Sermon Archives

December 22, 2019

A Vulnerable God

A Vulnerable God

I once led a retreat for a small group of Christians. I began the retreat by asking them to sit quietly for a moment and identify the main image for God which they carried around in their heads. After a few minutes of silence, each person went around the circle and shared with us their […]

December 8, 2019

You, turn.

You, turn.

So, how are you? I expected that tepid response, so I came prepared to not only ask the question but to provide your answers: I’m fine. Getting along. Busy busy. Doing well. I’m here. Causin’ trouble. Just great. Fair to middlin’. Keeping warm. Couldn’t be better. Can’t complain. Still alive. If there is any other […]

December 1, 2019

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

I can’t get enough of apocalyptic Christianity. I think this may be about the fact that the Bible says that the day and the hour of the end of days is unknown, and yet so many people are so anxious about it they predict it. And while that sort of “end-times” prophecy may seem to […]

November 10, 2019

The Spirituality of the Blues

The Spirituality of the Blues

(Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Bessie Smith)[1] Nobody knows you when you’re down and out. That song is by Bessie Smith, nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920’s and 30’s. I listened to the blues as I prepared this message. That’s because I […]

November 3, 2019

#blessed

#blessed

Blessed. Or bless-ed. We use this word a whole lot. We throw it around as easily and as quickly as we do “awesome” or “fantastic.” If you follow #blessed on Instagram, you’ll find 117 million posts! If you follow #blessed with the emoji of two hands giving a high five which 9 out of 10 […]

October 27, 2019

Looking Toward the Finish Line

Looking Toward the Finish Line

I’ve watched at least two dozen people die, possibly three dozen. Many of those deaths were navigated well, but at least two of them were not. The first death happened to a young man with AIDS. Back in those long-ago days, getting AIDS was an automatic death sentence because medical science had no way of […]

October 20, 2019

Nagging God

Nagging God

“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” Sometimes, Luke makes things easy for us, or at least he appears to. Before we even get to the parable, before we even read the story, Luke provides us with the moral, the meaning, the golden nugget of […]

October 13, 2019

Church as Exile

Church as Exile

He saw her in the market, a rare breath of beauty amid the misery of his life in the refugee camp. Someone said she was from his village back in Syria, which he fled when a Syrian government plane dropped bombs that destroyed his home. And now, on a hot afternoon two months later, Samah […]

October 6, 2019

Introverts in the Church

Introverts in the Church

I recently saw an advertisement for a new pastor. It specified that “the candidate must have an outgoing and energetic personality.” For many churches, the ideal pastor is outgoing, gregarious, loves to meet new people and shake their hands, is quick-witted in social conversations, has lots of energy, and dazzles people with charm and charisma. […]

September 22, 2019

From Loneliness to Solitude

From Loneliness to Solitude

About thirty years ago, I began my first pastoral assignment at Lombard Mennonite Church, in Lombard, Illinois. Back then I was an assistant pastor working under the supervision of the two senior pastors, Joe and Emma Richards. One morning in the church office, Joe announced that after lunch, he and I were going to visit […]

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