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  • Romans | Anne Robertson
    Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand Resurrection of

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/romans (2016-02-16)
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  • Apart From the Law | Anne Robertson
    tried the mortification of his flesh literally beating himself senseless in the hopes of pleasing a God who would otherwise judge him unworthy of heaven But through all of it he kept his nose in the Bible At the time only the priests were allowed to read the Bible for themselves only they were allowed to interpret for the people in the pews Luther took that charge and that privilege seriously He read He read with prayer He read to understand And as he read through the first 2 5 chapters of Romans he read of his own condition the impossible demands of the law and his own inability to do what was right The more you knew the law the more you realized how many different ways there were to sin Luther was living that and he was right with Paul s every word Then he read Romans 3 21 and the But now shouted out like the trumpets of heaven But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been disclosed and is attested by the law and the prophets the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe For there is no distinction since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God they are now justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus That passage changed Martin Luther forever He saw that the church had made a mistake We did not have to work to save ourselves That was impossible as he well knew God didn t ask that God didn t expect that God had actually shown up and given us redemption as a gift a gift You can t earn a gift You can t pay for a gift A gift is free We call it grace And so Luther re directed all the efforts he had put into trying to confess and atone for his sins into trying to show the church the truth of the Gospel so that others might know the freedom he now felt He wrote down 95 different points where he believed the church was in error and he posted them on the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg Germany on the night before everyone would gather there to celebrate All Saints Day The church rarely likes to be reformed and it got him in big trouble The history of the Protestant Reformation was the result and the rallying cry of that Reformation came from this section of Romans Sola Fides Faith Alone We don t have to work our way into heaven Our redemption is given as a gift to all who will accept it Luther wrote many books among them a commentary on the book of Romans It was studied down through the centuries I even studied it in seminary But well before me back in the 18 th century another priest an Anglican this time was having some of the same

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/apart-from-the-law (2016-02-16)
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  • Maker of Heaven and Earth (Apostles' Creed, Pt. 2) | Anne Robertson
    gives emphasis to the next part of the phrase I believe in God the Father This is one place where a lot of today s Christians have issues and where we have to remember that we are dealing with a Creed from antiquity For many people the image of God as Father is not helpful In some cases their own fathers were such cold and cruel men that calling God Father creates a stumbling block that they just can t get around For others the realization that the Church sometimes has used God s title as Father to justify keeping women out of religious leadership and in a lower social place makes the use of the term unbearable The challenge for many in reciting the Creed is to invest the words with our own meaning whatever meaning they may have had at different times and places For myself I had a good earthly father and since that wonderful earthly father left this earth over 20 years ago thinking of God as my heavenly Father gives me comfort I am uncomfortable however with anyone insisting that Father is the only acceptable image for God The Bible has many others and they each add dimensions to our understanding of God For heaven s sake the Bible even has God as a chicken a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her wings But here in the Creed I think Father is meant to build on the word believe and to make the point that the God in whom we place our trust is a personal God This is not some objective force in the universe God has personality and relates to us in the ways that the fathers of antiquity related to their children they received their shelter and food and clothing as gifts from their father who worked on their behalf they were carefully trained in the father s trade and given greater responsibility and freedom as they grew they were expected to maintain the standards and reputation of the family as set by the father and eventually they would receive the inheritance of all that the father had I believe in God the Father Then comes the word Almighty With each word or phrase the Creed is getting more specific about this very particular God in whom Christians trust Some came from homes of poor or even enslaved fathers They weren t given much and they inherited less This God is not just any father but an almighty father This is a father of prominence and importance I ve told this story before I think but I will never forget one day on the bus coming home from Kindergarten My school was in another town and so the bus dropped me off where my father worked which happened to be the local high school where he was the Vice Principal On this particular day some boys on the bus were giving me a hard time and like any self respecting

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/maker-of-heaven-and-earth (2016-02-16)
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  • Tower of Love | Anne Robertson
    seeking each other seeking God If I were writing an essay about Tuesday I think I might title it The Day Atheism Died because it seemed that as much as people questioned how God could let something so terrible happen there was a sudden realization of the need for something more Many this week discovered the need to know that there is a tower somewhere that cannot crumble into dust something that will endure when everything else is gone something that will outlast even death And so we turned to God But we did not turn without questions Where was God people asked I ll tell you where God was God was in the four planes pleading with the hearts of the hijackers not to use their free dom in this way God was in the passengers filling their hearts with courage God was keeping air phone lines open so some could call with important information and in the midst of hate speak words of love to others God was each person on each plane as they reached out to one another God was also in the buildings urging people out God was working in the lives of men and women who helped one another to find an exit and in those who brought strength and peace to each other as they realized the time for escape had passed God was working quickly on the ground We watched God now in the uniform of a firefighter now in police garb running into the building again and again to bring people to safety urging those on the streets to keep running God was right there allowing the building to collapse upon him in the hopes of saving maybe one more God was gearing up in the hospitals to receive the wounded and in the morgues to weep and to give honor to the dead God is digging through the rubble even as we speak Wherever there was an act of courage or bravery or kindness or compassion there was God defying hatred with acts of love showing that for every suicide pilot sacrificing a life for vengeance there were hundreds upon hundreds who willingly gave their lives in acts of love and mercy As the World Trade towers fell the tower of love grew strong As the Pentagon burst into flame the fire of God s love burned brighter still That is where we place our hope To hope in the things of this world is to invite disappointment and disaster Our hope is not in the things of earth but in the Lord who made heaven and earth If the towers of our lives are to stand they must be built not of steel but of love The response of the Church to the terror of this week is the same as it has always been Look to the Cross and the empty tomb Love is stronger than death Love never ends We are a resurrec tion people No matter

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/tower-of-love (2016-02-16)
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  • Who's the Judge? (Apostles' Creed, Pt. 7) | Anne Robertson
    s one thing I ve learned from all of those settings it is that who you get for a judge makes all the difference in the world From the fierce debates over the appointment of federal and supreme court judges down to the discussions that go on between every lawyer and client as they prepare to go to court the nature and temperament of the judge can be the difference between jail and parole between justice and a farce between mercy and retribution Who the judge is matters even more than the merits of the case itself Now leave that thought there for a minute and let s look at the other thing I have learned through my experiences third party judgment is sorely needed Whether it was an intense family issue or a case that ended up in civil or criminal court anyone who has ever been involved in a serious conflict knows that you get to a point where you can t sort it out yourselves The emotions are too intense the stakes too high No matter how good you might be at seeing what is right for other people when it s your own stuff you need a third party that is not directly involved to help get things sorted out You need someone to judge As much as we might dislike the thought that we might be on the receiving end of God s judgment I don t think there s a person in this room who wants a God who does not judge I have yet to meet anybody who wants God to pat Adolf Hitler on the head and say There there what you did really doesn t matter We may have considerable differences over what sentence we think a person ought to receive for their crimes but I believe every last one of us wants others to understand the wrongs they have done I think most of us want there to be judgment We don t want God to just gloss over the harm that has been done to us and to others I at least want a God who will make my abuser face the impact of the abuse I want a God who is not afraid to say That was wrong It was not my will she did not deserve it and there was more evil in the world because you did it Not only does believing this give me some peace psychologically but I think it makes me far less likely to want to take judgement into my own hands and exact vengeance If I believe that every person will have a time of judgment then I can more easily leave that to God and let go of it I think belief in the ultimate judgment of God would lessen the amount of violence in the world But judgment is more than just saying something is wrong Judgment is not just about wrong deeds Judges also declare people to be

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/whos-the-judge (2016-02-16)
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  • 1 Corinthians | Anne Robertson
    Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I Stand

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/1-corinthians (2016-02-16)
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  • Here I Stand | Anne Robertson
    a heretic and put him on trial He stood before them as they asked him to recant his teaching or face the consequences Here I stand he replied I can do nothing else From that stand that insisted on the love and gracious forgiveness of God came Lutherans and Presbyterians Baptists and Episcopalians Methodists and Pentecostals and all those churches that today we now call Protestant We may differ on a lot of things from church to church but all of us still stand today where Luther stood 1500 years ago Our salvation the thing that determines our ability to stand in the presence of God is fundamentally about who God is not about what we have or have not done And the fundamental message about the nature of God is spelled out in the Scripture verse on our signboard this morning God is love The fuller passage from 1 John 4 7 8 reads this way Beloved let us love one another for love is of God and anyone who loves is born of God and knows God The one who doesn t love doesn t know God for God is love Paul bears this out in his letter to the Corinthians that was read earlier Love is the only thing that matters Even if you have faith so incredible that you can work great miracles and actually move a mountain from here to there all of that counts for nothing if you don t have any love in your heart The last line of the chapter confirms that love is greater than faith It doesn t matter who you are what you do how much you have or how much of the Bible you can recite from memory If you don t have love you have not even registered on God s radar screen On the flip side it doesn t matter what you have done in the past It doesn t matter if all your good intentions blow up in your face It doesn t matter that you can t hold a job It doesn t matter if you are rich or poor gay or straight black red yellow brown or white male or female Jew or Palestinian Protestant or Catholic or nothing at all If you have learned to love you have tapped into the power of God and the God who loves you infinitely more than you can imagine will never drop you Paul knew this because Paul had experienced it Remember that Paul was once just like that group outside Before his conversion Paul spent his time promoting hate He traveled all over Asia minor hunting for Christians that he could arrest and execute It s ironic that on this day when we remember all the martyrs we read from a letter that Paul wrote Paul who cast his vote to kill the very first Christian martyr Stephen and who was zealous in the very first wave of Christian persecution Paul knew that if

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  • The Resurrection of the Body (Apostles' Creed, Pt. 12) | Anne Robertson
    we think that the cells of our current bodies are somehow regenerated and brought back to life That sort of thinking has led to people refusing to be cremated and lots of unnecessary anxieties about airtight caskets and other types of preservation For centuries there have been people worried that someone whose body was blown apart or lost at sea would not be resurrected because there was no body any longer That s not what we mean when we talk about the resurrection of the body We mean what Paul means which is that our spirits leave behind the old broken body rise up to the light of God like a plant rises out of the dirt and into the sun and receive the new body that can interact in the world of air and spirit just as successfully as our bodies here can relate to earth The other part of this last line of the Creed is equally important we believe in the life everlasting We may skim through that part or just mouth lines like forever and ever Amen but the notion of everlasting life is a big one Even though our earthly bodies give out the soul or spirit lives on no matter what always beyond life here beyond all time Forever Eternal life is not just about after death it begins now and never quits There s no doubt that both of these things are immeasurable comfort at those gut wrenching times when you have to lay the body of someone you love in the ground and I am consistently amazed at the number of people for whom I do funerals who forget this basic truth We re still sad that they re gone We miss them terribly but for heaven s sake they re not dead They live on in a new body that we can t recognize with ours and in a relatively short period of time we will see them again But the notion of life everlasting has other implications as well If it is only our bodies that die and the rest of us will live on in a different body forever and ever Amen then who we become on the inside matters a whole lot more There are three things in life that you can t escape God is one you are another and everybody else is the third We are all in this together for the long haul the really long haul Throwing away the body God has given you for this life is not getting you out of anything It is only making your progress more difficult You re going to have to learn the lessons of life in one way or another because your life is not going to end no matter what happens to your body Life on earth and our earthly bodies are a gift to us to help us learn our basic lessons to learn to live with and love God ourselves and each other

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