Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7

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, Nineveh, Sermon, Jonah 3:10-4:11

We Are Nineveh – A Sermon On Jonah 3:10-4:11

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

Resurrection, Matthew 16:21-28, Sermon, Proper 17A, Sunrise Over Mountains

Every Day Is The Third Day – A Sermon On Matthew 16:21-28

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

Matthew 16:13-20, Sermon, Proper 16A, Pen and Math Problems

“Show Me Your Work” – A Sermon On Matthew 16:13-20

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

Wheat, New Life, Parable of the Sower

Sowing Seeds Of New Life – A Sermon On Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

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

Man walking in desert, tracks in sand

Prophetic Tracks – A Sermon On Matthew 10:40-42

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

Jesus’ Line In The Sand – A Sermon On Matthew 10:24-39

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 Can’t Breathe” – A Trinity Sunday Sermon On Matthew 28:16-20

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

Letting Peace Hold Our Wounds – A Pentecost Sermon On John 20:19-23

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

Stop Doing The Religious Thing – A Sermon On Isaiah 58:1-12

I’m going to ask you to do a couple of things and I hope you will indulge me for a bit. I want you to think of one thing that is going on in the world today that is important and matters to you. Something that you keep up with in the news, that you have opinions and beliefs about, and that maybe you even post about in social media or talk about with those who are like minded. Continue reading Stop Doing The Religious Thing – A Sermon On Isaiah 58:1-12