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Palm Sunday; Gentleness is not Weakness Matthew 21:1-17

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@Copyrighted by Rev. Troy Sybrant Sermon: Gentleness is not Weakness Matthew 21:1-17 Sunday March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday : Lenten Candle Extinguishing:

It was in the wilderness that God began to fashion a people after his own heart—a people who would trust God, who would listen, and who would follow.

On the edge of the Promised Land they stood, yet turned away because of fear.

It was on the road to Jerusalem that Jesus brought the disciples whom he had fashioned after his own heart—those who would trust God, who would listen, and who would follow.

At the end of this week they would forget his promises and turn away in fear. We too tremble and scatter in the shadow of the cross, yet he takes another step toward it.

Let us pray. God of promise, it is easy to follow you in a crowd of others shouting “Hosanna!”

Gentleness is not Weakness

Matthew 21:1-17

 21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“ ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies

you have prepared praise’?”

17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

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How Does Your Faith Suit You? Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 March 22, 2015

@Copyrighted by Rev. Troy Sybrant Sermon: How Does Your Faith Suit You? Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

How Does Your Faith Suit You?

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Lenten Candle Extinguishing :

On the night of that first Passover a community prepared to leave Egypt for an unknown future. They left in such haste that bread didn’t have time to rise.

It was a mixed crowd that left Egypt—some faithful believers, others simply along for the ride. When Jesus called Peter from his nets, he didn’t have time to dry them before leaving.

The people that Peter and other disciples would catch were a mixed crowd—some good fish, others bad. Jesus came to save us all—healthy and sick, righteous and unrighteous—and some were as offended as if rotten fish were baking in the sun. By so doing, he takes another step toward the cross.

Let us pray. God who goes before us, we are a mixed crowd, divided amongst ourselves, divided within our own hearts. We are a mixture of faithful and foolish, of good and bad fish.

You go before us as a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. You go before us to prepare a mansion for us, but we would rather dwell in the tents of the wicked.

We would prefer to extinguish the Light of the World, but you come back for us so that all might find a home in you. Thank you for loving us so much, O God. Amen.

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God’s Redemptive Love – Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21Dr. Rev. Jennifer Bannerman

Copyrighted by Dr. Rev. Jennifer Bannerman Sermon: God’s Redemptive Love – Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21, Sunday March 15, 2015

Numbers 21:4-9

21:4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.

21:5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”

21:6 Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.

21:7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

21:8 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”

21:9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

John 3:14-21

John 3:14-21
3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

3:17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

3:18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

3:19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

3:20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.

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3:21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

 “God’s Redemptive Love”

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Playground Rules for Faith Ephesians 5:8-14 Sunday March 8, 2015

@Copyrighted by Rev. Troy Sybrant, Sermon: Playground Rules for Faith Ephesians 5:8-14 Sunday March 8, 2015

Playground Rules for Faith

Ephesians 5:8-14

8For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

 Lenten Candle Extinguishing:

In the wilderness the people of Israel complained, remembering the fish, melons, onions, and garlic they ate in Egypt while forgetting this was the food of slavery.

With a strong craving they cried out to God, who fed them with manna—bread from heaven, and with meat—quails by the thousands.

They wanted a king on their terms, yet Jesus wouldn’t conform to their expectations. By so doing, he takes another step toward the cross.

Let us pray. Provider God, we confess that we have strong cravings for the things of this world that fill our belly but don’t satisfy our soul.

We have itching ears that prefer pleasant lies to difficult truths. Yet even so you have prepared a table for us in the desert of this world, a rich banquet of delicacies to sate our souls.

You have given us your Word that we might feast upon it and find our deepest hungers satisfied. You have given us your Word made flesh, the true bread from heaven, whose words of life deliver us from bondage.

Though we turn away from the freedom he offers us and would extinguish the Light of the World, he never turns away from us. Thank you for loving us so much, O God. Amen.

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Charting a Course: A Supportive Coach Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 Mark 9:14-29 Sunday 2/22/15

@Copyrighted by Rev. Troy Sybrant Sermon: Charting a Course #3: A Supportive Coach Luke 10:1-11, 16-20  Mark 9:14-29 Sunday 2/22/15

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Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 

1After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 16“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

17The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Mark 9:14-29

14When Jesus, Peter, James, and John came to the rest of the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15When the whole crowd saw Jesus, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. 16Jesus asked those disciples, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23Jesus said to him, “If you are able! —All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. 28When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”

 Lenten Candle Extinguishing Message:

Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree and were banished from paradise, beginning a long journey through the wilderness of this world.

It was in the wilderness that Moses heard the voice of God calling from a burning bush, continuing a long journey to deliver God’s people from slavery into a land of milk and honey.

Jesus, seeing a world lost in the wilderness of sin, left heaven in order to guide us back to God. In so doing, he takes a step toward another tree, the cross.

Let us pray. Dear Lord, we remember the journeys that have taken us far from your presence. Journeys into brokenness, wanderings into waywardness, sojourns into barren and deserted places.

We give thanks that there is no place we can flee from your presence, that even our darkest places aren’t dark to you.

Although we would extinguish the Light of the World, yet still you come to seek and search out the lost and forsaken, and when we are found you rejoice.

Thank you for loving us so much,

O God. Amen.

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