The miracle, the good news, the hope for every one of us, is that sometimes Jesus comes to us disguised as a ghost. The ghost the disciples see and the Jesus they can’t see are two sides of the same thing, a holy ghost, a life giving ghost. The ghost that frightened them also carried the divine presence. The ghost they were convinced would take their life also carried the power to give life. There is always more to the ghosts of our life than we see or believe. Continue reading Facing Our Ghosts – A Sermon On Matthew 14:22-33
Five loaves and two fish. I know what that’s like and I’ll bet you do too. The day of my divorce was a five loaves and two fish kind of day. And so was the day my older son died and the years that followed. A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends called to give me the most recent report from his oncologist and I felt like I had nothing but five loaves and two fish. Continue reading When You’re Down To Five Loaves And Two Fish – A Sermon On Matthew 14:13-21
What feeds and sustains your life today? What relationships, values, and beliefs nourish your life? Who are the people that enrich and enliven your life? What are you needing and asking for when you pray that God will give you your daily bread?
In whatever ways you might have answered those questions you’ve described the wheat in the garden of your soul. And wherever there is a garden you’ll also find weeds. We don’t plant them and we don’t want them, but as today’s parable (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) says somehow they always manage to show up. Weeds happen. And that’s true whether it’s the garden in your backyard or the garden of your life. Continue reading Pulling Weeds, Reaping Life – A Sermon On Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
When you look at you life today, when you look at the lives of the people you care about most, when you look at everything that is happening in our country, what are your deepest hopes?
Whatever you just named, that hope carries the seeds of your life. And it’s asking something of you. It’s a call and an insistence waiting to be given existence. Continue reading Sowing Seeds Of New Life – A Sermon On Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
I wonder if we have become so accustomed to the way things are that we can no longer see the needs of others, the injustices done to them, or their pain. I wonder if that’s why in the last several weeks so many of us are in shock over what is happening in our country today. We look on in disbelief and ask, “Why? How could this happen? I don’t understand. I can’t imagine.” Maybe it because complacency has blinded us.
What’s happening is not new. What’s new (I hope) is our beginning to awaken to what is happening. I think we are hearing and recognizing what’s happening as a prophetic moment in our lives and in the life of America. Events can also be prophetic. Continue reading Prophetic Tracks – A Sermon On Matthew 10:40-42
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
I don’t remember struggling more with the gospel than I have in the last few weeks. And I don’t mean struggling to interpret the truth of the gospel. I mean struggling with that truth in my life, struggling with what that truth reveals about us and our country, struggling with what that truth is asking of us, and struggling with that truth in what I say to you each Sunday. Continue reading Jesus’ Line In The Sand – A Sermon On Matthew 10:24-39
I don’t know and never will know what it’s like to have the knee of a police officer against my neck, but I still can’t breathe.
I want to be able to breathe again. I want you to be able to breathe. I want the George Floyds of the world to be able to breathe. I want us to breathe faith, hope, and love. I want us to breathe repentance, forgiveness, and healing. I want us to breathe compassion, justice, and peace. Don’t you? Don’t you want those things for yourself, for your kids and grandchildren, for the people of our country, for the world? Continue reading “I Can’t Breathe” – A Trinity Sunday Sermon On Matthew 28:16-20
America is in a hard place these days, and we have been for quite a while. Over the last few months of the coronavirus many have said that we’re all in this together. Yes, but we’re not all together in this. We are not “all together in one place” on this day of Pentecost. Our country is divided, fragmented, and wounded. And so is my heart. Maybe yours is too.
It’s not easy to talk about our wounds; whether it’s our individual wounds or our national wounds, whether it’s the wounds we’ve received or the ones we’ve inflicted. To talk about our wounds requires us to look at what we’ve done and left undone. It means we each have to look within ourselves. It means taking responsibility for our lives. It means valuing the life and wounds of another as much as our own. Continue reading Letting Peace Hold Our Wounds – A Pentecost Sermon On John 20:19-23
At some point we all come to a gap in our life. It takes us to the edge of what we know, to the border of what we believe, to the horizon of what we can see, to the limit of our self-sufficiency. The gap is paradoxical. It look like two opposing edges and feels like we are being puled two different directions, but paradoxes remind us that there is more there than what we can see.
Sometimes the gap feels like an ever widening chasm that I will never be able to bridge or cross. Other times it feels like an abyss into which I am falling and will never get out of. Sometimes that gap is about a longing and desire for something new, something different, something more. Other times that gap is about pain, loss, and heartbreak. Continue reading The Gaps In Our Lives – A Sermon On Acts 1:6-14
That we need an Advocate to change God’s mind about us just doesn’t fit a God “who so loved the world.” It’s contrary to Jesus saying that he came not to condemn the world but to save, heal, and transform it (John 3:17). “I came,” he says, “that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:9).
What if the Advocate’s role is not to change God’s mind but to change our minds about ourselves and each other? Continue reading The Advocate – A Sermon On John 14:15-21