This past Sunday we welcomed Rev. Darin Pesnell from Iron Works Church Phoenixville. Pastor Darin is currently on sabbatical from his pastoral duties in Phoenixville, where he is spending time learning and focusing on prayer. But he joined us on Sunday to share some things he is learning, and one resource he referred to in his sermon was Rev. John Smed's Journey in Prayer.
Jesus tells us that life with God is valuable. In his parables, there was a cost to having a precious treasure. But what does this mean for our lives today?
In two short parables Jesus explains how the kingdom grows. It's tiny like a mustard seed, growing into large garden bushes; and it is like yeast in dough. Despite the kingdom's small beginnings, God is at work to expand his kingdom. So what do these stories mean for our lives today?
Jesus abruptly challenges his followers again, who each had their own understanding as to what God's kingdom looks like and how it comes. Jesus called upon his followers to patiently wait for God's kingdom to come and be peacemakers. His justice shapes us to be peacemakers. That's very different from the world's justice, which shapes people into oppressors.
Jesus started his ministry by saying, "repent and be baptized, for the kingdom of God is here." That was a loaded thing to say. Every Jew longed for the kingdom of God to come, but Jesus had a different idea of what that looked like. When he taught on the kingdom, he did not give a lecture or a sermon, he told stories. The kingdom is like.... a farmer, a judge, a baker, and so on. Jesus wants to give us eyes to see how is reign has come. But it all starts with the Parable of the Sower.
Rev. Nick Owens was our guest preacher this past Sunday, December 31st. Nick serves at the University of Delaware as a campus minister associated with our denomination and Reformed University Fellowship. He was at our first vision gathering in June 2016 and our launch service. So you may have seen him around!
Advent is a season where we lean into what it means for us to await Jesus' coming, where he will finally and fully bring the total redemption and justice he promises. But we can see pictures of what that looks like in our lives, as well as in the story of Ruth.
One of the more bizarre scandals in Jesus' family is the account of Judah and Tamar. It's puzzling even to think how this text might be relevant to our lives today, so give it a listen and discover what it means for you to risk so that others would have joy.
Note: the audio recording begins during the scripture reading. If you want to read the whole passage, you may do so here.