No Other Gods before Me

Over the years, I’ve preached sermon series on any number of themes, but for no reason in particular, the one topic I haven’t touched in depth is the Ten Commandments.   So, for the next 10-or-so weeks, we’re going to be unpacking that list of do’s and don’ts – given by God to Moses, aContinue reading “No Other Gods before Me”

At Our Best

Some of the Bible’s most intriguing and inspiring stories describe events or phenomena that are exceptional and unprecedented. In those-remarkable-but-rare instances, God’s Holy Spirit in Christ is uniquely present, and like a match set to a pack of firecrackers, the Spirit sparks a chain reaction of explosions that inspire awe and wonder. This morning’s ScriptureContinue reading “At Our Best”

Sober Inebriation

Amazement and astonishment – awe and wonder – have been hallmarks of our Scripture lessons these past few Sundays. Consider, for a moment, where the ancient words of the story of God with us have taken us: Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus leaves earth in physical form. His body returns to heaven, where GodContinue reading “Sober Inebriation”

‘Those Days’ Are Now ‘These Days’

Oddly enough, the Old Testament book of Joel hatches from an infestation of insects – more specifically, a swarm of locusts so efficiently devastating the countryside of Israel that famine and starvation are very real possibilities. By Joel’s reckoning, the buzzing disaster swarms large in divine judgment upon the Lord’s sinful people, who eventually getContinue reading “‘Those Days’ Are Now ‘These Days’”

Many Gifts, Common Good

The more things change, the more they stay the same – or so goes the clichéd formula. But you’d think followers of Jesus, empowered as we are by the promise of God’s Holy Spirit in Christ, would enjoy immunity from such apathy and inaction. After all, the flagship of Presbyterian faith anchors deep in long-heldContinue reading “Many Gifts, Common Good”

Faith by Walking Around

In his multi-chapter lead-up to this morning’s lesson, the apostle Paul employs breathtaking language to explain first to the Ephesians and now to us God’s plan of salvation. God firmly intends, Paul writes, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under Christ” (1:10). Heaven’s plan begins with God saving humanity “by graceContinue reading “Faith by Walking Around”

Who Fixed the Roof?

When Mark is your Gospel pilot, best you buckle your seat belts tight. For he takes off into the story of God with us on a short runway, and it’s wheels-up before you know it. As we’ll hear shortly, Mark at the start is a man of few words. He wastes no time launching usContinue reading “Who Fixed the Roof?”

Upside Down and Backwards

John 3:16 – “for God so loved” – one of the most familiar and recognizable verses of the New Testament. The statement is full and true on its own, but like all Scripture, you miss out on a lot when you avoid drinking-in the intoxicating concoction of verses that come before and after. The popularContinue reading “Upside Down and Backwards”

In Case You Ever Wonder

For these Sundays of the Easter season, our Scripture lessons are speaking to us about the gift of the Holy Spirit – all in preparation for the annual celebration of the Spirit’s appearance to Christ’s followers on Pentecost. Last Sunday, from the Gospel of John, we heard Jesus make a profound promise to his closestContinue reading “In Case You Ever Wonder”

Holy Spirit Stuff

Certain sects of Christianity are sometimes accused of being a lightweights when it comes to championing a robust theology of the Holy Spirit. This morning’s Word of the Lord tearfully reminds the faithful how vital the Holy Spirit is in our lives and precisely why we need the Spirit of God in Christ. Understand, first,Continue reading “Holy Spirit Stuff”