James 1:17-27 | Mark 7:1-15, 21-239

Jeremy Richards

Last Sunday Paul warned us about “the rulers,” “the authorities,” “the cosmic powers of this present darkness,” and “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” – those powers and principalities that influence us from outside. To help us defend ourselves against these outside influences, Paul told us to put on the “armor of God,” which God has given us for our protection. Paul told us to put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We put this armor on so that we are ready for any spiritual attacks that might come from outside. But what about what’s on the inside? What about spiritual darkness that lurks not outside of us, but inside of us?

Choosing Wisdom

Proverbs 9:1-6 | Ephesians 5:15-20 

Jeremy Richards

One subject that I’ve always wanted to study, but have never had the opportunity to do so officially, is philosophy. So, while on parental leave, I decided to try my best to learn something about philosophy. I read these little Oxford Very Short Introductions on a number of philosophical topics. I tried to read one a week (and almost succeeded). One of the short introductions I read was on existentialism. Now, based on reading a very short introduction on existentialism, I’m going to act like I’m some kind of expert on the topic.


Ephesians 4:25-5:2 

Jeremy Richards        

As we discussed a few weeks ago, Ephesians is written to a church that contains both Jews and Gentiles. The primary theme of this book is unity. The question it seeks to answer is: how do people from very different walks of life become one body – the body of Christ? While the Jew/Gentile divide is the most apparent, there are other divides as well, divides that continue to plague our churches today. Divides based on socio-economic status, cultural background, gender, etc. Despite all these differences, they have been made, through Christ, into one new humanity.

Trust in Me

Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15

Shelley Varner Perez

Trust builds over time. Yovanny and I had been friends for several years. We both attended dinner at a friend’s house a couple of times a month, and we went to the symphony together several times. A turning point came when I sprained my right ankle. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t walk to the bus stop. I couldn’t rely on myself to meet my needs; I had to rely on others to help me buy groceries, get to work, and make it to physical therapy appointments. Yovanny heard about my bum ankle and sent me an email offering to give me a ride anytime I needed. I accepted, so that Sunday he picked me up for church. He lived in Vancouver, and I live in SW, and church is in NE, so I knew it wasn’t a convenient offer for him to make. He came through for me at a vulnerable time. That experience deepened our friendship.

Brought Near

Jeremiah 23:1-6 | Ephesians 2:11-22 | Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Jeremy Richards        

As many of you know, Brie and I went back to Idaho for two weeks while we were on parental leave. And, as many of you also know, we’re from neighboring towns, so every time we go home we see both our families. When we went home a couple weeks ago, we stayed the first week at Brie’s parent’s house and the second week at my parent’s house.

I Am Lost!

Isaiah 6:1-8 | Psalm 29 | Romans 8:12-17 | John 3:1-17

Jeremy Richards 

Today is Trinity Sunday. The day we remember how absurd our faith is. The day we remember that the identity of the God we have put our trust in is a total mystery – God is three and God is one. As the old confession goes, “I believe in one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Try explaining that. You really can’t.

The Touching of Lives

Acts 2:1-21 | Psalm 104:24-34, 35b | Romans 8:22-27 | John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Jeremy Richards

We all know what it’s like to wait for someone. You make a plan to meet at a coffee shop at 9:30, you get there right on time, find a seat, and begin to wait. The clock hits 9:35, 9:40, 9:45. You begin to wonder, did they forget about the meeting? You check your calendar, did you get the day right, the time, the place? Sometimes they’re running late, sometimes they forgot. Until they show up, or it becomes obvious that they aren’t coming, you aren’t sure. You’re stuck waiting.