From Garden to Garden: Narrative Lectionary Year 2

9/4/2023 - 11/30/2023

Welcome to "Our Journey Through Redemption," an inspiring sermon series based on the Narrative Lectionary Year 2. This carefully crafted series is designed with you, our cherished congregation members, in mind. We invite you to explore the rich tapestry of God's redemptive narrative through this transformative journey.

About the Narrative Lectionary Year 2:

The Narrative Lectionary Year 2 is a structured plan for reading and preaching from the Bible. It focuses on the overarching narrative of God's redemptive love throughout Scripture. Each year, we delve into key passages and stories that highlight themes of redemption, grace, and God's relentless love for humanity. It's an opportunity to deepen our understanding of God's plan from creation to the fulfillment of God's promise in Christ.

In This Series

  1. Created for Relationship - 09/10/2023

    Have you ever wondered about the deeper meanings behind the creation story in Genesis or questioned the controversial passage where God forms a 'helper' for man? Join us in this eye-opening journey as we dig into these intriguing narratives and explore the empowering lesson of humanity being not just a passive spectator but an active partner in God's grand creation. In our first segment, we unravel the intimate details of creation, uncovering a hands-on God who forms humanity from the dirt and breathes life into it. This segment will challenge your conventional understanding of the creation story, showing how God fashioned us to partner with God in nurturing and upholding creation. Next, we courageously explore a controversial scripture often used to justify a hierarchy between genders. Here, we learn that the 'helper' God creates is not submissive but assertive, an equal partner in God's creation. In the concluding part of our journey, we delve into the profound significance of Jesus' resurrection and its call for restored equality between men and women. We discuss how the scripture is less about defining marriage but more about our innate longing for companionship. Wrapping things up, we move into a powerful prayer session asking for courage to face injustices and for God's spirit to guide those who can make a difference. Join us in this enriching journey as we seek to inspire you to be a conduit of God's love, mercy, and justice.

  2. Laughing at the Promise - 09/17/2023

    What if you discovered that waiting, often seen as a frustrating process, could be a beautiful and transformative experience? Join us as we journey through the poignant tale of Sarah and Abraham, gleaning wisdom from their long wait and the fulfillment of a promise that seemed impossible. This episode is an exploration of hope, hospitality, challenges, and the unwavering faithfulness of God. We examine the doubts and fears that come with waiting, and we analyze how these very obstacles can prepare us for God's blessings. Can you imagine being a catalyst for transformation within your community? Brace yourself as we discuss the potential for transformation that lies within each one of us. We pose thought-provoking questions about God's ability to make the impossible possible and about our roles as His messengers to those in need. We challenge you, our listener, to grapple with the reality of God's promises and to be an instrument of change in the world. As always, we're ready for meaningful and thought-provoking discussions, and we're excited to have you join us on this journey of discovery and transformation.This service was initially livestreamed on Facebook Live.

  3. Wrestling With God - 09/24/2023

    Join us on a spiritual journey today as we uncover the profound lessons within the story of Jacob wrestling with God. In this sermon, we'll explore the incredible power of persistent prayer, drawing inspiration from Jacob's unyielding determination and boldness in seeking God's blessing. Just as Jacob refused to let go until he received God's intervention, we too can learn to pray with unwavering faith and tenacity. Let's delve into this transformative message together! #PrayerPower #JacobWrestlesWithGod

  4. Responding to the Call - 10/01/2023

    Have you ever pondered the power dynamics of ancient Egypt as depicted in the Bible and how they echo in today's socio-political landscape? As we embark on this enlightening exploration, we unravel Joseph's indispensable role in saving Egypt and the implications of his actions on the Israelites. His story serves as a striking reminder of how the choices of rulers can dramatically impact the harmony and prosperity of societies. In the spirit of bravery, we also recount the tale of Shiphrah and Puah, two audacious midwives who opposed Pharaoh's unjust orders. Their defiance was a significant precursor to Moses' birth and the eventual liberation of the Hebrew people, demonstrating how God continually works through history to offer hope for those under oppressive regimes. Finally, we highlight the importance of maintaining focus amidst adversity, drawing inspiration from the Israelites' unwavering faith despite Pharaoh's distraction tactics. This rich tapestry of biblical narratives is as applicable today as it was, underscoring the enduring relevance of faith and courage in the face of hardship. Join us for this riveting conversation as we draw valuable lessons from these stories that continue to resonate in our world today.

  5. Listen, O Israel! - 10/08/2023

    What if the answer to living a fulfilled life is hidden within the ancient scriptures? Prepare to explore the Ten Commandments, not merely as inscribed words, but as guiding principles that take root with intention, practice, and time. We delve into the depth of God’s patience and mercy for those who love Him and discuss the ripple effects of decisions made generations ago. The essence of this sermon is remembering; remembering who God is and recounting His deeds. We ruminate on the vital role the Ten Commandments play in shaping our relationships and worship, exploring Jesus’ encapsulation of these laws into loving God and our neighbor. We take a deep dive into Scripture, exploring its transformative power when we wrestle with it, and how it can shape our perception of the world. We share our thoughts on Jesus’ call to action and the essence of living out our faith. Listen in as we discuss the importance of passing down the Scripture to ensuing generations, both within and outside the home.

  6. Ruth and Naomi's Enduring Love - 10/15/2023

    Transformative narratives and divine wisdom intertwine as we venture into the heartening saga of Ruth and her unwavering dedication to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Her tale speaks volumes about the power of commitment, the prominence of paying attention to those in need, and how these elements can impact the course of history. This Moabite woman chose to follow her mother-in-law, tying her destiny to Naomi's people, and ultimately to the lineage of King David and Jesus. This ardent commitment echoes the story of Job and underscores the essence of divine providence in our lives. Continuing on, we transition from the tale of Ruth to a broader divine call - the mandate to care for the lost and those who hurt. This is a call to make choices influenced not by our convenience or comfort, but by God's metrics. As we navigate the complexities of these decisions, we encounter paradoxes that may contradict worldly logic but align perfectly with divine inspiration. We draw parallels with the parable of the lost sheep, illustrating how making such commitments can bring about transformation, hope, and divine blessing, even if it causes our lives to feel different. Join us on this enlightening journey, and let's learn together about love, commitment, and the divine workings of providence.

  7. David's Coronation - 10/22/2023

    Imagine living in a world where divisions dissolve, where forgiveness prevails, and true reconciliation is the norm. That's the world we're journeying towards in this episode as we trace biblical narratives from the reigns of Saul and David to the infinite love of Jesus Christ. We dissect the lessons learned from the unification of the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and the necessary reconciliations that foster unity. The depths of the biblical stories offer us profound insights into our own relationships and the path to resolving conflicts in our lives.As we continue our journey, we grapple with the vast mercy and reconciliation that God extends to us, illustrated through the story of the Ark of the Covenant. It's a challenging terrain, as forgiveness often is, but we are here to navigate it together. We will reflect on extending God's love and mercy in our own lives, and how we can be His torchbearers of reconciliation in an increasingly divided world. So join us, as we explore, learn, and challenge ourselves to become people of reconciliation, striving for unity and empathy in all our relationships.

  8. Kingdom Divided - 10/29/2023

    Join us as we explore the powerful consequences of choices in this episode. We start by examining the fateful decision of Rehoboam to divide the kingdom of Israel and the contrasting counsel he received from two different groups of people. Listen as we discuss how his choice to listen to those who fluffed him up, rather than the wise elders, led to the division of the kingdom and the cascade of events that followed. We reflect on how different the course of history might have been had he chosen the other way.The journey doesn't stop there. We then shift gears to talk about our personal struggle when faced with choices that either elevate ourselves or diminish us for the sake of others. We unpack the hard reality of relinquishing something that once worked well, and the need to seek God's guidance to determine the right path. We then move onto the topic of how we can make the right choices and surround ourselves with the right people, drawing insights from biblical stories. Lastly, we pose some crucial questions to ask ourselves when making decisions, offering you some food for thought. This episode is a must-listen for anyone seeking wisdom in decision-making from a biblical perspective.

  9. Elijah at Mount Carmel - 11/05/2023

    Get ready for an engaging conversation that explores the often daunting challenge of decision making, using the biblical story of Elijah as a reference point. We unpack the dilemma faced by the Israelites when Elijah asked them to choose between worshiping Baal or God, setting up a divine test to affirm the one true God. We contemplate how difficult this decision was for a people who were used to hedging their bets with the gods, and we draw humor from Elijah's tactics to rile up the prophets of Baal.We continue the conversation by examining the power of sharing personal stories and testimonies. This sermon delves into how Elijah's story beckons us to make a choice and witness the wonders of God's work. You'll get a vivid picture of the symbolic altar Elijah built, the transformative prayer that led to a heavenly fire, and how these events resonate with our lives today. Lastly, we discuss how sharing stories of God's blessings can foster recognition and celebration of His goodness. Get ready to be inspired and challenged in your spiritual journey!

  10. Hosea: God's Heartache and Love - 11/12/2023

    Imagine having a deeper understanding of God's love, patience, and guidance for his people. This episode promises to take you on an enriching journey into the writings of the prophets, with a focus on their cautionary purpose rather than future prediction. We unpack the story of Hosea, a beautiful narrative of God as a loving parent guiding their children through life's challenges. It's an exploration of an emotional God, a perspective that may be overwhelming but is instrumental in understanding the intensity of God's love for His people. As we continue, we contemplate God's grace and compassion as powerful tools for managing human emotions, providing a beacon of hope and avenue for healing. We engage in a thoughtful discussion about the message of forgiveness and transformation that has been entrusted to the church. This episode is not just about understanding God's love, but about living it out - using God's example to navigate overwhelming emotions and restore relationships. Be prepared for a thought-provoking, insightful conversation that will deepen your faith and your connection with God.

  11. Isaiah’s Vineyard Song - 11/19/2023

    Join us for an exploration of the power of metaphors in the book of Isaiah, particularly focusing on the story of the beloved vineyard. Listen in as we dissect the role of prophets, their messages to the people, and how they warn of deviating from God's path. We pray together, asking for guidance in a world filled with challenges and yearning for God's voice amidst the noise.Let's embark on a journey through gardening, metaphorically connecting it to the beloved vineyard in Isaiah. We share personal anecdotes, revealing the trials and tribulations of nurturing growth. The episode takes a deep, thoughtful look at the consequences of straying from God's plan and the fear that can often accompany this realization. However, there's a silver lining as we find hope in the promise of new life and rebirth, embodied by a shoot emerging from a tree stump in Isaiah 11. We reflect on this as a possible prediction of Jesus' arrival, but also as a universal message of hope.In the final part of our conversation, we encourage listeners to see the possibility of new life even in the most challenging circumstances. We discuss how new growth might look different, but it remains connected to the original source. We end the episode on a hopeful note, encouraging listeners to seek areas in their lives and the world where new growth might be possible. Together, we reflect on the importance of patience, faith, and justice in nurturing this growth.

  12. Josiah’s Reform - 11/26/2023

    In the passage from 2 Kings 22:1-20; 23:1-3, we are introduced to King Josiah of Judah, who is described as a righteous king who sought to follow the Lord's commands. Upon discovering the Book of the Law in the temple, which had been lost for many years, Josiah is deeply moved by its contents and initiates a nationwide spiritual revival. He leads the people in renewing their covenant with God and eradicating all forms of idolatry from the land.In today's world, it is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of worldly pleasures and personal ambitions. However, the passage from 2 Kings reminds us that true happiness and contentment come from aligning ourselves with God's will. When we choose to follow Christ's commands, we are not only obeying God, but also investing in our own spiritual growth and well-being.

  13. WHEN Bad Things Happen - 02/04/2024

    Join us as we explore one of the most jarring narratives found in the Gospel of Mark, where the grim tale of John the Baptist's death disrupts the focus on Jesus's life and works. We ponder the Old Testament echoes in Herod's rash vow at his infamous birthday party and discuss the profound questions it raises about the nature of suffering, particularly when it befalls the righteous. As we grapple with the age-old dilemma of why bad things happen to good people, we share insights on how to reconcile these events with our faith and how they shape our understanding of God's will. Listen in as we consider the power of sharing our spiritual journeys within the faith community. Hear personal stories of resilience and struggle that highlight the unpredictable nature of life and its challenges, and how these are not reflections of one's spiritual worth but part of a greater narrative. We discuss the importance of communal support and the strength that comes from vulnerability, offering each other paths to redemption and new beginnings. Through this episode, we hope to inspire and uplift, encouraging you to find hope and purpose in the midst of tragedy, and to embrace the transformative power of faith in our lives.

  14. Planting Seeds of Wisdom: Exploring the Parables of Jesus for Personal and Community Growth - 01/21/2024

    Join us as we explore the fascinating complexity hidden within the simplicity of Jesus' parables, those timeless stories that reach deep into the essence of transformation, redemption, and the kingdom of heaven. We reflect on how these stories, such as the Parable of the Sower, were not just agricultural lessons but profound spiritual insights that resonate even more after the resurrection. Listen in as we unravel the significance of communal interpretation, the necessity of checking our understanding against the nature of God, and the beauty of discovering multiple layers of truth within scripture.In our latest discussion, we take a closer look at the metaphorical soil of the Parable of the Sower, contemplating how it mirrors the varying conditions of our own lives and our capacity for growth and change. Our conversation emphasizes the dynamic nature of personal transformation and community development, inspiring listeners to assess their own 'soil' and take steps toward nurturing an environment where new ideas, practices, and values can flourish. Tune in to this heartfelt exchange that encourages a collective journey towards spiritual and emotional cultivation.

  15. We're on a Mission - 01/28/2024

    Listen in as we explore the pulse-quickening urgency found within the Gospel of Mark and its implications for the modern church. This week, we highlight Jesus' tactic of sending his followers out into the world, empowering them to spread his message despite their uncertainties—a strategy as relevant now as it was then for our missions and ministries. As we reflect on the act of sharing the good news, we acknowledge the personal battles with fear, feelings of inadequacy, and the quest for perfection that often hinder us. We discuss the profound importance of fulfilling our mission to evangelize, the joy missed in heaven when we don't, and the transformational power we forfeit on Earth. I emphasize the crucial roles of trust in God, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and the companionship of fellow believers for support. Join us as we reaffirm our commitment to step beyond the church's boundaries, engage with those thirsting for hope, and bring back stories of how we've witnessed God moving through our efforts. Amen.

  16. Jesus's Ministry Begins - 01/14/2024

    Join us on a compelling journey through the Gospel of Mark, where we unravel the brisk and urgent narrative that introduces us to the life and mission of Jesus. As potentially the earliest of the Gospels, Mark's account—written amidst the tumult of Jerusalem's fall—casts Jesus' story as transformative news, akin to imperial heralds of the Roman Empire. Listen in as we explore the immediacy of Jesus' ministry and the significance of his call to the first disciples, transforming simple fishermen into "fishers of men" and setting a communal foundation for his teachings.In our latest episode, we reflect on the profound impact of Jesus' invitation to his followers, examining how it inspired them to abandon their former lives for a path of spreading the good news. Our conversation touches on the growth and resilience of the disciples as they journey with Jesus, facing their own flaws and challenges. We tackle the common feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy that can hinder anyone's spiritual journey, emphasizing the potential within each of us to contribute meaningfully to God's work, finding comfort and peace in faith even in the face of uncertainty.We also discuss the vital role of community and hospitality in challenging times, sharing a personal anecdote of outreach during a power outage. This act of service, providing warmth and connection, underscored our capacity to make a difference despite our struggles. In the spirit of fostering a welcoming church community, we consider how simplicity and small gestures can build hope and belonging. We delve into the importance of being a beacon of good news and solidarity, particularly in confronting societal issues like racism, reminding us of our mission to nurture relationships and offer a testament to resilience. Listen in as we share these insights and more, inviting you to find purpose and create a welcoming community in your own life.

  17. Epiphany of the Lord - 01/07/2024

    This in person worship service was canceled on account of bad weather.Join us as Guest Preacher Kristine Adams shares the Gospel with us as we look at the traditional themes of Epiphany Sunday.

  18. Facing the Yet to Come - 12/24/2023

    Ever considered how a glimpse into your future might alter your present trajectory? Join us as we journey with Scrooge, guided by the ominous Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, to confront the haunting possibilities that lie ahead. We'll explore the transformative power of facing our own potential legacies and how the echoes of our choices significantly impact the world around us. As we navigate through the evocative tale of redemption, we invite you to reflect alongside us on the profound realities of living a life steeped in Christ-like love and holiness. This episode promises to shed light on the weight of our actions and the indelible marks they leave, urging us toward a pathway of positive influence and lasting joy.Feel the comfort of God's promises as we delve into scripture and the prophetic teachings of Mary, revealing the certainty of a future under divine sovereignty. This promised era of peace, free from pain and division, is not merely a distant hope but an unfolding reality that we are called to actively shape. In this heartfelt conversation, we underscore our role as agents of God's kingdom here and now, fostering peace, justice, and community even amidst the shadows of our current world. Allow the season's spirit to embolden you as we discuss the strength and guidance bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ, and how we can embrace and advance the manifestation of God's peace and unity today.

  19. The Life of Christmas Present - 12/17/2023

    Join us as we embark on a festive journey through the timeless Christmas Carol, revealing how the redemption of Scrooge illuminates the Christmas message. Listen as we delve into the intertwined nature of past, present, and future in the Christmas story, emphasizing the joy and redemption that come with making peace with our past. We explore the parable of the lost sheep and how it mirrors the story of Christmas - God seeking out what was missing in humanity and sending His son to redeem us. In the spirit of Christmas, we also challenge ourselves to notice what and who is missing from our lives, much like how Scrooge is shown his missing pieces by the ghost of Christmas present. We encourage you to join us as we seek joy and hope in dark places, using Scrooge's journey as a guide. Don't miss our concluding prayer for all to experience the true meaning of Christmas.

  20. Learning from the Ghosts of Our Past - 12/10/2023

    Are your past experiences shaping your present more than you realize? Are you carrying the weight of past sorrows, loneliness, and pain, like Scrooge from A Christmas Carol? We invite you to join our exploration of this timeless tale as we draw parallels to our own lives, seeking hope and transformation. This episode is your reminder that it's possible to make peace with your past and fully embrace the redemption that awaits. We'll also shed light on how the pandemic has amplified feelings of isolation and loneliness, and how we can navigate through these challenging times.Moving forward, we delve into the debilitating fear of poverty that hardened Scrooge into a cold, isolated being. We'll explore how confronting these fears and insecurities, much like Scrooge, can spark a journey towards redemption. We'll discuss the folly of placing our trust in material possessions and the importance of seeking solace in Christ and the companionship of others. Drawing inspiration from the Philippians passage, we challenge you to reevaluate the values you've inherited from your past and consider renouncing them to faithfully follow God. Come, embark on this transformational journey with us.

  21. Caught in Chains We Cannot See - 12/03/2023

    Join us this First Sunday of Advent for "The Chains We Cannot See," part of our series on the "Redemption of Scrooge." Inspired by Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," we explore unseen chains binding us, mirroring Scrooge's journey. Like a blacksmith shaping iron, our struggles refine us. Christ, love incarnate, helps break these chains, offering liberation and lasting peace amid life's storms. Discover the transformative journey towards internal serenity, resilience, and growth. This Advent, embrace the continuous process of breaking free and find enduring peace within, a source of stability amidst life's challenges.