Sermon Archive

These sermons highlight the importance of how Christ comes to us today through His Word and Sacraments.

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Iraqis and Slackers

Text: Jonah 4:6-11                     Our sermon this week is addressing the never-ending challenge of separating our religion from our culture.  We’ll be looking at the story of Jonah, a story loved and revered by Jews, Moslems, and Christians alike.  Jonah was a godly man whom God chose for the task of saving thousands of people.  And Jonah does just that by preaching the shortest sermon recorded in the Bible.  He says, “40 days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.” …

Breakfast with Jesus

Text: John 21:4-17 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” I was going to say,…

Joy in the Midst of Crisis

Text: Psalm 100:1-3 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness… Our topic this Sunday is joy and pleasure in the Christian life.  Can we experience them much of the time?  What about if we are struggling with heavy-duty problems?  Is it still possible? I know a story about a young man who joins a monastery where the monks spend most of their time making newer manuscripts from older ones.  He says to…

The King’s Sanctuary

Text: Job 34:16-19; Amos 7:10-13 12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary… Soon after arriving at Northminster, a person sat down with me and said, “Paul, your sermons are too political.”  I was shocked because I go to great lengths not to inject partisan politics into our worship of God, especially in these…

Is God A Lawyer?

Text: Acts 2:1-13; John 15:26-27 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” Is God a lawyer?  There’s an old story about a lawyer, a pastor, and a social worker adrift offshore in shark infested waters.  The lawyer says, “I’m going for help” and dives in the water. …

God’s Finishing School

Text: Select verses from Genesis 37-39                 This week we are looking at the longest story in the Bible, the story of Joseph, which spans 20 chapters (Genesis 30-50).  I was tempted to use the title, “Soap Operas of Genesis,”  but much of this story is about people making stupid choices, suffering the results of those choices, and finally seeing the wisdom of God’s long-term plans.  Hence, “God’s Finishing School.”      As we read scripture, we must be constantly…

I Resolve

Text: Daniel 1:8a       But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food or with the wine which he drank.                                                                          If this were a sermon about resolving to lose weight, I would be unqualified to preach it.  Monday of the past week, I didn’t go to the gym and I said to myself, “I can’t believe I didn’t exercise today.  That makes 5 years in a row!” In…

Blessings In A Pig Pen

Text: Revelation 21:10—22:5              This Sunday we are looking at the theme of blessings.  What exactly are they?  Is there any place where they are not important?  The idea of blessings lies at the heart of the Prosperity Gospel, which has swept South, Central, and North America.  Its central tenet is that the more faithful we are, the more God will bless us with material possessions and good health.  This message has obvious problems because it essentially blesses the current…

My Embarrassingly Late Insight About Prayer

Text: Matthew 7:7-11 Our text this week is the well-known  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find…” saying of Jesus about prayer. Another well known text about prayer is John 14:13  “I will do whatever you ask in my name.”  Some folks conclude that they can ask for anything, add the phrase “in Jesus’ name,” and get a blank check from God. I tried that once.  “Dear God, please give me a new Ferrari. …

Is God Boring?

Text: 1 Peter 1:3-9              Our topic today is “boredom.”  This past year of enforced inactivity has induced boredom in many of us.  Here’s an idea:  if your really bored, look up the difference between “your” and “you’re!” Boredom in religion, however, is more serious.  When I was a rotten teenager in Pittsburgh, we had a senior pastor who was truly a loving man of God.  Unfortunately his sermons were so boring that we used to say, “Dr. Skuce would…

The Other

Text: Luke 24:28-35              At the risk of sounding “mystical,”  I’d like to suggest that the very heart of our Christian life depends upon how we experience God.  Is it more cognitive?  If so, then we will read a lot of books and endlessly study our Bible.  Is it more behavioral?  If so, we will place great emphasis on “doing” the faith rather than “talking” about it.  Is it more affective?  Then we will highly value music, ceremonies, or other…