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Showing posts from November, 2005

Sermon for November 13, 2005

Out of Egypt: Deliverance
Exodus 14:15-31; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

For me, one of the most powerful prayers in all of Scripture has no words, no vocal sounds. It’s actually nothing more than the sound of a footstep. The prayer is the amen of action – our inspired response to an encounter with God.

We hear it in the reading from Exodus. The text before us fairly bursts with descriptive power. The Angel of Death has slain all the firstborn children. You can almost hear the Egyptian parents, even Pharaoh and his family, howling in grief over their lost children. The race against time begins. Moses and his lieutenants jostle the people “This is it! Let’s go! Let’ go! Faster!” They have one night the escape the vise of slavery that held them for almost four hundred years -- one night to escape a prison so familiar that it had become like home to them. It was now or never. Everybody knew that by tomorrow Pharaoh would change his mind. Tomorrow Pharaoh would come to his senses and realize wh…

Sermon for November 6, 2005

Out of Egypt: Not I, Lord
Exodus 3:1-15

The search committee for a new pastor was having difficulty making a decision. One member of the committee, who was admittedly tired of the whole process, offered one last letter of introduction from a pastoral candidate. She read: "To the pastoral search committee: It is my understanding that you have a vacancy in your pulpit, and I would like to apply for the position. I can't say that I preach too well. In fact, I tend to stutter when I speak. I do have many different experiences I could share with you, since I am over 75 years old. I recently had an encounter with God and, despite my initial resistance to the idea, I heard a Voice which told me personally that I was the one to do the ministry for you. One never knows when God will appear right before your very eyes. As far as people skills go, I do tend to lose my temper every once in a while. I also tend to want things done my way, and can get violent if it's not take…

Sermon for October 30

The Lion’s Den
Daniel 6:1-28

Imagine you are invited to a dinner party. You’re dressed up. You smell nice. You’re planning on a fun evening. When you arrive, however, you realize the night is deceitfully different than you planned. None of your friends are there. Not only that, everyone around the dinner table hates you. Not only that, the sole reason for your invitation to this dinner is so that your rivals can tell you exactly what they think of you. Not only that, once you arrive, the doors are locked behind you. There is no escape. No defense. All you can do is sit and listen as others verbally attack you. At this dinner party, you are the main course of a meal celebrating your own demise! The guests want nothing better than to consume you by criticism or harassment.

With the holidays coming up, I know many people who dread family get-togethers. They are gearing up to endure unrelenting criticism around the Thanksgiving table. They go to visit family, get swarmed by critique, and hav…

Sermon for October 23

The Writing on the Wall
Daniel 5:1-12

I once had a friend who heard the voice of God. His name was Willie. Willie always made me a little nervous because the things God told him were not very pleasant. God told Willie a lot about judgment and death, plagues, and deadly diseases. No, Willie’s God was not a happy God, and Willie let us know it. For the most part, the messages he shared made me nervous for selfish reasons. I was afraid God was going to tell Willie some secret detail of my past, and I didn’t want to be around if the Lord was going to embarrass me in front of my friends, with Willie as God’s mouthpiece. Let’s just say I haven’t always been the angel I am today.

I had a similar experience once at the Church of Brotherly Love. Sister Bradley, the church’s ancient pastor, invited me out to one of her church’s revival. The speaker was a woman from Florida – a Prophet Lady. After preaching for an hour and a half, the Prophet Lady prayed, and God sent her messages about specific pe…