July 20th – “The Freedom of God”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioPastor Jason shares his message from Psalms 86:

“The Freedom of God” - All throughout the history of ancient Israel, God’s people trusted God to do the impossible: to free them from Egypt, to make them a unified people, to free them from Babylonian exile, and to help them be a faithful people. Time and time again, God proved that things that we considered impossible were possible for God. The writer of Psalm 86 calls upon the God of the impossible to deliver him from his enemies, whether those enemies were people seeking him, or whether they were his guilt feelings or his own divided heart. The God who comforted and surprised the writer of this Psalm is the same God who can comfort and surprise us in the midst of the challenges that we face as individuals, as families, and as a congregation.

Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio is a regular speaker for this congregation. In addition to a BA from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, Rev. Sisk-Provencio has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Jason has been approved for Ordination, and is a Member in Discernment and Licensed Minister with The United Church of Christ.

 

Announcements of the Day

The Freedom of God

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July 13th – “The Daughters of Tzelophechad: Role Models for Healthy Subversion”

Rabbi Linda BerenthalWe welcome for the first time with us Rabbi Linda Bertenthal. She brings an interesting look at Numbers 27:1-11 about how our partnership with God requires of us both spiritual audacity and respectful speech:

What can we learn from the subversive five daughters of Tzelophechad: Machlah, Noa, Choglah, Milkah and Tirtza? Rabbi Linda will explore what we learn from their names, from their courage and from their speech, contrasting their healthy rebellion against an unjust law with the destructive hubris of Korach.

Rabbi Linda currently serves as the spiritual leader (Rabbi) of Congregation Beth David of San Luis Obispo.

The Daughters of Tazelophechad

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July 6th – “The Dangers of Ingrown Eyeballs”

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“The Dangers of Ingrown Eyeballs”

In Romans 6, Paul argues that Gods grace is ultimately victorious over sin, and he encourages Christians to let grace transform us into new people. When he looks into his own heart, however, he realizes that there is a terrible conflict between the old reality, sin, and the new reality, grace, in him. He remarks that he continues doing evil things that he doesnt want to and he isnt doing the good things that he does want to! He begins to despair when he considers his own situation, and only finds peace when he remembers that through Jesus, God has already overcome sin, and that even when it doesnt feel like it, grace continues to build in us. There are times in which we feel unusually conflicted, and Pauls meditation here can help us overcome the danger of focusing on ourselves too much, and help us remember to focus on what God has done. 

Communion will be celebrated.

June 29th – “Healing through Hospitality”

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“Healing through Hospitality” — In this passage (Matthew 10:40-42) from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus challenges his earliest followers to embrace a radical hospitality in their mission to share the good news of reconciliation with God. Even the act of receiving the disciples’ hospitality spreads the new creation—whoever welcomes the disciples welcomes Jesus, and whoever welcomes Jesus welcomes God. Hospitality is at the very heart of the Christian movement because it includes people, just as God has included all of us in Jesus. How might we as contemporary followers of Jesus offer more hospitality in our everyday lives, and graciously receive hospitality when it is offered to us? The ability to give and receive hospitality moves us away from the open or hidden hostility in our lives and in our culture, and moves us closer to the heart of God.

Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio is a regular speaker for this congregation. In addition to a BA from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, Rev. Sisk-Provencio has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Jason has been approved for Ordination, and is a Member in Discernment and Licensed Minister with The United Church of Christ.

Announcements of the Day

June 22nd – “Unstoppable Grace”

Unstoppable Grace” - In this passage from Romans (6:1-11), Paul contrasts the two great powers that operate in our lives: sin, the power that disrupts our lives and our relationships, and grace, the presence of God in our lives that works to transform us into who God intended us to be. Jesus (and Paul) assure us that God’s grace will ultimately be triumphant, but what about sin, that is still operating in even the best of people? Should we ignore it and just trust in the victory of grace? Should we ignore grace and focus all of our energy on overcoming sin? Paul avoids both extremes and gives us a life-affirming, Christ-centered approach that takes both sin and grace seriously.

Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio is a regular speaker for this congregation. In addition to a BA from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, Rev. Sisk-Provencio has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Jason has been approved for Ordination, and is a Member in Discernment and Licensed Minister with The United Church of Christ. 

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June 15th – “To Interfaith: a verb”

Anneka Scranton Our special guest for the 15th is Dr. Anneka Scranton, she brings her message from Acts 10:

“To Interfaith: A Verb” – What are the challenges and joys for Christians, particularly UCCs, working with other faith communities? Drawing on my experiences organizing across religious boundaries on behalf of justice, Dr. Scranton will explore different approaches to connecting with diverse groups.   How do we stay true to our Christian beliefs while building trust and friendship with those who disagree?  Dr. Scranton will also integrate readings from recent theological works, especially Brian McLaren’s “Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed cross the road?”.

 

“June 1st – “Waiting for God”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioPastor Jason Sisk-Provencio continues sharing from Acts:

“Waiting for God” - Acts picks up right where the gospel of Luke ends. The spread of God’s new kingdom is unstoppable—the powers of the old age tried to silence Jesus on the cross, but God raised him from the dead. Now Jesus is leaving his disciples, but he tells his followers that they will be receiving the Holy Spirit, and that they will be empowered to carry out the mission of spreading the good news. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give them an exact time, and his disciples are left again wondering exactly what to do and how to do it. Our sisters and brothers in the ancient church were in the same predicament that so many of us are in today—we want to do God’s work, we want to be faithful disciples of Jesus, but we’re not always sure what that means. The beginning of the book of Acts has good news both for them and for us today.

Communion will be celebrated.

 

 

May 25th – “God is Not a Stranger”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioOur Pastor Jason has a message that is close to his heart from Acts:

God is Not a Stranger” – There are two very different ways of thinking about God among Christians today. Some Christians think of God as completely mysterious and unknowable, and we only know about God through revelation from the Bible. Other Christians think of that God has made himself known through God’s liberating and healing acts throughout history, first in the lives the Israelites and later in the lives of all people. The Bible is meaningful because it tells us about these mighty acts. But God’s activity didn’t simply stop with the events recorded in the Bible; God’s activity continues in our own day. In this story from Acts, Paul argues against the idea that God is unknown, but that God has revealed himself all throughout history, especially in Jesus. Paul even cites “secular” poetry and philosophers to support his claim that God is not a stranger to anyone.

May 4th – “The First Supper”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioRev. Jason Sisk-Provencio joins us for communion and shares his message from Luke:

“The First Supper” – Just like Mary Magdelene, two of Jesus’ followers failed to recognize him when he appeared to them after his resurrection. Jesus accompanied them on the road to Emmaus, and asked them why they were upset. They replied that their Lord had been crucified and that his body had been stolen. Jesus was invited to dinner at their house, and when he blessed and broke bread and gave it to his followers, they instantly recognized that it was Jesus. He had surprised his followers at The Last Supper by transforming a simple meal into an act that would remind them of God’s faithfulness; The First Supper after the resurrection is further testimony to God’s faithfulness and points to a God who is full of surprises and who is hard at work in our world even when we’ve given up hope.

Apr 20th – Easter Sunday – “Love Wins”

Celebrate Easter

Join us Easter Sunday as Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio shares from John on this important day of the year:

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioWhile he was alive, Jesus experienced one tragedy after another. He was at odds with the religious authorities of his day and his family and followers misunderstood him. He lost friends and grieved them. He spent much of his time with social outcasts, making him one as well. He was ultimately convicted for political subversion and executed. Yet he never doubted God’s love or presence in our world. Even the tragedy of death could not make Jesus doubt God. When his followers went to grieve at his tomb, they discovered that God had raised him from the dead, an act that demonstrates that God’s love will always triumph over evil, and that truly nothing can separate us from the love of God.

This is a morning full of joy and celebration, and the good news of new life in Jesus will be clearly shared – so be sure to bring anyone you can. Twitter it. Facebook it. Email folks. Pick up the phone and call. Whatever you need to do – this is not a week to come alone, so bring someone along! He is Risen Indeed!

Apr 13 – Palm Sunday – “The Loneliness of the Crowd”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioPalm Sunday brings Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio back to us with a very special message from Matthew:

Jesus’ life and ministry reach their apex as he enters Jerusalem, the holy city. A great crowd gathered around Jesus and celebrated his arrival, covering the road with palm branches and even their own clothes for him to walk on. Yet this crowd would soon abandon him, and would be indifferent to his suffering. Perhaps they had found someone else to cheer on, someone else even more full of promise than Jesus. Crowds are fickle, in our time as well as in Jesus’ time. How can we, as contemporary followers of Jesus who are bombarded with TV talking heads, popular opinion polls and social media learn to ignore our own fickle crowds and follow Jesus faithfully, however unpopular it might be? 

The Loneliness of the Crowd

Watch this video on YouTube or on Easy Youtube.

Apr 6th – “When Jesus Grieved”

Rev. Jason Sisk-ProvencioRev. Jason Sisk-Provencio continues with us on this Fifth Sunday in Lent with a message from John:

When Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus died while Jesus was away, Jesus cried. Jesus’ followers were also distraught and mourned Lazarus’ death. Lent is the time of the Christian year that we remember Jesus’ real humanity and vulnerability; fewer things are more human than grieving. Jesus never rebuked his disciples for grieving, nor did he resort to platitudes to try to comfort them. And he balanced his own human need to grieve with his confidence in the power of God’s kingdom, which offers life and hope to all. Lazarus would not remain dead, demonstrating God’s victory over the powers of sin and death. The story of Lazarus provides contemporary followers of Jesus with a model for grieving losses while at the same time sensing God’s love in the midst of them. Communion will be celebrated.

Announcements of the Day

Mar 30th – “Being Blind”

Rev. Andy McCombRev. Andy McComb joins us for this Fourth Sunday in Lent bringing his message from John:

In the story of the healing of the man born blind, John uses “seeing” as a metaphor for believing, for coming to see past outward appearances to the truth deep in the heart of things.  The man whose sight is given to him by Jesus stumbles (like all of us) toward belief and understanding, not suddenly or easily but in the course of a long story that leads to another personal encounter with Jesus.

Special music from Tim Treaster and Donn Clarius.

Announcements of the Day

Mar 23 – “An End To Poverty?”

Peter KellerPeter Keller is Executive Director of Aid Africa (www.aidafrica.com) and joins us for the very first time. In 2005 Peter’s friend Ken Goyer said “I’m going to Uganda in May to build 10,000 Rocket Stoves, do you want to go with me?”, Peter said “Sure!” and off they went. They built about 400 stoves, was able to establish the infrastructure and trained three others to carry on. That following February they received word “We have achieved our goal. We have 10,000 stoves.” Not able to stop there, “Aid Africa” was started.

When asked what scripture his message is based, he would only say “To be revealed”. I’m thinking Peter’s message will be quite interesting and not to be missed.

“An End to Poverty?” – Who is poor? How poor are you? What do we do about “The Poor?” Sunday’s sermon will be about poverty and what the Bible says about it. You’ll have the opportunity to answer a couple of questions about “poorness.”

"3 Myths That Block Progress for The Poor" 
by Bill and Melinda Gates (2014 Gates Annual Letter)

Announcements of the Day

Mar 16th – “Let Water Roll Down Like Justice”

Dr. Anneka Scranton shares a very timely message from Deuteronomy:

Anneka Scranton

Let Water Roll Down Like Justice” – Many of us are praying to God for rain, perhaps even doing rain dances. But what role should the Christian community be playing as a moral voice in the public conversation around water policy? How can we participate as co-creators of God’s kingdom on earth? I will attempt to raise up the call to conserve water as a sacred gift, as a critical resource in God’s holy creation. Further, I will discuss water security and safety as a pivotal social justice issue. I believe that access to affordable water has become the most important environmental and economic justice issue, not only for our state, but for our planet.

Announcements of the Day

Mar 9th – “Jesus: God’s Do Over”

Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio returns to us yet again, 2 weeks running! Rev. Jason shares his message from Romans:

“Jesus: God’s Do Over” - In this section of Paul’s letter to the Christian church at Rome, Paul shares his thoughts about who Jesus was (and is) and what he means for Jew and Gentile alike. Here he pictures Jesus as a new Adam, one whose life and choices mean righteousness for all. Adam’s disobedience brought suffering upon humanity; Jesus’ obedience brings eternal life for all people. During Lent we remember Jesus’ struggles and temptations, but we also remember his faithfulness and obedience. As our Lenten journey begins again, we have an opportunity to create do-overs in our own lives, to do things differently than we ever have before, taking our cue from a difficult time in the life of Jesus, God’s Do-Over.

Announcements of the Day