We continue our series on the parables found in the Gospel of Luke with a lesson on perseverance. Jesus tells the story of a man who wakes up a friend at midnight asking for three loaves of bread to feed his children. The friend refuses, but the man persists in asking, and ultimately receives what he needs. The same holds true for us when we pray. "Ask and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9).
On the heels of the Difficult Words of Jesus sermon series, we will use the same technique to continue to interpret the Parables of Luke.
On the heels of the Difficult Words of Jesus sermon series, we will use the same technique to interpret the difficult words of Paul. Paul says in two verses that women are to keep silent in the church. Which churches was he referring to? Does the Patriarchy still rule churches in the 21st century? And what did Jesus have to say about women in the church?
As we close the sermon series, we attempt to tackle another heavy theological issue regarding the problematic language about “the Jews” throughout John’s gospel. Jesus was a lifelong observant Jew, yet some of his words have been interpreted as anti-Semitic and used to justify prejudice and violence against Jews. How can we interpret Jesus’s words to promote love instead?
Is the “outer darkness” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25:30 talking about hell? As AJ Levine shares in her book, “According to the Pew Research center, 58 percent of Americans believe in a literal hell.” We will explore whether the Gospels speak of a literal hell, and whether hell helps or hinders how we think and act.
According to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus initially commanded his disciples to restrict their mission to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Why did Jesus not originally see Gentiles as part of his mission? What changed to widen his focus to include all? If Jesus can change, certainly we can too.
As the Difficult Words of Jesus series continues, AJ Levine sheds light on prevalent biblical language about slavery, including Jesus’s call for his disciples to “become as slaves” to others. With the brutal history of slavery that continues to inflict pain on our society, how could Jesus’s call still be relevant today?
Luke 14:26 questions the common assumption that Scripture teaches “family values” by scrutinizing Jesus’s call for his followers to “hate” their families, and even their very lives. How can the same Jesus who taught people to love their enemy demand any form of hatred? The “hatred” Jesus is talking about is very different from the hatred we often see in the world. Jesus teaches that there is a cost to discipleship, and sometimes that cost could be our closest relationships.
We conclude our series on the Psalms with a focus on God as Creator. Psalm 8 celebrates the creation of human beings. "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor." (vs 4-5) We are challenged to live up to our full potential as children of God, made in God's image.
We continue our series on the Psalms with a focus on Wisdom. Psalm 1 begins the collection with a reflection on God's law (Torah). Those who read and meditate on God's word are blessed while those who do not perish according to the psalmist. We will consider how our reading and acting upon scripture produces happiness in our own lives.