205 E Holland Street San Marcos, Texas 78666 - get directions

Thoughts

Sermon Notes for April 5, 2015 – On the Emmaus Road: The Way Beyond Fear of Death


  How does grasping the resurrection alter lives so suddenly and deeply that road weary travelers instantly are ready to run seven miles back to Jerusalem? Transformation depends on redemption. But redemption or liberation has to be from something and for something. Cleopas thought the real enemy was out there – external. Israel needed liberation from Rome. So Jesus had failed. But the Stranger begins to unveil, from the Torah and Prophets, a different sort of liberator and an unexpected emancipation. (24:26) Death itself is the primary enemy. Fear of death is what enslaves people. (Heb. 2:14-15) Jesus life, death, […]

read more

Sermon Notes for March 29, 2015 – The Way Beyond Distorted Desires (Mt. 5:27-30)


  Notice the familiar pattern in Jesus’ teaching. He starts with a ‘Thou shalt not’ from the second tablet (v. 27), traces it back to a state of heart or act of intention (v. 28), and finally provides a redemptive alternative through a stark illustrative example of the new heart in motion (vv. 29-30). Two clarifications are needed, because false assumptions often derail our attempts to make sense of Jesus’ teaching here. The first clarification is grammatical and analytic. Jesus is referring to an explicitly intentional act – ‘in order to lust after her’. Most translations leave far more ambiguity […]

read more

Sermon Notes for March 15, 2015 – Beyond Anger and Contempt, Pt. 2 (Eph. 4:17-32; Mt. 5:21-26)


  Three distortions of heart (Anger and contempt, distortions of desire, and impulses to deceive or manipulate with words) get transformed in ‘the Way’. These three also structure Eph. 4:17-32. We’ll focus on the anger sections. What’s going on inside during anger? Remember, Jesus’ core insight: Anger is a choice. Anger must be chosen, because anger is not a primary emotion. Anger is always built onto something else. We choose anger, at least initially, to deal with some primary emotional response. Underneath my anger, there will be at least one of three things going on. I might be frightened. I […]

read more

Sermon Notes for March 8, 2015 – A Way Beyond Anger and Contempt (Mt. 5:21-26)


  Jesus consistently starts with anger and its manifestations. Why? More wrong-doing flows from anger and contempt than any other distortion of heart. Anger itself wounds – even apart from any actions that follow. Anger has built into it a readiness to harm another. There is an inclination to hurtful action wrapped up in the emotion itself. Nonetheless, basic anger is not yet morally wrong. It’s a natural response to injury or the frustration of one’s will.   Jesus’ moral teaching begins a step past ‘basic anger’. Jesus begins with ‘retained anger’. ‘But I say to you that everyone who […]

read more

Sermon Notes for March 1, 2015 – Deep Wisdom for Living Well (Prov. 4:20-27; Mt. 15:11, 15-20)


  Jesus describes a certain ethical texture to life in ‘the Way’. Today we want to set up a big picture or schematic view. Jesus is particularly concerned about three malfunctions of the human heart: Anger and contempt Distorted desires and cultivated lusts Verbal manipulation and deceit Jesus’ ethical teaching also has an exegetical or textual basis, which he engages through a few characteristic interpretive moves (cf. Mt. 5:21-48). First, Jesus begins with the second tablet of the Torah (Ex. 20:13-17; Dt. 6:17-21). Second, Jesus traces the negative command back to an underlying distortion of the human heart. Notice also […]

read more

Sermon Notes for February 22, 2015 – How to Know God In Your Bones (Mt. 11:25-30)


  The question, ‘How can I know? Or, who really knows?’ is terribly important. Humans cannot sustain a consistent way of life without an answer. Think about it this way. Truth is what gives us access to reality. Knowledge guarantees truth. What constitutes an ‘adequate basis’ for knowledge is peculiar to each area of life. In philosophic terms, ‘method is relative to subject matter.’ Here’s the question. What constitutes an adequate basis for knowing God? Jesus addresses precisely this question in Mt. 11:25-30. In Mt. 11:25-27, the specific issue is ‘What is God the Father like? Who can really know […]

read more

Sermon Notes for February 15, 2015 – The Walk Before God: Rediscovering Jesus’ Way


  Jesus revealed ‘the Way’ – a total life of ongoing interaction with God. The most expansive account of ‘the Way’ comes in Acts 24:14-16. Two main verbs shape this description. Living in ‘the Way’ means worshipping. Paul specifically links ‘the Way’ with the Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Acts 24:14). Implicitly, ‘the Way’ goes back to Israel’s deep past and the patriarchs’ peculiar way of interacting with God. Jesus too links his ‘Way’ with the deep past. Matt. 11:28-30, ‘and you will find rest for your souls’, alludes to Jeremiah 6:16. This ‘Way’ that Jesus offers was already […]

read more

The Way Sermon Series


                              Sundays at 9:30 am and 10:30 am starting February 15th

read more

Sermon Notes for February 8, 2015 – The Gift of Mission: Secret Sustenance on Samaritan Soil (John. 4:1-44)


  The Samaritans and Jews were heirs to an age-old conflict. Samaritans considered themselves the true heirs of Abraham and believed the place God appointed for worship was on Mt. Gerazim. John 4 begins with a strange necessity overshadowing events. We are told in verse 4, ‘He had to pass through Samaria’. There is no geographical need to pass through Samaria. Social convention certainly doesn’t call for it. But Jesus must travel there. It was a necessity. Only later will we know why. Bridging Principle #1: Jesus interactions begin in a state of fatigue and need. He makes no effort […]

read more

Sermon Notes for February 1, 2015 – A Conquest of Mercy: God’s Blessing for the “Other Side” (Deut. 7:1-2; Mark. 5:1-20; 8:1-9, 14-21)


  In Jesus’ world there were plenty of long standing cultural hostilities. But one went back a thousand years: the Twelve Tribes of Israel vs. the Seven Nations of the Canaanites (Dt. 7:1-3). When Jesus says, ‘Let’s go over to the other side’ (Mk. 4:35). He was calling his apprentices into a center of cultural and religious conflict in the region of the Decapolis. His interactions model ‘first contact’ missions at its best. After the demons are cast out, notice the locals’ response (vv. 15-17). ‘And they became frightened…’. Fear is how we register the presence of a threat. As […]

read more