Sermon Series

  • 1. Seeng Things

    Contributed on Jun 19, 2011

    Things that go bump in the night stop being really scary if you (a) understand what's going on (b) know what do do and (c) have confidence in the expert - AKA God..

    A couple of days after I got back from my vacation I was relaxing in my comfy chair, watching TV and doing needlework, when all of a sudden I heard a great banging and clattering, as if - I don’t know, as if a coal truck were dumping the winter’s load down a chute into the basement. more

  • 2. Focal Point

    Contributed on Jun 19, 2011

    Jesus is not only the beginning and the end, he is also the center, around which everything holds together and without which everything falls apart.

    John never expected what happened that long-ago Sunday morning. There he was, worshiping as usual on Sunday morning, when all of a sudden a clear, loud voice - a voice as impossible to ignore as a trumpet call, lifted him to his feet and spun him around. And there before him was a vision, a more

  • 3. First Love

    Contributed on Jun 20, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    No matter how many and good the works you do for the church, if Jesus is not at the center of them you are missing the target.

    Have you ever been in love? Remember back to those first dizzy days. Nothing else really mattered, did it, beyond when you would see your sweetheart next. Spending time with him or her was the most important thing in your life. Did you rush through chores to be ready earlier, or linger in front more

  • 4. Rooted And Grounded

    Contributed on Jun 20, 2011

    To remain faithful in the face of pressure, we need to be grounded in our identity as followers of Christ, with knowledge, obedience, and love.

    We spend one Sunday a year praying for persecuted Christians around the world. Of course there’s the “Martyr of the Month” column in the newsletter, and occasionally our bulletin inserts will highlight a trouble spot or a new martyr. But that’s all the time most of us spend more

  • 5. Intolerable Tolerance

    Contributed on Jun 20, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    Sometimes tolerance is not a virtue; a deviation outside the specifications can be a matter of life and death, not just sub-optimum functioning.

    It’s been a week of tragedy, hasn’t it. Not on the scale of September 11, of course, but still - a tragedy. No one ever thought that the Columbia would crash. Particularly no one ever thought that it would crash on re-entry... But something did, and so today we are mourning the death more

  • 6. Wake-Up Call

    Contributed on Jun 22, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    When God calls, don't hit the snooze button.

    Probably the hardest part of writing a sermon is the beginning. If I don’t catch your attention right away, I could lose half of you. Now, some of you listen to everything I say regardless, and some of you - and I know who you are - sleep through all my sermons - but I do try to set the more

  • 7. Open Door Policy

    Contributed on Jun 22, 2011
    based on 4 ratings

    It isn't size, or status, or wealth, or popularity that measures the worth of the church: it is faithfulness.

    We began the week with the story of the Chicago nightclub fire in which 21 people were killed as they rushed to the exit. The club had already been cited for overcrowding and other safety violations - like not enough doors and windows. What happened was that a bouncer used pepper spray to break more

  • 8. Beginning At The End

    Contributed on Jun 23, 2011
    based on 3 ratings

    If we know how the story ends, and who is in charge of it, we can feel secure even through turbulent times.

    I’ve heard it said that the world can be divided into two kinds of people: the ones who read the end of the book first, and the ones who don’t. Which one are you? I’[ve always thought I was the second kind - the one who never read the ending first - until I stopped to think more

  • 9. Fading Vision

    Contributed on Jun 24, 2011

    We are never farther from Jesus than when we are satisfied with ourselves, and we are never closer to him than when we have nothing and no one else to rely on

    All of you are familiar, I’m sure, h the Hans Christian Andersen story about the Emperor’s new clothes. It begins, “Many, many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always more

  • 10. Opening Ceremony

    Contributed on Jun 24, 2011
    based on 3 ratings

    Jesus won in the end, but not through the usual methods. Jesus was authorized to break the seal on the deed to eternity because he was slain.

    The academy Awards are coming up... next week, as a matter of fact. How many of you enjoy watching them? Who do you think deserves Best Actress? Best Actor? Best Director? What will be the best picture? I’m hoping for The Two Towers, but most people seem to think it will be Chicago or more

  • 11. Countdown To War

    Contributed on Jun 25, 2011

    The four horsemen - war, slaughter, famine, death and pestilence - have accompanied humanity since the dawn of time; they remind us of our sin, and God's judgment, and his ultimate control over all of history.

    When I mapped out this year’s preaching schedule I did not - repeat NOT - know that war with Iraq would begin the week the seals on the scroll detailing the fate of the world would be opened and the four horsemen let loose. And I’m not egotistical enough to think that God arranged the more

  • 12. Family Reunion

    Contributed on Jun 25, 2011
    based on 7 ratings

    The ultimate Christian family reunion is about the future even more than it is about the past.

    How many of you have ever been to a family reunion? What was it for? Was it someone’s 50th anniversary, or 80th birthday, or a regular event - every few years or so, to keep in touch? One of the things I really love about living here is how close together the families are. For most of more

  • 13. The Ultimate Melting Pot

    Contributed on Jun 25, 2011

    That crowd gathered around the throne is made up of African saints drumming and dancing, Lutherans singing Bach and Handel, medieval monks chanting plainsong, Latin American Pentecostals with shouts of triumph, messianic Jews dancing the hora, Southern Ba

    There’s been some great stuff in the news over the last couple of weeks... We’ve seen our POW’s coming home and being greeted with almost hysterical adulation... many of our troops are on the way home as well. The bloodbath that many feared didn’t happen, and much though we more

  • 14. Acts Of God

    Contributed on Jun 25, 2011
    based on 4 ratings

    Natural disasters may be natural, but they are also acts of God, and if they don't remind us of his power and alert us to his coming judgment they should.

    The scroll with seven seals that Jesus was handed in chapter 5 is now open. The first four seals loosed the four horsemen of the apocalypse: war, violence, famine, and death. The fifth seal let the prayers of the saints loose upon the world. Who would have thought that the prayers of the saints more

  • 15. The Best Offense

    Contributed on Jun 26, 2011
    based on 2 ratings

    As terrifying as the monsters are that beset the faithful, God has given us an impregnable defense.

    Are any of you wondering how on earth I am going to get from an army of invading locusts to Mother’s Day? I asked a colleague that question while I was up in NY last week at a conference on domestic violence, and she said, “That’s easy. It’s when your teenage boys bring more

  • 16. Witness Protection

    Contributed on Jun 26, 2011
    based on 4 ratings

    The temple that John is measuring is the church of Jesus Christ, and both it and its voice, the witnesses, will complete their mission.

    This is the hardest chapter in the entire book of Revelation to interpret. At least that’s what all my commentators say. And that’s about the only thing they can all agree on. So I hope I don’t leave you all more confused than you were before we began. The first thing to more

  • 17. The Final Act

    Contributed on Jun 27, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    It seems like a long intermission between the Acts of the Apostles and the final act in God’s great drama of salvation. But we are the actors, not the audience, and we had better start learning our lines.

    An old Spanish proverb says “We count the faults of those who keep us waiting.” Have you ever done that? Sat there at the restaurant or stood there at the theater or paced at the airport and rehearsed all the things you were going to say when the culprit finally showed up? It’s not just the more

  • 18. The Last Trumpet

    Contributed on Jun 27, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    The last trumpet signals the beginning of the judgment of the world, the flip side of the redemption purchased on the cross.

    Trumpets grab your attention, don’t they. When we can talk Elaine into warming up her lips and accompanying the choir on her trumpet, you can practically feel the temperature rise here in the sanctuary. And the suspense has been mounting steadily since the first seal was opened. The more

  • 19. Battlefield Images

    Contributed on Jun 27, 2011

    The heavenly battle ranges even as we wander in the wilderness; which is a journey, not a retreat; the movement is always forward into the promise.

    Can you believe it? I’m getting tired of the news. It’s so depressing. And for a news junkie like me, that’s saying a lot. Between the Middle East and the Congo and Iraq and North Korea we hardly have time to notice the murders in the Sudan and the economic chaos in South more

  • 20. Fatal Attraction

    Contributed on Jun 27, 2011
    based on 2 ratings

    Evil is so seductive, so easy, so clothed in plausible promises of free lunches and quick fixes, that if we are not vigilant we will find ourselves in slavery to the enemy of God.

    Monsters coming up from the deep have a long and colorful history. From Leviathan to the Loch Ness Monster, from the giant squid in 10,000 Leagues under the sea to the “here be monsters” with which mapmakers once marked the limits of the unknown, the sea has been the source of fear for more

  • 21. False Identification

    Contributed on Jun 28, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    The only person whose heart you really know is yourself, and you don't need to identify the Beast if Jesus can identify you.

    I’m in the process of refinancing my house. I’ve done it all over the telephone. And midway through the process, I started getting nervous. The web page they gave me had their name but a different address, long distance information gave me a different number for that name in NJ, I more

  • 22. Who Goes There?

    Contributed on Jun 28, 2011
    based on 4 ratings

    Who are the redeemed? How can you tell? Are you or aren't you?

    The last time we saw the 144,000 was on Palm Sunday. We were looking at God’s promises to bring all the tribes of Israel back from all the lands to which they had been exiled, all but Dan, that is, who had chosen not to take God up on his promises and had instead struck out for easier more

  • 23. The Other Cup

    Contributed on Jun 28, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    Which cup have you chosen to drink from? The love of God, poured out in Jesus Christ, is complete, unlimited and unmixed; the wrath of God is simply what’s left over when his love is refused.

    One of the things that still divides our denomination is the matter of “inclusive language.” It’s a difference that lines up pretty much the same way as all the other hot-button issues, with theological liberals on one side and theological conservatives on the other. But there more

  • 24. Mopping Up Operation

    Contributed on Jun 29, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    People have to be clean before entering the presence of God, and only Jesus can do the job.

    This is taking forever, isn’t it... preaching through the book of Revelation. It doesn’t have the familiar comfort of the gospel stories, or the practical theology of Paul’s letters, or the colorful stories of the Old Testament heroes. It’s just one clashing, disturbing more

  • 25. High Ground Or Harm's Way

    Contributed on Jun 29, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    The process of remaking creation is dangerous; Jesus is the high ground who leads us out of harm;s way.

    The last time we opened the book of Revelation we saw the angels with their sleeves rolled up, rubber gloves and waders on, and pails full of ammonia and Clorox, finally ready to disinfect creation before the Holy One takes up permanent residence on site. “Then one of the four living more

  • 26. Sour Grapes

    Contributed on Jul 1, 2011

    God planted Israel - both the old and the new - to bear fruit. At harvest time, only the good fruit will be kept.

    This passage is another tough one, dealing with wrath and judgment and punishment. And as you know scaring people into the kingdom is not my favorite style, although it may very well be that fear is a better motivator for some people than it is for me. But in our day and age, it’s more more

  • 27. Old Faithless

    Contributed on Jul 1, 2011

    Eternal life is for those who live faithfully before God, believing in his promises and living by his standards, even when the pressures to conform to our culture are nearly overwhelming.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the Bible probably ought to be rated “R”? It’s definitely not G, and parental guidance is certainly needed. I don’t think it rates an X, even though there’s an awful lot of violence, especially in the OT, and even some sexually more

  • 28. What Goes Around

    Contributed on Jul 1, 2011
    based on 3 ratings

    The power promised by Satan never lasts. Satan betrays even his most dedicated followers.

    How many of you like jigsaw puzzles? I love them... even though I haven’t put one together in years. I don’t dare. They’re addictive, and I already have too many bad habits. But those of you who indulge - how do you start? Do you do all the edge pieces first, or do you sort more

  • 29. The Brink Of Disaster

    Contributed on Jul 2, 2011
    based on 1 rating

    Is it time to flee from the coming destruction? Or should we continue to witness and work for the kingdom?

    "Repent! Repent! For the end of the world is near!" How many of you have heard a sermon on this subject? How many of you have heard a joke on this subject? Every faith tradition has a different way of looking at end-times prophecy. Some ignore it. Some codify it. Some rationalize it. Some obsess more

  • 30. The Victory Feast: Saints R Us

    Contributed on Jul 2, 2011

    Our faithfulness carried out in our service to Jesus Christ as we love and serve one another is the perfect complement to the victory of our Lord, and it is as beautiful to him as his victory is to us.

    A few years ago when I was back in Minnesota visiting my god-children, who as many of you know are Episcopal , I was enchanted to be awakened one Sunday morning by the sound of three angelic voices marching through the house singing “This is the feast of victory for our God!” I think more