Isaiah 11:1-10 “The Tree of Jesse”

 (This image is a German painting of the Tree of Jesse from Wurzberg from 1240 to 1250.)   When times get tough, people are inclined to hope in a greater power outside themselves to come and rescue them.  Some people hope that a good relationship with save them, that a knight in shining armor will … Continue reading Isaiah 11:1-10 “The Tree of Jesse”

How Evangelical Leaders Have Changed Since 9/11 | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

I am not a pacifist; I believe that we must pursue justice. Yet a Christian history stained by anti-Semitism—holding an entire people responsible for the actions of a few—teaches us the terrible consequences of not following Jesus' way. We dare not do to Muslims what we have, to our shame, done to Jews. Philip Yancey, … Continue reading How Evangelical Leaders Have Changed Since 9/11 | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Jesus in Three Hymns – Mark 8:28-37

Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  It’s a question of utmost importance, but also elusive.  We are trying to understand an historical person, reading ancient texts, translated from a different language, and sorting through sedimentary layers of previous generation of thought and belief.  I enjoy reading great biographers who seek to encapsulate … Continue reading Jesus in Three Hymns – Mark 8:28-37

Peter’s Rebuke

Mark 8:31-38     I have every sympathy with Peter in this text. He is caught up in a very exciting moment. Jesus just asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter is the first to speak the truth. “You are the messiah, the Christ,” he answers Jesus. Peter senses the long-awaited moment when the … Continue reading Peter’s Rebuke

Even Jesus Struggled with Bias

Mark 7:24-30   I can’t believe this is what Jesus said!  Here is a woman in distress, who needs healing for her daughter, who is apparently demon-possessed.  (Aren’t you in sympathy with her already?)  Jesus helps people like this throughout Mark’s Gospel – Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus, ten lepers, a centurion’s daughter.  He heals a … Continue reading Even Jesus Struggled with Bias

“Overlooked and Under-Considered”

Have you ever had the experience of shaking hands with someone and they were already looking for someone else before they let your hand drop, as if you were obstructing their view?  I remember visiting a church on a vacation and as soon as the pastor found out that we were not prospective new members, … Continue reading “Overlooked and Under-Considered”

September 2018 Preaching Themes

Here's are a few of my thoughts as I prepare to preach this month, with some news items, preaching ideas, and links to past sermons.  Please comment and share your thoughts on the month as well.  We are in the middle section of Mark's Gospel throughout the month, where Jesus demonstrates the nature of his … Continue reading September 2018 Preaching Themes

Jesus Confronts the Propagandists

Mark 3:20-35 Mark’s Gospel lesson today shows us how propaganda works.  Set the terms of a debate by labeling your opponent first, and attach them to something abhorrent.  Here is how Jesus’s opponents do it.  “You are in league with Beezlebul.”   You’re working for the devil, aren’t you, that is where your power comes from!  … Continue reading Jesus Confronts the Propagandists

Trinity: God in Alignment

Today is known as Trinity Sunday.  In talking about God as three persons in one substance, we can get lost in the intellectual challenge of defining how the creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are inter-related.  A neglected topic is how more images of God creates a depth and balance to our understanding of God.  … Continue reading Trinity: God in Alignment