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Showing posts from July, 2008

Sermon for July 20, 2008

Rebuilding the Walls: The Opposition
Nehemiah 4:1-4:23

Do you remember what you were doing on December 22, 1984? In New York City it was a cold evening, a mere three days before Christmas. A man entered a subway car. He was 37 years old. Thin, almost frail. Balding and bespectacled. An electronics buff. Law abiding and timid. Certainly not the description you would give a vigilante. Certainly not the swashbuckler you would cast to play Robin Hood or the hero that you would hire to portray the Lone Ranger. But that didn’t bother the American public when this timid man’s story came out.

The unassertive passenger sat down next to four youths. They were a somewhat boisterous group, and the 15 or 20 other passengers moved to the other end of the subway car. One of the four, Troy Canty, asked Bernhard Goetz how he was doing. Then, brandishing sharpened screwdrivers, the teens threateningly encircled Goetz and ‘asked’ him for five dollars. Goetz took out a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver…

Sermon for July 13, 2008

Rebuilding the Walls: The Work
Nehemiah 3:1-32
July 20, 2008

Everyone at the State University knew that Donner Hall had the best parties. All night dancing and beer guzzling attracted the largest weekend crowds by far–especially on the notorious second floor. By midnight every Friday and Saturday, the entire second floor was three inches deep in smashed beer cans and stale potato chips. And every weekend, by around 7:00 AM the next morning, all of the garbage was removed. The second floor residents assumed that the diligent and committed custodial staff came bright and early, before anyone woke up, to sweep up the mess. Early one Saturday morning, Chris, still hung over from Friday night’s party, stumbled out of his bed to head for the bathroom. Noticing a freshly vacuumed second floor, he mumbled to himself, “I guess the janitors came early again to get rid of the mess.” On reaching the bathroom, however, his nose warned him the mess was not completely eliminated. A partygoer had gotten…

Sermon for July 6, 2008

Rebuilding the Walls: Our Calling
Nehemiah 1:1-11; 2:1-10

It is an understatement to say that we live in troubled times. It’s not like “the good old days,” anymore, is it? We hear people say this a lot, but is it true? In 1940 the teachers in California were polled to find out what they considered to be the most troublesome problems they faced. The results were: Talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of line, wearing improper clothing, and not putting paper in the wastebasket. In 1990, fifty years alter, the teachers were polled again. This time their answers were quite different: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault. Our society has changed as great deal of our schools are any indication.

Within two generations, it has become dangerous for anyone to be on many of our city streets alone. Young children must always be supervised. Security measures are commonplace in schools. Children are in contact with illegal drugs at …