Unless otherwise noted, The Rev. Dr. Larry Norris Preaching
Sermon Titles and Scriptures
Sunday, March 10, 2019 1st Sunday in Lent
Scripture Lesson: Mark 1:9-15
Sermon Title: “What Do We Learn In The Wilderness?”
We all know about temptation and sin. It is as old as the Garden of Eden and as fresh as the morning newspaper. If ever there was any inclination to dilute the reality of sin, that tendency has been mitigated by the sustained horrors of war, oppression, and greed. From the biblical point of view, temptation can lead to sin, and sin is unbelievably inventive, complex, and insidious. In the most basic sense, temptation and sin are about spiritual warfare.
In the lesson today, Jesus is “driven” into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. For the Jew, the wilderness was a realm where evil spirits and the power of the Prince of Darkness ruled. There, Satan takes his best shots against Jesus, playing on the Lord’s messianic role and quoting from Deuteronomy. Here we learn about the power of Scripture in confronting temptation, and also about Jesus’ solidarity with the human family.
Sunday March 17, 2019 2nd Sunday in Lent
The Rev. Daniel Gómez Preaching
Scriptures: John 2:1-11; I Corinthians 9:19-23
Sermon Title: Invite me… Please!
One of the primary means God uses to pursue the lost is the local church. That pursuit involves the work of the Holy Spirit and the confidence of His people to advertise. Yes, our confidence to advertise and promote with our family and friends, the programs, events, and community life of the local church.
Today, people are more connected than any previous generation, yet lonelier than ever before. Social media may allow us to keep up with other people, but invitations to join communities or relational circles are the only way for people to truly connect with others. We cannot mistake information for intimacy. We cannot mistake communication for community. Virtual relationships are not complete. To put it another way, fellowship is not truly experienced apart from actual relationships in physical time and space.
The God of the Bible is a missionary God who graciously pursues people to gather together in community and invites us to be in a relationship with Him.
Sunday, March 24, 2019 3rd Sunday in Lent
Scripture Lesson: Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-21
Sermon Title: “Why Do We Have To Go Through This?”
We would probably all agree that there is a difference between raising legitimate questions about real issues and just complaining about something. To not speak boldly about concerns such as racism and poverty is immoral. Simply whining about something does not resolve anything!
Our lesson today from Numbers 21 describes a series of “murmuring stories” that speak to the tendency of Israel to complain during their wilderness experience. These stories read like a soap opera! The task of Moses was difficult. He had to not just bring the Hebrews out of slavery but to bring slavery out of the people. What we learn from this story is that often we will stay in bondage and complain rather than “let go” of the comfortable and move to freedom.
Freedom brings responsibility and accountability. What prevents us from fully embracing the promised land of God’s presence and grace?
Sunday Mar. 31, 2019 4th Sunday in Lent
The Rev. Pamela Wagner Preaching
Scripture Lesson: Psalm 32:1-5, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Sermon Title: A Tale of Two Sons
We all know about losing things. “Where did I put my glasses?” “Oh, no, I lost my phone!” But the Parable of the Lost Son speaks to a different kind of lostness. We live in a world that has crawled away from a loving God and tried to the best of its ability to stay "lost".
And like the father in the parable of the lost son, God has allowed people the freedom to act against their best interests, to sneak away and hide. But God is not content to let us go. He wants us home. And when we come back, He is there to welcome us with open arms!
Sunday, April 7, 2019 Holy Communion
Scripture Lesson: Psalm 23; John 10:11-18
Sermon Title: “What Is So Good About the Good Shepherd?”
Even though most of us are not familiar with the particulars of sheep, the image of God as the Great Shepherd, as it has come to us in Psalm 23, carries enormous spiritual comfort. However, when we read of Jesus saying of himself in John 10, “I am the Good Shepherd,” we had better look twice!
There is comfort here, to be sure, but in the original context Jesus’ words were anything but consoling. They brought division (vs. 19-21) and violence (v. 31). Jesus’ words are not to be taken sentimentally, and they led to his arrest and death!
In this message, we explore the identity of the “hired hand,” a figure with whom Jesus is compared. We focus on the kind of relationship Jesus has with his sheep, which is not unlike the bond he has with his Father. We also learn that Jesus lays down his life for his sheep, and does so in complete freedom and self-surrender. Jesus is the Good Shepherd!