"Hearing Jesus' Call"
Text: Mark 2:13-17
1 John 1:5-10
There is a massive church in an upscale suburb of a major American city. We’ll call it “Church of All Saints.” For those who have been on my Confirmation Class field trips, think of East Liberty Presbyterian, on steroids.
"Suffering, Hope and the Holy Spirit"
Text: Romans 5:1-5
Pastor Joel Osteen. My impression is that he’s a good guy, and that his heart’s in the right place. He is definitely charismatic and engaging. He incarnates the positive thinking model of Norman Vincent Peale. And he touches more lives than perhaps any other modern evangelist. My problem with Joel is that for all the times I’ve listened to his preaching, I’ve never heard him once seriously engage the matter of suffering. Maybe he has, and I’ve missed it.
"God's Highest Calling"
Text: Proverbs: 22:6, Timothy 1:5
In our rapidly evolving culture, motherhood – a mother’s care; a mother’s guidance; a mother’s nurture; a mother’s example – is one of those givens we too often take for granted. Even moms themselves, under mounting pressure from groups and causes seeking to redefine the structure of the American family, often fail to recognize the infinite value of who they are and what they do.
"Stripping Away the Layers"
Text: 1 Peter 2:1-10
How many here have ever refinished a piece of wood furniture? Maybe it was a once-magnificent dining room table our grandparents received as a wedding gift, or a hutch which had been stored in the barn for three generations, or an ornate headboard which caught our eye at the Hartville Flea Market.
Text: Philippians 4:4-13
1 Timothy 6:6-10
There is an old Yiddish folktale about a poor, malcontented woman who lived with her husband and five children - along with her mother-in-law - in a tiny farm cottage. The children were noisy, and the cramped living conditions often led to loud arguments. In summer, when the family spent much of its time outside, life was bearable. But when winter arrived, the family felt trapped because the small house was filled with crying and quarreling. One day, when the woman could not bear it anymore, she ran to the village’s wisest teacher for advice.
"Getting Just What We Ask For"
Text: 1 Samuel 8
Proverbs 8:1-5, 12-16, 33-36
In a few minutes, I’m going to read for you the entirety of the 8th chapter of the Old Testament book of 1st Samuel. Just to set the stage, a fellow by the name of Samuel had been serving the dual role of judge and prophet for the nation of Israel for a long time. All indications are that Samuel was a good and righteous leader; a true servant of God, and a true servant of the people.
Text: Genesis 12:1-9
Romans 4:13, 18-25
My wife would tell you that I’m generally a better pilot than I am a navigator. I’m okay at steering the vehicle, but not necessarily in the right direction. When on vacation, or in an unfamiliar place, I sometimes have a tendency to wander around hoping we’ll just happen to drive past the hotel where we have reservations, or the restaurant we’ve heard serves a great dish of pasta, or the attraction that we’ve been told is a must see. It’s been said that this is a “male thing.”
"A Matter of Faith"
Text: John 20:1-10
On this first Sunday after Easter, let me make this statement: The bodily resurrection of Jesus is less a matter of fact, and more a matter of faith. Put another way, Jesus’ resurrection is not so much about seeing, but much more about believing. Understand that I’m not in any way denying the reality and the truth of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. I personally believe that Jesus’ was indeed physically raised from death to life.
Text: Luke 24:1-12
What is the meaning of Easter? For many in this day and age, Easter has become something of a springtime version of Christmas. I’m not talking about Christmas as a religious observance of the birth of Jesus. I’m talking about Christmas as the worldly celebration of materialism and excess it has morphed into. Somehow, in fairly recent history, Easter is morphing into that same beast.