On December 8 I preached about the Nicene Creed, more specifically, about the changes we see to the Creed in the Anglican Church in North America Eucharist Liturgy. The “changes” were corrections in the translation to return us to the earliest version of the Nicene Creed as accepted at the Council of Constantinople in 381. I felt that it was important to spend time “in the weeds” on this topic because we say the Creed every week and the changes were noticeable. It was a good opportunity to show how these changes (in particular the removal of the clause “and the Son” from the line saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father “and the Son”) reflect the original text, and put us in communion with the Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian church in the world. I would encourage taking the time to listen to this explanation, especially if you like Church History. It is roughly 26 minutes long.
On December 15 I preached on Matthew 11:2-11 and talked about the issue of expectations. We are in a season of expectation (Advent) as we await the celebration of Christ’s birth and the return of Christ to bring his final judgment. The passage was about John the Baptist being in prison and questioning whether or not Jesus was really the Messiah- a doubt spurred by John’s expectation that the Messiah would set the prisoners free. He was a prisoner and didn’t want to die in jail so he was wondering what was up with Jesus. But Jesus showed that his purposes are so much bigger and so much better than the expectations and what we would have him do for us. He didn’t come to just free prisoners on earth, but to free us from our imprisonment to sin and give us the right to be sons and daughters of God, living together with him in his eternal kingdom.
I apologize as this sermon was longer than I intended, coming in at about 36 minutes.
Here is my sermon from this past Sunday, December 1, which was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the beginning of the Church year and is a season of expectation, anticipation, and most importantly, hope. We look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises with hope, because we have seen God and his goodness and we know that hope in him will never fail.
This message looked at how important patience is to hope, and how God provides hope even in the midst of turmoil- as he did to Judah even as he was preparing to send them into exile.
On November 17 we had a very special Sunday. Baby Addie was baptized and welcomed into Christ’s family. And we celebrated Jim and Linda Marshall as they set forth to move downstate to be with their daughter and granddaughter. It was a moving and emotional Sunday and the short sermon focused on the sanctity of life, a topic that connected to both the baptism of a child and to a family leaving their lives behind to take care of their grown daughter. Life is sacred to God, and it is at all stages of life.
On November 24 Wally Stansbury preached for me and his subject was Christ the King. He looked at the three-fold office of Christ- Prophet, Priest, and King, as it was Christ the King Sunday. This was a very informative message that is worth your time. It is about 18 minutes long.
This past Sunday I preached on Luke 20:27-38. In this passage the Sadducees, those who don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, come to Jesus to try to disprove the resurrection (the idea that all people will be resurrected in the end) by posing a question that they think would show how ridiculous of a concept it is. They pose a question regarding seven marriages to one woman- each husband died then she remarried. They asked, then, whose wife will she be in the resurrection?
Jesus understood their purpose and laid out for them that they were wrong for two reasons. They were wrong because they didn’t believe in the power of God; and they were wrong because they didn’t even understand their own scriptures. Using his best apologetic method, Jesus pointed the Sadducees back to the book of Exodus to show how God called himself the God of those who had already died. Jesus’ response was, “He is the God of the living, not the dead.”
This then begs the questions that we each must ask ourselves, “Do you believe in the power of God, and do you know the scriptures?”
Here is the link to my concluding sermon on the Book of Ruth. In this chapter, Boaz shows his love for Ruth by dealing with the “other redeemer” and settling the matter quickly in order to be able to redeem, and therefore marry Ruth. Boaz is successful in his negotiations, he does redeem and marry Ruth, and they have a son, Obed. Obed was the grandfather of David, the great king of Israel. So Ruth is the great-grandmother of David, and also a matriarch in the line of the messiah, Jesus. So Boaz, in his redemption of Ruth, also provides for the eventual redemption of all mankind through his offspring. Through all of this, God shows his faithfulness to redeem bad situations, to have a plan bigger than our understanding, and to bring all of the threads of that plan together for his good purposes.
Ruth is a beautiful story of love, faithfulness, and redemption, and I hope that you have been blessed by this series.
Here is the sermon from Ruth 3, the third week of my sermon series on Ruth. In this chapter Naomi concocts her plan to get Ruth and Boaz together. Ruth goes to Boaz by cover of night to seek his proposal of marriage/redemption. Boaz agrees to do so, but first he must deal with a family redeemer ahead of him in right to redeem Ruth. Through his actions, we learn that Boaz is a good and godly man. Naomi also learns that God yet has good in store for her and Ruth despite all of the turmoil of their past.
Here are my first two sermons from my current sermon series on Ruth. Each sermon in the series deals with one chapter of the book. In chapter 1, we meet Naomi and Ruth, learn of Naomi’s extreme hardship, Ruth’s loyalty and commitment to her mother-in-law, and Naomi’s belief that God has turned against her.
In chapter 2, we meet Boaz, learn that he is a good man, that he shows great kindness to Ruth, that he is a kinsman-redeemer, and that Naomi realizes all of this and realizes that God may yet have good in store for her and Ruth. Each message is about 30 minutes long. I hope you enjoy them.
Here is a direct download link to the pdf of the new Holy Eucharist liturgies from the ACNA. Holy Eucharist ACNA
It is a long document, 39 pages. But that is because it contains two separate liturgies and all the seasonal changes. The Long Form liturgy (the one appointed for Sunday principal service, and high feast day use) is the first 11 pages. I recommend giving it a good read to familiarize yourself with it. I think this liturgy is a great step forward for us as an Anglican Province. I like it better than anything we do from the 1979 BCP, but it is different and will take some getting used to.
To the committee that worked on preparing these liturgies: well done.
This past Sunday I preached on Luke 17:5-10. The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith and then he tells a parable against them. We looked at what prompted the apostles asking for increased faith (Jesus telling them that they have a responsibility to forgive someone as often as they sin and repent, and the apostles thinking that is a hard thing), and what Jesus’ response was to it. His basic response was that they didn’t need more faith (faith the size of a mustard seed can already do incredible things). Instead, they needed to act on their faith by seeing even these hard teachings as their duty.
Here are my sermons for the last two weeks.
On September 22 I preached on 1 Timothy 2:1-8. I talked about the importance of us praying all types of prayer for all types of people. This means that we must be willing to pray intercessions and even thanksgivings for those we consider enemies. And we often find that in so doing, we have a difficult time viewing people as enemies.
On September 29 I preached on Luke 16:19-31. This is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. I explained this parable and talked about how the ultimate point Jesus seemed to be making was that the Rich Man didn’t believe the teachings of the faith and thus lived only for himself. This resulted in the Rich Man being sent to hell where he was in anguish and realized that it was too late to repent and live a life of faith. We need to be honest about whether we believe the teachings of the gospel, or if we have given some mental assent to it while living our lives in a way that suggests we don’t really- deep down- believe those teachings much, if at all.