True Life, False Loves

Preached FCCW, September 29, 2019 1 Timothy 6:6-19 and Luke 16:19-31 The Mazatec Indians in Southwestern Mexico are an interesting people. One of the most intriguing things about them is the fact that they seldom wish one another well. This odd behavior stems from a cultural concept of “limited good.” They believe there is only…

Prayers for People in High Places

Awhile back, Garth Brooks had a big ol’ hit song about having friends in low places, that were always there when needed to help him drown his sorrows. Those friends in low places may know how to help you forget about your problems, but if you want to solve your problems instead of forgetting about…

Stories We Tell; Stories That Tell Us

Preached FCCW September 15, 2019 Luke 15:1-10 and 1 Timothy 1:12-17  We all have stories that we live by. These stories evolve early in life from messages that we pick up from others, or from the things that happen to us. But, at some point, we internalize these stories, so that they become stories that we begin tell ourselves about ourselves. After…

Beggars’ Banquet

Preached FCCW, September 1, 2019 Text Luke 14:1, 7-14                                                Jesus had been invited to attend a banquet at the home of a leader of the Pharisees. These very upstanding religious leaders were watching Jesus closely, as if they expected him to step out of line in some way. For the life of me, I can’t understand why they kept inviting him to…

Vortex

Preached  FCCW, August 25, 2019 Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Luke 13:10-17 What would a sermon series that was inspired by Sedona be without any mention of vortexes? Ever since the 70’s and 80’s Sedona has been a Mecca for spiritual seekers. One of the prime reasons has been the existence of places–called vortexes–where one is said to be able to encounter concentrated metaphysical…

The Flutist

Preached FCCW, August 18, 2019 Isaiah 5:1-7 and Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2 Near the beginning of the Boynton Canyon Trail—before the desert terrain gives way to the forest of the upper canyon—stand a pair of rock formations named Kachina Woman and Warrior Man. It is said that together they represent natural manifestations of male and female divine energies. But the most memorable…

Montezuma’s Well

Preached FCCW on August 11, 2019 Hebrews 11:1-3, 1-16 More than a thousand years ago, before any European settlers had migrated to the North American continent, a people known as the Sinagua made their way up from what is now Mexico into the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The Spanish translation of the name Sinagua means “without water.” Something they were not destined…

Devil’s Kitchen

Preached FCCW, August 4, 2019 Luke 12:13-21 Some time in the early 1800’s, the peace and serenity of Sedona was disturbed by the sound of a thunderous crash and the sight of a great plume of orange-red dust billowing up into the air, as if spewed from the bowels of hell itself. Further investigation led to the discovery of a large sinkhole,…

Foxtail

Preached FCCW July 28, 2019 Luke 11:1-13 It was on the Soldier Pass Trail, near the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, but not quite as far as Sphinx Rock, that we came upon Foxtail. A half dozen of us were hiking with yoga bags slung over our shoulders, following our trail guide/yoga instructor Cherlita. Our destination was a level rock shelf near the Seven…

Palo Verde

Preached FCCW July 21, 2019 Luke 10:38-42 Today’s message marks the halfway point in our sermon series on “Stuff I Learned from My Summer Vacation.” The focus of the series has been how lessons about God can be found in the natural world all around us, if we are perceptive enough to notice them. And this Summer, some of my most memorable…

Devil’s Bridge

Preached July 14, 2019 Luke 10:25-37 Devil’s Bridge is one of the most popular hiking trails in all of Sedona.  As is often the case, this trail gets its name from the destination to which it leads. At the endpoint of Devil’s Bridge Trail lies a 50-foot-high natural stone arch called Devil’s Bridge. Great numbers of people start out on Devil’s Bridge…

What to Take with You, What to Leave Behind

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,…

Century Plant

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…

Cryptobiotic

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.

Fatherly Advice from a Shaggy Bark Juniper

Preached FCCW June, 16, 2019 (Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday)

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 and Romans 5:1-5

 

Much of the Book of Proverbs is written in the style of fatherly wisdom that is intended to shape the character of children so that they may grow to be in alignment with God’s purpose for their lives. So, you can see why Proverbs can be a treasure trove of material for a Father’s Day sermon.

It may seem strange then, that on this Father’s Day, the passage we read from Proverbs is all about a woman. This is not just any woman, though. Or, even an actual woman. She is a personification of Godly wisdom. Like the way we would use the name “Mother Nature” to describe the natural world. Or, “Lady Luck” to speak about good fortune. The “Wisdom Woman” of Proverbs is described as having been there when God created the universe, and created life. It is a way of saying that Divine Wisdom is in the very DNA of the universe.