Finding Jesus

Luke is distinctive among the gospel writers for featuring Jesus as a twelve-year-old. This narrative illustrates Mary and Joseph’s commitment to nurturing and raising Jesus, evident in their consistent observance of the Passover. The story unfolds with the anguish they experience upon realizing Jesus is missing after a full day of travel. Upon discovering him in the temple conversing with teachers, Jesus responds to their inquiry with characteristic questions.

Improv | Advent Week 4

Throughout the Christmas story, two things are clear: (1) God is in control, and (2) God is not in charge. This is an important lesson for everyone who feels pushed around by others.

Where God Should Be | Advent Week 3

One great surprise about God revealed in Jesus at the incarnation is God’s vulnerability. God is not confined to safe or polished spaces. Instead, he enters our mess. He shows up in “places God isn’t supposed to be,” exposing himself and entering our realities, messy as they might be. To this end, we don’t have to leave our own vulnerable states or situations to find God. He meets us there. He joins the struggle with us, making himself vulnerable right alongside us.

What’s in a List? | Advent Week 2

When we come to the “list” passages in the Bible, our eyes glaze over: measurements, records, genealogies – maybe these are part of historical record, but wouldn’t the Bible be better if we took them out? That’s probably true…. unless there’s something in the list that is (itself) a story. This sermon will walk through one of those infamous lists, helping us freshly imagine why these (even these!) verses of the Gospels can be truly Good News.

Stumbling Over Christmas | Advent Week 1

To people living in the first century, the claims of the first Christians concerning the incarnation were scandalous. Here’s a handful that are so outrageous even Christians have a hard time believing them. Yet the gospels want us to practice them as we enter a season, Advent, that is all too familiar to us.

The God of Bad Ideas

Throughout the Bible, God regularly works in very unexpected ways to the point where those in the accounts are often wondering and questioning what God is doing. Yet God gives insight to His people to discern His purposes that are grander than they/we could ever imagine and always in line with His nature.

The Gospel of Peace | 2022 Christmas Week 1

In the days of Caesar, there was already ‘peace on earth,’ yet the angel that appeared to the shepherds was announcing something new. What are the qualities of the peace of Christ? And why is it so important today?

With | 2022 Advent Week 4

The most important word in Christmas is not ‘for’ but ‘with’ (“God with us!”). Between them is vast difference. Only by being ‘with’ us does God deliver us. Only by being ‘with’ others (not just ‘for’ them) can we participate in their deliverance.

In the Darkness | 2022 Advent Week 3

Advent Week 3 “In the Darkness” Sermon

Peace on Earth | 2022 Advent Week 2

This is the Second Week of Advent Sermon Peace on Earth

Unexpected Worshippers | Ironies of Christmas Week 5

That the “king of the Jews” would be worshiped first by Gentiles, adherents to a pagan religion. If salvation is of the Jews (see John 4:19-22), why should the first to worship this salvation come from regions far outside of Israel, indeed outside Jesus’ own religious heritage? Wasn’t there anyone closer, maybe someone within Judaism to authenticate this moment? Or did God intend something else by sending magi, strangers from another region and cult? Are these the kind of worshippers God seeks?

Unreliable Witnesses | Ironies of Christmas Week 4

That the first witnesses would be shepherds whose testimony was inadmissible in court. Of all the people God could have told on the night of Jesus’ birth, he chose to tell shepherds first. They were the first to visit, the first to inform the Holy Family, the first to tell everyone what they’d seen and heard. But why? Wasn’t there anyone else awake? Couldn’t anyone more reliable have been found? Or does God intend something else for his witnesses, something greater than evidence or argument?

Underwhelming Signs | Ironies of Christmas Week 3

That the “sign” for all of this would be so underwhelming. Of all the signs that God is present and active – a pillar and cloud, a shadow falling backward or a virgin giving birth – why is this one, at zero hour, so underwhelming? Wasn’t there a better way for God to make His point? Or did He have a better point to make?

Unlikeable Characters | Ironies of Christmas Week 2

That God would use people Israel hated to position Himself to save the world. According to St. Paul, Christmas came “in the fullness of time,” and according to the gospels, the most unlikely people paved the way: Caesar Augustus, Herod, and the Roman government. Why and how did God use the Romans to accomplish His plans for the world?

Best Supporting Actor | Season of Christmas

Our God is the one who knows the whole story, we are simply in the middle of it. However, God is inviting us to participate with him in it. The question is, how will we respond?

Delayed Obedience | Week 11

Obedience takes time. Sometimes it cannot be done in day, not even in the day we are told. Like Zechariah, we must wait for another day when the opportunity presents itself, then we must be true and faithful to that moment before God will open new possibilities.

2018 Christmas Sunday

Many live life without noticing the absence of Jesus. Others notice Jesus’ absence and, as they begin to look for him, wonder why he isn’t there. We rediscover Jesus, however, when we are in the Father and about the Father’s business, dwelling in the word of Christ and putting on love, peace, and thankfulness.

2017 Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Service Celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Even Greater Things

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God and Sinner Reconciled | Week 5

The incarnation is the reconciling of two entities that were previously far apart. This brief Christmas day message will call us to be agents of reconciliation in a nation (and world) deeply divided over race, politics, and opportunity. The outcome, I hope, will be that our people will use their positions in the home or in the community to bring together people or parties that are far apart.