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Showing posts from January, 2015

The Church is a Known Body

(A sermon based on Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 & John 1:43-51 for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany and preached on January 18, 2015)

Big Brother is watching you.

We live in an age of ever-increasing surveillance. Security cameras are becoming more and more prevalent; Facebook and Google know more about you than your mother does; the debate will continue over how much access to your personal information the government is entitled to as it monitors cell phone records in order to try to prevent terrorist attacks. It’s a complicated situation as we try to walk the line between fostering security and protecting privacy. We want to be safe but we don’t want people to know our business.

Would it make you nervous to know that there is someone who knows everything about you—who knows everything you have ever done, every thought you have ever had, every motive you have ever followed—from whom absolutely nothing about you can or will be hidden? Well, God does in fact know everything about yo…

The Church is a Baptized Body

(A sermon based on Mark 1:4-11 & Acts 19:1-7 for Baptism of the Lord Sunday)

When we think about baptism the first thing we think about is water. We Baptists are known for the extravagant employment of water in our baptisms; we put you in a big pool and we get you wet all over. Regardless of the baptismal mode and of the amount of water employed, though, when we are baptized we are baptized in much more than water—we are baptized in the Holy Spirit of God. We get water on our bodies but we get the Holy Spirit in our spirits.

The presence of the Spirit in us is absolutely vital to our identity as the Church, to our life as the Church, and to our witness as the Church. Without the Spirit we are not the Church; with the Spirit we are much more the Church than we have ever imagined or have ever shown.

John the Baptist preached that while he baptized people with water, when the One who was to come arrived he would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus came to be baptized by John; …

Good News for Everybody!

(A sermon based on Ephesians 3:1-12 for Epiphany Sunday 2015)

It was 1969 and Timothy Leary was running for Governor of California. He asked John Lennon if he would write a song for his campaign, the theme of which was “Come Together.” Lennon dashed off a song that got played a few times in ads on California radio stations. Lennon and the Beatles then worked on it some more and recorded the version that became track #1 on the Abbey Road album. Leary was a bit irritated that Lennon had made such use of the song that was written for him; Lennon’s response was that he was like a tailor and that if someone orders a suit and never comes back for it you give it to someone else. Some of you will know that the opening line to that song is “Here come old flattop”; what you might not know is that it was lifted (perhaps unintentionally) from a Chuck Berry song so Berry’s publisher sued Lennon for plagiarism. Lennon agreed to record three of the publisher’s songs to settle the lawsuit [Steve Turn…