Alex Sicilia - Luke 9:57-62. In all of life, we have varying levels of commitment (closeness, or passion). We can be 1) Interested 2) Involved 3) Committed or 4) Surrendered. We see these levels of commitment in our work, sports, hobbies, ideas, with other people, and in our relationship with Jesus. This message will invite College Church to consider what level we are at in our relationship with Christ. It will encourage us to participate in full devotion, surrender, and total dedication to Jesus and how to help others in this journey. We want to move beyond the basic stages of interest and involvement and into the transformational levels of commitment and surrender.
Eric Crisp - Matthew 27:57-61; John 20:10-18. If we love God, we obey God and when we think of obedience, we usually think of action. But what if the call to obey is a call to wait? Our productivity culture has a bias toward action: we plan, we prepare, and we execute. But obedience is often a call to patiently wait on God to work and we get witness and evangelize. Mary Magdalene helps us see what it means to actively wait for God because we love God.
Steve DeNeff - John 14:15-24. Obedience is the first and last lesson in discipleship: If we love God, we will obey him. But if we obey God, does that mean we love him? In fact, there are 3 reasons to obey God and not all of them are equal. To obey God for love is the highest form of obedience. What are the others? And how do we know which one motivates us?
Steve DeNeff - John 21:1-17. Most of us have heard, and some of us believe that God loves us like a child. But do we love God? Really? How would we know? More than that, how we he know? We may tell him, perhaps every Sunday, but relationships are complex. Most require more than words. They require action. So what might we do to prove that we love God? What actions might he interpret as evidence of our love? Fortunately, we are not on our own here. The Bible offers a handful of things we can do to “prove” that we love him. Jesus’ conversation with Peter is one of them: "Do you love me? . . . (then) feed my sheep.” But who are these “sheep?” And what is involved in feeding them? This message will focus on the call to take responsibility for someone else’s spiritual growth.
"One of the great themes throughout the Bible is the struggle between life and death: “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” (Jn. 10:10). This struggle culminates in life of Jesus as death reaches out to claim him (Good Friday) and in the process dies itself (Easter). This is the message of Easter - “the last enemy to be defeated is death” (1 Cor. 15:26) - and it is played out every day in this world through our lives."
Steve DeNeff - Isaiah 42:1-4; John 12:12-19. In Jesus’ day, as in ours, there were lots of expectations, social and political, swirling around the coming of Israel’s King. But what rode into Jerusalem that day was something else - something uninvited and underwhelming - such that everyone missed it. We still do. Now as then, even those shouting “Hosanna” seem oblivious to the subtle correction of Jesus to our expectations: “Our king comes to us righteous and having salvation . . . (but) riding on a donkey,” (Zech. 9:9; Jn. 12:15). The message is clear, and maybe we’ll see it “only after Jesus is glorified,” (Jn 12:16). Jesus is the savior of the world and he is able to do this from a minority position. Even today God enters the imperial city . . . riding on a donkey.
Steve DeNeff - Mark 11:12-19. It is common, today, to hear religious people say that God is love. Isn’t that what the Bible says? But has anyone wondered what His love is capable of? Have they wondered if there are not, perhaps, sides to it that we have not seen and will not accept? These two stories, told on the way to Jerusalem, reveal how loyal and furious is the love of God, such that we do not want to be on the wrong side of it. Apparently this can happen even to those safe inside the “temple” system. Can it happen to us? If so, how should this inform the God we worship? What God have we worshiped that, perhaps, should die on the road to Jerusalem?
Ethan Linder - Isaiah 35:4-8; Matthew 11:1-15. John the Baptist’s whole life—his prophecies, his baptism, his confidence—pointed toward Jesus being the Messiah. Yet when he is in prison, he says, “Are you the one we’ve been waiting for, or should we expect someone else?” We (along with John’s disciples) are left wondering why his faith took a downward turn. What about Jesus’ actions made John question if He was the one? Probably the same ones that make us wonder whether God will come through, and leave us asking the same question: “Should we expect someone else?” This sermon will explore that tension and help us name God’s presence in our lives—even when it doesn’t seem like enough to live by.
Steve DeNeff - John 6:16-21; 11:17-37. Most of us want a God that can do miracles because there is always something too big or too hard for us that we need God to do. So if God should calm a storm or raise the dead, it is no surprise to anyone. This is what gods do or they are no god at all. The real surprise comes when God, instead of calming the storm, should walk out into it and, instead of raising the dead, should grieve at the funeral even more than the family. Most of us don’t even want a God like that but sometimes that’s the only God there is.
How and where God is to be worshiped, who and what was acceptable to him was the argument of her day. To both Samaritans and Jews God was the product of years of indoctrination, protocol and prejudice. All of this worked for a while, until God asked a woman of ill repute for a drink. In this encounter, the God of her youth began to die and a new one – an other who was seeking her, who belonged to no one and so he belonged to everyone – was rising in front of her. Suddenly, her worship as no longer about precedence, protocol and prejudice. It was all about spirit and truth, for those are the qualities that the real God seeks.