December 10th, 2017

A Dream of Peace

Rather than God using me to change this, he wants to use this to change me.

Ephesians 2:14-18; Genesis 45:1-15


An impossible dream

Today’s Advent theme is peace. How that’s whole peace thing working out for you? The Bible tells us to “pray for peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). It’s not been a good week for peace in Jerusalem, on the heels of President Trump’s Wednesday announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

For you, maybe it’s not about peace in a foreign nation or region. One person wrote an email to me this week saying, in part, “Thanksgiving and Christmas have become so very painful for me. I am literally completely estranged from my family. This has happened despite multiple pleas for reconciliation.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some version of that story is common to at least half of you in the room. Read more »

December 4th, 2017

Be sure your sin will find you out – that’s a word of hope.

Genesis 42; Titus 2:11-14


Your sin will find you out

This morning’s sermon is about hope, but it won’t seem like it at first.

I want to start with the New York Times article in which one reporter referred to “the sexual harassment firestorm engulfing this country.” The name that emerged this week was Matt Lauer of NBC News. I’m certainly aware that some of the accused insist that the accusers are lying for political or personal reasons, but women are no longer staying silent about the abuse, even if it happened long ago.  Read more »

November 27th, 2017

Joseph named his son “Forget.” I wish he had called him “Remember.”

Genesis 41:41-57

Thanksgiving to Advent

It happened again this week. Another public figure plummeted from popularity to what will likely be shame and obscurity for the rest of his life. Born in Henderson, NC, Charlie Rose’s biography on the Internet still describes him as “elegant, handsome, fiercely intelligent, and inquisitive.” He still may be all of those things, but who’s ever going to want his face on TV again? He joins the likes of Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and Harvey Weinstein — disgraced and humiliated in public opinion.

On the flip side, Donald Trump is only the latest suhrprise in America’s White House. Read more »

November 19th, 2017

The worst pain fell on the best person and resulted in the greatest good. 

Genesis 40:1-8


The Star

Have you seen the trailers and promos for the new Christmas movie, “The Star”? Linda and I saw the movie on our date night this week. Maybe you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time, and whether it will be the classic its producers hope for.

My opinion is yes, on both counts. The writers tried to be faithful to the Bible’s storyline. They didn’t correct the popular myth that the wise men showed up the night Jesus was born, and I don’t think Mary as a Jewish girl had blue eyes. Then of course there was the creative license of talking animals and Herod sending menacing dogs to track down the newborn king. Read more »

November 12th, 2017

Joseph’s story is ultimately not about Joseph. Neither is yours about you.

Genesis 37:3-8



Preaching on a familiar story in the Bible presents a unique challenge. That’s one reason that Christmas and Easter are challenging. How many new insights can one gain into the stable or the empty tomb? (A lot, I’ve found over the years.)

The story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is one of the more familiar Old Testament stories. Before you yawn and think, “I’ve heard this one before,” let me suggest a few aspects of this story that were new to me this week. Read more »