Getting Ready for the King

Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and it is the beginning of the Christian calendar. Historically, Advent begins by celebrating the fact that Jesus will one day come to judge the living and the dead. This is why we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel. We are not in the first instance reenacting what it was…

New York vs. Mount Zion

The Book of Revelation is a behind the scenes look at what happens in worship. The Bible teaches that all true worship happens in heaven. We have been raised into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus by the Spirit, and when we gather together, when we say Lift up your hearts/we lift them up to…

Facing the Future like a Christian

1 Sam. 2:1-10, Heb. 11:32-12:2, Jn. 14:1-17 Introduction Fall is a busy time of new beginnings: new school years, new seasons of life, new living situations. Add to this the regular (but significant) transitions of new marriages, welcoming new children into your home, sending children off to college, or various goodbyes, and then of course…

I Saw Satan Fall

Luke XXXVII: Lk. 10:1-24 Introduction One of the most important lessons of the Bible is that things are not always what they seem. Here, we have the relatively unassuming record of Jesus sending out the seventy to proclaim peace, heal the sick, and announce the arrival of the kingdom of God, but in this event,…

Pentecost Sunday: Fire From Heaven

Luke XXXVI: Lk. 9:49-62 Introduction Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, the day we celebrate the pouring out of the Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. The Text: The theme that ties these three scenes in Luke 9 together is the call to follow Jesus and the way other people and…

The Majesty of the Son

Luke XXXV: Lk. 9:28-48 Introduction This section of Luke seems intentionally structured to emphasize the point that Jesus is repeatedly making. We move from miracle to confession of faith to foretelling His death to a call to discipleship in 9:10-27, and that same pattern repeats here: transfiguration/healing (9:28-42), confession/astonishment at the glory of God (9:43),…

Far Better

Ascension Day 2016 Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn. 16:7) The ascension of Jesus is one of the harder things to understand as Christians. From our perspective, it seems like Jesus leaving made everything a…

A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons

There are many reasons people find themselves attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but one of them is the presence and veneration of icons. Entering a sanctuary full of religious art can seem visually stunning and feel refreshingly spiritual compared to kitschy banners or television screens or hospital-blank walls. For the westerner, icons suggest a certain “eastern”…

A Sermon on the Obergefell Decision

The Sins of Intellectual Sloth and Cowardice Dt. 6:4-15, Heb. 12:1-6, 12-16, Acts 4:8-31 [Note: The audio for this sermon may be found here or here.] This last Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right of two members of…

Why Did Jesus Need to Ascend?

Ascension Eve 2015 Most Christians understand that the resurrection of Jesus is of crucial importance to their salvation and the validity of the Christian Faith. Paul states explicitly that if Jesus is not risen from the dead, we are still in our sins, and we of all people are to be most pitied (1 Cor….