Doing What We Believe (= Performing Love)
John 14:8-17, 25-27 Pentecost Sunday May 19, 2013
Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Philip is expressing his need, his hunger. Isn’t Philip expressing the spiritual hunger we all feel? Isn’t there a hunger within us that drives us to search for God? (Those who receive wisdom come to realize that it’s actually the other way around: that our hunger opens us to God, who is always pursuing us.)
All hunger is hunger for God, whether we know it or not. How do you act, to satisfy that hunger. Think of your motivation for what you do, what you give your time to. Sad to say: often, people respond to their hunger – which is hunger for God – by engaging in behaviors that pull them away from God. For instance, when someone is spending lots of money on an obsession, he is trying to satisfy his hunger for God – even though he doesn’t know that God is who he’s hungering for, deep down! When someone is working too hard or is too hard on herself, she is driven by a hunger, and it’s hunger for God – whether she knows it or not.
Hear how this morning’s gospel passage proceeds. Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.”
What does it mean – to “believe?” This was something that came up during Hans Tiefel’s presentations as our Theologian in Residence. Some in the gathering pointed out that reciting the Apostles and Nicene Creeds during worship causes some to think they are excluded. (This is especially true for those who have been away from church for a long time.) “I believe in God the Father almighty…” Are the creeds a checklist of beliefs; that I have to check each box to be a part of this church? But what if I have questions about the virgin birth? If any 10 of us gathered to talk about how we understand something like the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, would our understanding have to be the same? How closely do our beliefs have to align for us to be able to say together, “I believe in…”?
Is “belief” the intellectual assent to details that we have to agree on to be in communion with each other? Instead, I understand belief to be closely wrapped up in hunger; in our hunger for God; in our hunger to entrust ourselves to God. “I believe in God the Father almighty” means, “I hunger for God the Father almighty”; or, “I entrust myself to God the Father almighty.”
* * *
Jesus says to Peter, Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.” What mystical Trinitarian language! At this point in John’s story, Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus, and that has shown itself in the works Jesus has done, bringing the reality of the Father to human beings.
You and I hunger for God. Our desire to trust God takes expression in what we do. It shows itself in the works we do; what we give our time and energy to. My function, as your pastor on the spiritual journey, is to encourage you to recognize that your hunger is hunger for God; and to give your time and energy to devotional works that bring you more deeply into God’s love, and also to “works of mercy” that touch others with God’s love! In those ways, you will satisfy your hunger for God with God! In those ways, Jesus will be in the Father and the Father will be in Jesus and Jesus and the Father will be in us, acting through us.
I think that is how this morning’s verses from John proceed. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
And then, this: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Obeying (or keeping) God’s commandments are how we express our love for God.
Jesus was once asked, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Do some of you remember the story? (This is in a different gospel, the gospel of Matthew.) [Jesus] “said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The 10 Commandments can be read in this way: Because I love God, I will receive the gift of holy, non-productive, rest-filled Sabbath time to gather with other Jesus people. Because I love God! Let me use some of Luther’s language from the Small Catechism. Because I love God, not only will I not murder, I will “help and support my neighbors in all of life’s needs.” Because I love God, not only will I not steal, I will “help my neighbors improve and protect their property and income.”
In the same way, the promises in the liturgy of parents and sponsors at the baptismal font can be read this way: “Because I love God, I will love this child so much that I will bring her ‘to live among God’s faithful people, teach her the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments, place in her hands the holy scriptures, and nurture her in faith and prayer, so that she may learn to trust God, proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace.’” Because I love and trust God, I will do these works, perform this love, so that my child or my godchild will grow to love and to trust God deeply too!
This is also how we can understand the words of Affirmation of Baptism. Those affirming their baptisms this morning would say, “Because I love God, I will ‘live among God’s faithful people, hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and strive for justice and peace in all the earth.’”
The pastor asks those affirming their baptisms if they are willing to do those things: “Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism?” Those who are willing respond, “I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.”
“I ask God to help and guide me.” This is what God does as Holy Spirit. Remember how this morning’s verses end, in the gospel of John? Jesus tells his followers: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
And then, these words: “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Instead, believe in God, which means: entrust yourselves to God. Love God.
Our lives of faith show themselves in our doing what we believe (= performing love).
In the name of God who is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pastor Andy Ballentine
 To use Dorothy Day’s phrase.
 Quotes are from Luther’s explanations of the 5th and 7th Commandments in the Small Catechism.
 Baptismal responsibilities in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 228.
Around the Table God Creates Us to be One
John 17:20-26 Seventh Sunday of Easter May 12, 2013
Who here enjoys conflict? No one, of course! But an organization or a workgroup or a family will only be healthy if their leaders feel secure enough in themselves that they can help those in conflict address the dynamics of a disagreement in a way that decreases anxiety.
Can you make everybody happy? Of course not! The worst thing in the world for an organization is when leaders try to do that! This seems to be an affliction especially in church congregations. Leaders of congregations often worry when a small handful of vocal people are unhappy about something, and they’re afraid to move forward with the congregation’s mission because they’re searching for a way to make everyone happy – and that’s impossible. Being stuck in that mud actually encourages conflict. And there are no groups of people who can fight with each other better than groups of religious folks! (Some of you have been in congregations like this. I’m sorry to be raising bad memories.)
I’m trying to get at a way to understand what Jesus might mean in the prayer that we just read from the gospel of John. He’s praying for not only his disciples, who are with him at the Last Supper, “but also (he says) on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word.” In other words, he’s also praying for you and me and for all who follow him, today! And here’s what he prays: “that they may all be one.”
This comes at the end of a section in the gospel of John that is unique. This comes at the end of four chapters of teaching and conversation that takes place during the Last Supper in John. (It is teaching and conversation that is not included in Matthew’s or Mark’s or Luke’s versions of the Last Supper.) Jesus prays to the Father: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”
One commentator writes: “I suspect that as the disciples gathered for what would be their final meal with Jesus (although they did not know it at the time) they did not feel like one. They were no doubt frightened, uncertain, insecure, scrappy, and squabbling. Peter was petulant, Judas plotting and James and John were probably still jockeying for promotions….Having been a part of the church for many years I would add that this describes many of the churches I have been a part of – far from being described as ‘one.’”
It could be that no groups of people fight as much as groups of religious folks! Why is that?
One reason why leaders of congregations have allowed conflict to become so destructive is that we “good Christian people” don’t think we’re allowed to disagree with each other – because we’re supposed to be one, as Jesus says! And we’ll read words like these from St. Paul: Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. On top of that, we’ll sing words like these, from the beautiful hymn: “Let strife among us be unknown; let all contentions cease…” And so, we think: “It’s worse than disagreeable when we disagree with each other. It’s forbidden!” So we don’t feel like we’re allowed to talk about our disagreements when they’re small enough that they can still be talked about. But then, isn’t only a matter of time before the undealt-with disagreements erupt into large scale conflict?
Is it possible that “all of us be in agreement and that there be no divisions among us?” Is it possible that “strife among us be unknown; that all contentions cease?” Of course not! Then how do we understand these words in Jesus’ prayer: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”
What does it mean to be one?
I have often thought of an experience, during a year-end lunch of the campus ministers at the College of William and Mary. Doug Cummings and I were sitting with David Katz, the rabbi of Temple Beth El. There was a free chair at our table, and another campus minister sat down. He was from a parachurch organization that teaches Biblical literalism and theological fundamentalism. It was painfully comical to listen to him try to be collegial with a Jewish rabbi. More than anything else, he came across as patronizing. When he left, I said to Rabbi Katz, “You know, I have more in common with you, than I have with that person who is considered to be a Christian.” David said, “Well, I know what you mean. I have more in common with you than I do with Jews who are Orthodox.”
What does it mean to be one? Our Lutheran tradition of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is painfully divided from the Lutheran tradition of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. I feel much more aligned, theologically and Biblically, with what is officially taught in the Episcopal Church USA, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA than I do with what is officially taught in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. What does this mean: “That they may all be one.”
Did you know that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the most ecumenical church body in the United States? Since 1997, we have been Full Communion partners with not only the Episcopal Church USA, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA, but also with the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, and the Moravian Church. (That is why, during Sunday morning worship, we pray for congregations of churches that are in full communion with the ELCA: to give voice to this unique strength of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.) Of course, we are condemned by others for this openness to other Christian traditions. That is one reason why leaders of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod have distanced their denomination from the ELCA.
What does inter-denominational squabbling do to our outreach to those who are outside the church? Well, you know the answer to that. It makes people turn away! There are enough hard things in life. Who wants to be part of a church that’s fighting others who claim to be Christian? What does this mean: “That they may all be one.”
Do you notice why Jesus prayed that we may all be one? It is because that is what God the Father and God the Son are, in relationship, even though they are two distinct persons, and so our unity will be a witness to the world of what God is like! Jesus prays: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” That is the point: so that everyone can know that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, sent from God the Father!
Speaking out of our tradition of Lutheranism let me suggest something. We cannot achieve “one-ness,” ourselves. Instead, God creates us to be one when we gather around the Holy Communion table. I think that’s what Jesus’ prayer means, set as it is during the Last Supper. As followers of Jesus the Christ, we are made one as we share in our Lords’ Supper. We can fight and squabble over all that’s not as important – as long as we gather together to share the bread and wine of Holy Communion. And so we in the ELCA invite all who are baptized, in any tradition – even those who don’t invite us back! Whether we are strong in faith, or struggling to believe anything; whether we can agree with the person next to us about any of the specifics of the Nicene Creed, around the table God creates us to be one. Whether we are gay or straight, whatever our occupation or income level, around the table God creates us to be one. Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, or even Yankees fans or Red Sox fans, around the table God creates us to be one!
This is one of our fundamental witnesses to the world, as followers of Jesus the Christ! We cannot achieve “one-ness” by our own efforts, no matter how hard we work at it – because whenever there are two or three gathered in Jesus’ name, there are four or five opinions! We cannot achieve “one-ness.” Instead, we receive it. It is a gift from God. It is the creation of God.
Our Lord, Jesus the Christ, invites you and me and all who follow him to his Supper. Around the table God creates us to be one.
In the name of God who is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pastor Andy Ballentine
 1 Corinthians 1:10
 “Where Charity and Love Prevail,” Hymn #359 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship
What is God Up To Outside the Gate?
Acts 16:9-15 Sixth Sunday of Easter May 5, 2013
Why are you here?
One thing to say is that God the Holy Spirit has moved you to be here – whether you have recognized that or not this morning! You’re here in response to the Spirit, who is working in your life. (Perhaps the Spirit has moved through another person who has encouraged you to be here. Perhaps the Spirit has moved to create a hunger that you feel for God.)
Has anyone gathered here today to hear the stories told of God’s love for us, and of Jesus the Christ who was sent to save us? Has anyone gathered to pray together? Has anyone gathered to share the bread and wine of the Holy Communion? Since the very earliest days after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus people have gathered together to do those three things. (Check out Acts 2:42)
How important all of that is! Indeed, anytime we gather together for worship, or for study, or to plan how we might best serve the poor, or even to do unavoidable institutional maintenance tasks, we gather to encourage each other to live according to the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Here’s how one writer puts it: “Church is where we learn how to love well.”
Another writer puts it this way: “God calls the church to be the demonstration of what all creation is to be.”
Life would be very hard for me if I could not gather with a community of people who love me, and who I can love, and among whom I can practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (I will be learning to live in those ways, and practicing those virtues as best I can, for as many years as God gives me of my journey in baptism.)
How important all of that is!
But. Is God at work only in this room, or in this building? Well, of course not!
And so, here is my question. What is God up to out there in those places where you live and work and play each day?
Here’s the verse that catches my attention this morning. It’s in the reading from Acts: On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
The Jesus movement started among observant Jews in synagogues in Galilee, which was a backwater region a few days’ walk north of Jerusalem. When you read the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, you find that the central religious authorities in Jerusalem did their best to stamp out the movement! These temple authorities did all they could to kill and imprison those who were actually also Jews – but who were claiming that Jesus had been the long-awaited Messiah. This persecution caused great suffering. But do you want to know the ultimate result? To escape persecution, Jesus people scattered into other regions, away from Jerusalem! This means that the terror campaign during those first centuries caused the new Christian faith to be dispersed across a wider geography! And so, in the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, we read of Philip, Peter, Saul (become Paul), Timothy and others covering a wide territory, preaching and teaching and working to bring health to people in Jesus’ name; inviting others to follow the way of Jesus, in response to the news that Christ is risen. (This way of Jesus, of course, is the Way of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)
In this morning’s story from Acts, Paul and Timothy have felt called to Macedonia. (Today, that would include not only the tiny Republic of Macedonia, but also Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, and a region of Kosovo.) Evidently, there are few Jews in the region. There must not have been a synagogue inside the walls of the city of Philippi. Instead, Paul and Timothy hear that there is “a place of prayer,” outside the gate of the city.
Now, let me ask. Why did people build walls around a city? For safety, right? Inside the walls of the city it’s safer. So – it seems to me that this morning’s story points us to what God is up to outside the gate, where it’s not so safe!
This morning we Jesus people are gathered safely, inside the walls of this building. We don’t have a gate! We have doors! Here’s what I’m wondering: what is God up to outside those solid, wooden doors that close us off from Jamestown Road?
For generations, we inside the walls of the church have known that there are lots of people out there who don’t “go to church.” But here’s what we’ve assumed: that they really want to! And so, we have assumed, what we have to do is to make ourselves as attractive as possible, open and inviting, so those who come in those closed, solid, wooden doors will feel welcome. How important that is: that we welcome those who come in! But, of course, what we’ve been doing is waiting for those outside to come in! The writers who are most interesting to me are suggesting something that upends our assumptions. Could it be that most people out there who don’t “go to church” don’t go because they don’t want to? And that, no matter how attractive we make ourselves, that in itself will not be enough to get them to come through those closed, wooden, solid doors?
“[T]he church is called to be sign, witness, and foretaste of God’s purpose in the world.” But could it be that “God is up to something in the world that is bigger than the church”? Two authors put it this way: “The Spirit is calling the church on a journey outside of itself and its internal focus. Rowan Williams, [former] archbishop of Canterbury, summarizes this [missional] imagination in this way: ‘It is not the church of God that has a mission. It’s the God of mission that has a church.’ He is saying that God is at work in the world to redeem creation, and God invites us to participate in this mission. God is not interested in getting more and more people into the institution of the church. Instead the church is to be God’s hands and feet in accomplishing God’s mission. This imagination turns most of our church practices on their head. It invites us to turn toward our neighborhoods and communities, listening first to what is happening among people and learning to ask different questions about what God is up to in the neighborhood. Rather than the primary question being, ‘How do we attract people to what we are doing?’ it becomes, ‘What is God up to in this neighborhood?’ and ‘What are the ways we need to change in order to engage the people in our community who no longer consider church a part of their lives?’”
In many cases, those who no longer consider church a part of their lives have been hurt by some who call themselves “Christians.” Indeed, I have stopped using the word, “Christian,” because, for many, many who no longer consider church a part of their lives, “Christian” means “judgmental, exclusionary, arrogant, smug.” That’s simply what many have experienced. We cannot expect them to come through our closed, solid, wooden doors unless they experience Jesus people who are different from what they think “Christians” are like.
In the story we read from the Acts of the Apostles, there is no institution called “church.” Paul and Timothy go outside the gate. They find an informal place of prayer, where there are some women. They simply sit down and begin talking to them. One of the women is named Lydia. Do you notice what is described? The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
Notice that! Paul is not able to cause Lydia to be receptive! It is God the Holy Spirit who pens Lydia’s heart to listen eagerly to what Paul is saying. Lydia responds because that is what God is up to, outside the gate! Paul and Timothy would not have been able to participate in what God was up to, had they not gone outside the gate!
How might you participate in what God is doing outside the gate? How might your servanthood to those you find to be in need, your acting and speaking in love and compassion, your embodying the good news of Christ, risen – how might God use that to open the hearts of some who are outside our closed, solid, wooden doors?
In the name of God who is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pastor Andy Ballentine
 Frank Honeycutt, “Love Letter,” in “The Lutheran,” May, 2013, page 15.
 Alan J. Roxburgh and M. Scott Boren, Introducing the Missional Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009), page 45.
 The quotes in this paragraph are from Roxburgh and Boren, page 20.
In God Is Life
Acts 9:36-43 Fourth Sunday of Easter April 21, 2013
A terrorist bombing kills three and injures nearly 200 during the running of the Boston Marathon. It is shocking and terrifying, and since this past Monday we have been transfixed by the TV images of the bombing and its aftermath. This past Tuesday was the sixth anniversary of the mass killings on the campus of Virginia Tech. Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of the mass killings at Columbine High School in Colorado. In July, we will commemorate the mass killings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. In December we will commemorate the mass killings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
I could continue citing examples. The list would be long, wouldn’t it, of such tragedies in this country? And to put some perspective on our self-centeredness: in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, a bombing that “only” kills three is a minor event.
There are strong forces of evil at work in the world. Does death win?
We are gathered as Easter people. Does death win?
Jesus’ first followers found his tomb to be empty! Jesus’ first followers encountered Jesus – alive after they had seen him dead! They came to realize that the grave could not hold the resurrected Christ!
The Easter gospel is this: Christ is risen from the dead. And, in his resurrection, Christ has won for us the final victory over death.
And so, we know the outcome of the cosmic story! Christ has won for us the final victory over death, so we know how it all comes out in the end. But, meanwhile …
That’s where you and I are living: in the meanwhile. Meanwhile, there is much in daily life that makes for death. Meanwhile, we are living in hope. We are looking for God to bring about God’s fulfillment of the cosmic story. (That’s why, each week, we pray, “Your kingdom come …”)
And, meanwhile, in God is life. When we are faced with death, in God is life. When we are confronted by what appears to be hopeless, in God is life. As followers of the risen Christ, as Easter people, we turn again and again to this. In God is life.
The writer of Acts (who is also the gospel writer of Luke!) tells a dramatic story about Tabitha who has died, and about Peter demonstrating the life of the resurrection.
Those in the very earliest congregations of Jesus people are models for us. They did three things. They gathered together to tell each other the stories of Jesus and to share the bread and wine. They invited others to join them. And they did all they could to take care of those who were poor and helpless. In that culture, women whose husbands had died were among the most helpless. In fact, the early Jesus people attracted attention and members because their care of the poor, the sick, and especially of widows was so unusual in their culture! The Jesus people demonstrated a better way to live. Those who were not part of a congregation wondered about that odd behavior. Some even felt drawn to join with these odd groups of people in taking care of those who were poor and sick, those who counted for nothing in that culture that valued strength and beauty.
In the story, Tabitha (her name in Aramaic; in Greek her name is Dorcas) has died. She had been an extremely important member of the tiny congregation of Jesus people in the town of Joppa, because she had been devoted to good works and acts of charity. Tabitha’s death has devastated other Jesus people in the congregation. Some of them have heard that Peter is in the nearby town of Lydda. In desperation, they send word to him: “Please come to us without delay.” (What can he do at this point?) Peter arrives. He finds that Tabitha’s body has already been washed for burial. Grieving widows are in the room with the body, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that [Tabitha] had made while she was with them. Where will they get clothing now? Who will take care of them now? Tabitha’s life-giving work has died with her.
Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.
What a story! It is one story of the Easter gospel that is told in the Bible: Christ is risen from the dead! Christ has won for us the final victory over death! We know how it all will come out in the end, when God will brings fulfillment to our prayer, “Your kingdom come …”
In God is life. When we are faced with death, in God is life. When we are confronted by what appears to be hopeless, in God is life. As followers of the risen Christ, we turn again and again to this: In God is life.
You and I are witnesses to these things. We have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, and so we are living in the resurrection. We often struggle, it is true. There is much that makes for death.
But our lives are in God. The spiritual practice is openness, attentiveness, being present. It is not that God is absent from us, but that you and I are often absent from God, at the heart of each moment, where God forever dwells.
When we practice openness, attentiveness, presence, we find that in God is life – life beyond death, hope beyond our own possibility, courage over our own timidity, and companionship beyond our own protected isolation. We find that “the surprising, transforming newness of God demonstrated in the resurrection will continue to work in us and through us and for us all along our way, that we are to be God’s witnesses, that we are intended to be people marked by God’s strange, death-defying doings, and that no matter what happens on the way of grace, we are to rejoice truly, madly, deeply.”
That’s what we take out into our daily lives, as we do our ministries; the work God gives us to do. Who knows? Maybe those who are not part of a congregation will wonder about our odd behavior! Maybe some will even feel drawn to join with us, to be part of this peculiar group of people named for St. Stephen who are doing peculiar things – because, in God is life!
In the name of the risen Christ, Amen.
Pastor Andy Ballentine
(If you would like a copy of an earlier sermon, e-mail Pastor Ballentine and he’ll send you a copy!)