If what we hear in today’s gospel (Matthew 22:1-14) is really what the kingdom of heaven is like, then I’m not interested.
Who needs God’s kingdom – at least as Jesus describes it today – when we already have more than enough leaders throughout the world who are abusing their power, when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis, when people’s lives are being destroyed, when cities are burning, when some are excluded and told they don’t belong? We don’t need God’s help to bring that about, we’re pretty good at it by ourselves. Continue reading There’s Got To Be More Than This – A Sermon On Matthew 22:1-14
Isaiah describes how God dug a vineyard, cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. Then God built a watchtower in the midst of the vineyard and hewed out a wine vat in it. And now God want to know, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” God “expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-7)
How can that be? That God wouldn’t or couldn’t get what God expects or wants doesn’t fit with many of the images and concepts we have of who God is and how God is. Continue reading Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7
Jonah has finally arrived at Nineveh. It’s a city so large it will take him three days to walk across it. Going a day’s walk into the city he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
What do you hear in his words? What do you imagine Jonah might be thinking and feeling? Let me tell you some of the things I wonder about as I hear his words. Continue reading We Are Nineveh – A Sermon On Jonah 3:10-4:11
What would you say if I told you that every day is the third day? What would you think if I told you that resurrection is happening every day everywhere? What if I told you that resurrection is happening even in the current political, economic, and racial struggles of today; even in the midst of the pandemic; and even in our divisions and disagreements about who we are and the values we hold?
Can you see it? Are you experiencing it? Is it real for you? If so, what does it look like? Where are you seeing life and more life? What difference is resurrection making in your life today?
And if you can’t see it and aren’t experiencing it, if it’s not real for you, why not? Are you standing with Peter in the “God forbid it” place? Continue reading Every Day Is The Third Day – A Sermon On Matthew 16:21-28
I thought I knew or had some idea of what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. The events of the last six months, however, have caused me to rethink what it means. It used to be mostly a Sunday morning kind of question, but now it’s an every day kind of question. It used to be about the future, but now it’s about the present moment. It’s no longer only or even primarily about saving souls, it’s about changing hearts. And if Jesus is not changing your heart and my heart then he is not the Messiah of our lives. And if he is our Messiah then he necessarily changes how we live. Continue reading “Show Me Your Work” – A Sermon On Matthew 16:13-20
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