Sermon Series

Sunday Lenten Sermon Series: Answering the Call

OVERVIEW: Throughout Epiphany we dove into the ways we step up and respond to God’s call as disciples of Christ saying “Hineni! Here I am.” As we look toward the cross in the season of Lent, we will explore the many ways God calls us and what that means for our journey of faith. Each of us has a calling; big and small. God is calling us in many different ways and all throughout our lives. God calls us to things, away from situations, as we are in the moment, in miraculous and mysterious ways, and in ways that are not always easy. This Lent explore how God is calling you and how we are called together to respond faithfully, resting in the promises of eternal life with Christ.

February 26 • You Are Called

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NIV); Luke 5:1-11 (NIV)

Peter was a fisherman. He wasn’t a biblical scholar, a high priest, or a deep-thinking theologian. He was an ordinary, everyday man working to make a living the best he could. Then along comes Jesus. Luther talked about the priesthood of all believers, the idea that it is not just clergy or the ordained who have callings but that all people are called in different ways to serve God’s kingdom. We are each uniquely created with gifts and capacities to live into the ways God calls us. Like Peter, God has jumped into the boat with us as Jesus calls us to cast out our nets and to follow Christ. The question is, do we continue to throw our nets on the wrong side of the boat or do we drop our nets completely and see that God has called YOU for much more than just catching fish.

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March 5 • Called to be Followers of Jesus

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV); Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

Maybe the most obvious way we are called as Christians is to be followers of Christ. That is the definition of a Christian after all, isn’t it? But it can be easy to forget what it means to be a follower of Christ. We look at the world and get consumed by the busyness and the chaos that is all around us and we take on the responsibility to try and fix it all. We try to become the savior, the hero, the one who fixes the the problems. But that is not at all what being called as a follower of Christ is all about. We are called to first sit at the feet of Christ. Because of Jesus, we do not need to do anything but sit and be present with our Lord. It is at Jesus’ feet that we realize our holiness and belovedness which then allows us to respond to God’s call faithfully.

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March 12 • Called Away

Genesis 12:1-9 (NRSV); Matthew 4:18-22 (NRSV)

Callings can be challenging to discern. Often, when God calls it is not clear, or it might be a call towards something different or uncomfortable. Maybe the hardest callings are when we are called away from something without a clear picture of what is to come next. Maybe a job is no longer life-giving, and we are called to leave before we have a new job lined up. Maybe a relationship is broken and unhealthy and it is time to separate, but a hole is left where that person once was. These callings force us to rely on trusting God more than most other calls in our lives because there is no clear outcome of what is to come next. Being called away is like being called to trust in the One who gives life, creates and provides when it seems like there is only death, an end and nothing. Grief might be the only way through, but new life is always on the other side of death.

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March 19 • Called As You Are

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 (NIV); Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)

Quite possibly the deepest truth you can recognize about yourself is the uniqueness that God has created you to be and remembering that God created you just as you are in all God’s perfect ways. None of us are perfect, but the Perfect Creator has created you and calls you in the midst of that creation to do amazing and incredible things. Even when we might feel as though God can do nothing with us, that is precisely when God calls us as we are. Try and find a story in the Bible where God calls a perfect human who has it all together and has done no sin. Jesus finds the lowly sinners and the outcasts, and it is those who He calls to not only follow Him but to help show how the kingdom of God is at hand.

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March 26 • How God Calls

Exodus 3:1-6 (NIV); Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 (NIV); John 1:43-51 (NIV)

When was the last time you saw a burning bush speak to you? When was the last time you witnessed a cloud of smoke heading your way? The scriptures give us many miraculous ways that God has come and called God’s people, but it can be disappointing these days when that bush is actually just consumed by the fire and no voice comes bellowing out! While those biblical signs of God’s call are amazing, maybe the ways God calls us these days are even more amazing. Often times, God’s call doesn’t come through as a booming voice or a flash of light but instead through the people we surround ourselves with in community. It might not always be as clear as a burning bush, but God is calling you through the voices of others, through the silent and still moments of prayer, and through the hurts and pains of the world. God calls us into deep discernment communally to hear that call as followers of Christ, responding faithfully and boldly.

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April 2 (Palm Sunday) • Called to Suffer

Psalm 31:9-16 (NIV); Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV); Matthew 21:1-11 (NIV)

Following Jesus is not always easy. The reality of sin in the world means that pain and suffering remain, too. While God does not create pain and suffering, callings from God may lead us to places of suffering because of sin in the world. Jesus turns to Jerusalem knowing that the road ahead is not an easy one, but God has called Him. It is not God who causes the suffering, it is sin that brings this to Jesus. Despite the suffering we may endure through God’s calling, we live in the trust and hope of the resurrection of the dead knowing that if God has called, God remains with us. God pulls us through because God has been there, knows our suffering, and has defeated the sin that brings about the suffering.

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Wednesday Lenten Sermon Series: Paul’s Greatest Hits

OVERVIEW: He was one of the most highly educated people of his day. He was the author of two thirds of the New Testament. His theology shaped the Christian Church and spurred the Protestant Reformation. He was a prolific church evangelist, starting church all throughout Asia Minor. If you are a Christian, you need to know about St. Paul and the impact he made in your life.

February 22 (Ash Wednesday) • Chief Sinner

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Who is the worst sinner that you know? It seems throughout history we’ve had plenty to choose from.  And yet Paul would surprise you with his opinion on who would top that list: himself. There is a lesson to be learned here. It is only in confessing our complete brokenness can we embrace God’s forgiveness and live a life filled with a grateful heart of grace. Our Lenten journey begins on Ash Wednesday, on our knees.

March 1 • Road to Damascus

Acts 9:1-9

There has only been one burning bush. There has only been one vision in the temple. There has only been one lightning bolt on the road to Damascus. Don’t think you will be the next. However, God does get each of our attention in unique ways. Yours might not be a single, born again moment that you can point to on the calendar, but when and how did God get your attention to follow him?

March 8 • Divisions in Corinth

1 Corinthians 1:10-17, 22-25

Sometimes we hear people wanting to recapture the purity of the early church when we idyllically imagine that they got it right. When was that, if ever? Paul’s two letters to the people of Corinthians remind us that the church has always experienced struggles and division. They might be different issues, but the same brokenness is present.

March 15 • Struggles in Galatia

Galatians 1:6-10

It started from the very beginning, within the early church. Not only were they bickering about eating meat sacrificed to idols, but also whether or not they could fully trust in faith in Jesus alone. Soon after Paul left this fledgling church, they began perverting the purity of Gospel with additional requirements to earn God’s grace. Paul responded harshly and definitively that it is through Christ, and Christ alone that we are saved.

March 22 • Suffering for the Gospel

2 Corinthians 11:21b-29

Contrary to what some might testify, life didn’t become easier for Paul once he became a Christian. In fact, it became much more difficult. His testimony is a powerful one for us today as we clearly do not suffer for the Gospel the same way he did. It is a testimony of perseverance.

March 29 • Strength in Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

The gospel has always been confusing. Greatness comes through serving, the first will be last, living comes through dying, and now Paul shows us that strength comes through weakness. What is this thorn in Paul’s flesh? We don’t know, but we do know that through this weakness, Paul finds the strength of God’s grace.

April 5 • Final Words: Rejoice Always!

Philippians 4:4-7

The year is about 64 AD. Paul has been on house arrest for a couple of years, going through trial and awaiting his own execution through beheading. After all that he has done for God, how will he react as the executioner sharpens his sword? Fear? Anger? Resentment? Resignation? Would you believe joy?  Joy is not the same as happiness. Paul was not happy to be executed. But he says as emphatically as he possibly can, up to the end, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, Rejoice!”


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