Stairs to the Chapel of Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
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When All Is Lost, Look to the Cross!
Ever thought about how Jesus is a snake? While John 3:16 is one of the best-known verses in the Bible, we don’t always consider how it is preceded by telling us that Jesus is like the snake Moses lifted in the wilderness. If we want to understand the love of God who would send his…
Whether through years of sorrow or days of sudden anguish, we all experience loss. Two beloved daughters, one an outcast and the other dying, teach us about faith and hope in Jesus. In the story of a father who loses his daughter and a woman who discovers a father, we find that Jesus has come…
Crossing the Jordan
Whether we near the start of a new pastorate, new ministry, or new phase of life, we must leave the wilderness of the past to enter the promised land. While it is scary, God crosses ahead of us and provides us with leaders who will guide us.
Saved to Serve
It’s not about you! Too frequently, American Christians view salvation primarily as a transaction about oneself rather than a calling for others. Salvation is the starting point, not the endgame. Exodus 19 helps us to see that we are saved to serve.
Called to a Journey of Faith and Blessing
The story of Abraham is the story of a call, the story of a chosen one and his people. The call, however, is not to superiority but to service. We are called to a journey, walking in faith and blessing others along the way.
Judged Yet Given Hope
God’s judgment is not out of anger but bears deep regret when it comes. Yet in the midst of judgment, God also gives us hope. Christians are not called to create judgment but to shine out as signs of hope. As image bearers, we should encourage others to find their refuge, their hope, and their…
Exiled but Not Forgotten
We are exiles in this world but not forgotten by God. Though we often misunderstand God’s plan, it is one of forgiveness, inclusion, and reconciliation. The story of exile shapes our life. That we are not forgotten gives us hope.
Created to Bear the Image
We are created by God to bear his image to one another in community, to rule over his creation and co-create with him. The pattern for this image is Jesus, the firstborn of the new creation. Gen 1 isn’t about ancient history. It is about God’s ongoing work to turn chaos into order and lead…
Surrender and Be Ready! (Advent Week 4)
Mary is a paragon of faith. Luke 1 teaches us the meaning of the call to surrender to God. Through her story, we learn to surrender to God’s presence, God’s power, and God’s perspective.
Confess and Be Ready! (Advent Week 3)
Christians should be ready to confess Jesus as the Christ, the way Linus does in A Charlie Brown Christmas. We should be focused on talking about Jesus like Buddy the Elf told people about his dad and about Santa. We should not be self-focused like Ralph in A Christmas Story. John the Baptist helps us…
Repent and Be Ready! (Advent Week 2)
As Christmas approaches, we need to repent and be ready! We find peace in the good news of Jesus the Messiah, in confessing and repenting, and in a changed life enabled through the Spirit. We should learn from the lives of Ebenezer Scrooge and George Bailey, who repent and change their lives.
Watch and Be Ready! (Advent Week 1)
The first week of Advent is about hope and the call for Christians to anticipate the return of Christ. Like children waiting for Santa’s arrival, Mark 13 tells us that we should observe the signs, keep our eyes on the Son, and watch and be ready.
Where Heaven and Earth Meet
In my latest blog, find out about Salar de Uyuni pictured below. In 2 Chronicles 6, Solomon dedicated the temple he had built. It was to be where heaven and earth meet. God was to hear the prayers from heaven and help his people on earth. Jesus is the true temple where heaven and earth…
Wise Enough to Ask Directions
Solomon’s first act as king (2 Chron 1) was to go to the tabernacle of Moses to offer sacrifices. God asks him what he wants and Solomon asks for wisdom to govern. What is unstated is also for wisdom to build the temple. Through the text, we learn that wisdom begins with humility, is the…
Giving Thanks with Joyful Praise
David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29 and the call to sacrificial giving teach us the proper meaning of giving thanks to God for the blessings he gives.
In Times of Transition
David, at the end of his life, teaches us that in times of transition, we need to be faithful, we need to be prepared, and we need to be confident.
Finding Wisdom in a Foolish Thing
When David takes a census of his fighting men, plague breaks out (1 Chron 21). Through his foolish act, David discovers wisdom through confession and humility and God turns something bad into something good.
God of the Unexpected
1 Chronicles 17 tells us that God is a God of the unexpected “nope” but also of the unexpected hope!
His Love Endures Forever
The refrain of Psalm 136 repeats, “His love endures forever.” This is a short reflection on the meaning of this phrase within the context of the psalm.
Dedicating the Temple
The Talmud says Psalm 30 was used when Judas Maccabeus dedicated the temple. The ideas of the psalm relate to the Christian celebration of the Lord’s Supper as our dedication of ourselves as Christ’s Temple. Through the Lord’s Supper, we move from death to life, sorrow to joy, and silence to singing.
So Mad You Could Spit!
Injustice surrounds us and it often makes the righteous angry. That is ok, but remember justice always belongs to the Lord.
Who Can You Trust?
Psalm 146 tells us trust is misplaced if it is in human leaders. We have hope, however, when we trust in God for our help. Christians should live a life of praise, acting out our trust in the Lord.
Who Is Like the Lord?
Psalm 113 teaches us that we should exalt the LORD at all times, for he is the Exalted One as well as the One who exalts.
Happy Are the Honest
Or — Miserable Are the Mule-Headed What does it mean to be happy? Psalm 32 starts with two beatitudes (happy are . . .) and ends with an emphasis on rejoicing, being glad, and singing. Instead of looking immediately at verses 1 and 2, however, let’s first look at the suffering of the sinner. Between…
In the Darkness of Despair
When you find yourself in the darkness of despair, you feel dejected and confused. But if you desperately cry out to God and are determined to be committed to him, you will live in the truth that God is love, no matter which way the wind might blow.
Your Labor in the Lord Is Not in Vain
Psalm 127 teaches us that without the Lord, our labor is in vain, but with the Lord, Eden’s curse is undone. Being in the Lord is to trust the Lord in all areas of our life.
Who Am I Before I Am?
Who Am I Before I Am? This is not a Buddhist koan. It is the question pondered by the psalmist in Psalm 8. “What is Man [or who am I] that you [YHWH, the I Am} consider him?”
The Wisdom of Fear and Trembling
Psalm 2 is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. It tells us of the rage on nations which receives the rebuke of heaven. The reign of the Son can be a refuge of the broken, if they approach the son with fear and trembling.
The Way of Wisdom
The psalmist in Psalm 1 asks us three questions. If you stop, what do you hear? When trouble comes, how do you stand? In your journey, who do you trust? How you answer those questions determines whether you pursue the way of wisdom or the way of folly.
Finding Peace in a Troubled World
The year 2020 has been turbulent, to say the least. No matter where you live, there is something happening. The chaotic confusion brought on by the sudden emergence of a global pandemic. Fear of learning you or a loved one is COVID-19 positive. Concerns over the economic instability created by lock-downs and partial business closures.…
What Moon Are You?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world. Yet in the Gospel of John, we are told that Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus is the true light. We are simply his reflections. He is the sun and we are the moon. But the…
Godly Worship, Godly Fasting
Why do humans who say they love God repeatedly misunderstand what it means to worship God and to live a life that honors him? Before the exile, Amos warned about misdirected worship. After the exile, Zechariah noted the same problems remained. Even today, we still find so many who bear the name of Christ acting…
From Egypt with Love
Hosea 11:1-11. An advent sermon that never made it onto the block last Christmas. When Herod heard the Magi were seeking the newborn Messiah, his response was to kill the infant boys in the region of Bethlehem–just as Pharaoh killed the Hebrew boys in Israel’s past. Matthew tells us Jesus survived this slaughter because Joseph…
The Way of Adam/ The Way of Christ
1 Cor 8:1-13. Meat offered to idols doesn’t seem to be a topic relevant to modern Westerners. Yet the body of Christ in a post-COVID world faces the same issues confronted by the first century Corinthian church. Their “strong” said they could eat meat, even in temples, because they knew there is only one God…
Love Your Enemy’s Mother
Jesus not only taught us to love our enemies, in this story he showed his disciples that they should love their enemy’s mother! Was she a loving mother, a submissive mongrel, or a persistent model? Depends on whose perspective you take.
Rebuilding the Temple
As social distancing restrictions begin to lift, how do we faithfully relaunch physical worship services and ministry? Lessons from the returning exiles’ rebuilding of the temple.
The Touch of Life
Mark 1:40-42. Masks, gloves, social distancing. These are necessary precautions today with COVID-19, but at the same time, Christians cannot let these precautions interfere with our calling to be the body of Christ ministering in the world. We are to be the touch of life to our world the way Jesus himself was. The sermon…
Darkness or Light in the Day of the Lord
How will you respond when the Day of the Lord comes? Will you be the light of the world or contribute to the darkness?
First Fruits of the New Creation
In 1 Corinthians 15:20-27, Paul sees the resurrection of Christ as God’s promise and sign guaranteeing the resurrection at the end of the age. Jesus is the firstfruits of the coming harvest. The new creation began with an empty tomb. Even with the threat of COVID and social distancing, Jesus is Lord and God is…
Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord
As Jesus entered Jesusalem the Sunday before Passover, the people are said to shout part of Psalm 118, “Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!” While the people understood this to mean Jesus was coming as a conquering king, the psalm as a whole is more focused on the role of…
Heal Our Land
In times of pandemic, we should examine ourselves, pray, repent, and seek God. Praying the Psalms as Jesus did is one way of bearing his name as his temple in this world.
COVID has caused paralyzing fear. Jesus talked about trusting God and not being anxious for daily needs in Luke 12:22-34. Rather than focus on one’s own needs, we should think how we can serve others at this time (while taking proper precautions).
Joy Blossoms in the Desert
I haven’t posted sermons in a while. This is going back to Advent season. The birth of Jesus is like joy blossoming in the desert. In the darkness of our sin and struggles, the light came to bring hope and joy. Isaiah gives voice to this joyful coming as he describes the emergence of a…
Nunc Coepi! (Now I Begin!)
Since we are in the middle of NFL playoffs and getting ready for the NCAA national championship (Geaux Tigers!), he’s a sermon reflecting on the Latin phrase that has inspired Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles (formerly San Diego) Chargers. Nunc Coepi means, “Now, I begin!” a helpful thought when times get tough. One can…
Peace on Earth
In Luke’s gospel, the angels proclaim, “Peace on earth!” at Jesus’ birth and the people proclaim, “Peace in the heavens!” at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem the week prior to his death. Micah describes a vision of peace when the mountain of God is raised up and all nations will stream to it, yet he places…
Watching and Waiting
Why is this guy blowing a party horn? “Watching and Waiting” an Advent sermon from Malachi.
Sermon on Joel 2:12-18 on the hope of renewal
Beyond Thanksgiving to Thanks-living
“Beyond Thanksgiving to Thanks-living” Colossians 3:12-17 (click this link to open) While we remember God’s blessings with a special day of thanks, shouldn’t we reflect on what makes God thankful and strive to live that way everyday? God’s desire for us to live as an authentic witness as a transformed person within a unified body.…
God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways
God’s ways are often uncomfortable but always intentional, requiring our commitment to seek and wait for him.
When the Bottom Drops Out
“When the Bottom Drops Out” — 1 Kings 19; Exodus 32 (click this link) Sermon comparing two men of the Old Testament (Elijah and Moses), looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly ways that we respond to crises in our lives. SermonAudio.com — archive First Baptist Church, Coahoma, TX, October 20, 2019
Watching and Waiting (WBU Advent Chapel 2017)
Advent means “coming,” as in the coming of Jesus. It is a time of waiting and anticipation. Do you realize how hard it is to slow down and wait in our culture? We’re a Netflix generation. On Friday, Boom! A whole season of some show drops. Don’t lie to me—you binge watch the season in…
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