Preached FCCW March 4, 2018
In his book Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller says, “The goofy thing about Christian faith is that you believe it and don’t believe it at the same time. It isn’t unlike having an imaginary friend.”
He goes on to say: “I believe in Jesus; I believe He is the Son of God, but every time I sit down to explain this to somebody I feel like a palm reader, like somebody who works at a circus or a kid who is always making things up or somebody at a Star Trek convention who hasn’t figured out the show isn’t real.”
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 and Romans 4:13-25
Preached FCCW February 25, 2018
In the quiet, rural town of Rutland Massachusetts, on a non-descript road, beside the driveway of an unpretentious home, stands a maple tree. This tree is as commonplace as its surroundings. You would likely drive by it without a second glance, except possibly when it is showing off its Autumn foliage. The one feature that sets it apart is the small post and beam fence which forms a box around its trunk. And the sign that hangs on the fence, that identifies the spot where its roots are sunk as the geographical center of the Commonwealth. Which has earned it the name of Central Tree among the locals. So, now you know where to go if you want to see for yourself the answer to the question, “Where is the center-point of Massachusetts?”
Preached FCCW, February 18, 2018 (Lent 1B)
Jesus did many things that we, his followers and disciples will never do. Walking on water, bringing the dead back to life and turning water into wine are a few that spring quickly to mind.
But, I can just as easily name two things Jesus did that most, if not all people in this sanctuary today also have done. And, they are both found in the passage from Mark’s Gospel that I just read.
One is being baptized. The other is facing temptations.
Granted, our baptisms, if we can remember it at all, most certainly lacked the drama and spectacle of what Jesus experienced when he emerged from the waters of the Jordan River.
Preached FCCW February 11, 2018
Two men were having a conversation one day. One of them said, “My wife talks to herself a lot.” His friend answered, “Mine does, too. But she doesn’t know it. She thinks I’m listening.”
When you eavesdrop on conversations Jesus had with his disciples, you have to wonder if sometimes he must have felt like he was talking to himself. They just never seemed to be really listening to him, especially when he tried to tell them about things they would rather not hear.
Text Isaiah 40:21-31
Preached FCCW, February 4, 2018
The prophet Isaiah wrote the words of hope that I just read — about God giving power to the faint and strength to the powerless — to a people who were in desperate need of both. It was a time of great trial for the nation of Israel, many of whom were living in exile in Babylon. The things that had happened to them rocked the foundations of their faith in God. They questioned whether their way was hidden from the Lord or if God had disregarded their right. In other words, did God forget about them or had God forsaken them?
January 28, 2018
The breaking news coming from the city of Capernaum was that the Jesus train was gathering steam and picking up passengers.
In the short space of just the first half of the opening chapter of his Gospel, Mark traces Jesus’ rise to recognition from an opening endorsement by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, to a grass roots movement of gathering disciples in Galilee, to his breakout preaching engagement in Capernaum.
Preached FCCW, January 21, 2018
Text Mark 1:14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;repent, and believe in the good news.”
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.
Preached FCCW, January 14, 2017
How do you define the word “Christian?”
If I asked you to complete this sentence: A Christian is someone who _________,
how would you fill in the blank?
Given the number of people here, I bet we would could come up with a whole gamut of responses before we were through.
Ephesians 3: 1-12 Preached FCCW January 7, 2018
In the present day city of Jerusalem, stands the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built on the hill where tradition claims, Jesus was crucified and buried. Due to the sacredness of its location, possession of the structure has changed hands numerous times through history.
Home for the Holidays
Luke 2:1-7 Preached FCCW, December 24, 2017
We come to the last in this Advent sermon series on Finding Sacred Truths in Secular Christmas Songs.
In case you didn’t recognize that tune, it’s “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”
Those words capture one of the enduring charms of Christmas time; that sense that there really is “no place like home for the holidays” which compels us, no matter how far away we’ve roamed, to return to our roots to celebrate the season, and to experience that sense of belonging that we all yearn for.
Luke 1:5-7 and Mark 1:1-8
Preached FCCW, December 3, 2017
Friday morning, while posting the daily UCC Devotional to the Church Facebook page, a post in my news feed from the Westminster Police Department caught my eye.
It wasn’t the usual warning about telephone scammers, an Amber Alert or even a traffic advisory.
This post announced that Santa Claus is coming to town.
That’s right! He’s coming here to Westminster!
The announcement listed the times and places where he would be, and detailed instructions to follow if you wanted to meet the jolly old elf in person.
Ephesians 1:15-23 and Matthew 25:31-46
Preached FCCW November 26, 2017 (Christ the King Sunday)
There is a story that comes to us from out of the 16th century about a great leader of the church by the name of Bishop Hugh Latimer.
One Sunday morning he entered his pulpit and looked out to see King Henry VIII in the congregation.
I’m guessing that Old Henry wasn’t hard to spot out there in the pews.
He might have worn his crown and carried his scepter.
At the very least, he would have been wearing his Sunday best, which is saying something when you’re talking about a King’s wardrobe.
You might think that Bishop Latimer would have been greatly honored at the unexpected presence of his sovereign monarch in his church.
Except that he knew that the sermon he prepared to preach that day would not go well with King Henry.
He thought for a moment and then said to himself, but out loud for all to hear, “Latimer, be careful what you say today; King Henry is here.”
Almost as quickly as Latimer felt the pressure to tailor the sermon he was ready to preach so that it would not offend King Henry, something reminded him of another monarch who was also in attendance.
Preached FCCW November, 19, 2017 Thanksgiving Sunday
Could there ever be a Biblical passage better suited for the Thanksgiving holiday than today’s Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy?
Moses whet the Israelites’ appetite for the Promised Land that awaited them by focusing on the easy access to food they would enjoy there. He portrayed Canaan as a land of olive trees, fruits and honey, and bread without scarcity. Which I think meant the same thing then as it does now – all you can eat. Not exactly turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, but certainly a lot better than the diet they had been used to.
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Preached FCCW, November 12, 2017
The story that the Bible tells often reads like a family tree of faith.
Interspersed throughout the Old Testament and the gospels are genealogies, like mile markers along a road. Those are the passages that never get read in worship, and the ones that we most likely skip over when we read the Bible ourselves.
Why take the time to wade through lists of people who most have never heard of with names that few can pronounce? What purpose does it serve?
Preached FCCW November 5, 2017 All Saints Day
In Coventry, England there stands a very uniquely modern cathedral.
The massive south wall of that structure is made entirely of glass.
And etched into the glass are the huge figures — four feet wide and ten feet tall — of saints and angels.