**This funeral message was given after one of our church family took her own life. This is shared in hope that it might help others struggling with suicide or the suicide of a family member. The names have been removed for family privacy, (so there are a few gaps in the audio). We, along with many others urge those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out to someone and ask for help--a pastor, teacher, mentor, friend, counselor. There IS HOPE, though depression can often cloud us from seeing it. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. The Lord be with you!**
Key passages used in our pastoral counseling were Isaiah 42:3 and Romans 6:11.
Sermon on Isaiah 51:9-16, for the 24th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), about waiting on God's action, crying out for His deliverance. How has God come through in the past? How does that inform our faith (trust) facing the future? What is the reward of those who wait on Him? When does it feel as though God is asleep? Is the Lord's arm ever shortened?
Sermon on Isaiah 29:17-24, for the 12th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about Isaiah's prophecy of great reversals that would happen in God's kingdom, and how this prophecy finds fulfillment in Jesus' ministry. How do we recognize injustice? What does God do about it?
Sermon on Isaiah 55:10-13 & Luke 8:4-15, for Sexagesima "Sixty" (1 Yr Lectionary), about the power and effectiveness of God's Word to accomplish His intended purpose. What truth from nature does Isaiah use to make his point? How does God's Word work, and why does it never return empty? What kind of growth does God desire and produce in us?
Sermon on Isaiah 40:1-8, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, about the Double Comfort spoken by Isaiah the prophet--who receives it, who refuses it, and what the messenger in the wilderness is doing. What are the obstacles to God's entry? Why is God entering, and what is the significance of the doubling of comfort, punishment, or other doublings in various passages?
Sermon on Isaiah 6:1-7, for Trinity Sunday, 1 Year Lectionary, about Isaiah's terrifying encounter with the Holiness of the Living God, and how God mercifully intervened to atone for the sins of Isaiah. What existential crisis faced Isaiah, Israel, and faces us? How does God resolve this, in light of His holiness? What does the image of fire relate to us concerning God's holiness?
Sermon on Isaiah 40:25-31, for the 4th Sunday of Easter (1 Year Lectionary, Jubilate (Shout for Joy!) Sunday. A sermon about God's conversation with His people about how He is an incomparable God (starting back in verse 9) and the immeasurable greatness of His creation and our inability to comprehend it all or to judge or advise Him. How many stars are in the universe? Why is this significant, and what does it have to do with God's care for us? Why is it an ancient thought to think that God has forgotten us? What is His response? How does He lift us up as on eagle's wings?
Sermon on Luke 3:15-22, for the Baptism of Our Lord, about the significance of Jesus entering the waters of Baptism, what it meant for His mission and purpose, what it means for us, and what John meant by Jesus will baptize with Spirit and with fire. What is Jesus role in both judgment and salvation? What did the prophet Isaiah say of this in chapters 42-43?
Sermon on Isaiah 51:4-6, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, about how God's justice would stand as a light for the peoples, and how God brings His justice into the world. What is the difference between human forms of justice and God's? Why do earthly hopes of peace and justice disappoint us, while God's will prevail? How did Jesus perfectly display God's justice?
Sermon for Advent 3 Midweek, about fears and worries about losing memory, or wanting to forget hardships but being unable--and the comfort of knowing what God forgets and remembers. The following readings are incorporated into the sermon: Psalms 9 & 25, Isaiah 49:15-16, and Luke 12:4-7.
Sermon on forgetting and remembering, a continuation of Sunday's theme, for Advent 1 midweek services. How God's people forget about Him, His mighty works and His commands; and how God remembers His people and His covenant, and reminds us.