The Threat of Grace

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Jer. 1:1-10, 1 Cor. 13:1-13, Lk. 4:21-30 Introduction Epiphany is the season that celebrates God’s glory bursting out into this world through Jesus. This began at His birth, but it went public at His baptism, in His miracles, and through His preaching and teaching the Scriptures. In many ways, we can…

The Glory of God’s Word

Third Sunday after Epiphany: Neh. 8:1-12 Introduction Bible reading has always been a hard topic. It has always been a topic that tends to guilt and sorrow. This is because we know that we are sinners, and the perfect law of liberty is a mirror that shows us who we really are (Js. 1:22-25). This…

Jesus On Time

Second Sunday After Epiphany: Jn. 2:1-11 Introduction The season of Epiphany is all about coming to understand who Jesus is. John’s gospel specifically says that Jesus is the glory of God the Father and then proceeds to explain what that means through a series of signs, written so that we might believe that Jesus is…

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….

How To Not Miss Jesus (At Christmas)

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Mic. 5:2-5a, Heb. 10:5-10, Mt 2:1-12 Introduction How could the chief priests and scribes know that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem and still reject Jesus? How could Herod so dramatically misunderstand the mission of Jesus? We commonly describe the answer as sin and pride, but what is it…

Rejoicing in the Dust

Third Sunday of Advent: Is. 12:1-6, Phil. 4:4-7 Introduction I said last week that we aren’t particularly good at being serious because we’re concerned about being thought of as grumpy or difficult. There’s a similar dynamic with joy. Depending on who you are, you might gravitate toward a certain censoriousness and resent all the smiles….

The Serious Business of Advent

Second Sunday in Advent: Mal. 3:1-4 Introduction We are not very good at seriousness. We are not very good at seriousness because we frequently mistake being cranky or in a bad mood for seriousness, either in ourselves or others. So we tend to opt for and prefer levity, laughter, and we often praise people for…

Unexpected Grace

Luke XXVIII: Luke 7:18-35 Introduction This story is all about expectations. John needs reassurance that his expectations about Jesus are correct. Jesus asks the people about their expectations concerning John. And finally, Jesus explains why the expectations of the Pharisees are wrong. And the questions looming behind these expectations are about who Jesus is and…

Authority & Compassion

Luke XXVII: Lk. 7:1-17 Introduction While Luke has finished teaching on leadership and discipleship in His Kingdom, He isn’t done demonstrating what it looks like. In these two episodes, Luke illustrates what the Lordship of Jesus does in a rich and powerful centurion and a weak and defenseless widow. The Powerful Centurion A centurion was…