Jesus Christ calls us to be a joyful community that celebrates God's love, transforms lives, and is a force for justice in the world.

Sermons by Bart Smith (Page 11)

Lord’s Prayer Series – Name & Kingdom

So this is my challenge—consider it homework. Let’s take the Lord’s Prayer, whether it’s from the versions in our memory or the Bible, and put it into our own words. Let’s think about what these words mean for the big picture and the small picture. Let’s contemplate our lives—what are personal hopes are, our dreams, our fears; let’s read or watch the news, and then put all of that into conversation with these ancient words by paraphrasing them.

Questions from the Pews – Miracles

This week’s question was emailed in: “Dear Bart, I would be very interested in hearing an informed discussion of Miracles and their place in current Jewish/Christian practice… a. What purpose did miracles serve for authors of the bible? b. Does the Christian Faith require belief in miracles?

Questions from the Pews – Idolatry

Maybe another way to understand idolatry is to ponder and maybe rank our loves. What do we care about the most or what is most important to us? In what or whom do we place our ultimate trust and confidence? What do we worship? How are these truths evident in our lives in how we spend our time, energy, and resources?

Gracious Giving

Paul’s aim is not a strategy, but to lay out a basic truth: giving is an act of grace. We respond in gratitude for what God has done for us. When we give, we trust that God works through our offerings. As people of faith, we give as a spiritual discipline, as a practice of regularly returning thanks for all we’ve received. We pledge specifically to the church because we believe in the work that goes on here.

Reconciled to be Reconcilers

One angle on the gospel is this: the relationship between God and humanity has been repaired, which leads to the repair of relationships among people. In light of all this, we are called to be a part of that repair with our love and compassion, to be the kind of people who resist divisiveness, especially division based on hatred, ignorance, and fear. The LGBTQ community itself has a term for this: ally.

Out of Body Experience

“So our goal is to be acceptable to [God], whether we are at home or away from home. We all must appear before Christ in court so that each person can be paid back for the things that were done while in the body, whether they were good or bad.” Out of the body or in the body, it’s all about how you live.

Treasure in Clay Jars

It’s as if Paul is saying, “Yes, this is hard, really hard, trying to live out the love and message of Jesus. Yes, we face opposition, we risk failure, we’ve tasted defeat, for sure… but we keep going. We have faith along this journey because we know it’s God at work within us. We’re not running on our own steam here. We are instruments of God’s grace.

The Truest Thing about You

What else could unite the Owen family, 63 Haitians, or a 95 year old veteran? What else could tie together billions of people across different beliefs and times and cultures? It’s deceivingly small and simple, yet Baptism makes a profound claim: this is the truest thing about you. You are a child of God. You belong to Christ. You are of infinite worth to the Creator. Your dignity is God-given. In Paul’s words, in the imagery of the Old Testament, “you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.”

Bodies Matter

…we’re not just shells. All bodies have inherent worth and dignity. Bodies society tends to discard–darker bodies, transgender bodies, poor bodies–matter to God. The church doesn’t seek justice for statistics, but bodies. We don’t show mercy to sociological categories, but bodies. Human beings with emotions, scars, memories, quirks–God breathes life into all of that, and even works through it. Why would God erase all that handiwork in some disembodied paradise?