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“Sighted?” – Pastor Hal Murry – 3/26/17

  1. Who's to blame?
  2. How are you now able to see?
  3. Surely WE aren't blind, are we?

John 9 (CEB)

Jesus heals a blind man


9 As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?”


Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents. This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him.While it’s daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see.

Disagreement about the healing


The man’s neighbors and those who used to see him when he was a beggar said, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”


Some said, “It is,” and others said, “No, it’s someone who looks like him.”

But the man said, “Yes, it’s me!”


10 So they asked him, “How are you now able to see?”

11 He answered, “The man they call Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes, and said, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and then I could see.”


12 They asked, “Where is this man?”

He replied, “I don’t know.”


13 Then they led the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now Jesus made the mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes on a Sabbath day. 15 So Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.


The man told them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”


16 Some Pharisees said, “This man isn’t from God, because he breaks the Sabbath law.” Others said, “How can a sinner do miraculous signs like these?” So they were divided. 17 Some of the Pharisees questioned the man who had been born blind again: “What do you have to say about him, since he healed your eyes?”


He replied, “He’s a prophet.”

Conflict over the healing


18 The Jewish leaders didn’t believe the man had been blind and received his sight until they called for his parents.19 The Jewish leaders asked them, “Is this your son? Are you saying he was born blind? How can he now see?”


20 His parents answered, “We know he is our son. We know he was born blind. 21 But we don’t know how he now sees, and we don’t know who healed his eyes. Ask him. He’s old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they feared the Jewish authorities. This is because the Jewish authorities had already decided that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough. Ask him.”


24 Therefore, they called a second time for the man who had been born blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner.”




25 The man answered, “I don’t know whether he’s a sinner. Here’s what I do know: I was blind and now I see.”


26 They questioned him: “What did he do to you? How did he heal your eyes?”


27 He replied, “I already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”


28 They insulted him: “You are his disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t know where this man is from.”


30 The man answered, “This is incredible! You don’t know where he is from, yet he healed my eyes! 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners. God listens to anyone who is devout and does God’s will. 32 No one has ever heard of a healing of the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man wasn’t from God, he couldn’t do this.”


34 They responded, “You were born completely in sin! How is it that you dare to teach us?” Then they expelled him.


Jesus finds the man born blind


35 Jesus heard they had expelled the man born blind. Finding him, Jesus said, “Do you believe in the Human One?”


36 He answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”


37 Jesus said, “You have seen him. In fact, he is the one speaking with you.”


38 The man said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped Jesus.

Jesus teaches the Pharisees


39 Jesus said, “I have come into the world to exercise judgment so that those who don’t see can see and those who see will become blind.”


40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard what he said and asked, “Surely we aren’t blind, are we?”


41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t have any sin, but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.


“Finding His Voice” – Pastor Hal Murry – 3/5/17

Sermon Outline

  1. Matthew introduces a "grownup" Jesus

  2. Today's Scripture: Matthew 3:13--4:11 (Common English Bible)

  3. What does it mean to be Jesus?

  4. The devil has a one-track mind

  5. What does it mean to be ourselves?

Scripture:  Matthew 3:13--4:11

 13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. 14 John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?”

 15 Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.”

So John agreed to baptize Jesus. 16 When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”

 4 Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”

Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”

After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him,“Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.

Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.”

Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”11 The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him.

“Oppressed but Viable” – Rev. Lindsay James – 3/19/17


Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7 (Common English Bible)

17 The whole Israelite community broke camp and set out from the Sin desert to continue their journey, as the Lord commanded. They set up their camp at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people argued with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses said to them, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”
3 But the people were very thirsty for water there, and they complained to Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with this people? They are getting ready to stone me.”
5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of Israel’s elders with you. Take in your hand the shepherd’s rod that you used to strike the Nile River, and go. 6 I’ll be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Hit the rock. Water will come out of it, and the people will be able to drink.” Moses did so while Israel’s elders watched.7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites argued with and tested the Lord, asking, “Is the Lord really with us or not?”

“Come to the Light!” – Pastor Hal Murry – 3/12/17

Sermon OutlineJohn's "spiritual" gospel

    1. Today's Scripture: John 3:1-19 (Common English Bible)

    2. Nicodemus

    3. What's it like to be a Christ-follower?

    4. YOU, come to the light!

Scripture:  John 3:1-19 (CEB)

 3 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”

10 “Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? 11 I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son.

19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil.

“Then YOUR Light Will Shine in the Darkness!” – Pastor’s Blog – March 2017

     The Old Testament Book of Isaiah had multiple authors and
was written over hundreds of years. Some parts go all the way back to
the 8th century B.C. when Assyria dominated the Middle East,
including Israel.
     The most recent bully of the middle east had been Babylon. In 587 B.C., the
Babylonian army swept through Jerusalem. The brutality, the suffering, the loss of life was terrible. And it didn’t end for the Jews when the battle was lost. In an ancient version of ethnic cleansing, the Babylonians force-marched the Jews back to Babylon for a life in captivity and economic subjugation. It’s all well-documented in the Old Testament. One verse poignantly reads: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept, as we remembered Jerusalem.”
     The Jews’ answer to prayer came 50 years later when the Babylonian Empire fell to King Cyrus of Persia. Within days, the new King issued an “executive order” setting all the slaves free; telling the Jews to go home, to return to their historic and spiritual homeland. And home they went, telling everyone that King Cyrus was God’s agent of deliverance.
     At first, for awhile, life back in Jerusalem was just a big party. Like a gigantic family reunion. But soon enough, reality began to set in. They began to realize the enormity of the tasks before them: rebuilding infrastructure; restoring institutions, reclaiming the good things about their history prior to the Babylonian exile. Restoration was a HUGE task. And it wasn’t easy.
     Within decades issues arose. Imagine this: there was hypocrisy in organized religion, evidence of political corruption, and systemic injustice in the culture. In Isaiah’s language, darkness re-emerged — threatening the nation’s sustainability — just like the bad old days before the Babylonians invaded.
     But on the surface, everything looked great. If you just took into account the standard measures of church vitality, you could conclude that Isaiah didn’t realize how good he had it. His people could hardly wait to get out of bed on the Sabbath and come to church. In Isaiah’s day, going to church on the Sabbath was the thing to do. In Isaiah’s day, at the Temple in Jerusalem, it was standing room only. They sang psalms — mostly old ones, occasionally a new one. They prayed, they gave their offerings. They were faithful to all the trappings of their religion.
     BUT, God says, they never made the connections between their religion and their daily lives. Their religious practices were less than “skin” deep! They were sinking back into their old patterns. God says to Isaiah, tell them they are a bunch of hypocrites. Tell them their country is going to hell. Perhaps Isaiah was an “Interim” prophet!
     It may have been a new day in Israel, but the people and the nation were afflicted by the same old sins… greed, violence, the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few, and, economic exploitation of the rest.
     Same sins, same remedies offered by God’s prophets in every era. And just showing up for church won’t save your hide. On God’s behalf, Isaiah told anyone willing to listen: Here’s how God wants to clean up this mess….
    Turn toward God! Turn away from your idols, your addictions, your sins. Center your life in God. Not just the morning of the Sabbath, but every day. This is how I will know that you’re on my team, says God. You’ll live lives of compassion. You’ll work for social justice. Let freedom ring! Give everyone a chance. Take care of the vulnerable. Be kind to the hurting…
     If you do these things… your light will shine in the darkness. The world will be a better place. People will know that you are mine. The Kingdom of God will be here, on earth. And you and your nation will be so blessed!

Excerpt from Hal Murry’s Sermon on 2/5/17, based on Isaiah 58:1-12