Sermon #64–Death Defeated, Part 1: What is Death?

Death is all around us.  It is woven into the fabric of our world.  It’s not supposed to be like that.  But it is like that.  The Bible has a lot to say about death, because we need to understand death–its origins, its meaning, its consequences for us, and its remedy.  This message is the … Continue reading

Sermon #63 — A Troubling Election and A People of Hope

The U.S. presidential election of 2016 is surely one of the most spiritually destructive of the ten presidential elections in my voting experience. I have been deeply troubled by the extent to which many prominent evangelical leaders have stirred up and played on the fears of their people.  This has not been American evangelicalism’s finest … Continue reading

Sermon #58 — The Body of Jesus, Bodies for Jesus

The Body of Jesus, Bodies for Jesus A Sermon Preached on John 20:19-23 (see also Revelation 21:1-5) at Venice Presbyterian Church in Cecil Township, PA on April 12, 2014 Are we serious about serving an incarnate, an embodied God?  Do we really mean it?  And if we do, what does it mean for us that … Continue reading

Sermon #56 — “The Mighty Power of God,” an Easter Sermon

“The Mighty Power of God” Ephesians 1:15-23 & Ezekiel 37:1-14A Sermon preached at Venice Presbyterian Church (EPC), Cecil Township, PA Easter Sunday April 5, 2015 What are we to say in the face of the brokenness and evil and suffering of our lives?  What does God say?  No, actually, what does he do?  Look at … Continue reading

Pastor Note #56 — On Marriage and Redemption

        I’ve been married now for almost twenty-nine years.  So has my wife.  We got married at the same time.  I think I can say without much hesitation that my wife and I have a good marriage.  It has been a tremendous blessing to my life.  Nothing in my life has quite equaled it, except … Continue reading

Prayer Note #45 — The Arithmetic of God

  Where do I find hope, except in you, Good Father?  Yet, I continue to look in other places.  I continue to behave as if I expect to find something better, more pleasing than you.  Of course, I never find anything remotely approaching you.  Everything I find is cotton candy, sugar water, candy corn.  You … Continue reading

Pastor Note #49 — Living in Time, Living with God, Part 5 — The Future Tense of Faith

            Ebenezer Scrooge, when he met the Spirit of Christmases-Yet-to-Come, said, “Of all the spirits I find you the most dreadful.”  And when he says that in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, we all somehow understand what he means.             The thought of that which is yet to come can … Continue reading

Bible Note #13 — 1 Peter 1:23-25

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ (Isaiah 40:6-8)” 1 … Continue reading

Pastor Note #34–A Pastoral Letter to Someone Who Had Suffered a Debilitating Accident

Dear “L,” It was really good to see you at the church yesterday.  It was very brave of you, because I could see that you were suffering a lot of pain.  I don’t understand why you have had to suffer so much in the last few months.   I wish I did. I do know that … Continue reading

Prayer Note #30 — On Depression

[from my prayer journal, January 9, 2009] I’m very tired this morning, Lord.  I have been for most of the week.  I’ve been back to swimming for exercise after a bit of a lay-off.  So, I suppose the physical tiredness that I feel is partly to do with that.  But, Lord, my tiredness seems to … Continue reading