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Showing posts from October, 2014

Knowing God in the Time of Ebola

(A sermon based on Job 42:1-6 and preached on October 19, 2014)

We have an Ebola situation.

One of the things that I keep hearing commentators and political figures say about that situation is, “People are afraid.” It seems to me that some of them want us to be afraid because they figure that our fear will help them get elected or reelected or will help their ratings improve.

We should not give in to fear, which is not to say that we should not be concerned.

There is a difference, though, between beings concerned and being afraid; as rational human beings we have good reason to be concerned about Ebola. We should pray for our public health officials, the doctors and nurses treating the sick, for the medical and military personnel who are in West Africa to try to help contain the spread of the disease, and for political leaders as they make decisions that hopefully will be for the good of everyone. Other than such praying, there’s really not a lot that we can do; chances that any of u…

Grace

(A sermon based on John 1:1-18. I wrote and first preached this sermon years ago; I shared it with our Vespers congregation tonight. It occurred to me that some folks might find it helpful ...)

I know what it is like to be driven. Some of you will have experienced that dynamic in your life, too. When I was in elementary school I was not blessed with attractiveness, charm, or talent. But I discovered early on that I was good at school work. I did not have to work particularly hard to get good grades. Frankly, it was a gift. I was gifted with a love for reading and a love for learning. Exercising the gift was no problem. So, I made good grades. It felt good to be good at something.

Things changed, though, when doing well at what I was good at doing became too important to me. Before long, my self-esteem got all tied up in how good my grades were. If I made good grades, I was a good person; if I made bad grades, I was a bad person. What had been joy because it was a gift …

Never Alone

(A sermon based on Genesis 2:18-25 and preached on October 12, 2014)

We sometimes refer to ourselves as “people of the Book.” That is a misleading term; it is misleading because it is often taken as a description of our primary allegiance. Our primary allegiance is not to a book; our primary allegiance is to a person, to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is the one to whom Scripture points; Jesus is the one by whose light Scripture is read. We are Christians, not Biblians. We follow Jesus; the Bible helps us find our way. Jesus is Lord; the Bible is a help to us in following our Lord.

It matters how we come to the Bible; it matters what we are looking for when we come to it. If we come to it looking for proof texts to undergird our preconceived notions, we will find them—but someone of a differing perspective will find proof texts to undergird theirs, too. If we come to it looking for rules to guide our every action, we will find them—but we will soon be hopelessly confused since …