Easter 2018 Sermon

4/1/18

Passage:  Romans 8:18-25

Hi friends,

Take a moment and think of a situation in your life that feels hopeless to you.  It could be a physical illness, a mental health issue, a relationship struggle, a financial challenge, or something else.  The resurrection is often celebrated for its vast and sweeping hope for the future of our world - but what hope, if any, does it have to offer the hopeless present realities that we are living in?  This sermon engages this question.

Blessings, friends, and Happy Easter.

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 3

3/18/18

Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

Hi friends,

This 3rd sermon in our Lent series is actually a short story.  This occasionally happens when I'm sermon prepping.  As we've been focused during Lent on realignment, this story falls into a similar category.  I hope you enjoy it, and that it is meaningful to you as you process it.

Blessings,

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 2

3/4/18

Passages: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 2:9, Hebrews 10:23-25

Hi friends,

One of the things my late pastor and mentor, Manny Ortiz, used to say was that the church exists for the world.  It doesn't exist merely to care for itself and create a healthy spiritual environment for its own people (though that is certainly part of its role) - rather, it exists to be at the center of God's movement to bring His blessings, healing, and justice (i.e. his kingdom) to our world.

When the church is tapped into this mission, it becomes part of something much bigger than itself - something that draws it beyond its own internal conversations and fills it with life and purpose.  When the church forgets its mission, it can start to become ingrown, unhealthy, and uninspired.  

During the season of Lent, as we continue to meditate on realignment, this sermon engages what it would look like to realign our individuals lives - and the lives of our local church communities - with God's amazing mission to the world.

I hope this is helpful.  Blessings to you all.

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 1

2/18/18

Passage: Genesis 9:1-17

Hi friends,

The season of Lent is upon us.  Lent is practiced by the church for the 6 weeks leading up to Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday each year.  It is meant to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the wilderness before his ministry began.  The church has used it over the years as a time to focus in a special way on recalibrating our lives and their skewed alignments with the way of Jesus and his Kingdom.  

In this sermon, we will be looking at the Biblical concept of sin - what it is, what it isn't, and how we can engage it in a healthy manner as we walk forward in our lives.

As always, I hope this is helpful.  

Blessings,

Allen

 

Epiphany Sermon 2018

1/7/18

Passage: Matthew 2:1-12

Hi friends,

This past Sunday was Epiphany Sunday and so the sermon was on the visit of the Magi.  It strikes me as very interesting that while a powerful dictator (Herod) could not find the Messiah in his own back yard, and the religious authorities of Jesus' culture (the scribes and Pharisees) could not find the Messiah either, astrologers of an entirely different religion and culture found the Messiah by looking at the stars.  What does this say about what makes a search for God fruitful?  

Blessings,

Allen

Advent 2017 Sermon 2

12/17/17

Passage: Luke 1:46-55  (Mary's Song - "The Magnificat")

Hi friends,

This is the second sermon in our Advent series.  As we remember the coming of the Light into our world, we look to Mary's Song to find out what that light actually looks like.  

A Blessed Advent, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you all.

 

Allen

Advent 2017 Sermon 1

12/3/17

Passage: Luke 2:21-35

Hi friends,

We have entered the season of Advent.  Advent is the season each year where we remember the coming of Jesus into our past, anticipate his return in our future, and attune ourselves towards his breaking into our present.

This sermon looks at the daily reality of the ongoing Christ event in our lives, and the nature of the hope it brings to us.

Blessings to you all this Advent.

Allen

Advent 2016 Sermon 2

12/11/2017

Hi friends,

Attached is the next in this year's sermon series on advent.

In this one, we look at how for all of us - at any given time - two stories are set before us. 

One story is the one we can see with our eyes - a story that goes up and down with our own life experiences, our own feelings, and with the ebbs and flows of the news cycle. This story is filled with many things that are dark and even downright evil, and it holds within itself no promises and no certain future.

The other story is the story of the Gospel. This is a story rooted in ancient promises made by God culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son which in the end point to a powerful and glorious future not only for us as individuals, but for our world as a whole.

Abraham (the father of the Christian faith) was faced with many factors in his own life that appeared to argue against the truth of God's promises. Yet at the same time he was presented with a far more hopeful story from the mouth of God. And so he had to choose which story he would trust in and live according to. Today, Abraham's many descendants are faced with the same choice.

In many ways, our choice to believe the Gospel story in the face of the many dark stories we see in our world is most fundamentally a practice of hope. Hope is actually something that exists only when the things around us remain unresolved. This is because no one hopes for what has already has - he simply rejoices that is has become his reality. 

Hope, therefore, is inherently a practice of waiting. It requires patience. And in the end, this is what Advent is all about. Advent is about standing, living, persevering, and even being joyful in an unresolved world that remains full of evil because we are hoping that the story we are living in is not what it often appears to be. It is, really and truly, the story of the Gospel - a story rooted in God's promises and made irreversible through the resurrection of Christ and the giving of his Spirit. And so we continue to walk forward, love, and serve in God's Kingdom movement - trusting that our labor is not in vain.

I hope this is helpful to you - and that this season of Advent is filled with hope in God's amazingly good news for us and for our world.


Blessings,


Allen

Pre-Thanksgiving Sermon 2016

11/20/16

Hi all,

This sermon looks at the Thanksgiving challenge before us.

This Thursday, many of us will be gathering together with family members who voted in the opposite direction as we did. Many of us will be entering into family realities that reflect the polarization of our nation as a whole. 

How would Jesus have us live with people who we may feel have a vision for our society that is fundamentally opposed to ours - or who we may even feel have betrayed us? What is the way forward for us as families split over the election? What is the way forward for us as a nation?

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to pass it along anywhere you want if you find it a useful addition to the ongoing conversation.


Blessings,

Allen