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October 5th, 2014

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.”  (James)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

October 5, 2014

A good problem

Isaiah is a problem for many Bible readers.  For one thing, he has a credibility problem, and he knows it:  “Who has believed our message?” (53:1).

Even today, Isaiah is one of the most hotly debated books of the Bible, in part because he speaks to different historical contexts spanning two or even three centuries.   You probably recall that the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms rather soon after its establishment under King David about 1000 years before Christ.  The northern kingdom fell to Assyria about three centuries later.  Assyria also threatened the southern kingdom, but they survived miraculously, then fell to Babylon 150 years after that.  Isaiah lives and writes before the Assyrian invasion in Part 1.  But in Part 2 he also speaks to his people during and after the Babylonian captivity.  That problem leads many modern scholars to insist there had to be two or even three Isaiahs. Read more »

September 28th, 2014

“All our ministry is useless if our character does not back it up.” (George Cail)

Colossians 4:2-6

September 28, 2014

George and Eli

This morning we are privileged to have as our guests George Cail and Eli Bande.  Linda and I have known George and his wife Kathy since we all sang in the Ambassador Choir at Columbia Bible College almost 40 years ago.  George and I had something in common in addition to being second tenors.  We also grew up as MKs.  I was a missionary kid in Pakistan, and George in Africa.  Read more »

September 22nd, 2014

If the church had taken Peter seriously for 2000 years, the world would be changed.

1 Peter 3:8-18

September 21, 2014

What would you change?

If you could change the world in three ways today, what would you change?  Whether you are hearing this sermon or reading it, take a moment and write down three changes you would like to see, then share those ideas with your neighbor.

Here are my three. Read more »

September 20th, 2014

(In response to concerns expressed by many of us in North Carolina over the UCC’s April lawsuit against our state’s Amendment One, our denomination’s General Minister and President came to North Carolina in August.  Rev. Geoffrey A. Black interacted with concerned church members and clergy in two locations on Saturday, August 23.  He was also invited to preach at Corinth Reformed Church Sunday, August 24, in the 11:00 Traditional worship service.   Rev. Black sent me the sermon manuscript at my request to share more widely.  I do want to acknowledge his own caveat that the written form is never exactly like the spoken sermon.  I can relate!)


One Body- A Meditation on the Quest for Christian Unity

Sermon by Geoffrey A. Black

General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Corinth Reformed Church (UCC), Hickory, NC

August 24, 2014


“So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.”  (Romans 12:5)


Good morning Corinth Reformed United Church of Christ!

I bring you greetings from the whole UCC and especially from my colleagues in the national ministries of the church – from Ben Guess, from Linda Jaramillo and from Jim Moos. Read more »

September 16th, 2014

Rev. Dr. Edward Davis, Southern Conference (UCC) minister, has asked me to write an essay on why I stay in the United Church of Christ.  The request comes from some comments I made at a gathering of UCC folks in Salisbury August 23, 2014.  We had come together to have a conversation with the UCC’s General Minister and President, Rev. Geoffrey Black.  At that meeting I was asked to make a statement about why I object to the lawsuit filed against the State of North Carolina by the UCC’s General Synod over Amendment One. Much of what I write below was included in my statement. Read more »