What Really Matters: Sermon for July 21, 2013

Sibling rivalries are big in the Bible. There’s Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, the Prodigal Son and the brother who stayed home. It’s a constant theme. And a lot of the time it’s about resentment, and about which sibling is doing the work, and about which isn’t doing anything worthwhile. In other words, the Bible is a lot like real life. The story we read today from the Gospel is about another sibling rivalry. Jesus is visiting the home of two sisters; Mary and Martha. And Martha is well named, because she is like the Biblical Martha Stewart. … Continue reading What Really Matters: Sermon for July 21, 2013

Getting Our Heads Out of the Clouds: A Sermon for Ascension Sunday, May 12, 2013

Churches, and their clergy, have sometimes been accused of being out of touch with the real world. Karl Marx called religion the “opiate of the people” because he believed it made us ignore the pains and injustices of the world and look to a pie-in-the-sky heaven when this life is over. And even today you hear plenty of people talking about how Christians are too focused on the next life, and not focused enough on this one. They might even say we have our heads in the clouds. Sometimes they’re right. I’ve talked before about how after seminary I did … Continue reading Getting Our Heads Out of the Clouds: A Sermon for Ascension Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mark Driscoll, Barack Obama, and the Jealous Disciples

I pastor a church of strong political opinions, both Republican and Democrat. I have parishioners who support the Tea Party, and parishioners for whom the Democrats are far too conservative. But every Sunday morning, when we pass the peace of Christ in worship, they cross the aisles, shake hands, hug, and sincerely communicate their care for one another. My parishioners teach me about more than what it means to be a good American. They teach me about what it means to be a real Christian. They never question the sincere faith of those who vote differently than they do. They … Continue reading Mark Driscoll, Barack Obama, and the Jealous Disciples

Beyond Thank You Notes – Sermon for October 28, 2012

Mark 10:46-52 10:46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 10:48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 10:49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, … Continue reading Beyond Thank You Notes – Sermon for October 28, 2012

The Worst Case Scenario: A Sermon on Hell, and Other Choices – September 30, 2012

Mark 9:38-50 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 9:39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 9:40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 9:41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. 9:42 “If any … Continue reading The Worst Case Scenario: A Sermon on Hell, and Other Choices – September 30, 2012

Walking the Path Together: A sermon for the competitive Christian – September 23, 2012

Mark 9:30-37 9:30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 9:31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 9:32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 9:33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 9:34 But they were … Continue reading Walking the Path Together: A sermon for the competitive Christian – September 23, 2012

The Mainline Church and Dusty Feet: A sermon for July 8, 2012

When I was younger I used to hear people use the phrase “shake the dust from your feet” and I would have no idea what they were talking about. Someone would leave a job or their relationship would break up and another person would tell them, “just shake the dust from your feet and move on”. It’s a weird phrase. What dust are they talking about? And what does shaking dust from your feet have to do with moving on from a bad relationship? It wasn’t until much later when I read this passage that I understood where that language … Continue reading The Mainline Church and Dusty Feet: A sermon for July 8, 2012