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Showing posts from February, 2007

Sermon for February 25, 2007

Doers of the Word
James 1:22-25; James 2:14-20

We can be gullible when we see advertisements for little gadgets and timesavers. You know what I mean – the electric waffle-boat makers, the inflatable massage chairs, the Flowbees and Garden Weasels and Clappers – things we never knew we needed until the cable shopping channels told us that we couldn’t live without them. In most cases, what happens to this stuff after we buy it? If it doesn’t break, we use our earwax camera/cleaner two or three times before it gets pushed into the back of a closet or the corner of the garage with the rest of the junk we couldn’t live without. Last week’s novelty is forgotten just in time for this week’s ads, with a new hoard of debris guaranteed to make our lives easier, richer, and more convenient. Sometimes we’re so busy looking ahead to what we don’t have, we don’t take the time to enjoy, or put to good use, what we already do have.

The same can be true of God’s word. Are we living an active life of fait…

Sermon for February 18, Transfiguration Sunday

Seeing Jesus
Luke 9:28-36

Have you ever heard of United States Senator Edmund G. Ross of Kansas? I suppose you could call him a “Mr. Nobody.” No law bears his name. Not a single list of Senate “greats” mentions his service. Yet when Ross entered the Senate in 1866, he was considered the man to watch. He seemed destined to surpass his colleagues, but he tossed it all away by one courageous act of conscience. Let’s set the stage. Conflict was dividing our government in the wake of the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson was determined to follow Lincoln’s policy of reconciliation toward the defeated South. Congress, however, wanted to rule the downtrodden Confederate states with an iron hand. Congress decided to strike first. The Senate introduced impeachment proceedings against the hated President. The radicals calculated that they needed thirty-six votes, and smiled as they concluded that the thirty-sixth was none other than Ross. The new senator listened to the vigilante talk. But to t…

Sermon for February 11, 2007

I finally posted the last three sermons in the series on The Lord's Prayer. Sorry for the delay.

The Lord’s Prayer: Thine is the Kingdom
Luke 17:20-24

“We’ll be out until 10:30,” said Chad’s parents as their friends came by to pick them up for banquet. “While we’re gone, stay home and finish your history paper.”

“Can’t I use the car for just a little while?” asked Chad. He had gotten his driver’s license just last month. “Um, I need to borrow a book from Todd. I’ll only be gone a while.”

Absolutely not,” warned Chad’s father. “You have all the books you need for tonight. You stay home and work on that paper.” Chad really wanted to get together with his friends while his parents were gone. After all, his parents weren’t using the car, so why shouldn’t he be able to? It didn’t seem fair. He only wanted to be out for an hour or so. There would still be time to work on his history paper, he reasoned.

The phone rang. It was Todd. “Hey, come on over,” he said. “All the guys are here.”…

Sermon for February 4, 2007

The Lord’s Prayer: Deliver Us From Evil
1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 4:1-11

The Granby Gorge was one of the most dangerous places in town when I grew up there. We all knew the stories about kids who dove into the gorge, broke their necks and never walked again – or unaware swimmers who jumped off the cliffs and got pulled into underground caves by the currents of the waterfall. I remembered the words of my father, who told me what he’d do to me if he ever caught me swimming at the Granby Gorge. Let’s just say it involved his foot connecting to my rear-end, followed by weeks of hard labor on our family woodpile.

So, you may wonder how it came to be that I was standing on the edge of a cliff at the Granby Gorge, toes curled over the edge of the rocks, hands in the air, ready to perform a record-breaking cannonball to the sheers of my high school friends. The temptation was just too great to resist. One jump could put me in the pantheon of gorge jumpers. I’d have friends and fame, and resp…

Sermon for January 28, 2007

Forgive Us Our Debts
Matthew 18:21-35

Steven McDonald was a New York City Police Officer. On July 12, 1986, while patrolling in Central Park, McDonald stopped to question three teenagers. While questioning them, a fifteen-year-old took out a gun and shot me him the head and neck. Thanks to the quick action of his fellow police officers, McDonald was rushed to a hospital. The good news was that he survived. The bad news was that he would be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of my life. McDonald was just married, and his twenty-three years old wife, Patti Ann, was three months pregnant. When they heard the news, Patti Ann began crying uncontrollably. McDonald says, “I cried too. I was locked in my body, unable to move or to reach out to her.”

A week after the shooting, the media asked to speak to my Patti Ann. Though still in shock, she bravely told everybody that she would trust God to do what was best for her family. McDonald spent the next eighteen months in the hospital. Patti …