unknown. Like Nicodemus and Abram, God asks us to start a new.
    1. What ways do you need to start fresh? (Does anyone not qualify for new beginnings? Convicts?)
    1. When does a new beginning for you invite you to be a blessing to others?

COMMUNION: Communion is our way to start fresh each month – Jesus paid it all. We don’t carry any of that old stuff—that doesn’t mean we get to ditch out on our earthly consequences BUT we are forgiven our eternal consequences. We can start new today with this family.

CONCLUSION: Where is God asking you to begin a new?  


Who Will You Listen To?


Message Title: Who Will You Listen To?
Main Text: Genesis 2:15-17;
Scripture Reading:
Matthew 4:1-11
RCL Scripture:
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
Focus: When given the choice, Jesus chooses God while Adam & Eve choose the tempter.
To step into this season seeking God.
Other Notes:
*sanctified art curriculum, BAPTISM CLASS

SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 4:1-11Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.” Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”[a] After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.[b] Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.”[c] Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”[d] 11 The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him.

SERIES INTRO: Reading through the Gospels you will notice a few things about Jesus’ ministry. This week a read a quote that said Jesus was asked 187 questions, asked 307, and only answered 3. Sometimes we forget to notice the things Jesus DOESN’T do in his ministry. There is an emphasis on questions over answers in the way Jesus’ ministry functions. Throughout this season, we’re going to ask “what am I seeking? What is God seeking? I invite you to engage with the spiritual practice of seeking through curiosity.

Seeking – not answers but questions


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: How do you feel about snakes?
    1. Indiana jones- “I hate snakes”
    1. Danger Noodle/Nope Rope
    1. Snek is friend
  2. Something fascinating I learned about snakes this week – there is irony in the medical symbol – first off notice the snakes wrapped around the staff. This is a Greek symbol for the god Hermes. But it is also a symbol associated with associated with liars, thieves, negotiation, and wisdom in Greek mythology. Why was that chosen for the profession we so highly depend?

TRANSITION: Today we will be tempted to choose poison or medicine. Who will win our allegiance?

  1. Context:
    1. In the middle of the creation story (version 3- Gen 1:1, 1:2-2:4; 2:5-25), God placed Adam with the responsibility to care for creation.

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 2:15-17 15 The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. 16 The Lord God commanded the human, “Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; 17 but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!” 


  • Genesis: God only gave Adam one restriction (yes, Eve wasn’t created yet per this version): don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
    • Adam was given freedom to use from the land, except for one particular tree. ALL THE LAND?!
      • “don’t touch it”  — I must touch it – Abu in Aladdin (OR Olaf & Fire)
    • We have no record of Adam telling Eve the restriction but we do have Eve offering Adam the fruit after taking a bite herself. Adam was right next to her when the snake spoke and did not stop or warn Eve.
    • Adam & Eve choose to follow the voice of a serpent over the word of God- -They chose the poison of the snake.
      • From that point forward, Adam and Eve were separated from God. They did not have the direct relationship they had in the garden. By choosing poison, they chose
    • Allude to ch 3


  1. Connection to Gospel: Jesus is tempted in the desert after fasting for 40 days. (Meriah hangry) The Tempter tries to get Jesus to use his power for himself, to test God’s word, and to avoid suffering by swearing allegiance to the Tempter.
    1. The Tempter’s words were truly tempting: Jesus could spare all his future suffering if he took this path. HOWEVER, Jesus chooses to stay God’s course. Jesus chose the medicinal truth of God’s word.
    1. The Tempter used scripture but Jesus tested that interpretation agains tother scripture and found it to be false.
      1. When listening to voices—even ones using scripture—use more scripture to interpret scripture. Weigh the opinions of others carefully against the Word of God.

APPLICATION:  My desert and trusting God (Yolo/IDGAF)

  1. Can we see far enough ahead to know that trusting God leads to good things?
    1. Marshmallow test: VIDEO
    1. These munchkins struggled to trust the word of the woman. Would they truly get that second marshmallow?
      1. Marshmallows aren’t bad but eating 1 prevents the abundance to come.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What voices are pulling you toward medicine and what voices are pulling you towards poison?
  3. “Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This relates to the law of averages, which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes”:  (desputed theory)
    1. Are you surrounded by people who lift you up?
    1. Do you have people encouraging your growth?
    1. Are there mentors in your life showing you the way?
  4. During this series you won’t see a lot of practical steps to take. Instead, we will have questions to reflect on each week.

CONCLUSION: When given the choice, Jesus chooses God while Adam & Eve choose the tempter.

Glowing Revelations


Message Title: Glowing Revelations
Revealing Revelations
Season: Epiphany – Transfiguration Sunday
Main Text: Exodus 24:12-18;
Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
RCL Scripture: Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
Focus:  God makes a covenant with his people that impacts every aspect of life.
To use our bodies to glorify God.
Business meeting after church, Ash Wed at 6:30, Baptism class next Sunday at 9:45

SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 17:1-9  Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain. He was transformed in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you want, I’ll make three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anybody about the vision until the Human One[a] is raised from the dead.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Has anyone seen the new Avatar movie? Should I see it?
    1. I remember when the first one came out and changed 3D.
    1. I loved the beautiful world of Pandora and how the world glows
  2. Bioluminescence: I wish MORE of our world glowed too
    1. Jelly fish
    1. Angler fish
    1. Fireflies/lightning bugs
    1. Jamaica (algae) – Glistening Waters is a glowing lagoon on the north coast of Jamaica. This marvel is only found in 4 places in the world, however, this lagoon is the brightest of them all due to more consistent climate. Here, the fresh water from the Martha Brae River meets the salt-water ocean and this amazing creation is formed.
      1. Boat ride in the lagoon and swimming

TRANSITION: God’s creation is so cool! Today is Transfiguration Sunday, the day we talk about Glowing Jesus. This year we will connect God’s story in the Old Testament with Jesus’ story and God’s plan for us today.


  1. Last week we were in Deuteronomy and heard one of the last speeches Moses made to the Israelites.
    1. We learned that the first 5 books of the Old Testament are considered the Law or Books of Moses. These are the foundational documents for God’s people. These books provide a structure to live by and a identity to claim.
    1. Deuteronomy was the transition point for the people – the role was no longer for Moses but for the people to decide to be faithful to God. … and they struggled.
  2. Today, in Exodus, we hear from Moses at the formation of God’s covenant with the Israelites.

MAIN TEXT: Exodus 24:12-18 12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there. I’ll give you the stone tablets with the instructions and the commandments that I’ve written in order to teach them.” 13 So Moses and his assistant Joshua got up, and Moses went up God’s mountain. 14 Moses had said to the elders, “Wait for us here until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur will be here with you. Whoever has a legal dispute may go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The Lord’s glorious presence settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from the cloud. 17 To the Israelites, the Lord’s glorious presence looked like a blazing fire on top of the mountain. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up the mountain. Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.


  1. Context:
    1. In Exodus 20, God gave the people the 10 commandments. Instantly, the Israelites said “we’re scared of God. We’ll talk to you Moses and you can talk to God for us.” (Paraphrased Ex 20: 19)
      1. God proceeds to give the people instructions through Moses.
    1. God makes a commitment to the Israelites. At the beginning of Exodus 24, Moses brings the elders of Israel up to God’s mountain to have a meal with God. They see God AND THEY ATE WITH GOD.
  2. Then God says “Hey Moses, let’s chat. Come farther up the mountain.” (Paraphrased Ex 24:12)
    1. Moses preps his people for his absence.
    1. God’s presence descends on the mountain (the people see a bright cloud/blazing fire).
    1. God doesn’t talk to Moses until day 7.
    1. Moses hangs out in the cloud for 40 days. – these 40 days are depicted in Ch 25-32. (Quick breakdown of most of Exodus)
      1. Ch 25-32 Moses is getting instructions from God and people waiting on Moses assume he’s dead. So, they build a gold calf to worship instead.
      1. Ch 33-34 is Moses cleaning up the mess of idolatry. They get a new covenant & Moses sees God’s glory and shines brightly.
      1. Ch 35-End is more instructions


  1. Connect to Gospel: It’s transfiguration Sunday and we celebrate this day every year at this time. A reminder of Jesus’ glory revealed and God’s intentions poured into the Cross.
    1. Jesus takes 3 disciples on a mountain and transfigures in front of them. He shines brightly (like the cloud of God’s presence on the mountain)
    1. Moses & Elijah show up
    1. A voice proclaims this is my son – I’m pleased – listen to him
      1. Affirmation of the words at his baptism
  2. Because of Jesus, God’s glory isn’t on a mountain or in a place of worship. God’s glory dwells with each of us.
    1. Our hymn last week “Heaven came down and Glory filled my soul”


  1. God changes us but perhaps not in the way we think:
    1. Grandma Billie – “I’ll be tall in heaven”
    1. Uncle Stephen – “aren’t you glad he isn’t r* anymore?”
    1. What if heaven removes the barriers that we experienced physically on earth? What if you don’t *need* to be tall because everything is accessible? What if my uncle isn’t the one that changed but we changed to understand him and see him fully?
  2. Jesus’ body was transfigured and revealed God’s glory.
    1. How does our body proclaim the glory of God?
      1. No, this isn’t about pounds, inches, or clothing size.
  3. How do we bring God glory with our physical selves?
    1. Not with flashy lights or cool commercials
    1. Not with screaming Jesus’s name in a mall food court (Tiktok)
    1. We love God by loving ourselves
    1. We love God by loving others

CONCLUSION:  Open your home, feed the hungry, clothe the naked – Glorify God with your body. Bring God’s glory into this world with your hands and feet.

Ash Wednesday: Is this the fast I choose?

Ash Wednesday
from Seeking – a sanctified art curriculum
February 22, 2023


WELCOME & PRAYER: announcement: Daily Devotional – send me your email and I’ll send it to you.


We gather together at the edge of a new season.
We stand together on the cusp of something new.
Will we wade into self-reflection?
Will we invite honesty to dance?
Will we listen for God’s invitation?
Will we seek deeper faith?
What kind of fast do we choose? What kind of faith will we build?
We gather together at the edge of a new season.
Listen, God is speaking.

SONG: Find Me By Jonathan and Melissa Helser


Shout loudly; don’t hold back;
    raise your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their crime,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
    desiring knowledge of my ways
    like a nation that acted righteously,
    that didn’t abandon their God.
They ask me for righteous judgments,
    wanting to be close to God.
“Why do we fast and you don’t see;
    why afflict ourselves and you don’t notice?”
Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want,
    and oppress all your workers.
You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast;
    you hit each other violently with your fists.
You shouldn’t fast as you are doing today
    if you want to make your voice heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I choose,
    a day of self-affliction,
    of bending one’s head like a reed
    and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes?
    Is this what you call a fast,
        a day acceptable to the Lord?

Isn’t this the fast I choose:
    releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
    setting free the mistreated,
    and breaking every yoke?
Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
    and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
    covering the naked when you see them,
    and not hiding from your own family?
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
    and you will be healed quickly.
Your own righteousness will walk before you,
    and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the finger-pointing, the wicked speech;
10     if you open your heart to the hungry,
    and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted,
    your light will shine in the darkness,    and your gloom will be like the noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually
    and provide for you, even in parched places.
    He will rescue your bones.
You will be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water that won’t run dry.
12 They will rebuild ancient ruins on your account;
    the foundations of generations past you will restore.
You will be called Mender of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Livable Streets.

DEVOTIONAL: Is this the fast that I choose?

  1. Series Intro: February 5th we read the first nine verses in this passage. Today, we are revisiting a passage in order to prepare our hearts for this season of Lent. Typically, during this season people implement a fast or incorporate new spiritual practices to help grow closer to Christ. Our sermon series during Lent is called Seeking.
  2. Into the Text:
    1. What are the people seeking? To Use God for their own gain. They want to treat him like a vending machine not a relationship.
    1. What is God seeking? Relationship and transformation.
      1. God wants to redeem and restore creation. He is our Liberator and Redeemer.
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: As we begin the Lenten season, what are you seeking?
      1. What is your body seeking?
      1. What is your mind seeking?
      1. What is your soul seeking?
  3. Conclusion: God is not looking for robots who don’t think or feel and only obey. God wants collaborators. God wants us to walk alongside Him in His plan to heal creation.
    1. This season is a chance for us to reset our intentions, motivations, and actions.
    1. God isn’t looking for heartless zombies but restored-justice-seeking-liberators.

CALL TO CONFESSION– We are going to start this season of repentence off with a time of confession. No, I’m not going to ask you to list off your sins.

Our scripture passage for today tells the story of people who are trying hard to be faithful. They ask God, “God, do you notice? Do you see all the good we’re doing? Are you proud of us?” It sounds a bit like children seeking parental attention. Did we do a good job? In those moments we always want to hear God say, “Excellent job, good and faithful servant.” But in today’s scripture, God says to the people, “I want you to seek justice.” Friends, faith is a constant dance of us asking God, “Am I doing it right?” and, “How can I do better?” In the prayer of confession we linger in this tension for a moment. We acknowledge that we are works in progress and we ask for God’s help. God may challenge us, but fortunately, God will never abandon us. So let us turn to God in prayer, using the confession printed in your bulletin (or visible on your screen). Let us pray:

REFLECTION SONG: Change my Heart o God By Roby Duke


Merciful God,
How many times in a day could we choose love?
How many times could we choose justice?
How many times could we speak kindly to ourselves?
How many times could we offer grace?
How many times, God? And how often do we miss it?
Forgive us for choosing the path you did not travel.
Forgive us for hitching our horse to the world’s measure of goodness, instead of yours.
Return our hearts to you, and guide us continually, even in the parched places.
With gratitude we pray,


Family of faith, when a baby is learning to walk, the parents do not criticize the baby for falling. Instead, they celebrate every wobbly step. They applaud every hesitant stand. They whoop and holler when their child lands in their arms. Surely the same must be true of God. Although we often lose our way and we often choose the wrong thing, I imagine God whoops and hollers with every step in God’s direction. So hear and believe the good news of the gospel: no matter how many times we fall, no matter how many times we choose the wrong path, God is waiting for us at the end with open arms. We are forgiven. We are invited. We belong. Thanks be to God for a love like that. Amen.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – said corporately – You have been forgiven, not by me but by Christ. Our life is made new in God. Let us affirm our faith in God through the words of Isaiah 58:  Inspired by the words of Isaiah 58.

We believe in a God who chooses freedom,
who unties every rope and carries our burdens.
We believe in a God who ushers in the poor and the hungry,
who has a seat saved for all of us.
We believe in a God whose love is like the sun,
who says, “I’m here, I’m here!” every time we cry.
We believe in a God who walks before us in the parched places,
who rescues our bones,
who tends to us like a gardener.
And because we believe,
we strive to choose love.
Because we believe,
we strive to pursue justice.
Because we believe…

Administering of Ashes & Dismissal

Revelations of Life


Message Title: Revelations of Life
Revealing Revelations
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20;
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:21-37
RCL Scripture: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
Focus: Moses calls for Israel to embrace God’s commands and live.
 To choose the Giver of Life through intentional practice of faith.
Other Notes
: VALENTINE’S DAYBlessed Be the Tie: “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above”

SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 5:21-37  21 “You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder,[a] and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. 23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift. 25 Be sure to make friends quickly with your opponents while you are with them on the way to court. Otherwise, they will haul you before the judge, the judge will turn you over to the officer of the court, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I say to you in all seriousness that you won’t get out of there until you’ve paid the very last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, Don’t commit adultery.[b] 28 But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. 29 And if your right eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body go into hell. 31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a divorce certificate.’[c] 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife except for sexual unfaithfulness forces her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago: Don’t make a false solemn pledge, but you should follow through on what you have pledged to the Lord.[d] 34 But I say to you that you must not pledge at all. You must not pledge by heaven, because it’s God’s throne. 35 You must not pledge by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool. You must not pledge by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great king. 36 And you must not pledge by your head, because you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.


    1. Action: Pour Skittles, Reese’s pieces, & M&M’s in the same bowl.
    1. Ask: How do you feel about this?
    1. Assumed response: appalled
    1. Ask: But they all look the same, don’t they go together?
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: How do you feel about cereal being mixed together?
    1. When I was young my parents would mix the last of cereals together to use them up. I HATED this because the tastes and textures were different. YOU CAN’T MIX THESE TOGETHER!

TRANSITION: In our text today, we will discuss the distinction between life giving actions and actions that lead to death. Can these two things mix?

  1. Literary context:
    1. Deuteronomy is the fifth book in the Torah. The Torah is the first section of the Hebrew scriptures. Gen, Ex, Lev, Num, and Deut are the foundational documents for this people; not only laws but the essence of their existence. Stories of their foundational identity and purpose are included in the Torah.
      1. Here, the people are about to enter the promise land FINALLY after wandering for 40 years. The generation about to enter the promise land have only known the wilderness, they never were slaves in Egypt. God’s promise is finally going to be realized.
      1. Moses & the enslaved generation will not get to enter the promise land, they lost that right because of their disobedience.
      1. Joshua, son of Nun, will be taking over the leadership of the Israelites after Moses.

MAIN TEXT: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 15 Look here! Today I’ve set before you life and what’s good versus death and what’s wrong. 16 If you obey the Lord your God’s commandments that[a] I’m commanding you right now by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments, his regulations, and his case laws, then you will live and thrive, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and so are misled, worshipping other gods and serving them, 18 I’m telling you right now that you will definitely die. You will not prolong your life on the fertile land that you are crossing the Jordan River to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live— 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by clinging to him. That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


  • Before entering the Promise land, Moses will die. Moses provides the people with a choice, follow God and live or embrace evil and die.
    • Choose life and live in God’s ways.
    • ESV Vs. 20  …loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
  • Connect to Gospel
    • Jesus continues in the Sermon on the Mount by framing more laws around the traditional understanding—following the letter of the law—and a new interpretation –following the essence of the law.
      • Not just following the letter as God’s people but following God’s heart that is woven into the letter
    • Moses – live by the law; Jesus- examples


  1. Does this only make sense in my head? (Smite button)
    1. Choose God and Choose life; Choose evil and choose death
    1. While some would see this as a curse, I see this as a logical consequence:
      1. God is the one who put breath in our lungs. God is the one who knew us in our mother’s womb. To reject God is to reject the very life in our lungs.
        1. It’s like a person taking out their pacemaker or unplugging from life support.
          1. “No thanks life, I’ll do life on my own.”…promptly dies….
          1. Rejecting the thing that made me alive is God
  2. Last week: We discussed we live for God not for the reward. God’s ways of living are not the same as the worlds. The way we include kids in church is one example.
    1. The problem of motivation: things get sticky in our faith when we talk about the blessings God pours out on God’s people.
      1. God’s people were doing things to try to gain something BUT it was distinctly selfish motives. Their own words gave away their selfish ambitions.
    1. What if the motive is wrapped in holiness like a Pharisee?
      1. “I follow the letter of the law but God’s heart. Because I follow the letter of the law, I know I am righteous and can be arrogant and proud around others who are not as holy as I am.”
  3. Motivation is key –The actions look the same on the surface but the motivation behind them is different and the essence they emit will be tangibly distinct. (faithfulnessàsuffering (paul))


  1. BACK TO BEGNNING: As I become more familiar with God. *scoop handful of candies and eat* I will be able to distinguish the difference between actions motivated by God’s love and actions motivated out of selfish ambition.
    1. A close examination will enable me to sort out those candies and intentionally pick the ones I want to eat.
    1. In the same way a close examination of our faith will help us to develop a more genuine relationship with God.
  2. Start with the actions:
    1. Ask: Why do we recite the Lord’s Prayer and Doxology each week?
      1. Are we trying to elicit a specific response from God?
      1. Distinction between: Practicing for reward vs practicing w/ obedience (trying to believe)
    1. When we struggle to believe, we gather with our faith siblings and practice our faith in hopes that God will meet us there and guide our steps.
      1. “I believe, help me in my unbelief”- father asking for healing for his son in Mark 9:24
      1. Psalms of helplessness Ps109: 26; 119: 86


Today’s revelation:  Church/practices help train our hearts to see the world through God’s eyes

Revealing a Heart Transformation


Message Title: Revealing a heart transformation
Theme: Revealing Revelations
Main Text: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12);
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13-20
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12); Psalm 112:1-9 (10);1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16); Matthew 5:13-20
Focus:  God’s people are called out on their manipulation tactics. 
Function: To embrace our role as God’s people because God is good, not because we gain a reward.
Other Notes:

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13-20 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.  17 “Don’t even begin to think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven’t come to do away with them but to fulfill them. 18 I say to you very seriously that as long as heaven and earth exist, neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest stroke of a pen will be erased from the Law until everything there becomes a reality. 19 Therefore, whoever ignores one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called the lowest in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps these commands and teaches people to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Out of the different generational names, how did each generation get their name?
    1. The Greatest Generation (GI Generation): Born 1901–1927. (WWI)
    1. The Silent Generation: Born 1928–1945. (post war, seen & not heard, etc)
      1. Seen & not heard? ? bc they didn’t test the status quo and “worked within the system”
    1. Baby Boom Generation: Born 1946–1964. (obvi)
    1. Generation X: Born 1965–1980. (unable to be defined)
    1. Millennial Generation: Born 1981–1996. (coming of age at the time of the millennial change)
    1. Generation Z: Born 1997–2010. “Zoomers”
    1. Gen Alpha: 2010-2024 – not named yet
  2. If you were able to change the label of your generation, do you have an idea in mind?

TRANSITIONS:  I wonder what label Stevie’s generation will earn. In our passage today, God is speaking to the people claiming the label of Israel. They are clinging to their title but not embracing the significance of the name.

Main Text: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12) Shout loudly; don’t hold back; raise your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their crime, to the house of Jacob their sins.They seek me day after day, desiring knowledge of my ways like a nation that acted righteously, that didn’t abandon their God. They ask me for righteous judgments, wanting to be close to God. “Why do we fast and you don’t see; why afflict ourselves and you don’t notice?” Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want, and oppress all your workers. You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast; you hit each other violently with your fists. You shouldn’t fast as you are doing today if you want to make your voice heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I choose, a day of self-affliction, of bending one’s head like a reed and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes? Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Isn’t this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke? Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and you will be healed quickly. Your own righteousness will walk before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.”


  1. Book:
    1. Author: Trito-Isaiah; lots of time has passed since Isaiah the prophet lived
    1. Dating: they’ve returned from exile and are starting to rebuild their lives
  2. The Servant & All Servants: A few weeks ago we learned that God is sending a singular servant named Israel who will restore all Israel and be a light to the nations. Christians call this singular servant Jesus.
    1. In chapters 56-66 Isaiah uses servant in the plural to refer to God’s people following God’s design. These servants will inherit the New Creation
    1. Motivation
    1. It appears Israel still hasn’t learned anything from exile; they still don’t know how to please God – they to the religious stuff but they don’t GET anything from God. (selfishly motivated & treating God like a vending machine)
      1. “I thought it was insert fast, receive God’s blessing”
      1. God isn’t a vending machine where we insert religious actions or speak religious jargon and receive favor from God.
  3. Their cluelessness reminds me of the audience in last week’s message from Micah 6:8
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What 3 things did God want instead of sacrifices in Micah 6:8?
      1. Not sacrifices – – Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God
        1. No rituals or going through the motions BUT transformation
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What are we to do instead of fasting: vs 6-7
      1. Liberation and hospitality


  1. Connection to Gospel passage
    1. God’s people are…
      1. Salt of the earth – Flavor enhancer (MSG!)
      1. Light – aids sight
      1. City on a hill – (like a light house?)
    1. Jesus has come to fulfill the law, not demolish it.
      1. We are no longer judged by the law but we’re still called to live by the law
      1. Jesus simplifies the law in to: Love God, Love Others
      1. Golden rule
  2. We are called to live differently not for reward but because the design God has is the best design.
    1. God’s design forms bonds, develops communities, builds trust and lets love flourish

APPLICATION: To embrace our role as God’s people because God is good, not because we gain a reward.

  1. BACK TO INTRO: Depending on your generation you may have different feelings about attending church and what the service is supposed to be like and how we are supposed to behave.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Define reverent/ what does it mean to act reverently?
    1. Kids in church – sit still and be quiet?
    1. …. Well, I’m going to challenge that. Starting now, we’ll have ribbons & egg shakers for kids to use during worship each week.
    1. You’ll also notice little fun signs about kids in worship around for you to read, giggle, and consider.
      1. Unlike your elders, we will identify this next generation as co-heirs of this church. It is currently their church too. They get to claim it now, they get to impact its ministry now. We acknowledge the need to share.
  3. Planning our calendar-
    1. We aren’t going to fill it with things just to fill it. “ Because it’s what we’ve always done.”
    1. Each event will serve a purpose or it doesn’t need to take up our time.
      1. We aren’t doing things to earn rewards, we’re doing things to honor God and serve our community.

CONCLUSION: Claim your name. Be God’s child. Serve others.

Not about me but about Christ (communion)

Our motivation – receive reward? Compelled to follow God?


For the Children….? – a political rant with pictures

*Disclaimer* My words do not reflect the opinions of my congregation or denomination. They can speak for themselves.

Apparently, we need to ban drag queens from reading to children….

but not if it’s a at Churches or for charity like Relay for life or domestic abuse prevention. AND as long as the person is heterosexual whiler cross dressing, then it’s fine. (After all, it’s really a negative statement about how silly women are when heterosexual men dress like women).

Let’s protect kids from homosexuals because all homosexuals are pedophiles. (Even though the LGBTQIA+ community is 200% on consent and vehemently opposes pedophilia.) Yes, protect kids from the homosexuals but not from being child brides to creepy old men.

Also, we’ve got a labor shortage, we hear it everywhere. Don’t raise minimum wage. Don’t improve worker conditions (especially for railway workers).

We need laborers – kids can work. (also they don’t have the right to vote…. but they’re too young to know about no taxation without representation.)

Ban drag queens, it’s for the children!

Protect babies by banning abortions but also decrease assistance in SNAP from the mothers who are barely scraping by to survive.

ALSO let’s definitely not make either disposable diapers or cloth diapers available on WIC. Heaven forbid mothers could get help to diaper their babies.

While we’re at it, let’s judge mothers who can’t keep a job because they can’t afford child care.

Educate children…

Wait, teacher shortages? Let’s move to a 4 day school week to fight teacher shortages! Maybe we’ll have to revisit States mandatory school days

Mass shootings and school shootings continue to go unchecked (below is a screenshot of shootings as of the date I’m writing this sentence).

Violence and poor mental health can have correlations. Students ask for mental health resources. BUT Therapy is a luxury. We don’t need mental health coverage as part of our health insurance.

Don’t put restrictions on assault rifles in order to protect our kids. Let kids buy bulletproof inserts for their backpacks!

Or even better yet, How about we arm the teachers?

But let’s also restrict school funding to add other pressures on teachers.

We’ve got a teacher shortage soooooo… let’s get soldiers to serve as substitute teachers rather than paying teachers what they deserve, changing classroom sizes, remove standardized testing, and provide the budget necessary for supplies needed.


Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.