Text: Matthew 3:1-12
On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, we focus our attention on a character in the gospels who was considered by many in his day – and is considered by many in ours – to be something of an odd sock. His clothing was strange. His diet was unconventional. His approach was abrasive. And his message was off-putting and challenging.
"Keeper of the Pig Sty"
Text: Deuteronomy 8:11-18
Today, as our nostrils may have already informed us, is Feast of the Faithful. That aroma also reminds us that this is Stewardship Commitment Sunday; the day that we dedicate our pledged giving to the day-to-day ministry operations of Central Presbyterian Church. It’s always a big day for the church. It’s also a day I’m obliged to deliver, and you’re obliged to hear, yet another stewardship commitment message. Let’s call that our “meal ticket.”
"I Will Repay, Says the Lord"
Text: Romans 12:14-21
My conversations with the Lord are, shall we say, interesting. In my personal prayer life, I tend to lay everything out before God -- things I am thankful for, and things I am envious about; things I would like the Lord to do for others, and things I would like the Lord to do for me and mine; things I am certain about, and things I am confused about; things I am pleased about, and things I am angry about. In fact, some of the anger I lay before the Lord I would NEVER expose to another human being.
"Behold, the Lamb of God"
Text: John 1:29
When we think about Jesus as a person, as a flesh and blood human being just as we are – ten fingers and ten toes, two eyes and two ears, hair that needed cut and nails that needed trimmed – what attributes come to mind?
"The Gates of Hades Shall Not Prevail"
Text: Matthew 16:13-20
Some years ago, I got a flyer in the mail from a nearby township church. It was publicizing an event described as “an uplifting Christian alternative to traditional Halloween activities.” Sounded good. I know there are some Christian folk who are offended by the entire idea of Halloween, Trick or Treat, Beggars Night, or whatever one chooses to call it. So an “uplifting alternative” certainly seemed like a good idea for someone of who finds Halloween incongruent with their faith.
"Stirred In Heart to Give"
Text: Exodus 35:20-29
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
This morning, we turn our attention to the historical book of Exodus. As we meet up with “the congregation of the Israelites,” we find them still wandering across the Sinai Peninsula toward the promised land under the leadership of Moses. Moses had recently descended from Mt. Sinai with the second set of stone tablets of the Law. You’ll remember he broke the first set of tablets in a fit of rage when he found Aaron and the people worshiping a golden calf.
"On Account of My Name"
Text:John 15:18-21, 26-27
To set the tone for this morning’s message, I’d like to share with you a Facebook exchange I was caught up in recently. It began with a post shared by a friend of mine, who tends to be critical of Christianity. The post featured a chalk board with these words written on it in yellow: “Same- sex marriage is not gay privilege, it’s equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes.” Up to that point, I was on board. Then at the bottom were these additional words chalked in blue and underlined for emphasis: