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

Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell

do it anyway

Do It Anyway

Jesus calls this story the parable of the sower. It is not so surprising that the seeds in the good soil grew. The surprise is that the sower threw his valuable seed everywhere. Our extravagantly wasteful sower God never gives up on us calls us to take risks and be equally generous in mission. (Mark 4:1-8, 13-20)

catching fire

Catching Fire

We trust in a God who is faithful, a God who brings Resurrection, who out of the ashes fans the embers into flames, who uses fire to refine, who brings new life from dead bones, who sows seeds on rocky ground, and watches them spring to life. We have our Wesleyan legacy, a legacy filled with the Holy Spirit and men and women bursting to tell their stories. I see a community right here that welcomes all without judgment: gay and straight, able-bodied and differently-abled, crying babies and those with dementia, dogs and humans, those with homes and those searching for one. And that includes you, so, go light a fire! (Acts 10:34-48)

persevering to the end

Persevering to the End

Wesley’s preaching offended many as he called folk to a deeper level of commitment and pursuit of a holy life. For 19 years, he had stones, rotten tomatoes, and manure thrown at him and was attacked by mobs and hassled and harassed. Wherever he went there were some who listened and came to faith, and he never gave up! By his 70’s and 80’s he was a national hero. What an example of perseverance. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-7)

works of mercy

Works of Mercy

Salvation is not just from sin but for godliness and works of compassion. For Wesley, evangelism and ministries to the poor were inextricably linked and two sides of the same gospel. The holistic gospel that Wesley preached was called the “scripture way of salvation.” When churches stop serving others, then something seems to die. Spiritual vitality requires a personal faith and God working through us to serve our neighbors. (James 2:14-20)

the necessity of grace

The Necessity of Grace

After his crisis of faith Wesley comes to understand that we do not have to prove our love for God or win divine favor but that good works are our response to God sanctifying our lives and an expression of gratitude and the fruits of the spirit. Wesley believed passionately that God longs for humans to know the love and grace of the Creator, and for those who responded, he had a discipleship development plan. (Ephesians 2:1-10).

a crisis of faith

A Crisis of Faith

Today we are going to see Wesley struggling with his faith, wondering if he really is a Christian, whether he has done enough to please God, in other words whether his good works and spiritual actions have saved him. Eventually he comes to an understanding of God’s grace by which we are saved through faith, not our actions. (Romans 4:1-5, 5:1-5)

a longing for holiness

A Longing for Holiness

As a young adult at Oxford University, John Wesley began to question what exactly it means to be a Christian, to glorify God and live a holy life. Wesley sensed that there was more to faith and holiness than he had known before. The first Methodists pursued an intentional and methodical plan for becoming more like Christ. (1 Peter 1:13-16)

precursors to revival

Precursors to Revival

We all go through times where our spiritual vitality waxes and wanes. Paul’s response to the church in Ephesus who had lost their enthusiasm was to tell them to “repent, and do the works you did at first.” The seeds of revival are to be found in the story of our beginning. John Wesley was greatly impacted by his upbringing and his parent’s faith. (Revelation 2:1-5, 3:14-22)

fools for christ

Fools for Christ

Christ’s resurrection is not an April Fool’s joke or hoax. No one has rolled the rock away from the tomb and stolen Jesus’ body as a trick. Jesus’ crucifixion was not faked so that he could come back and say April Fool! But Christ’s appearance was a surprise. Jesus had cryptically said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) and they had not understood him. But now, death has been defeated. (Mark 16:1-15, 20)