Douglass Blvd Christian Church

an open and affirming community of faith

n open and affirming community where faith is questioned and formed, as relationships are made and upheld. 

Filtering by Tag: Luke

Sermon Podcast: Recalibrated Expectations

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"From the very beginning, Jesus indicated that the reign of God he was going to inaugurate would be different—upside down. Notice, he didn’t say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to . . . . those who are already pulling their weight. He has sent me to proclaim future political stability after we kick the pagan Romans out of our homeland, to give those who were once powerful back their power, to make sure the rich get their fair share, to knock down the Roman pecking order and reestablish the Jewish pecking order, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor for the folks at the front of the line.”

"No. Jesus brings good news of the coming kingdom to those who know they need it—the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed."


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Sermon Podcast: I Must Come to Your House

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"Yes, Jesus loves Zacchaeus even though Zacchaeus is a horrid human being. But a part of that love includes accepting not only Zacchaeus’ unworthiness, but also his offer of that unworthy self in the service of others who are struggling not just with guilt . . . but with trying to find enough food to eat.

"God doesn’t need much . . . a few otherwise sorry folks, working assiduously to hide their true identities, but willing to come when Jesus calls, and ready to lay it all down for those whom Jesus loves. God can turn the world inside out with a few Zacchaeuses."


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Sermon Podcast: The Great Reversal

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The great reversal.  Is that good news or bad news?  I guess it depends on where you’re standing when you hear it.  

If you're one of those folks who's always coming up roses, if you’re relatively certain you’ve got this whole God thing pretty much nailed down, if you think when God goes on a recruiting trip, God’s looking for somebody pretty much like you . . . watch out.  This parable suggests that God’s fixing to mess up your world.

If, on the other hand, you happen to be one of those folks just trying to make it through the day, one of those folks just trying to stay one step ahead of the man, one of those folks that the vagaries of birth seemed not to bless . . . pay attention. You're just who God has in mind.


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Sermon Podcast: So What Do We Do?

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"Jesus’ point is this: No matter what bible passages you use to excuse yourself, no matter how many televangelists tell you that God only wants a new Cadillac for you, no matter how insulated you remain from the cries of Lazarus one simple reality cannot be changed: The reign of God does not exist where some do not eat.

"We want to welcome everybody to the table—but we’d sure appreciate it if they'd clean up some before they get here.

"We like the idea of welcoming, of being in solidarity with those beat too far down to get back up—but we’d feel a whole lot better about everything if we could tell whether they genuinely deserve the help or if they’re just trying to scam the system.

"It’s tough. We don’t have riots in the streets at this point, but we know that we live right smack-dab in the middle of a world where some have and some do not."


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Sermon Podcast: What's It Going to Cost?

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"The cost of discipleship is pretty steep. As Bonhoeffer said, if you accept the invitation to Jesus’ party, you don’t have to wander around looking for a cross to bear—there’s one waiting for you with your name already on it.

"Why? Because experience tells us that the cost of inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to the party is extraordinarily high. You go out on a limb for those folks whom everybody else says aren’t worth the effort and somebody might just come along behind you and saw it off.

"But we who follow Jesus can’t avoid doing the right thing, because somebody already crawled out on that limb for us and had it sawed off behind him. That’s what it costs. So how much choice do we really have?"


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Sermon Podcast: It's Always about Politics

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But in this story from Luke Jesus puts the lie to the notion that faith is best expressed in terms of "having a personal relationship with Jesus." This is a story about politics, about the ways we arrange all of our relationships . . . personal and otherwise.

This is a story, not about the lofty things that might otherwise occupy our religious reflection. This is an ordinary story about people, and lunch, and guest lists, and who gets invited, who gets left out, and why.

This is a story about how Jesus turns our world on its head, putting the first class folks at the back of the plane with pretzels and that little over head compartment that only has enough room for a couple of blankets and a fire extinguisher . . . while the folks who spend their lives sitting in the middle seat between the snorer and the salesman from Des Moines get ushered up to the front.

This is a story not just about how big our welcome has to be if we follow Jesus, but about how crazy and unrealistic it's going to appear to the rest of the world when we roll it out.


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Sermon Podcast: No Telling What God Could Do

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"But God we’re afraid. We’ve worked long and hard—us and the generations that came before us—and we don’t know where this is heading. We’re worried about what will become of us. We’re afraid that one day we’ll wake up and we won’t recognize the church we’ve known and loved.

"God whispers gently to us, 'I know. I know of your service, your dedication. I hold you and your work close to my heart. But there are even more people out there I want to hold close to my heart, and calling them to come home will require perhaps some different work than what you’ve done before. But don’t worry, my family is held together by my love—and not by anybody’s work (no matter how good).'”


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Sermon Podcast: Crossing Borders

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Where is Legion today and what responsibility do we have when we hear Legion’s voice? Where are those who’ve been held in bondage by the powers and principalities, those who need to hear the voice of Jesus and to be set free from the chains that tie them to the tombstone society has made for them?

Because Legion still runs the graveyard wherever people’s race, or immigration status, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, or physical or mental capabilities prevent them from flourishing the way God intended.

Legion’s still in power wherever the poor are kept in their poverty by those who believe they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, wherever children are bullied, and the elderly are forgotten.

Legion still lives wherever people are made to believe that the way they have been created by God is not good enough—either for God or for us.

So, here’s what I think: I think that we who would be like Jesus, we need to take the risk and cross the borders to go looking for the people Jesus himself went out in search of, and to speak the words and do the work necessary to see them free.

We need to brave the wasteland and go into the graveyards that house so many, and find ways to break the chains that keep them in bondage.

We can’t afford to wait and let them come to us.


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