Sermons from 2019

Sermons from 2019

X-Ray Insight

Luke 2:22-40 Appearances can be misleading. Case in point, a 400-year-old painting on wood of John the Baptist. The painting, which was housed in the Bowes Museum in England, had suffered some deterioration. Before a plan for restorative work could be begun, x-rays were taken to determine the extent of the damage to the wood beneath the paint. What was discovered has been called a “Christmas miracle.” The x-rays revealed another painting that no one knew was there because it…

Are We There Yet? -Love

Matthew 1:18-25 With the lighting of the Candle of Love this morning we have completed our circuit around the Advent wreath. We are nearer than ever to the end of our Advent journey together, and what we discover is that the best has been saved for last. And the best is love. The Bible tells us that God is love! Love is the essence of God’s nature. And since we are created in God’s image, then love is—at least in…

Are We There Yet?-Peace

Luke 1:26-38 and Isaiah 2:1-5 This morning we lit the Advent candle of Peace. Which almost sounds like an oxymoron. Because for most people, Advent is a season characterized by everything that is contrary to peacefulness. Advent, or as most people call it, the Christmas Shopping Season—is a time of high anxiety and stress. The story of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear God’s Son however, is a surprisingly peace-filled Advent moment. There is a palpable…

Are We There Yet? -Hope

Isaiah 40:1-11 and Luke 1:5-17 Zechariah had served God faithfully as a priest in the Temple for all his life.  In fact, he and his wife Elizabeth were descended from priestly families whose roots stretched back to the time of Moses and Aaron. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. There was, though, one holy act of service, that had eluded Zechariah. Until this day. When the…

This Is Your Brain on Gratitude

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and John 6:25-35 Back when the War on Drugs was front page news, there ran a memorable Public Service Ad, where a guy stood in front of a stove with an egg in his hand, saying “This is your brain.” Then he drops the egg into a hot skillet on the stove. The camera zooms in on the egg sizzling in the pan, as the man’s voiceover says “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” And the…

Do Not Be Weary in Doing What Is Right

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 and Luke 21:5-19 A Boston born and raised comedian named Steve Sweeney is known for his jokes about the pessimistic way New Englanders look at life. Like, if one New Englander says “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” you can count on another one coming back with a remark like, “Well, don’t get too used to it, there won’t be many more like this for a while.” We usually think of Jesus as being as optimistic as they…

Former and Future Glories

Haggai 2:1-9 In 1929, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Randolph MA embarked upon an ambitious building project. The wood-frame church was torn down to its foundation in order to make room for a larger, granite structure. Something else happened in 1929 though. The stock market crashed. Then came the Great Depression. The money to rebuild the church evaporated. People were too preoccupied with trying to get by themselves, to have the resources or energy to continue the construction. So, they…

Who? Me? A Saint?

Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31   Several Sundays ago, the Roman Catholic Church canonized five new saints. Which is news that might have easily slipped under the radar for many Protestants. Except that, in his eagerness to celebrate the event, Pope Francis tweeted out the message: Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. The Pope might be considered infallible in some things, but Francis was obviously ill informed about one thing. Little did he know that #Saints is…

Justification for the Back Pew Crowd

Luke 18:9-14 and Romans 3:19-31 I recently read an article that contained a tongue-in-cheek list of justifications for not sitting in the front pew in church on Sunday mornings. Since the front pews are the least populated neighborhood in the sanctuary, I have paraphrased a few of these justifications for you. If you sit in the back pew, there will already be money in the offering plate when it gets to you, so no one will even notice how much…

The Path of Much Persistence

Luke 18:1-8   Emmitt Smith used to be a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Back in 2002, Emmitt set the NFL rushing record- a record that still stands-at 16,743 yards. It took him 13 years to reach that milestone. Which is a pretty impressive lifetime achievement. Until you do the math and figure out that 16,743 yards turns out to be… only a little over 9.5 miles. I cover that much distance every week, just walking Satya around town. Of…

True Life, False Loves

1 Timothy 6:6-19 and Luke 16:19-31 The Mazatec Indians in Southwestern Mexico are 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 so much good to go around. To wish someone well means you have just given away some of your own happiness. The Mazatec Indians’ entire approach to life is rooted in…

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 them, what you really need are friends in high places. In a letter from the Apostle Paul to a young leader of the church in…

Stories We Tell; Stories That Tell Us

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 we’ve told ourselves these stories long enough, the stories we believe about who we are, acquire the power to shape the choices we…

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…