Isaiah 11:1-9 “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”

Have you ever been disappointed in a politician? Have you ever voted for a politician because you believed in what he or she promised or supposedly stood for, only to learn later that this politician was like all the rest? Well, in one sense we have only ourselves to blame…. Continue reading

Revelation 22:17, 20-21 “Expectation and Invitation”

Advent is a time for expectation and anticipation. Most sermons preached on the first Sunday of Advent are based on passages from the Old Testament prophets– passages in which the prophets look to the future for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel and to the whole world. In their… Continue reading

Genesis 4:1-16 “The First Things” (Where is Your Brother?) Part 11

We now come to our third story in Genesis—the story of Cain and Abel. The origins of this story probably explain the violent competition for land between herders and farmers at the beginning of civilization. Farmers need land to cultivate. Sheep herders need land to graze their sheep. Historically, even… Continue reading

I John 4: 7-12 “Sacred Love “

Lewis Smedes once wrote, “Yahweh is the sort of God who sticks with what He is stuck with.” Any love that does not “stick with what it is stuck with” is not sacred and soon surrenders its splendor. A sacred love is precious, deep, and sacrificial. It’s unconditional and goes… Continue reading

Revelation 5: 1-14 “Worthy is the Lamb”

John tells us what he sees in his vision.  In the right hand of God he sees a scroll, written on both sides and sealed with 7 seals.  And of course the crucial questions are, “What is the scroll? What does it represent? What is written on the scroll?”  The… Continue reading

Galatians 1:1-12 “Lying About God”

Paul was angry when he wrote Galatians. We can tell that by how he introduced this epistle. All of Paul’s letters begin the same way. He opened his letters with a greeting (usually “grace and peace”) and then gave thanks for those persons to whom he was writing. First the… Continue reading

I Corinthians 15:3-8, 12-22, 29 “Halloween and All Saints’ Day”

We are in the season of ghosts, goblins, jack-o-lanterns, and trick-or-treaters. For all practical purposes, Halloween has become for us a secular holiday of spooky fun and kids gorging on candy. The name Halloween comes from the phrase “All Hallows Even” or “All Hallow (Saints) Eve.” Halloween is the evening… Continue reading

Mark 9:38-50 “Watching Our Pronouns”

On the whole the disciple John does not come off very well in the Gospels. Along with James his brother, John sought the top positions in Jesus’ coming Kingdom: “Lord, give us first and second places in the Kingdom to come”–a crass, vulgar request without a hint of reluctance or… Continue reading

Genesis 3 “The First Things” (The Fall and Original Sin) Part 10

Many people throughout church history have believed that this chapter in the Bible is the decisive text for all the rest—that it states the premise for everything that follows. But as Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann points out, this is at best a marginal passage in Scripture. It is never… Continue reading

Genesis 3 “The First Things” (The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) Part 9

At the beginning of this sermon series I suggested that we could better understand and interpret the opening chapters of Genesis if we realized that these traditions are primarily stories—ancient stories which have profound wisdom to impart regarding God, humankind, and creation. They are not historical and scientific accounts of… Continue reading

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