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Sermons – Roots Covenant Church
28 minutes | Mar 15, 2020
Lament is a neglected aspect of Christian worship in the Western world and perhaps especially in the United States. In troubled times when it’s clear the world is not as it should be—God’s dream of shalom is disrupted—God’s people cry out to God on behalf of the vulnerable, the abused, the marginalized. Lament is an important aspect of the Lenten season, since we are invited to reflect contemplatively on the ways we and our world are caught up in sin, turn away in repent, and seek God’s mercy.
34 minutes | Mar 8, 2020
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he confronts the devil and resists three temptations. These three temptations aren’t just instructive for us personally, they also describe perennial temptations the church faces in relationship to society. They are: 1. Empire Economics; 2. Idolatrous Nationalism; and 3. Blasphemous Religion.
24 minutes | Mar 1, 2020
Breaking the Chains Intro
Lent is a season of the Christian calendar in which we are once again invited to be formed by the pattern of Jesus’s life. In this series we will not only explore the personal application of Lenten practice, but also the corporate application. A framing passage for this series is from Isaiah 58: Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
39 minutes | Feb 16, 2020
ReFind Heaven & Hell
In this message, Pastor T. C. shares the ways he has had to rethink “heaven” and “hell,” particularly where traditional views have not lined up with what the Bible actually teaches.
29 minutes | Feb 9, 2020
“Church” might be the subject that evokes the most emotions for those “deconstructing/reconstructing.” Church is where the proverbial rubber meets the road when it comes to our faith. It’s also where flawed human beings steward the sacred mysteries of the faith. Church is the space where God’s Spirit inhabits our relationships in an unique way, and it’s also where we are most vulnerable to being deeply wounded. In this message, Pastor T. C. explores three shifts he’s underwent when it comes to “church.”
35 minutes | Feb 2, 2020
ReFind Holy Spirit
In this message, Pastor Osheta Moore guides us through aspects of the deconstruction journey she’s been on as it relates to her experience and beliefs about the Holy Spirit. In a similar way to how the prophet Elijah looked for God to show up in overt manifestations of power, but God showed up in a gentle whisper, Pastor Osheta has learned to recognize the work of the Spirit in the more subtle areas of spiritual formation and social-emotional health.
32 minutes | Jan 26, 2020
What is the Bible? How did we get it? How are we supposed to interpret it? How do we understand the Bible and its role in our spiritual formation? In this sermon, Pastor Der Lor explores how we can discover the Jesus Way in our understanding of Scripture after deconstruction.
33 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
As we continue in our current teaching series, Emily Morrison delivers this sermon on Faith. In John chapter 6, the crowds that followed Jesus had many questions for him. In fact, Jesus’s disciples often doubted. Ultimately, Jesus didn’t explain the faith, he asked people to believe in him, to trust him. Emily shows us that questioning is the first phase, and its necessary. We should evaluate what we believe. But then comes the point of decision. Are we going to move forward trusting Jesus, in confidence based on our evaluation? But that’s not the end of the process. We also have to learn how to continue living with ambiguity. We will often reevaluate some things, and have to commit ourselves again. That’s how faith works.
31 minutes | Jan 12, 2020
ReFind The Jesus Way
Jesus compared his Way to a wise person building their home on a rock. However, there are many Christian belief systems and structures that have been built on top of the Jesus Way which should be rightfully deconstructed—they are foundations of sinking sand. Belief systems and structures that are built on fear, cultural assimilation, and relativism are sinking sand and should be deconstructed. But the Jesus Way is the Rock of which Jesus spoke. His Way is a way of love captured in what Scot McKnight calls “The Jesus Creed”: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
17 minutes | Jan 4, 2020
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.— Matthew 13.44–46 NIV In this sermon, Pastor T. C. introduces the ReFind series by talking about “deconstruction,”—the journey of critically re-examining our beliefs. Deconstruction isn’t necessarily rejection; deconstruction can be a precursor to rejuvenation. We not only need to re-find our faith; we also need to have our faith refined. To do this, we will need non-judgmental friendships, community that does not shame or exclude, but invites dialogue and companionship. And in order to undergo deconstruction without shipwrecking faith, we need to shift from intellectual affirmation of a system of beliefs to putting into practice the teachings of Jesus: the Jesus Way.
35 minutes | Dec 29, 2019
Grace & Giving
During the season of Christmastide, we give each other gifts in celebration of the greatest gift ever given to the world: Jesus. The advent of Jesus into the world is the greatest demonstration of God’s grace. However, we often misunderstand God’s grace when we think of it as a ‘one-way, unilateral donation.’ As we see in Romans 15 and II Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul thought about grace very differently. For him, grace creates a new social bond and reality, making the giver and receiver relationally connected. Relational ‘debt’ language strikes Western ears as threatening, but for Paul this was an essential part of how God’s grace works. In this message, Pastor T. C. will draw from Paul’s teachings on grace and from contemporary scholars Jackson W. (Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes) and John Barclay (Paul and the Gift).
16 minutes | Dec 15, 2019
The theme of Advent week 3 in the Making Christmas Meaningful Again (Advent Conspiracy) series is Give More. This sermon is by Pastor Der Lor.
34 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
What does it look like to make Christmas meaningful again? How do we resist the powerful forces of consumerism and consumption? In week two of Advent, Emily Morrison explores the theme of “Spend Less” with a sermon from I Timothy 6.
29 minutes | Dec 1, 2019
This Advent, Roots is joining with hundreds of other congregations in conspiring against consumerism in our Christmas celebrations. The first theme of Advent Conspiracy is “Worship Fully.” In this sermon, Pastor T. C. explores the way we are formed by embodied practices. The apostle Paul teaches us to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” to have our “minds renewed.” Every day in a thousand subtle ways we are being formed into individualistic consumers. Corporations don’t aim their ads primarily at our minds, they seek to capture our hearts. To worship fully this Advent, let us participate in holistic worship practices that focus our hearts and minds on Jesus. To do this we need one another. To worship fully, let us worship Jesus holistically together.
32 minutes | Nov 10, 2019
In this sermon, Pastor Der teaches on Paul’s argument to the so-called ‘Weak’ and ‘Strong’ factions in the house churches of Rome about how both Jewish and Gentile disciples are justified by “faith” in the same way that Abraham was.
33 minutes | Nov 3, 2019
Paul’s Rhetorical Trap
In Romans 1.18–32, Paul employs language that echoes common Jewish stereotypes of Gentiles as particularly depraved and deserving of God’s wrath. Examples of this rhetoric can be found in Wisdom of Solomon. But Paul uses this rhetoric not to reinforce division between the Jewish and Gentile disciples in Rome. No! Paul uses it as a rhetorical trap to expose prejudice and teach against judgment.
30 minutes | Oct 27, 2019
After having completed the 12-16 and 9-11 sections of Romans, we are leapfrogging over the 5-8 section to the 1-4 section, and returning to the foundation of the Christian faith: The Gospel. In Romans chapter 1, we discover that the Gospel Paul preached wasn’t the ‘Romans Road,’ but was instead about Jesus, not us; Good News, not good advice; and not merely about saving our souls, but about changing everything.
28 minutes | Oct 20, 2019
God’s Surprisingly Big Story
In this sermon, Emily Morrison breaks down one of the most confusing and misunderstood passages in all of the New Testament: Romans chapters 9-11. Paul is retelling the biblical narrative, reinterpreted in the light of who Jesus is and what he has done, for the sake of the unity of the church of Rome. The story of God’s redemptive purposes is surprisingly big enough to include both Israel and the Gentiles!
37 minutes | Oct 6, 2019
Romans chapter 9 has been misunderstood as a passage about individual election, predestination, and personal salvation. But Romans is not a book of abstract, systematic theology. Romans is a pastoral letter written to a church with factions along cultural and ethnic lines. Paul is writing to the so-called “Weak” and “Strong” to reframe the stories they’ve been living in. Privilege was an key part of what was driving these groups apart, dividing the Body of Christ.Today in the U.S., privilege also divides the Body of Christ. In a Post-Christendom society, many American Christians long to get back to the ‘good ol’ days’ when Christianity enjoyed pride of place in society. White Christians also struggle with understanding how their privilege operates and divides the church. Romans 9 is a challenge to our privilege that resonates for today.
37 minutes | Sep 29, 2019
From Zeal to Hospitality
Romans 13 is a famous text that has been used as a proof-text to justify state-sponsored violence for millennia. By reading Romans “backwards” (in light of the conflict between the factions in the house churches of Rome), we can more clearly see Paul’s purpose for writing this passage. Rather than sanctioning state-sponsored violence, Paul was transforming the zeal of the so-called “Weak” into love, honor, and hospitality. Paul was also reminding the disciples in Rome of Jesus’s teachings of enemy-love and love of neighbor.
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