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Showing posts from September, 2008

Sermon for September 21, 2008

Core Values: Holding Traditions
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; 1 Corinthians 11:1-7

In March 1638, a Puritan woman stood shamelessly before a gathering of Massachusetts Bay clergy. As many of her former friends from Boston watched, Pastor John Wilson read a writ of excommunication, casting Anne Hutchinson out of the church and the colony. She was charged with “lewd and lascivious conduct” for having men and women in her house at the same time during Sunday Bible study meetings. Later that month, Hutchinson and over a hundred supporters left for Rhode Island.

Anne Hutchinson converted to Puritanism through the preaching of English Pastor John Cotton. When Cotton migrated to the New World, Anne and her family followed. There she began to hold weekly women’s meetings in her home to discuss Cotton’s sermons. The meetings grew in popularity, and women began bringing their husbands. These gatherings evolved into question and answer sessions in which Anne often voiced her own opinions. She suggeste…

Sermon for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Core Values: Prayer, Study and Service
John 8:31-41 (Ephesians 4:17-25)

“Jesus has a very special love for you . . .but as for me, the silence and the emptiness are so great, that I look and do not see, …listen but do not hear. Where is my faith? Deep down there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness. My God, how painful is this unknown pain. I have no Faith. I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart, and make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me I am afraid to uncover them because of the blasphemy. If there be God, please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

Guess who wrote those words. Mother Theresa, of all people! Her personal writings reveal that for the last half-century of her …

Sermon for September 7, 2008

Our Core Values: A Vision for TCC
Micah 4:1-5, 1 John 4:21

In the course of history, big people with big ideas make a big impact on world history. Sometimes, people of little notoriety with big ideas make a small ripple on the lake of history. The ripple expands, slowly spreading out, gaining momentum, and reaching many over time. Micah is one of these people. Micah prefers the simplicity of the country to the commotion of city life. The capitol city Jerusalem offers nothing that he can’t get at home or just do without. And like many people who live in forgotten rural areas, Micah is a patriot. He sees what the national leaders do to his country and he is outraged. Greedy leaders kill others for money and power. The King of Judah raises taxes to build luxurious fortresses and palaces for himself while the common people in the country suffer. Nobles fleece the poor, judges accept bribes, and religious leaders are more interested in wealth than truth. And Micah is mad (see Micah 3:11; 7:…

Sermon for Sunday, August 31, 2008

What God Intends
Romans 12:9-21

Driving down White Plains Road, motorists see the street sign for the Trumbull Congregational Church. One of our deacons is in charge of updating the sign with quotes to entertain passing motorists. Once the sign said, “Don’t worry, Moses was also a basket case.” Another read, “Autumn leaves, Jesus doesn’t.” Right now the sign says, “God blesses us, even when we don’t sneeze.” I remember a moment about one year ago. Driving by the sign with a friend, my passenger read the latest message and groaned. It said, “Warning: Church may induce extreme bouts of happiness.” My cynical passenger turned to me and said, “It should be more like, ‘Warning: Church may cause extreme bouts of frustration.’ ” I laughed, knowing that his comments echo the response that many have towards church.

As a pastor, I am also frustrated by a religious institution that exists within twin realities. The first reality is that the church seems to fail in its mission. As one Christian theo…