Acts 2:38b-39 NIV
“And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Luke has insisted that all that Jesus did was through the Holy Spirit. He has insisted that his disciples were to wait in Jerusalem for ‘power from on high’. That ‘power’ arrived in Acts 2:1-4. Now we’re at the end of Peter’s sermon. He’s responding to the question of his convicted audience, “What shall we do?” Peter says, “This is for you too, and for all who are far off!” Sometimes we struggle to embrace this truth, not knowing for sure what this means. My sermon explores this issue and urges us to respond appropriately to the message Luke has for us here.
For a pdf of the above sermon click below:
February 25, 2018
It was Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus’ crucifixion. A crowd of Jewish pilgrims crowded into the temple courts in the holy city. Jesus’ disciples were gathered… waiting. And then the words of Jesus came true. “You will be clothed power from on high.” First was the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Then tongues of fire divided and came to rest on each one. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages. The Pentecost crowd gathered. Some mocked them. Others said, “What does this mean?” At that point Peter stands up to preach. He will tell us what this means.
February 4, 2018
For some technical reason we ended up with no recording of the sermon this week. Here it is in a pdf instead.
January 28, 2018
The followers of Jesus who witnessed him having been raised from the dead heard a final message from him, according to Luke/Acts, before he ascended. And it’s a foreign concept to us. It tends to be the last thing we want to do. But it was the first thing Jesus wanted us to do.
January 21, 2018
This message is an introduction (along with last week’s) to a new sermon series through the book of Acts. The emphasis in this message focuses on how it is important to see Luke/Acts as a single volume, Part 1 and Part 2 by the same author. Noticing this helps us to arrive at the book of Acts with the emphases in place that Luke would have intended.
Acts 1:1–2 (NIV)
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
If the gospel of Luke was about what Jesus ‘began to do and to teach’ then Acts is about what Jesus continued to do and to teach. And that continuing work of Jesus will be done ‘through the Holy Spirit’.
January 14, 2018
In this lesson I interact with three profound stories in Luke’s gospel which illustrate the heart of God for the marginalized.
January 7, 2018
Communion and Collection Meditations
Message: What We Believe About the Bible
This is a summary lesson which comes out of a series of bible class reflections on this topic. I have posted it below both as an audio file and as a pdf.
December 24, 2017
December 17, 2017
Does fear have a way of controlling you? Hindering you from stepping out for Christ? If so the apostle Peter has something to teach us.
December 10, 2017
This sermon is an interaction with Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah. If you want to listen to a YouTube version, this is one of my favorites.
December 3, 2017
Here is part 2 to Psalm 18.
November 26, 2017
A Sermon Based on Psalm 18:1-19. This Psalm presents in wonderful imagery how God responds to our requests for deliverance from our trials.
November 17-19, 2017 Christmas InDeed Sermons
The live recording quality of the sermons for this series was very inferior. That’s what happens when you plug your mic into the earphone jack. So I re-recorded them just now… at home. So they don’t sound like a ‘live’ sermon but may they bless you anyway. As I preached the second one to the wall, Lulu, our aging miniature pincher started snoring loudly :-). So, be warned, you might nod off. The blue links will take you to pdf’s of the sermons.
October 29, 2017
This week I simply read the book of James. Sit with this reading and soak your soul in it. It’s designed to make you wise in your Christian life.
October 22, 2017
This communion meditation flows out of John 13 where oddly Jesus doesn’t say anything about ‘communion’. He doesn’t take the bread or the cup and pass it around to his disciples. John brings a different emphasis to the same scene. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. But this too I think is worthy of contemplation as we gather at the table of the Lord.
Sunday’s sermon was my attempt to emphasize that when we engage our community in events like Pay it Forward that we are not just ‘doing good deeds’. We are proclaiming the gospel! We are engaged in the same thing Jesus was engaged in in his miracle ministry. He was taking on the fallout of sin in his world. When we, in his name, engage in our world in ways that say, “This old world is scheduled for an overhaul!” we too are proclaiming gospel – his gospel. When we’re kind and generous hearted to our neighbors we are bearing witness to the new day that dawned in Christ.
October 1, 2017
This sermon is entitled “Lord, Teach us to Pray” and it flows out of Luke 11 where one of the disciples, witnessing Jesus praying, made this request. In this message I urge us as a congregation to embrace a posture of prayer as we prepare for our congregational meeting next Sunday October 8th.
Luke, the 1st Century physician and travelling companion of the apostle Paul, wrote both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. It is clear as you read these works that he wants to highlight the work of the Spirit in both the life of Christ and in the life of the church. In fact it would be more accurate to say that when we get to the book of Acts that Luke does not change his focus from Jesus to the church but rather sees the work of the church as the continuing work of Jesus. Note Acts 1:1-2 in this regard.
What is clear in Acts (for the point of this sermon) is how foundational and central a life of prayer is to the early church in their embracing the work of the Spirit.
September 24, 2017
Jesus stood up in the synagogue and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” That’s Luke 4. There is a pattern in Luke’s gospel that has Jesus praying, and afterwards being filled with the Spirit to do the work of God. Notice how in Luke 4 Jesus’ time in the wilderness is followed by his returning to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Lk 4:14). Note as well how Lk 5:17 is preceded by 5:16, and how 6:19 is preceded by 6:12. Luke is replete with this pattern in Jesus’ life.
This same pattern repeats itself in Acts, Luke’s second volume, where Jesus continues to do his mighty work via the church (contemplate Acts 1:1 ‘all that Jesus began to do’). The early believers in the book of Acts embraced the same pattern Jesus embraced in the gospel of Luke. Note how, as a consequence Acts 2:1 flows from Acts 1:14, how Acts 2:47 flows from Acts 2:42 and how Acts 3:24 gives rise to Acts 3:31.
What we are witnessing in the book of Acts is how the Lord builds the house (Ps 127). To neglect this process is to build in vain.
September 17, 2017
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…” Acts 2:41-42
This message urges us to devote ourselves to the work of God in our lives this fall. It’s a rehearsal of who we are, the story we are caught up in (the gospel) and how we embrace it. In light of the gospel what are you devoting yourself to?
September 10, 2017
Unless the Lord Build’s the House
September 3, 2017
Waiting on God
August 27, 2017
Responding to God’s Creative Word in Your Life
The Day the Sky Drew Dark
This sermon reflects on the darkness on the occasion of Jesus’ crucifixion and what it means. I interact with the story of Peter in his following of Jesus and reflect on the opening words of Psalm 22 (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me) in light of the whole.
July 2, 2017
Isaiah 40:3 (NIV84) 3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.
Isaiah 40:3 is quoted in Matthew, Mark and Luke in connection with John the Baptist’s preparing the way for Jesus. We will be blessed to know the larger context of this glorious text. In Isaiah 40 God (the Lord) is calling the prophet to bring a word of comfort to his people who are experiencing Babylonian exile, a ‘comfort’ that is realized in the arrival of the Lord to ‘tend his flock like a shepherd’ (Is 40:9-11). That ancient ‘comfort’ is ultimately connected to Jesus, and it is designed to meet you where you live as well. Frequently fraught with great difficulty, the people of God, even today, find themselves in their own exile – a sense that we are a long way from home, surrounded by forces that seem to rule this world, and as a consequence weigh heavy against our hope. If that meets you somehow where you live then perhaps this sermon will bring you the comfort and hope you need.
“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God…
June 18, 2017
Happy Father’s Day!
At the very end of the recording my voice trails off as I say “Happy Father’s Day!” It’s because I tilt my face upward, away from the mic, and say happy Father’s Day to our Father in heaven.
May 21, 2017
The 118th Psalm begins and ends with the same words, words about the goodness of God. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” How did Israel related to this Psalm? How did Jesus relate to it? How will you relate to it? At the heart of the Psalm is the sense of being rejected, surrounded by enemies and yet hope for a great reversal. We know something about this don’t we?
May 14, 2017
Happy Mother’s Day 2017
May 7, 2017
In this sermon we celebrate the blessings of the body of Christ as we reflect on the hole Linda will leave in our fellowship as she moves away.
April 30, 2017
Exodus 19:1–8 (NRSV)
1 On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.” 7 So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 The people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.
April 23, 2017
The Law was never intended to imprison anyone. It was a gift to a nation saved by grace out of the slavery of Egypt. Ancient Israel was taught that the Law was a gift; something to celebrate. This is the song being sung in Psalm 19. This sermon expounds on this theme.
April 16, 2017
The crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection three days later is at the center of the Christian faith. Where does the Easter story intersect with your life? Scripture tells two stories in the setting of Good Friday and Easter Sunday that I think can help us plug into the message deeper.
When Jesus is handed over to Pilate he places two options before the crowd. Set Barabbas free or set Jesus free? Barabbas goes free. Jesus goes to the cross. That’s the first story. The second story comes after the crucifixion when two disciples on the road to Emmaus are distraught as they grapple to make sense out of what just happened. The Risen Jesus encounters them on their journey and their hope is reborn.
These two stories, told by the gospel writers as intersecting with the story of Jesus, are not just about Barabbas and a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus. They are about us. Let them speak to you.
April 9, 2017
Exodus 19:1–6 (NRSV)
19 On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”
March 26, 2017
In the wilderness God says to the slaves, “Rest.” They had a tough time with that. So do we. The first Sabbath was not given once Israel landed in the Land of Promise, after all the work was done and their harvest was in the bin. No, the first Sabbath was given while the slaves where still in panic mode in the wilderness. This is where we must learn to rest in God as well. Israel’s call to embrace the Sabbath has much to teach us.
Rest in the Wilderness
March 19, 2017
Exodus 16:1–8 (NRSV) 1 The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8 And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”
Not Against Us But The Lord
March 12, 2017
Deuteronomy 8:2–3 (NRSV) 2 Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Sometimes, God help us, we imagine that God is our tormentor who seeks to destroy us instead of our Holy Father who seeks to discipline us. Israel had that trouble in their wilderness experience. We have the same in ours.
On The Run From God
March 5, 2017
Exodus 6:6–7 (NRSV) 6 Say therefore to the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord (Yahweh), and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord (Yahweh) your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians.
That You May Know My Name
January 22, 2017
In this lesson we explore the background material that leads us to appreciate the opening chapter of the book of Exodus. Here Pharaoh curses the people. But these are the people God has chosen to bless.
January 15, 2017
This is the opening sermon on a series that will focus on the theme of the Exodus. We, like ancient Israel, are a people who have been called out of slavery into the glorious freedom of God. But the journey is not an easy one. Strangely, Israel, despite the fact that she had indeed experienced salvation through the Red Sea found herself, when faced with trials, longing to return. What’s up with that? Slavery stamps something on our hearts, a mode of thinking that is not automatically shed when we go through the waters. We have much to learn from Israel’s Exodus story.
December 18, 2016
I neglected (apparently) to turn on my lapel mic for the message I preached from Colossians on Sunday. So all I have to offer instead is a 2 minute communion meditation. May you be blessed by these few words. They are a reflection on the Song, Let the Beauty of Jesus be Seen.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity; May His spirit divine all my being refine, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
When your burden is heavy and hard to bear, When your neighbors refuse all your load to share; When you’re feeling so blue, don’t know just what to do, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.
When somebody has been so unkind to you, Some work spoken that pierces you thru, and thru; Think how he was beguiled, spat upon and reviled, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.
From the dawn of the morning to close of day, In example in deeds and in all you say; Lay your gifts at his feet, ever strive to keep sweet, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.
December 11, 2016
This message consists mostly in a reading of Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae.
December 4, 2016
Psalm 143 has touched me. Let it touch you.
November 26-27 Christmas InDeed
On Saturday and Sunday we worked through a series of 3 sermons on the theme of Christmas. All three of these are reflections that come out of Matthew’s telling of the Christmas story. You will soon discover that Matthew’s Christmas story is not simple; rather it is quite complex, and for the modern reader it can seem overwhelming. Matthew is interacting, as he tells the story of Jesus, with the profound and complex back story of Israel as a nation (the hopes and dreams of all the years). You will also discover that Matthew’s Christmas story is anything but neat and tidy, fit for a children’s Christmas play. No, instead it is a rough and craggy story, even offensive at points. But somehow good news is arriving in the midst of the chaos. Sit down, engage, think deeply, Matthew aims to bless you.
Lesson 1: Merry Christmas Abraham!
Lesson 1 Q&A
Lesson 1 Manuscript
Lesson 2: Immanuel in Egypt
Lesson 2 Q&A
Lesson 2 Manuscript
Lesson 3: Christmas and the Kingdom of Heaven
Communion Meditation (stretching forward to Easter)
Lesson 3 Manuscript
November 6, 2016
Due to the time change our auto recording cut off the tail end of Sunday’s sermon. And I didn’t have notes 🙁 . The text for the sermon was Psalm 139. The title was “Psalm 139 The Authentic David”. In the place of that sermon I have instead notes on an older sermon – perhaps a better one – on the same Psalm.
October 23, 3016
And This, says Jesus, Is How the Church Will Grow
We had trouble with the recording Sunday AM. I had to redo this in my office.
October 9, 2016
An Attitude of Gratitude in Anticipation of Salvation
October 2, 2016
Come To Me You Who Are Weary and Heavy Laden
Some reflections on Matthew 11:28-30 in relation to the burdens we bear and bringing them to Christ.
September 25, 2016
Encountering Christ in the Community of Christ: Heeding Paul’s Instructions
I forgot to turn on my lapel mic last Sunday so I had to remake this at my desk :-).
September 18, 2016
When Jesus is the Church: Encountering Christ in Acts
As we continue to contemplate the theme of Encountering Christ in the Community of Christ how does a text like Acts 9:4 inform us? Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Why didn’t he say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting my church?”
September 11, 2016
Communion Meditation (The Matrix as a metaphor)
Sermon: Encountering Christ in the Community of Christ
September 4, 2016
Communion Meditation ( Matthew 18 – Where Two or Three Are Gathered)
Sermon: Our Tipping Point
August 28, 2016
Sermon: Do You Wish To Get Well (John 5)