Tag Archives: grace

sermon: “caught up in the story”

Third Sunday after Easter
Acts 3:12–19; 1 John 3:1–7; Luke 24:36b–48
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith

Thanks to Jesus, we are more than complicit in murder: we are caught up in a story of grace and new life.

From the Quad City Times: “Bettendorf rethinks panhandling ordinance.”

Listen to Pastor Clark’s sermon. Thanks to Matt Reece for uploading.

sermon: “Sarah and Abraham”

Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 17:1–7, 15–16; Romans 4:13–25; Mark 8:31–38
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith

The messy, human, grace-filled story of “Sarah” and “Abraham” and how God keeps widening the circle of the covenant.

Listen to Pastor Clark’s sermon. Thanks to Matt Reece for uploading.

Lent: Now is the time to be lifted up!

Be uplifted this Lent. God lifts you up.

Some might fear this sidesteps sin, ignores how we’ve traded away our integrity, as people and as a people. But consider the Ash Wednesday words of Jesus: being publicly downcast, sober, angry, or miserable does not make us holier or closer to God but probably just more hypocritical.

Seek the joy of forgiveness. Wait in hope for the humble power of God. Strive side-by-side with the Spirit who makes all things new—you and others; this congregation, these Quad Cities, and this world. Celebrate: because Christ was lifted up, now is the time when God’s love, grace, and power lifts us!

So a few wonderings:

  • What if Lent isn’t about us? What did God give up? Why?
  • What if you added something of grace to your life during Lent, instead of taking away or giving up? Like the “Faith 5.”
  • Psalm 51 gives voice to a single person’s repentance. What might corporate or community repentance sound like? How does a congregation or nation invite God to turn it toward new life and away from injury, apathy, and injustice?
  • Notice “signs” of God’s covenants—the rainbow, a new name, the cross, etc. God says the first is a reminder for God! If God needs signs and models it for us to imitate, what sign can you or All Saints make? What visible things—like All Saints’ Respectful Communications Guidelines (to the right)—might uplift?

Now is the time to be lifted up!