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Sermon Series | 2020

Here you will find links to the audio from sermons in 2019.
To access sermons from other years, please click the appropriate link:
2019 | 2018 | 20172016 | 2015
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Zoom Bible Studies

During this time of physical distancing because of COVID-19, we are doing Bible studies online with Zoom on Sunday mornings instead of traditional worship. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a link to join the studies live. You can view a video recording of them below. 

March 29 2020
Jesus’ Transfiguration
Mark 9:2-9
After Peter confesses Jesus to be the Messiah and Jesus explains a little more about what that really means, Jesus takes three of his disciples – Peter, James, and John – to a high mountain, where they are joined by Moses and Elijiah and Jesus is transfigured before their eyes. What do we make of this strange story? Is there a connection between it and Peter’s confession? Why were Moses and Elijah, specifically, there and why just three of Jesus’ disciples? Many of us have experienced “mountain top” moments. What are those like? Why do we have the impulse – like Peter – to stay on the mountain? Does the language that God uses about Jesus in this story connect it to any other stories about Jesus? Why does Jesus tell his disciples to keep all this a secret for the time being? We hope you’ll watch the video and gain some insight into these questions and more from our discussion.  

March 22 2020
Jesus’ Temptation
Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness fasting in preparation for his time of earthly ministry, and afterwards he is tempted three times by the devil. We discuss what temptation looks like for us – both more generally and specifically during this time of isolation. We also think through why this particular story was important to be included in scripture and especially in our ten month Journey Through the Bible. We also talk about the significance of the number 40 and the season of Lent. Finally, we take a look at the temptations themselves that Jesus faced and how they are related to each other and to our own situations and lives.  

March 15 2020
The Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-50
Note: We did not record the video on this first day
Jesus teaches about many topics throughout his ministry, but one that is especially prominent is what he calls the Kingdom of God (or Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel). The phrase has been interpreted in many ways over the centuries. Some think that Jesus is talking about the afterlife while others think that Jesus is describing a reality that can exist here and now. He uses several images to get us to think about what it is like when God’s rule or reign is manifest. These include a tiny mustard seed growing into a large plant, a little yeast leavening bread, a treasure hidden in a field, a pearl of great price, and a great catch of fish.


Jesus as Rabbi
Early Lent 2020

March 8 2020
The Good Samaritan
Preacher: Kevin Walker
Sometimes, the best stories end with a plot twist we never saw coming. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells a story of contrasting encounters and choices. In the wake of tragedy for our Nashville community, Jesus’ question to his followers is one we might ask today: “Who is your neighbor?” Who are we willing to stand beside and help along our own journey? And at what cost? 


March 1 2020
The Beatitudes
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
One of Pastor John’s friends from high school that he has reconnected with is an artist named John Paul Kesling. This other John sees the world in a different way than most of the rest of us: through the eyes of an artist. Jesus, too, sees the world differently than we do. As evidenced in the Beatitudes, Jesus looks upon people in difficult circumstances and calls them blessed. He doesn’t deny their suffering or weakness, though. Instead, he acknowledges it, doesn’t try to “fix” it, and still names the hope and potential that exists for them. May we all have the artist’s eye of Jesus to see the best in others and may we have hope even when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances.

Ash Wednesday 2020
Fast, Pray, Give
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
To mark the beginning of the season of Lent, we celebrate Ash Wednesday. Upon turning 40 the day before, Pastor John reflects on his life and especially his childhood. Many fond memories, but also some not-so-great ones, such as the time spent going to his sister’s ballet lessons. The pointe shoes of ballet, though, provide us an important lesson. They are too slippery to be useful until they are dusted with rosin. We, too, need to be dusted with the ash of this day to remind us of our own mortality and our need for God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Similarly, during the season of Lent, we can be dusted by the practices of Fasting, Praying, and Giving to call us into faithful discipleship.


A Closer Look at Some of the People Jesus Meets on His Journey
February 2020

February 23 2020
The Story of Zacchaeus
Children and Youth Sunday
On Children and Youth Sunday, our young people presented a puppet show that they wrote collectively (with a little help from some wonderful adult volunteers) that imagines some of the background that led up to Zacchaeus‘ famous encounter with Jesus in Luke 19:1-10. It portrays Zacchaeus as a sympathetic figure who, despite his wealth and dishonesty, is a victim of the oppression of the Roman Empire and whose life is forever changed by Jesus. Listen as our two narrators, Kelsey and Becca, share the story. Steffie Misner-Wampler, our Youth Minister, adds some reflections at the end.

February 16 2020
It’s a Trap
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
A popular meme involves Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars saying, “It’s a trap!” Jesus could have used the Admiral’s warning in his encounter in the eighth chapter of John in which the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and ask him what should happen to her – should they stone her to death as the Law commands or not? This scenario begs so many questions about the woman and the situation that go unanswered. Jesus, though, does not fall for the trap that has been laid for him. Instead, he is able to tolerate the discomfort and emotions he must be feeling, to slow down, to reframe the situation, and to find a different way. In the end, he invites anyone who is without sin to cast the first stone, and they all walk away. May we each follow in the way of Jesus and respond in a similar way to the traps we encounter.  

February 9 2020
Martha and Mary
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
If you listened to last week’s sermon, then you already know the characters from this week. Jesus visits once again with Martha and Mary, but this time the circumstances are much less dramatic. Martha busies herself with tasks to provide hospitality while her sister Mary simply sits at his feet and listens to Jesus. Martha is incensed and wants Jesus to chastise her sister; instead, Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part. Some background on Jesus as a rabbi provides a few key insights into this story and its implications for us today and our relationship to Jesus. 


Exploring Three of the Miracles from Jesus’ Ministry
January-February 2020

February 2 2020
Raising the Dead
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
The first half of John’s Gospel is built around seven signs – or miracles – that Jesus performs. The last and most amazing of these is Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead in the 11th chapter. Jesus receives word that Lazarus is ill but delays his trip to see and possibly heal Lazarus. By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead four days. His sisters, Martha and Mary, are understandably upset with Jesus. And Jesus gets upset too – so much so that he weeps. In the end, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. In this story, both Jesus’ full divinity and full humanity are on display. Ultimately, Jesus Christ has power over all creation, including death, and offers to us the hope and promise of eternal life. 

January 26 2020
Feeding the 5000
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
In the new live action Lady and the Tramp, the Tramp is a dog who seemingly is only concerned about himself, but then he surprises us by sacrificing his food to give it to two hungry-looking puppies. In the same way, Jesus and the disciples sacrifice their own rest and down time in order to teach and ultimately feed a huge crowd that has gathered. In both of these, we see self-giving love in action – the kind of love that each of us is called to embody. Jesus was moved by compassion to care for the crowd, and we should similarly be moved to say, “I can help with that.” The miracle is that God takes the little things we offer in faith – five loaves and two fish, a night spent at the church with Room in the Inn, a donation to the Capital Campaign – and makes something great from them. 

January 19 2020
Water to Wine
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
On the first Sunday of our series looking at the miracles from Jesus’ ministry, we look at the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed: turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Though it is tempting as modern readers, we miss the point of miracles if we try to find scientific explanations for them. Instead, we are invited to marvel at how they break with conventional wisdom and expectations and find meaning in how God is at work in the world. This story, in particular, reminds us that Jesus is human like us because he is celebrating at a wedding filled with food and wine and joy. A deeper look at the story reveals some important symbolism in the jars and the wine itself, ultimately pointing to the abundance of God’s love and grace given to us through Jesus Christ.


Events from the Life of Christ on Our Journey Through the Bible
January 2020

January 12 2020
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
On Baptism of the Lord Sunday, we hear the story of Jesus’ baptism and are reminded of our own baptisms. Pastor John outlines 4 aspects of the Jesus’ baptism that are important not only in the context of our broader Journey Through the Bible and this story’s place in the Gospels but also for our lives today. Baptism is a beginning and not an end. Baptism is preparation and even calling for the life of discipleship and ministry that is to follow. In baptism, our identity as beloved children of God is confirmed. And through baptism, we are connected with what has come before us and even with what will come in the future. On this date, we remember our baptisms and give thanks. 

January 5 2020
Preacher: Rev. John Hill
On Epiphany Sunday, we begin in earnest in the New Testament with our Journey Through the Bible in ten months. Pastor John provides us with a brief introduction to the New Testament and specifically to the Gospels. Our story for the day is that of the Magi, who were likely priests in a different religion from a foreign land, who came to visit and worship the Christ Child. We traditionally understand Epiphany to the be the celebration of Jesus’ being revealed to the world (not just the Jews) as the Messiah. In addition to this important aspect of the story, we see the importance of dreams, knowing the scriptures, and the role of the home in our faith.