Pollsters confirm what our eyes already show us, people, especially younger people, are not attending church like they once did. In many ways, the larger cultural context no longer supports church membership and attendance like it once did. But the church is more than a cultural institution; it is a spiritual reality. The present situation calls upon us to reflect deeply on the nature and meaning of the church, and our church, St. Andrew’s. Is the church still part of God’s good news for the world? I believe it is, if we refocus on our fundamental purpose for existing. Come this Sunday and ponder “The Good News of Church?” (click to listen to audio of this message)
grace and peace, Ernie
This Sunday will will affirm The Good News of Questions. We are invited to bring to God all of our honest doubts and questions. Asking questions is not a sign of weak faith but rather a trusting faith. We are invited to live the questions, as the poet Rilke put it, trusting that in time God will lead us into the answers. To listen to this message, click on The Good News of QUESTIONS”
This coming Sunday we will reflect on The Good News of FAITH. I encourage you to read and ponder our scripture texts– Jeremiah 17:5-8 and Romans 1:16-17; 3:22b-31— ahead of time. As Christians in the Protestant tradition we were rightly taught that “we are justified by grace through faith.” But what does this really mean? What is faith? The picture above contains a big hint.
grace and peace, Ernie
To listen to Pastor Ernie’s message, click on “The Good News of FAITH”
This Sunday we will explore together “The Good News of GOD’S FAITHFULNESS” (click on title to listen to the message). The Bible is a complex library of writings, but I’ve come to see that the basic storyline of the Bible is that God never gives. God is steadfast love and God remains faithful to humanity even when we human beings mess up – big time! God’s patient, enduring faithfulness is something we can rely on, even when things around us crumble. Now that is Good News We Can Use!
Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child,
Like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home,
God is faithful still.
from A Brief Statement of Faith, PC (USA) lines 49-51
This Sunday I’m going to begin a new sermon series on the theme: Good News You Can Use. It is all too easy to become overwhelmed by all the “bad news” we encounter daily in our personal and public lives. To keep from being overwhelmed and discouraged, we need some good news that we can take in and use to keep going and even flourish. Our Scriptures are full of “good news” about life and God. We will begin by reflecting on “The Good News of GRACE” (click on title to listen to my message) So come, hear, and be encouraged by God’s amazing grace. We all can use some good news! blessings, Ernie
On this coming Epiphany Sunday, we will revisit the story found in Matthew 2 of the mysterious Magi who traveled far to see the infant king, Jesus, and honor him with rich gifts. T.S. Eliot presents an imaginative, thought-provoking look at what their long journey was like and what effect it had on them in his poem, The Journey of the Magi. The title of my message, “No Longer at Ease Here”, (click on title to listen) is taken from one of the concluding lines. So with the Magi, come to Bethlehem and see, and be changed!
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, so we will have both morning and evening services at St Andrew’s on December 24th. Both services will include scriptures, carols and special music. The message at the 10 a.m. morning service will be in the form of a drama by Cornerstone titled “The Annual Meeting of the Archangels” (click on title to listen). Following worship we hope you will stay for a potluck brunch in the Celebration Center. Then in the evening we will have our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight service at 7 p.m. with a Christmas message titled, “Good News of a Child’s Birth” (Isaiah 9, Luke 2) Click on title to listen to the message.
On Christmas morning at 10 a.m. we will have an intimate, informal service in the sanctuary led by the Mizutani family with carols and communion.
These special services are a wonderful opportunity to share the good news with others by inviting friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Merry Christmas to all!
This coming third Sunday in Advent, we will celebrate the “Good News of Salvation” as proclaimed by Isaiah 61:1-11. Jesus read from this text during worship at his home synagogue in Nazareth and then startled the congregation by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21) Jesus cites this text as a description of his mission. For Isaiah and Jesus, “salvation” is not just about getting to heaven, but is a present reality of liberation, healing, justice and peace. Now that is some really good news! To listen to pastor Ernie’s message, click on “The Good News of Salvation”
We all need some good news. This Advent season, I will be preaching on the “THE GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO ISAIAH,” using the lectionary texts from the Hebrew prophets whose words are written down in the scroll of Isaiah. This coming Sunday, December 10, my message will proclaim Good News for a Hurting People (Isaiah 40:1-11). The following Sunday, December 17, my message will be The Good News of Salvation (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11); then on the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, we will reflect on Good News of a Child’s Birth (Isaiah 9:2-7). We all need some good news. Come, hear, and rejoice!
Click on the following title to listen to Pastor Ernie’s message “Good News for a Hurting People”
In his fifth Beatitude, Jesus declares, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7). A few chapters later in Matthew 9:11-13 critics ask Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answers these critics by saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” Here Jesus cites the prophet Hosea (6:6) to remind them and us that mercy is the central attribute of God, and should be for us as well. May we “go and learn what this means.” Click on the following title to listen to Pastor Ernie’s message: “Blessed Are the Merciful”