Sermons To Go (Page 2)

Sermons To Go (Page 2)

Beggars’ Banquet

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 these dinners in the first place. Reading about their repeated attempts to expose Jesus as a phony is painfully similar to watching Wile E.…

Vortex (SUMMER SERIES)

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 energy and heightened spiritual experiences. Vortexes differ from most of Sedona’s other charms in that they are not appreciated with the eyes or…

The Flutist (SUMMER SERIES)

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 experience of the place might not be the sights or the sensations, but the sounds. Because it is there that you are likely…

Montezuma’s Well (SUMMER SERIES)

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 to be for very long. As they crossed the dry grasslands of Arizona they stumbled upon a lush oasis, concealed within the depths of…

Devil’s Kitchen (SUMMER SERIES)

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, which was aptly named Devil’s Kitchen. Then, in 1989, a second unexpected collapse event occurred which widened the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole even further.…

Foxtail (SUMMER SERIES)

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 Sacred Pools, where we would drop our mats for a yoga class beneath a clear blue sky and surrounded by the grandeur of…

Palo Verde (SUMMER SERIES)

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 lessons about God have come during my vacation in Sedona, Arizona. In fact, the focal point of this morning’s sermon is Arizona’s official…

Devil’s Bridge (SUMMER SERIES)

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 Trail, but not all of them end up crossing Devil’s Bridge itself. As the Devil’s Bridge Trail nears the Devil’s Bridge arch,…

What to Take with You, What to Leave Behind (SUMMER SERIES)

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…

Century Plant (SUMMER SERIES)

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,…

Cryptobiotic (SUMMER SERIES)

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…

Fatherly Advice from a Shaggy Bark Juniper (Summer Series)

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…

Plans and Goals

Preached FCCW, May 12, 2019 (Senior Sunday) Jeremiah 29:11-13   In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat advises Alice that, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” In the adventures of real life though, whether it’s going from Point A to Point B on a map, going from High School to a future career, or going from a career to retirement, most of us would rather have a good idea of where we…

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…

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…