Worship Preparation

Recognizing the value of preparing oneself for the the worship of God, we encourage you to consider praying through the day’s texts before the service begins—either during the week prior or the morning of the service. In general, the context of a story may be provided here, whereas in the service the primary story may be read alone, with the context informing how we engage that story. Additionally a “sermon seed” is offered for personal reflection and preparation.

Epiphany Series:
“The Advent of Love”

5 February 2023

Responsive Reading: 1Corinthians 13:1-8a, 12-13
Primary Scripture: Matthew 7:1-14, 24-29
Sermon Title: “Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth”

Sermon Seed:
Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6) and he certainly speaks truth in today’s scripture. What in this is hardest to hear? Which of Jesus’ metaphors describe your ongoing struggles: picking a speck out of someone’s eye while you’ve got a plank in yours, not knowing how to gift “those pigs” in your life appropriately, taking the easy way, or building on a questionable foundation?

12 February 2023

Responsive Reading: 1Corinthians 13:1-8a, 12-13
Primary Scripture: Matthew 13:24-43
Sermon Title: “Love is patient; love is kind”

Sermon Seed:
Jesus’ parables are often a mix of natural illustrations and people acting quite unnaturally. The former tend to make us think “oh yeah…” and the latter “now wait…” Read through the scripture text and consider which response each parable provokes in you. Then consider how the qualities of patience and kindness are present in these illustrations.

19 February 2023

Responsive Reading: 1Corinthians 13:1-8a, 12-13
Primary Scripture: Matthew 16:24-17:8
Sermon Title: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”

Sermon Seed:
In contrast to the ways of the world (and love’s opposite: fear), love is not fickle or flighty or elusive. Love is enduring. How does that bear out in the scripture text? And how does it measure up against your experience of life?

Lenten Series:
“Reorientations: the Point of Parables”

Through the lens of select parables, we consider how Jesus reorients our conception of forgiveness, fairness, free, foolish, and faithful.

26 February 2023

Responsive Reading: From Psalm 32
Primary Scripture: Matthew 18:15-22
Sermon Title: “Forgiveness”

Sermon Seed:
Today, Jesus is challenging us to think about offense and forgiveness. Which teaching is more challenging for you: the instruction to “cut off” those who refuse efforts to reconcile, or the instruction to forgive “seventy-seven times”? How do you think we are to balance those teachings in our practice?

5 March 2023

We benefit from a guest speaker this week, as Pastor Michael is on bereavement leave. We’ll share information for this service as it becomes available!!

12 March 2023

Responsive Reading: From Psalm 106
Primary Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14
Sermon Title: “Free”

Sermon Seed:
Today’s parable is one we want to cut short (at v.10). But Jesus takes an already uncomfortable parable and stretches it further into discomfort. Between invitation and response lies freedom, but this freedom is not a “no-strings-attached” kind of free. What responsibilities come with the freedoms you have known?

19 March 2023

Responsive Reading: From Psalm 43
Primary Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13
Sermon Title: “Foolish”

Sermon Seed:
There is an urgency we feel when things are immanent, and Jesus capitalizes on that in this series of teachings on responsibility. Since the arrival of our “bridegroom/master” is immanent, what we do now is that much more weighty. Read over today’s parable with the one that follows (the parable of the talents) and explore the ways they seem to agree and disagree with one another.

26 March 2023

Responsive Reading: From Psalm 98
Primary Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Sermon Title: “Faithful”

Sermon Seed:
Building on last week’s parables, Jesus frames “faithfulness” through the lens of how we care for others. What inner tension to you feel when reading this parable? What do you notice when reading it alongside Jesus’ theme verses (Luke 4:18-19)?