The two criminals in Luke's Gospel who were crucified with Jesus can be understood to represent the Law and the Prophets. We consider this and the two "churches" these two might also represent in this unusual Palm Sunday message.
What was Jesus getting at when he told his disciples that if they only had faith like a mustard seed they could cast trees and mountains into the sea? Russ Hewett proposes that Jesus wasn't giving instructions for working miracles here, but the tree and the mountain represented what was wrong with how they had understood God.
Abraham was called by God to leave his home city, Ur in search of a city whose architect and builder was God. In this message, Russ Hewett describes the ancient city of Ur at the time of Abraham and explores what it would have meant for Abraham to leave Ur behind. He also asks us to consider what leaving Ur behind might mean to American Christians in the 21st century.
Both Elijah in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament are recorded as raising the dead sons of two different widows back to life. Comparing and contrasting these two stories reveals much about the trajectory in Scripture away from sacrificial thinking (the idea that we need to please God through acts of sacrifice). We also talk about a fascinating subversion of language in the Gospels! (Don't rely on the law of first mention here!)
Elijah and the prophets of Baal is a famous Old Testament story. I know some pastors who consider this one of their favorite Bible stories. When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a show-down on Mount Carmel he was challenging their sacrificial cult. Everybody at the time thought the gods wanted sacrifices - including Elijah. But Jesus tells us, "go and learn what this means, I desire mercy - not sacrifice". In "How to Win the Battle and Lose the War" we explore this famous story while keeping Jesus clearly in view.