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Showing posts from August, 2010

Sermon for August 15, 2010

What Baptism Did You Receive?

As we celebrate the baptism of London this morning, I wanted us to reflect a little more on what it means. Congregationalists have a long history of sprinkling water on babies. Other traditions do it differently. For instance, a young son of a Baptist minister was in church one morning when he saw for the first time baptism by immersion. He was greatly interested in it, and the next morning proceeded to baptize his three cats in the bathtub. The youngest kitten bore it very well, and so did the younger cat, but the old family tom cat rebelled. The old cat struggled with the boy, clawing and tearing his skin, until he finally got away. With considerable effort the boy caught the old cat again and proceeded with the “ceremony.” But the cat acted worse than ever, clawing, spitting, and scratching the boy’s face. Finally, after barely getting the cat splattered with water, he dropped him on the floor in disgust and said: “Fine! Be a Congregationalist if you wa…

Sermon for August 1, 2010

Angry at God

Sometimes I hear people talk about feeling angry toward God. And sometimes they feel kind of guilty about it. Take this letter for instance. It was written to a newspaper columnist:
At an early age, my mother was taken from me and my family due to an illness. It was a terrible blow for all of us to take. My biggest struggle then and now is my anger. I acknowledge the existence of a higher power but find it hard to believe in God. I'm angry with him for taking my mother from me. It seems as though God is made out to be our savior, our forgiver and our friend. Why would he tear my family life asunder by taking her from us? I've moved away from the Lord as a result, angry that he robbed such a powerful figure from my life. How can I cope with and heal my anger with him?The mother's death has not merely cost this man a mother. That alone is hard enough. His experience has alienated him from God. His sense of how and why he belongs in this world has shifted. The one …

Sermon for July 18, 2010

The Prayer of the Empty Soul

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself…