August 22nd, 2017

Why We’re Here

It helps to remember why we’re here. We’re here today not so much to grieve a death, although we are certainly doing that. We’re here to celebrate life – the rather remarkable 48 years Doug Leatherman lived on this planet, and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I remember 18 months ago when I first heard that Doug had been diagnosed with colon cancer. I think it was Anissa who said something like, “We’re remembering that cancer is not a death sentence.” Why do I bring that up today? Because she’s still right. I’m wondering how many people in this room have at some point in your life been diagnosed with cancer. If you don’t mind, I’d like you to stand in witness to the fact that cancer’s not a death sentence. Doug would not be envious of you. He would be so proud of you, so glad for you. Don’t forget that. Read more »

August 20th, 2017

One of the most common ways we hide from God is focusing on the sins of others. 

Genesis 3:1-15


Two approaches

There are two legitimate ways to approach Genesis 3 – theologically and exegetically. To approach this passage theologically means to take Genesis seriously as a book of beginnings and look for what begins in chapter 3.

For example, Dr. Curt Thompson, a Christian psychiatrist, wrote a book called The Soul of Shame, in which he talks about how shame affects all our lives and relationships. One entire chapter of the book is dedicated to Genesis 3, the beginning of shame. Larry Crabb wrote The Silence of Adam, using Genesis 3 to launch a discussion of passive masculinity. We could use this rich chapter as a starting point to discuss the origin of evil, the work of Satan, how temptation works, husband-wife conflict, death and mortality, and many more theological themes.

I want to start today with an exegetical approach. The word “exegesis” comes from a Greek word meaning “to lead out.” We start with the text itself and let the text itself lead us. (That may mean that some of the questions you and I want answered will be unaddressed!)  Read more »

August 19th, 2017

Jordy and Emily, thank you!  Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives and of this special day.  A year ago I hardly knew you; now it feels like you’re friends.

What shall I say to you on your wedding day?  The story of Jordy and Emily sounds like it could be the start of a joke.  A nurse and an insurance salesman walk into a bar church.  Nurses and insurance salesmen are very different.  Nurses are empathetic.  Insurance salesmen are go-getters.  Nurses may be talkative or quiet, but in either case the nurse doesn’t get her job done primarily by talking, but by doing.  Salesmen have to talk.  Nurses are part of a larger team, and they have to follow orders.  Insurance salesmen generally work alone, even if they’re part of a company.

So how will the nurse and the insurance salesman find happiness? Read more »

August 14th, 2017

Adam needs an ally who is his opposite.

Genesis 2:18-25


You talkin’ to me?

My wife Linda and I enjoy movies, but try to be discerning about films we rent or see in the theater. (There’s not much these days in the theater.) Thus the movie I’m about to quote is one we never actually saw, even though some critics said it was one of the best ever made. Taxi Driver came out in 1976, when we were still in college. It’s the story of 26-year-old Vietnam Vet played by Robert DeNiro. He witnesses first hand corruption and prostitution on the streets of New York where he works as a cabbie.

In the most memorable scene, DeNiro is at home alone, looking in a mirror, practicing what he will do when confronted by a bad guy. Read more »

August 6th, 2017

Where to Start

You are so used to being human that you forget to marvel at it. 

Genesis 1:1-31


Screwtape, Revelation, and Genesis

My teaching this summer has included three connected areas. Last week’s sermon completed Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Today we start Genesis, the first book. In Sunday School, I’ve been teaching C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters this summer. Screwtape is a senior devil writing letters to his nephew Wormwood about how to redirect a new Christian toward hell. Lewis wrote the book to help Christians grasp, to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, “the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Satan and his fiends constantly work to devour, distract, deceive, divide, defeat, disrupt.

According to Screwtape, hell is surprisingly neutral toward activities and events we might think critical in spiritual life. Read more »