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Showing posts from June, 2012

Following Jesus: We Are Loved

(A sermon based on Luke 3:21-22 & 6:20-26. Second in a series...)

Brennan Manning told the story of a woman who came to see him at a retreat he was leading. She told him of a life of mental anguish and spiritual suffering because of the long-term sexual abuse by a relative that she had endured as a child. He advised her to repeat the following to herself every morning: “I am Abba’s beloved child.” Her later testimony was that the practice had helped to heal her spirit.

We all have our hurts and wounds; some are deeper and more painful than others. We all need help and healing.

I have told you before of my morning routine. I get a cup of coffee and head to our home study to read Scripture and pray, a process that ends with my writing of the daily prayer that many of you receive via email or Facebook. Then, I go outside to walk a prayer path made up of a series of sets of three pavers, two small ones then one large one. With each step I say one word of the first part of …

Following Jesus: We Call Him “Lord”

(A sermon based on Luke 6:46-49; this is the first in a summer series on "Following Jesus.")

Jesus asked his disciples, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?”

It’s a very good question.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be talking about what it can mean for us to follow Jesus. I hope that we will give much thoughtful and prayerful consideration to what it might mean for First Baptist Church as a body and for each one of us as disciples if we ask the Holy Spirit to help us to understand what our Bibles tell us about who Jesus is and who we might be if we follow Jesus. I furthermore hope that we will ask God to give us faith and strength to act on what we discover.

Let me confess right up front that there are some things about this I don’t know and so I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you everything there is to know about who Jesus is. I can’t tell you what your particular following of Jesus should look like. I can’t tell you exactly what wa…

A Tale of Two Servants

(A Deacon Ordination sermon based on 2 Kings 5:1-27 and delivered on June 10, 2012)

It is a tale of two servants, one a young girl and the other a grown man.

She was a servant to the wife of a leprous Syrian general; he was a servant to a prophet of the Lord. They both served but they served in very different circumstances. They both served but they served with very different motives. They both served but they served with very different results.

The general she served was named Naaman; he was a very successful and powerful man in Syria. There was only one thing—he had leprosy, a skin disease that caused him to have to be isolated from his larger community.

One day this young girl, who served as a slave because she had been stolen away in a raid from her home in Israel, shared the word of the Lord with her mistress: “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Here are some things worth noting about the young girl’s service…

We’re So Glad We’re a Part of the Family of God

(A sermon based on Romans 8:12-17 for Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2012)

Family life is something of a dance; it’s more of an art than it is a science. When you are part of a family you experience the good times and the bad, the happy and the sad, the easy and the trying—and you experience it all together, as a family.

There is a sense in which when we speak of God as Trinity we speak of God as an eternal family. While God as Trinity, God as three-in-one and one-in-three, is a mystery with which we have to live— precisely because it is intended to be a mystery—I am nonetheless comfortable saying this: to speak of God as Trinity, of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is to say that God has always had as God’s essence the reality of relationship. God is, after all, love, and one way we can think about that reality is to think about the three persons of the one God being in an eternal loving relationship with each other within the one God.

From the beginning of human history, God has …