“But let justice roll down like waters …”

On the occasion of the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, Pastor Mark reviews the upward flow of wealth in today's economic order: the top 5 % of the people own 62 % of the nation's wealth; the recent "tax reform" created huge savings for the wealthy at the expense of the poor; and lack of adequate funding for low income housing, for health care for the poor and the elderly, for public education, and other infrastructure needs. The prophet Amos wrote that, "God's justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream." A collision is imminent between the upward flow of wealth and the downward flow of God's justice. What form will this collision take? The sermon text is Amos 5:21-24. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“When they saw the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.”

Pastor Mark tells the story of the three wise men who, following a star, came to worship the baby Jesus. What a first impression the baby Jesus made! But that first impression quickly faded, as was revealed when Jesus started his ministry thirty years later. People, then and now, are easily impressed, but those impressions quickly fade beneath lesser matters. Yet there is a Holy One who keeps being born unto me and unto all people that defines my life more than anything I will ever do. The sermon text is Matthew 2:1-12. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“He went to be registered with Mary…who was expecting a child.”

The Prince of Peace is about to be born. But his birth does not come without Mary having to endure labor. And we have to labor as well if he is to be birthed into our world today. The sermon text is Luke 2:1-6. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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A Christmas Refection

Why are you here? Why did you come to hear the Christmas story? You have heard it many times before. Nothing new has been added, and nothing has been deleted. So what draws you to this story?  The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord …”

On this third Sunday of Advent, Pastor Mark preaches on the joy of Christmas, which is not to be confused with happiness. Happiness is fleeting, but joy springs from the ultimacy of God. The sermon text is Isaiah 6:1-4 & 8-11. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“How can this be …?”

After declaring that the Christian faith is not a good idea, Pastor Mark goes on to discuss the mysteries and miracle of the virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. The sermon text is Luke 1:26-38. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“… as soon as the fig’s branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that he is near …”

Pastor Mark reviews the disasters and other significant events of the past year - hurricanes, earthquakes, mass shootings, the growing belligerence of North Korea and its increasing threat of nuclear war. And the same intractable injustices of racism, poverty, and homelessness continue to weigh down on the most vulnerable people in our society. The world continues to run amuck in ways that we cannot repair, fix, or organize ourselves out of.  Given this backdrop, what is the message of Advent? Advent begins with the recognition that we need saving and cannot save ourselves.  We yearn for a megagod that will come in and fix everything in one cosmic stoke. But what God offers in this Advent season is simply life - the bud signalling that life is alive!  New life!  The sermon text is  Mark 13:24-31. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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What We Learned on a Roof

Julia Voss, youth leader, reflects on showing God's love on a roof in the hot, humid summer climate of Joplin, MO. She led a youth mission trip to Joplin, which had been severely damaged by a tornado. The task assigned to Julia and her group of teenage girls was to repair a roof, a task for which they felt totally unprepared. Included in the podcast is a reading based on John 3:16-20. Julia Voss, youth leader, preaching.

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“…and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.”

As we approach Thanksgiving we are reminded of God's creation; it springs forth feelings in us of wonder and awe. It is indeed something to be thankful for; it gives us hope. The sermon text is Mark 4:26-29. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“…looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was before him…”

On this pledge Sunday, Pastor Mark talks not about money, but about reclaiming the joy of our faith.  We have the good news of Jesus Christ. Does that not make you joyful? The sermon text is Hebrews 12:1-2. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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