• Mark 1:21-28 A True Life (Hoffacker)

    The congregation is astounded! Jesus is not like so many other teachers they have heard. He does not cite a series of authorities, piling up learned references one upon another. Instead, he teaches out of his own authority. It is his own truth that he sets forth.

  • Mark 1:21-28 A Question of Authority (London)

    What’s interesting is that we don’t hear the content of Jesus’ teaching. It’s almost like Mark is saying, “the content isn’t the important part.” In the Gospel of Mark what makes Jesus’ teaching authoritative is his person; his teaching is authoritative because of who he is — he is “the Holy One of God.”

  • Mark 1:21-28 Naming the Spirits (McLarty)

    What unclean spirit did he have? We don't know, and this is where we're apt to get off-track. To speak of an unclean spirit is to suggest being possessed by a demon, and that conjures up images of Poltergeist.

  • Mark 1:29-39 Found in the Midst of Crisis (Canada)

    One day Judy and I went shopping with our son, Mike, while he was just a toddler. We never let go of his hand or allowed him to be out of our sight in public places. But this day Judy and I both looked at each other and realized that neither of us had him.

  • Mark 1:29-39 Won’t You Help Me with This? (Hoffacker)

    Deacon Neal invited people to come forward so that she could lay hands on them and pray with them. The response was enormous. After ministering to many people, Deacon Neal grew weary. With a trace of impatience in her voice, she said, "Aren't there some priests here we can HELP me with this?"

  • Mark 1:29-39 Too Busy Not to Pray (McLarty)

    Mark 1:29-39 Too Busy Not to Pray (McLarty)

  • Mark 1:29-39 The Counter Gravity of God (Hoffacker)

    Mark 1:29-39 The Counter Gravity of God (Hoffacker)

  • Mark 1:40-42 God’s Compassion (London)

    “Why wouldn’t Jesus just heal him!” Didn’t Jesus want to give Randy the best birthday present ever and heal him? My Dad said those were good questions, but he didn’t give me any answers. Could it be that my Dad, the Presbyterian minister, didn’t know the answer?

  • Mark 1:40-45; 2 Kings 5 The Laughter Barrel (London)

    I tried throughout last week to stay at least 15 feet away from Pastor Steve and his bad case of the flu. In fact, we in the office have made him shout, "Unclean! Influenza!" so we know when he's coming and we can get out of the way. The poor guy probably felt like a leper all week.

  • Mark 1:40-45 Reaching Outside of the Circle (Butler)

    Being unclean meant that you could not participate in religious rituals like worship in the synagogue. It also meant that you were excluded from all social interactions--because nobody wanted to “catch” your uncleanliness, becoming unholy, and being isolated from the community.

  • Mark 1:40-45 If You Choose (McLarty)

    Jesus healed a bunch, but the next morning there were that many more. People came from everywhere. But then Jesus was nowhere to be found. He'd gotten up before daybreak and slipped away to be alone with God in prayer. That upset his disciples.

  • Mark 1:40-45; 2 Kings 5:1-14 Faith and Reason (Hyde)

    Sometimes, we believe that if a religious experience isn’t mystical, it isn’t really religious... that it has to be accompanied by spiritual goose bumps. Sometimes, the goose bumps are there, but it’s plain old common sense that gets you to that point. Just ask Naaman.

  • Mark 1:40-45 Make Me Clean (London)

    Being made clean reverses our lives, turns us upside down for the better. Too often we want a faith that will make the world a better place but that will not change us. We fear reversal change, but that’s what makes the Good News so radical, so life altering, so wonderful!

  • Mark 1:4-11 Put Your Whole Self In (Donovan)

    Mark 1:4-11 Put Your Whole Self In (Donovan)

  • Mark 1:4-11 Returning Thankfully (Donovan)

    Mark 1:4-11 Returning Thankfully (Donovan)

  • Mark 2:1-12 Beyond Paralysis (London)

    Who in our story has the authority to forgive sins and take paralysis away? Who has the authority to re-shape, re-form, re-configure reality? The good news is that God acted in Jesus Christ not only to forgive our sins but also to relieve us of the paralysis that keeps us frozen in our sin.

  • Mark 2:1-12 A Hole in the Roof (Butler)

    A group of four friends approached the building where the people were jammed in the door. The men were a little late in getting there because it took awhile to get their friend, the fifth man in the group, ready to go find this Jesus. Their friend, you see, was a paralytic.

  • Mark 2:1-12; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 Always Yes (Hyde)

    Mark 2:1-12; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 Always Yes (Hyde)

  • Mark 2:1-4 We’ve Never Seen Anything Like That (Gerhardy)

    This week as I was looking at this text, something grabbed my attention. The paralyzed man’s friends had to go to all this trouble to get near Jesus, even to the point of breaking open the roof, because of the crowd.

  • Mark 2:13-22 Followers and Would Be Followers (Anders)

    The Gospels tell us that there were followers and would-be followers. I wonder which we are, particularly on this Stewardship Sunday.

  • Mark 2:18-22 Old Coats and New Wine (London)

    The controversy in our text starts with Jesus eating with sinners but quickly focuses on Jesus and his disciples being criticized for not fasting. The Pharisees were fasting. Even John the Baptist’s disciples were fasting. Everyone else is following the rules, so why are Jesus and his disciples not?

  • Mark 2:23 – 3:6 Keeping the Sabbath (Stevenson)

    One Sabbath as Jesus and his disciples were walking to the synagogue, the disciples were seen breaking grain off the stalks and eating them as they walk through a field. Of course as travelers the laws of Moses gave them that right, but on the Sabbath! Was Jesus teaching his disciples not to keep the Sabbath Holy!

  • Mark 2:23 – 3:6 Sabotage on the Sabbath (Anders)

    Our text from Mark describes two dramatic actions in the ministry of Jesus that both occurred on the Sabbath, and both confront the question "What is it lawful to do on the Sabbath?" The first action happened in a grain field.

  • Mark 2:23-27 The Spirit of the Kingdom (McLarty)

    "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." On the surface, it seems like such a small thing – picking a few ears of corn – but then, that’s the nature of sin: Fudge a little and, before you know it, the floodgates are open and anything goes.

  • Mark 1:40-45; 2 Kings 5:1-14 Faith and Reason (Hyde)

    Sometimes, we believe that if a religious experience isn’t mystical, it isn’t really religious... that it has to be accompanied by spiritual goose bumps. Sometimes, the goose bumps are there, but it’s plain old common sense that gets you to that point. Just ask Naaman.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Awakening from a Deep Sleep (Hoffacker)

    Jairus' daughter is his pride and joy, the apple of his eye, his very soul. She falls into the deep sleep, and he is devastated. He is humble enough, wise enough, to seek help. Jesus comes and calls her back to life. Before long, Jairus' house is again full of her laughter.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Laughing At Jesus (Molin)

    Jairus cried, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and lay your hands on her.” Can you hear the urgency in his voice? Though Jairus was a religious expert, he was powerless to help his own daughter, so he reaches out to this traveling preacher who had a reputation of healing and begs Jesus for a miracle.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Why Do You Make a Tumult and Weep? (McLarty)

    Jairus came to Jesus in broad daylight and fell at his feet and begged him to heal his daughter. He threw whatever modesty he may have had to the wind. When it comes to those we love, we'll do whatever it takes.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Desperate for Freedom (Butler)

    In the moment that I touched Jesus’ hem something happened to me. The pain that ravaged my abdomen for 12 years disappeared. He stopped. He turned. He spoke. WHO TOUCHED ME? He asked.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Awakening from a Deep Sleep (Hoffacker)

    Jairus' daughter is his pride and joy, the apple of his eye, his very soul. She falls into the deep sleep, and he is devastated. He is humble enough, wise enough, to seek help. Jesus comes and calls her back to life. Before long, Jairus' house is again full of her laughter.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Laughing At Jesus (Molin)

    Jairus cried, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and lay your hands on her.” Can you hear the urgency in his voice? Though Jairus was a religious expert, he was powerless to help his own daughter, so he reaches out to this traveling preacher who had a reputation of healing and begs Jesus for a miracle.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Why Do You Make a Tumult and Weep? (McLarty)

    Jairus came to Jesus in broad daylight and fell at his feet and begged him to heal his daughter. He threw whatever modesty he may have had to the wind. When it comes to those we love, we'll do whatever it takes.

  • Mark 5:21-43 Desperate for Freedom (Butler)

    In the moment that I touched Jesus’ hem something happened to me. The pain that ravaged my abdomen for 12 years disappeared. He stopped. He turned. He spoke. WHO TOUCHED ME? He asked.

  • 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 & Mark 6:14-29 Fools for God (Hoffacker)

    We might not be able to avoid foolishness. But we can choose whether our foolishness will lead us to freedom or a loss of freedom––onward to God or trapped in our small selves. Will our foolishness bring about salvation or irreparable loss?

  • Mark 6:1-13 The Sacrament of Failure (Anders)

    At his home synagogue, Jesus begins to teach. And he earns a response, but hardly like that in other places. The people are astonished at his teaching, but appalled at his message and manner. "How dare this local boy, Jesus, assume such authority?" they ask.

  • Mark 6:1-13 An Expert is Someone 300 Miles from Home! (Molin)

    I doubt very much that Jesus was the class clown of Nazareth High School. But growing up in Joseph’s carpenter shop, he became as commonly known as the town constable or the village paper boy. He was one of them.

  • Mark 6:1-13 R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Butler)

    Just a little RESPECT! That's what the disciples were anticipating as they followed Jesus into his hometown. Jesus wowed them in the synagogue. When he was done everyone in the crowd looked at each other in disbelief. "Is this Joseph the CARPENTER'S son? You have got to be kidding!"

  • Mark 6:14-29 When Evil Wins (Leininger)

    The message of our faith says that evil does not have the last word. Listen, all who ever wonder about God. Herod does not win. Herodias does not win. Hitler does not win. EVIL DOES NOT WIN!

  • Mark 6:14-29 (and 2 Samuel 6:1-19) Fools for God (Hoffacker)

    It may be impossible for us as human beings to avoid foolishness. Where we have a choice lies in whether our foolishness leads us to freedom or a loss of freedom, whether it takes us onward to the God revealed in Jesus Christ or traps us in our small selves.

  • Mark 6:14-29 Promises, Promises (McLarty)

    The sermon this morning is about promises—rash promises, promises made with every good intention, and … let’s just say it outright: broken promises.

  • Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 This is No Chicken Soup for the Soul (Tilleraas)

    I believe the story of the two men in the temple gives us a picture of the perfect beggar. One thanked the Lord for all that He had given him, and for making him such a wonderful, righteous man of God. The other could not even bring himself to raise his eyes heavenward, but prayed, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

  • Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 Take Time Off (Kegel)

    The followers of Jesus gave him and his disciples no time for rest. "They had no leisure so much as to eat." Jesus needed to take some time off. His disciples needed to get away and refresh themselves.

  • Mark 6:30-32 Taking Time Out (Gerhardy)

    Time is something we wrestle with every day. Our lives are packed so full that the day is finished before we have accomplished half of what we wanted to do. If there was ever a busy bloke it was Jesus.

  • Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Clean Hands, Clean Heart (Anders)

    Every church has traditions that have become sacred cows. In one church, the color of the carpet had become the sacred cow. We had always had red carpet, but now the property committee was going to change it to blue. Some people just weren't sure they could worship God on a BLUE CARPET.

  • Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 The Overflowing Tea Cup (Hoffacker)

    Our consumer society bombards us with messages about how consumption can solve our problems. But consumption cannot solve the problem that Jesus exposes. What we need is not to pour still more tea into our overflowing cup. What we need is to empty and detoxify our hearts from the poisons flooding forth from it.

  • Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Changing Hearts (Hoffacker)

    Perhaps you have heard this statement with the blank filled in by one thing or another: Anybody who __________ is not a Christian. This blank can be filled in by any of a number of phrases.

  • Mark 7:1-23 and Song of Songs 2:8-13 Integrity (Leininger)

    As with all of our life, because we do not want to just talk the talk, but we want to walk the walk, we will handle it with...what's that word again? Oh, yes. INTEGRITY.

  • Mark 7:1-23 and Song of Songs 2:8-13 The Realignment of Desire (Hoffacker)

    Our problem is not with things outside us. Our problem is inside us. Consider an alcoholic. Insofar as the alcoholic is recovering, she will recognize that the problem is not a bottle of whiskey. The problem is that she suffers from a disease called alcoholism.

  • Mark 7:24-37, The Boundaries of the Kingdom (McLarty)

    What are the boundaries of your faith? Do you believe that you have to be a Presbyterian to be in God’s good graces? A Protestant? A Christian? Speak in tongues? Does your faith include people of other races, other nationalities, other cultures?

  • Mark 7:24-37 Bread and Noise (Molin)

    A mother approaches Jesus with a request; “Master, my daughter has an unclean spirit, would it be too much to ask you to come to my house and heal her?” We expect Jesus to say yes. Immediately, yes. But that’s not what Jesus does; not even close.

  • Mark 7:24-37 Stronger at the Broken Places (Nolan)

    Some of us may find it difficult to be open in heart and mind. But our individual presence, perhaps in a word or a smile, with a hand or a hug, even our sharing of bread and wine in the name of Christ, might be an occasion of ministry.

  • Mark 7:24-37 Dare to Listen, Dare to Speak (Hoffacker)

    This is a liberating gospel. We can put down our burdens today. The burden to have all the right answers, or to do all the good deeds. What we need to do, at all times and in all places, is to allow Jesus to open our ears and let loose our tongue.

  • Mark 7:24-37 Somebody Else’s Saliva on Your Tongue (Hoffacker)

    When we encounter someone unable to speak, then we are touched so that we dimly perceive that our speech is impaired in a spiritual sense. Without seeking to do so, that person mirrors a problem in us, a problem that may be more limiting than a physical disability.

  • Mark 7:24-30 Why Are You Poor (Butler)

    We may not have widespread famine or devastating drought or epidemic rates of TB . . . but make no mistake, we're poor in ways we were never poor when we lived crammed like sardines into five story walk-ups on the Lower East Side.

  • Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Why Are You Afraid (Butler)

    It wasn't so much that Jesus and his gang weren't washing their hands correctly. It was that, with the breaking of the rules they threw the carefully constructed boundaries of Jewish life in Galilee into chaos. Without the rules . . . how would they know who they were?

  • Mark 9:2-9 Manifestation and Mission (Hoffacker)

    What happened to Moses, to Elijah, and to Peter, James, and John happens to us as well. I don’t mean the burning bush or the silence or the mountaintop transfiguration. What I mean is the pattern which is apparent in each of these incidents.

  • Mark 9:2-9 WOW!!! (Leininger)

    A hospice chaplain says: "In our hospice, we explain that as one nears death, the boundary between this life and the next becomes thinner, more permeable... We have had our patients report lots of visits. Several have reported visits from Jesus or family members.

  • Mark 9:2-9 and 2 Kings 2, Growin’ Up (London)

    For the Christian, maturity is about more than "driving cars and being on my own." It's about living faithfully among God's people. For the Christian, the opposite of maturity is not immaturity, but isolation.

  • Mark 9:2-9 Turning Points (McLarty)

    For the early church, the transfiguration served as a restatement that Jesus was the son of God, and that he had the authority to speak and act in God's name. The story echoed back to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

  • Mark 9:14-29 I Want to Do It Myself (Batchelor)

    What was the deal in today's Gospel? Why were the disciples not able to drive out the demon? What went wrong? Why was Jesus frustrated with them?

  • Mark 9:14-29 Sincerely Wrong (Batchelor)

    Jesus' disciples had a problem. The Holy Spirit had worked through them to expel many demons, but they had grown complacent and had begun to rely on themselves. The object of their faith had switched from God back to themselves. So Jesus called them a faithless generation.

  • Mark 9:30-37 The Kid from Capernaum (Hoffacker)

    Jesus spells out to his disciples what awaits him in the future. He'll be betrayed into human hands, and put to death. Three days later, he will rise again. What Jesus says has the same effect on all the disciples -- in one ear and out the other.

  • Mark 9:30-37 Play and Contemplation (Hoffacker)

    The church welcomes children, not only when sacraments are celebrated, but by recognizing their worth in numerous ways in the life of congregation by nurturing them, helping them to fulfill their ministries, and welcoming the gifts they bring which enrich us all.

  • Mark 9:30-37 Why Are You Lazy (Butler)

    All our scripture passages today have to do with work—what work is good and what work we should be doing. But these passages also point to a fact that we Americans might need to learn more than anyone else: Frantic work does not equal good work.

  • Mark 9:30-37 The Greatest of the Kingdom (McLarty)

    Why didn’t Jesus’ disciples pay attention when he told them of his impending passion and death? Mark says they were afraid to ask, but there’s more to it than that. It’s right there in the text: They were too wrapped up in their own sense of importance.

  • Mark 9:30-37 The Circle of Inclusion (Hoffacker)

    Jesus' disciples are arguing among themselves about which is the greatest. They are engaged in a contest about who is most likely to succeed--as the world counts success. Each wants the prestige pie sliced to suit his advantage. This attitude enjoys perennial popularity.

  • Mark 9:38-50 Amputating Our Resentments (Hoffacker)

    Ask a hundred people to identify their favorite Bible passage, and it's unlikely that any of them will mention these verses from the ninth chapter of Mark's Gospel: "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut if off."

  • Mark 9:38-50 Salty Believers (Wagner)

    The implication is that, just as food is bland without salt, the believer is ineffective without seasoning. A seasoned disciple can make a difference, whereas those without seasoning are of no use to anyone. So, what does it mean to be a seasoned disciple or a salty believer?

  • Mark 9:38-50 The Welcoming Church (Kegel)

    Jesus had just upbraided his disciples for trying to one-up each other. He told them to become like children, humble and unassuming. Now the disciples are still at it—making sure that they are in control, that everyone will recognize their greatness.

  • Mark 10:2-16 A Run Through the Thorns (Hoffacker)

    Preaching about divorce is like running through a field of thorns, and listening to a sermon on divorce can seem the same way. One misstep and we just add to the hurting. But let us venture together carefully into the thorny field.

  • Mark 10:2-16 Straight Talk about Stewardship (McLarty)

    Our tendency is to take what Jesus said to the rich young ruler and apply it across the board. To be faithful, you’ve got to have a big garage sale and get rid of everything you own, giving the proceeds to those in need. I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind.

  • Mark 10:2-16 Loneliness in Paradise (Donovan)

    Recognizing that "It is not good that the man should be alone," God created woman and man together as a beautiful way to meet human needs. He created marriage as a lifelong relationship with one person. However, many marriages fail to capture that kind of beauty today.

  • Mark 10:2-16 Good News For The Divorced (McLarty)

    If you're laboring under the burden of guilt because you're divorced, leave that burden behind you. And if you're still holding on to hurt and anger caused by a divorce, let go of that, as well. In Christ, all is forgiven; all things are new.

  • Mark 10:13-16 Let the Children Come to Me (McLarty)

    Children comprise one of the largest groups of unchurched people in the community; yet. The tragedy is that the children's lack of faith is not their fault; it's a choice their parents are making.

  • Mark 10:13-16 God Bless the Child (Leininger)

    "Let the little children come to me; and do not hinder them." "Hinder" suggests active, conscious, deliberate obstruction. But the obstruction may come simply from neglect to take some positive action.

  • Mark 10:17-22 Why Do You Call Me Good? (McLarty)

    I like to think of Jesus as someone we can relate to, someone who asks simple questions and expects straight answers. Take the question for today: "Why do you call me good?" How would you answer that? Why do you call Jesus good?

  • Mark 10:17-31 The Opposite of Rich (Anders)

    The opposite of rich is not poor. The opposite of rich is free. The rich man was not free to take the hand of Jesus because his hand was too full of things. He might as well have had a ball and chain around his leg. He was not free to follow Jesus.

  • Mark 10:17-31 Then Who Can Be Saved? (Tilleraas)

    Then Jesus drops the bomb--tells the rich man that he can’t have it all. He will have to choose -- this world, or the next. To attain eternal life, he will have to give up what he values most of all in this world; and then he will be free to seek eternal life and follow Jesus.

  • Mark 10:17-31 Wanted: Followers (Kegel)

    Following Jesus will be hard, keeping commandments, giving to the poor, recognizing that all we have is a gift of God to be used to God's glory. We are not asked to be a leader but invited to become a follower of Jesus.

  • Mark 10:17-31 You May Have to Move Something! (Hoffacker)

    For those who struggle to resist affluenza, the virulent epidemic of always wanting more, even small victories feel exhilarating. They are victories for which heaven cheers.

  • Mark 10:35-45 What’s In It for Me? (Tilleraas)

    These two men, who were so interested in assuming positions of leadership, did go on, after Pentecost, to become martyrs. In other words, they eventually drank from the cup that Jesus drank from -- and they learned what it means to serve.

  • Mark 10:35-45 Saying Yes Is Never Easy (Wagner)

    Giving away power is not something we are accustomed to. We like to be in control. We want others to do what we tell them. We even want God to do for us what we ask. This is exactly what the disciples were doing when they asked Jesus to give them special seats in heaven.

  • Mark 10:35-45 Servant Leadership (Hoffacker)

    James and John ask Jesus for a big favor. They want the premium seats, the ones right beside Jesus, when he finally is enthroned as king. They have a strong appetite for prestige and power. The other ten disciples are no better.

  • Mark 10:35-45 Healthy Ambition (McLarty)

    There’s a dark side to ambition, and it’s called greed. You see it every time one individual steps in front of another to get ahead. That’s the issue James and John brought to Jesus: "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask."

  • Mark 10:46-52 A Person of Honor (Hoffacker)

    Bartimaeus makes a different request of Jesus than do James and John. He does not seek power over others. He does not care to be seen. What he wants is to see. Bartimaeus does not crave being special. He wants only to be ordinary: to see the world around him.

  • Mark 10:46-52 What Do You Want? (Howard)

    To the crowd around him Bartimaeus is nothing but a blind beggar who sits by the roadside in the same place day after day, stretching out his hand for help. A blind beggar, period. But what if you are Bartimaeus? Ah, then, you know something else.

  • Mark 10:46-52 Basic Steps to Being Reformed (McLarty)

    No matter how solid we may be in our faith, there’s always room for improvement. Besides, the world around us is anything but static. It’s dynamic, changing, always on the move. To take seriously the world's needs requires an on-going process of renewal.

  • Mark 3:20-35, 1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15, The Truth Shall Make You Odd (Hoffacker)

    A person of deep Christian faith, Flannery O'Connor built upon John 8:32 when she famously wrote, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd."

  • Mark 11:1-11 The Street Sweeper (Zingale)

    Jesus rode into town that day as a different kind of King, a different kind of religious ruler, as a different kind of political leader. He rode into town as the Messiah who would die for His people and rise again. That guy Jesus!!

  • Mark 11:1-11 A Lesson in Humility (Wagner)

    After his triumphal entry that day, notice what happened. There was no party, no coronation banquet, no awards ceremony, no photo opportunities, no prize, no Oscar. At the end of the ride, Jesus and the disciples quietly walked away, went to Bethany and retired for the night.

  • Mark 11:1-11 Sunday’s Coming!! (Leininger)

    The crowds lining the route should be commended for their enthusiasm. They were not there just because they loved a good parade. They were there because they wanted to believe. They had hope. "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." "Where there's life, there's hope." And they had it.

  • Mark 11:1-11 And When You Think It’s All Over (London)

    In just a matter of days Holy Week takes us from the mountain of festive palms to the mountain of Golgatha’s despair. And that is why we resist it so. I mean, do we really need the emotional roller coaster of Holy Week?

  • Mark 11:1-11 The Lord Has Need of It (McLarty)

    "The Lord needs him." That’s what I’d like for us to think about in the sermon this morning, the fact that the Lord needs the things you have – your time, talent, gifts and service – and the big question is whether or not you’re willing to let go and entrust them to him.

  • Mark 11:1-11 & 15:1-29, God’s Terms (London)

    Jesus’ came with the message that says not only is this life temporary, but that change is unavoidable, and more than that — change in this life is GOOD and NECESSARY and should be sought out as if we’re looking for buried treasure!

  • Mark 12:28-34 Almost Heaven (Wagner)

    Loving God and loving our neighbors is not just a matter of believing. It requires energy, effort and passion. Too often believers live as though they have already arrived. But, to be persons of faith is to be on a journey, every day, doing all we can, giving our best for the sake of the kingdom of God.

  • Mark 12:28-34 No Holding Back (Leininger)

    "Giving from the heart is a wonderful thing," the rabbi said, "It is a very high act and should never be demeaned. But there is something much more important that happens when somebody gives charity out of obligation.

  • Mark 12:28-34 Loving God with a Broken Heart (Wigmore)

    The bottom came when William's father showed up outside the crack-house. He showed up along with a couple of marshals who took him into custody and threw him handcuffed into a van where his father was waiting. His father said, "I hate you." William said, "I hate me too."

  • Mark 12:38-44 Radical Faith (Hoffacker)

    Jesus offers the widow as a model of faith. He warns against the corrupt scribes for their selfishness. He presents us with characters of two types. The corrupt scribes are concerned with enriching themselves. The widow, on the other hand, surrenders power over herself in order that God may work through her.

  • Mark 12:38-44 Advanced Poverty (Hoffacker)

    At the temple, these are metal receptacles shaped like trumpets. Into them people throw coins which clank inside. Large heavy coins make a loud clank. Small coins make a little clank. Listen and you soon figure out who are the big shot contributors.

  • Mark 12:38-44 The Widow’s Might (McLarty)

    To be honest, I don't know what the widow was thinking when she put in her last two coins, nor do I know how she felt. But I do know, from my own experience, what it's like to make an offering to God, and I've often heard others talk about what it meant to them.

  • Mark 12:38-44 The Joy of Giving (Kegel)

    This text is not about how generous this poor widow was—that is how we usually interpret it. It is rather a lament for her. The poor widow gave her all when those who should be giving more were giving leftovers.

  • Mark 12:38-44 The Widow Who Gave Her Last $1.21 (Smith)

    Here, my friends, is the lesson that I believe Jesus wants us to learn from the poor widow: “The TRUE measure of stewardship is NOT how much we GIVE to God; the TRUE measure of stewardship is how much we KEEP for ourselves!”

  • Mark 12:41-44 A Living Theology of Good Stewardship (McLarty)

    A good theology of stewardship begins with the premise that everything belongs to God – all that we are, all that we have, all that there is. A good steward is one who wears an invisible lapel button that says, "It's God's!"

  • Mark 12:41-44 The New Math (Molin)

    Did you know that Jesus spoke about money more than anything else? He mentions money more than love, and more than prayer, and more than righteousness. Is Jesus obsessed with money? Of course not. But he knows that we can be.

  • Mark 12:41-44 A Widow’s Offering (Entrekin)

    A lot of people who don't know much about the Bible know about the widow's mite. It's a story of great sacrifice vs. great hypocrisy and it still grabs us. But we're likely to ask what it has to do with anything?

  • Mark 13:1-8 Massive Walls, Barren Wombs (Hoffacker)

    The Jerusalem temple appears built for the ages, but Jesus announces that its days are numbered. The old order is soon to die. What will come forth from this death will be new and unexpected life: both the Christian Church and Rabbinic Judaism. God remains active in the world.

  • Mark 13:1-8 Everything Nailed Down Is Coming Loose! (Anders)

    Did you ever feel that way - that everything nailed down was coming loose? Did you ever feel that a seismic event had shaken your world beyond recognition? The Bible provides hope for us in such times as that, for the Bible often speaks to people facing cataclysmic events.

  • Mark 13:1-8 Heb. 10:11-14 When Your Church Provokes You (Leininger)

    "Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds." As one of my colleagues says, his congregation lives out the first HALF of that verse.

  • Mark 13:1-8 The End Is Still to Come (Gerhardy)

    On many occasions people with serious conditions in hospital beds told me that they realized that all the things that they once thought important were not important at all. None of those things could prevent their cancer or even their death.

  • Mark 13:1-8 Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Kegel)

    One of Jesus' followers was overcome by awe of the Temple: He said, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Jesus responded by saying that it would be torn down. Within forty years it was.

  • Mark 13:1-8 The Best of Times, the Worst of Times (Nolan)

    Contrary to a commentator's cynicism, disasters are NOT the events by which Christians measure all events. Instead, life is comprehended best in the victorious event of Jesus Christ. A poet has summed up God's Light in Christ beautifully: God hath not promised Skies always blue.

  • Mark 13:1-8, Joy Ahead (London)

    Jesus presents these catastrophes as we know them to be — part of our world. “But,” says Jesus, “these catastrophes are not signs of the end, but are instead the beginning of birth pangs.” Jesus wants us to focus on the present and the promise of a new beginning, a new creation.

  • Mark 13:24-37 Your One Wild and Precious Life (Hoffacker)

    Rather than have us deal with beginnings, today's liturgy directs our attention to the end of the world, to the final coming of Christ. We are to wait and watch, for Christ has promised to return. We are reminded that this world is drawing to its close.

  • Mark 13:24-37 The Threat of Somnambulism (McLarty)

    O.K., so I learned a new word this week: Somnambulism. It's a fancy term for sleep walking. Jesus told his disciples, "Watch, keep alert, and pray; for you don't know when the time is" (v. 33).

  • Mark 13:24-37 The Joy of Waiting (Sellery)

    It seems a stretch to call a season of waiting a blessing. No one is happy when they have to wait. We associate waiting with dentists’ offices and traffic jams. Advent is a time of waiting. But when it’s done right, it’s far from inactive. It’s a time of joyful, creative waiting.

  • Mark 13:24-37 The Truth That Nobody Knows (Molin)

    These first days of Advent speak not of the coming of the Baby Jesus in a manger, but rather his Second Coming, when he will judge the world. We’re supposed to prepare for that day, but we’re never told when it will be.

  • Mark 13:24-37 The Day of Wrath (Kegel)

    According to a legend, a traveler penetrated an enchanted forest. In a glade, he found a sundial. On the sundial were the words, “Stop traveler. It is later than you think.” We know that, don't we? We know that our days will come to an end.

  • Mark 13:24-37 Jakob’s Story & Our Story (Christensen)

    Cataclysmic events will occur in the last day. The message here is both about the natural order and about the realm of spiritual powers. The stars will fall, to be sure, but with their fall will come the fall of the spiritual powers that oppose the work of God.

  • Mark 13:24-37 Preparing for His Coming (McLarty)

    One day, Christ will come like a thief in the night, when we least expect it. If we're to be prepared, we need to get our act together, because the closer we conform to the standard of his righteousness, the less we have to fear

  • Mark 14:32-42 Asleep at the Wheel (Butler)

    The disciples have been harshly judged these past two thousand years. Their judgment comes in large part because of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane as recorded in this passage from the Gospel of Mark we read this morning.

  • Mark 14:32-42 Good Intentions (Wagner)

    I couldn’t reach my goal of completing the bathroom project until I humbled myself and surrendered to professional assistance.... It’s hard for us to submit to what God wants. God wants us to get help, but we resist. We like to do things our way. We would rather not be dependent on anyone else.

  • Mark 14:1 – 15:47 Welcome His Folly into Our Lives (Hoffacker)

    Today we accept the bread the crucified one offers us. Today and always we can honor his cross and welcome his folly into our lives.

  • Mark 15:1-29 & 11:1-11, God’s Terms (London)

    Jesus’ came with the message that says not only is this life temporary, but that change is unavoidable, and more than that — change in this life is GOOD and NECESSARY and should be sought out as if we’re looking for buried treasure!

  • Mark 15:1-47 An Unexpected Encounter (Hoffacker)

    I'd like us to turn our attention to one of the minor characters in the passion story. He remains speechless, and appears in only one verse. Yet this character is the one closest to Jesus as Jesus walks the road to the place of crucifixion.

  • Mark 15:16-21 A Letter from Simon of Cyrene (Gerhardy)

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Simon of Cyrene. Since we are approaching the anniversary of our Lord’s death and resurrection, I thought I would write to you and tell you how the events of the first Good Friday impacted me.

  • Mark 15:21-47 And When You Think It’s All Over (London)

    The Christian story doesn’t end with the death of Jesus. The Christian story is about life, not death. What Holy Week leads us through is, in many ways, a reenactment of the story of Abraham and Isaac, only this time Jesus is the ram.

  • Mark 15:37 The Eighth Word (McLarty)

    We tend to think that if our words ran out, we’d lose all hope. Just the opposite is true. For when we have said all that we know to say, there is yet another word to be spoken, and it is the word of silence.

  • Mark 16:1-8 Roll Away the Stone (Tremmel)

    How has your life been radically changed by that Good News that Jesus is risen, that his dead body no longer lies behind a large heavy stone? Or is the heavy stone still in place for you, separating you from the Risen Lord? Are you still afraid, like the three women, to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is risen?

  • Mark 16:1-8 And Are We Yet Alive? (McLarty)

    Well, in a nutshell, that's the story. The question is so what? What's so special about this celebration we call Easter? The story of Easter little more than that – a story – until you experience the miracle of the resurrection for yourself.

  • Mark 16:1-8 Why Galilee? (Hyde)

    Why Galilee? Of all the places Jesus could have gone... why Galilee? You’d think Jesus would have wanted to head straight back to Jerusalem and show those folk over there a thing or three. Just rub it in their noses.

  • Mark 16.1-8 Unbelievable (Butler)

    If you’ve ever experienced grief you will know that heavy feeling, a feeling of disbelief (this cannot be happening to me!) and you will know that what you do is wake up the next day, like they did, take one foot and put it in front of the other, keep doing what you have to do. Period.

  • Mark 16:1-8, So… (London)

    Easter begins with fear. Easter is terror before it is amazement. The women who came to the tomb were coming to anoint Jesus’ dead body. They were in mourning. Yet they were also thinking in practical terms: “Who will roll away the stone?”