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….

The God Who Answers

Easter V: Lk. 1:5-25 [Note: the audio for this sermon can be found here.] Introduction Luke writes so that Theophilus and others like him would have certainty of the things he has been taught. The first episode in his gospel is the story of an uncertain old man. He has lived a long, faithful life…

The Politics of Celebration

Right after urging the Philippians to remember that their citizenship is in heaven, Paul reminds them that this means they are called to rejoice always. This is because rejoicing and celebration are always community events, public events, political events. In the first century, Christians were surrounded by celebrations: the old Jewish feasts, Greek and Roman…