“Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.” Luke 16:25 

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a tough one for us. Mostly because we are rich and the parable doesn’t look kindly on the rich man who failed to care for Lazarus who was poor, hungry and sick. But if you look at the parable from the perspective of Lazarus it is full of good news. Those who suffer in this life will be comforted in the next. Those who experience injustice in this life at the hands of those who have wealth and power, will see justice given them in the next life. On the whole, though, I think this parable is a strong reminder that what we do in this life matters. Do we look to the needs of others or only to our own needs? God is paying attention to our lives and there will be a judgement. When we think of God’s judgment to we look forward to the comfort He will give or are we concerned about being held accountable for how we’ve treated others?

-Pastor Travis Norton

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“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much, and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” -Luke 16: 10

A few years ago Pope Francis said “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.”  Today’s scripture doesn’t speak to prayer but it is a story that offers us the reminder of reaping what we sow.  Perhaps a reminder that we show our saving faith by our good works. Verse 11 says to us “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous [i.e., worldly] wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches [i.e., heaven itself]?” Does this mean that if we fail to be faithful stewards of our earthly wealth—for example saying, “ ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for warmth and to be full—that we shouldn’t assume that we’ll receive the heavenly riches of eternal life. “Faith apart from works is dead” we’ve heard it many times. This parable offers a radical call to biblical stewardship and good works in an age of worldly wealth. May God give us the grace to see people’s needs and meet them with gratitude in our hearts for what God in Christ has done for us.

-Pastor Carrie

And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable.” Luke 15:2-3 

This is how Jesus deals with controversy. This is how Jesus deals with religious people who complain. He tells parables. It’s genius, really. Everyone likes a story, of course. But these parables allow Jesus to teach people who are upset with him. That is so hard to do! I know when people get upset they are unlikely to hear something that contradicts what they already think to be true. But parables open us up to hear hard truths that challenge us to think or behave differently.  

This summer we will be going through the parables of Jesus on Sunday morning. We’ll explore some of those hard truths and hopefully be changed by the teachings of Jesus. This week Jesus challenges the idea that good religious people shouldn’t associate with “bad” people. He challenges us to seek after the lost rather than avoid them.  

I’m looking forward to this sermon series on parables, I hope to see you in church! Bring a friend!

-Pastor Travis Norton

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“But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.” Acts 16:18 

I don’t know if I’ll preach on Paul’s annoyance, but it makes me laugh every time I read this passage. It says this woman with the spirit of divination followed them around for DAYS. Finally, Paul had enough and exorcised the demon. Why didn’t he do it earlier? What exactly is a spirit of divination? Why wasn’t Paul afraid of the demon? Are there still spirits like that today? I have so many questions about this passage. But I think what matters is how the story ends. It ends with a jailer being saved from suicide and coming to faith along with his whole family. How exactly God does that kind of work is far more interesting to me. We’ll explore this breakthrough to salvation on Sunday.

-Pastor Travis Norton

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“do you want to be made well?” -Jesus 

This story from John 5 is such a simple story, repeated throughout the Gospels. A person is sick, encounters Jesus, and Jesus heals them. But this story is all about the question. ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The assumption is that you don’t even need to ask, everyone wants to be made well, right? That’s what we’ll be thinking about this Sunday as we continue the sermon series, Breakthrough. Does everyone want to be made well? Do we want to be healed of everything in us that needs healing? Do we even want to know all the areas of our life that need healing? Are we ready for the changes that come when we receive healing from Jesus? So many questions! 

-Pastor Travis Norton

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So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” Acts 11:1-18

I wonder how often we get in God’s way?  I know that as we go about our daily lives and routines, we likely don’t pause as often as we should to either ask what God is doing or see what the Holy Spirit is up to in our lives.  We may not have visions like Peter did but surely God is at work in all that we do.  Where are the places that you can be open to what God is doing in your life and in the lives of those around us.  Peter needed to be convinced three times on several separate occasions that God was working with him, sometimes we might need that convincing too.  Look to those around you, and to God’s still, small voice, or booming call to see what’s next for you in this world, and remember it is for the sake of the gospel.  

P.S. Let’s stop getting in God’s way and do the work together!

-Pastor Carrie Baylis

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John 21:16 

Three times the same question is asked of Peter. ‘Do you love me?’ Put yourself in his shoes. If you were asked over and over again by Jesus if you loved him, how would you respond. It reminds me of that scene in Good Will Hunting where the psychologist played by Robin Williams keeps telling Will over and over again ‘it’s not your fault.’ By repeating the statement he gets through to his client. Is Jesus doing the same thing for Peter? Trying to get through to his heart. Trying to get to an answer that isn’t just off the cuff, but is deeply considered. If Jesus asked you, and you fully understood the ramifications, would you declare your love for him? What do you think it looks like to love Jesus? 

-Pastor Travis Norton

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What does it take for God to get your attention?  Is it when you hear the Word and it speaks so directly to what you are experiencing that you know it’s God?  Is it when your life circumstances don’t seem to fit anything that you planned for and surely it must be God stepping in?  Is it an experience of God so vivid in its’ closeness to you that it just had to be God?  Is it a still small voice, that only you can hear that is questioning, encouraging, and inviting you to live into the fullness of God in your life?

Saul’s had a conversion experience that woke him to new life in Christ leading him to serve.  Where are the places that we might find a conversion moment in our day to day life?  What is God seeking from you and how will you hear that call and live into it?  What are your breakthrough moments going to be?

-Pastor Carrie

“But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 

Would you believe? Do you believe? I love how the gospel writers take us through the reactions of the disciples. So often the reaction is doubt. Nobody jumps immediately to belief. It takes time for each of them to get there. Thomas is perhaps the most honest about his doubt. But Jesus works with each one of the disciples to breakthrough their doubt so they may come to believe. Doesn’t Jesus do the same for us? 

-Pastor Travis Norton

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“Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Luke 24:10-11 

Can you imagine being one of these women? You’ve just witnessed the most amazing thing in the world, the resurrection of Jesus, and you can’t get the other disciples to believe you. You come running with the best news the world has ever heard and they think you’re making it up. “These words seemed to them an idle tale.” Why is it so hard to believe good news? Oof, that’s the question isn’t it, even for today. We are so used to bad news. We are so used to miracles not happening. Can we even allow for something like the resurrection to change our minds? But these women never stopped telling their story. And Jesus backed them up so that the lives to the disciples were changed. The story keeps changing lives. Our lives have been changed by the miracles of the resurrection. Now it’s our turn to be like the women and tell the world of the miracle so they might come to believe too.

-Pastor Travis Norton

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

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