Archive for sermon series

Taking Jesus Seriously: The Sacred Practice of Neighboring

When Jesus was asked to reduce everything in the Bible into one commandment, he said: Love God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself. What if he meant that we should love our actual neighbors? For these six weeks of Lent, we will practice together doing what Jesus said:  creating community with the people who live near us. Because maybe … just maybe … this is exactly what Jesus meant.

March 1: Why Not? Time

March 8: Why Not? Fear

March 15: Why Not? Energy

March 22: Why Not? Respect

March 29: Why Not? Boundaries

April 5: Palm Sunday

April 12: Easter

Invitation to Write a Statement of Faith

In February, our worship theme will be “This I Believe.” We’ll explore ancient and contemporary statements of faith. We’ll talk about the beliefs that are timelessly true, beliefs we’ve given up along the way, new convictions we’ve learned from experience. This month, Senior Pastor Kathi McShane has an invitation: help her prepare for this series by writing a statement of your own faith—the values that rule your thought and actions. This is very much like what is asked of our eighth graders going through Confirmation.

Here are some guidelines for your statement (adapted from NPR’s “This I Believe” project):

  • Write honestly and intimately—say something that no one else could write for you and in familiar words.
  • Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, it might be a sermon rather than a belief. Rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one or two core beliefs.
  • Be positive: Write about what you do believe, not what you don’t believe.
  • Be personal: Make this about you; speak in the first person. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.”
  • Be honest: Consider a belief you once held and you’ve discovered you were wrong about.
  • This is not a debate. You don’t have to back up your beliefs with proof, or disprove other beliefs. This is not about your views on the American way of life, democracy, or free enterprise. I want to know what you live by.
  • Think about it this way: What has faith asked you to say “yes” to? To what have you said “no”?

Give yourself time this month to settle into this invitation. Have fun with it. There’s no expectation or limit on length—it can be a sentence or an essay, whatever feels true and valuable to you. Send your statement to the communications department. Unless you tell Pastor Kathi otherwise, she’d like to share these statements. Let her know if you’d rather that be done anonymously.

Standing in the Bright Light: January Worship Series

January 5 (Epiphany Sunday): Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will preach on “Home By Another Way.”

January 12: Our special guest preacher will be the nationally known author and consultant Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean. She will speak on the responsibility of raising faithful young people.

January 19: The theme will be “We Are Always Just Catching Up,” using Isaiah 49:6-7. Come ponder how God’s heart is bigger than ours is, always. We will also take a special offering for Human Relations Day.

January 26 (Africa Sunday): Our guest preacher will be James Salley from Africa University. He will talk about the spirit of Ubuntu: “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours.”

Come Now and Set Us Free: Advent Worship Series

There is an arc to the whole, grand narrative of God’s connection with human life. It is always about freedom, a consistent and repeated movement to liberate us from the troubles that humans make for one another and the chains with which we bind ourselves. The story of God’s coming to be with us in Jesus is the story of God’s yearning for us to be set free, so that we might live fully. How is God setting you free?

December 1: Freedom From Oppression (Exodus 3:1-12)

December 8: Freedom From Settling the Score (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

December 15: Freedom From Striving (Luke 1:46-55)

December 22: Freedom to Become (John 10:7-10)

December 29: On the Sunday following Christmas, we will have just one worship service at 10:00am. There will not be Conversational Church or an evening service that Sunday. Come for this special service as one church family, then we will return to our regular worship schedule in the new year.

Life That Flourishes: November Worship Series

This fall we have examined the facets of our new vision statement: “Connection. Compassion. Courage. That all may flourish.” In November we wrap up the worship theme by taking a final look at what it means to commit to and work toward a flourishing life for all, following the example that Jesus set.

November 10: The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46)

November 17: Our guest preacher will be the talented Rev. Grace Imathiu, a United Methodist pastor serving a church in Evanston, IL, and originally from Kenya.

November 24: Putting It All Together: The Good and Flourishing Life (John 1:14-16)

Life That Flourishes Fall Speaker Series

This fall will be a season of immersing ourselves in a new vision for LAUMC. Through several connected worship series, Senior Pastor Kathi McShane and the worship team will explore the facets of that vision in depth. Several exciting guest speakers have also been invited to share their wisdom in worship and other venues. The guest speaker schedule is outlined below; please mark these dates on your calendar!

August 25: Mark and Lisa Scandrette, authors of Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture, are preaching at 8:30 and 10:00am as we kick off the new school year; lunch and a workshop follows for parents and families of all ages.

September 15: Padraig O’Tuama, poet and author of In the Shelter from the Irish proverb, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” He will be preaching at 8:30 and 10:00am; he will also do storytelling, music, and poetry with Bobby Jo Valentine following Creekside Crossings.

October 13: Brian McLaren, theologian and author, most recently of The Seventh Story and The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey, will preach at 8:30 and 10:00am and participate in Conversational Church at 11:15am.

November 17: Rev. Grace Imathiu, pastor of Community United Methodist Church, Naperville, Illinois, will preach at 8:30 and 10:00am and participate in Conversational Church at 11:15am.

A Lot Can Happen in Three Days: August Worship Series

The very brief Old Testament book of Jonah is layered with meaning. This is the comical story of a guy who winds up inside a big fish for three days before he comes to his senses and listens to God. It’s the premonition of three days inside a tomb that separated death and resurrection for Jesus. And it’s a narrative that contrasts God’s universal, always-forgiving nature with the small jealousy of the human heart. In three Sundays in August, come hear the story and dig into the genius that makes it a story for today.

August 4: Chapter 1 – Rev. Sam Blewis will preach on Jonah running the other way when God calls him.

August 11: Chapter 2 – Jonah in the belly of the fish

August 18: Chapter 3 – Ninevah

I Saw God at the Movies July Worship Series

It’s summer! You are invited to a month of worship and sermons shaped around popular movies. There are traces of grace everywhere…

  • July 7 – The Mission
  • July 14 – The Greatest Showman
  • July 21 – Field of Dreams
  • July 28 – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

All these movies are available on Netflix, Amazon, Xfinity On Demand, and/or the public library. Watch them before you come to worship!

Carry-on Baggage Only: June Worship Series

Seasoned travelers know to pack only what they need. Excess baggage simply weighs you down—and costs extra. In June our series of worship and sermons is called Carry-on Baggage Only. The idea is that often we lug around with us big suitcases full of theological questions, and spiritual dilemmas, and lists of things we think we have to get right before we can live the kind of joyful, light-hearted, self-releasing life that God is inviting us to. We are checking bags, paying extra baggage fees for oversized luggage, when really, all we need is what will fit in in the luggage compartment over our heads. Maybe even under the seat in front of us. What do you need to carry with you, and what can you leave behind as excess baggage? In this season we’ll talk about essential beliefs of the Christian faith in the Methodist tradition that might be enough to take with you, no matter where you are traveling.

June 9 (Pentecost Sunday)—God With Us: Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

June 16—God at Work in Us: The Crucifixion and Resurrection

June 23—God at Work Through Us: Faith Is a Verb

June 30—God Among Us:  Life Together

Toeholds for Troubling Times: Lent Sermon Series

When the next steps look impossible, how do you hold onto your faith and find your footing? This Lent, we will explore some practices you can use in troubling times, drawing our scriptures from the Book of Job.

  • March 10: Tell the Truth
  • March 17: Pray Honestly
  • March 24: Reject Easy Answers
  • March 31: Confirmation Sunday
  • April 7: Hang On
  • April 14: Raise Your Eyes (Palm Sunday)