New Birth

Message Title: New Birth
Theme: Living the Resurrection
Season: Easter
Main Text: 1 Peter 1:17-23
Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
RCL Scripture: *Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35
Focus: Peter calls his audience to live their New Life in Christ.
To engage in a heart transformation not legalistic rule following.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
I love the Lord because he hears
    my requests for mercy.
I’ll call out to him as long as I live,
    because he listens closely to me.
Death’s ropes bound me;
    the distress of the grave[
a] found me—
    I came face-to-face with trouble and grief.
So I called on the Lord’s name:
    “Lord, please save me!”[

…12 What can I give back to the Lord
    for all the good things he has done for me?
13 I’ll lift up the cup of salvation.
    I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
14 I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord
    in the presence of all God’s people.
15 The death of the Lord’s faithful
    is a costly loss in his eyes.

16 Oh yes, Lord, I am definitely your servant!
    I am your servant and the son of your female servant—
    you’ve freed me from my chains.
17 So I’ll offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to you,
    and I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
18 I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord
    in the presence of all God’s people,
19     in the courtyards of the Lord’s house,
        which is in the center of Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

Viewer Discretion Advised

INTRO TO SERIES: The season of Easter lasts 50 days (up until Pentecost). Whooo hooo! Jesus has resurrected…. now what? What does the resurrection mean for us? We will investigate Peter’s words in 1 Peter and the instructions he gives believers in the diaspora (define) about living IN the resurrection.

You’re invited to read your way through 1 Peter as we go through this series.


    1. What is a word you have used to substitute a “swear” word?
    1. Did your family deem any unconventional words “naughty”?
    1. What would your family do if you used “swear” words?
    1. Did an adult every tell you why you shouldn’t use “swear” words?
  2. Much like popular slang, swear words have changed over the centuries. Even our English-speaking siblings across the world use different swear words.
    1. What makes a word a “swear” word?

TRANSITION: In our text today, we will see the Apostle Peter writing to Christians about not just their actions but their heart. We will be in 1 Peter 1:17-23. Let me provide some context.

CONTEXT: Info we’re skipping from the intro texts plus history

  1. Author: assumed the Apostle Peter because of the text
  2. Dating: around 60 AD(he is executed in 65 AD) – 70AD
  3. Audience: Christians (Jews & Gentiles) in the diaspora
  4. Goal: to emphasize the continuity of the God of Israel (OT) and Jesus.
    1. The expectations of God in the OT are same in the NT

MAIN TEXT: 1 Peter 1:17-23 17 Since you call upon a Father who judges all people according to their actions without favoritism, you should conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your dwelling in a strange land. 18 Live in this way, knowing that you were not liberated by perishable things like silver or gold from the empty lifestyle you inherited from your ancestors. 19 Instead, you were liberated by the precious blood of Christ, like that of a flawless, spotless lamb. 20 Christ was chosen before the creation of the world, but was only revealed at the end of time. This was done for you, 21 who through Christ are faithful to the God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. So now, your faith and hope should rest in God. 22 As you set yourselves apart by your obedience to the truth so that you might have genuine affection for your fellow believers, love each other deeply and earnestly. 23 Do this because you have been given new birth—not from the type of seed that decays but from seed that doesn’t. This seed is God’s life-giving and enduring word.

EXPLAINATION: Peter calls his audience to live their New Life in Christ.

  1. you were not liberated by perishable things – not works or money or power
  2. your faith and hope should rest in God. – not works or money or power
  3. set yourselves apart by your obedience to the truth—Behavior changed
  4. new birth…This seed is God’s life-giving and enduring word  — Sustenance
  5. Connection to Psalm
    1. What to give God back for the gift of salvation?


  1. God’s words give life—what are your words giving?
  2. BACK TO INTRO: swear words don’t matter– darn, dang, or damn all have the same meaning in your heart.
    1. A good guideline: if you are using words to express your emotions, they are neutral. If you are using words to cause injury, they are words to avoid.
    1. Perhaps we will release words from the curse category OR perhaps new words will become curse words
  3. As we work to change our heart and our language will transform. Perhaps you still use a conventional swear word in moments of heightened emotions but you speak with dignity to your neighbor.
    1. No guilt vs Cursing
    1. Responsibility to results

APPLICATION: To engage in a heart transformation not legalistic rule following.

  1. why are Christians looking like the world? I’m not talking about drinking, swearing, and listening to rock music. I’m talking about anger, jealousy, exclusive gatherings, & greed
    1. Christians looking like the world:
      1. persecuting those who are different
      1. allegiances based on money, fame, or power
      1. judging the actions of others but giving allowances to the self
        1. Double standard – others can’t win
        1. (internet search history Convo with josh)
  2. Following Christ is like swear words – the label Christian doesn’t mean anything if your heart isn’t in it.

CONCLUSION:  The next few weeks we will continue reading 1 Peter and engage our hearts in transformation. You are invited to join me in the New Birth of Living in the Resurrection.

Who Are You Looking For?


Message Title:  Who Are You Looking For?
Season: EASTER
Main Text: John 20:1-18
Scripture Reading:
Jeremiah 31:1-6
RCL Scripture:
*Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10
Focus:  Mary discovers the empty tomb and is the first to witness the resurrected Jesus.
To release the image of Jesus from our expectations and allow a new image to form.
Other Notes:
EASTER//Sanctified Art Curriculum//Baptism Sunday & Bell Choir

SCRIPTURE READING: Jeremiah 31:1-7 At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. 2 The Lord proclaims: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness. As Israel searched for a place of rest, 3 the Lord appeared to them from a distance: B. And so with unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.  4Again, I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt, virgin Israel. Again, you will play your tambourines and dance with joy. 5 Again, you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; farmers will plant and then enjoy the harvests. 6 The time will come when the watchmen shout from the highlands of Ephraim: “Get ready! We’re going up to Zion to the Lord our God!” 7The Lord proclaims: Sing joyfully for the people of Jacob; shout for the leading nation. Raise your voices with praise and call out: “The Lord has saved his people, the remaining few in Israel!” 


  1. Audience Engagement: “Last place I looked..”
    1. Speaking of looking, is anyone here a master finder of lost things?
    1. Growing up: who always found the most easter eggs?
    1. How does your family do egg hunts?

TRANSITION: SERIES CONCLUSION Over the course of this series, starting at Ash Wednesday, we have been on a seeking journey. We’ve dwelt in questions rather than racing to answers. Today, we get to a culminating question: Who Are You Looking For?

  1. Gospel Context: John’s Gospel focuses on Jesus’ divinity. This guy is more than human, he is God with us.
    1. Once again: each of the gospel authors have a different goal in mind when they share the story of Jesus. You’ll notice they each tell the story of Easter a little different – I mean Mark doesn’t even show us the resurrected Jesus.
    1. BUT they all share the key detail: The Tomb is Empty.

MAIN TEXT: John 20:1-18 Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying. 11 Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. 13 The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.” Then she told them what he said to her.


  • Good Friday: On Good Friday, we learned in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus was laid in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea (John’s Gospel adds the Pharisee Nicodemus). After the burial, the women were hanging out in front of the tomb at the end of Good Friday. It’s no wonder that the women are the first to see Jesus.
  • Mary at the Tomb
    • John tells us it was only Mary Magdalene present on Easter morning to witness the empty tomb.
    • This death had been so traumatic and controversial, her rabbi and Messiah was executed as a blasphemer and traitor to Rome. Being associated with such a controversial man would have been dangerous, yet she risks it all to go to the cemetery to sit by the tomb.
    • THEN she arrives on Easter Sunday and the tomb is EMPTY!
    • WHO TOOK THE BODY?! Hasn’t he dealt with enough shame and harassment?!?
  • The Gardener: She is so distraught; Mary doesn’t even recognize Jesus standing before her. She assumes he was the gardener of the cemetery.


  1. Have you ever wondered: What did Mary come to the tomb to seek? Did she simply want to cry at the tomb? Was she guarding his tomb from foul play? Was she hoping Jesus’ words would come true?
    1. Whatever she was seeking – she didn’t recognize the resurrected Messiah.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: 2 volunteers: Draw a picture of Jesus (invite kids forward at the beginning to color on the floor)
    1. Have lot’s of colors available
  3. Jesus grew up in Israel—the Middle East—he likely was a brown man with black hair and brown eyes. Yet most famous paintings we see of Jesus he has VERY white skin, blue eyes and either blonde, light brown, or red hair.
    1. THEN there are artistic depictions of Jesus from around the world
    1. Iconodules vs Iconoclasts


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What does Jesus look like to you? Does it make you uncomfortable to see Jesus looking different?
    1. Who are you looking for?
    1. Does God have room to surprise you?
  2. I invite you this Easter to be surprised by God.
    1. Perhaps this is the year that God shows you new things about God’s self.
    1. This could be the year that we stop putting God in a box (or picture frame).
    1. This could be the year we are filled with curiosity and a season of discovery.

CONCLUSION: This Easter Sunday – Who are you seeking? Are your eyes open to seeing Jesus in a new way?

Good Friday ’23

  1. Details: 
    1. Traditions: Scripture, Specials, Past services: Funeral for Jesus (2 years), Campfire conversations about grief, Tenebrae service
    2. RCL Text: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 OR Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42
    3. Audience Engagement: Scripture stations
    4. Order of Worship:
      • Welcome & Prayer
      • Hymn- Were you There — Abby J
      • Interactive reading of Matthew 27
        1. Dark lights, campfire crackling sound, campfire picture
        2. Dim lights, birds chirping, dawn picture
        3. Lights getting brighter, morning picture
        4. Lights bright, late morning picture
        5. Lights dark, eclipse picture
        6. Lights dark, crickets/cicadas sound, starry picture
      • Special – Jesus Paid it All –Abby J
      • Closing prayer
  2. Stations of the cross, live nativity, & Easter
    1. frequently, we forget exactly how the timeline unfolds for holy week. most of what we celebrate on Good Friday unfolds in the darkness between Monday Thursday and Good Friday. We left Maundy Thursday, last night, to the sound of songs being sung much like the disciples and Jesus on the way to the garden of Gethsemane.
    2.  as we read Matthew 27 together tonight, we will portion it out to emphasize the passing of time and the chain of events. I envision this best served like a Catholic Stations of the Cross (based on christian on Christian traditions) or Christmas live nativity. 
    3. With each passage, I will place (mostly modern) symbols for each section on the altar and invite kids and adults to engage with those items as we consider the scriptures. likewise the slides will not show scripture but give us an indicator of time passing. 
  3. MAIN TEXT: Matthew 27 & Stations
      • Introduction [not scripture] Good friday starts late maundy thursday in the garden of gethsemane. Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night while praying in the garden. 
      • As dawn approaches, Good Friday unfolds. We enter scripture at dawn, by noon Jesus is crucified, by sunset he is in the tomb. We will journey through this story through reading Matthew 27 and having stations with items to engage with. 
      • 27:1 Early in the morning all the chief priests and the elders of the people reached the decision to have Jesus put to death. 2 They bound him, led him away, and turned him over to Pilate the governor.
    3. Judas’ death – MORNING TIME — BAG OF COINS
      • 3 When Judas, who betrayed Jesus, saw that Jesus was condemned to die, he felt deep regret. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, and 4 said, “I did wrong because I betrayed an innocent man.” But they said, “What is that to us? That’s your problem.” 5 Judas threw the silver pieces into the temple and left. Then he went and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said, “According to the Law it’s not right to put this money in the treasury. Since it was used to pay for someone’s life, it’s unclean.” 7 So they decided to use it to buy the potter’s field where strangers could be buried. 8 That’s why that field is called “Field of Blood” to this very day. 9 This fulfilled the words of Jeremiah the prophet: And I took the thirty pieces of silver, the price for the one whose price had been set by some of the Israelites, 10 and I gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.[a]
      • 11 Jesus was brought before the governor. The governor said, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.” 12 But he didn’t answer when the chief priests and elders accused him. 13 Then Pilate said, “Don’t you hear the testimony they bring against you?” 14 But he didn’t answer, not even a single word. So the governor was greatly amazed.
      • 15 It was customary during the festival for the governor to release to the crowd one prisoner, whomever they might choose. 16 At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17 When the crowd had come together, Pilate asked them, “Whom would you like me to release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 He knew that the leaders of the people had handed him over because of jealousy. 19 While he was serving as judge, his wife sent this message to him, “Leave that righteous man alone. I’ve suffered much today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and kill Jesus. 21 The governor said, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” “Barabbas,” they replied. 22 Pilate said, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” 23 But he said, “Why? What wrong has he done?” They shouted even louder, “Crucify him!” 24 Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was starting. So he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I’m innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It’s your problem.” 25 All the people replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified.
      • 27 The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s house, and they gathered the whole company[b] of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a red military coat on him. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they bowed down in front of him and mocked him, saying, “Hey! King of the Jews!” 30 After they spit on him, they took the stick and struck his head again and again. 31 When they finished mocking him, they stripped him of the military coat and put his own clothes back on him. They led him away to crucify him.
      • 32 As they were going out, they found Simon, a man from Cyrene. They forced him to carry his cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place, 34 they gave Jesus wine mixed with vinegar to drink. But after tasting it, he didn’t want to drink it. 35 After they crucified him, they divided up his clothes among them by drawing lots. 36 They sat there, guarding him. 37 They placed above his head the charge against him. It read, “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” 38 They crucified with him two outlaws, one on his right side and one on his left. 39 Those who were walking by insulted Jesus, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “So you were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, were you? Save yourself! If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way, the chief priests, along with the legal experts and the elders, were making fun of him, saying, 42 “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. He’s the king of Israel, so let him come down from the cross now. Then we’ll believe in him. 43 He trusts in God, so let God deliver him now if he wants to. He said, ‘I’m God’s Son.’” 44 The outlaws who were crucified with him insulted him in the same way.
      • 45 From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. 46 At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?”[c] 47 After hearing him, some standing there said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 One of them ran over, took a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a pole. He offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 But the rest of them said, “Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him.” 50 Again Jesus cried out with a loud shout. Then he died. 51 Look, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split, 52 and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised. 53 After Jesus’ resurrection they came out of their graves and went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what had just happened, they were filled with awe and said, “This was certainly God’s Son.” 55 Many women were watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to serve him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
      • 57 That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. 58 He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb.

CONCLUSION: Jesus went from being arrested in  the middle of the night to being crucified in the middle of the day to in the tomb by night. Similar to Maundy Thursday, tonight, we leave in the middle of something.

  1. Tomorrow, Holy Saturday is the space in between: the silent day, the day of shock and uncertainty.
  1. The disciples are scattered and scared– will they be hunted down and crucified for following Jesus?  
  2. Is hope lost? The One they believed to be the Messiah is dead… how could he free Israel from Rome and restore the Davidic Monarchy from the grave? 
  3. Sometimes we rush to Easter to ease the gravity of Good Friday. No one really likes the tension of Holy Saturday
  4. However, holy Saturday reminds us of our current state. Just turning on the news reminds us of the dark limbo we are in. We’re waiting for Jesus now, just like the disciples were waiting then.
    1. what will you do with the time in between?

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.

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