Sermons

Q&A With Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

On Saturday, May 5, we enjoyed An Evening of Stories and Songs with Rev. Chandler Stokes as he answered your questions about his life and ministry. He played a few of his favorite songs throughout the evening while Steve Baron and Joel Schultze moderated the conversation. Chandler shared about his early life in music and ministry, his hope for the next generation, and where he hopes to go from here. We hope you enjoy this approx. 90-minute event.

Sermon: Fruit That Will Last

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Every time we come to share communion, we prepare our hearts. We look within prayerfully at what the Spirit draws to our attention. What do we long for? What do we bring? This week we can prepare by answering this question: Where have we been abiding? How have our lives been abiding in God? Even as we pause and listen, we remember that God welcomes us. There need be no fear of what we might see, from God only deep and abiding love.


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Sermon: Job and Intimacy

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 29, 2018

From my colleague Doug King: Eugene Peterson draws an interesting juxtaposition between the two wisdom books, Song of Solomon and Job. He suggests there is a polarity between the alienation in the book of Job and the intimacy of the Song of Solomon. In the final exchange of the lovers we are told, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house it would be utterly scorned.” How would those words have run in Job’s ears as he sat there in ruin?


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Sermon: Vulnerability

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 22, 2018

My Feast colleague, Leanne Pearce Reed writes: Our discipleship must be vulnerable. So, as Dorothy Soelle puts it, “You can put your neurotic need for security behind. You do not need to defend your life like a lunatic.” We must be willing to be touched—touched by text, touched by a power from on high, most of all, touched by another who is flesh and bone as we are. There is no safety or security in this. There is only perhaps that peace found on the other side of fear.


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Sermon: Fashioned in the Clay

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 15, 2018

And Paul doesn’t stop with this one weird metaphor. He continues, …that you may … comprehend . . . what is the breadth and length and height and depth…” the depth of what, exactly? These are building dimensions: “breadth, length, height, depth.” They are the dimensions of Christ’s living Body, the Church. Again, we have the rock building-like dimensions of something very organic, yet this time it’s a “people” reality. And Paul continues in this vein throughout. If he had done it once or twice, maybe it was just bad poetry, but he persists in making this point.


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Sermon: How Good is God?

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 1, 2018

The question about the resurrection is not “So what do you think happened? So much as is another question… maybe the real question is not “What happened, but “How good is God? If God is good enough to make the heavens and the earth, to give us all the fruits of the Creation…, if God can breathe into us the breath of life, and has the time to count all the hairs on our head, if God can intricately form our amazing youthful and amazingly aging bodies; push the blood through our veins… how good is God?”


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Sermon: Paul’s Shipwreck

Westminster Youth

Sermon    
Sunday, March 25, 2018

“Paul’s Shipwreck,” a new musical for young people, will be presented by the Carol Choir (grades 3-5) and the Chapel Singers (grades 6-8) in both services this Sunday, March 25. The two choirs will also sing a Palm Sunday anthem, complete with Jesus riding in on a donkey!


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Sermon: It’s About Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 18, 2018

Our text this week is John’s version of Jesus in Gethsemane. It’s as if John were reading Mark’s Gospel, where it says, “They went to a place called Gethsemane; … And he said to [his disciples], “I am deeply grieved…” …he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. John read Mark’s story and said, “Why would Jesus waver? He knew what was coming.” And so, as John told this story, Jesus did not waver. When he told it, it came out this way, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.” Last month I was in Gethsemane. It is where it has always been, at the foot of the hill that ascends to the Temple Mount. There is a rock on the floor. They say that that is where he broke down and wept, where he prayed not to have to die. Gethsemane is a real place. It’s at the foot of every mountain we know we must climb. Sometimes we waver and must pray and pray before we take the next step. Sometimes we simply know and go.

Sermon: It’s About Grace

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 11, 2018

My colleague Leanne Pearce Reed wrote: In the “dread-inducing age” our fear is heightened because there are those who profit from our fear. There are those who have a stake in keeping us afraid. Media outlets know that frightening headlines and scary stories sell, and so “if it bleeds, it leads.” Marketers tap into our fears so they can sell us a product to calm that fear, and so gun and ammunition sales spike after each mass shooting… Gary Wills sees the gun…as our Moloch. He notes that few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch in which living children were consumed in the offering fires. He wrote: “The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from out protected private killing machines… The gun is not a mere tool… it is an object of reverence. Adoration of Moloch permeates the country…” So, Sunday, maybe we can find a kind of courage and trust to live differently in this dread-inducing age.


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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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