Sermons

Sermon: And Then, There’s Weakness

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, March 4, 2018

As the mission and vision team listened to the congregation, one of the things that emerged was a sense of our faith urging us not to be comfortable, but to also take risks. Voices spoke to an openness to do so at this time in the life of our congregation. What might we step into which isn't necessarily known? Part of the potential cost of doing so is the potential for shame, rejection, failure or pain. This week, we open ourselves to the cross as it speaks into our lives.


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Sermon: It’s About Trust

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, February 25, 2018

This week’s text surely helps us see more clearly the lives of the faithful. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” And Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. It seems he kept to Jesus’s path, as this text outlines. It is a word that calls for deep trust.

Sermon: Humility

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, February 18, 2018

This morning at dawn I saw the last finger-nail of the waning moon. Immediately, I was transported back to a time about 12 years ago, when I was visiting my mother on her 90th birthday. My mission in going to see her that weekend was to be who I was at 50, not who I was at 5 or 15--to give her that self and not juvenile one. You know how it is: when we go home we fall back into the roles we had growing up, and we abandon any growth we may have made in the interim. I found that role of my childhood and adolescence deeply fearful and confining, but that one weekend, at the age of 50, I finally found a deeper keel, a way to be who I had become in relation to my family—and not simply who I had always been. On my trip to Israel I learned this insight about humility from the Jewish tradition of Mussar: No more than my space, no less than my place.


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Sermon: Changed

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Last Tuesday, I was in Caesarea-Philippi in Israel at a waterfall that currently bears the name Banias Falls. It is near the spot where Jesus asked the question of the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Our guide, Uri, said, “If any steps could be kissed on our pilgrimage, here is where they would be. Anyone who walked through here would have come here to these falls. If someone were walking through this area, they would have come here. It’s the most beautiful spot along this stretch of the river. It really makes sense that Jesus, if he were in this area at all, would have come here, and maybe have gone swimming like I did when I came here when I lived near here." I admit, I felt a twinge of the sacred and thought: "As real as the place where Jesus walked is this question, asked to each of us: Who do you say that I am?" This is our question about our real lives.


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Sermon: Live Connected: With God, Your Neighbor, and Your Truest Self

Westminster Youth Group

Sermon    
Sunday, February 4, 2018

"Since Fall, our liturgy has included the line, 'And so you may live connected to God, your neighbor, and your own truest life, may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.'" In Sunday morning worship and Sunday evening youth group, we've been exploring our deep need for connection. It only made sense then that our Youth Sunday theme would be inspired by our year-long focus. Join us this Sunday for worship planned and led by our middle school and high school youth as we wonder together how we are being drawn deeper into relationship with God, our neighbor, and our truest self."


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Sermon: Leading With Hope

Rev. David Baak

Sermon    
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mark 1.21-28 has Jesus teaching so persuasively that people recognize the intrinsic authority of his words. But, the miracle of casting out the demon from the man who completely disrupts their service makes an equally authoritative statement about the transformative power of hope. It is the kind of hope that, as Bryan Stevenson suggests in Just Mercy, “...that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future….” It is the kind of hope “that makes one strong.” It also makes for compelling leadership.


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Sermon: Called

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, January 21, 2018

In the second reading this week, two disciples state their bold willingness to follow Jesus. And Jesus asks them, “Can you really walk this path with me?” And they say, “Sure.” little knowing where that path will take them. And yet, their willingness, their partially informed, imperfect, shaky, “Sure,” is enough for God to work with…


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Sermon: Dreamers

Kyle Nolan

Sermon    
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Samuel comes on the scene at a time when "The word of the Lord was rare” and "visions were not widespread.” The emphasis is on the dimming light, the loss of vision, when God shows and speaks a new word. That word has to do with an ending: the judgment of the house of Eli. But sometimes endings are the hardest thing to imagine, and the most necessary thing for a new world to be born.

Sermon: Beloved

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, January 7, 2018

In the particular way that Mark tells the story of Jesus’ baptism, the information, the message that Jesus receives from the heavenly voice is, at first and for a long time, something only he is given, that only he knows. The voice speaks directly to him; he’s the one that sees the heavens split and the dove. That can be the way we experience that baptismal message too. We are often required to trust something that is not verified by many other source—maybe not everybody thinks that we’re a child of God; we sure don’t get treated like that all the time. It makes it difficult to believe the message, given all the other messages that we are constantly given from elsewhere.


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Sermon: The Art of Undoing

Rev. Jeremy Bork

Sermon    
Sunday, December 31, 2017

In the face of holiday busyness, to-do lists, and New Year's resolutions, our texts this Sunday invite us to resist the temptation of doing so we might simply be. Rather than adding more to our lives this year, what might God be inviting us to release? How might our slowing down lead us into deeper communion with God, neighbor, and self?


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Sermon: Not Impossible

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, December 24, 2017

The sermon in the morning is called “Not Impossible”—it is an awkward, though literal, translation of the angel’s promise to Mary: All things will be not impossible with God. Fred Craddock says that this verse the creed behind all other creeds. “The church should recite it often,” he says, “not only at the manger, not only at the empty tomb, but on any occasion when the church reflects on its own life, joy, and hope.” Join us while we reflect on that life, joy, and hope.


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Sermon: Longing with Expectation

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, December 17, 2017

There’s a little airstrip in Garberville, California, where we used to live. The runway is maybe 3,500 feet long. Cessnas and Piper Cubs could land on it easily. The runways at San Francisco International Airport are some 12,000 feet long. You can land any com­mercial airliner on them. You would not want to land a jumbo jet in Garberville. And, as long as there is no way prepared for those jets, we don’t have to worry about one landing there. But if you want to let something big in, you’ve got quite a runway to prepare.


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Sermon: Longing for Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Three years ago, Westminster introduced the Mental Health Referral Panel, which is a community resource for finding appropriate mental health support. After three years that program has grown significantly, and I want to remind us of this valuable resource for both members and non-members. There is money available and therapists, whom we deeply trust.


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Sermon: Longing

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, December 3, 2017

This story always seems to come to my mind, when Advent rolls around. In Robert Altman’s film “Grand Canyon,” the comedic actor, Kevin Kline, drives his car into a run-down neighborhood, and breaks down. It’s the dead of night, he can’t get his car to re-start, and he calls for a tow-truck, and, while he is waiting for it to arrive, a gang of thuggish characters shows up. They get up in his face, and the fact that Kline usually plays comedy gives the scene a little extra jolt. When they threaten him with a pistol, it’s shocking—what we expect might be a light-hearted escapade becomes very sober. Danny Glover shows up in this tense scene as the tow-truck driver. He keeps up a casual-toned, but cautious, and hopefully distracting, conversation with the thugs while he, one “feigned casual” step at a time, attempts to hitch Kline’s car to his tow-truck. Push comes to shove with the mugger and, when Glover is confronted, he says to the hoodlum, Man, the world ain't supposed to work like this. Maybe you don't know that, but this ain't the way it's supposed to be. I'm supposed to be able to do my job without askin' you if I can. And that dude is supposed to be able to wait with his car without you rippin' him off. Everything's supposed to be different than what it is here. (Script by Lawrence Kasdan, available at http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/g/grand-canyon-script-transcript-kasdan.html)


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Sermon: Family

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, November 26, 2017

This Sunday is the last Sunday in the “liturgical year”—the week after becomes Advent and annual the build-up and preparation for Christmas. The text is a well-known one about the separating of the sheep and the goats in the fullness of time. It’s a curious story: faith in Jesus is not as important as seeing him—seeing Christ in those who suffer.


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