Wrestling with God

Sermon Text: Genesis 32: 22-29  

Today’s message is about wrestling. In particular the story we just heard from Genesis 32 about Jacob wrestling with God. 

When you think of wrestling your thoughts may automatically go to WWE or one of the many wrestling entertainment associations. You may love that stuff. When I was a boy the wrestling was always on TV on Saturday afternoon and I took it very seriously. My favorite was a guy called Big Daddy. He was the good guy. He was also pretty old and big, when I say big I don’t mean well built, I mean, he was overweight, I never questioned the fact that this old overweight guy always won. I just accepted it. I mean it was a legit sport, right? ... See full sermon here
 

Jesus and Thomas

Sermon text: John 20:19-31 

This morning’s passage is one of this week’s lectionary texts and tells us of Jesus’ interaction with the disciples as they hide following the crucifixion. This, of course, includes his interaction with the disciple Thomas. 

I have got to be honest, I feel a little sorry for Thomas. He was a man who followed Jesus throughout his ministry, and if we follow some of what we read of his life after Jesus, he was very influential in the growth of the early church. He traveled far and wide to spread the word. Yet he is known forever for this one moment in time. We don’t talk about Peter the denier or Moses the Mumbler, but we all know about Thomas the Doubter...Read full sermon here
 

Seeking the Living Among the Dead

Sermon Text: Luke 24:1-11

One night in Nashville, Tennessee, when I was a pastor there, I volunteered at St. Patrick’s Winter Shelter for homeless families. It was on the top floor of a Catholic church. As I reached the top of the long staircase – I always lost my breath on the way up – the first person I saw was Pat Zotloukal. “Uh oh.” I thought. ”He’s back.” I’d met Pat six months before at the shelter with his family. They’d come to Nashville from Iowa looking for work after their restaurant failed. Their kids enrolled in the Nashville schools, and the family stayed at the shelter while Pat and his wife got jobs and saved enough money for rent. My friend John Paul Walters, a Christian musician, volunteered with me that night, and we spent the evening with Pat and his family, playing guitar and swapping stories. Now, six months later, he was back at the shelter. “Oh no!” I thought to myself. “What happened?”  See full sermon here

What is Humility?

Text: Philippians 2:1-11

What is humility? Why is it so important in the Bible? I think the answer to the first question is obvious from our lesson today. Humility is what Jesus thought and did. He didn’t cling to his deity but let go of it and became a human being and died for us. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling a prophecy in Zachariah that says, “See, your king comes to you…humble and riding on a donkey.”...See full sermon here

What if Jesus Came to Church?

Sermon text:  1 Corinthians 1:18-25  John 2:13-22  

What if Jesus came to church? According to all four Gospels he entered the Jerusalem Temple at the Passover and cleaned house. John 2:14 says he found “those who were selling oxen, sheep and pigeons, and the money changers at their business.” What were these merchants up to? It sounds pretty innocent.  Pilgrims came to Jerusalem from all over the Mediterranean world at the Passover feast to sacrifice animals at the Temple and pay their temple tax. They didn’t want to bring animals over such great distances, so they bought them at the Temple. And they couldn’t pay their temple tax in Roman currency because Caesar’s image, which was on the Roman coins, would defile the Temple, so they had to exchange them for shekels, the Jewish currency, so there were money changers on hand at the Temple to provide that service. So where’s the problem?....See full sermon here

Two Ways to Live

Sermon Text: Genesis 17:1-8, 15-16  Romans 4:13-25   

There are two ways to live, according to Paul. One way is to live by the law. This is the merit system. You obey the commandments and receive salvation as a reward for good behavior. God’s commandments are good things, life-giving and life-protecting things: “Do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness, do not covet,” and especially the commandments to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”...Read full sermon here

40

Sermon text: Mark 1:6-15  

40 days. In Scripture, the number 40 seems to symbolize a period of testing, trial or probation.
In the story of Noah, when God destroyed the earth with water, He caused it to rain 40 days and 40. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights. The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan. Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb...Read full sermon here
 

Glimpses of God

Sermon text:  2 Corinthians 4:3-6  Mark 9:2-9  

The Transfiguration is a difficult story to preach on. To me it seems a weird passage and finding in it what is useful for today isn’t easy. Still, I think it reveals something important about our experiences of God, namely what they’re about, or to put it better, whom they’re about. 
Haven’t you had experiences of God, or at least some experiences that you think might have been of God? I hope so...
Read full sermon here 
 

Unity Without the Goosestep

Sermon text:  1 Corinthians 1:10-17  Matthew 5:13-16S  

We live in a bitterly polarized society and a world that longs for peace, but is wracked by war or the threat of war. I’m reminded of an old Kingston Trio song that said:
“The whole world is festering with unhappy souls,
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles,
Italians hate the Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch, 
And I don’t like anybody very much.”
...read full sermon here