When Jesus called his disciples he said, "follow me and I will make you fishers of men." While many think of this as a call to evangelism, we take an historical/contextual look at what this might have meant in First Century Galilee. It might be much more radical than you think!
Richard Rohr speaks of life in two halves; the first half is the building of a strong 'container' or 'identity', the second half is finding the contents the container is to hold. In this message we consider the choosing of Nathanael and Peter's denial and restoration with these two halves of life in mind.
Why did Jesus need to be baptized? John the Baptist was calling people to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin, but Jesus was without sin. In this message we explore the cultural context of John's baptism and find some remarkable clues as to the epic battle that began with the baptism of Jesus.
In a highly patriarchal culture in which a man's place in society was determined by who his father was, what are the implications of a baby born without a human father? We propose that the implications are enormous, world changing, and that we're only beginning to consider them 2000 years later.
The scandal of Christmas is that God is human. In this, God shows us how utterly different God is than all other human conceptions of the gods. At Christmas, God all powerful is revealed as God all powerless.
John the Baptist was asked four times, "Who are you?". In response, he answered, "I am not" three times, and "I am" only once. The process of discovering who you are is often preceded by coming to a mature understand of who you are not.
When we think of the Gospel, we often think of spiritual things, like saving souls, but the first verse of the Gospel According to Mark is gritty, down-to-earth, highly-charged political rhetoric. It was a direct challenge to Caesar and the Roman Empire. This is how Mark begins his very political Gospel, which also has serious implications for today.
The Hebrew prophets spoke of sudden cultural changes. Malcolm Gladwell speaks of 'tipping points'. The Bible calls them 'apocalypses'; times when sudden realizations cause massive cultural changes. The United States is in the middle of one right now in 2017.
In this sermon we approach the parable of the sheep and the goats with 4 questions: who are they, what are they judged on, where does this judgment take place, and when does it take place? We propose that the parable is NOT speaking about a final judgment of all individuals after the second coming of Jesus, but of a continual judgment of nations throughout history.
"The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer." Some trace this saying back to Jesus, but what if Jesus was not advocating this, but was simply making an observation? What if we've been teaching the parable of the talents exactly upside down and backwards?