Sermons To Go

Sermons To Go

Sowing God’s Word

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Today is the first of three consecutive Sundays that focus on the parables of Jesus. So I guess a good place to start would be to say something about what a parable is and how they work. Parables were simple stories that Jesus told to teach people eternal truths. Taken at face value, parables were about ordinary activities like farming, or shepherding, or investing money. But beneath the surface of these stories about everyday life lay extraordinary…

New Normal

Matthew 10:24-39 In the state of Illinois, there is a town named Normal. Really. I’m not making this up. In downtown Normal, there is a sculpture. The sculpture is of a man and a woman gazing into each others eyes. On the woman’s lap is a little boy. Lying down, with her head resting on the woman’s leg, is a young girl. A plaque on the base of the sculpture displays its name. It says, “The Normal Family.” Again- not…

The Illogical Essence of Being

John 1:1-5, 10-14, 18 and Genesis 1:26-31 There are certain days on the Church calendar that present preachers with the daunting challenge of having something to say about a well known passage that the congregation has not already heard many times before. These are the days like Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Then there are days like Trinity Sunday, where the challenge is not so much to say something fresh and new as it is to simply say anything relevant to…

Suppose the Grinch Stole Pentecost Instead (Pandemic Version)

Acts 2:1-21 and Numbers 11:24-30 Many notorious heists have captured the public’s imagination over the years. The Brinks Job, The Great Train Robbery, and The Gardner Museum Art Heist, to name a few. But none of these were as daring or as infamous as Dr. Seuss’ story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As you might recall, the Grinch’s motive for stealing Christmas was not greed; and his objective was not to get rich. It was that his heart was…

Untroubled Hearts in Troubled Times

John 14:1-14 and 1 Peter 2:2-10 It was the evening before the last earthly day of Jesus’ life. He had been preparing his disciples for this moment for some time, but they stubbornly refused to listen. So, this night, with the final grains of sand in of the hourglass of his life running out, he tried one more time. The conversation he had with them began after their last supper together, when Jesus took a basin of water and a…

The Once and Future Church

Acts 2:42-47 Once upon a time there was a church. Not just any church. I can say with confidence that it was a church unlike what any of us have ever seen. What made it so special? First, its members devoted themselves to learning as much as they could about their faith. They devoted themselves to prayer. They devoted themselves to fellowshipping with one another and sharing meals together. Devoted themselves to those activities. It was not something that they…

Selfies

John 20:19-31 All the communicating I’ve been doing lately through teleconferencing and zoom meetings has got me thinking about how different the resurrection of Jesus would have been if there had been smartphones around. I mean, a lot of incredible stuff took place that day and it would have been such an advantage to have been able to record what was happening in pictures rather than having to rely on eyewitness testimonies. Beginning with when Mary Magdalene woke everyone up…

Trail Magic

Luke 24:13-35 Those who hike, especially those who hike the Appalachian Trail, have an expression they use to describe the unexpected, awe inspiring events that sometimes happen to them on their journeys. “Trail magic,” they call it. Trail magic can be something natural, like a glimpse of wildlife, or the majesty of an awesome sunset. Trail magic can also be the unexpected kindness of strangers, such as a family offering to share its picnic with a passing hiker, or any…

Homilia Interruptus

Acts 20:7-12 The old slogan claims that laughter is the best medicine, and medicine is something we all could use as the COVID pandemic wears on. As I prayed the prayer asking God to bless the words of my mouth before I begin to preach this morning, I am reminded of a preacher’s little boy who one Sunday morning inquired, “Daddy, I notice every Sunday morning when you first come out to preach, you bow your head. What are you…

The Big Reveal

Matthew 28:1-10 I’ve never been a fan of reality television shows or reality TV stars. Still, I admit that not all reality shows are created equal. There are those that glorify family dysfunction and others that make love and courtship into a competitive sport. Then there are those that actually do have some redeeming social value. One of those was Extreme Home Makeover, which featured a family that had faced some sort of recent or ongoing hardship being rewarded with…

Rainy Day Parades

Matthew 21:1-11 and Matthew 27:11-54 During the recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, our itinerary called for us to walk the route of Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem. But the morning that we were to do the Palm Sunday walk was uncharacteristically cold, raw, and rainy. For the sake of the safety of those who had limited mobility, and the comfort of the rest of us, we abandoned our plans to follow the footsteps of Jesus from Bethany to Jerusalem…

Glorifying God

John 11:1-45 The messenger arrived where Jesus and his disciples were staying with the kind of news no one wants to receive. “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.” It was a simple statement of fact, but an unspoken hope hovered in the silence that followed. An expectation that Jesus, who had healed countless strangers, would surely rush to cure his good friend Lazarus. Jesus, though, seemed remarkably nonchalant about his friend’s condition. He said, “This illness does not…

How Coveting Toilet Paper Became a Thing

Psalm 46 I’ve seen enough apocalyptic disaster movies to know that the plots of most of them follow a predictable formula. Most revolve around humanity’s struggle to avoid extinction in the face of a global catastrophic shortage of some resource. In “The Road” it was a shortage of food. In “Waterworld” melting ice caps covered the continents with oceans, creating a scarcity of dry land for people to live on. In “Mad Max” it was water that there was not…

If You Only Knew

John 4:5-42 Back in 2004, a guy named Frank Warren had an interesting idea for an art project. He made up some postcards that were blank on one side and on the other side were printed with his address and a simple invitation. The invitation was this: “You are invited to anonymously share a secret. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared…

Trick Answers

John 3:1-17 A random group of people on the street were asked to solve this word problem: “At a wedding, there were seventy-five guests and sixty-eight pieces of cake. How many didn’t” Everyone was confused because the question didn’t logically follow the information given. That’s because the question set them up to make a false assumption about what was being asked by using something called a homophone. In case you don’t remember your grammar school grammar lessons, homophones are words…