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September 2021 Sermons

September 19, 2021:  Worship. It is a significant part of our Disciple’s Path as we follow Jesus. Worship is intentionally gathering together to give thanks and praise to the God of the Universe. Worship inspires, challenges, and comforts. It is an open declaration of our need for God and God’s way in our lives. Join us in the Sanctuary or online as we rediscover the heart of worship and make much of Jesus.  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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September 12, 2021:  Welcome back, Open Door service! As we relaunch the Open Door Service, we begin our sermon series “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…” Open Door worship seeks to provide a multi-sensory worship experience that invites us to revere all as beloved. While the challenges of becoming the beloved community are endless, these questions are simple. Courageous conversations often begin when we keep things simple and intentionally begin with curiosity in our connecting. May this series help us to strengthen our capacity for empathy and remind us of the power of asking unassuming questions. And through our authenticity, may our courageous conversations lead us to glimpse hope, joy and beauty as we grow into the community God created us to be. Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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September 5, 2021:  Healthy relationships are not one-way streets where one person does all the work and all the giving. They are about mutuality—each person in a relationship enriches the other. Jesus called this abiding. Consider how to have a healthy relationship with Christ and with others.  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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August 2021 Sermons

August 29, 2021:  How are you creating healthy and holy community? This is a significant question in this time period for churches, but also for people like you and me. The life that Jesus calls us into is so much more than getting our own wants, needs, and way, to the exclusion of others. There’s a much better way, and it’s a path that we’re striving to walk right here at St. Paul’s UMC. Join us for worship and consider how we are truly better together. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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August 22, 2021:  Our August series includes each pastor’s favorite scripture passage and this week we will focus on the prophetic voice of Isaiah who challenges the people to shout out against injustice. I love this text for both its commitment to social justice and to the rooting of our life and ministry in spiritual practices that nourish and delight. One of the great resources of St. Paul’s is our subscription to digital resources through Amplify Media. Did you know that you have access to free resources for your small group or personal devotion time? If you are looking for a great study on this text from Isaiah, I highly recommend The Shout written by Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner on “Finding the Prophetic Voice in Unexpected Places” and includes wonderful slam poetry.  Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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August 15, 2021:  The mist is rising from the sea; waves are lapping on the shoreline; it’s another beautiful sunrise; and the wonderful aroma of bread and fish cooking on a charcoal fire fills the air. Jesus is cooking breakfast for his weary disciples! You are invited to “breakfast” this Sunday to hear the story of how fish lead to forgiveness…how forgiveness leads to restoration…and how restoration leads to a challenge. Breakfast on the beach is served!  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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August 8, 2021:  “Do not worry about anything…” These words have inspired, comforted, and challenged me throughout my life. They’re probably the closest thing that I have to a life verse. These amazing words from the Apostle Paul call me to trust God—in everything—and that’s no small feat. Join me onsite and online as we ponder letting go of our worry through the power of prayer and thanksgiving. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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August 1, 2021:  The scripture comes from Revelation 22:1-5, 12-14. The title is Revisiting the Tree of Life. The symbolism of the entire chapter is inspiring, but I’m focusing on the Tree of Life. It recalls the two trees in the Garden of Eden in Genesis— the Tree of Life + the Tree of Knowledge, bringing the canon full circle. The general theme is how life in Christ is dynamic, renewing, healing, + life-giving. The focus isn’t on heaven, but on how the symbolism of the Tree of Life + the tree (cross) on which Jesus was crucified are hopes we can depend on.  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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July 2021 Sermons

July 25, 2021:  Our Genesis series concludes with Joseph revealing his true identity to his brothers. It’s a remarkable story of faith, forgiveness, and maturity. What might we learn from Joseph’s growth as a man and his faith perspective? It leaves us with two fascinating questions: What does it mean to be truly forgiving? What does it mean to be truly forgiven?   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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July 18, 2021:  This week’s story from Genesis is a common story of sibling rivalry and jealously the older siblings feel toward their younger brother, Joseph, who is beloved by their father, Jacob. Many are familiar with this portion of Genesis from the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that creatively expresses the challenges between families when they fight each other for power, political favor and status. How does the favorite spoiled child become the one who saves his family from starving?   Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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July 11, 2021:  Of the three patriarchs named in the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the third, Jacob, is a very intriguing character. He is a grasping trickster, a liar and a cheat. Nine chapters in Genesis tell his story! Our text for Sunday is found in chapter 28:10-19a. It is the beginning of the turning point in Jacob’s life. Come hear how running away, falling asleep and dreaming led Jacob directly to God…he found himself on holy ground. Can what happened in Jacob’s dream help us move closer to God?  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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July 4, 2021:  When God told Abraham and Sarah that a miracle was going to happen to them, did they praise God? Thank God? Nope. They laughed. Really—they laughed! The new thing God was doing seemed impossible. Today, do we limit what God might do in our lives, even laugh it off? Check out how Abraham and Sarah’s holy laughter worked out. Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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June 2021 Sermons

June 27, 2021:  “Leave everything you know…” Now, that’s a jolt… and it was exactly what God was asking Abram to do. There are times when we need a new beginning. Even at 75 years of age, Abram’s life was still full of God-sized possibilities. But first, he had to leave all that he knew. Is that something you would do?   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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June 20, 2021:  We start our Genesis sermon series in the only logical place possible… in the beginning! Join us online or in-person as we hear again the first creation story and the good news that all things were created good. Even in 2021, this story brings hope, awe, and wonder as we ponder God’s creative and artistic hand in all that is!  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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June 13, 2021:  Please join us for a beautiful Confirmation Celebration in worship this Sunday! We have the joy of reaffirming our baptismal vows and welcoming six new members to St. Paul’s UMC. As we reflect together on the words of Jesus’ Great Commission and what it means to be an active part of a community of faith, we will praise God and give thanks for His grace filled promise: “I am with you always!”   Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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June 6, 2021:  Bono, the lead singer of U2, once said, “Some songs save your life. Some songs change your life. Some songs are your life.” Psalm 40:1-3 is one of those special songs in my life. It’s a song of hope and praise to the God who’s been with us throughout this pandemic. Join us as we sing this song together through our lives, celebrating God’s presence and hope in us, in our church, and in our world. During this Sunday’s service, we’ll also be celebrating the Class of 2021! You won’t want to miss it!   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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May 2021 Sermons

May 30, 2021:  Have you ever had your equilibrium upset during worship? That’s what happened to Isaiah, soon to become the Prophet Isaiah. On this Trinity Sunday we are invited to listen in on the account of how God calls us to our vocation…the priesthood of all believers. First, Isaiah experienced the awareness of the mysterious presence of God. Then came the realization of sin and confession. When Isaiah receives God’s forgiveness, he also receives his commission. 

In the Christian faith, we understand worship to be one place where God is revealed to us, similar to that of Isaiah’s. We come to praise God, confess our sin, seek forgiveness, ask God to help us hear and discern God’s call and respond in action.
 
Worship matters and provides an important avenue to help us answer God’s question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” As we move through the pattern of worship, we may not hear thunderous voices, see winged messengers or feel the ground shake. We may experience God in the silence. Whatever our experience, may our answer to God’s call be, “Here I am Lord, send me!”  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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May 23, 2021: Today we celebrate Pentecost! This liturgical holiday marks 50 days after Easter and is when we celebrate the birth of the church. We remember how the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples who were gathered and the magnificent, spiritual power and presence they felt. That power and presence is with us today and every day, as God’s Spirit is moving in our lives and in our world. That Spirit is stirring in us, like a wind that kicks up new energy and ignites dynamic change. Join us as we give thanks for our call to be the Church!     Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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May 16, 2021: Bob Goff once said, “Figure out what fuels your joy, and then do lots of that.” The Apostle John tells us that we have Jesus’ testimony in our hearts. So, think about that: within our very hearts is the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and it’s just too good to keep to ourselves. This sounds like something that fuels our joy! Join us this Sunday as we celebrate the joy of sharing Jesus in all the ways we can!   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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May 9, 2021: The Gospel of John reminds us that God’s love abides in every season.  I love spring and take great joy in the ‘small things’ this time of year. New life is bursting forth in gorgeous flowers and trees, and the sun shines a little longer each day. You can hear birds singing, children playing outside, and the engine of your neighbor’s lawn mower hard at work. The love that endures is worth celebrating on Mother’s Day and in Eastertide, and it’s visible all around! People of God are bearing fruit, nurturing kindness, sharing love with joy and tenderness, and transforming the world through service. Join us to get a glimpse and a reminder of this Good News!    Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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May 2, 2021: God is love. In three words, the Apostle John describes the identity, motivation, and action of God. There is such beauty in the simplicity of his statement, yet the power of this concept transcends the whole universe and shapes our very lives. How could three words say so much? Join us this Sunday and find out!   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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April 2021 Sermons

April 25, 2021: For Christians around the world the fourth Sunday of Easter is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday”. The Scripture texts are all about love and care and commitment…Psalm 23, John 10:11-18 and I John 3:16-24. In these these appointed lessons we learn about the breadth and depth of God’s love and grace for all of humanity, then how that love is to be lived out through those who claim the name of Jesus. Is God’s love for “us” only, or genuinely for others? Is true love passive or active? Hear what the authors of our texts have to say about the essence of Christian life.   Rev. Judy May preaches.

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April 18, 2021: At Easter, we celebrated the risen Jesus! This miracle validated everything Jesus said and did. What’s next? Consider how the living Christ impacts your life day by day.  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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April 11, 2021: On the heels of Easter Sunday, there is doubt and uncertainty, even among the first followers of Jesus. They’d seen Jesus in the flesh. They’d witnessed his death. Now, some are saying that he’s alive once more. The doubts seem pretty understandable, but doubt is not necessarily a sign of disbelief. It just means that we’re human beings. Join us online or onsite as we worship the God who welcomes doubters!   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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April 4, 2021: Easter Sunday is always special. On this most holy of days we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The tomb is empty! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed! There is good news to share: Salvation is available to everyone through Jesus Christ. Jesus is alive, and he is among us even now. Thanks be to God!   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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April 2, 2021: Good Friday Tenebrae Service

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April 1, 2021: Holy Thursday Worship Service

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March 2021 Sermons

March 28, 2021: When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowds celebrated! Their hope in God reached a crescendo. The reign of God Jesus preached, taught, and demonstrated was one of paradox, where a person gains by losing and serves, not served.  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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March 21, 2021: “We wish to see Jesus.” It’s a key sentence in this Sunday’s passage from John’s Gospel. People want to see Jesus… especially in the people who claim to be his followers. On this Pathways to Generosity Sunday, as we prayerfully make our financial commitments to God through our church, we are choosing to make our generosity one of the signs of Jesus alive in us. We do this as a joy-filled and inspired response to all the ways that we have seen Jesus in our lives and in the world around us. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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March 14, 2021: “For God so loved the world…” John 3:16 is, perhaps, the worlds most familiar bible verse. We see it on billboards and bumper stickers, coffee mugs and t-shirts.  What if we read at the words from the Gospel of John, take them to heart, and lived our faith based on this Good News? What if we were willing to emulate our Generous God, to give away love and grace and hope in Jesus’ name? Please join us for worship this week on the third Sunday of Lent as we consider the way God meets us in the midst of his holy season with an incredible message that has the power to transcend the darkness of evil and sin, judgment, and despair. Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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March 7, 2021: This Sunday we will hear a story found in all four gospels…it was that significant for the writers of the story of Jesus to include. The author of the fourth gospel believed it to be so important that the action occurs right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It is the story of an angry Jesus. When Jesus takes a whip into the Jerusalem temple, it was a “show and tell” moment. He was showing us how to be angry…about the right things. Two quick questions: What makes you angry? And are you angry about the right things? Come and hear what triggered Jesus’ anger. Then we will consider how those things can be transformed as we live and love like Jesus, walking the pathway of discipleship and generosity, inspiring others to do the same.

 
This Sunday we will share in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Please have a piece of bread and cup of juice prepared so that you may participate, though virtually, with your brothers and sisters in this special meal. Rev. Judy May preaches.

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February 2021 Sermons

February 28, 2021:  How’s your prayer life? Is it a daily part of your disciple’s path, or is it something you save for emergencies only? Do you pray believing that God is listening? Or that God will answer you? Sometimes our prayer life has more to do with what we think about Jesus. Is Jesus really who he says he is? Join us as we consider the One to whom we pray.  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 21, 2021:  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus is always on the move. There’s no delay. He’s in one place, and then he’s quickly in another. Mark likes to use the word, “immediately,” to denote his frenetic pace. So, there’s an obvious question: how does Jesus stay grounded in such a pace? Join us as we consider Jesus’ answer to this question and how it may help us live in a more healthy way.   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 17, 2021:  Ash Wednesday Worship:  Begin Lent with this special youth-led virtual service with music, prayers, an inspiring message, Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes. 

February 14, 2021:  “Do you want to be made well?” At first glance, it’s such an odd question for Jesus to ask. Who doesn’t want to be made well, right? Right?? Ah, but you see the dilemma. We may say “yes,” but sometimes we really don’t want to change. Maybe all we want is to be healthy enough to keep doing all the bad habits that got us into this mess in the first place. But then again, maybe we really are ready to be made well. What then? Join us this Sunday as we ponder Jesus’ powerful question…  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 7, 2021:  On the second Sunday of the new year we observed the Sacrament of Baptism and remembered and reaffirmed our baptismal vows. This Sunday we turn our attention to Holy Communion, the second sacrament that is part of our United Methodist faith tradition. This sacrament, like baptism, is a remarkable gift of the grace of God. We might think of Baptism as the way into the family, the Body of Christ, and Holy Communion or Eucharist, as the family meal. 

The earliest understanding of the Eucharist in the church comes to us from the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the church he established in Corinth. In chapter 11 of this letter, Paul sends a stern warning against the danger of not understanding what it means to be the church as community, what it means to be Christ’s body. After examining Paul’s counsel, we will share in this special meal. Though separated by circumstance, we once again remember that we are connected to and called to be one bread, one body, in this one Lord. Please prepare bread and juice as we “Do this in remembrance” of what has been done for us in Christ. Rev. Judy May preaches.

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January 2021 Sermons

January 31, 2021:  One of the most blessed words of assurance I have ever received is, “there is more grace in God than sin in us.” This reminds me of the promise that our benevolent, loving God is also a forgiving and merciful God; there’s nothing we can do to make God love us less. Worship with us this week to learn more about forgiveness and reconciliation, and how we reflect the hope and light of God when we offer this gift to others. Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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January 24, 2021:  At the beginning of the Bible, God makes his intentions clear: free the people! From the Jubilee Year of Leviticus 25 to the ministry of Jesus, God was uncompromising in moving the world toward liberation. Do you feel free— or trapped by obstacles to freedom? Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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January 17, 2021:  In the New Year, we are focused on how we can RESET our focus on God and spiritual growth. Sabbath rest is one place where we find ourselves encountering God, and surrendering to God’s peace and strength. This Sunday, I’ll share about three steps we can take to practice Sabbath: pause, pray, play. I look forward to worshipping with you online.  Rev. Erin Fitzgerald preaches.

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January 10, 2021:  Today we will hear the story of the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry…his baptism by John and the voice of God proclaiming Jesus as God’s son, the Beloved, in who God is well pleased. Today we will have the opportunity to renew our baptismal vows. I invite you to have a small bowl of water to be used as we remember that it is through baptism that we are identified as children of God. We, too, are chosen by God to be God’s people in the world.

The Dutch priest, Henri Nouwen wrote, “The truth, even though I cannot feel it now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace.” This is each of us! As we continue into the new year, through the renewal of our vows, we reaffirm our faith and our commitment to the ministry to which we have been called.  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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January 3, 2021: We know them as the Wise Men or the Magi. They were the ones who saw the star in their night sky. It became a sign to them, an invitation that they could not ignore. Not knowing the meaning of the star or their destination, they began their journey. Join us this Sunday as we follow the Magi to see Jesus. What might we learn from their story? Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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