October 2, 2018 @ 8:59 pm

Season of Creation - “Keep It Holy” (Sun, Sept 30, 2018)


Sermon title: "Keep It Holy" 

Sermon text: Exodus 19:1-25 


Sermon excerpt: 

Left standing at the foot of the mountain, they are relieved yet still terrified. They dare not enter into God’s presence. Even though Moses has consecrated them, making them ritually clean, and they have washed their clothes, they know they are still separated from the holiness of God by their sinfulness. And they have never more aware of their sinfulness than on that day.

God has drawn a line, set limits around the mountain, and commands them to keep it holy. To cross into territory designated as off limits will result in death. Instead, they stand in awe of the holiness of the Lord manifested and displayed in the creation.

The root of the Hebrew word for holy means separation or withdrawal. God is intrinsically holy by nature and necessarily separated from creation and humanity.[i]

Yet God longs for fellowship with humanity; God longs to be in relationship again with those who have been made in his own image. But sin keeps humans separated from God.


[i] “Holiness, Holy,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, p. 598.

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September 26, 2018 @ 6:55 pm

Season of Creation - “What the Heavens are Saying” (Sun, Sept 23, 2018)


Sermon title: "What the Heavens are Saying" (Season of Creation sermon series) 

Sermon text: Psalm 19


Sermon excerpt: 

No less than Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Haydn – all master musicians – have used the words of this psalm to delight and to preach to listeners throughout the ages using the images and reflections of God in Creation.

Yes, you heard that right: they used these words to PREACH to their listeners. For in fact, that’s what the Creation does: it preaches to us of God’s glory.

The Creation, the heavens above and the earth below, witnesses to God. God’s glory is preached through the sunrises and sunsets; in the ocean waves; and in the stars in the sky. 

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September 26, 2018 @ 6:48 pm

Season of Creation - “Subdue the Earth?” (Sun, Sept 16, 2018)


Sermon title: "Subdue the Earth?" (Season of Creation sermon series) 

Sermon text: Genesis 1:1-31


Sermon excerpt: 

Perhaps another way to think of our role in subduing the earth as God’s partners is to remember the image of pruning in John 15.

“I am the true vine,” Jesus tells his disciples, “and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”

My friend Chris continues to say, “As God subdues that in us which leads to death rather than life (sin), so too we subdue in nature that which leads to death, turning it around so that it yields life.”

So part of being created in God’s image and acting as God’s partners in managing creation is to allow ourselves to be pruned as well as to be a pruner, one who nurtures and encourages that which creates and sustains life, protecting what (and who) is defenseless and pruning away the branches that do not bear fruit.  

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September 12, 2018 @ 8:03 pm

09.09.18 A Good Name



Sermon title:  A Good Name 

Sermon text: Proverbs 22: 1-2, 8-9, 22-23 


Sermon excerpt

James Limburg is a man who has spent his entire life studying the book of Proverbs and he describes it as “a guide for steering the ship of your life, the ocean of the life, when the sailing is smooth and when it is not.”[i]


But the wisdom of the book of Proverbs is not meant just to benefit the character formation of an individual; it is concerned with the formation of a wise community rooted in the peace and justice of God.[i]

How a community reckons with poverty is front and center in these three separate yet related proverbs:

1A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.

8Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.

22Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them.


[i] Stephen C. Johnson, (Kindle Locations 1204-1206), Bartlett, David L.. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 4: Season after Pentecost 2 (Propers 17-Reign of Christ) (Feasting on the Word: Year B volume) Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.

 [i] https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3764 (James Limburg)

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September 5, 2018 @ 10:53 pm

09.02.18 Looking in the Mirror


Sermon title: Looking in the Mirror 

Sermon text: James 1:17-27


Sermon excerpt: 

When you looked in the mirror getting ready for church this morning, you might have thought, “I’m too fat” or “I’m too thin” or “Great, another pimple or another bad hair day.” You might have looked disheveled and wrinkled, worn and scarred.1

But that’s not really what James wants us to look at. He wants us to look deeper to see the image of God implanted in each one of us; to see ourselves as ones who have been saved by the blood of Jesus; people who are new creations in Christ, brought to new life through God’s word. James says you are a “first fruit,” set aside as someone who belongs to and is dearly loved by God.

But when we forget that, when we forget that we are God’s beloved, we look in the mirror and see a spiritually distorted version of ourselves. We turn away from the mirror in disgust and promptly forget what we’re supposed to look like, what kind of fruit should be growing in our heart.


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August 28, 2018 @ 8:26 pm

08.26.18 From the Beginning to the End


Sermon title: From the Beginning to the End 

Scripture text: John 6:56-69


Sermon excerpt: 

Home is where you have abided, in good times and bad. It is where you have remained steadfastly, a place that felt secure, perhaps even a sanctuary from the rest of the world.

“Home is [or should be] the promise of safety, of security; a place where fear does not have the upper hand.”1

When Jesus says, "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them,” he is inviting the disciples (and us) to be at home in him, just as he is at home in God.


1 Amy C. Howe, Pastoral Perspective, "Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season after Pentecost 1," (Kindle Locations 13479-13483).

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August 24, 2018 @ 5:42 am

08.19.18 Flesh & Blood


Sermon title: Flesh and Blood 

Scripture text: John 6:52-58


Sermon excerpt: 

For example, in verse 49-51, Jesus uses the common word esthio for eating the bread from heaven. But in verse 53, he uses the word trogo which has a connotation closer to “munch” or “gnaw,” noisy eating, like a wild animal devouring its prey.

This kind of eating is urgent, even desperate. It is eating as though life depends on it … because it does.[i]

Heard in that way, Jesus’ words start to make more sense. He’s not literally talking about feeding on his physical body like some scene from The Walking Dead … but rather offering himself as life-giving and life-sustaining spiritual nourishment for the world, a world that is desperately hungry for something real and something significant, something we can (metaphorically) sink our teeth into.

Throughout John 6, Jesus reveals himself as the bread of heaven, broken and given as food for the soul, and we ourselves partake of it in the sacrament of Communion, eating the bread and drinking the cup as though our very lives depend on it.


[i] https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=371

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August 16, 2018 @ 9:33 pm

08.12.18 Wonderbread


Sermon title: Wonderbread 

Sermon text: John 6:35, 41-51 

Sermon excerpt: 

Award-winning chef James Beard said it best: “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

Bread is food for our bodies and food for our souls.

When Jesus spoke to the crowds that day in Capernaum, Jesus didn’t say, “I am the caviar of life.” He didn’t say, “I am the filet mignon or the surf and turf of life.”

He said, “I am the bread of life.” He identifies himself with simple food and basic, life-giving sustenance. He identifies himself with the food that for centuries afterward would be part of protest efforts by poor and marginalized people.  “No one holds caviar riots;” writes Lauren Winner, “people riot for bread.”[i]


[i] Lauren Winner  (Presbyterian Outlook Facebook Post: August 2, 5:27AM) 

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June 28, 2018 @ 1:33 am

06.24.18 “Don’t Be Afraid”


Check out Second Presbyterian Church


Included in this podcast: 

1. Prayer for Illumination 

2. Old Testament reading  1 Samuel 32-49 

3. The Psalter  Psalm 9:9-20 

4. The Epistle  2 Corinthians 6:1-13 

5. Ministry of Music  Dr. Stan Workman 

6. The Gospel  Mark 4:35-41

7. The Sermon  "Don't Be Afraid" 


Sermon Excerpt: 

When a child wakes up in the middle of the crying, terrified at some dream, she cries out for her mother who comes into the room and scoops the child up in her arms. She wipes the sweaty hair off her daughter’s forehead and wipes away the tears from her cheeks.

She rocks her child gently, smoothing her hair, whispering what mothers have whispered from the beginning of time: “Shh, it’s OK. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

In truth, we know as adults there are many things to be afraid of in our world. And though they are very real, they do not have the last word. The scary things of this world do not have ultimate power over us, “because reigning over this world of fearsome things is a God” who is bigger than they.

What a mother means when she comforts her daughter is, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here. You’re not alone.”

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June 21, 2018 @ 8:21 pm

06.10.18 Family Reunion


Check out Second Presbyterian Church


In this podcast: 

1. Prayer of illumination 

2. Old Testament reading  1 Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20 

3. Psalter  Psalm 138 

4. Epistle reading  2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 

5. Anthem "His Eye is on the Sparrow"  (Kara Penley, flute; Dr. Stan Workman, piano) 

6. Gospel reading  Mark 3:20-35

7. Sermon 


Sermon excerpt: 

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asks the crowd: the crowd who follows him everywhere he goes; the crowd who searches for him when he slips away; the crowd who, in just a few chapters, will arrest him and call for Barabbas’ release and Jesus’ own death.

This motley crew of tax collectors and prostitutes, blind men and bleeding women, the least and the lost and the lonely … this is Jesus’ family. This is his inner circle, the ones who are doing the will of God.

And this is where the story stops being about family as we think about it and becomes about the church.

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