Pastor Ball tells us this weekend, “Witnessing requires no training, no special talents, you don’t have to jump up and down, and it might just be good for you.  Jesus shows the disciples how it is done as He invites them to touch and see.

A witness is simply someone who tells what he or she has experienced.  Jesus has made us witnesses of the resurrection.  No, we weren’t there with the disciples, and so there are parts that we can only see through their eyes, but when we live faithfully others can see Jesus through our eyes, as we see Jesus working all around us.  That’s the power of Easter!  Jesus lives, and therefore there is so much left for us to witness.  Every day.”

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April Fools!

On Easter Sunday, the Lord acted! On the first day of the week God began creation, transforming darkness into light. On Sunday, the “eighth day” of the week, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. We celebrate this new creation in the waters of baptism and in the feast of victory. With great joy we celebrate this day of days, even as we begin the great fifty days of Easter. Filled with hope, we go forth to share the news that Christ is risen! It is great to be together in the presence of the Living Lord! Alleluia! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Standing Out in the Crowd!

Palms and passion hardly seem to fit together but in Jesus they do. The palms welcomed Jesus to the triumph of suffering that paid the full price of our sin, and the hosannas cried out to Him who exchanged His life for death that we might live. There are no palms and hosannas that do not end in the cross, and there is no passion that does not lead us to faith and to rejoice in what His suffering accomplished. Our Lord came to the cross not as an unwilling victim but as the One who alone surrendered His life into death. We do not come to the Lord under coercion or as people compelled but at the bidding of the Gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

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Misplaced “I”

As we draw closer to Holy Week, we may find ourselves dumbfounded by how dense the disciples seem to be! Again and again, they don’t understand just exactly who Jesus is or why He has come. As they travel up to Jerusalem, Jesus can’t be much more explicit about His mission than He is in this weekend’s Gospel. He says, “The Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him. And after three days He will rise.” (Mark 10:33b-34). Despite these specifics provided by Jesus, we see in the days to come that the disciples still don’t get it! But before we are too hard on these followers of Jesus, we examine ourselves and see that we don’t always take Jesus’ words and promises to heart in our own lives. Thanks be to God that Jesus still came, died, and rose for dense disciples like us!

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A Temple Within the Building

Christ Jesus is the very core of our existence, and it is in his saving Word that we are promised and assured that no matter how sinful, how messed up, how despairing we may be, when we gather as his Church he is there among us to forgive and make new. The Church is not just in a building, but we already know that. The Church is wherever Christ’s presence is celebrated among his people, and they hear and receive the good news of forgiveness and salvation. Praise God!

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My Cross to Bear

This weekend, Pastor Ball’s message comes to us from Mark 8:34:

“Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If anyone wants to come with me,” he told them, “he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me.”

Pastor tell us, “Carrying your cross is recognizing that God can do abundantly more with your life than you can ever accomplish on your own. In that understanding, we willingly surrender our lives allowing God to order our steps and influence our direction.

Carrying the cross is allowing God’s word to speak to us. It is trusting that God’s promises still hold true for us today.

When God promises to always work for our good — we believe it.
When He says His word will endure — we trust Him.

This is the work of faith because there are so many voices encouraging us to place our trust elsewehere. There are many reasons to grow discouraged and to have doubts.

To carry our cross we need to let go of everything else. Because we can’t grip this life too tightly and still have our hands free to carry this cross.

But together, faithfully obedient to God’s Word, and connected through the Holy Spirit we can carry this cross into Hilton and beyond.” Praise God!

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Department of Sunshine and Rainbows

“Here am I.” This is a simple, yet faith-filled, response of Abraham as the Lord calls him. Not knowing what the Lord will call him to do, but simply trusting the Word of the Lord, Abraham says, “Here am I.” As we look through the pages of Scripture those same three little words, “Here am I,” are echoed by others: Jacob, Moses, and Samuel – to name just a few. As people who the Lord has called into Baptism, may we also answer with the same faith-filled response, “Here am I!” We may not always know where God will lead, but we do know that the One who has called us will be with us as we follow where He guides.

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Heavenly Makeover

This day ends the Epiphany season and prepares us for Lent. Jesus has been revealing His true nature through His words and actions, and on the Mount of Transfiguration three disciples see His glory revealed as transfiguring light. Moses and Elijah appear with Him, talking about His departure in Jerusalem. But our Lord then commands the disciples not to tell about the event until after Easter. Because we live after His resurrection, Paul writes in the Epistle, we recognize Jesus’ true glory in going to the cross for us, for God has “shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

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The Fever Broke

We come into this holy place with our illnesses, sicknesses, diseases and fevers. We come here to be healed, to be made well, and to leave lifted up. We don’t come here to get sicker or to be hurt or to be quarantined. we are healed because of the love of God granted us in and through the mercy of his Son. Jesus came to chase away the demons that seek to disrupt us as a community and to afflict us in our own body and soul. We come to leave well because we have been lifted from the fever of sin into the strength renewed like an eagle. God knows each of our needs, all of our fevers, everything that separates us from one another. He knows what scares us, and what anxiety can do to our souls, and he knows all the diseases that can spread among us that deny us the fullness and wholeness of his grace.

The joy of receiving grace and mercy is ours to share with one and another. Let us not be stingy with our serving and loving. When the fever breaks, the body heals. The same is true for God’s people and community. The Lord be with you!

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What Do You See?

Pastor Kay’s message was based on John 1:43-51.  “The call is given to each one to be a witness, a light, of Christ, to do good in order God may be glorified and honored.  We offer what Christ gives us to all who need a light in their darkness, forgiveness for their failures, and hope for their worth.  In other words, we follow Christ in that we live like him, be like him, care like him, and invite and welcome like him.  Christ’s love for all people is seen and heard through his followers.

All of us are witnesses who reflect our faith in the mercy of God into this world.  Then, we invite those who seeking redemption and worth to come and see what great things Christ the Lord is doing in this building and among its people.  The peace of the Lord is what we share with one another in our greetings and our gatherings.  Lord, have mercy, we pray!”

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