Bible: Sabbath-keeping, empire-breaking

Nov 23, 2015 by

I’ve never been very good at keeping the Sabbath. To my knowledge, this is the only case where public admission of habitual commandment-breaking might actually get one a raise. We moderns have a term for...

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Sociopaths, Samaritans and all the rest of us

Oct 29, 2015 by

I’ve never been especially fond of the Parable of the Good Samaritan — or, as I like to think of it, “the Parable of Common Human Decency.” I mean, I know all the stuff preachers always point out about...

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God’s bloody-knuckled door

Oct 7, 2015 by

Confession: I really like Taylor Swift love songs. (I can almost hear the sizzle of respect evaporating.) In my defense, I do know it’s ridiculous — dances in a dingy parking lot, lingering looks that last...

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Jesus didn’t blow his own trumpet

Sep 14, 2015 by

Like a lot of Christians, I’ve often found Jesus’ reluctance to talk about himself strange and even unsettling. This is a particular theme in the Gospel of Mark — Jesus seeming to go out of his way to...

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God can plant seeds where tears are falling

Aug 7, 2015 by

Our community lost someone a few weeks ago: a young wife, mother of five, a friend and mentor, a follower of Jesus with a passion for the lost. She was living, laughing, serving, loving God with all she had,...

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Adventures in mis-unity

Jun 25, 2015 by

The following is a recent sermon I preached based on Gen. 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-11. Every once in a while the Spirit lays a message on my heart that seems to fall with a particular weight. As I pray, it seems...

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Not on French fries alone

May 20, 2015 by

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight. — Jeremiah 15:16 I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. — Job 23:12 Jesus answered, “People...

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The traveler

Apr 20, 2015 by

I saw him the moment I stepped outside my office, visible through the glass front doors — the man sitting beneath the church carport. He wore a beard and a ragged sweater, and beside him lay a small hiking...

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The necessity of finishing

Mar 31, 2015 by

This is from a Lenten series on the seven last words of Jesus. The following is on the sixth word, John 19:30. “It is finished.” It began with a barnyard birth and a flight from a murderous king. It began...

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After the rooster

Mar 2, 2015 by

I’ve had a lot of chances to talk to Peter lately. He shows up in my life under various names. As Samantha, who abandoned her children a lifetime ago in favor of drugs. As Connor, who sits in a prison cell,...

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Isolation is not a recipe for faith

Jan 13, 2015 by

Some time ago, I went through a period of crisis in faith. I’d never experienced anything quite like it before. There were no precipitating life events; no new questions or revelations had swept in to upset...

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The wordlessness of God

Dec 17, 2014 by

Imagine if this coming Sunday your pastor got up at sermon time and said the following: “After diligently studying Scripture and searching the Spirit this week, I’m here to report . . . there is no message...

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Religiously ‘easy’

Nov 13, 2014 by

Some passages are almost impossible to imagine preaching a sermon on: People of God, you are like a donkey in heat, like a dog that goes around humping table legs (Jer. 2:24).  Kudos to Jeremiah for courage...

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Jesus unfriended

Oct 17, 2014 by

People often tell me in the hushed tones of a dirty secret, “I’m not sure I like the apostle Paul.” I reply, “That’s OK. The first Christians didn’t much like him either.” But what really...

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Freedom of fear

Oct 7, 2014 by

The fear of the Lord isn’t a popular concept these days. The church has discovered the practical difficulties of attempting conversion by threat of lightning bolt. “God-fearing” preachers have...

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Who can tame the tongue?

Feb 3, 2014 by

As a young Christian stumbling on James 3:2, I remember feeling relieved. You mean all I have to do to achieve moral perfection is get control of my tongue? Does the pastor know about this short-cut? Yes, and...

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But what will we do?

Jan 20, 2014 by

This fall, our congregation undertook an experiment. Each day we read a short passage from Luke, and each week we gathered to discuss two basic questions: What did we hear in God’s Word this past week, and...

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