Category Archives: Stephen Stark

Rooted in Light

By Stephen Stark, 3/19/17

John 3:11-21 (Common English Bible)

I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony.  If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.  God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.  God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son. “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil.  All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light.  Whoever does the truth comes to the light so that it can be seen that their actions were done in God.”

Desire for Change

By Stephen Stark, 1/29/17

Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)              

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.  Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.   “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.   “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Butterfly Effect

by Stephen Stark, 10/30/16

Luke 19:1-10 NRSV

He entered Jericho and was passing through it.  A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.  He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.  When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.  All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”  Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Unseen and Unheard

By Stephen Stark, 9/25/2016

Luke 16:19-31 CEB

“There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day.  At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.  Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick his sores.  “The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side.  He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’  “The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father’s house.  I have five brothers. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’   Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’   The rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’  Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

outward and inward

By Stephen Stark, 7/31/16

Colossians 3:12-17 (CEB)           

Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.  And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people.  The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.

Love and or Anger

by Stephen Stark, 6/26/16

Luke 9:51-62 (NRSV)

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.  When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”  But he turned and rebuked them.  Then they went on to another village.  As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

Get up you are not finished

By Stephen Stark – 4/17/16

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.  She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.  At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.  Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”  So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.  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.  This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.