Ephesians 2: 1-10

New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Lent 4B)(2021)

    by Doug Bratt
    Such helplessness resonates throughout one of Katherine Paterson’s prize-winning books, The Great Gilly Hopkins. Its main protagonist is an eleven-year old whom countless foster parents have thrown out of their homes. Readers increasingly sense, however, that Gilly has engineered most of those evictions. She has done nothing and, in fact, seems to be unable to do anything to earn her caretakers’ acceptance. Gilly has, in fact, basically done everything she can to earn their rejection. To most of the world, especially her beleaguered social worker, Miss Ellis, Gilly is basically a worthless nuisance who is helpless to earn love. Gilly’s condition is much like our spiritual condition before God. God’s dearly beloved children are naturally persistent rebels who do little with what God has graced us. In fact, it sometimes seems as though we do everything we can to earn God’s rejection...
  • Grace

    by Frederick Buechner
  • The Rich Mercy of God

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Lent 4B (2021)

    by Joseph Cunningham
    there are surprising properties to some strands of venom too. Consider the following story, reported by National Geographic back in February 2013: Michael decided to go for a swim. He was on vacation with his family in Guerrero, Mexico, and it was hotter than blazes. He grabbed his swimming trunks from where they’d been drying on a chair… and jumped into the pool. Instead of cool relief, a burning pain ripped through the back of his thigh. Tearing off his trunks, he leaped…from the pool, his leg on fire. Behind him a small, ugly, yellow creature was treading water. He scooped it into a Tupperware container, and the caretaker of the house rushed him to the local Red Cross facility, where doctors immediately identified his attacker: a bark scorpion…one of the most venomous species in North America. The fierce pain from a sting is typically followed by what feels like electric shocks racking the body. Occasionally victims die. Luckily for Michael…the bark scorpion is common in the area, and antivenom was readily available. He had an injection and was released a few hours later. In about 30 hours the pain was gone. What happened next could not have been predicted. For eight years Michael had endured…a chronic autoimmune disease of the skeleton, a sort of spinal arthritis. No one knows what triggers it. In the worst cases the spine may fuse, leaving the patient forever stooped and in anguish. “My back hurt every morning, and during bad flare-ups it was so horrible I couldn’t even walk,” he says. But days after the scorpion sting, the pain went away, and now, two years later, he remains essentially pain free and off most of his medications. As a doctor himself, Michael is cautious about overstating the role of the scorpion’s venom in his remission. Still, he says, “if my pain came back, I’d let that scorpion sting me again.”...
  • Exegesis (Ephesians 2:1-10)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Lent 4B (2021)

    by Adam Hearlson
  • Lent 4B

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Amazement

    by Michael Ruffin

Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Created for Good Works

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Lent 4B (2018)

    by Joseph Cunningham
    But there are surprising properties to some strands of venom too. Consider the following story, reported by National Geographic back in February 2013: ​ Michael decided to go for a swim. He was on vacation with his family in Guerrero, Mexico, and it was hotter than blazes. He grabbed his swimming trunks from where they’d been drying on a chair… and jumped into the pool. Instead of cool relief, a burning pain ripped through the back of his thigh. Tearing off his trunks, he leaped…from the pool, his leg on fire. ​ Behind him a small, ugly, yellow creature was treading water. He scooped it into a Tupperware container, and the caretaker of the house rushed him to the local Red Cross facility, where doctors immediately identified his attacker: a bark scorpion…one of the most venomous species in North America. The fierce pain from a sting is typically followed by what feels like electric shocks racking the body. Occasionally victims die...
  • Where There Is God, There Is Love

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    When a gunman rampaged through a high school in Parkland, Florida … a 15-year-old soccer player named Anthony Borges showed undaunted courage. Anthony, who is of Venezuelan descent, apparently was the last of a group of students rushing into a classroom to seek refuge. He shut the door behind him and frantically tried to lock it, but in an instant the gunman appeared on the other side. Instead of running for cover, Anthony blocked the door to keep the shooter out. He held his ground even as the attacker opened fire. "I asked him why he would do that," his lawyer … told me. "He said, 'What's so hard to understand about what I did?' He had no issue with risking his life." Shot five times in the legs and torso, Anthony phoned his father to say he had been wounded. He was rushed to a hospital and survived: Photos show him with wires and tubes snaking from him. He still can't walk — it's unclear if that is just temporary — but fellow students say he saved their lives...
  • Lent 4B (2018)

    by Phil Heinze
  • This Powerful Grace

    by Janet Hunt
    I was called into a hospital room to visit someone I knew only a little. Once we exchanged pleasantries, I asked how she was. Lying flat on her back in a hospital bed, being sustained by oxygen and iv fluids, her face crumpled. I thought she was about to speak of her physical illness. Instead, she spoke of a lifetime of regret. Of deep grief. And of her resulting despair. I did not know then and I do not know now all the details. I know I struggled some for what to say for even then it was clear that the fault was not all, nor even primarily, hers. Even so, I spoke of God not letting go, of God never letting go. I spoke the truth that there is nothing God cannot, nothing God will not forgive. I offered absolution. I offered prayer. And I went home with a heavy heart. Late the next day I returned to this. She was sitting up in a chair. She was off the oxygen. The iv’s were taken away. And she was smiling.
  • Lent 4B (2018)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • The Way of Life

    by Steve Pankey
  • There Is Enough

    by Allen Pruitt
  • Explain Grace

    by David Russell
    There is something called Prevenient Grace. Basically, it means grace that goes before us, grace that was there before we even knew it. Everything is a gift, and even the ability to accept the gift is itself a gift. Our mission team arrived in Puerto Rico on a Saturday. We got to the church where we were staying that evening. The people at that church were very nice, very gracious, and we thought we would worship there the next morning. I mean, it would be a short commute, about 30 steps. But we were told that we should go to the church where we would be working, maybe 15 miles away. So we did. The music was lively and although I didn’t understand many of the words, I enjoyed it. Then came the sermon, and it was translated. The pastor had a very different theology than me, but I decided to overlook that and take it in as a sociological learning experience. But the pastor and the whole congregation were clearly so happy that we were there. They were so welcoming and they prayed for our team during the service. After church we were going to go out to eat and then go to a beach. It was our free day. We were asking the worship pastor about a good place to eat. We wanted to go to the kioskos, a collection of food places by the beach, but we thought it would be too crowded on a Sunday at lunchtime. He said, No, I’ll take you there, follow me. We followed him. We got there and it was packed. He got out of his car and said, you can park right here. It was in the grass, beside a little garage. I was driving the 15 passenger van and after 3 or 4 attempts I backed into the spot. And then he took us to this open air restaurant. It was very nice. We asked but he said he was busy and couldn’t stay and eat with us...

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