Sermons on Matthew

Every Day an Ash Wednesday

Preached FCCW, March 6, 2019, Ash Wednesday

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The church calendar is filled with holy seasons, like Advent, Epiphany, and lent; and holy days like Christmas, Easter, Pentecost – and the one we are here to observe tonight, Ash Wednesday. Often, there are certain visible and tangible practices associated with these special times. Like being anointed with ashes on Ash Wednesday.

The Covert King

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.

The Things That Are God’s

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.

God’s Sharecroppers

Matthew 21:33-46
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.

Kingdom Wages

Matthew 20:1-16
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.

A Holy Disrespect

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 »

Being Generous to Others, as God Has Been Generous to Us

Matthew 18:21-35
Preached 9/17/2017

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.

Turn Aside

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.

Living Sacrifice

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.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Matthew 15:21-28

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.

Stepping Out in Faith

Matthew 14:22-33

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!”

The Steep Threshold at the Doorway to the Miracle

Matthew 14:13-21

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: “

Independence Day: Part 2

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.

Road Trip

Matthew 9:35 – 10:8 Preached FCCW, June 18, 2017   Author Orson Scott Card once said, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” That might explain why metaphors turn up as often as they do in the Bible. After all, the Bible’s purpose is to communicate the biggest, most more »