Melissa preaching at RMC June 10, 2018

Freed to Follow Jesus – June 10, 2018

Melissa continues her two-part series on what we generally call the ten commandments, found in Exodus 20:1-16. But she intertwines this Old Testament passage with the Gospel reading from Mark 10:17-31, what we typically refer to as the story of the rich young ruler.

Jesus tells this man and the disciples–and us–that the commandments all along have been a form of judgment that actually sets us free.

Freed to Follow Jesus – June 10, 2018

 
 
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Melissa speaking at RMC on April 8, 2018

The Ten Commandments as an Invitation to Freedom – May 27, 2018

Melissa kicked off a two-part series on the Ten Commandments, providing a fresh perspective on how to view them. Exodus 19:1-6 and Exodus 20:1-11.

 

The Ten Commandments as an Invitation to Freedom – May 27, 2018

 
 
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Melissa preaching May 6, 2018

RMC -Melissa -May 20, 2018

 

Downoad

RMC -Melissa -May 20, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
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Kaitlin Heatwole and Nathan Hershberger – May 13, 2018

Jeremiah 31:1-17
Kaitlin Heatwole and Nathan Hershberger spent three years with Mennonite Central Committee in Northern Iraq. They share stories of Iraqis displaced by ISSIL.

Kaitlin Heatwole and Nathan Hershberger – May 13, 2018

 
 
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Melissa preaching May 6, 2018

Living a life to the glory and praise of God – May 6, 2018

Philippians 1:1-18a

Paul’s letter from jail declaring his thanksgiving for Christ and prayers for discerning how to live a life to the glory and praise of God.

Living a life to the glory and praise of God – May 6, 2018

 
 
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Rachel re-telling the story of Tabitha at RMC on April 29, 2018

Tabitha’s Story – April 29, 2018

This Sunday Rachel told the story of Tabitha, in  Acts 9:36-43, but from the perspective of one of Tabitha’s widowed friends in Joppa.  Tabitha shows how our whole life can be defined by little resurrections, little renewals of life, little affirmations that death, sin, division and brokenness do not have the last word.  Her story serves as an invitation for all of us to practice resurrection; inviting in the outcast, lifting up the poor and lowly, and doing all this through the power of Yeshua, whom we now call Jesus.

Tabitha’s Story – April 29, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 13:55
 
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Claire Unruh preaching April 22, 2018 at RMC.

Facing Imprisonment for our Beliefs – April 22, 2018

Claire Unruh provided the sermon this Sunday based on the story of Paul and Silas’s imprisonment recounted in Acts 16:16-34. They were jailed after casting out a demon in a slave girl.

Claire used the story as a springboard to recount other stories of people who have been imprisoned because of their beliefs as conscientious objectors to war or the death penalty. Standing up to and resisting systems of violence is a way to bring light and change in our world.

Facing Imprisonment for our Beliefs – April 22, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 14:28
 
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Melissa speaking at RMC on April 8, 2018

Two Conversions – April 15, 2018

Melissa preached from Acts 9:1-19 about Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. However, it wasn’t only Saul who had an unexpected experience with Jesus. God involves Ananias in Saul’s conversion, even though he really wasn’t needed. Ananias also needs to be able to see.  Saul is turned from a predator to a liberator, but Ananias converted too. Turning to his former enemy, Ananias calls Saul “brother.”

 

Two Conversions – April 15, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 14:18
 
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Melissa speaking at RMC on April 8, 2018

The Foolishness of God’s Senseless Love – April 8, 2018

This was “holy humor” Sunday and Melissa started out her message with a joke before getting into the story told in John 20:19-31. Just as Jesus met Thomas, Jesus meets us where we’re at. Faith is not something you come to on your own. It takes many different forms and in every single one of them, doubt is part of the mix.

The most foolish thing we believe is that you were created for no other reason than for love. You do not have to do anything at all to be loved. We’re utterly convinced that when you are confused and you can’t quite get your beliefs in line, when your head and heart collide, that Jesus is making a way to you.  You don’t need to do anything at all to be loved. You don’t have to earn your way to some great reward. But’s that’s ridiculous! Or at least that’s what the world thinks.

The Foolishness of God’s Senseless Love – April 8, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 13:46
 
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Placing flowers on the cross, Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

Making Contact – April 1, 2018

Melissa preaching at RMC on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018John 20:1-18

Prior to Melissa’s sermon on this Easter Sunday, Pam read the poem, “Christ as a Gardener” by Andrew Hudgins.

Mary returns to the tomb Jesus had been laid in after she and the two disciples found it empty. She’s weeping. Then she sees these angels. Then there’s this gardener. He had to have been there all along, hadn’t he? She’s begging him to tell her what he saw. “Where is the body of Jesus?!?” She can’t see it’s him…until he says her name. “Mary.” And her eyes are opened.

We wait beside tombs, because that is where he says he’ll show up. Where love leads us back, without reason, and often without hope. God will show up where there is nothing left but devastation, where there is no way out or where no one else is coming. It’s here, waiting here, where our grief at the pain inflicted by the world will break open. And we’ll discover the one who is there calling us by name.  Jesus is there, who makes contact.

As a closing for the message, we listened to the song “Down in the River to Pray,” sung by Abu Ali, followed by the video “Wait for It” by Shellee Layne Coley

Making Contact – April 1, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 15:53
 
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The Whole World Has Gone After Him – March 25, 2018

Artwork by Luz Frye of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. John 12:9-19 and Zechariah 9:9-13

On this Palm Sunday Melissa told us about the Alexamenos graffito. Due to some technical issues, the beginning of her sermon is cut off.

Jesus isn’t interested in re-imagining the structures or reinforcing nationalism. Instead, the whole world has gone after him, as it says in the Gospel of John. Jesus has come for the world. Liberation isn’t just for Israel or the Jews; it’s for everyone.  That looks like failure in our world. A failure of too much love. Love expanding to those we may not want to be loved.

We’re challenged to take a little time this week to search out our lives to find where we’ve made Jesus too small, where we’ve made something–or someone–unredeemable. Because when we return next week, it will be Easter!

 

The Whole World Has Gone After Him – March 25, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 10:07
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at Raleigh Mennonite Feb. 18, 2018

A Conversation about Jesus’ Death – March 18, 2018

Melissa changed up the format a little this Sunday for her sermon. Speaking from John 19:1-16a about Jesus’ trial and condemnation to death, she provided an introduction then invited the congregation to help answer the age-old question, “Why did Jesus die?”  There have been multiple perspectives or understandings of why Jesus was crucified. We interpret scripture together in community.

In the Gospel of John we see that Jesus dies not for our sins but because of our sins. He refuses to protect himself from the world. Jesus is love, and the world kills him for it.

 

A Conversation about Jesus’ Death – March 18, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 23:58
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at Raleigh Mennonite Feb. 18, 2018

The Banality of Evil – March 11, 2018

Before Melissa’s sermon, we listened to Billie Holiday’s rendition of the haunting song “Strange Fruit.”  The sermon was based on John 18:28-40, about Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate.

Crucifixions were a common thing during Roman rule. They served not so much as death penalties as they were a form of social control.  Bodies on crosses were strategically placed at crossroads to remind the people of the power of Rome to crush their dreams for freedom. In that way, they were more like the lynchings that took so many black men’s lives in the Jim Crow south than they were modern forms of capital punishment. “Every cross is a lynching tree, and every lynching tree is a cross,” wrote James Cone.  Jesus’ trial was like so many trials of black men during that era: a sham.

Pilate plays a pivotal role in the trial, even though he was just trying to find middle ground, going between the religious officials and Jesus. He was just trying to do his job. Something many of us try to do as we navigate our circumstances.

 

The Banality of Evil – March 11, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 12:21
 
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Rachel Taylor speaking at Raleigh Mennonite Jan. 1, 2017

The Fire of God’s Love – March 4, 2018

Rachel brought the sermon based on John 18:17-27, reflecting on the oft-told story of Peter denying he knew Jesus, his teacher.  Peter was later able to take the experience of his failure, look at it with God’s eyes, and use it to imagine something new.  She links the charcoal fire they were gathered around in this story, with the charcoal fire over the lake where Peter is redeemed by Jesus and told to “feed my sheep.”

This is the liturgical season for us to collectively face what we’re capable of, for us to examine the ways we are and who God is. For us to take an honest look at our failures. A time to gently, carefully and deliberately open up ourselves to God’s loving judgement, to God’s eyes,  so that God can bury all that is within us that keeps us from God.

The Fire of God’s Love – March 4, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 10:32
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching Feb. 4, 2018

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary – Feb. 25, 2018

John 13:1-17Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

The rituals of the Christian life are ordinary things made extraordinary for a moment. Jesus has a knack for this, taking what is ordinary and turning it back for us to look at it again: song, bread, water, wine.

As we anticipate the coming of Holy Week in a few weeks, Melissa invites us into a patient act of love. Consider making space in your life to get into the story that unfolds, to trace it through the week in the people you see around you, to take time off to live it out.

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary – Feb. 25, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 10:17
 
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