“This is my son, whom I love. LISTEN TO HIM!”

Pastor Jason preaches on the story of the transfiguration. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up to the mountain top and God speaks directly to the disciples, telling them to listen to Jesus. At this point in Jesus' ministry his focus changes; after this he focuses on going to Jerusalem and his impending crucifixion. To the disciples, following Jesus is suddenly not so promising. They are being asked to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus. Whoever wants to save their life, will lose it, and whoever wants to save their life for the gospel, will save it. This is a tough message to hear. The sermon text is Mark 9:2-9; the reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Jason Mack preaching.

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“So We are Ambassadors for Christ …”

Drawing on the analogy of American embassies around the world, Pastor Mark talks about what it means to be an embassy and an ambassador for Christ. Embassies are not bound to the land in which they dwell; they lift up an alien voice. Our churches are embassies and, ambassadors for Christ, we lift an alien voice in our world - a voice calling for reconciliation. The sermon text is 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“Be Not Afraid”

Rev. Mallory Moore, Executive Director of The Crossing campus ministry on the UW Madison campus, discusses campus ministry, the challenges facing college students, and talks about how campus ministry can communicate to college students the comforting message of Isaiah 43:1-7, in which God says to the Israelites, “Be not afraid, for I am with you …”

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“The Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the Good News.”

Pastor Mark notes that Andrew and Simon responded to Jesus' call to follow Him by immediately dropping everything and following Him. Really? What a surprising response. Pastor Mark asks us to consider how we respond when Jesus calls us. Do we carefully weigh the pros and cons? Or do we respond as someone in love with Jesus and act immediately? The sermon text is Mark 1: 14-20. The reading of the scripture is included in the podcast. The Rev. Mark Clinger preaching.

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“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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