Pastor Travis Norton

“Let your word be ‘yes, Yes’ or “No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one” Matthew 5:37

Have you ever haggled over the price of a car? The salesman becomes your best friend, but has to “check with the manager” in the back who apparently is really stern and doesn’t want to come down on price, but takes forever to tell the salesman which leaves you waiting uncomfortably in a cubical? OK, that was a big run-on sentence, but you get what I’m saying. Our culture is full of these kinds of games which leave us wondering what the true price really is, or the truth in general. When I read Jesus’ words about not swearing or making oaths but just telling the truth I can’t help but wonder how different our world would be if we adopted His way. What is it that makes us use gimmicks to try to convince people? What does that say about us? How do we become people of integrity worthy of trust? See you Sunday!

-Pastor Travis

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Pastor Travis Norton

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

Oh man, I don’t want to talk about this! Jesus talks about some stuff in this week’s lesson that makes me squeamish and uncomfortable. Not only does he talk about what’s going on in a man’s mind when he looks at a woman but then Jesus talks about divorce and remarriage, another very sensitive subject that often leaves people feeling judged and excluded. And I have to preach on it! Well, that’s not true, I’m making the choice because I think these things are still relevant. Our sexual lives, our marriages, how we deal with our attractions all come under the purview of our faith. Too often we compartmentalize and try to keep faith and that other part of our lives separate. Jesus will have none of it, so if we take Him seriously, then we must let him speak to that part of our life that is most private and close to our identity.

-Pastor Travis

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“The simple moral fact is that words kill.”
-Translation from The Message

This week the focus text for preaching is on murder.  When I first thought about that it seemed pretty simple, don’t do it.  Of course like most things that Jesus tells us the command has a deeper context than what the words simply say. 

When Jesus talks about what it means to murder, he’s talking about more than just our physical selves.  What are the other ways that one can be murdered?  It is often through words, through actions that leave others defeated or on the outside, it’s holding a grudge not being right with others.

While all of this seems pretty clear, that we should not kill and that includes being kind in our language and interactions with others, it’s the solutions he offers that might be our biggest obstacle.  God will not withhold judgement for things that might seem small to us, skirmishes that are never corrected, slandering another who you simply disagree, offering gifts at the altar before practicing reconciliation.  Words hold a lot of power and so does God.  Let’s look carefully at how we choose our words and how we come before God when seeking mercy and grace.

-Pastor Carrie

Pastor Travis Norton

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets;” Matthew 5:17 

Jesus says this because it’s exactly what we think. I can’t tell you how many times people try to dismiss the Old Testament as if God were different in the Old Testament than the new. Even more often people want to dismiss the Old Testament laws as if Jesus came to toss them out as outdated and irrelevant. Don’t think that! The God of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the same. The God who handed out the 10 commandments is the same God who sent Jesus to give us the new commandment to love one another. Jesus upholds the Old Testament laws and interprets them so we can obey not just the letter of those laws but the spirit too. This Sunday we start a new series “But I say to you…” to look at all the ways Jesus helps us understand and obey the laws of God. 

-Pastor Travis

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Macy Kennedy

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  -Matthew 3:16


Our baptism marks our union with the community of saints. The Word and the water join us as God’s beloved children and begins our commitment to serve God. This is also true for Jesus in his baptism. Heaven opens at this holy moment and God descends to meet Jesus with a blessing. I like to imagine the heavenly gate being opened at every baptism with the Spirit swooping down to meet us and name us as its own. Our old lives are washed away, and a new light shines forever. The fatherly nature of God holds us under his wing with peace, belonging, and love. The Spirit shines in all of our lives, through us and through others in our community. What moments in our lives reflect the holiness of baptism? Where does heaven open and the Spirit shine? 

-Macy Kennedy

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Michaela Eskew

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

I’ve never been great at memorizing scriptures, but John 1 is the exception. There is something so poetic and beautiful about the imagery that John gives us for the Son of God. The Word is both amorphous and completely present. This Word is completely united with the God of the Hebrew Bible and yet entirely new. The Word is the true light to which we can see all things and yet not understood at all by the people who encounter it. This is the Messiah, the one true God, who came to be with-us, Immanuel.

-Michaela Eskew

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Pastor Travis Norton

“Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife,” Matthew 1:20 

I understand completely why Joseph would have been afraid to take Mary as his wife. He is a righteous man, meaning he wants to do what God wants him to do. How do you know what God wants you to do? You read the Bible, you listen to your leaders, you uphold the standards set by your community. But now Joseph is in this quandary. It seems whatever action he takes will be wrong. Sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t obvious. Sometimes, doing the right thing is considered wrong by others. God intervenes for Joseph and gives him guidance and permission and he obeyed. What can we learn from Joseph’s brave obedience? 

-Pastor Travis

Looking for last weeks worship? You can find it here!

Pastor Travis Norton

“The Jesus began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent” Matthew 11:20

Oh Advent, you’ve done it again. Instead of sweet baby Jesus drifting off to sleep under the star of Bethlehem we get fiery Jesus warning unrepentant people of judgement and condemnation. I think we need these passages of scripture that reveal a harsher Jesus, so that we know for whom it is we are waiting. Jesus is not some milk toast preacher who goes along to get along. He’s not someone that we can mold into any shape of affirmation for ourselves. Jesus is himself. Jesus’ main message was the same as that of the surly John the Baptist. Repent! Turn around. Change your ways. Change your orientation. Change your defaults. Turn away from yourself and your sin and turn towards God revealed in Christ. That is how we prepare for the return of Jesus. It’s always a good idea to get to know the person you’re preparing to receive. Otherwise you might be surprised by the One who actually shows up.

-Pastor Travis

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But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” -Matthew 3: 7-8

This text of John the Baptist in the wilderness and all that he has to say as the people come to him to be baptized should make us uncomfortable.  Not because it seems like a weird, out of place text in the season of Advent, but because we are a people not unlike the Saducees and Pharisees who have become too comfortable with things the way they are. We are really good at looking at the troubled world around us but not always able to put ourselves into the center of it, or even understand what it might be like to live in a situation that is different than our own.  Last week Pastor Travis said in his sermon that the shooting at Club Q was national news until 5 days later when another mass shooting took it’s place.  Are we comfortable with that?  With knowing that tragedy is replaced by tragedy?  I’m not sure if we feel helpless, we don’t know what the next right thing to do is going to be, or if we’re just afraid of leaving our comfort zone.  This situation could of course apply to any number of crisis be it personal (death, loss of job, addictions) or communal (war, homelessness, hunger), either way all of it has become such commonplace that instead of overreacting we don’t react at all.  John the Baptist is calling us to act, he is calling us to repent and not only in asking forgiveness but in a call to action, to leave our comfort zone of life as usual and repent with words and actions before the next crisis rather than in the wake of yet another senseless tragedy.

-Pastor Carrie

Pastor Travis Norton

“Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Matthew 24:44

As we enter Advent this year under the theme “The Dawn Draws Near,” we consider the promise of Jesus’ return. Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year and we always begin with the end in mind. Jesus has promise to come back and finish the work He started on the cross and in the resurrection. We are closer now to his return than ever before and the question we ask on the first Sunday of Advent is simply, ‘are we ready?’ What does it mean to be ready for Jesus to come back? If you knew Jesus was going to knock on your door this evening, how would you spend the day in preparation? Helping others, praying, serving your church, reading scripture, giving away your possessions, expressing love to your family? We are to live our lives everyday in expectation of meeting Jesus face to face very soon. 

-Pastor Travis Norton

Looking for last weeks worship? You can find it here!

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