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November 19th, 2018

Don’t forget. You’re going to die.

Joshua 23:1-16

 

What have we got?

It was September 17, 1787, the final day of the four-month grueling process that created the constitution of the United States of America, which has stood the test of time. Dr. James McHenry of Maryland, one of the youngest delegates, overheard an exchange between Benjamin Franklin and a woman named Mrs. Powell, which McHenry then recorded in his personal notes of the day.

At 81, Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate to the convention, and had lived in Philadelphia since he was 17. The otherwise unknown Mrs. Powell addressed Franklin as he emerged from convention hall, and rather aggressively posed a question to him. “Well, doctor,” she said, “what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”

Franklin replied, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.” Read more »

November 11th, 2018

The Lord rewards Caleb for a lifetime of quiet faith and faithfulness.

Joshua 14:6-15

Veterans Day

We couldn’t have a better Scripture text for Veterans’ Day weekend.

The first half of the book of Joshua (chapters 1-12) chronicles the battles the Israelites fought as they occupied their new homeland at the command and in fulfillment of the promises of Yahweh. The process lasted about five years. Over the past few weeks we have studied some of the major battles – Jericho, Ai, and Gibeon, but there were, according to Joshua 12, 31 kings west of the Jordan that were subdued or killed. I addressed the moral questions about the conquest in an earlier sermon.

Read more »

November 6th, 2018

One of the high privileges of shepherding one congregation for 25 years is knowing someone’s story for longer than a short season of their life.  I knew Gray Briens when she looked like that picture on the bulletin cover.  More importantly, I knew her long enough to know her husband, to see firsthand that playful gleam each of them had when they talked to or about each other.  I can’t imagine preaching this funeral service without having known the other half of their love story. Read more »

November 4th, 2018

We pray big prayers because of God’s nature and character.

Joshua 10:1-15

 

The Corinth Hope Center

It was a day like no other.

This past week Linda and joined the Nicaragua team for a part of their mission trip to Matagalpa, a city of about 200,000 two hours north of the capital, Managua. It’s been seven years since the Hope Project International began their work there. The level of poverty is difficult to describe, but here’s one example: during the rainy season, some children have to stand all night holding their belongings because the mud floor floods.

What the Hope Project International is doing on the impoverished mountain suburb of Sor Maria is, well, bringing hope. Read more »

October 28th, 2018

Just in Case

The line between good and evil runs through the middle of me.

Joshua 9:1-27

October 25, 2018

Reliving the past

It’s hard not to see a particular Scripture passage or sermon through the lens of my own personal experiences during a given week.  My goal is to teach the Bible, not tell stories about my life, but sometimes they seem very interconnected.  This past week included not only private connections with those who are struggling in various ways, but some opportunities for reliving the past, good and bad.

On Monday and Tuesday, I finished narrating the history of Corinth for our 150th anniversary video next year.  The last 25 years, of course, are very personal to me.  I relived Linda’s and my call to Hickory and the difficult early years when it seemed we would never get traction.  About the time things started moving forward for the church, we faced our most difficult years in our relationship to the United Church of Christ. Read more »