Great leaping Locusts

1st Sunday of Lent. This is actually the text the lectionary assigns to Ash Wednesday which was March 1 this year. Ash Wednesday comes and goes in our Presbyterian Reformed Tradition with little recognition. This text however, calls us to keep in mind what Lent is all about. We will think together about the blessings that come with repentance and the context in which those blessings are best experienced.

Reading Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

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Light for the Journey

When you’re planning on a trip, you have to make choices like places to stay, things to do, maps to print and much more. Life is the same way. It’s actually a journey.  There may be darkness but God gives you light.  There may be rough times, but listen for God’s voice for he speaks to you in many different ways.
So what journey are you planning on that will enrich the kingdom of God.  Thinking about being a volunteer reader in an elementary school?  Donating time to a work-camp?  Listen to your heart then follow your journey.

Reading Mathew 17:1-9

 

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Interior Designs

This section of the sermon on the mount is not just about following rules. It’s about a total reorientation from the inside out.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20  Matthew 5.21-37

 

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Be Tasty and Lit Up

salt and light

Jesus uses the present tense in this part of his sermon on the mount. In other words he’s not telling people HOW to be salt and light…he says we already are! And of course salt does no good sitting by the stove…and light does no good unless it’s brought into a dark place. Do you see where this is going? Salt and light are only good when they are poured out. Pour on good people!

Reading Matthew 5.13-16Listen icon

 

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What IS Good?

The prophet here counters the obsession many in the world have for greatness. It’s not at all about being great…it is about being good. Micah is clear about what goodness looks like!

Reading Micah 6.1-8

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Out of Nowhere

Jesus officially begins his public ministry in this passage and he begins it in this region of Zebulun and Naphtali. WHAT? WHERE? Actually the question should be WHO? What is all this weirdness about? We will explore all these questions this morning.

Readings Matthew 4:12-23

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What do YOU see?

The author of the fourth Gospel does not actually record the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist the way the other Gospel writers do.  Instead he talks about what he saw and heard when Jesus came toward him.  Might there be a model here for our seeing and telling of those times Jesus comes to us?

Reading John 1.29-42

 

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Detours

Detours are terrible things in my opinion. They WILL not allow me to get where I’m going in a timely fashion. They make me late…they make me slow down…they make me angry! That being said, there have been times when I have seen amazing things on detours that I obviously wouldn’t have seen had the road taken me the way I wanted to go. The wise men…and Mary and Joseph are all directed in dream to take a detour after Jesus is born to avoid the wrath of Herod. I wonder what that was life for them?

Reading Matthew 2:1-23

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Christmas with Matthew

When we have Christmas with Matthew we get a very unsentimental version of the story we celebrate tonight. Matthew’s version is earthy, real and touches us where we live…which, of course, is the whole point of the story in the first place!

Reading Matthew 1:18-25

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Great Value Series Part 3: Questioning John

Many people, not just John, found Jesus to be an enigma. Many do today. What’s an enigma? Someone or something that is profoundly puzzling or mysterious. I’m wondering if part of what makes someone or something an enigma has something to do with one’s perceptions. John, in the wilderness saw Jesus, the Messiah as one who would ‘clean house’ so to speak…be a mean Paul Bunyan, chopping down trees and burning them. Jesus says, “You’re a good man, John the Baptist, the greatest who ever lived, but the Messiah is not a maid who cleans house. The messiah is not someone who comes to meet your expectations but rather someone who comes to meet the needs of all those…ALL those on the fringes of society. The messiah is not about massacre but rather forgiveness, healing and mercy.”
So…does Jesus REALLY answer John’s question? Yes and No. Well isn’t THAT an enigma?! You can decide for yourself.

Readings –  Isaiah 35:1-10   Matthewe 11:2-15 

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