Paul's Gospel

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text - Galatians 3

If growing up here is anything like growing up in Scotland, I am sure many of you have experienced picking teams. All the kids line up and the top two become captains and pick the rest. You stand there waiting to be called. Pick me, Pick me. You wait until you find your place in the order of things, just praying you are not the last one picked. There is satisfaction in being picked early and a little embarrassment in being one of the last picked. I have experienced both.

This morning we will continue with our journey through Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This morning we will take a look at what’s going on in chapter 3. Much of what we read in based on the early church picking teams and deciding who fits where in the grand scheme of things, and how Paul responds to thatSee full sermon here

The Perfect Dad

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Luke 15: 18-24

One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was Happy Days. It used to be on Sunday afternoon, which was also the day the kids on my street played football. I vividly remember us all stopping the game at 2pm and running home to watch Happy Days and then ½ an hour later resuming the game. Of course, like every other kid back then I loved The Fonz. He was not only the coolest guy on the show, he was the coolest guy on the planet. Or was he? There was one other person on that show that I thought was great, and that was Howard Cunningham or Mr. C as The Fonz called him. The middle-aged dad. Mr. C. always seemed to get it right. He had the wisdom, the humor, the advice, he almost always solved everyone’s problems, and always had the respect. Even the Fonz listened to and respected him. And when Happy Days finally ended after 11 seasons, it wasn’t Richie or even The Fonz that had the final farewell monologue, it was Mr. C. I remember thinking it would be cool if he was my dad. Because he was the perfect dad. If only all dads could be like Mr. C. Of course, Mr. C. was not even like Mr. C. I saw an interview with Tom Bosley who played Howard Cunningham. He was asked how he felt playing America’s favorite father. His response was it was wonderful because he had great scriptwriters, the problems started when he went home and had to adlib being a real dad. He had as little clue as everyone else.

Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for manySee full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Secure

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 10: 22-30

“The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”

That quote is from Berkof’s Systematic Theology, a staple from my Bible College days, to introduce that particular doctrine that our eternal salvation is secure and guaranteed. It is also perhaps the least exciting and attention-grabbing beginning to a sermon I have ever had!

It is so not exciting that I am going to read it again for you. Because it really is great news, and really quite exciting. “The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”…See full sermon here

A Time of Doubt

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Mark 1: 9-15 and John 20:24-29

Listen to the words of this letter written in the late 70’s:

"Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear. The tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak." Lord, my God, you have thrown [me] away as unwanted - unloved, I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer, no one. Alone. Where is my faith? Even deep down right in there is nothing. I have no faith. I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart.”

“I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of the darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?”

These are the words of Mother Theresa written to Rev Michael Van Der Peet, a spiritual confidant, in September 1979. Her letters which were revealed after her death show a person who was wracked with doubt for many years…see full sermon here

Weird Friends

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Matthew 9:9-19

Over the last few weeks our theme has been “Keeping the Church Weird” and today’s topic is weird friends. Now I am willing to bet a few of you know something about weird friends. It seems every friend group has at least one who is a little on the weird side.

I remember in primary school, which is Scottish for elementary school that there was this boy who was on the periphery of my friend group who always wore a rain jacket and wellies. Wellies are Wellington Boots, y’know those big rubber boots. Every day, he had on a rain jacket and wellies. He might have been wearing shorts on a sunny day, but he’d still be wearing his wellies. Playing football, he’d be in a rain jacket and wellies. We thought that a little weird. Now looking back wearing a rain jacket and Wellington Boots in Scotland probably should have been seen as wise. But at the time we thought it pretty weird. What I did not consider was the reasons for him wearing those things. It was probably economic. He probably didn’t have another pair of shoes or another jacket, maybe from experience he just expected it to rain every day!…See full sermon here

Cookies

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

I googled typical Scottish person this week. Can you imagine what popped up? A lot of pictures of pasty white people wearing tartan, mostly with bright red hair and beards. And Sean Connery.

Now there are pasty white red heads in Scotland but that is not the place I know. Scotland was and is a melting pot, long before The United States claimed that phrase. It is a country formed by Britons/Picts/Welsh, Irish, Scots, Gaels, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings/Danes, Normans, and later joined by Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Africans and many more. A land, not unlike the United States, of many different heritages and cultures trying to live well together. The common link is they are all Scottish. People that are different but trying to co-exist together. A bit like us. A bit like the church in Corinth that Paul is writing to in today’s passage. Corinth was a port town and therefore very cosmopolitan. Travelers from different lands and cultures settle there and make up society including the fledging Christian Church…See full sermon here

Clothes

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Colossians 3: 12- 17 and Luke 2: 41-52

We will look at two different passages that are provided in the lectionary this morning. I am going to read the Gospel passage which tells of Jesus in the temple aged twelve and we’ll try to blend in the passage from Colossians that Kassidy read for us.

(Scripture) Luke 2:41-52.

I am sure we have all had the experience of being lost, or losing someone. Perhaps you were the one who was lost, perhaps you lost a child, and it is not a pleasant experience.

I have a friend in Ohio who used to be a youth leader. He once took a group of youth out west on a mission trip. On this particular day they were visiting the Grand Canyon. But they were not on the south rim where most tourists go…See full sermon here

Noise

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: 1 Kings 19: 8-13

Let’s begin with a quick survey.

How many of you would consider yourself an extrovert? How many would consider yourself an introvert? Just checking. I suspect this message will be more popular with the introverts. We’ll see.

This sermon is called Noise, but really it is about silence.

Silence? Those of you who grew up in large families or have a large family as we speak, may wonder what this thing silence is that I speak of. Some of us like to crank the music up high or for some reason need movies to blast at us through the surround sound. I went to a movie a few weeks back at Tinseltown and I went into their RPX theatre with the speakers all around. It was cool, but almost too much. Some of us of course will leave the room when that happens to seek some peace and quiet…See full sermon here.

Fish Sandwich

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 6: 1-14

One of the defining moments of my youth, and maybe one of the most self-indulgent stories I could tell. The 1978 World Cup, Scotland V Holland. Scotland had a terrible World Cup, losing to Peru and tying with Iran. They needed to beat Holland, one of the world’s greatest teams at the time, by 3 goals to qualify from their group. An impossible task. Somehow Scotland found themselves 2-1 up. Archie Gemmill picks up the ball with 5 Dutch defenders in front of him. He slips it past the first guy. Plays it between the next 2, suddenly it has all opened up, just the goalkeeper to beat. He delicately chips it over the keeper and he scores. It was a beautiful thing.

A soccer ball, that’s all it is, I can kick it around and make it look OK, but put it at the feet of Archie Gemmill with the whole Dutch defense in front of him and he does something extraordinary with it.

A simple paintbrush. I can use this and make some form of painting that will not be too pretty, but in the hands of a master, it produces the Mona Lisa. Something that is adored by millions for generations to come.

In the hands of the master, something beautiful and wonderful can be done with the most limited resources. And yes, I did just put Archie Gemmill’s goal against Holland on the same level as the Mona Lisa…See full sermon here

All The Good and Bad

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Job 1:1, 2:1-10

I wonder if there is anything in scripture as strange as the conversation between God and Satan in chapters 1 & 2 of the Book of Job?

The Lectionary provides us this World Communion Sunday with the passage in Chapter 2. But we must look at the happenings of chapter 1 for context.

But first a quick Job 101. It is one of the books of wisdom in the Old Testament. It is a piece of poetry, bookended with 2 narratives that introduce and conclude the book. It tells of a man called Job, a man who is blameless and right. He has a large family and owns many animals, in fact he is the greatest man among all the people of the East.

Let’s begin with Chapter 1…see full sermon here