Pastor Sarah's Sermons

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    March 19, 2017.  This sermon focused on the human impulse inside us to tell single stories about other people, especially people who are different than us. But every human being is more  complex, more beautiful, more capable of change and transformation than a single story would ever tell. Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well shows us a God whose love crosses boundaries, breaks down walls, and blows open the stories people tell about us (and we tell about ourselves) in order to show us who we are in God’s eyes. That’s the love that’s reached us, and it’s the love that calls us to encounter people we’d otherwise choose to ignore or bypass.

     

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    March 5, 2017. This is the first sermon in our Lenten series, “Called to Community.” This sermon explores the fears and desires that tempt us to stay on the fringes of community along with the call from Jesus in our baptism that draws us into community. We all share the call from Christ to be church to each other, for the church is not a building we go to, or an event that we attend, the church is us!

     

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    February 19, 2017. In the last part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He piles on seemingly more impossible instructions: “Love your enemies” and “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This sermon explores both of these commands and reminds us that God’s ways are foolish. Because of that, they have within them the power to change us and the world in which we live.

     

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  • February 12, 2017. Jesus’ difficult interpretations of the commandments about murder, divorce, and adultery make us all aware of our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. They also call us to pay attention to our interior lives—to the part of us that no one can see, yet the part of us that has incredible influence on how we act, speak, live, and love. God cares about what’s going on in our hearts and wants us to be truthful about the brokenness and vitality that each of our hearts hold.

     

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    To view/download a transcript of this sermon, click HERE.

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    January 22, 2017. This sermon explores a few of the obstacles that get in the way of us claiming the call God’s given us, and then offers some other ways to think about “call” that can help us claim it and live it more robustly. You have a call, whether you believe it or not!

     

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    January 1, 2017.  Just days after we gather on the holy days of Christmas Eve and Day to hear the Christmas story and rekindle our hope, we wrestle with this story in the gospel of Matthew that forces us to look in the face the presence and power of evil in our world. This awful story of the slaughtering of the innocents opens our eyes to the places where this still happens today and also strengthens our conviction that we find our hope in a God whose willing to enter this world and all of its brokenness.

    If you would like to stream this sermon on your mobile device, click HERE.

    Download/print this sermon: Jan1-HerodCantWin

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    December 24, 2016. The gospel writers, as well as we ourselves, spend a lot of time trying to cover up the gaps, trying to polish up the rough parts of our life stories and smooth over the details that are vulnerable and unrefined. But paying attention to one of the gaps in Luke’s Christmas narrative points us to the saving power of the Christmas event itself: that God gets born in the mess and begins to redeem us there!

    Download/print this sermon: Dec24-JesusBornInGaps

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    December 11, 2016.  We’re always managing expectations—some placed upon us by others and many that we place upon ourselves—but it’s especially difficult to navigate expectations this time of year. In this sermon, we explore a time in John the Baptist’s life when he’s trying to deal with dashed expectations and a shattered faith. John’s story helps us be in touch with broken expectations in our lives, as it also helps us see how God is present in these times, even when we struggle to see or believe it.

     

    Read/download a PDF of the sermon transcript: Dec11-AllThoseExpectations

     

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    November 20, 2016. Because Jesus is the kind of king who stands with the most vulnerable, he makes the call of the faithful pretty clear: to acknowledge our humanness, be a voice for the voiceless, and stand in solidarity with the weak and marginalized. The ministry of caregiving is a place where this love is profoundly at work, and often unseen. This sermon includes two stories written by caregivers and a blessing for all those involved in the ministry of caring for loved ones.

     

    Download/print this sermon: Nov20BlessedCaregivers

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    November 6, 2016.  Jesus’ blessing of the seemingly most un-blessed kinds of people and circumstances gives us a new way to think about blessing. It also points us to a God who doesn’t hold back from blessing every hidden, difficult, and hurting corner of our world.

    Download/print this sermon: Nov6-BlessingsAbundant

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    October 9, 2016. We all have something in our lives that needs the healing power of God. This sermon stretches us to identify what that is, and to honestly explore how willing we are to embrace the healing that Jesus offers us.

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    September 25, 2016. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus exposes the great divide–then and now–between those who daily live in the peril of poverty and those who live their lives blind to poverty and its struggles. Jesus tells this parable not just to get us to see those who suffer, but to help us understand that seeing and loving our neighbor in need is precisely what brings us closer to God.

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    August 28, 2016. We are called to be more than a welcoming church; we are called to be an inviting church. This sermon explores the risk, meaning, and power of invitation as we seek to actively live out Jesus’ love in our world today.

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    August 14, 2016. While we typically think of Jesus as the giver of peace and reconciliation, Jesus’ way of life—when truly and courageously put into action—causes disruption and conflict. This sermon explores conflict as a consequence of faithful living.

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    July 24, 2016  “Teach us to pray,” the disciples said to Jesus. How many of us have asked that same question? Prayer is at the heart of the Christian life, and  yet it’s also at the heart of a lot of Christian frustration, pain, and distrust. Does prayer work? Does it change anything? This sermon seeks to engage those questions and offer some hopeful insights on why and how prayer is powerful for our lives of faith.

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Bethlehem Lutheran Church