Pentecost // As I Have Loved You // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture: John 14:15-31

Dear Church,

This Sunday is the most important day in the Christian year–and most of us have never heard of it.  We love to celebrate Christmas and the joy of the birth of our savior.  We love to celebrate Easter and the astonishing triumph of Resurrection.  The goodness and glory of God is certainly on display and worth celebrating on those holy days!

But this Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of all believers!  And Jesus himself says that Pentecost is the reason that he was born and the reason his death is not a loss for the world.  When he sat with his friends the night he was betrayed, he told them that he was ‘going away for a little while.’  That’s an extraordinary way to describe his impending betrayal, condemnation, crucifixion and death! And then he told them something even more astonishing.  He reassured them that it was good for them that he was going.

How could it be good for the people who loved Jesus that he was going to die?

Because–Jesus promises his frightened and confused friends who feel like he’s abandoning them–when he returns to the Father, he will ask God to send them the Holy Spirit.  And then, he will be even closer to them.   Once they are filled with the Holy Spirit, they’ll be even closer to Jesus than when they sit at the same table and share a meal with him. Once they are filled with the Spirit, Jesus will be living within them.

This Sunday, we celebrate the day Jesus kept his promise and poured his Spirit out upon the earth.  Because of Pentecost, we can never be separated from our Savior! 

Come and rejoice, friends! God still pours the Spirit out–

and there is more than enough for everyone!

Come and worship, church! 

This Sunday is literally the day we were made for!


Pastor Kate

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Grace Notes-Week 5 // Walk to Emmaus // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

“We had hoped that he was the one…” (Luke 24:21)

These are some of the most poignant words in all of scripture.  They were spoken by two ex-disciples.  It was Easter afternoon, and they were heading back to their former lives.  They’d heard from the women about angels, they’d heard from the men about an empty tomb.  But none of that mattered to their broken hearts.  It turned out, Jesus wasn’t who they’d hoped he was.

Then, along came a stranger.  A curious stranger who didn’t seem to know anything about Jesus.  The ex-disciples had nothing better to do, so they filled him in on everything that had happened.  Not just what they knew, but also how they felt–their sadness and shame and disappointment.

And then a second miracle happens: they listen to the stranger.  They thought they were the experts, but all of a sudden, he’s teaching them, showing them how Moses and the prophets foretold things would happen in exactly this way.  They are so fascinated by the stranger, so engaged by the conversation, that they invite him to join them for dinner.

And then the third miracle happens.

As they sit at table, the stranger takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to them and their eyes are opened, and they recognized him.  The stranger isn’t a stranger after all.  The stranger is Jesus, the one they thought they knew so well. 

I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being with you all again! I am incredibly grateful for the time you gave me to step away and work on my book, but I have missed being with you so much.  I follow Jesus better when I walk with you. 

We are living the truth of the Emmaus story at the Grove. Those who once were strangers have become treasured friends.  There are vital truths about Jesus that we can never discover for ourselves, we can only receive them from one another.  Now, as then, Jesus reveals himself to us in our friendships with those who once were unknown to us.  No matter how mature we are, we will never outgrow our need for one another.   


Pastor Kate

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Grace Notes-Week 3 // Resurrection Life // Dr. Wes Vander Lugt

Scripture: John 11:1-74Dr.

Dear Church,

During this season of Eastertide, we are celebrating the reality of a risen Jesus and how this Jesus still encounters us today. That can be a wonderful thing, but it’s also uncontrollable and often uncomfortable. As James Baldwin wrote, “The Lord never seems to get there when you want him, but when he arrives he’s always right on time.” This Sunday we’ll be exploring the story of Lazarus in John 11 and how Jesus encountered each character not when or how they wanted, but in fitting and transformative ways. How might the Lord be meeting us in similar ways? How is God calling you into a whole new resurrection life? I hope you can join us as we listen to the Spirit together.

Grace and peace-
Wes Vander Lugt

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