30Nov

The End of All Things (Luke 21:25-36)

The word "Advent" comes from a Latin word that means "to draw near."  That is what we are doing with the Advent season, drawing near to the coming of Christ.  But as most of us associate Advent with the first coming of Christ, perhaps the more important focus of the Advent season is the anticipation of Christ's return.  While we don't cower in shadows or hide in sanctuaries impatiently awaiting the second coming of Christ, we are to live our lives prepared for when he does come - and the words of Jesus today in Luke's gospel advise us to do just that.  So as we begin a new liturgical year, let us also draw near in anticipation to the return of Christ.


Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 29, 2015
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24Nov

Servants, Everywhere and Always (Mark 10:35-45)

Ambition is a human quality and at times it can be an admirable trait.  After all, if someone does not strive to better themselves they become stagnant or slide back into oblivion.  But when it comes to the Kingdom of God, ambition, Jesus tells us, is not a characteristic to be desired.  In today's reading we meet James and John, two brothers who were fishermen, who took their ambition to great heights whey they aksed to sit at Jesus' right and left hand when he comes into his kingdom.  But in the upside-down structure of God's kingdom, the person who humbles himself is the greatest.  For when we seek to make ourselves more important, what we are really doing is diminishing God in our lives.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on October 18, 2015
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19Nov

Even to the End of the Age (Mark 13:1-8)

As a pastor, I preach from the Lectionary, which is a systematic progression through the Bible over three years.  There have been times when it was necessary to go off the Lectionary because of current events that demand our attention.  But I cannot remember a time when the lectionary selection for the week matched what we saw on the news as completely as it did this week.  The horrific images coming out of Paris, and images like it, often give us pause to consider, is this the end?  Are these the end times that Jesus spoke of?  Yet in today's lectionary reading from Mark, we hear that wars and rumors of wars are just the beginning of the birthpangs.  This thought may not be comforting, unless you have assurance in a saving relationship with Christ.


Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 15, 2015
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14Nov

Riches and the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:17-31)

As we continue our liturgical journey through the book of Mark, we come to one of the best known and least understood phrases in all the Bible - It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  The question often is, what did Jesus mean by it?  Did he mean a literal camel and a literal needle, or was he speaking in hyperbole, or was he talking about some cultural construct that we no longer understand?  But what we find today is, what Jesus was saying is that it is impossible for us, but that all things are possible for God.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on October 11, 2015
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10Nov

Divorce and Reconciliation (Mark 10:2-16)

There are some topics which are difficult to discuss in the church today.  One of the hardest topics to discuss is that of divorce.  The church and many in it seem to hold fast to the idea of traditional marriage, yet few wish to talk about the fact that Jesus himself decried the practice of divorce.  If this is the case, then why is divorce so prevalent, even among Christians?  But more importantly, what does God's word say about grace, even in the midst of brokenness and disolution?  We find out today, from the teachings of Christ on what it means to enter the Kingdom of God as little children.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on October 4, 2015
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7Nov

Building the Bible (2 Timothy 3:10-17)

As we bring our Deep Questions sermon series to a close, it occurs to me that perhaps this question, which was answered last, should have been answered first.  After all, it addresses the question of the validity of the Bible - our holy scriptures which we hold fast to as the very inspired word of God.  Now, for the past 150 years or so, the validity and veracity of the Bible has been under attack.  Most recently, Dan Brown's book "The DaVinci Code" puts forth the notion that the Bible was actually assembled by the pagan emperor Constantine.  But as we will see in today's lesson, God's word is secure and reliable, because we know where it came from and who wrote it, and why.


Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on September 27, 2015
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5Nov

God’s Eternal Grace (Luke 16:19-31)

When we become Christians, one of the first things we learn is that Christ is the only way to God.  So it's natural that one of the first questions we ask is, what happened to people who died before Jesus was crucified?  After all, if Jesus is the only way to God, then in our minds that leaves out those who were, as Paul puts it, untimely born.  Today we will hear a story of two men, told by Jesus, and find clues that lead us to better understanding of the afterlife, and how Christ truly is the only way, and has always been.

Recorded at Hudson UMC on September 20, 2015
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