Sermons To Go (Page 3)

Sermons To Go (Page 3)

To view entire worship service look for the video icon in each of the weeks Sermon’s.

First Comes Love

  Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-18 When a couple comes to me to be married part of the time we spend together involves me getting to know them and engaging in some pre-marital counseling to prepare them to enter the covenant of marriage well equipped for success. But a large part of the time is also dedicated to planning the wedding ceremony itself. I go over each part of the ceremony carefully with them so that they understand the meaning and…

The Obedient One

Matthew 21: 23-32        T. S. Eliot once wrote, Oh my soul, be prepared to meet Him who knows how to ask questions.” Let me tell you, Jesus knew how to ask questions. Almost every time someone asked Jesus a question, he replied with a question of his own. So it was, one day while Jesus was in Jerusalem, that the religious leaders came to Jesus with a question, as he was teaching in the Temple. “By what authority are you…

When Kingdoms Collide

Matthew 20:1-16 and Philippians 1:20-30 Frederick Beuchner once defined a parable as “a small story with a large point.” He was speaking of a metaphorical point, of course. As in, a moral or spiritual lesson to be learned from the parable. But, many of Jesus’ parables also pack a literal point. Like the pointy end of a thumbtack left on the floor, which we accidentally step on in our bare feet in the middle of the night while making our…

Freedom Trail

Exodus 14:10-31 When I was a kid in school, I always looked forward to field trips. Partly because it felt like a day off from being in a classroom. But more than that, field trips made history come alive for me in ways that a textbook alone never could. Simply reading about the perilous voyage of the Mayflower, for instance, failed to impress on me the harsh realities of that journey. What did the trick was walking the dark, claustrophobic…
feet on ground

Holy Ground All Around

Exodus 3:1-15   Certain holidays that we celebrate are easily associated with matters of faith. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, to name a few.  Pretty much, Labor Day is not that kind of holiday.       Maybe it should be. One reason that it isn’t is that labor and commerce are considered to be secular matters. But it wasn’t always so. For centuries, what came to be known as the Protestant Work Ethic gave people a sense that what they did to make a…
Losers, Keepers Crosses

Losers, Keepers

Matthew 16:21 – 28 “Finders, keepers; losers, weepers.” We’ve all grown up with those words. Just an innocent little kid’s rhyme, right? Until you think about what those words actually mean, and what kind of lesson it teaches about how we treat each other. Finders, keepers; losers, weepers, boils down to something like this: You lose something of value (whether material or sentimental value) and that loss causes you grief. Losing it makes you a weeper. Then I have the…

Prevailing Against the Gates of Hades

Matthew 16:13-18 and Romans 12:1-8 The weather on this particular day of our Holy Land pilgrimage was uncharacteristically gloomy. Gray clouds hung ominously above us and the misty air dampened our enthusiasm for outdoor exploration. You couldn’t have asked for better weather for a visit to the Gates of Hell. In Old Testament times the place had been the site of a cult to the Canaanite fertility god, Ba’al. In a culture that depended on agriculture for its survival, fertility…

Like Oil and Water

Psalm 133 and Matthew  15:21-28 The 133rd Psalm is one of a group of Psalms in the Bible called Songs of Ascent. They are called Songs of Ascent because it is believed that these Psalms were sung by Israelite pilgrims traveling from their homes to worship in Solomon’s Temple; which meant literally ascending up to the city of Jerusalem where the Temple was located. The Ascent Psalms were mostly upbeat and hopeful in tone. They reverberated with praises to God,…

Out of the Boat

Matthew 14:13-22  In the Viet Nam war film “Apocalypse Now”, there is a scene when two crew members of an American gun boat have left the safety of the boat to scout some unfamiliar jungle along the riverbank. Suddenly, they are confronted—not by Viet Cong guerrillas—but by a man-eating tiger. They somehow manage to outrun the tiger back to the boat. As the boat speeds away from shore, one of the soldiers who just narrowly escaped keeps repeating breathlessly to…

Birthrights

Genesis 32:22-31   Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Bible is nothing but dull stories about fuddy-duddies and do-gooders. Anyone who says that has obviously never actually read the Bible. And they have certainly never heard about Jacob. Jacob was as cunning and calculating of a con-man as you would find anywhere. A scoundrel who never let a moral principle or a twinge of conscience stand between him and anything he really wanted in life. And he was that…

Zero Degrees of Separation

Text Romans 8:26-39 It used to be that people lived by a belief that there was safety in numbers. From children who were taught to follow a ‘buddy system” for safety’s sake at places like beaches and pools; to adults who were advised not to walk alone in risky parts of town; close proximity to people we could trust was a reliable strategy for personal safety. Times have changed, thanks to the COVID pandemic. Nowadays, “misery loves company” might be…

Weeds Among Wheat

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 The first home Sue and I owned together was a townhouse in a condominium complex. Every Spring, professional landscapers hired by the condo association did an immaculate job of planting, pruning, mulching and weeding. After living there for ten years, we were pretty spoiled by the luxury of enjoying such well-manicured grounds without having to lift a finger to maintain them ourselves. In fact, the condo regulations forbade any exterior gardening by residents. I guess that they…

A Declaration of God-Dependence

Romans 7:15-25a We Americans pride ourselves on, and jealously guard, our independence. Yesterday we held our annual star-spangled celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Also, recently, some people chose to assert their independence in a less desirable manner by disregarding social distancing guidelines and wearing protective masks during the pandemic. Independence is a worthy this to celebrate. But independence can also create illusions of self-sufficiency. It can make us forget that there are some things that we…

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…