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Showing posts from September, 2013

Sermon for September 29, 2013

To Those who Abide in the Shadow of Grace
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
For God will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;
God will cover you with pinions, and under God’s wings you will find refuge;
God’s faithfulness will shield you.
You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
Psalm 91, selected verses I thought this was going to be an easy sermon to prepare.  Select a well-known psalm about trusting in God, throw in an inspiring story or two, and off we go. And, a…

Sermon for September 22, 2013

Is There No Balm in Gilead?
Listen Here
My grief is beyond healing;
    my heart is broken.
Listen to the weeping of my people;
    it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask.
    “Is her King no longer there?
Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
    and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord.

“The harvest is finished,
    and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
    “yet we are not saved!”
I hurt with the hurt of my people.
    I mourn and am overcome with grief.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
    for the wounds of my people?
If only my head were a pool of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
    for all my people who have been slaughtered
.  – Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 Thomas Wiggins, known as "Blind Tom," was born in 1849 in Columbus, GA.  Even though he was born blind, at the age of seven this enslaved African could flawlessly play spirituals …

Sermon for September 15, 2013

Hot Winds from Barren Heights
with gratitude to Dr. John Holbert at patheos.org for clarifying some of my thoughts on Jeremiah! Much of the language of this sermon belongs to him.
I only had one couple walk out during the sermon this week . . . 

Few confrontations in sports are as personal and dramatic as a batter standing in against a pitcher with a baseball game on the line. The batter adjusts his helmet, tightens his batting gloves, digs into the batter's box and looks toward the mound. The pitcher fingers a rosin bag and drops it, stares at the catcher for a sign, then grips the ball in his glove and begins his windup. If the pitch is a Major League fastball, it will reach the plate in less than half a second.

How do you even begin to think of hitting that ball? I played baseball . . . once. The ball hit me more than I hit it. It turns out, elite MLB hitters have an average visual acuity of 20/12. That means they can see from 20 feet away what I would have to stand at 12 feet aw…

Sermon for September 1, 2013

Good News That Connects: Creating
Acts 17:16-31

Paul slinks into Athens, and he’s in a rotten mood. He’s having a bad week. Earlier in the week, he got himself kicked out of the city Thessalonica by an angry mob of troublemakers. Then he met up with some buddies in the neighboring city of Berea, and all their preaching and Jesus-talk got them kicked evicted from there, too. By the time Paul arrives in Athens, he’s ready to pick a fight. Paul is spitting mad – revolted –  because of all the idols in the ancient city. You could call 1st century Athens the “god capital of the world,” a place so full of deities to worship that the Athenians must have needed something like the Yellow Pages just to keep track of them all. Paul’s first move is to argue. He finds some philosopher types, some Stoics and Epicureans, and he has at them. They are confused, to say the least. They wonder, “What is this babbler saying?” These philosopher types take Paul to a place called The Areopagus, or “Mars Hill.”…