Sermons on Luke

What to Take with You, What to Leave Behind

Preached FCCW July 7, 2019

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

The difference between an enjoyable hike and a miserable hike often comes down to what you take with you, and what you leave behind. Ideally, your backpack will be light enough to not be a burden. So, you don’t want to pack it with non-essentials that could have been left behind. On the other hand, you want to make sure that you take with you those supplies that you might regret not having if a situation arose where they would be needed.

Century Plant

Preached FCCW June 30-2019

Luke 9:51-61 and Galatians 5:1, 13-25


The agave americana is a succulent plant commonly found in the deserts of Sedona. With its enormous leaves, capable of storing large amounts of water and sharp spikes along the edges of those leaves for discouraging thirsty animals from preying upon it, it is clear that evolution has given the agave americana the right tools for living a long and healthy life in the desert. Which is why the agave americana’s non-scientific name is, the Century Plant. And, even though Century Plants don’t literally live for 100 years, they can live 10, 20 or 30 years!


Preached FCCW June 23, 2019

Luke 8:26-39 and Galatians 3:23-39


While the plants and trees that grow in Sedona’s desert landscape appear to be rugged and just about indestructible, something I learned on my Summer vacation is that it is actually an extremely fragile ecosystem. At most trailheads there are signs emphasizing the importance of not wandering from established trails just to get a better look at a scenic vista or to take a selfie beside a prickly-pear cactus. “Don’t Bust the Crust” is a slogan found at just about every trail kiosk.

The Exception to the Rule

Preached FCCW, April 21 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Luke 24:1-12

I subscribe to a news magazine that, week after week delivers a pretty comprehensive summary of current events from around the globe. In every issue of this magazine, you will find a section named, “It Wasn’t All Bad.” As the name implies, this section is devoted to showcasing positive and upbeat stories about people acting courageously, kindly and selflessly. It is also the smallest section of every issue. Never taking up more than a quarter page or so at most.

Some Secrets Are Made for Shouting

Preached Palm Sunday (April 14) 2019

Luke 19:28-40 and 23:13-25, 44-47

Secrets generally fall into two distinct categories. There are secrets that we guard with our very life because they are connected to some deep personal shame within us. We may carry these secrets for a lifetime and never come close to revealing them to another living soul. Because we can’t bear the thought of the rejection that would follow. Ironically, the only way to break the power that such secrets hold over us is to confess them to a safe person who can receive the secret with grace and help us to cease letting it define us.

The Parable of the Dishonored Father

Preached FCCW, March 31, 2019

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32


Some of the religious folks began to take notice that many people who were coming to hear Jesus teach were not like the audiences other rabbis attracted. And not in a good way. They said, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them!”

So, Jesus told them this parable…

In other words, this was how Jesus responded to their criticism about the company he kept and what it said about his own character. Actually, Jesus told them, not just a parable, but three parables. The 15th Chapter of Luke’s Gospel could be aptly named “The Trilogy of Lost Animals, Objects and Relationships.” The entire chapter consists of three parables, each one directly addressed to the insinuation by the scribes and Pharisees that his acceptance of sinners and outcasts cast doubts upon the legitimacy of his ministry.

Bodily Temptations

Preached FCCW, March 10, 2019 Lent 1C

Luke 4:1-13

It’s not what it sounds like. The sermon title I mean. Whether this comes as a relief or a letdown, you’re not about to hear a racy message about temptations of the flesh.

The Apostle Paul often referred to the Church as the Body of Christ. It’s the temptations that we face as part of that Body – as a community of believers – that we’ll be looking at this morning.


Preached FCCW March 3. 2019

Transfiguration Sunday

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 and Luke 9:28-43a

The quote for meditation on the cover of your bulletin comes from a prominent leader in the early days of the Christian Church, named Irenaeus.

It begins with these words, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”

But, what does it mean to be fully alive?

For some it might involve some kind of thrill-seeking adventure.

Maybe bungee jumping, climbing Mt. Everest, or booking a seat on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX orbiters.

Blessed Be

Preached FCCW on February 17, 2019

Jeremiah 17:5-10 and Luke 6:17-26

When I was a kid, my parents gave me a subscription to Highlights for Children, a monthly magazine for kids. Other than the grown-up feeling I got from having magazines delivered in the mail just for me, there’s not a lot else I can recall about the magazine’s content.

Except for Goofus and Gallant.

Goofus and Gallant were the names of two characters who appeared in a comic strip that ran in every issue of Highlights. The intent of the Goofus and Gallant page was to prompt kids like me to think about right and wrong behaviors and hopefully to help us make good choices in life. The comic was always divided into two separate panels presented side by side. One for Goofus and one for Gallant. Neither one ever crossed over to interact with the other one. It was like they dwelt in two totally separate universes. Gallant’s actions were always virtuous and respectful. Goofus’ actions were always rude and selfish.

Go Deep

Preached FCCW, February 10, 2019

Luke 5:1-11

At staff meeting on Tuesday morning – which coincided with the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory parade — someone inferred that this morning’s sermon title had something to do with that game. Since “go deep” is something that a quarterback typically tells a receiver before he throws a long bomb in his direction – like the one Tom Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski to set up the game winning touchdown – it was suggested that maybe that play had some influence on the sermon title.

Star Child

Preached FCCW             December 23, 2018    Advent 4C

Luke 1:39-56

TED-43 [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Like many of you, lately I have been spending more time in shopping malls than I typically do other times of the year. Since everybody else seems to have been doing the same thing, I have also been spending more time waiting in check-out lines. I’m not complaining though, because it turns out to have been time well spent. It has in fact, made me pause and pay attention to some current events I might otherwise have missed.

Thanks to all the tabloids and entertainment magazines that line the shelves at every cashier’s counter, and all the extra time available for me to read them while waiting in long lines, I can say with confidence that I am now up to date on all the latest celebrities and otherwise important people who are expecting babies. Practically every magazine cover I saw featured expectant A-List mothers, from Amy Schumer to Meghan Markle.

The Other (Not Quite As) Immaculate Conception

Preached FCCW. December 9, 2018

Luke 1:68-79


Improbable pregnancies are a recurring theme in the Bible. None more so than the one we celebrate every 25th of December. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was found to be with child even though she was a virgin. What has come to be known as “The Immaculate Conception.”

While the Immaculate Conception is the one and only perfect 10 on the scale of miraculous births, highly unlikely pregnancies can be found scattered throughout the pages of Scripture. This field of runners-ups to Mary’s story share a few common denominators. Beginning with the fact that those women were all barren; which as the label implies, means that they were about as fertile as the Sinai desert.


Preached FCCW, December 2, 2018 (Advent 1C)

Luke 21:25-36


Jesus once told a parable about signs.

He said. “Look at a fig tree. As soon as it sprouts leaves you know it is a sign that a change of seasons is just around the corner.”

With the season of Advent, comes the many signs that Christmas is coming soon. There are signs in homes and public places, in the form of Christmas trees and bright lights. Even Black Friday doorbusters and Cyber Monday sales are signs of the season in their own way.

Home for the Holidays

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.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

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.