August 13th, 2018

Act Justly

Justice says we are all deserving; Gospel Justice insists we are all undeserving.

Zechariah 7:9-10; James 1:26-2:13


Not them but me

I’m a little reluctant to begin a sermon this way, but I guess not too much so or I wouldn’t do it. Tell me about your “But.”

I began my sermon last week by acknowledging that this subject puts many of us in “But Mode.” That’s especially true of those raised in congregations where “justice” was not a part of the teaching. It’s true also of those who are politically conservative. And it’s true of those who are at least middle class, and believe they’ve made responsible choices. I understand all three categories, because they all fit me.

I received an email Monday from someone who shared his “But.” Read more »

August 12th, 2018

Erin and Ryan, I didn’t know either one of you when we sat down for the first time to begin your premarital counseling.  Now, a year later, there’s a very special bond with you, and I love standing in front of you on this day.

I’ve told you more than once, and told others about you, that you remind me of my wife Linda and me when we got married.  Your background is similar, in that you grew up in Christian homes, your parents are still married to each other.  You met in college, and many of your early connections were around the Bible and prayer and Christian community. You are getting married a week after Erin finished school; we got married three weeks after college graduation.  And I haven’t asked all the details, but I think you’re about as poor as we were when we got married. Read more »

August 6th, 2018

Gospel Justice

Pay attention to what God requires.  It’s not an option.

Micah 6:1-8; Matthew 5:13-16



I am aware as we begin a new theme for August that these sermons may put some of you in “But Mode.” (Please, that’s only one “t” in “But.”) Our July theme of evangelism, Spread, may have been easier to embrace, but this month several groups of people will want to say, “But….” Read more »

August 5th, 2018

It’s both surprising and unsurprising that we are here today to pay our respects to Stan Meares.  It’s surprising because most of us didn’t know he was sick.  I found out last Sunday.  His family only learned about it a couple of days earlier.  Linda says she thinks Stan knew something was up, but even he didn’t know ten days ago we’d be here today.

It’s unsurprising because Stan was a planner, a man who, once he decided the next step, he took it.  He had already discussed with Linda that he was ready to go and knew where he was going.  Years ago he made all the necessary arrangements – the will, the living will, the finances all in shape.  He decided long ago he wouldn’t battle illness with heroic measures.  And when the reality of inoperable cancer hit, the planner decided to let this life go.  And he did.  He woke up Thursday, still in his right mind and without any clear evidence the end was close.  A few hours later, he breathed his last. Read more »

July 30th, 2018


How well you HEAR is a matter of the HEART.

Luke 8:4-15


How well do you hear?

I’m curious as we begin today how many of you can hear me well, or even hear this service well. We realize we have some dead spots in this sanctuary, so with a room full on combined Sunday I’d like to know where they are. Also different speakers and singers and microphones make a difference. So raise your hand and let me know on a scale of 1-5 how well you are hearing in this space today. 1 is low, 5 is high.

It may surprise you to know that this sanctuary was built in the 1950s without a sound system. The pastor had a booming voice, and the room was built for high acoustical effect. About a decade later they added the “sounding board” above the pastor’s head, which people often wonder about. I was told it’s a truth test for the minister, and if I should ever tell a lie, it will fall on my head. I’ve never knowingly tested that. I was also told if I ever preached past noon it would fall. That I’ve tested often, and it’s still there. Read more »