Sermon: Discerning the Body

Paul tells the Corinthians that if they are confident in their spirituality, it is OK to go ahead and eat with nonbelievers. It would be better to share in a meal rather than shun another person. Paul consistently tells the Corinthians it is more important to think of others, rather than think of what others may think of them. And we should treat others with dignity and respect out of love for them, and not so we will be recognized as good people.

As we discern our next steps as a church in regards to how we welcome and show love towards our LGBTQ friends and family, we should remember this advice from Paul. We need to reach out to those who need us, but ensure that we are serving them out of a place of love rather than self-righteousness.

Sermon: Discerning the Body

“Discerning the Body”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 10:23-33
March 31, 2019 • Fourth Sunday of Lent

Sermon: Running to Win

“The needs of the world are so great, that the only way to serve and love in the pattern of Jesus is that we require ourselves the same discipline that Jesus had … Before we rush to ensure that we are saving our own time, maybe we should pause for a moment and let God waste it for the sake of the Gospel.”

Sermon: Running to Win

“Running to Win”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 9: 19-27
March 24, 2019 • Third Sunday of Lent

Sermon: The Folly of the Cross

Church means many things to different people. But Paul keeps returning the focus of the church to the cross.

But the cross is often used by people use for their own personal gain. Paul warns about this. The cross is not something that can be humanized. It’s a gift from God that allows us to see the world beyond a human perspective.

In the midst of our path in the world, God has placed the stumbling block of the cross. When we encounter it, we might have to do something others deem foolish, but is right in the eyes of God.

Sermon: The Folly of the Cross

“The Folly of the Cross”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Feb. 3, 2019

Listen to The Word in Song: “What the Lord Has Done In Me

Sermon: What Unites Us

Paul goes to the church of Corinth and finds the Corinthians divided. The cause of their division was over who baptized them.

Although the church today does not argue over baptism, a key issue often divides Christians — political ideology. Many people take pride belonging to churches that claim to be “progressive” or emphasizing “conservative family values.”

What would Paul’s message be us? The same it was to the Corinthians. What divides us doesn’t matter. The important thing is what unites us — the power of the cross. And despite human attempts to take control of the cross and shape its message, the power of the cross is unlike any other. It does not depend on us, it depends on God.

And we have been invited to participate in that power — but we cannot manipulate it.

Sermon: “What Unites Us”

“What Unites Us”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Jan. 27, 2019

Sermon: It’s not how we look. It’s what we do.

Our society is fixated on the body.

Beauty and youth are treasured so much to the point that even photos of young, beautiful women are airbrushed and photoshopped in magazines to remove even the slightest blemish. Companies advertise products like wrinkle creams and instant diet pills that will help us fit the societal image of beauty. Why are we so obsessed with this societal conception of beauty? One answer is because we are afraid of death, and the imperfect signs of aging our bodies’ naturally expose.

However, as Christians we do not need to be afraid of death. Yes, our body is important in this life, but what’s more important is what we do with our body. God has empowered each of us with different gifts to use to live out God’s word. At the end of our earthly lives, it does not matter what our physical body looks like, but rather what we did with our body to advance God’s purpose.

Sermon

“Bare Seeds Wild From the Hot, Blind Earth”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 15:35-49
May 21, 2017

Sermon: In defeating death, Jesus became the ultimate authority

Christianity is no fun if there’s no resurrection. The resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ is at the root of God’s authority over every other authority.

Powerful people — from kings to emperors, to dictators to Presidents — have consistently used death as a tool of power. It’s the final enforcement for rulers — if you disagree with them or cross them, you are met with death. The fact that Jesus conquered human death renders the powerful powerless. The resurrection of Jesus is an interruption in the power that allows us to transform the world for God’s intention.

Christian hope is not blind optimism. It’s a deep trust that the intentions of God will not be overcome.

“From First Fruits to Last Battle”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
1 Corinthians 15:12-26
May 14, 2017

Sermon: Your financial gift to the church is a ‘test of genuineness’ …

istock_000003781492mediumPaul launched the first Christian stewardship campaign. Writing to the Corinthians — a mostly well-off population that prided themselves on being educated and doing good work — Paul warns them that their tithes to church pale in comparison to the Macedonians, a population not nearly as wealthy. Paul said our financial gifts are a test of our genuineness.

Paul’s words are very relevant today. Giving — as a proportion of income — begins to drop off the wealthier one becomes. It’s the poorer, less educated “red states” that give more proportionally than the richer, more educated “blue states.” Meanwhile, it’s the wealthy, well-read liberal “elites” that are often at the forefront of calls for social change. But are we putting our money to the cause?

Sermon

The Word in Song: “Take My Life and Let it Be”

“The Privilege of Sharing”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Nov. 20, 2016

Lenten Devotion: Thursday, Feb. 25

by Maxine Easom

Corinthians 12:9
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Recently I received an article from my sister entitled “12 Essential Bonhoeffer Quotes: Timeless wisdom from a giant of Christian thinking”. They confronted my complacency and challenged my focus. I am sharing them with you, as we each confront in ourselves what we must.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is considered to be one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. His thoughts are powerful in and of themselves, but taken in the context of his own life, they become so profound. Being born into a family of doctors and scientists, going into the ministry was not thought to be a fitting profession. Then serving as a pastor in Germany during WW I and WW II, he found himself conflicted by the shifts in the German church and in the shifts of the German consciousness. In all, Bonhoeffer’s story was of one who was willing to go against the norm and undergo suffering for his people and for the God he was committed to following. He was killed in a concentration camp shortly after his 39th birthday.

ON SILENCE: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

ON JUDGING OTHERS: “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. But judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

ON GRATITUDE: In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”

ON INJUSTICE: “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

ON ‘DEFENDING’ THE BIBLE: “Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic. Do not defend God’s word, but testify to it. Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity.”

ON REAL MORALITY: “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”

ON SPIRITUALITY: “When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

ON FELLOWSHIP: “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them.”

ON PROOF OF GOD: “A God who let us prove his existence would be an idol.”

ON PEACE: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protest oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

ON GOD’S LOVE: “God does not love some ideal person, but rather human beings just as we are, not some ideal world, but rather the real world.”

ON GOD’S WILL: “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” (Actually not a Bonhoeffer quote, but a paraphrase of one of Bonhoeffer’s principles described in Metaxas’ biography of Bonhoeffer. )

 

Prayer: Lord, help us to confront our own complacency of being comfortable with what is. Help us to eradicate our own certainty of what others should be doing. Move us to open ourselves to you that you can change and transform us into your hands for your work. Amen.