Sermon Archive

The Paradox of The Gospel

A young seminarian was excited about preaching his first sermon in his home church. After three years in seminary, he felt adequately prepared, and when he was introduced to the congregation, he walked boldly to the pulpit, his head high, radiating self-confidence.  But he stumbled reading the Scriptures and then lost his train of thought halfway through the message. He began to panic, so he did the safest thing: He quickly ended the message, prayed, and walked dejectedly from the…

Joy of The Gospel

It is becoming increasingly apparent to Americans that we are on the brink of another civil war. Enduring a year of violence and riots tends to make people pessimistic. Both liberals and conservatives are recognizing the signs. Most Americans do not trust the government or the media. And most polls reveal that a growing percentage of people are stockpiling for the inevitable war. One article suggested that three factors lead to civil wars and that all of them are present…

Worthy Of The Gospel

Circumstances are a powerful force in uniting people. There is an immediate connection when we realize that someone is experiencing the same thing we are. There is a sense of community. When someone in that community needs help, the rest of the group will rally around them. It was more than a decade ago when Brian Wood was killed in a car accident. He was hit in an almost head-on collision with another car. There were four people in the…

The Hope of The Gospel

In the field of psychology there is a common saying that when a person feels threatened they will instinctively react—out of fear—in one of several ways. Fight/Flight/Freeze. You will either prepare to fight against the threat or turn to flee. A third instinctive response is to freeze out of indecision. Those who have experienced trauma will oftentimes overreact even in non-threatening situations. An innocent gesture might trigger a defensive reaction from someone who has not fully recovered from trauma. This…

The Fruit of The Gospel

The bitter fruit of the Woke Left has begun to hit a little closer to home. A good friend of mine, and fellow pastor in the URC was doxxed and slandered yesterday by a former member of his church. The individual posted a private message that my friend had sent to him after the Charlottesville Riot in 2017. In his message, my friend had quoted from another article, suggesting that he shared some of the same concerns as the author.…

Confidence In The Gospel

Many pastors have an entrepreneurial spirit. They like to cast a vision and develop a plan to fulfill that vision. But, so often, the strategy that underlies the vision and the plan are business models. It was so common for churches to apply tactics from Good to Great, that the author, Jim Collins, wrote a separate booklet for non-profits. I remember noting it was required reading for the church planting elective in seminary. Now, I’m not suggesting we have nothing to learn…

Gratitude In The Gospel

In J.R.R. Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring—A band of individuals with disparate backgrounds come together to accomplish an important quest. After Frodo and Sam, my favorite character is Smeagol—the hobbit who became Gollum. His character teaches an important lesson about the consequences of idolatry and isolation. He lived for his precious—the ring that he had acquired by murdering his cousin and best friend, Deagol. Although Gollum loved his ring for its powers, it also gave him a long life in darkness and…

Fellowship In The Gospel (Part 2)

We opened our series looking at the first two points regarding the context of the author and the context of the recipients. 1. Writing From  Prison  (1a) 2. Writing to the  Philippians  (1b) 3. Writing With a  Purpose  (2) Today we will focus on this third point. We will consider several themes of this letter before looking at several of the reasons Paul wrote this letter. Once we have understood the historical context in which the letter was written we can discover some important implications for our present circumstances. This is…

Fellowship in the Gospel

In his 2010 article, “America: Land of Loners?” Daniel Akst makes several helpful points to encourage people to build deeper friendships. How many “close social contacts” do you think the average American has? The answer is four, but only two of those are “friends only.” Akst points out four barriers that typically prevent us from forming and maintaining friendships: Time – we create busyness so we can feel important and mask our lack of meaningful relationships, Place – we choose…

Come, Lord Jesus

Awaiting Advent / Advent; Second Coming / Revelation 22:18–21 I confess the thought of Christ returning soon was something I did not always look forward to. When I was younger I had so many things I still wanted to enjoy. I felt like all the descriptions of heaven that I had heard lacked any of my toys and earthly interests. Heaven seemed a bit boring. Floating on clouds with chubby cherubs was not very appealing. When children are not bored…