You can find all my sermons here. Actually, not just my sermons, but the sermons from my lay preaching team. And not just my sermons – all the talks I give that I can get my hands on. I collect them all here for you.
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JR. Forasteros - January 2, 2022
New Year's Blues
From Series: "O Christmas Tree"
The Christmas tree has become a central symbol of our celebration of Jesus' birth. How does this symbol invite us deeper into the Christmas story - a story that reaches from the ancient past toward a hope-filled future?
More From "O Christmas Tree"
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It's pretty hard these days to muster the energy to worship. Whether it's an ongoing weariness with virtual, guilt over feeling defeated and exhausted or a more general malaise, just showing up feels like a miracle. Would it surprise you to know that experience is common? And that it's a sign that the best place for us to be is... in worship together?
We don't like to admit we're hurting. We want to present ourselves as strong, competent, able to shoulder the burdens of life. But a strong facade actually keeps us from healing. Naming our pain, our trauma, is essential to healing. Our pain matters to God. Our trauma matters to God. Naming it is how we learn to hope.
As the pandemic wears on, more and more of us experience a deep sense of loneliness. At the beginning of this new year, how can we find God present with us in a way that doesn't ask us to ignore that pain? How does God's solidarity with us actually speak to this deep sense of isolation so many of us carry right now?
It can be hard for us to know how to navigate the complex experiences of the holidays. For some, it’s a time of great joy; for others, struggle and sadness. Advent offers us a unique avenue into these spaces by inviting us to confront pain and disillusionment with hope. How can we wait in the bright sadness for God’s arrival?
Christmas lights are one of our most beautiful symbols of the season. But as the prophet Micah points out, light reveals and purifies. In our preparation for Christmas, God wants to purify us, get us ready for Jesus' coming. Will we respond? Or will we hide?
At the beginning of the Advent season, we ask what hope looks like. In a world that craves peace on earth and goodwill for all people, a world that is far from those dreams, how do we hope? Jeremiah invites us into his model faithful presence in a hurting world - one that invites us to look for God right where we're hurting. That's hope.
Churches serving or doing missions work often feels paternalistic. How do we serve those outside the church, how do we love those outside the church, in ways that respect them as equally God's image-bearers? The model of the ancient pilgrimage can help us imagine a better way to meet others - as students who can help one another know God better!
Too often, faith is reduced to an intellectual exercise. But Jesus pressed for transformation, change so dramatic it was described as 'resurrection' or 'rebirth'. What does it look like for us to pursue this sort of new life here at Catalyst in the coming year?
Diversity - it's a buzzword, a trend these days. Every church claims to value diversity. So why do churches so often fail to reflect even the diversity of our communities? And how do we pursue an authentic diversity that moves beyond tokenism and trends to get to the heart of Jesus' good news for our world?