I’m looking forward to preaching a sermon of comfort and joy from Isaiah 40:21-31 this coming Sunday (February 7, 2020). Ancient Christian scholars of the Bible sometimes referred to the book of Isaiah as “the fifth Gospel” and I’m eager to proclaim the good news.
Because I plan to keep my mask on while preaching this Sunday, I’ve made the sermon available online along with the bulletin. I’m doing this so that those who have trouble hearing can read along (since we don’t have closed captioning available). I should warn you that I often improvise, but I’ll do my best to stick with the text.
I’ve been asked what difference Dickinson County’s new mask mandate (Health Order #DK11-01) will make in our services this weekend. The only thing that has to be changed is that the signs requiring masks currently posted on our doors must be enlarged from 8″ x 8″ to 8.5″ x 11″. That’s it. Otherwise, we’re already compliant. A change that may be made will be for me to wear a mask even while preaching. (The order allows me to remove my mask for the sake of the hearing impaired, but I haven’t yet decided whether or not to do so. If I remain masked for the sermon, I have found a mask that better preserves the quality and clarity of my voice and I will publish my sermon notes online.)
I urge everyone who can watch online or listen on the radio instead of coming in-person to do so. I know that worship is important to many of you—it’s really important to me too. I understand that the experience of in-person worship is far superior to “virtual” worship. But, because of the increasing spread of COVID-19, Dr. Holmes, Bishop Saenz, and I all urge you to refrain from in-person worship for at least a month. That said, we will have services at 10:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, we have plenty of extra masks, and I do not intend to turn anyone away.* In our present situation, you are the person best able to weigh your spiritual needs against the risks of in-person attendance. All I know is that the potential danger of attending in-person is both real and dire.
* To comply with #DK11-01, I will reluctantly turn people away in the unlikely event that we have more than 30 people show up.
For my sermon tomorrow (Sunday, October 11, 2020), I’ll be preaching Exodus 20:1-17 with a focus on commandments 5 through 10. We’re still virtual only, but you can stream the service online. You can download a bulletin and—if you want—make a donation.
Last week, I warned you all to listen carefully to the Exodus reading because it was going to be part of the sermon this Sunday (September 13, 2020). I was wrong. Things have moved in a different direction, I’m going to be preaching not on Exodus (both the book and the event) but on Matthew 18:21-35. I’m doing this because the passage is about a concern (the need to forgive in order to be forgiven) that has cropped up a lot in pastoral conversations. I will eventually be referencing the Exodus, but not until Easter Sunday 2021. I’ve learned and thought a lot about the Gospel reading, I’m looking forward to sharing some of that work with you.
If it “hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year,” then I have a sermon for you this Sunday. I plan to preach on Romans 8:31-39.
This Sunday I plan to preach on Romans 8:26-39 which includes these verses:
“28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (NRSV)
These verses used to bother me a lot because of Paul’s use of the term predestination and my firm belief that we have free will. Has that bothered anyone else? Has it bothered you? Either way, please let me know at email@example.com. If it’s worried a lot of people, I’ll do a whole sermon on it, if it hasn’t, I’ll comment on it briefly and then continue to other parts of the passage.
This Sunday, I plan to preach on the following passage:
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (NRSV)
Here’s my question for you: what’s keeping you from coming to Jesus? What’s stopping you from taking the next step in your faith journey? What’s holding you back? Anything answers shared in the sermon will be shared anonymously.
Is Jesus the only way to Salvation? What about people of other faiths and those of no faith at all? Those are questions I plan to talk about in my sermon this coming Sunday (May 10, 2020). Find out how to watch or listen here: abilenefirstumc.org/live/.
This Sunday I’ll be preaching on Matthew 5:13-20, focusing on 17-20. This is the scripture reading that I polled you about earlier on in the week. I started this sermon without knowing where I was going to end up. It has not been an easy journey, but I’m happy with the destination. I feel the Spirit has been with me and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with you.
These two verses are in next week’s lectionary reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18, NRSV)
These verses have long puzzled me. I’ve long gotten hung up on them. Have you ever wondered what they meant? Would you like them addressed in a sermon? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This coming Sunday (February 2, 2020), I’ll be preaching on Micah 6:1-8. If that passage sounds familiar, it’s probably because Micah 6:8 is on the back of our church t-shirts. You’re invited to wear your t-shirt if you are so inclined.