Walking the Road

12/13/20 – 4/18/21

In the gospel of Luke, the important things almost always seem to happen on the road, as Jesus and the disciples are journeying together.  It was on the road that they learned from Jesus, that they had encounters with others, and that they grew in their faith and service.  We too are on a journey, on the road, and with help from Luke’s gospel, we will be able to glean what it is Jesus wants to teach us as well so that we might grow in faith and service.

Dreams Surrendered & Realized

December 13, 2020

Many of us have dreams that reside in our hearts; these thoughts of what we would like to do or be, yet so often those things go unrealized. The same had been true for Zechariah and Elizabeth, as they had wanted a child but had not been able to conceive. That is, until the angel Gabriel comes to Zechariah and tells him that Elizabeth will conceive, and this child that would be born to them is the one we know as John the Baptist. So Zechariah and Elizabeth surrendered and then realized their dream; how about us? What is the reasonable expectation of faith for realizing dreams and how do we respond when it seems our dreams will simply never come to fruition?

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The Compass of Fear

December 20, 2020

Few people enjoy being afraid. Even those who seek thrills or enjoy scary movies often do not want real fear in their day-to-day lives. And yet fear often accompanies a new move of God in our lives. Today Pastor Evan examines the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary and ponders all that she would have to fear, from his message, and the way she responded in faith.

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Ours is a Shepherd’s Story

December 27, 2020

The angels heralding Jesus’ birth appeared to lowly shepherds tending their sheep in remote fields near Bethlehem. How interesting, that the angels appeared to manual laborers, rather than to kings and the wealthy. In thinking about this, Pastor Evan ponders what it means for us today, as he then encourages us to share our own stories of faith, as the shepherds did when they came to see their newborn king.

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Letting Go & Growing Up

January 3, 2021

Every parent will experience the moment when they realize their child does not really need them any longer – that you’ve taught them all you can and from here on out, you have to hope they make good decisions on their own. Spiritually, we too need to grow, maturing from drinking spiritual milk to spiritual meat. We see echos of this call in the story of twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple, as he matures from being about his father’s business and becomes about his Father-in-Heaven’s business. Perhaps this time of pandemic can also be a call to evaluate what’s good and necessary and what we should let go of, so that we can grow and mature.

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Bearing Fruit Worthy of New Life

January 10, 2021

There’s a word that many in our modern times do not like: “Repent.” Maybe it conjures images of hellfire and intolerance, yet if we understand what true repentance is, we’ll realize that repentance isn’t about saying you’re sorry. It’s about freedom, joy, and new life. In this message, Pastor Evan explores the idea of true repentance and encourages us to bear fruit that points to God in our daily lives.

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Temptation – Then & Now

January 17, 2021

We all know what it is to experience temptation, but perhaps as we mature in the faith, we have come to think of temptations as these little things we just learn to live with. In this message about Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Pastor Evan ponders if we have come to view temptation too much through that lens while ignoring the ways we are often tempted to doubt both our identity in Christ and our mission for Christ in this world.

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What Horse Are You Betting On?

January 24, 2021

In the sayings of Jesus, commonly referred to as the Beatitudes, Jesus says things that seem somewhat strange to our ears (as they were to Luke’s original audience as well): blessed are the poor, blessed are the hungry, blessed are those who mourn. And then on the other side of that, woe to those who are rich, woe to the full, woe to those who are happy now. Why is there blessing in these things that people often try to avoid and woe in the things we often strive for? Could it be that the very need we are trying to avoid could be the position that opens our eyes to see God and thus receive his blessing?

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Love – Even for Enemies

January 31, 2021

Is it possible to love one’s enemies? How would that even work, exactly? And yet that’s the very thing that Jesus says we are to do. We are to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and to seek their good. In this message, Pastor Evan explores that idea and shares an example of a time when he saw such love being put into action.

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What’s Mine & What’s Yours

February 7, 2021

People often can become very territorial over the things they care about. But do we have a tendency also to become territorial about our faith, our church, or our God, as if we could truly possess or control any of those things? In this message examining the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pastor Evan looks at Jesus’ message of a God whose love is not containable but is boundless and infinite.

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From Sheep to Shepherd

February 14, 2021

In telling the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus tells the people to imagine they were a shepherd, and one sheep was lost out of one hundred; would you not leave the 99 in search of the one? By framing things in this light, Jesus makes it possible to see how we could be both the sheep and the shepherd in this story, as we grow in our faith and begin to be used by God more and more to advance God’s kingdom.

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The God Who Ran

February 21, 2021

It may be hard to imagine the idea of God running, ever, but there’s a story that Jesus told in which the father, clearly meant to represent God, runs out to greet his long lost prodigal son. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful story that encapsulates the heart of God for his people, as we learn that God is looking not for servants in his kingdom, but rather for more sons and daughters to join his family.

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Real & True

February 28, 2021

Another pastor once told Pastor Evan that often people get too bogged down in the details, when it comes to telling others about Jesus. At the heart of it, this pastor said, all people care to know is if what we say about Jesus is real and true. In this message looking at Luke’s account of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, Pastor Evan explores our own need to tell others about Jesus and to share the real and true things that Jesus has done in our own lives.

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Where Meaning is Found

March 7, 2021

At the last supper, the disciples began to bicker, yet again, about which of them was the greatest. Jesus explained to the disciples that greatness in the kingdom of God was found by being a servant, as Jesus himself came to serve others. This is still the model for us today. A life of meaning, of significance, is found not in serving ourselves but in pouring our lives out in service to others.

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Memory

March 14, 2021

We all have different memories that can bring us joy or may bring us pain. In our gospel lesson today, Jesus tells Peter that Peter will deny knowing Jesus three times before the cock crows. Peter cannot believe that such could happen but of course it does. We all may be tempted to deny Jesus, in some way, at some point in our lives. And if/when we do, what do we do with the memory of that? Do we allow it to spur us on to greater faithfulness in the future, so that we never make such a mistake again, or do we hide from it in shame?

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Strange Bedfellows

March 21, 2021

A history teacher of mine from high school used to say, “War makes strange bedfellows.” The idea being that a common enemy has a way of uniting people who otherwise would not unite. In a similar way, before dealing with Jesus, Pilate and Herod had been enemies, but after dealing with this common problem, they became friends. The point of this story though is the perversion of justice because two men chose to do the easy thing over the right thing. Such can be tempting for us as well. Often, in fact, we seek to become strange bedfellows with other political or civic factions in order to advance our own causes, but in so doing, are we compromising on our character?

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Scandal in Paradise

March 28, 2021

Grace is one of those things that seems so wonderful when given to us and yet can often seem so scandalous when we see others receive it. In today’s gospel story, the criminal on the cross asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into his kingdom, and Jesus tells him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” But the thing is, that criminal was on the cross because he had done something terrible, something worthy of death. The criminal himself said so! So for a person like that to receive grace, to receive paradise, at the very end of his life? Scandalous! And yet all of grace is, and this is specifically why we need the cross and the grace given to us through it.

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The Road to Resurrection

April 4, 2021

Often we celebrate Easter with the full knowledge of what Christ’s death and resurrection mean for us: forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and our adoption as God’s children. But how did those first disciples greet Easter, in the midst of their pain, loss, and confusion? In this message, Pastor Evan talks about how often pain and hardship are the very first steps on the road to resurrection and how there is value in realizing the way God uses our pain and hardships to advance us on this road to God.

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Kinetic Faith

April 11, 2021

Sometimes we can learn best not by sitting still but by doing – by getting on the move – by becoming kinetic. The same is often true with our faith; perhaps this is why our spiritual journeys are often termed a “faith walk.” In today’s lesson, Pastor Evan examines the story of Jesus walking alongside two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how their example of putting their faith into motion should inspire us to do likewise.

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Disbelief & Wonder

April 18, 2021

When the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples, Luke writes that in their joy, they were still disbelieving and filled with wonder. The sight of the resurrected Jesus was not enough, at first, to overcome their disbelief. And yet Jesus ate with these disciples and entrusted them to be his witnesses. In this message, Pastor Evan explores the role of faith and disbelief and asks if there is room in our church for others to come with their disbelief and wonder and then find faith in the process of walking with Jesus.

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