Preached October 26, 2017 Reformation Sunday
Jesus said to some Jews who believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
By his own admission, the people he was talking to believed in him, which probably meant they accepted on an intellectual level that he was the Messiah that the Jewish people had been waiting for. But that did not quite make them disciples. To be truly his disciples, they had to, as he said, continue in his word. That expression, to continue, is related to the word abide, which means to make someplace or something your abode. Your home. It implies permanence and continuation and relationship. To become a disciple of Jesus requires something more than intellectual belief in him. It demands a commitment to a relationship to him that shapes all our other relationships and determines our choices.
Preached FCCW 10-22-2017
Matthew 22:15-22 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
According to the laws of Newtonian physics, no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.
Which, long before an apple ever dropped on Newton’s head, was already an established fact.
Not based on any Law of physics, but on the Law of simple common sense. The kind of common sense that the Pharisees and Herodians trusted in to rid themselves of Jesus.
Preached FCCW, October 15, 2017
Like most of you, I’ve been watching the frightening images of the deadly wildfires that are ravaging Northern California.
It’s hard to believe it’s the same place of such serene beauty that Sue and I saw when we vacationed in Napa Valley years ago.
Philippians 3:4b-14 Preached FCCW, October 8, 2017 Are we there yet? Anyone who has traveled with children has heard those words, right? They remind us how anticipation of something good that awaits us down the road can affect the way we feel about the present moment. And, while we may outgrow the impulse to say more »
Preached FCCW 9-24-2017
Jesus taught about many things, but by far, his favorite talking point was the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now, the Kingdom of Heaven is not the kind of Kingdom, that can be located on a map. Neither is it Heaven – as in a place with angels on clouds strumming harps. When Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven, what he was describing was the world as God intended it to be. A world of righteousness, mercy and justice.
Preached FCCW October 1, 2017 Matthew 21:23-32 In order to understand the full meaning of the story I just read, you need to rewind the clock by 24 hours. That would take you to a different scene in the Jerusalem Temple. There is Jesus, flipping over the tables of the money changers and chasing everyone more »
On the Sunday chosen to kick-off our “Generous Giving” campaign, you think that there must be a better starting place than a parable about a man who is so deep in debt that he comes within a hairsbreadth of having himself and his family sold into slavery as restitution.
Or, who, after being graciously forgiven the large debt he owes, turns around, seizes another man by the throat and demands that the man immediately repay a very small debt owed to him or be sent to prison.
Preached FCCW, September 10, 2017 (Church School Kickoff Sunday)
Have you ever noticed how much we use stones of one kind or another to tell our stories?
There are birthstones to mark our coming into the world, and tombstones to mark our leaving it. In between, monuments of marble and granite are erected to that which is deemed noble and praiseworthy in life; while stone and concrete are the foundation of the homes where our actual life-stories unfold.
Text Exodus 3:1-15 and Mathew 16:24-26
Preached FCCW, September 3, 2017
A street in London named Brick Lane has gained a reputation as the most dangerous place in the city for mobile phone users. This dubious distinction comes from the fact that it claims the highest rate in the country for people bumping into lampposts because they’ve got their eyes glued to their phone screens.
One group of concerned citizens went so far as to propose cushioning lampposts to decrease the frequency of injuries. And, I suppose, embarrassments.
Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-20
Preached FCCW, August 27, 2017
I don’t know where the expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” originated; but I’m willing to bet that it didn’t start with the Apostle Paul. After all, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is basically saying that you should conform to your cultural surroundings. That you should blend in; follow the crowd.
Preached FCCW August 20, 2017
When she was a young woman in Switzerland during the waning days of WWII, the famous psychiatrist and author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, joined an international relief organization, where she provided medical care to refugees in a makeshift German clinic. Her father had strong reservations about his daughter’s plans, but gave his approval on the condition that she promise to never enter the country of Poland. His prejudice against the Polish people was so great that he threatened to disown his own daughter if she employed her healing skills on Polish soil.
Preached FCCW August 13, 2017
In the epic Viet Nam War film, “Apocalypse Now,” there’s a scene where the American crew of a river patrol boat disembark on a dense jungle shore, where they have an unexpected confrontation — not with the Viet Cong — but with a ferocious tiger. Running for their lives, they just barely make it back to the safety of their vessel without being eaten alive by the tiger. As the boat pulls away from shore, one of the traumatized troops keeps repeating to himself, “Never get out of the boat! Never get out of the boat!”
Preached FCCW August 6, 2017
At a social gathering two tables were set with a fountain of punch on each table. On one table, a sign read “NON-ALCOHOLIC.” On the other table the sign warned that the punch was spiked with alcohol. The “ALCOHOLIC” sign was accidentally knocked off the table and before anyone had noticed and replaced it, the pastor of a notoriously legalistic church approached the table, filled his glass with the unmarked punch and begin to sip. The pastor had drunk three glasses of the unmarked punch, and was on his way back to the table for another refill, when someone noticed what was going on. They went up to the pastor and asked: “
Romans 8:26-39 Preached FCCW, 7-30-2017 In Mark Twain’s book Huckleberry Finn, the main character tells about his first attempts at praying in these words: Miss Watson took me in the closet and prayed. But nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day and whatever I asked for I would get it. more »
Romans 7:15-25a and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Preached FCCW July 9, 2017
Joni Ericson was only 15 when she was permanently paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident. Joni describes her memory of lying on a hospital gurney, when she noticed that the sheet covering her had slipped to the side. In her modesty, Joni desperately wanted to cover herself. But as much as she wanted to make her arms and hands move, they simply would not respond. Joni knew in her mind exactly what she wanted to do, but her body was totally unresponsive. Thankfully, most of us will never know what it is to be imprisoned inside a body that will not respond to the commands of your mind.