An Armory for Modern Christians #1

2 Cor. 10:4-5: Let Earth Receive Her King Introduction All Christians are soldiers in the army of God (Phil. 2:25, 2 Tim. 2:3, Ph. 1:2). He is the Lord of Hosts, and we are His hosts (Rev. 19:11-16, cf. Ex. 12:51). Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but we are at war. We…

Grooming, Shame, and the Gospel

“Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.” (Jer. 6:15). Part of what happens when societies turn away from God is that they become ashamed of the wrong things, and the things that really ought to be considered shameful become normal. And this has…

The Greatest Conspiracy

Homily for Christmas Day 2016 Grace is the greatest conspiracy. It works right in front of your eyes constantly, boldly, and yet it usually goes unnoticed. It’s camouflaged in the ordinary, in the every day, in the mundane. It looks natural. It looks normal. Grace creeps in under the shadows, in the dark, when we’re…

Matt & Katy: Love that Goes Too Far

The crucifixion of Jesus is like a bad dream. And as in bad dreams, things keep happening that seem more and more horrific. First Jesus is being flogged. Then he’s being mocked in a purple robe with a crown of thorns forced onto his head. Then there’s the mob calling for his crucifixion. And Pilate…

The Obedience of Faith

Advent IV: Is. 7:10-16, Rom. 1:1-7, Mt. 1:18-25 Introduction What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made? How do you make decisions in general? Who do you trust to provide the right kind of information? What sorts of things do you fear? Our readings today focus on significant choices, comparing the obedience of faith and the…

Farming in the Wilderness

Advent III: Is. 35:1-10, Js. 5:7-11, Mt. 11:2-11 Introduction What are you waiting for? What do you long for? Advent is an annual reminder that Christians are a waiting people, and this in turn reminds us that there is a profound blessing to be found in learning to wait on the Lord. Two Prophets Isaiah…

A Signal for All Nations: The Politics of Advent

Second Sunday in Advent Is. 11:1-10, Rom. 15:4-13, Mt. 3:1-12 Introduction The gospel of Advent, which is to say the gospel of Jesus, is irreducibly political: it aims at nothing less than the greatest common good and harmony of all men. The question is not whether people will have a Lord, the question is only…

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…

Good News for 2016

[Note: sermon audio is here] Second Sunday in Christmas 2015 Jer. 31:7-14, Eph. 1:3-14, Jn. 1:1-18 Introduction As we embark as a congregation on this new calendar year, I want us to begin where Christians must always begin with the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. If this diamond has many sides to its glory…

Clothed With Love

First Sunday in Christmas 2015: 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26, Col. 3:12-17, Lk. 2:41-52 Introduction When Jesus was born, He was wrapped in swaddling cloths. These indicate that even though He was God, He was an ordinary baby, and that He was cared for and loved. The lessons today are all about clothing, family, and calling….