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Sermons

Under this tab you can find a record of sermons I have preached and the point I think I made.

May 26, 2013 AM — Genesis 22, the test of Abraham that is hard for us to understand. I spoke of how God gives us ways to see it was possible, using an example from my life of seeing my son standing on the bottom of the pool absolutely trusting that someone was going to grab him. I then retold the account of the near sacrifice of Isaac in a way that respected the narrative or story nature of it, and then in the telling had us seeing another beloved son who was climbing the same hills with the wood he was to be sacrificed on, showing God himself made the sacrifice he did not in the end ask of Abraham. God provided the Lamb, as the focal point of the chapter (and the Bible) said. This service also had Profession of Faith and a baptism.

May 26, 2013 PM — Various passages from Genesis that carried the theme of God covenanting with Abraham and later Isaac “All nations will be blessed through you.” I then traced through other scriptures and particularly part of Acts 3 and Galatians 3 showing that Gentiles who believe in Jesus are now the (spiritual) descendants of Abraham. This was in preparation for looking at Jonah in the next few Sunday evenings, and with the question “Will we do better at extending that blessing than the physical descendants of Abraham?

May 19, 2013 AM — 1 Samuel 3, the account of the calling of Samuel, where he had to learn to hear God and how to respond. The proper response he learned was “Here I am, speak, for your servant is listening.” We looked at the contrast with Eli, who was not only physically getting blind, but was turning a blind eye where he shouldn’t, and was kicking distraught mothers out when he should have been caring, and who himself did not realize God was calling Samuel. Eli shrugged off God’s warnings where Samuel acted out his “Here I am” and was faithful. This was a commissioning service.

May 19, 2013 PM — Genesis 4 was our focus in this service, particularly the part where the sacrifices of Abel and Cain are received differently, and where Cain’s attitude was clearly negative. We noted how God came and warned Cain that he had to watch out or that attitude would run away with him, which he ignored, and it did.

May 12 2013

AM Psalm 95:1-7 The first in a series exploring “Worship.” The definition I use is: “Coming into the Presence of God.” After some reflections on how culturally bound our worship is, and how we are readily distracted by fighting over cultural elements of how we express our worship, I pointed out how in verses 1,2 and 6 there are three different senses of the word “Come” in the Hebrew. The first is at a distance. It is an inviation to drop your tools and move toward the place where God lives (Temple). The second “come” is about coming closer, but you are not there yet, you can just see the building. The third “come” in v 6 is a “coming into” and no longer a coming toward. It is a coming into the very presence of God. We will look at Psalm 95 a few times as we proceed.

PM Genesis 3 “Shame Free, Shame-filled, Blame Shift, Shame Shift, Shame Free”

Adam and Eve have no shame in being naked (2:25) which means they have no ‘barriers’ between them and God.

Their violation in eating the forbidden fruit opens their eyes to their vulnerability, and they are filled with shame, and hide, and ‘cover up’, breaking the relationship with God which God so enjoyed.

Jesus took that Shame on himself, so that those who accepted what he did could have a path to building relationship with God again.

Now we do not need to hide in shame, or cover up, because we have nothing to be afraid of, so believers have an easier time admitting shortcomings and failures, and don’t spiral into the mess it makes when we hide and lie and cover up our sins.

May 9 2013 Ascension Day sermon

May 5 2013

AM Luke 15 “Celebrating Being Found”

The Father in the parable of the Lost son (which one is lost?) behaves in a much more compassionate and gracious manner than would be expected in the time of Jesus (maybe today too?) and offends the sense of justice of particularly the Pharisees and Teachers of the law, who at the beginning of the chapter Luke tells us were muttering because Jesus paid attention to sinners and ate with them. Jesus puts the sinners in the parable in the first son, and the others in as the other son, and the Father represents the Freedom God gives us (to chose to break relationship with him) AND the readiness to pay the price himself to open a way for relationship to be re-instated. In the end, the older brother, who has had the same grace extended to him as the younger, but who sees himself as a “slave” to the father (not a son) is standing outside the feast (as are the Pharisees and teachers of the law). Which brother are you?

PM Genesis 2:4-end.

A sermon about the perfection of Creation including having built into it the option for mankind to walk away from God, to disobey, to reach for being god for themselves and know Good from Evil. Without mankind having the choice, it would not have been perfect. There would be no risk for God if God made us robots without a choice of having relationship or not.

April 28 2013

AM Matthew 18:15-17

I have come to see that Jesus intends this lesson for a day-to-day practical healthy relationship purpose. In the message I first described what it looks like when people are NOT doing what Jesus teaches here. That goes like this: Person A is offended or hurt by something person B says or does. Person A meets person C in the coffee shop and spews a black cloud of negativity about the incident. A feels a bit better, but the cloud is now hanging over two people. Person C later in the week meets B in the grocery store lineup, and C is unusually curt and cold in their greeting, and then in the parking lot gives B a piece of their mind, much to B’s surprise.

B and A are both a bit early for a committee meeting, so B goes over to A and vents about C. And so on. Soon there are black clouds everywhere and a whole congregation is upset.

Jesus clearly teaches here that if B offends you, as person A it is your job to approach no one unless you have talked to B and tried to resolve the issue. Jesus then gives a few other steps. What people who take the risk of trying to work it out directly with the person discover is that often it is easily resolved, and the trust between A and B is strengthened.

At the end of the sermon I called the congregation to hold each other accountable in this, and to gave them a response if you end up being person C in the situation. You ask “Have you talked to to the so-called offending person yet?” if B comes to you. and if they have not, on the basis of this teaching of Jesus, you stop the conversation.

PM Genesis 1

Using projected slides I show that there are two sets of days of creation, and they follow what 1:2 sets as the pattern, where pre-ordering by God all was “formless” and “empty.” The first set of three days forms or basic categories are ordered, and the second set these are filled, so things were no longer formless or empty. After that I spoke about and showed the structure of the words shows clearly that the focus on the writer was in making it clear that God’s word/action is doing all this. I pointed out meaning of the number seven, and some of the multiples of the number that are built right into the structure of the passage, the most readily obvious ones being 7 days of creation, and the 6 “goods” topped by a seventh “very good.” All of this, I preached, is intended to make Gen 1 a kind of evangelistic tract, a counter-explanation for Creation to that of the many nations Israel encountered. It shows that the God of Israel is an Uber-god who in fact created the things the others worship.

April 21 2013 (First Sunday in the pulpit)

Luke 10:25-37   The Parable of the Good Samaritan

I showed how the expert in the law asks a question we would like the answer to “What do I have to do to get into heaven?” and how Jesus moves the conversation from “Doing” to “Being” in a parable story where he shocks his listener by not putting him in the story where he expected to be, and instead put in a punch-line spiritually misguided Samaritan who feels compassion and acts on it, not using the law as an excuse not to help. My key teaching was that the expert in the law is unable and/or unwilling to acknowledge he is the half-dead helpless one in the story who needw the help of the saviour standing in front of him, a saviour his own people called “A Samaritan and Demon Possessed” because the truth he taught was a threat to their carefully constructed religious system by which they thought they could earn a spot in Heaven. We all need to recognize our inability to save ourselves and allow Jesus to “neighbour” us first, before we can love our neighbour as ourselves.

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and lived among us”

What I tried to convey is that I believe the Word of God is to be accessible, not distant, and that is one of the reasons I don’t stay behind the barrier of a far away pulpit too well. The Word becoming real and living among (and in) us is like an aquarium keeper with fish who are constantly afraid of her or him and so they chose to become a fish to better connect and relate.

I also introduced the idea of congregational culture being ‘the water we swim in’ and how, if you were fish that could talk, you could still not tell me much about the flavour of the water if asked. You would think it was ‘normal.’ Someone from outside the water, tasting it for the first time, can better identify if it is too salty, too acid, too alkaline and so on.

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