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I Don’t Like to Preach About Demons

Mark 1:21-28 One of my favorite websites to read when I’m working on sermon preparation is called Working Preacher. This is how my favorite columnist on that site began his post on this text: “Dear Working Preacher, Tell me the truth: don’t you just dread exorcism stories? I mean, if there’s one kind of biblical […]

Speak, Lord

1 Samuel 3:1-10 Our Old Testament story for today actually begins two chapters before our reading. It begins with the story of Elkanah, and his two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Hannah was the favored wife, the beloved wife; but Peninnah was the fruitful wife. Hannah was not able to have children—a fact that her rival […]

God in the Torn Places

Mark 1:4-11 I read a sermon early this week that captured my imagination. The preacher, Rev. Maxwell Grant, says that he wishes it were harder to join the church. He says “It’s harder to get a membership at Costco than it is to become a Christian.” [1] We might think we’re doing a good thing to […]

Wisdom & Wise Guys

Matthew 2:1-12 When I was in junior high school, my church always had a live nativity. The church was on a busy road in Miami Florida, and each year on the nights leading up to Christmas, all the youth would gather on the front lawn in our costumes and would reenact the Christmas story as […]

Zechariah’s Story: And You, Child

Luke 1:67-79 Have you ever wanted something for a long time? Worked for it, waited for it, dreamed of it, only to finally get it and then find out that it wasn’t what you thought it would be? I am a priest. This is not a chosen vocation. It is my lineage. I am of […]

Elizabeth’s Story: It’s Never Too Late

Luke 1:5-25    

One in Ten

Luke 17:11-19 In 2007 a journalist named A.J. Jacobs published a book called The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. The author grew up in what he describes as a secular home, not a religious one—a Jew by birth but an agnostic by belief. He […]

Choose Again

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 We are surrounded by choices. We can go into the supermarket and buy cans of crushed pineapple—or tidbits, chunks, or slices, in heavy syrup or its own juices, and in at least two different brands. Plus we can go to the produce department and buy a whole pineapple or a fresh pineapple […]

Wings of Grace

Matthew 23:1-12 The scholars who created the lectionary—the three year cycle of readings we use to guide worship—were concerned about telling the major portions of our story in worship. They were concerned with choosing scriptures for ordinary time as well as for each holy season. They were not at all concerned with choosing scriptures to […]

Saved by the Fringe

Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26 The woman in our story had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. Imagine what her life was like. Women were considered unclean when they were menstruating. In fact, they were considered unclean for seven days after their cycle ended. And since her cycle never ended, she was never considered clean. During her monthly […]

Caesar’s or God’s

Matthew 22:15-22 This passage contains what some political figures would call “a gotcha question.” It is intended to trap Jesus because there is no safe answer. The people hated this tax . . . not just because nobody likes giving their money away, but because of all the taxes they paid, this one was particularly […]

Hurting God?

Exodus 32:1-14 I have a long habit of doing things the hard way. If I have a choice between carrying the grocery bags in two easy trips or one hard trip, I’ll pick the one hard trip every time. If I have to learn a lesson the easy way or the hard way, guess which […]

Remembering It All

    1 Corinthians 11:17-26 Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a letter to a church in conflict. He had started the house churches in Corinth a few years earlier, and they were experiencing serious growing pains. They argued over some central concepts of the church, including: the Holy Spirit, marital and sexual norms, […]

Memory Lane Is a Dead End Road

Exodus 17:1-7 If you have been in worship the last few weeks, you have probably noticed something about our journey with the Israelites through the wilderness: these people complain a lot. When the armies of Pharaoh pursued them by the Red Sea, they said to Moses, “What have you done to us, bringing us out […]

About Twenty Minutes

Exodus 16:2-15 I have often heard teachers say “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” It is meant to encourage people not to be embarrassed about asking questions. The problem is: it’s just not true. There are stupid questions. Of course, what is a stupid question is varies according to age or stage. If […]

Standing at the Edge

Exodus 14:19-31 Up a creek without a paddle. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Any of these idioms could apply to the Israelites at this point in their story. Moses had gone to Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Israelites, but that hadn’t worked […]

  • A Christian Family: Loving, Welcoming, Serving

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