"Featured" Tagged Sermons

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I Will Follow You

It almost sounds like Jesus is trying to discourage people from following him, doesn’t it? And yet, of course, we know that he came to invite everyone to follow him, so we know he doesn’t want to turn anyone away. So what’s going on? There’s a theme in Luke’s gospel that comes into play here, I think. The paragraph we’re studying tomorrow is at the beginning of a part of Luke that is often called The Travel Narrative or The…

The Roaring Lion

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God…

If You Die, Will You Live Again?

On each first Sunday this year, I’ve been reflecting on different passages in Scripture where the theme of Renewal is emphasized. I’ll continue that tomorrow. Everyone–regardless of his or her faith orientation–wonders about the afterlife. What happens after death? Is there a heaven? A hell? Will I simply cease to exist? What will the afterlife be like? Perhaps these questions become more vivid when life is hard, especially when we feel like our days on earth are numbered. Is this…

Christ Over All

When we suffer, we’re tempted to question God’s presence and sovereignty, even more so when the suffering is directly tied to our following Christ. Where is God? Does he know? Does he care? Why isn’t he doing anything? Peter’s response–as it so often is for him and other biblical writers–is to go to Jesus, specifically to his death, resurrection, and exaltation. There’s a significant interpretive difficulty in this passage, and we’ll spend a little time with it Sunday, but even…

When They Ask About Your Hope

When the world gets darker, light is more easily seen. In our text for tomorrow, Peter seems to assume this: people who don’t follow Christ will become curious about the source of our hope, and they will occasionally ask where it comes from. “I’ve noticed something different about you . . . you don’t seem to be affected by life’s difficulties as the rest of us are. How do you do that?” “How do you avoid getting caught up in…

The Renewal of the Holy Spirit

The theme for 2021 is “RENEW,” and we’ve been exploring some aspect of that theme on the first Sunday morning of each month. Tomorrow we’ll focus on Paul’s words to the young church planter, Titus, who was in a difficult environment on the island of Crete. Paul uses a quite powerful word in verse 5 when he writes that salvation comes about by the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” The Greek word behind “regeneration” quite literally…

Loving Life and Seeing Good Days

We’ve been working our way through 1 Peter lately, focusing on how the church should think about our relationships with those outside of Christ. In the text for tomorrow, Peter sums up his emphasis of the last section. You may remember how he’s just encouraged Christians to submit to “every human institution,” servants to submit to their masters, wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to honor their wives. In 3:8-12, though, he’s careful to emphasize that he’s talking to…

Renew Our Days

Our theme for 2021 is RENEW, and we’re focusing on a different aspect of renewal on the first Sunday of each month (because so many of our folks were at the retreat last weekend, I moved it to the second Sunday for May). I read straight through Lamentations earlier this week, and I was struck by a couple of things: it’s a bit discouraging, especially if you focus on what seems to feelings of hopelessness within Jeremiah. But this is…

God in the Furnace

Where is God when we go into the furnace? Babylon, in some ways, was similar to many pluralistic nations today. Its leaders recognized the wisdom of tolerating all sorts of different deities in the private sphere, as long as everyone’s allegiance in public–at least nominally–was to the Babylonian gods. In other words, “Worship whatever God or gods you want to on your own time and in your own place, but when you’re in public, be willing to give homage to…

Forgive

Jesus said a lot about his expectations that his followers forgive people who sin against us, seemingly going so far as to say that God’s forgiveness of us hinges on our forgiving others. It’s embedded in the Lord’s Prayer (“Forgive us, as we forgive those who sin against us.”), and in the story above, the forgiven servant who withholds forgiveness from his servant finds himself being punished severely. And yet many people–even Christians–still harbor bitterness in their hearts from offenses…

Free Servants: How Christians Relate to Political Powers

We’re in the middle of a sermon series on 1 Peter, a letter the apostle wrote to Christians who were struggling to figure out how they were supposed to relate to an increasingly hostile world. Like them, we sense a change in the cultural tides against the practice of historic, orthodox Christianity, and sometimes we’re confused about who we are and how we’re supposed to live. After laying the theological groundwork and encouraging his readers to remember the importance of…

That I May Know Him

met a friend for lunch yesterday at 11:30, and at around noon it struck me that at that moment almost 2,000 years ago, the sun went dark in Judea, and three hours later Jesus cried out and took his last breath. It’s called Good Friday because of the sacrifice he made for us. But of course, many people died of crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, including many other Jewish men in the years before and after Jesus’ death.…