What is the pain and hurt you’ve experienced? Now I have learned that you can’t put an institution in the box, you can’t put the church in the box, you can’t put a business in the box or the government in the box. You’ve got to get specific here, who hurt you. People hurt other people-who has hurt you?
The reality of God’s love and grace is available to you, take off the mask. Accept that you are accepted. And when you do that, when we do that here in these walls, well then our work together is to unmask the injustices outside of these walls—To unmask the racism and the sexism and the homophobia in our culture—to unmask the atrocities going on at the border—to unmask the culture of guns and violence in our country—we are the ones to unmask the cruelty and carelessness and unchristian actions, because we follow a God who refuses to wear masks and play games and so do we.
For those of us who have embraced God’s grace, or seeking answers about how to live out your faith and embrace that grace, remember John the Baptist, who testifies to the light, as do we, in our own actions and words. We don’t just accept the grace and move on, without change. From the moment we accept it, we are a new creation.
Our final sermon in the series "Dream. Think. Be. Do" is about doing the work of the faith: what better testimony than to hear our youth share about their two summer mission trips. On the recording, you'll hear Ashlyn and Aubrey Yarbrough talk about the middle school trip to Houston and Amelia Martinez share about the high school trip to participate in the Appalachia Service Project in Kentucky.
God is bigger, higher, deeper, more powerful, more mysterious than anything you can imagine. Some will tell you that’s why you shouldn’t question God. I’m saying that’s why you should. God is big enough, high enough, deep enough, powerful enough, and mysterious enough to handle your questions. And the Bible is good enough to guide you as you encounter that God.
Everybody has the power of God within them and everybody can be a way through which God’s dreams are shared, everybody can be a way through which God’s dreams come true. Do you follow me: I’m talking about you and I’m telling you to dream dreams. You are a way through which God’s dreams are shared, you are a way through which God’s dreams come true.
Look, if you think you can’t change your mind, scripture makes two things clear: first, yes you can…you can change your mind, yes with God’s grace we have the capacity to change our minds, and second: the faithful God-fearing thing to do is to not be the one to exclude someone from the table because in the words of apostle Peter: Who are you to hinder God?
Denying our identity as disciples of Jesus is a major problem with Christianity in America today. If all the Christians in this so called “Christian nation’s” identity was in Christ, there wouldn’t be children in cages at the border and there wouldn’t be racist language in our politics and there wouldn’t be such a big and ever growing gap between rich and poor.
We are NOT the center of God's creation, we are not at the top to rule and do whatever we want to the earth, our purpose is to serve the earth. I will say it again this way: it is not about what is in our own self-interest...it is about what is in the best interest of the earth. This is driven home by the word "keep" which means "to preserve" or "to protect." We are responsible for the garden now and into the future.