Sunday Message Series

season of lent 2019

Brené Brown has made famous anew this quote by Theodore Roosevelt,

It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong man or woman stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man or woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he/she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

The decision to follow Jesus is not a decision to sit on the sidelines. It takes us into the arena. It brings us into places of challenge and action. It helps us discover what we are truly made of, and it brings us to a place of liberation and freedom.

Join us as we talk about stepping out of our comfort zones and into the arena, building up our courage and faithfulness for the journey along the way!

Pastor April Blaine is giving the message unless otherwise noted.

March 6 – ASH WEDNESDAY: Turning Toward Freedom – A Service of Repentance
7am, The Sanctuary
7pm, Warehouse 839
Isaiah 58:1-12
We are a people within whom the spirit of God dwells deeply.  And yet, so much of the time, we live in a state of separation from God.  This state of separation is called sin.  And its symptoms plague our lives in ways that create all kind of problems for ourselves and for our world.  What does it mean to turn back toward God?  What does it look like to remember our call?  To return to the Lord? This service will give us space to acknowledge the separation, to name the vast areas where this separation has manifested itself, and to embrace the practice of repentance, where we turn toward the life of freedom that God has for us.


March 17 – In or Out? Stepping into the Arena
Luke 19:1-10
When it comes to being a follower of Jesus, we can be spectators on the sidelines or we can step into the arena. When Jesus saw Zaccheus on the side of the road, he spotted someone whom he suspected might be ready to take the leap into the arena. Zaccheus had all the money and power, and yet here he was looking for something more. Jesus’s invitation helped Zaccheus to be able to return to his truest self and to God.

March 24 – Playing a Different Game – Beyond Winning and Losing
Luke 15: 11-32
Our culture focuses heavily on success and achievement. What if stepping into the arena isn’t all about winning? What if our worth as people isn’t connected with how we compare with everyone else? Jesus used parables to show how he is playing a much different game. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus shows yet again that we have always belonged to God, we’ve always been part of the family, and we never had to try to earn it. What would it look like for us to be in the arena with the strong sense that we aren’t playing to earn our titles or worthiness?

March 31 – Marred by Dust – This Stuff Ain’t Easy!
Luke 10:25-37
Stepping into the arena is rarely going to be comfortable. It will require courage and willingness to step outside of our comfort zones. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, it meant stepping outside of culture barriers and boundaries, and extending love and generosity to someone who was “other.” Where have you been prioritizing your own comfort over following what you know God is calling you to do in your life?

April 7 – Falling Off the Wagon – How Failures Might Teach Us Everything
John 18:15-27, John 21:15-19
Too often, we measure our “success” in life by whether we are following the path that we believe we are supposed to be on. When we break the rules, when we make horrible mistakes, it can feel like all is lost. But what if our moments of failure might be the very moments that true transformation happens? What if they might be the very things that get us into the arena in the first place? On the night that Jesus was arrested, Peter — one of Jesus’s closest disciples — denied him three times. It was a huge betrayal, and Peter was deeply ashamed. And yet, it is in facing this moment in his life, and receiving God’s grace and forgiveness, that Peter’s life gained new power and momentum for the years to come.

April 14 – Palm Sunday – Steadfast Foolishness
Mark 11:1-11 & Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking

April 18 – Maundy Thursday: Who’s at the Table with You? Entering into a Space of Remembrance and Grief
7pm, Warehouse 839
John 16:4-15
Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking
On his final night with his disciples, Jesus shared with them what is now known as the “Last Supper.” He gave them a ritual by which to remember his life and to sustain them to keep moving forward. On this Maundy Thursday, we want to create a space to remember that we gather at the table in the presence of Christ, and we also gather at the table in the presence of those who have gone before us. We remember Christ’s life, and we remember the lives of those who reminded us how to truly live. We cannot do this life alone, but by the power of their spirits we are sustained for all that God has before us.

April 19 – Good Friday: The Life
7pm, The Sanctuary
John 19:17-37
Pastor April Blaine speaking
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son… This verse reminds us of the extraordinary picture of love we see in Jesus on the cross.  The blood that was poured out on our behalf wasn’t about punishment or about payment.  But it was definitely about love and about life.  This was a sacrament of care for all of humanity beyond what we could possibly fathom.

April 21 – EASTER: Daring Greatly – A Life of True Liberation, Salvation, and Rebirth!
John 20:1-18
The life of true liberation and freedom is offered to each one of us. Just as Jesus calls Mary by name and awakens her to this new life and freedom, he calls each of our names to step into the arena and live the life of freedom that each of us has been made for.

Season of Easter

galatians: GOSPEL OF GRACE

The early church was faced with challenges and obstacles that made faithful living together deeply challenging.  In this moment in our church’s life, we will join with others across our Annual Conference to listen to God’s words of grace and discern how God may be shaping us in new ways for new possibilities.

April 28 – Grace that Transforms – Galatians 1, Key Verse: 23
They only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.”
The true Gospel frees us and transforms us from our sin and from the evils of this age. In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul is proclaiming the faith that he once sought to destroy. It is by God’s free grace that his eyes were opened and a new way was possible.

May 5 – Grace that Embraces  – Galatians 2, Key Verses: 9-10
“And when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.”
When the earliest leaders in the church recognized the grace that had been given to the apostle Paul, they extended a hand in fellowship. They understood that they each had different roles to play. Are we able to embrace the grace of God when we see it in others? Even if it doesn’t look the way we might have expected?

May 12 – Grace that Clothes Us – Galatians 3, Key Verses: 26-28
Mother’s Day & Celebration for Cathy Hahn, retiring Director of Children’s Music
“For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is clear that the law never had the ability to cover our sins and make us one with God. The promise that came to Abraham preceded that law and has been fulfilled in Christ. It is this promise that clothes us as children of God through faith, for in our baptisms we are clothed with Christ. And because of this, we are all one in Christ Jesus.

May 19 – Grace that Forms Us – Galatians 4, Key Verse: 19
Youth Sunday
“My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…”

May 26 – Grace that Bears Fruit – Galatians 5, Key Verse: 22
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking

June 2 – Grace that Sustains – Galatians 6, Key Verse: 9
“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”
Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking, on her final Sunday with us.

June 9 – Pentecost Sunday – Acts 2:1-12
The birthday of the church came on a day when a diversity of gifts from a diversity of people began emerging into one visible, outward sign of God’s presence. As we celebrate who we are, we continue to be a place that is paying attention to the birthing of true gifts from all kinds of people, and maintaining a posture of openness to the wild and unexpected directions that the movement of the spirit might just take…