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A Land of Giants

1 Samuel 17:37-49 Our passage for today is an excerpt from a long story so let me summarize a bit before I read part of it. The Israelites and the Philistines were at battle. Each army was camped in the mountains, with a valley between them. But neither could approach the other without crossing the […]

Don’t You Care?

Mark 4:35-41   It was hard to know what to preach this week. On Mother’s Day I spoke about the difficulty of such holidays. People came to worship today with different needs, with both positive and negative experiences of their own father, and with both positive and negative experiences as a parent (or lack thereof). […]

Are we Pentecostal?

Acts 2:1-21 The word “Pentecostal” typically refers to a particular brand of Christianity. Pentecostal Christians are those who believe that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit results in the gift of tongues (speaking in an unknown language) or the interpretation of tongues (being able to interpret this unknown language for others to understand). The terms […]

Mother Hen

Luke 13:31-35 Most pastors, if they are honest, will admit that Mother’s Day is not an easy day for preaching. The trend within progressive churches is a sharp move away from celebrating Mother’s Day in worship, and with good reason. First, it is not a liturgical holiday. Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost – […]

A Pound of Prevention

Acts 8:26-40 The main character in our story today is so different from us that it can be hard for us to relate. We are not positive about his religion. He was possibly a Gentile, given the demographics of his geographic location. But since he traveled all the way to Jerusalem to worship, many scholars […]

Unless I See the Wounds

John 20:19-31 There are many characters in the Bible with whom I can easily relate, and Thomas is definitely one of them. In fact, Thomas is probably in the top five. I grew up calling him Doubting Thomas. “Don’t be a doubting Thomas” we sang as children. The hand motions even had us shaking our […]

The Bandwagon of Uncertainty?

John 20:1-18 Taylor Mali is a wonderful poet in the genre of spoken word poetry, sometimes called slam poetry. This means that his work is intended to be performed, not read. So although I cannot do it as well as he does, I want to share with you his poem about speaking. In case you […]

The Coat

Mark 11:1-11 (This sermon is from the point of view of a fictional character. She is not in the Bible, but I think she has some things to say to us today.) My father was a wealthy merchant. Of course, the Roman government took a large portion of his profits in taxes, not to mention […]

Selfies with Jesus

John 12:20-33 Young people today have been called the “selfie generation.” Selfies are, of course, photos that people take of themselves, typically with their phones, and then post online. The word “selfie” was Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year in 2013. There are trends within the selfie genre, if you will. For example, certain faces […]

Spring Cleaning

John 2:13-22 What does Jesus look like in the image in your mind? In spite of the fact that Jesus was Jewish, and therefore of Semitic race, many of us have images of Jesus as fairly light-skinned, with blue eyes. In spite of the fact that Jesus lived during a time when bathing was not […]

Take up your cross?

Mark 8:31-38 I don’t know if this story is true, but I remember hearing about an old woman who hated the verse in the Bible about women submitting to their husbands. Whenever anyone would mention it, she would shake her head and say, “That’s not in the Bible.” Her pastor got frustrated with her stubborn […]

Optical Illusions

2 Kings 2:1-14 When I was a kid, I loved optical illusions, especially those with two different images in the same picture. The one I remember the most was a silhouette either of a young woman or an old crone. Our text for today is similar. It is the mental and spiritual version of an […]

Have you not known?

Isaiah 40:21-31 Before I read our scripture for today, I want to give you some background. This passage was written during the time of the Babylonian exile. Jerusalem had been defeated, the temple had been destroyed, and everybody with any status had been deported to Babylon. They saw this defeat either as a sign of […]

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 […]

  • A Christian Family: Loving, Welcoming, Serving

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