Love Undocumented Discussion

80307_tJoin us on Monday, July 16 at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion with author Sarah Quezada, who recounted her and her husband’s experiences navigating the U.S. immigration system as a mixed status couple.

As a young Christian, Sarah Quezada had a heart for social justice. She was also blissfully unaware of the real situations facing today’s immigrants. Until she met someone new. . . who happened to be undocumented.

In Love Undocumented, Quezada takes readers on a journey deep into the world of the U.S. immigration system. Follow her as she walks alongside her new friend, meets with lawyers, stands at the U.S.–Mexico border, and visits immigrants in detention centers. With wisdom from Scripture, research, and these experiences, Quezada explores God’s call to welcome the stranger and invites Christians to consider how to live faithfully in the world of closed doors and high fences.

With Quezada as your guide, discover a subversive Savior who never knew a stranger. Get to know the God of the Bible, whose love and grace cross all borders. Respond to an invitation to turn away from fear and enter a bigger story.

If you plan to attend, please complete the survey so we know how many to expect:

Sermon: Asleep in the Stern

In Mark 4: 35-41, Jesus and the disciples were on a boat as a severe storm hits. As the disciples were terrified, Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat. Eventually, they anxiously call on Jesus, and with one word he silences the storm.

The Bible contains many storms, and when called, God will calm them. Likewise, we have multiple storms in our life that cause us anxiety. We have problems that go beyond the scope of our capability. In these times, we must call on Jesus. He is the only one with the power to calm the storm.

“Asleep in the Stern”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 4:35-41
June 24, 2018

Sermon: The Greatest! Shrub! … of All!

A child cried as her mother was searched and detained in McAllen, Tex., this past week. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

In America, bigger is always better. But in the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus tells us that God uses what is small, weak and broken in the world, and when the time is right grows it into something big, and with an evasive power.

There are some lessons we get from scripture that are obvious. But in other instances, scripture may be conflicting. Attorney General Jeff Sessions used Romans 13 to justify separating children from their parents, claiming the authority was given to him by God.  But Revelation 13 tells us that government is the anti-Christ — the empire that is crushing the saints. Twisting the Bible to our political will can get us in trouble.

Sometimes we rely on God to fix our problems. But other times God is telling us, “Don’t wait on my to do something, I’m empowering you to do something.” There are times for us to sit in the quiet contemplation of the love of Jesus, and there are times to stand up and go out in the street.

Whether we sit or stand, silent or shout, we look to the will of God. How we go about that discernment is anybody’s guess. But we take heart for the little seeds that God has planted growing up around us and inside us. And when the time is right, we must use that power to fight injustice and spread God’s love in our world.

“The Greatest! Shrub! … of All!
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 4:26-34
June 17, 2018

Sermon: Christ’s career as a home-wrecker

As a Christian, the problems of society can be overwhelming. Children are being separated from their families at the border. War is devastating regions around the world.  White supremacists are staking claim to our country.

Jesus says we cannot solve any of these problems without getting to the root of the issue: evil. Jesus tells us that the world is in need of salvation and the medicine of God is the only thing that can heal humanity.

That doesn’t mean we should sit and wait for change. The Holy Spirit gives us the power  of God to help heal the world. But are we ready to accept this huge responsibility? We have to come to the place in our lives where we have to have the humility to change the place that we live, our life situation, and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

“Christ’s career as a home-wrecker”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 3: 20-35
June 10, 2018

Sermon: Saving Sabbath

The Pharisees criticized Jesus and his disciples for doing work on the Sabbath. Jesus noted that the Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath.

This isn’t to say that the Sabbath is not important. God gives us the Sabbath as a gift for three reasons: rhythm, resistance and restoration. The Sabbath helps us find rhythm in our lives. It gives us the silence we need to let God in. Sometimes in the salvation of the sabbath we find resistance Just as Jesus broke the law by healing people on sabbath, we should respect the dignity of the children of God over the law and our capitalist society that promotes greed. Finally, the Sabbath gives us restoration.

“Saving Sabbath”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 2:23-3:6
June 3, 2018

Sermon: The Gift of the Spirit

Every year at the end of the Easter season we focus on Pentecost and what it means to be gifted with the Holy Spirit. Often, we recognize the energy and excitement that comes with the Holy Spirit. However, that energy is the effect of the Spirit, not its purpose.

We do need that energy and excitement, but the world desperately needs us to share the spirit — to tell the story of how the spirit has impacted us. If we tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, we can share the life-giving word of God to others.

In our daily interactions, in our conversations with others, we can communicate the role God plays in our lives.

“The Gift of the Spirit”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Acts 2: 1-21
May 20, 2018 • Pentecost

Sermon: You Are My Witnesses

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he called on us to be his witnesses. But what does being a witness actually entail?

Rather than be silent about our faith, we should embrace Christ and not be afraid to share our witness with others. It’s not about boasting, or acting self-righteous or even trying to convert others.  It’s about linking our day-to-day lives and interactions with our faith. And telling people why we act the way we act and why we live the way we live.

It’s not enough to simply witness, but likewise, it’s not enough to simply do good.

“You Are My Witnesses”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 24: 44-53
May 13, 2018

Sermon: Eat and Run

When Jesus comes back to the disciples in Luke 24, he doesn’t command their attention. He waits for them to accept him.

Throughout the Easter stories, we see God’s divine discretion. We have an ability to either invite God in or to let God slip away. Every day this invitation is open to us.

Jesus is always walking with us, regardless of whether we acknowledge him or not. And sometimes God leads us on a journey that we did not intend to take. Just know that wherever you are on your journey, Jesus is with you. Even if you’re walking away from church, Jesus is with you you. In every moment, Christ is here, knocking, asking to be your heart.

“Eat and Run”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 24: 13-35
May 6, 2018 • Sixth Sunday of Easter

Sermon: The Sense of an Ending

The original Gospel of Mark ends in a strange way:

“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” –Mark 16:8

markThe Gospel ends with a preposition, and essentially says nothing happens after Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome were encountered by the spirit at the tomb, telling them Jesus had risen. It’s as if someone pulled Mark away from his desk just as he was about to wrap up his writings.

This Gospel ending was so unsatisfying the future Biblical scholars added onto the ending of Mark — adding a “shorter ending of Mark” and “longer ending of Mark” to the Bible we use today (NRSV).

But perhaps Mark was intentional about his ending. Because the Gospels aren’t about the disciples … they’re about Jesus. And Jesus lives on beyond the Bible, beyond the church and beyond the world.

“The Sense of an Ending
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 16:1-17 …
April 22, 2018

Sermon: Idle Tales for April Fools’

Too often Christians get distracted by things of this world … things that just don’t matter to God. But Christians often take things of this world too seriously. “God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.”

Christians get caught up in the minutia of the world,  for instance complaining about people not saying “Merry Christmas” or an ice cream shop in Canada named “Sweet Jesus.” But Christianity is so much more than that. And God just doesn’t care about a Canadian ice cream shop.

“Instead of doing things God’s way, we often want to use the powerful things of this world to accomplish our own powerful ends.”

“Idle Tales for April Fools'”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 24: 1-11
April 1, 2018 • Easter Sunday