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Take Me To The River
Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan but we can forget there were a lot of other people in the river being baptized at the same time. It was a communal movement that was underway. "Church" is a communal movement and the moment of Jesus' baptism gives us some wonderful clues about the nature of that movement today.
Then You Shall See and Be Radiant
Along with Easter and Christmas, Epiphany is one of the three oldest, and principal festivals of the Christian church. This day commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles represented by the Magi. Each of us must personally recapitulate this great festival by experiencing a light of recognition or an insight into the meaning of Christ. Come, let us seek the light together.
Jesus, Buddha, Guantanamera, and the New Year
The second chapter of Luke is our one biblical view into the childhood of Jesus. He is in the temple seeking to learn from his elders and grow in wisdom. Are you actively seeking to grow in wisdom? Or are you only accumulating information? Join Dr. Keck and lean into 2019 with a desire for greater wisdom.
Is this a Success Story?
(If it is, I think I would prefer failure)
We live in a "success o holic" culture and the thought of failure terrifies us. Dr. Jim Keck will explore the surprising aspects of the birth of Jesus that might push us to see 'failures" in new and spiritual ways.
The angels in the Bible often begin their communication by saying "Fear not." It's as if the first duty on the job description of an angel is to calm us down a bit. We will try to listen for the whispers of angels this week at First-Plymouth as we explore how how fears and anxieties prevent us from a more angelic way of life.
Behold, I am Doing a New Thing
Advent begins as the sun sets with a sudden haste and the bleak night's darkness loiters into the next day. In these short, cold days we are asked to hold on with an expectation that God will do a new thing and our true Light will emerge. In the first Advent sermon Dr. Jim Keck will ask us to look at life itself with a vivid anticipation of emerging newness.
The Coronation of Conscience
In 1922, Pope Pious became alarmed at the rising class division and rampant nationalism sweeping the world. Although World War One had ended, there were already storm clouds brewing for future violence. He declared it was time for a "Kingship of Christ" which would make love the ruler of our hearts. This week is Christ the King Sunday and we will imagine together what the world would look like if love reigns.
The Jonah Complex
Jonah is told by God to go to Ninevah, but he hops on a boat to Tarshish which is the exact opposite direction. Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist, believed that people have a tendency to run away from their own greatness and he labeled this the "Jonah Complex." People, nations and institutions can turn away from their true destiny and fail to live up to their true calling. Join Dr. Keck for an exploration of the Jonah Complex.
Using the miraculous and poignant scene of Elijah and the widow in 1st Kings 17, Dr. Keck's sermon will play with the different resonances of the word 'Enough." We have enough, we are enough and we have had enough!...nuff said.
When You Don't Know How to Pray
Prayer is tough. The whole idea is that we can converse with God. WITH GOD! But, if I am really talking to the creator of the universe, what am I supposed to say? The temptation is to say churchy thing with stained glass voices. But, deep inside that doesn't feel right. So, just how do I learn the language of prayer? Meet the Psalms.
The Exorcism of Fear
Fear...is a dark and powerful force that has possessed hearts and minds for millennia. Good and loving people can be manipulated by fear and exploited by those who weaponize it. You see it in our elections, foreign policies, economic, theologies and relationships. But, here is the good news! Jesus set out on a mission to exorcise the demon of fear from our world. And get this! Jesus has called and empowered us to do the same in our day. Are you ready to be an exorcist?
Werewolves, Vampires and the Walking Dead
Another Halloween is over and very few people dressed up as old school monsters like Frankenstein or vampires. There is a new crop of ghouls and silly costumes. But these classic monsters remain the best symbols of some of our deepest fears. This weekend we will explore how the anxieties that haunt us can be unmasked and turned into opportunities for growth.
All Saints Sunday - When Death Dies
Get swept up in an ancient form of worship. For more than 1300 years the church has dedicated a specific day to remembering martyrs and loved ones who have dies. It is a chance to be together in community and name those we've lost. It is also a chance to be reminded of the deep mystery that in God's creation, death gets swallowed up by Life.
Preachers usually preach about what they believe, but this week Dr. Jim Keck will flip it and share what he does NOT believe. Fact is, not every belief expounded by Christians is Godly and salutary and religion can become weighed down with dubious elements.. Time to get real.
Love is Part 2.
In order to describe what love is Paul tell the Corinthians what live is not. If we are rude, resentful, insistent on our own way, hold grudges from long ago, the ancient preacher says our capacity for love diminishes. Let's have some real talk about the forces that weaken the love in our heart AND how to deepen our well of love so that they never run out. In order to describe what love is Paul tells the Corinthians what love is not.
The Christ Within
Although Jesus was trying to teach the disciples a way of life beyond competition and anxiety over social status, James and John make a crass move for a superior position among the disciples in Mark 10. Join Dr. Jim Keck as he considers a manner of life which is more peaceful and magnanimous. And there will be a surprising turn in the sermon about how we are to read scripture together.
Faith Makes You Smarter
Researchers have discovered that human beings possess certain cognitive biases that can result in poor decisions and choices in life. Many of these biases like the fundamental attribution error, confirmation bias and framing have to do with how we tend to be selfish in the way we view the world. When Jesus tries to widen our perspective, he actually makes us smarter.
Let Your Faith Be Stronger Than Your Fear
Dr. Jim Keck continues his sermon series on courage this week by exploring our most common fears. Courage is not the banishing of all fear, true courage is living in the face of our fears. In fact, the Bible as a whole seems to teach that life's journey will be perilous, but its faith that allow us to press onward. Come join the journey of faith this weekend!
The Courage to Be Unguarded
Like a fencer that announces "En Guarde" we often imagine we must be ready to defend ourselves and act as if life is a competitive match we must "win." But what if we had the courage to simply and calmly display our true selves and live life with a greater simplicity and authenticity? Using the beloved story of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke, Dr. Jim Keck will urge us all to "go out on a limb" and live an unguarded life.
The Courage to Name Names
Let me tell you a story about a women who was sexually assaulted by a man with great political power. As a victim forced to live with her abuser, she is threatened, yet again, by a different man in power. Now, she faces an impossible decision. Do I protect what little security I have left and remain silent? Or, do I risk everything and come forward to name the man who has become my living nightmare?
The Courage to Be…lieve
In the theological classic The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich details that the fundamental courage is a deep self-affirmation that empowers a person to live into their destiny. But the end of the book concludes with a mystical flourish about how true courage must doubt God and discover the "God above God." This is the true God beyond the concrete symbols of religion, the God beyond our theological beliefs. Courageous faith encounters the Infinite.
The Courage to Be
This fall First-Plymouth will begin a special spiritual focus on COURAGE. The ancients considered it the virtue that undergirded all virtues because it takes courage to act upon ones convictions. Without courage no virtue would ever be manifested. Dr. Jim Keck
will launch the years theme with a two-part sermon series on the theological classic "The Courage to Be" by Paul Tillich.
The Courage to Resist
Courage. What is it? What has it looked like? What can it look like? How can it show up in me? The time is ripe to explore these questions. The first of a three part sermon series about cultivating the courage needed for our time. In part 1, Pastor Patrick looks at courageous resistance in the stories of the prophet Daniel and Colin Kaepernick. Yeah, he went there.