Grace Archive

July 9, 2017, Luke 15 Part II, The Parable of the Lost Coin

July 11, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

Pastor Mario continues his sermon series on Luke 15, focusing on verses 8-10. These three verses are often overlooked as it sits between two of the more well known stories in this parable of Jesus. However, these three short verses still speak volumes to us today. We can often understand getting lost in the wilderness, but when something is lost in our home, the frustration, the urgency and determination to find it is all the more amplified. (Think about how you turn your home upside down to find your wallet, keys or glasses).

In this parable, the lost coin is finally found, a party ensues, and the coin can now be used for the purposes intended. Being found by Jesus is a lot like that. We are free to become what God desires us to be as his people. Namely, people who will now gladly go and find others who are lost. What does this parable of woman who lost her coin have to tell us today? Give a listen and know that even when we are lost in house, the one who created us searches for us. Once we are found, the party begins!

Filed under Jesus, Grace, Love, Parables, Lost and Found, Reconciliation, Celebration · Comments

July 2, 2017: Luke 15 Part I, The Parable of the Lost Sheep

July 11, 2017 @ 4:27 pm

Have you ever been lost? It's an important question we all must all wrestle with as we consider the three parables. Today's Scritpure reading was from Luke 15:1-7. Jesus tells these stories in response to the Pharisees and Scribes grumbling and complaining about Jesus' social habits. These three stories are meant to be taken as a single unit. In addition to the Pharisees and scribes, we also want to consider the the tax collectors, sinners, and Jesus himself in this famous chapter from Luke's Gospel.

This is the first sermon in a four-week series by Pastor Mario. The first of the three stories begins with a lost sheep in the wilderness and a shepherd who will gladly search until he finds it. This first story ends with a party that the community throws when the lost sheep is found. This story is a glimpse into repentance, reconciliation and restoration. Join us, as we journey together, into the heart of Luke's Gospel and into the heart of Jesus.

*For further reading, see Kenneth Bailey's, The Cross and the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants. *

Filed under Jesus, Grace, Love, Parables, Lost and Found, Reconciliation, Celebration · Comments

July 11, 2017: Connected to Our Power Source

July 11, 2017 @ 10:20 am

Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:1-6. On Trinity Sunday, Pastor Dennis encouraged our high school and college graduates to stay connected to Jesus, our true power source as we navigate the many choices we face in life. 

Filed under Hilltop UMC, Gratitude, Grace, Fruitfulness · Comments

June 4, 2017: Pentecost Sunday

July 11, 2017 @ 9:33 am

Our Scripture reading was found in the Book of Acts 2:1-13. The day in which we remember the outpouring of God's Spirit upon his people. We are reminded that as we remain faithful the narrative that we find in Scripture, the church is called and empowered to to be the face of God's love to the world.



Filed under Jesus, Grace, Pentecost, Love · Comments

June 18, 2017–The Great Banquet

June 23, 2017 @ 2:45 pm


The scripture is Luke 14: The Parable of the Great Banquet.  This sermon briefly explores Jesus' answer to the question: Who gets to participate in Jesus' banquet that marks arrival of God's Kingdom? What does it mean for us to compel others to come to this party? What excuses do we often offer and can we, like the servant in this story, capture the host's hospitality, and process our own anger and rejection into grace? This was Mario's first sermon at Hilltop. 

Filed under Jesus, Gratitude, Hospitality, Grace, Parables, Celebration · Comments

May 28th — A Call to Unity

May 28, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

This the ravings of a lunatic on behalf of God urging unity.  

The text is Galatians 3: 23-29 and the sermon primarily dwells on Paul's context with a strong focus on the baptismal formula he is using about Jews/Gentiles, Free/Slave and Man/Woman.  I could NOT pull up the word "crescent" when discussing the various symbols on graves for those being remembered on Memorial Day -- Cross (check), Star of David (check), and Crescent and Star (all I got out was Star, didn't get the Crescent).  Forgive me.  

I obviously have gotten to a place where I think we are too often, majoring in the minors.  I know there are many who find me deluded.  

It is my style to preach elements of the sermon in the statement of the theme, the scripture reading, the message itself, and then during the benediction.  

This is from the 10:30 service and the "Smith" party is a 95th Birthday Celebration with Pearl Smith.  

Filed under Freedom, Jesus, Unity, Grace, Fruitfulness · Comments

Mother’s Day — 2017 — Acts 15 — Who Gets Nurtured?

May 27, 2017 @ 11:34 am

That minefield that is Mother's Day.  Relationships gone bad, or lost, or never was.  All of those emotions and more.  I focused on nurture.  

Filed under Hilltop UMC, giving, Gratitude, Hospitality, Pain, Grace, Fruitfulness, Nurture · Comments

Acts 8: 26-40 — The Ethiopian Eunuch

May 7, 2017 @ 2:51 pm


Odd passage to our ears.  A Eunuch?  What's that about?  But in this case, Philip has just preached to Samaritans, outcasts, and now he is preaching/teaching to another outcast.  The message is as fresh today as it was in Philip's day.  Who is invited to God's table and the answer is -- Samaritans, Sexually Questionable Characters, and yes, you and me.  

Filed under Hilltop UMC, UMC, Yes to the Possible, All things are possible?, Grace, Fruitfulness · Comments

I Believe in God — Hilltop Chancel Choir

May 2, 2017 @ 3:40 pm


Our Chancel Choir this past Sunday.  I was not present to hear or experience this.  Transcendent.  

Filed under Hilltop UMC, Yes to the Possible, All things are possible?, Courage, Pain, Grace · Comments

April 23, 2017 - Spiritual Gifts

April 23, 2017 @ 6:28 pm


Acts 6: 1-7.  Spiritual Gifts.  

Filed under Hilltop UMC, UMC, Freedom, Yes to the Possible, Why?, All things are possible?, Grace, Fruitfulness · Comments

Various Thoughts from Dennis Shaw
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