A welcoming, reconciling congregation with open hearts, open minds and open doors to ALL

Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell

saying thank you

Saying Thank You

The emotions of gratitude sneak up on us as an unplanned response. But what happens if you are the one who is not overwhelmed with gratefulness. How do we experience gratitude when our feelings are elusive? Perhaps the answer lies in defining gratitude as not just what we feel, but also as what we say and do. Then those actions and habits and practices of gratefulness can begin to change us. (Psalm 95:1-2, Luke 17:11-19)

everything is a gift

Everything is a Gift

Who likes writing thank-you notes? Who finds it a chore? How often do you give a gift and not receive a thank you note? As I write this sermon, I have just remembered a note that I intended to write this week and failed to do. There is a disconnect sometimes between the gratitude we feel and how we act. (Psalm 136:1-9,26, James 1:17)

Bucket Lists

Bucket Lists

Today we are exploring our bucket list for the church; our hopes and our visions for the upcoming year. Bishop Schnase wrote two books that our leaders and maybe you have studied, “Five Practices for Fruitful Congregations” and “Five Practices for Fruitful Living” – this series is about the last practice, Extravagant Generosity; but I want to talk a moment about the other four practices and the dreams that I have. (Joel 2:28, Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:1)

The Art of Love

The Art of Love

In the Shema and in Jesus’ teaching there is a clear expectation that the way we express our love for God is by loving one another. This focus on loving relationship is at the root of the scriptural values of our faith. This is a clear expectation of our faith. Our relationships are matters of the heart. How do we express that love? (Deuteronomy 6:3-6, John 13:34-35)

EKG

EKG

To check for signs of heart disease, doctors use a procedure called an electrocardiogram or an EKG. It’s a test that records the electrical activity of your heart through small electrode patches attached to your skin. As we do not have an EKG monitor here, can you find your heartbeat? Did you all find a pulse? I know you are all alive, so it is there somewhere! But if we checked our spiritual pulse, what would we find? (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

food for life

Food for Life

“Sticks and stones may hurt bones, but names will never hurt me?” How true do you find this old expression? Do our words matter? There is a proverb that compares our words to honeycomb, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” And the apostle James gives us some wisdom about how we should guard our words. The words that we speak and hear feed us and can be life-giving or life-destroying. (Proverbs 16:24, James 3:1-12)

music & legacy

Music & Legacy

After someone dies, first the journalists of the day, and then the historians, decide how they will be remembered, what their legacy will be. David’s influence continues as a vital part of Jewish and Christian thought to the present time. Each of us too are creating a legacy that we will leave behind. (1 Kings 2:1-12)

victim & perpetrator

Victim & Perpetrator

In this story, David is both the victim of his son Absalom and the perpetrator through David’s lack of ability to deal with Amnon’s behavior, and then Absalom’s rage. It is a complicated story of love and betrayal, forgiveness and heartbreak and unresolved grief, political duty and rivalry and power battles. It reminds us of the messiness of human relationships and emotions. (2 Samuel 18:5-9,15,31-33)

admission & repentance

Admission & Repentance

David thinks all is well, that he has managed to cover up his wrongdoing. But God has seen it all and declares it evil. Note that God is not upset with Bathsheba; she is the victim in all of this. So, God speaks to the prophet Nathan and then God sends Nathan to confront David. (2 Samuel 11:27b-12:13)