Rev. Steve DeNeff - Isaiah 6:8-10, Mark 10:46-52. At the bottom of every miracle is a touch from Jesus on the desire of one who knows he is blind: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51). Against the idea that the gospel will solve all our problem, this sermon will suggest that the gospel actually reveals what our real problems are. To know that we are blind is our real problem, and to put ourselves in position, then to cry out, “Lord, I want to see!” is the first and last habit of those who continually see the unseen. But how do we posture ourselves for this miracle? Who are the people that can bring us to Jesus? What does it really mean to cry out?
Rev. Steve DeNeff - Isaiah 42:16-20. Blindness is a powerful metaphor of our spiritual condition. It is impenetrable darkness. It is ignorance. It is hardness of heart. And it cannot be cured by oneself or by one’s teachers. It can only be cured by a miraculous touch from Jesus: “The man they call Jesus… put mud on my eyes, then I washed, (and) now I see,” (John 9:11, 15 NRSV). This sermon will introduce the fourth level of the Seeing Pyramid – seeing what others don’t – and show how the assumptions of our present culture keep us blind to the reality of things unseen. We’ll discover what it means to see the unseen and how this miracle affects every area of our lives.
Rev. Steve DeNeff- Luke 2:8-20. Who would have thought that the savior would be “born of a woman, born under law,” (Gal. 4:4). Most people, Americans especially, expect something larger, more visible and pronounced. They do not expect small, quiet and unseen routines to change anything. But what if the way to change things is to subvert them? What if God became small because this is how things get done? This sermon will stress the importance of humility because it’s in the ordinary, common routines that we subvert the order of things.
Rev. Matt Beck - Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:46-55. When the star appeared, Herod the Great gathered the Jewish leaders and intercepted the Magi in Jerusalem, grasping for information on a rumored newborn "King of the Jews”, promising to go and worship him, too. By a dream, the Magi would see through the murderous king's deception, refusing a partnership with power. After paying homage to Jesus in Bethlehem, they returned home by “another route”. In doing so, the Magi lead us not only to the manger but towards a different kind of power. A power in weakness. Even now we are tempted to fall for the way of Herod, the promise of power. But in the manger, God calls us to the way of Jesus, the power of promise. This sermon will stress the importance of vulnerability, for God has “lifted up the lowly…just as he promised.”
Rev. Steve DeNeff - Ephesians 1:9-10; Luke 2:1-7. Two thousand years is a long time to wait for things to change; yet that’s how long it’s been since Jesus said a change was coming. Perhaps we should look for something else. Maybe change comes like an infant born and growing up. Maybe it doesn’t come from the top, but from the bottom. Maybe it doesn’t happen in one, quick and decisive act but in thousands of smaller ones. Maybe it takes years. Maybe it comes late. Maybe it isn’t easy, but hard. This sermon will stress the importance of patience in waiting for the kingdom to come because in quietness and in trust in our strength.