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Sermon Library

Sermons preached by Dr. David Leininger in Protestant pulpits around the world are indexed here according to Scripture text. For access, simply click on the title(s) in which you are interested. Feel free to download them to your computer to read at your leisure. All sermons Copyright © date listed by David Leininger, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.

Lectionary Tales Series DR. LEININGER'S LECTIONARY TALES FOR THE PULPIT for years A, B, and C are now available. From the publisher's back jacket notes, "Whether you pick up these books as relaxed devotional reading or are searching for a last-minute sermon illustration, you'll be delighted with the imaginative and inspirational stories in the latest installments of CSS' popular Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit series. David Leininger takes you right to the heart of the scriptures with a rich variety of captivating material illustrating Cycle A, B, & C lectionary texts. His thought-provoking reflections are certain to enrich your spiritual life - and point out the myriad ways in which God is at work in our daily lives. These volumes are sure to become a favorite resource for pastors and laypersons alike." Click here for ordering information.
 

Text Sermon Title, Delivery Date, Summary
Genesis 1:1-2:3 "INTELLIGENT DESIGN:" THE CONTROVERSY (8/21/05)
Another national issue this week. Attention has recently been focused on a debate in some school boards over the teaching of evolution. How do people of faith respond?
Genesis 1:1-31

As We Believe, So We Behave
THE APOSTLES' CREED: "MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH" (7/8/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. From the publisher's jacket comments: When it comes to our faith, what exactly do we believe? Many Christians might be hard-pressed to give a coherent answer to that question ... at least on their own. Yet we do clearly articulate our faith week in and week out during worship as we repeat the familiar affirmations in the Apostles' Creed. And we not only give voice to these statements, we also live them - since belief and behavior are inextricably linked, even if we are not always aware of it. For example, if we believe that we will be burned when we touch a hot iron, then we will avoid touching it. What we believe determines how we behave. If we truly believe the creed, how does that affect our behavior? If we truly believe in "one God, the Father almighty" or in "Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord," how do our lives reflect that belief? As We Believe, So We Behave examines each tenet of the Apostles' Creed and illuminates how it affects what we say and do on a daily basis. Leininger demonstrates that the faith statements embedded in the creed are not dry collections of ancient words mumbled quietly every Sunday. Rather, they are vibrant and vital elements in our walk with God, impacting every aspect of our lives.

Click here for ordering information.
Genesis 2:1-8, 15 A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF WORK (9/2/01)
Labor Day weekend affords us an opportunity to consider what we believe about work. A meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Genesis 2:18-19 WORDS AND THE WORD (1/21/07)
For all the use we make of words in our lives, we tend to take them for granted. That is probably not a good idea.
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Matthew 4:1-11 SHOULD I OR SHOULDN'T I? (2/13/05)
The first Sunday in Lent. Each year our Lenten journey starts as we join Jesus in the wilderness as he faces temptation.
Genesis 3:1-13, Luke 14:16-23 EXCUSES (3/29/98)
Excuses. We all make them...and too often. But Lent is itself an "excuse" to change ourselves for the better.
Genesis 3:1-19 THINKING ABOUT THE UNTHINKABLE (2/21/96)
An Ash Wednesday sermon centering on the traditional reminder of our mortality ("Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return") but reaffirming our Christian conviction that mortality is not the final word.
Genesis 9:8-17 UNDER THE RAINBOW (8/20/2000)
The story of Noah is one with which we have been familiar since earliest Sunday School days, and offers a marvelous affirmation of God's grace amidst the "floods" of life.
Genesis 11:1-9, Acts 2:1-13 BEATING BABEL (6/8/03)
Pentecost! "The Birthday of the Church." We recall that marvelous day in Jerusalem when people understood each other in ways they had not been able to do since the Tower of Babel. Is such a day possible again?
Genesis 12:1-4a THE ADVENTURE OF FAITH (2/17/08)
The 2nd Sunday in Lent. The Old Testament lesson for the day introduces us to the single most revered individual in religious history, the father of the three great montheistic religions, Abraham.
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 "GOD'S NOT DONE WITH US YET!" (3/16/03)
Our sermon title could easily be the affirmation of 99-year-old Abraham. And if God's not done with an almost-centenarian, how about you and me?
Genesis 18:1-15 THE LAST LAUGH (1/21/01)
Do you laugh enough? Does anyone? The word is that he or she who laughs...lasts. And that is surely biblical.
Genesis 21:8-21 GOD HEARS (7/23/2000)
If you have ever wondered about the incredible tensions in the Middle East, today's lesson lays out the background. The sermon title is not only a theological conviction, it is the translation of the Hebrew name Ishmael, Abraham's first son and part of the cause of tension.
Genesis 21:8-21 HOW NOT TO BE FATHER OF THE YEAR (6/21/09)
Fathers Day. The story of Hagar and Ishmael is certainly not one of which Father Abraham is most proud. In fact, it shows this hero of three major faiths at his worst.
Genesis 22:1-14 THE SECOND WORST STORY IN THE BIBLE (6/26/05)
Our Old Testament lesson this week is called in Hebrew tradition "the Binding of Isaac," not exactly one of our favorites.
Genesis 22:1-19 THE FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL (6/15/08)
Fathers' Day in the United States leads us, not only to recognize the Dads among us today, but to look back at one who is seen in that patriarchal role for three great monotheistic religions.
Genesis 29:15-28 A WEDDING GONE WILD (7/13/14)
The Old Testament lesson this week tells the tragicomic story of Jacob's two wives, Rachel and her sister Leah - Double Trouble! To say the least, this was one wedding that Israel would never forget.
Genesis 32:22-31 STRUGGLING WITH GOD (7/13/03)
One of the most intriguing characters in all of scripture is that loveable rascal Jacob, and one of his most interesting adventures was a midnight wrestling match by the River Jabbok. His struggle offers valuable lessons.
Genesis 39:1-20a YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR KATE AND EDITH TOO! (7/17/05)
The story of Joseph is one of the most fascinating in scripture. The ups and downs of the plot twists are mind-boggling. The lesson this week recounts the incident in Potiphar's household as Joseph is unjustly accused of sexual indiscretion.
Genesis 44:1-45:1 JUDAH-COME-LATELY (1/14/07)
In most of our lives, there are things that should be done that, for one reason or another, are not. The story of Judah, one of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, says "better late than never."
Genesis 45:3-15, Luke 6:27-38 PAY BACK TIME (2/18/01)
This week the lectionary invites us to consider the story of Joseph and his brothers as we listen to Jesus' word concerning dealing with those who do us wrong - and if we think someone has done US wrong, think about Joseph.
Genesis 50:15-21, Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 "...BUT GOD..." (2/15/04)
Is it luck? Or something else? In the amazing story of Joseph, we hear a reminder of God's providential care...even when it is not apparent.
Exodus 3:1-15, Revelation 1:8-18 THE BUSH IS STILL BURNING (7/20/03)
The Old Testament lesson for today tells a story with which we have been familiar since childhood, Moses and the Burning Bush. It offers a wonderful word of hope for today.
Exodus 12:1-14, Matthew 18:15-20, Romans 13:8-14 THE PROD OF THE PAST (9/8/96)
Today we celebrate the beginning of five years together as pastor and people. The Lectionary texts guide us to thoughts of our family relationship as God's people and then challenge us to use our heritage to spur us on to greater accomplishments.
Exodus 12:1-14 REMEMBERING 9/11 (9/8/02)
As we approach a horrific anniversary, we reflect on the year that has come and gone.
Exodus 17:1-7 "WHERE IS GOD?" (3/2/08)
The 4th Sunday in Lent. The children of Israel had just been freed from slavery in Egypt, but now they found themselves in the middle of nowhere and wondering how they could possibly survive. They felt abandoned by God and were right angry about it and ready to rebel.
Exodus 20:1-17, John 2:13-22 GOD CARES ABOUT JUSTICE! (3/15/09)
Our sermon title is hardly a shock, but is a statement which gets a healthy reminder as we consider this week's lectionary texts: the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Cleansing of the Temple.
Exodo 20:1-17 ¡DIOS SE PREOCUPA POR LA JUSTICIA!
El título del sermón no debe ser un choque, pero necesitamos a veces el recordatorio.
Exodus 20:1-17 DANCE STEPS (3/19/06)
The third Sunday in Lent. The Old Testament lectionary lesson is the text familiarly known as the Ten Commandments. Some folks understand them as rules for personal morality, others as encumbrances on society. How do you understand them?
Exodus 20:1-20

God of Justice
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
The Ten Commandments have been caught up in the US "culture wars" for some time now. Eighty-five percent of Americans say they are still valid for today, but less than half of those making that assertion can name even five of the ten. God of Justice: A Look at the Ten Commandments for the 21st Century is our attempt to remedy that. For example:

* "Do not take the Lord's name in vain" has nothing to do with avoiding getting one's mouth washed out with soap;
* "Remember the sabbath day" is not about going to church;
* "Honor your father and mother" is not a way to get recalcitrant kids to clean up their rooms;
* and despite what most folks think, "You shall not commit adultery" is not primarily about sex!

From the publisher's jacket notes, "In God of Justice, David Leininger sets the record straight with a new look at this ancient document. He examines the commandments in the context of today's social, cultural, and political environment -- and he concludes that rather than the traditional view of them as ironclad laws, the commandments are actually God's policy statements about what is the bedrock of a good, decent, and just society. When properly understood, the commandments offer God's guidance in establishing a healthy way of life that is rewarding for everyone. With discussion questions included for each chapter, God of Justice is an excellent study resource for adult classes -- and clear and accessible reading that will be stimulating and rewarding for any thoughtful Christian."

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Leviticus 19:1-18 SUNDAY DINNER (8/5/01)
No institution in American life says "Family" like the traditional gathering of the clan after worship on Sunday. A meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Numbers 11:1-17, John 3:1-15 NICODEMUS (2/18/96)
A monologue featuring an intriguing character from the Gospels. Prior to reading the sermon, check the Numbers passage for a historical perspective on the Jewish Sanhedrin of which Nicodemus was a member and then from John's gospel the story of Nicodemus' night time visit with Jesus.
Numbers 14:1-10a REMEMBERING THE GOOD OLD DAYS (10/9/05)
Our annual Homecoming celebration at First Presbyterian, and a look back at the past to spur us on for the future.
Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21 LOOK AND LIVE (3/22/09)
"Snakes, snakes, everywhere SNAKES!" might have been the anguished cry of the Israelites in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Matthew 12:1-21 SUPER SUNDAY (1/28/96)
America's attention is directed to the Super Bowl today. With that as a backdrop we consider this special day...but in a different way.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Matthew 12:1-8 A THEOLOGY OF WORK (9/5/99)
A sermon for Labor Day that looks at the biblical perspective on work.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25 GROWING IN FAITH (9/10/2000)
Sunday School is important, and not only for children. According to a study, "Effective Christian Education is the most powerful single influence congregations have on 'maturity of faith.'" A sermon for Rally Day.
Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Matthew 22:15-22 "BLEST BE THE TITHE THAT BINDS" (11/23/08)
Stewardship Dedication Sunday at Dorchester Presbyterian. We look back at the way Israel gathered in the tithe with an annual celebration in the hope that we can recover that same joyous spirit in modern giving.
Deuteronomio 14:22-29 EL ESTÁNDAR DE DIOS (19/11/06, Chetumal)
Miramos la manera que Israel recolectado el diezmo con una celebración anual; ojalá que sí, podemos recuperarnos lo mismo espíritu feliz en nuestro dando hoy en dia.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 "DOES GOD CARE WHO WINS THE SUPER BOWL?" (2/1/09)
The sermon title comes from an old Sports Illustrated article of the same name. So? Does God Care?
Deuteronomy 15:7-11, James 2:14-17 THE LAST SERMON EVER ABOUT STARVING CHILDREN (10/19/08)
With the confluence of Children's Sabbath and World Food Day, some powerful preaching is in the offing...but not here. The pastor is tired of hearing sermons about starving kids.
Deuteronomy 18:14-22 UNDERSTANDING BIBLE PROPHECY (9/18/05)
Biblical prophecy has long held a fascination for people of faith. Everyone resonates to the idea that we can have a roadmap of the future. But is that a proper understanding of the scriptural material?
Deuteronomy 32:1-7 REMEMBER! (10/1/06)
Homecoming at First Presbyterian Church in Warren occasions this communion reflection on the importance of memories.
Deuteronomy 34:1-12 THE GOD OF THE UNLIKELY (10/23/05)
The Old Testament Lectionary lesson for this week tells the story of the death of Moses, one of the most important leaders in all of history, but an "unlikely" leader. Come to think of it, God OFTEN chooses the "unlikely."
Joshua 3:7-4:7 MEMORIAL DAY (5/28/06)
In the USA, Memorial Day weekend. The unofficial beginning of summer is a time, not only for rest and relaxation, but for remembrance. The lesson from Joshua is the story of a biblical instruction to establish a memorial.
Joshua 5:9-12 TO BEGIN AGAIN (3/18/07)
The fourth Sunday in Lent. In the ancient church, this was known as Laetare Sunday from the Latin word for Rejoice. Is there reason to rejoice in the midst of a season of self-examination and introspection? Indeed!
Ruth 1:1-18 A WONDERFUL MOTHER (-IN-LAW), (5/12/96)
Mothers-in-Law are not the most highly thought of figures in our culture, but one mother-in-law of antiquity is a delight. Her name is Naomi. A sermon for Mothers' Day.
Ruth 3:1-6, 4:13-17 HAPPY ENDINGS, (11/12/06)
The Old Testament lesson this week takes us to one of the loveliest stories in scripture. What began with tragedy ended with... Well, you'll just have to check it out.
I Samuel 1:1-18 A MOTHER'S GIFT (5/14/2000)
Mothers' Day. We listen again to the story of one of scripture's best known Moms, Hannah - the mother of Samuel.
I Samuel 3:1-10, John 1:43-51 THE VOICE (1/25/09)
The story of Samuel invites us to consider the Call of God in our lives, and we remember that the Call may not be what we want to hear.
I Samuel 8:4-20 BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR...YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT!, (6/8/97)
As commencement exercises focus the nation's attention, and as graduates begin to contemplate their next steps in life, we find some advice from the Prophet Samuel and the experience of ancient Israel. A Baccalaureate Sermon.
I Samuel 16:14-23 THERAPY IN MELODY or HEALING IN 4/4 TIME (10/21/01)
OKTOBERFEST at First Presbyterian continues with a Festival of Music. Morning worship is heavily oriented toward music and the pastor's meditation recalls the therapeutic value of music in the life of Israel's first king.
II Samuel 11:1-12:13 DAVID AND BATHSHEBA (7/30/2000)
This familiar story of sex, seduction and murder is one with little redeeming value...on the surface. But there is "gospel" here.
II Samuel 18:5-33, Ephesians 4:25-5:2 CIVIL WAR ISN'T! (8/10/03)
The Old Testament lectionary lesson this week tells the story of the palace coup in ancient Israel when Absalom tried to usurp his father David's throne. Combine that with the week's Epistle lesson and we learn something about the way the church is called to act in times of conflict.
I Kings 3:3-14 WISE LEADERSHIP (8/17/03)
The Old Testament lectionary lesson this week tells the story of the establishment of Solomon as king of Israel and his request for wisdom in dispensing justice. Modern leaders would do well to pray the same prayer.
I Kings 17:1-16 YEAR-ROUND CHRISTMAS (11/9/03)
The story of Elijah's meeting with the widow of Zarephath and her generous hospitality in the face of her own destitution brings us up short as churches around the world are conducting annual stewardship campaigns.
I Kings 19:1-18 DEALING WITH DEPRESSION (6/24/01)
The Old Testament Lectionary lesson this week introduces us to one of the most powerful personalities in scripture, the prophet Elijah, a man who should have been at the top of his world, but...
II Kings 2:1-14 TRANSITIONS (7/1/07)
This week's lectionary lesson telling of the passing of the prophetic mantle from Elijah to Elisha is an intriguing glimpse at dealing with change.
II Kings 5:1-14 OUR MAGNIFICENT, MYSTERIOUS, MISCHIEVOUS GOD (7/7/13)
The Old Testament Lectionary lesson recounts the story of the healing of Naaman, a fascinating reminder that God does not always act according to our preconceptions.
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22 THE GOD WHO IS ALWAYS THERE (9/28/97)
The story of the deliverance of the Jews in the book of Esther (a book which nowhere mentions the name of God) is a reminder that God is ALWAYS there, even when not as obvious as we might wish.
Job 1:1-3, 13-21 A NATION MOURNS (9/14/01)
Where is God in the midst of the horrible tragedy of the September 11th attack on the United States? A meditation for the Service of Prayer and Remembrance.
Job 23:1-9, 16-17 WHEN GOD IS GONE (10/15/2000)
The story of Job is one that wrestles with the problem of injustice in a world that is supposedly in the loving control of a just God. Part of the puzzle is the wonder that Job shares with many of us in times of trouble: Where is God?
Job 38:1-18 REMEMBERING CHARLIE (11/11/12)
Veterans Day! Our nation honors and remembers with humble gratitude the sacrifice made on our behalf by so many through the years. The inevitable question arises when we consider the horrible loss endured: WHY?
Job 38:1-7, 34-41 WHEN A FRIEND'S LIFE TUMBLES IN
or "Is there anything I can do, anything at all?"
(10/19/97)
Our friends occasionally need our help in special ways. The story of Job teaches us some lessons in offering care and compassion. A sermon for Friendship Month at St. Paul
Job 40:1-5 A DISASTER OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS (1/2/05)
We bring in the new year around the Lord's Table, something we surely need as we wrap up a year that has concluded with the devastation of an incredible tsunami on the other side of the globe.
Psalm 8 DO I MATTER? (10/17/99)
The UN reported this week that the world's population has now reached 6-billion. The issue is "If I am only 1 of 6,000,000,000 on this planet, Do I Matter?"
Psalm 8 GOD THE BOGGLER (6/3/07)
Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the church year that honors a doctrine, and a confusing doctrine at that. Mind boggling. A meditation in preparation for a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Psalm 8 IT'S ALL IN THE PERSPECTIVE (6/6/04)
Trinity Sunday. How we see things in life is a matter of perspective. Whether it be the stages of life (such as the one seen by our graduates whom we honor this week) or the church as, through the centuries we have tried to articulate our understandings of God, or personally, as we reflect on our relationships with God and one another, what we see depends upon the vantage point from which we look. The Psalmist understood that.
Psalm 8 1/300,000,000TH (10/22/06)
Children's Sabbath is being celebrated in many congregations this weekend. The pastor's meditation recognizes the population milestone reached in America this week.
Psalm 13 PSALMS OF LAMENT (2/11/96)
How can we talk with God when our heart is breaking? The Psalmists did, and often. What is linked here is not a sermon but rather the reflection of a conversation between the pastor and the family of a young girl whose life was tragically ended. They wrote their own Psalms of Lament for the occasion.
Psalm 13 LIFE BETWEEN VERSES 4 AND 5 (6/2/02)
The language of lament is our theme this week. We focus on one of the best known Lament psalms, ("How long, O Lord..."). A communion meditation.
Psalm 19 "SERMONS IN STONES" (2/2/03)
Scout Sunday (and Groundhog Day). The lesson this week offers the familiar phrasing of the psalmist in noticing the praise of God in nature. A communion meditation.
Psalm 22:1-5, 27-31, Mark 15:25-37 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "GOD...ALMIGHTY..." (6/24/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. We affirm our belief in "God, the Father, ALMIGHTY..." How can we do that with integrity in the face of all the evil in this world? Click here for ordering information.
Psalm 23, John 10:1-10 THE DIVINE MOM (5/11/14)
"Good Shepherd" Sunday offers a pardigm for parenting on this Mother's Day.
Psalm 23, John 10:1-16 A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD TREASURE (4/29/12)
"The Good Shepherd" is the Lectionary's focus today. Meet him in Psalm 23 and John 10.
Psalm 23 THE SHEPHERD PSALM (5/6/01)
This most beloved of all scripture passages is a word of faith that covers our past, present, and future. A meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Psalm 24 THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S...AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT! (4/17/05)
The Fourth Sunday of Easter. We depart from the lectionary texts this week to focus on environmental concerns as the nation observes Earth Day on April 22nd.
Psalm 33:1-12 "GOD BLESS AMERICA" (7/5/09)
On this weekend that we celebrate Independence Day, we reflect on God's blessings to our nation and accept the challenge to make it even better.
Psalm 41:1-3, John 9 SIGHT FOR BLIND EYES (3/17/96)
The story of one of Jesus' most incredible miracles told from the perspective of the one who is the inspiration for the words of the grand old hymn, "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see."
Psalm 42, Matthew 14:14-21 HUNGRY PEOPLE (3/24/96)
On one incredible day, 5,000 men (plus women and children) were fed with five loaves and two fish. It is AMAZING what Jesus can do with just a little...even from us.
Psalm 42 & 43, Luke 8:26-39 BEYOND DESPAIR (6/20/04)
The lectionary lessons this week are a mixed bag, but they deal with a subject that touches us all - depression.
Psalm 46 GOD & SILENCE (4/12/96)
In the midst of the noise of day-to-day life, we need moments of silence to be able to communicate with God. A Maundy Thursday sermon in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and the Service of Tenebrae (Darkness).
Psalm 50:1-15, Luke 16:13-14 WHO'S THE BOSS? (11/12/95)
Money is a wonderful tool in our society but much misunderstood. We use money to measure wealth, to set value, to solve problems. However, in each case we are in danger of coming to wrong conclusions. Pledge Sunday.
Psalm 51:1-17, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 LENT (2/13/02)
Our Lenten observance begins with worship on Ash Wednesday. The meditation is in preparation for the Imposition of the Ashes and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Psalm 51:1-17 GOOD NEWS IN THE ASHES (3/8/2000)
We begin our Lenten journey to the Cross with the traditional imposition of ashes, the symbol of penitence. But we find good news amidst the gloom and doom.
Psalm 51:1-17 ACCIDENT FORGIVENESS (2/21/07)
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of our Lenten Journey. It is a traditional time of repentence for our sin, but, in this day and age, sin is less thought of as a horror and offense against a Holy God than a mistake, an error in judgment, an accident. More's the pity. The Bible is not so sanguine on the subject.
Psalm 84:1-4, Luke 21:5-28 OF RUBBLE AND TROUBLE (12/17/95)
Christmas is coming - a beautiful time. But juxtaposed against that is a life of great uncertainty for all of us, a time when our institutions, those entities in society upon which we have depended, our temples, are crashing down around us - not one stone left on another. We are left with rubble and trouble.
Psalm 90:1-12 THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER (2/15/98)
As St. Paul's 40th birthday party proceeds, we consider the whole issue of getting older and hear the reminder that a recommitment to the basics will help us progress.
Psalm 91:1-11, Revelation 12:7-9 "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH SUGAR!" (9/29/02)
The Archangel Michael is encountered three times in scripture: Daniel 10, Jude 1, & Revelation 12. Michael, the mighty warrior! But an old movie portrays Michael somewhat differently. Could there be something we might learn from this cinematic celestial?
Psalm 91:1-12, Luke 1:5-13a, 26-30 ANGELS (10/22/95)
Angels. Are there such beings? What do they do? Do people really experience the presence of angels? What does the Bible say about angels? What has the church historically said about angels? This sermon may not answer your every question about angels, but we trust it will take care of some.
Psalm 100, I Thess. 5:12-18 AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE (11/19/95)
As we approach another Thanksgiving Day, it is appropriate to consider ways to express our thanks with more than just our mouths.
Psalm 100 "I'M THANKFUL FOR..." (11/23/03)
Thanksgiving Sunday. But in the face of the terrible tragedies that occur with all too much regularity, Thanksgiving for some folks is going to be difficult. How do we give thanks in the face of such events?
Psalm 100 THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART (11/19/2000)
On this day that we rededicate our sanctuary organ, we are reminded of the importance of music in our lives.
Psalm 103:8-18 A FATHER'S LOVE (7/24/05)
A birthday in the pastor's household this week prompts a personal reflection.
Psalm 109:1-20 PRAYING THE UNPRAYABLE
or, "Dear God, Please Kill Osama bin Laden."
(9/30/01)
Prayer Services have been the order of the day around the nation as folks reach down to their spiritual roots in the aftermath of September 11. How shall we pray?
Psalm 118:14-24, I Peter 1:3-9 SALVATION (4/14/96)
Salvation is one of those big theological words which is often misunderstood. It is more than a future hope, it is a present reality.
Psalm 119:1-16, I Corinthians 9:24-27 BEATIN' BALLS & BEATIN' BALLS (4/28/96)
With the PGA Tour in Greensboro this weekend, our attention turns to golf, that delightful game which, as we learn, can offer some lessons for Christian disciples.
Psalm 119:9-16 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE (3/25/07)
The fifth Sunday in Lent. "Discipline" is part and parcel of our Lenten journey, and one of the disciplines Christians affirm is studying scripture. Is there a good way to go about it? Indeed!
Psalm 122 PRAY FOR PEACE (8/6/06)
An auspicious anniversary, August 6 - the bombing of Hiroshima. We encounter that horrible memory as the news from the Middle East becomes ever more frightening.
Psalm 133, Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16 COMMON GROUND (6/22/97)
"Common Ground" is the emphasis for Presbyterians this week as we return home from our 209th General Assembly. How can people of faith holding divergent views work together in the cause of God's Kingdom?
Psalm 133 THANK GOD, WE'RE NOT ALONE! (11/24/02)
As we come to another day of national Thanksgiving, we count our blessings and note one that is too often overlooked.
Psalm 139:1-17 A MORAL DILEMMA: STEM CELL RESEARCH (8/14/05)
National attention has recently been focused on an ethical question as the result of a change in position by US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist who has broken with the Bush administration over the issue of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He is in favor of expanding current research; the administration is opposed. Is there a "Christian" position on the issue?
Psalm 147:12-20, Matthew 18:1-4 THEOLOGY IN SNOW (2/6/2000)
The "Blizzard of 2000" that struck the Carolinas recently offered an incredible challenge. It offered a wonderful lesson as well.
Psalm 147:12-20 TO Y2K AND BEYOND (1/10/99)
As 1999 dawns, it seems as though all anyone is interested in is the arrival of the year 2000 with all its "millennium bugs" and potential catastrophes. The psalmist is good enough to remind us that the one who holds the millennium is the one whom we worship. A sermon in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 NOW THAT SCHOOL IS OUT... (6/7/98)
"No more pencils, no more books..." Commencement speakers are waxing eloquent on campuses around the nation. The sermon is not directed solely at graduates; instead it focuses on something we all could use more of at any age - wisdom. Trinity Sunday.
Proverbs 17:22, Matthew 7:1-5 GOOD MEDICINE (4/22/01)
Holy Humor Sunday! A sermon to celebrate the joy of Christ's resurrection victory.
Proverbs 31:10-31 THAT INCREDIBLE LADY (5/14/06)
A special day in America as we honor our Mothers.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 WHEN ALL YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS NOT ENOUGH (2/9/03)
The recent motion picture "About Schmidt" prompts a reflection on the meaning of life.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4a THE LAUGHING PLACE (4/19/09)
Holy Humor Sunday. We gather for what has become an annual rite of spring, the celebration of God's wonderful cosmic "joke" on sin and evil in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Song of Songs 2:8-13, Mark 7:1-23 INTEGRITY (8/31/03)
The lectionary texts this week offer an intriguing juxtaposition as we encounter a steamy love poem from the Song of Songs matched with Jesus' concern for having religious profession and practice coalesce in Mark 7. How do the two relate?
Song of Songs 2:8-15 THE FOXES IN THE VINEYARD (6/5/05)
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as white as snow." So says the prophet Isaiah. But most of us are not confronted with "scarlet" sins; they are mostly "gray." A Communion meditation.
Song of Songs 8:7a AFTER KATRINA (9/4/05)
As America comes to Labor Day Weekend, our thoughts are not on the "end" of summer, but on the horror that has occurred this past week in New Orleans and surrounding areas. What are we to make of it?
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 RELIGION AND POLITICS (8/8/04)
The Old Testament lesson from Isaiah is blatantly "political" in its calls for social justice. In a time in our nation when we are hearing religious references from all parts of the political spectrum, we consider what we hear from 28 centuries ago.
Isaiah 2:1-5 "I HAD THE CRAZIEST DREAM!" (9/11/05)
September 11th - America confronts an auspicious anniversary.
Isaiah 6:1-8 EVEN BIGGER THAN THE SUPER BOWL! (2/4/07)
Last week the Old Testament lesson told us of the call of Jeremiah the prophet. This week we hear the call of Isaiah.
Isaiah 35:1-10, Matthew 11:2-11 HOPE FOR HURTING HEARTS (12/16/01)
As we move through Advent our lectionary texts invite us to consider the dissonance between the joy that is normally expected in our celebration of Christmas and the sadness that permeates so many lives. What does God have in store?
Isaiah 40:1-5, Matthew 3:1-17 JOHN THE BAPTIST (12/10/95)
Scripture calls him "a man sent from God" to prepare the way for the coming Christ. He must have been mesmerizing to have had the effect he did on all who encountered him. The sermon is, for the most part, a monologue featuring John as he might have presented himself before the court of Herod following his arrest.
Isaiah 40:1-11 CHRISTMAS CONSTRUCTION (12/4/05)
The Old Testament lectionary lesson is a wonderful word of comfort to people "on the outside looking in," a condition that afflicts all of us from time to time.
Isaiah 40:1-11, Luke 15:11-24 HOMECOMING STORIES (7/28/13)
The Oakdale Presbyterian Church in Clover, SC (where we served from 1984-1988) has celebrated its annual HOMECOMING the last Sunday in July since the church was organized over a half century ago. This year, Dr. Leininger was invited to preach for the occasion. Since he loves to do that, he was glad to accept.
Isaiah 53:1-6, John 12:23-36, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 22:7-20, Mark 15:22-39, I Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-22, Philippians 2:5-11 PALM/PASSION SUNDAY 3/23/97
No sermon this Sunday as our worship is focused by a Service of Lessons and Anthems. We read relevant portions of scripture and hear the marvelous music that speaks to us in ways nothing else can. The lessons are in the order that the congregation encounters them.
Isaiah 53:1-6 THE BLAME GAME (4/9/09)
Maundy Thursday. As we gather again to remember Christ's Last Supper with his disciples and hear once more his words from the cross, we ask why. Who is really responsible?
Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9 THE FIG TREE (3/11/07)
Politics in Palestine. As modern as tomorrow's newspaper, but as ancient as the Bible. As 1st century folks wrestled with calls to arms on one hand or urgings of "go along to get along" on the other, Jesus uses a story about a fig tree to note the danger of misplaced priorities.
Isaiah 56:1-8 A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLES (6/1/03)
Dr. Leininger returns from the Presbyterian General Assembly meeting in Denver and brings his annual report on the workings of our larger church.
Isaiah 58:1-12 HOPE FROM THE ASHES (2/9/05)
We begin our Lenten journey every year on Ash Wednesday in what has become a decidedly counter-cultural reflection on our own sin and mortality.
Isaiah 58:1-12 THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (3/1/06)
Ash Wednesday. We begin our annual Lenten Journey with the Imposition of Ashes and the observance of the Lord's Supper and an uncomfortable look at the unvarnished truth about ourselves.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Luke 1:46-55 DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? (12/14/08)
The news everyday assaults us with so much that is wrong in our lives; it can get us so down that we can't remember up. But then comes Advent and the promise of a better world.
Jeremiah 1:4-8, Matthew 10:29-31 DO I HAVE A DESTINY? (6/12/05)
The movie "Forrest Gump" helps us bring focus to our Presbyterian doctrine of Predestination.
Jeremiah 1:4-10, I Corinthians 13 THE GROWN-UP CHURCH (2/1/98)
As St. Paul Presbyterian approaches its 40th birthday, we consider just what it means to be a "grown-up" Church.
Jeremiah 1:4-10, Luke 4:21-30 THE CALL OF GOD (1/28/07)
The Old Testament lesson this week introduces us to one of scripture's fascinating characters, Jeremiah the prophet. The lesson is the account of his call and it raises the question as to just what OUR call is.
Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 12:20-33 THE HANDWRITING ON THE HEART (3/29/09)
The exiles of Jeremiah's day were living in a hope-less situation. Sadly, the hope that was missing for them is in equally short supply in our own day.
Lamentations 1:1-6 & 3:19-26 WHEN GOD OVERDOES IT (10/3/04)
Our lesson this week brings us face to face with one of the most difficult issues people of faith confront - how do we deal with pain and suffering while continuing to believe in a loving God?
Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ephesians 4:1-16 "2020" VISION (2/25/96)
This first Sunday in Lent happens to coincide with St. Paul Presbyterian's 38th birthday. A sermon to help us look toward our future as we move toward the year 2020.
Hosea 1:2-10 TROUBLE IN THE MANSE (7/29/01)
The Old Testament Lectionary lesson introduces us to a unique prophet...and a most unique life story.
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 THE TRUMPET OF WARNING (3/5/03)
We begin our Lenten journey for 2003 listening again to the challenge of the prophet Joel in light of current world events. An Ash Wednesday meditation.
Jonah 1:1-17; 2:10-3:3a, John 20:19-22 "I'M ON A MISSION FROM GOD!" (3/17/02)
The Fifth Sunday in Lent with Mission Month continuing at First Presbyterian. The grandiose statement of the Blues Brothers starts our thinking as we consider whom God uses to accomplish divine purposes.
Jonah 3:1-10, II Corinthians 4:1-10 A GOSPEL FOR LOSERS (2/19/06)
There are occasions when even the most self-assured among us feel like failures. Scripture has good news for us, even when we get so down we can't remember up.
Jonah 3:1-5, 10 THE PREACHER WAS A BIGOT (1/26/03)
The Old Testament Lectionary lesson this week reintroduces us to one of Sunday School's most interesting characters, Jonah. In the context of this past week's celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, the prophet holds a mirror up in front of us and confronts us with an image we would rather not see.
Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Mark 1:14-20, GOIN' FISHIN' (1/22/06)
This morning we hear Christ's call to the first disciples and his promise to make these fishermen "fishers of men." In preparation read the gospel lesson along with the lectionary's humorously contrasting Old Testament lesson.
Jonah 3:1-4:1, Matthew 20:1-16 WHAT IF YOU GOT TO HEAVEN AND FOUND OUT THAT GOD HAD DECIDED TO LET EVERYBODY IN? (8/25/02)
As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, interfaith observances are being scheduled around the nation and Warren, PA is no exception. So saying, there has been controversy concerning these planned gatherings with opposition coming from those who object to sharing worship across theological lines. How should we respond?
Micah 4:1-5 CHRISTIANS AND WAR (3/30/03)
With the world in turmoil, with public opinion deeply divided, with our young men and women in combat half a world away but as near as our television, we wonder.
Micah 6:1-8 REAL RELIGION (4/29/07)
With all the counterfeits out and about these days, it is no wonder folks question expressions of faith. Nothing new, actually. The prophet Micah spoke to the issue 2800 years ago.
Micah 6:1-8 THE RIGHT STUFF (2/3/02)
The prophet Micah reminds us that the "stuff" of religious ritual is not the "stuff" of true discipleship. A meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Micah 6:6-8 IN PRAISE OF PETUNIAS (5/5/02)
As Spring begins to burst forth, we see the beauty of creation once again. Some blooms are spectacular, some more routine, but one offers a wonderful lesson for the church.
Micah 6:6-8 A "MICAH" KIND OF CHURCH (6/29/08)
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has completed it's biennial meeting in San Jose, California with the theme drawn from Micah's words. Dr. Leininger brings his report.
Zephaniah 3, Hebrews 12:1-11 TOUGH LOVE (3/10/96)
Words from one of the lesser known Old Testament prophets, Zephaniah, which remind us of our accountability before a Holy God while reaffirming an incredible image of divine love.
Haggai 1:1-12, Luke 6:32-38 A RELIGION THAT SHOWS (9/15/02)
A visit with the ancient prophet Haggai calls our attention to priorities.
Zechariah 9:9-10 THE MESSAGE OF THE PALMS (4/4/04)
Palm/Passion Sunday. This week we encounter again the familiar story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The gospel record has him being greeted by a crowd waving palm branches. Why palm branches?
Malachi 3:6-10 THE "T" WORD (11/4/01)
Stewardship is our theme this week as FPC and countless other churches around the nation plan budgets for the next year.
Malachi 3:8-10, Philippians 4:10-20 GIVING DANGEROUSLY (11/10/02)
As we approach Consecration Sunday next week, we think about Christian Stewardship. Strange as it sounds, we can actually do it WRONG!
Matthew 1:18-25 THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (12/20/98)
With such momentous occurrences as the bomb shells in Baghdad and the bombast in Washington all framed by the lights and laughter of the holiday season, we are struck by the surreal confluence of events. We wonder is there any word from the Lord in the midst of it all?
Matthew 1:18-25 THE ORIGINAL "AVERAGE JOE" (12/21/03)
We meet again one of central characters of the Christmas story, but one we would have to characterize, and with apologies to the hit TV show, as "The Original 'Average Joe'."
Matthew 1:18-2:15 ALL ABOUT ANGELS - ALMOST (7/31/05)
Angels appear over 300 times in the pages of Scripture. Just what are we to understand about them?
Matthew 2:1-12 FOLLOW THE STAR (12/29/13)
There are some wonderful lessons in the visit of the Magi as we conclude our Christmas celebration and begin a new year. A meditation to conclude the annual observance of the Service of Lessons and Carols.
Matthew 2:1-12 GIFTS FOR THE CHRIST CHILD (12/25/05)
Each year the question comes, "Whose birthday is it anyway? Under the circumstances, we might consider the birthday gifts we might offer our Savior.
Matthew 2:1-12 THE GOSPEL BY STARLIGHT (1/4/09)
The Epiphany of the Lord. The Twelve Days of Christmas comes to a close with gifts, not of French hens or partridges in pear trees, but with the more traditional gold, frankincense and myrrh from a text that has been described as the whole gospel in a few short paragraphs.
Matthew 3:1-17, Isaiah 40:1-5 JOHN THE BAPTIST (see above)
Matthew 3:13-17 WHEN CHURCH GETS DANGEROUS (1/9/05)
Over these past two weeks, the world has focused on South Asia and the devastation in the wake of the tsunami. Powerful water? Christians have always known about that. Baptism.
Matthew 3:13-17 WHAT'S YOUR BUSINESS? (1/13/08)
The Baptism of the Lord. While only two of the gospels report the birth of Jesus Christ, each of the four report his baptism. Sounds important.
Matthew 4:1-11 THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT! (2/17/02)
The gospel lesson for the first Sunday in Lent recalls the Temptations of Christ in the wilderness with the implicit reminder of the temptations we ourselves face and the dangers they pose to excuse ourselves from responsibility.
Matthew 4:1-11, Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 SHOULD I OR SHOULDN'T I? (see above)
Matthew 5:1-12 THE BEATITUDES
Click on the sermon title to read each message in the series.
Matthew 5:13-16 SHOULD THE CHURCH STICK ITS NOSE INTO THINGS THE CHURCH SHOULDN'T STICK ITS NOSE INTO? (1/23/2000)
With the Iowa caucuses coming up this week and the New Hampshire primaries next, and with this year's candidates freely commenting on matters of personal faith, we are faced with our question. "Should the church...?"
Matthew 5:21-26 MAKE IT RIGHT! (3/19/2000)
During this Lenten period of reflection and introspection, we look at those elements of our lives that hinder our Christian walk. This week we encounter Jesus' words about repairing damaged relationships.
Matthew 5:43-45 GOD AND HURRICANES (9/19/99)
With the visit of Hurricane Floyd to our coast this week, we consider what our faith has to say about such events.
Matthew 5:43-48 LOVE YOUR ENEMY? ARE YOU KIDDING, LORD? (9/23/01)
We continue to be affected by the events of September 11, and we continue to seek the guidance of the Lord in the aftermath.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Psalm 51:1-17 LENT (see above)
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 PUBLIC PIETY (2/17/99)
According to Jesus, "Public Piety" is something to be guarded against. But don't we need just a little? An Ash Wednesday meditation.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 AN EXCUSE TO BE BETTER (2/25/09)
Lent has returned, that remarkable season of the church year that offers us what the sermon title suggests. An Ash Wednesday meditation.
Matthew 6:9-13 THE LORD'S PRAYER
Click on the sermon title to read each message in the series.
Matthew 6:19-24 REGIS AND JESUS (3/26/2000)
The success of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" calls attention to our obsession with money and possessions. But our Lenten journey brings us to Jesus' words on the subject, words we might not want to hear.
Matthew 6:19-24 TREASURE HUNT (11/9/08)
This is that time on the calendar when churches begin to plan their financial affairs for the next year, and Dorchester Presbyterian is no exception. The Stewardship Committee has chosen a familiar campaign theme from the Sermon on the Mount to focus our attention, so the preaching this week reflects it.
Matthew 6:19-33 WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT (9/26/99)
With the devastation of Hurricane Floyd and the earthquake in Taiwan, events encourage us to reflect on our values.
San Mateo 6:19-34 DIOS Y LOS HURACANES (16/9/07, Chetumal)
Con la devastación del huracán Dean y la amenaza del huracán Felix, los acontecimientos nos animan a que reflejemos en nuestros valores.
Matthew 6:25-34 WINNING OVER WORRY (3/12/2000)
In our Lenten pilgrimage, we consider those areas of our lives that ought not to be. Today we encounter a besetting sin that is virtually universal in modern society - worry.
Matthew 7:1-5, Proverbs 17:22 GOOD MEDICINE (see above)
Matthew 7:1-6 THE JUMP TO JUDGMENT (4/9/2000)
We continue our Lenten reflections as we encounter Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount about judgmentalism.
Matthew 7:24-27 TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH (1/28/01)
This week's tragic earthquake in India is juxtaposed with the memory of a tragedy in our own nation fifteen years ago today, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. How do we deal with the awful things that happen in our lives?
Matthew 10:29-31, Jeremiah 1:4-8 DO I HAVE A DESTINY? (see above)
Matthew 11:2-6, Colossians 1:15-23 THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST (11/26/95)
More than a century ago Horace Bushnell asked "Who can satisfy himself with anything he can say about Jesus Christ?" Thus we rely here on the Biblical record to make our statements. A sermon for Christ the King Sunday.
Matthew 11:2-11, Isaiah 35:1-10 HOPE FOR HURTING HEARTS (see above)
Matthew 11:2-11 ARE YOU THE ONE? (12/12/04)
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT. Once again we encounter John the Baptist, this time the prisoner rather than the prophetic preacher, asking a question of Jesus that many through the centuries have echoed.
Matthew 11:28-30 ASK THE AVERAGE PERSON... (7/6/08)
"Ask the average person..." and (s)he will say (s)he wants to be happy. But too few of us genuinely feel happy. How do we deal with that all too common phenomenon? A sermon in preparation for the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Matthew 12:1-8, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 A THEOLOGY OF WORK (see above)
Matthew 12:1-21, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 SUPER SUNDAY (see above)
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 GOOD NEWS FOR TENANT FARMERS (7/14/02)
The lectionary visits the Parable of the Sower, the first of Matthew's parables of the Kingdom.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 FERTILITY FACTS (7/10/05)
The lectionary this week recalls one of Jesus' most well-known stories, the Parable of the Sower.
Matthew 14:13-21 ONLY.,..ONLY...ONLY! (8/4/02)
We commission our Mexico Mission Team for their ministry in José María Morelos with this familiar story of Jesus' Feeding of the 5,000, a "Mission Trip" message.
Matthew 14:14-21, Psalm 42 HUNGRY PEOPLE (see above)
Matthew 14:22-33 STAY IN THE BOAT! (8/8/99)
The story of Jesus walk on the water and Peter's attempt to join him is one of the most familiar in all of scripture. Sermons and lessons on the passage have traditionally insisted on the need to remain focused on Christ if we are going to avoid sinking in the storms of life. But is this the lesson that the gospel writer wants to convey?
Matthew 14:22-33 MAYDAY! (5/1/05)
The first of May gives us a push in the direction of a sermon this week as we hear Peter's cry for help.
Matthew 15:21-28 HANG IN THERE! (8/18/96)
The Lectionary today takes us on a trip with Jesus and the twelve to the North of Galilee where they meet a persistent Gentile mother looking for healing for her daughter. We find a particularly troubling conversation in which Jesus appears to be uncompassionate, uncaring, almost mean! What are we to make of it?
Matthew 16:13-16 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "JESUS CHRIST...OUR LORD..." (7/15/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. What does it mean to affirm Jesus as "Lord?" Click here for ordering information.
Matthew 16:13-16 THE ULTIMATE QUESTION (5/21/2000)
The "Jesus" mini-series has garnered quite a bit of attention this week as television tries to tell "the greatest story ever told" in a new way. Just what do we believe about Jesus?
Matthew 16:13-18 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH" (10/28/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave as we deal with the affirmation that continues to raise questions among some Protestants. What do we mean when we say, "I believe in the holy, catholic church?" Click here for ordering information.
Matthew 16:13-28 A LABOR OF LOVE (9/1/02)
On this Labor Day Sunday we consider the ultimate work: the self-sacrificing work of Christian discipleship. A sermon in preparation for the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Matthew 17:1-9 WHAT BOGGLES YOUR MIND? (2/6/05)
Transfiguration Sunday (although to most Americans it is simply Super Bowl Sunday).
Matthew 17:1-9 A MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE (2/3/08)
Transfiguration Sunday. The story is a familar one: Jesus and his three closest friends ascend a mountain for respite when, suddenly, the Lord is "transfigured." The story does not end there, of course, nor should it.
Matthew 18:1-4, Psalm 147:12-20 THEOLOGY IN SNOW (see above)
Matthew 18:15-20, Exodus 12:1-14, Romans 13:8-14 THE PROD OF THE PAST (see above)
Matthew 18:21-35, Romans 14:1-13 THE FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS (9/15/96)
The Lectionary moves us to consider how we get along with one another in the church. First, there is Peter's famous question to Jesus about how often we ought to forgive when a brother or sister has "done us wrong." Then there is Paul's admonition about criticizing our brothers and sisters for their religious practices.
Matthew 18:21-35 THE POWER TO CHANGE THE PAST (9/15/02)
The Lectionary today invites us to consider Jesus' words on forgiveness, a timely topic in light of world events.
Matthew 19:13-14 CARING FOR KIDS (10/16/05)
This week our congregation joins with thousands of others in celebrating Children's Sabbath, a day which reminds us of our Lord's love and care for children and challenges us in this realm of our own discipleship.
Matthew 20:1-16, Jonah 3:1-4:1 WHAT IF YOU GOT TO HEAVEN AND FOUND OUT THAT GOD HAD DECIDED TO LET EVERYBODY IN? (see above)
Matthew 21:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11 A WORLD IN TURMOIL (3/20/05)
Palm/Passion Sunday. Once again we encounter the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But within days the cheering crowds become an angry mob. What happened?
Matthew 21:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11 HALTED HOSANNAS (3/16/08)
Palm/Passion Sunday. The story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem is well-known, but the shift in crowd sympathies has been a puzzle for centuries.
Matthew 22:15-22 "ONE NATION, UNDER GOD" (7/7/02)
The nation is celebrating another birthday as it also considers the effect of a court ruling concerning religion's involvement with our Pledge of Allegience to the flag.
Matthew 22:15-22, Deuteronomy 14:22-29 "BLEST BE THE TITHE THAT BINDS" (see above)
Matthew 23:1-12 "I'M JESUS CHRIST, AND I APPROVED THIS MESSAGE" (11/2/08)
We begin our ministry at the Dorchester Presbyterian Church in Summerville, SC in the looming shadow of a momentous national election. The lectionary gospel lesson for the day has Jesus saying some pretty harsh things about religious folk, a word to which we should listen carefully to avoid the "peacock piety" trap that might tempt us, especially in the current political climate.
Matthew 24:1-44 THE END OF THE WORLD (6/30/02)
The impending publication of Volume X in the popular Left Behind series prompts a consideration of what we believe about coming events.
Matthew 25:14-30 THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE (8/5/07)
Christ's well known parable of the talents has many lessons for us, but most focus on encouragement to be like the good, smart five-talent shining star as opposed to the lazy, bad one-talent dolt. What about the two-talent servant, the one in the middle? A sermon in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Matthew 25:14-30 DON'T LOSE IT! USE IT! (11/16/08)
The lectionary gospel lesson this week brings us the familiar parable of the talents. One fellow is given five and doubles them, a second is given two, and doubles them. Finally, one gets one and he buries it in fear of losing it all together. In today's economy, he sounds like the prudent one, but Jesus says no.
Matthew 26:14-49 THE JUDAS GENE (3/27/02)
Maundy Thursday. The story of Judas' betrayal of Jesus is one that is known the world over. Judas' name lives in infamy; we wonder whether a Judas' "gene" might live in each of us.
Matthew 26: 17-19, 26-28 THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY (3/7/04)
The second Sunday in Lent. An invitation to dinner...from the White House!!! What an honor! An invitation to dinner...from the Lord of all the universe!!! An even greater honor! A communion meditation.
Matthew 27:62-28:15 THAT'S MY STORY, AND I'M STICKIN' TO IT! (3/23/08)
Easter Sunday. The holiest day of the Christian year as we celebrate the Lord's victory over sin and death. We note the way Matthew brackets the resurrection account as well.
Matthew 28:1-10 THE IMPERATIVES OF THE RESURRECTION (3/30/97 Sunrise)
"Stop Being Afraid," "Come," "See," "Tell," "Go," and "Rejoice." Orders for Christians on the Day of Resurrection.
Matthew 28:1-10 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "...HE ROSE AGAIN..." (8/26/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. From the depths of Hell, we are lifted to the heart of the Christian faith, "The third day he rose again from the dead." Click here for ordering information.
Matthew 28:1-10 "...HE ROSE AGAIN..." (3/27/05)
Easter Sunday. The holiest day of the Christian year. And with good reason.
Matthew 28:16-20 FOLLOWING ORDERS (2/8/98)
As St. Paul's 40th anniversary celebrations continue, we consider what the Lord HAS called and IS calling us to be and do.
Mark 1:4-11 I AM SOMEBODY!!! (1/13/02)
The church remembers the Baptism of the Lord on this day and recalls the importance of our own baptisms in the process. A sermon in preparation for the reaffirmation of our Baptismal vows.
Mark 1:4-11 POWER! (1/12/03)
The church calendar calls us to remember the Baptism of the Lord. We take the opportunity to remember and reaffirm our own.
Mark 1:9-20 LET'S GO FISHING! (3/1/09)
As always on this first Sunday in Lent, the gospel lesson reminds us of Christ's temptation in the desert, but Mark's gospel moves us quickly beyond that to the Lord's invitation to some fisherman to "fish for people."
Mark 1:14-20, Jonah 3:1-5, 10 GOIN' FISHIN' (see above)
Mark 1:4-11 GRIEF, ANGER AND GOD IN WEST VIRGINIA (1/8/06)
This is the day the church sets aside to remember and celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. We look back on this milestone event as the unique evidence of Christ's identification and solidarity with humanity, something particularly comforting in light of the tragic events of recent days.
Mark 2:1-12 THE FORGIVENESS FACTOR (2/16/03)
Our lesson tells one of the most famous stories in the gospels, the account of folks who are so concerned for the healing of their paralytic friend that they tear the roof off a house to get him to Jesus.
Mark 4:35-41 PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM (6/22/03)
The lectionary Gospel lesson for the day recounts the familiar story of Jesus' calming of a storm, a wonderful reminder for us of the calm he offers for the storms of our own lives.
Mark 5:21-43 "IF I BUT TOUCH..." (7/9/2000)
The Lectionary Gospel has two wonderful healing stories for us today, one sandwiched in the middle of the other. Both share the healing power of TOUCH, a lesson sorely needed in the modern world.
Mark 5:25-34 THE HEALING TOUCH (12/31/95)
The Gospels are full of stories of physical and mental healing. Jesus healed people. The disciples healed people. But there have not been too many stories of healing coming from the mainline church lately. Healing IS part of our task. Can we get back on track? A sermon for a Service for Wholeness to begin the New Year.
Mark 6:14-29 WHEN EVIL WINS (7/16/2000)
Our lectionary gospel today tells a horrible story - the murder of John the Baptist, one more incident in the long history of the world when it seems that evil wins. How do people of faith deal with such things?
Mark 6:30-32 "LORD, TEACH US TO PLAY! (9/3/06)
Labor Sunday, part of the annual celebration of work and workers by not working. Our hyper-driven American society does many things wonderfully well, but resting and relaxing are not included. We need help. A communion meditation.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 SUPERSTAR (7/19/09)
The lectionary Gospel lesson shows Jesus as hounded by local crowds, a 1st century celebrity along the lines of an ancient Michael Jackson. He could not escape no matter where he went.
Mark 7:1-23, Song of Songs 2:8-13 INTEGRITY (see above)
Mark 7:24-37, James 2:1-10, 14-17 "EPHPHATHA - BE OPENED!" (9/17/2000)
The gospel lesson offers two healing stories, each with their own intriguing twists. EPHPHATHA...BE OPENED! is Jesus' Aramaic command to deaf ears, perhaps even ours.
Mark 8:27-38, James 3:1-12 A STORY WORTH SHARING (9/28/03)
The Epistle lesson from James today focuses on the tongue and the damage it can do when out of control. On the other hand, damage can be done when the tongue fails to do what it should. Christians have "A Story Worth Sharing" if we only would. Read the lectionary passages, in preparation.
Mark 9:2-9 "WOW!!!" (2/14/10)
WOW!!! is the reaction of Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Mark 9:2-9 FROM MOUNTAIN TO MISSION (3/2/03)
The liturgical calendar recalls the Transfiguration of the Lord, and the First Presbyterian Church, Warren, calendar notes the beginning of Mission Month. Hmm.
Mark 9:2-8, 14-27 THE VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP (2/22/09)
The Sunday before the beginning of Lent recalls the "Transfiguration of the Lord." This month we encounter a special birthday in the American experience, that of Abraham Lincoln, a man from whom we can learn a great deal.
Mark 9:14-24; Jude 1-4, 17-25 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "I BELIEVE..." (6/10/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. We begin at the beginning - we start with the opening affirmation, "I believe..." because what we believe determines how we behave. Click here for ordering information.
Mark 9:30-37 WELCOMING JESUS (9/21/03)
As usual, the Twelve "didn't get it." (Do we?) Jesus says that we welcome him when we welcome the least among us.
Mark 10:2-16 JESUS AND DIVORCE (10/8/2000)
The lectionary confronts us with a subject we would just as soon ignore: Jesus' teaching on divorce. Does a society in which divorce is rampant simply hang its head in shame, or is there more here than meets the eye?
Mark 10:2-16 "MY NAME IS JESUS, AND I APPROVED THIS MESSAGE!" (10/8/06)
The lectionary Gospel lesson is one of the more difficult for modern congregations to hear - Jesus' teaching about divorce and remarriage. But unless we consider the context, we might get a message that the Lord did not intend.
Mark 10:13-16 A LESSON IN THE SNOW (4/1/01)
Our focus this week is on children. A meditation in preparation for a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Mark 10:13-16 GOD BLESS THE CHILD (10/24/04)
Children's Sabbath at First Presbyterian, a day we set aside to specifically consider the needs of, not only our little ones, but little ones wherever they might be.
Mark 10:17-22 THE DISCIPLINE OF DISCIPLESHIP (8/11/96)
With our national attention still drawn to the recently completed Atlanta Olympics, our thoughts focus on the discipline necessary to achieve success at such a high level. Discipline is equally necessary for success in Christian discipleship. We look at the story of the Rich Young Ruler for some lessons.
Mark 10:17-31 "...A FRIEND INDEED" (10/12/97)
We know the aphorism from which the sermon title is drawn, but we almost wish it were not true. We are victims of what a recent PBS special called "Affluenza."
Mark 10:17-31 "DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BE RICH?" (10/15/06)
The lectionary Gospel lesson is another one that modern American congregations would just as soon skip: Jesus' encounter with the Rich Young Ruler and his instruction to sell what you have, give the proceeds to the poor, then come follow me.
Mark 11:1-10 BORROWING DONKEYS, ETC. (4/9/06)
Palm/Passion Sunday. The story of Christ's triumphal Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem begins with some intriguing transportation arrangements.
Mark 11:1-11 SUNDAY'S COMING!! (4/5/09)
What could have caused the Jerusalem crowd to change their tune so drastically from Palm Sunday to Good Friday? Perhaps what causes anyone to change their tune - something as simple as a loss of hope. But the Holy Week story is wonderful news for those who find themselves in the same predicament.
Mark 12:28-34 NO HOLDING BACK (11/2/97)
The Great Commandment to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength plus our neighbor as ourself is challenge that is difficult to ignore, especially as we move toward Consecration Sunday and our stewardship in the coming year.
Mark 12:38-44 THE VIEW FROM JESUS' PEW (11/12/2000)
The gospel lesson for today intrigues us with Jesus' choice of a place to sit in the Temple...a vantage point that allows him to see (and comment upon) what worshipers are giving. Hmm.
Mark 13:1-8, Hebrews 10:11-25 WHEN YOUR CHURCH PROVOKES YOU (11/16/97)
...and the church DOES provoke us at times, doesn't it? But the Lectionary's Epistle lesson gives us another perspective on being "provoked" that is worth considering. Read it along with the Gospel lection.
Mark 13:24-37 "TELL IT AGAIN, DADDY!" (12/1/02)
A brief meditation for the first Sunday in Advent, a reminder that, though the story is wonderfully familiar, it needs to be told again and again.
Mark 13:31-33 THE END OF THE WORLD...SATURDAY!!! (12/26/99)
at St. Andrew by the Sea United Methodist Church, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
With Y2K looming this week and all the apocalyptic scenarios being bandied about, we wonder what the future holds.
Mark 13:31-33 LEFT BEHIND...THE BOOKS, THE MOVIE, THE TRUTH (2/1101)
There has been much attention given lately to the best-selling series of books (and subsequent motion picture) that purport to describe the events of the end of time based on the apocalyptic material in scripture. Is it accurate?
Mark 14:17-26 A LIFE OF SATURDAYS! (4/17/03)
We serve a just and fair God...so we say. But if God is just and fair, why is life so often the opposite? A Maundy Thursday meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Mark 15:1-15 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "CRUCIFIED...DEAD...BURIED..." (7/22/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. This is an investigation of Christ's atoning death. Click here for ordering information.
Mark 15:25-37, Psalm 22:1-5, 27-31 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "GOD...ALMIGHTY..." (see above)
Mark 16:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 HEAVEN (4/12/09)
The Easter Lectionary readings lead us to think of the resurrection, but our thoughts move ahead to a consideration of that life beyond the one we now know: Heaven. What will heaven be like?
Mark 16:1-8 THE EASTER ... (4/16/03)
Easter. The holiest day of the Christian year. Yet Mark's gospel does not leave us with soaring music and shouts of victory. Instead we get something significantly different.
Luke 1:5-13a, 26-30, Psalm 91:1-12, ANGELS (see above)
Luke 1:26-38 SURPRISE! (12/22/02)
The fourth Sunday in Advent. The lectionary invites us to look again at Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Luke 1:26-55 MARY'S COMPLAINT (12/21/97)
With everything that happens to Mary in the gospel record, from unwed motherhood to watching the murder of her son, we would admit that here is someone with solid grounds for complaint. But complaints are the farthest things from her lips.
Luke 1:39-55 THE NEWS FROM NAZARETH (12/24/2000)
The lectionary gospel this week affords us opportunity to eavesdrop on some "girl talk" between two ladies awaiting the arrival of their respective blessed events.
Luke 1:46-55, Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? (see above)
Luke 2:1-7 THE TROUBLE WITH STABLES (12/8/02)
The sights, sounds, and smells of our modern Christmas celebration are wonderful...but not really reflective of the event we commemorate. We get a truer message of God's purposes when we recall the original circumstances.
Luke 2:1-20 HARK, THE ANGEL HAROLD (12/24/08)
A Christmas Eve fantasy based on a story that has gone the rounds for years. It presents the story of that holy night from a new vantage point.
Luke 2:1-20, Titus 2:11-14 ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS... (12/24/96)
My two front teeth? A million dollars? How about just a little grace. A sermon for the annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion worship.
Luke 2:1-20 ONE MORE ANGEL (12/24/2000)
The image of the annual Christmas pageant is one that brings fond memories: shepherds in bathrobes, unruly animals, dialogue disasters, etc. Of course, there is the obligatory Angel Choir which is flexible enough to accommodate any child. There is "gospel" in that.
Luke 2:1-20 THE CHRISTMAS ENVELOPE (12/24/07)
A brief meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper to remind us of the reason for our celebration.
Luke 2:1-20 GOLD, CIRCUMSTANCE AND MUD (12/24/03)
Christmas Eve. A child's malapropism as one of the Magi in a Sunday School Christmas Pageant reminds us of all we bring to the baby ourselves. A brief meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Luke 2:1-20 "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORD." (12/24/06)
The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. But then a stranger came in...
Luke 2:8-16 CHRISTMAS PEACE (12/24/01)
In the midst of war can we think of peace? Even at Christmas? Indeed, we can! Indeed, we must! A Christmas Eve meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Luke 2:41-51 FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN...NOW WHAT? (12/28/08)
On this first Sunday after Christmas, we encounter a story that most of us have heard since we were kids - the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple - the only story of the Lord's childhood that we find in the Gospels. If you recall, the scene was right out of an ancient movie script for a first century version of "Home Alone."
Luke 3:1-6 ONE SHOCK AFTER ANOTHER (12/2/01)
Our lives are often defined by the "shocks" we endure. The good news of today's message is that no shock is beyond the reach of a gospel that seems to be built on one shock after another.
Luke 3:1-6 A DATE WITH DESTINY (12/7/03)
The Second Sunday in Advent. Pearl Harbor Day and the rather stark parable from history about the necessity for being alert.
Luke 3:1-6 THE SPEED BUMP ON THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM (12/10/06)
As we deal with the hustle and bustle of the holiday, each year our Advent preparations for the coming of the Christ child seem to take a "detour" and we meet again the strange character of John the Baptist.
Luke 3:7-18 READY OR NOT, HERE HE COMES! (12/14/03)
John the Baptist greets his congregation by calling them a "Brood of Vipers," but amazingly, they stay and listen. They even find his message GOOD NEWS! Do you?
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1/7/01)
When Jesus is called, "My Son, whom I love," at his baptism, we have the wonderful opportunity to hear those words for ourselves. A sermon in preparation for a Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 WHAT'S IN A NAME? (1/11/04)
This is the Sunday we annually remember the Baptism of the Lord and reaffirm our own Baptismal Covenant.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 WASHED CLEAN (1/7/07)
The Baptism of the Lord. Each year at this time we recall the momentous events at the Jordan River as Jesus comes to his cousin John for Baptism. There is something powerful in washing the slate clean as we remembered this week with the passing of President Gerald Ford.
Luke 4:1-13 THE MOST SEDUCTIVE TEMPTATION OF ALL (2/29/04)
On the First Sunday in Lent each year, we encounter the story of Christ's temptations in the wilderness. This year the story is juxtaposed with the release of Mel Gibson's controversial new film, "The Passion of the Christ." How do they relate?
Luke 4:1-13 THE CHURCH SHOULD GO TO HELL! (3/4/01)
The confluence of the first Sunday in Lent with the first Sunday of FPC's Mission Month encourages us to take an unusual look at what the church is called to do.
Luke 4:1-13 TEMPTATION (2/25/07)
On the First Sunday in Lent each year, we encounter the story of Christ's temptations in the wilderness. Is there a reason? No doubt!
Luke 4:21-30, Jeremiah 1:4-10 THE CALL OF GOD (see above)
Luke 4:31-35 HOPING FOR A HUG (3/4/07)
The second Sunday in Lent. As our Lenten journey continues with Christ toward the cross, we meet some Pharisees who warn him of impending danger. A communion meditation.
Luke 5:1-11 FISH BAIT (2/8/04)
The gospel lesson this week tells a great "fish story" as it recounts the calling of Jesus' disciples to "catch people."
Luke 6:27-38, Genesis 45:3-15 PAY BACK TIME (see above)
Luke 6:32-38, Haggai 1:1-12 A RELIGION THAT SHOWS (see above)
Luke 7:36-50 THE WOMAN WHO WASHED JESUS' FEET (3/5/06)
We begin our Lenten journey this year with a visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee. We are at a dinner party where this well-known young rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth is guest of honor when, suddenly, we are scandalized.
Luke 7:36-8:3 THE FORGIVENESS BUSINESS (6/13/10)
The lectionary gospel lesson this week offers us one of several versions of an intriguing story, the anointing of Jesus' feet by a woman of questionable reputation as he reclines at a dinner party. The Lord's response offers a powerful lesson concerning how the church should react when confronting similar situations.
Luke 8:26-39 DOING BATTLE WITH DEMONS (6/21/98)
Modern minds might not think in terms of unseen beings as controlling their lives, but there is a powerful affirmation of Christ's power over evil in today's gospel lesson that cries out to be heard. A sermon following the conclusion of the 210th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Charlotte, NC.
Luke 8:26-39, Psalms 42 & 43 BEYOND DESPAIR (see above)
Luke 9:10-17 A MEAL WITH FRIENDS (9/3/2000)
There is no such thing as "Lone Ranger" Christianity. The gospel does not allow that option. We are joined together in Jesus Christ, and we evidence that every time we gather at the Lord's Table. A sermon in preparation for a celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Luke 9:51-62 BAN THE "BUT'S" (6/28/98)
As Jesus begins his ultimate journey to Jerusalem and the cross, he encounters would-be disciples, but...but...but... The "BUT'S" interfered with discipleship then just as they do today.
Luke 10:25-37 THE GOOD SAMARITAN: A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD STORY (7/15/01)
The story of the Good Samaritan is one of the best-known and loved in all of scripture. But there is more to it than an exhortation to help those in need.
Luke 10:38-42 A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (7/18/04)
The Lectionary Gospel lesson is a familiar story, but one with which many of us are uncomfortable.
Luke 12:13-21 A FOOL AND HIS MONEY (8/2/98)
Jesus' parable of the Rich Fool is one that causes affluent American Christians to squirm. And rightly so.
Luke 12:13-21 "IT'S NOT THE MONEY..." (4/30/06)
The Third Sunday of Easter. There is a famous story in the Gospels in which Jesus tells of a man whose business is so successful that his barns are bursting at the seams, so he decides to tear down those he has and build bigger, the better to relax and take his ease. As we know, the story does not quite work out that way.
Luke 12:22-34 HEART'S HOME (5/7/06)
The Fourth Sunday of Easter. Last week's Gospel lesson in which Jesus told of a man whose business success ended up rewarding him not with a life of ease but an early death brings us up short. But the story continues - if our priorities are right, well... A Communion meditation.
Luke 12:15-34 ELIJAH AND ORPAH (11/11/01)
On this two-month anniversary of the September 11th tragedies, we reflect on the change of values that our nation has experienced in the aftermath. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing. We hear an old story based on Leo Tolstoy's "Ilyas."
Luke 13:1-9, Isaiah 55:1-9 THE FIG TREE (see above)
Luke 13:10-17 REPRESSIVE RELIGION (8/22/04)
Lots of strange "stuff" occurs around the world in the name of faith. For what it's worth, the problem has been around for a long time. Jesus experienced it.
Luke 13:18-30 THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB (8/31/08)
Three great patriarchs, three figures of history, a father, a son and a grandson who have been consistently revered by people of faith. If we consider them individually, we find something remarkable: any God who could love THOSE three, and include those three in the Kingdom, could love and include just about anyone.
San Lucas 13:18-30 EL DIOS DE ABRAHAM, ISAAC, Y JACOB (19/11/06, Chetumal)
Tres grandes patriarcas, tres figuras de historia, un padre, un hijo y un nieto que han sido venerados constantemente por la gente de la fe. Si lo consideramos individualmente, encontramos algo notable: cualquier dios que podría amar ESOS tres, e incluye esos tres en el reino, podría amar e incluir cualquier persona.
Luke 14:1, 7-14 DINNER GUESTS (9/2/07)
The lectionary Gospel lesson tells us of a dinner party to which Jesus is an invited guest. He has an unusual take on dinner party etiquette. A sermon in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Luke 14:16-23, Genesis 3:1-13 EXCUSES (see above)
Luke 14:25-33 THE DANGER OF DISCIPLESHIP (9/9/01)
RALLY DAY!!! We kick off our Fall/Winter Christian Education program then gather for worship and encounter some of Jesus' most difficult words.
Luke 15:1-10 WHEN FAITH FACES DISASTER (9/12/04)
The anniversary of September 11, the violent hurricanes that have battered Florida remind us again that we live in a sometimes dangerous world. Questions arise about God's involvement: are these events God's judgment on an unrighteous nation, as some suggest, or is God impotent to act in the face of evil or the powers of nature, or is there some other answer?
Luke 15:11-24 "IS GOD LIKE DADDY?" (6/16/96)
What a question! A sermon for Fathers Day.
Luke 15:11-24 HOMECOMING (10/5/03)
World Communion Sunday and Homecoming at First Presbyterian bring us to perhaps the most recognized "homecoming" story in all of literature.
Luke 15:11-24, Isaiah 40:1-11 HOMECOMING STORIES (see above)
Luke 15:11-32 SONNY MONEYBAGS (3/21/04)
"Sonny Moneybags" is our nickname for the elder brother in Jesus' famous story of the Prodigal Son. Instead of the better known younger sibling, we look to the older for a change.
Luke 16:13-14, Psalm 50:1-15 WHO'S THE BOSS? (see above)
Luke 16:19-31 WOULD A LOVING GOD REALLY LET SOMEONE GO TO HELL? (9/26/04)
The Gospel lesson this week has Jesus telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus that for centuries folks have used to describe the afterlife.
Luke 17:11-19 LEAPING LEPERS (11/21/04)
THANKSGIVING SUNDAY in the United States. We encounter the gospel story about Jesus' healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to say thanks, a story that has been used for generations to beat us up about how ungrateful we are and how awful that is.
Luke 18:15-17 THE BIRDIES (8/28/05)
Jesus tells us to approach matters of the Kingdom as children do. When we do, we can learn some profound truths that might be taught, as in today's case, by even a three-year-old.
Luke 21:5-28, Psalm 84:1-4 OF RUBBLE AND TROUBLE (see above)
Luke 21:25-36 EYES UP! (12/3/06)
A brief meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper in which our pastor recalls the loss of his step-father and reminds us of the ultimate promise of Advent - GOD WINS!
Luke 21:25-36 HEADS UP! (12/3/2000)
On this first Sunday of Advent, we begin our preparations for the arrival of our Savior. But the lectionary offers us a most "un-Christmas-y" text. A sermon in preparation for the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Luke 24:1-12 HARD TO BELIEVE (4/11/04)
Easter Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of our Savior while admitting that this not the easiest thing to get a handle on.
Luke 24:13-35 EAST OF EASTER (4/6/97)
Easter is past, and if you can think of that momentous event as midnight on a clock, the beginning of a new day in human history, then superimpose a compass over that clock, we are EAST of Easter. Do we live with that reality in mind? A sermon in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Luke 24:13-35 THE CHRIST OF THE COMMONPLACE (4/14/02)
The third Sunday of Easter. The familiar story of the Walk to Emmaus reminds us that we find Christ, or rather Christ finds us, in unexpected places.
Luke 24:13-35 MEETING JESUS AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME (4/10/05)
The Third Sunday of Easter. This morning we meet the travelers on the Emmaus Road as they trudge home from Jerusalem. As they journey, they are joined by a mysterious stranger and found their hearts "burning within" them.
Luke 24:13-35 DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO EMMAUS? (5/6/07)
The Fifth Sunday of Easter. Luke's Gospel has a wonderful post-resurrection encounter between Jesus and two disciples on the road out of Jerusalem. The travelers do not recognize the Lord at first, but then, in the breaking of bread... A Communion meditation.
Luke 24:36-48, I John 3:1-7 FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (4/13/97)
"FAMILY RESEMBLANCE" is not only the title of this sermon, but is also our challenge as Christian people.
John 1:9-12 MAYOR'S DAY (12/23/01)
As we come to the climax of our Advent observance, we consider a modern parable.
John 1:35-42a THE "E" WORD (9/24/2000)
This is Evangelism Sunday on the Presbyterian calendar, but the truth is many Presbyterians (plus lots of others) find the whole subject more than a little intimidating. Read the lesson in preparation for the sermon and meet someone who can be a wonderful role model for a style of Evangelism with which everyone can be comfortable.
John 1:43-51, I Samuel 3:1-10 THE VOICE (see above)
John 2:1-11 THIS JESUS IS SOMETHING! (1/14/01)
John calls this the first of Jesus' "signs." A sign of what?
John 2:13-22, Exodus 20:1-17 GOD CARES ABOUT JUSTICE! (see above)
John 3:1-15, Numbers 11:1-17 NICODEMUS (see above)
John 3:1-17 BECOMING A CHRISTIAN (3/16/14)
The second Sunday in Lent. This week we encounter Nicodemus and his night visit to Jesus.
John 3:14-21, Numbers 21:4-9 LOOK AND LIVE (see above)
John 3:16 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE LIFE EVERLASTING" (1/27/08)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. We conclude our series with the rousing affirmation that gives us all the confidence we need to face the worst enemy of all - death. Click here for ordering information.
John 3:16 GOD BLESS SANTA! (12/17/2000)
Every year at this time the church celebrates Advent while it seems that the rest of the world is already in the midst of Christmas. Can we have both?
John 4:5-42 UNEXPECTED EVANGELISTS (3/3/02)
The third Sunday in Lent and the opening of Mission Month at First Presbyterian. The lectionary gospel lesson introduces us to a nameless Samaritan woman whom Jesus meets at a village well.
John 5:1-9 "DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WELL?" (6/27/99)
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in Fort Worth, Texas has completed its business. Our reflection on the week's work draws focus from Jesus' encounter with the paralytic by the pool near Jerusalem's Sheep Gate.
John 6:24-35 THANKS FOR THE MEMORY, BOB (8/3/03)
The world lost one of its truly beloved citizens this week with the death of Bob Hope. His theme song, "Thanks for the Memory" inspires this communion meditation.
John 9, Psalm 41:1-3 SIGHT FOR BLIND EYES (see above)
John 10:1-10 ABUNDANT LIFE FOR ALL (7/11/04)
The 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is now history. This week we hear a report on the gathering from not only our pastor but also his daughter Erin who was the Youth Advisory Delegate to the Assembly this year representing Lake Erie Presbytery.
John 10:1-10, Psalm 23 THE DIVINE MOM (see above)
John 10:1-16, Psalm 23 A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD TREASURE (see above)
John 12:12-16 SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOT TO SHOUT! (3/24/02)
Passion/Palm Sunday. An imminent family birthday celebration sparks a reminder that good news, whether of the birth of a baby, the arrival of a Messiah, or any other kind, demands to be shared.
John 12:20-33, Jeremiah 31:31-34 THE HANDWRITING ON THE HEART (see above)
John 13:1-17 THE CHRISTIAN CALLING (3/27/97)
The story of Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet is a reminder that our true calling as Christians is service. A sermon for Maundy Thursday in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
John 13:1-17, 31b-35 I'VE BEEN THERE (4/5/07)
The Upper Room is the setting for our lesson, and the pastor recalls his own visit to that holy place. A sermon in preparation for a celebration of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday.
John 13:31-35 SOUNDS JUST LIKE MOM! (5/13/01)
The lectionary gospel lesson for the 5th Sunday of Easter offers a unique lesson for Mothers' Day.
John 13:34-35 THE UNIQUELY CHRISTIAN COMMENDMENT (3/27/05)
Maundy Thursday. On the night of the Lord's Last Supper with the Twelve, he left them with a rather explict instruction.
John 14:13-14, Deuteronomy 15:7-11 "DOES GOD CARE WHO WINS THE SUPER BOWL?", (see above)
John 14:15-27, Galatians 5:16-25 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE HOLY GHOST" (10/14/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. This deals with our affirmation concerning the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Click here for ordering information.
John 14:23-29, Acts 16:9-15 GETTING DIRECTIONS (5/17/98)
In a scary world, we wonder what is to become of us, who will take care of us, who will put us on the right road?
John 15:9-17 JESUS' FRIEND (5/17/09)
In our Gospel lesson today, Jesus says he wants us to be his friends. An intriguing invitation.
John 16:16-33, Revelation 12:1-12 BEATING THE DRAGONS (7/19/98)
Dragons have always been terrifying figures and, as such, have been used as a metaphor for all sorts of horror. John did it in the book of Revelation; the pastor does it again today.
John 17 ONE CHURCH??? (10/5/08)
World Communion Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our oneness in Christ, despite denominational differences, and in Warren, we do it visibly as we join in worship with our neighbors at First Lutheran Church. This is surely an answer to Jesus' High Priestly prayer asking "that they may be one."
John 17:1-11 THE WORD FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD (10/4/98)
On World Communion Sunday, we hear a word of self-giving from a most unlikely source.
John 17:6-19 IF JESUS WERE A MOM (5/12/02)
There is something about Jesus' High Priestly prayer in John 17 that sounds a great deal like what a loving mother might pray. A sermon for Mothers Day.
John 17:6-23 GOD'S BATTLESHIP (10/3/99)
Author Max Lucado has called the church a "battleship," an unsinkable vessel designed to get us safely to our eternal shore. But divisions among the "crew" pose problems. A meditation for World Communion Sunday.
John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8 THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA (11/26/2000)
The final Sunday of the liturgical year - Christ the King - celebrates the ultimate triumph of our Lord.
John 18:33-37 CHRIST THE KING (11/26/06)
The final week of the liturgical year is celebrated as "Christ the King" Sunday. What does that mean for contemporary Christians?
John 19:14-18 WERE YOU THERE? (4/17/03)
In the midst of Holy Week, the question raised by the spiritual we sing is very real. "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"
John 20:1-18 BECAUSE HE LIVES (4/12/98)
The pastor's very personal story of why is Easter so special to him.
John 20:1-18 ROLLING STONES (4/4/99)
Easter! And the stone is rolled away. Is there a sermon in that stone? A meditation in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
John 20:1-18 A "NO SURPRISES" EASTER (4/8/07)
Easter Sunday. To suggest "no surprises" on Easter is almost oxymoronic since Easter is the celebration of God's ultimate "surprise" on sin and death. But, truth be told, we need to hear the "surprising" story again and in a way that does not "surprise" us.
John 20:19-22 INTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (3/18/01)
The third Sunday in Lent and, here at FPC, the continuation of Mission Month, a needed reminder of what we are about as Christ's Church.
John 20:19-22, Jonah 1:1-17; 2:10-3:3a "I'M ON A MISSION FROM GOD!" (see above)
John 20:19-31 INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW...BUT CAN THEY? (4/19/98)
"Doubting" Thomas - Poor fellow. One brief moment of confusion after the murder of his friend Jesus, and forever after he has this name stuck to him. Meanwhile, Thomas is a surrogate for all of us who have ever had questions concerning our faith.
John 20:19-31 LAUGH, THOMAS LAUGH! (4/30/2000)
Holy Hilarity Sunday! We celebrate God's ultimate "joke" on sin and evil in the joyful remembrance of Christ's resurrection.
John 20:19-31 A TIME TO LAUGH (4/27/03)
Holy Humor Sunday! We again celebrate God's ultimate "joke" on sin and evil in the joyful remembrance of Christ's resurrection.
Acts 1:1-8, Acts 2:1-21 DIVINE DYNAMITE (5/31/98)
POWER was the promise of Christ to the church prior to his ascension. It came on Pentecost.
Acts 1:1-9 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "HE ASCENDED..." (9/9/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. The series moves from past to present tense as we consider Christ's ascension and exaltation in glory: "He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty." Click here for ordering information.
Acts 1:1-11 CLOUDED VISION (5/23/04)
The story of the Ascension of Christ describes the Lord being taken up by a cloud out of the sight of the disciples. Suddenly, the gospel witness is now entrusted to human hands. Wow! We only wish we could approach our task with UNclouded vision. But... A sermon for Ascension Sunday.
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26, Genesis 50:15-21 "...BUT GOD..."(see above)
Acts 2:1-13, Genesis 11:1-9 BEATING BABEL (see above)
Acts 2:1-21 THE GIFT OF FIRE (5/11/08)
Have you ever received a gift you were not sure what to do with? Perhaps that describes some of the feeling of the disciples on that momentous Pentecost in Jerusalem.
Acts 2:1-21, Acts 1:1-8 DIVINE DYNAMITE (see above)
Acts 2:1-21 THE REAL FORCE BE WITH YOU! (5/23/99)
The confluence of the opening of the new Star Wars adventure and the Day of Pentecost recall one of cinema history's most memorable lines - "May the Force be with you! - and remind us of our deeply held conviction that the REAL Force surely is.
Acts 2:1-21 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR CHURCH (6/12/11)
The Day of Pentecost - the "birthday of the church," the day the Holy Spirit empowered that little band of believers in Jerusalem to change the world in the name of Jesus.
Acts 2:1-21 PARTNERS IN MINISTRY (6/4/06)
The Day of Pentecost, the "Birthday of the Church." It is a special day of celebration at First Presbyterian as we also recognize the 25th anniversary of Dr. Leininger's ministry - it began on the first Sunday in June, 1981 in Liberty Hill, SC.
Acts 2:1-42 VISIONS AND DREAMS (5/15/05)
To all around in Jerusalem that morning it sounded like a most hearty party, but Peter explained it as something far more - it was nothing less than the movement of the Holy Spirit of God. A sermon for Pentecost.
Acts 2:14a, 22-32 HOLY HEALING HUMOR (4/3/05)
The 2nd Sunday of Easter. This is the day we celebrate as Holy Humor Sunday in recognition of the marvelous cosmic "joke" God played on sin and evil is raising Jesus from the dead.
Acts 2:14a, 36-41 THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SERMON EVER (4/6/08)
The third Sunday of Easter. The lectionary lesson from the book of Acts brings us in on the tail end of Peter's famous Pentecost sermon. The reaction afterward is not simply, "Nice sermon today, preacher," but "What should we do?"
Acts 2:42-47 WHAT MAKES THE CHURCH THE CHURCH (4/13/08)
The fourth Sunday of Easter. The lectionary lessons from the book of Acts continue with a summary of what happened to those new converts in Jerusalem after Peter's famous Pentecost sermon.
Acts 4:1-20 GOD & COUNTRY (7/2/06)
The United States gears up for a celebration of its 230th birthday. Where does God fit in?
Acts 5:27-32 THE BEST NEWS EVER (4/18/04)
The Second Sunday of Easter. At First Presbyterian, this is the day we celebrate as Holy Humor Sunday in honor of God's wonderful cosmic "joke" on sin and evil on Easter.
Acts 8:26-40, I John 4:7-21 A WINSOME WITNESS (5/10/09)
Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch is the Lectionary's focus today. Meet him in Acts 8 and read the companion passage in I John 4.
Acts 9:1-20 ST. PAUL (4/26/98)
The Lectionary takes us to the Damascus Road today to witness the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Hear the story in his "own" words. A monologue.
Acts 9:1-20 RISKY BUSINESS (4/25/04)
The lectionary this week offers us the wonderful story of the conversion of the Apostle Paul and the willingness of an almost anonymous saint named Ananias to put life and limb on the line to help him.
Acts 9:1-20, Revelation 5:11-14 MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL (4/22/07)
The Third Sunday of Easter. This week our nation was jolted by another tragedy as we learned of the massacre of 32 students at Virginia Tech. How do we cope?
Acts 9:36-43 DORCAS (3/13/05)
Not until Mother Teresa came along in the last century has the world been so enamored of a charitable lady. Read about her in preparation for the message on this day in which we celebrate the gifts of women.
Acts 11:1-18 "YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS, BUT..." (5/9/04)
The Fifth Sunday of Easter. Mother's Day. We will honor Mom during our worship services this week and hear the message that Peter learned in Acts 10 and 11.
Acts 11:19-26 BARNABAS (6/9/96)
We are facing a famine of role-models these days, but we find a good one in the subject of this morning's message, Barnabas.
Acts 16:9-15, John 14:23-29 GETTING DIRECTIONS (see above)
Acts 16:9-15 LADY LYDIA (5/13/07)
The Sixth Sunday of Easter and, in the United States, Mothers Day. The lectionary lesson from Acts introduces us to someone who might be called the "mother" of the church in Europe.
Acts 16:11-15 HEROINES OF THE FAITH (3/12/06)
The second Sunday of March each year is generally set aside in Presbyterian Churches to celebrate the gifts of women. Turth be told, without women, there would be no church.
Acts 16:16-34 A FAITH THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE (5/20/07)
Faith is only real if it makes a difference in the way we live. It made a difference in the life of a Philippian jailer.
Acts 17:16-34 DECODING DaVINCI (5/21/06)
This week's arrival of the cinematic blockbuster, "The Da Vinci Code," has renewed interest in what the controversial story says about Christ and the Church. Some are curious, some are outraged.
Acts 17:16-34 ST. PAUL'S BIG, FAT, GREEK FLOP (4/27/08)
The sixth Sunday of Easter. Our lesson from Acts has been held up as a good way to evangelize folks who have never heard the gospel, but we wonder. The response to the message was not exactly overwhelming.
Romans 1:16-17 REMEMBERING OUR ROOTS (10/28/01)
A sermon for Reformation Sunday looking at the life of Martin Luther and the contributions he made to the faith we share today.
Romans 5:1-11 ATONEMENT (2/24/08)
The 3rd Sunday in Lent. "Atonement" is the title of a popular new film nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture of the Year, but the word itself has incredible importance in Christian theology as well.
Romans 8:26-31 BIG, BAD JOHN...CALVIN (7/12/09)
This week Presbyterian and Reformed churches around the world are celebrating the 500th birthday (July 10) of our "Father in the Faith," John Calvin. David enjoyed the commemorative events at the Presbyterian conference center at Montreat as lectures, seminars and services of worship remembered Calvin's life and ministry, and offers this reflection.
Romans 8:28-39 GRAMMIES, GAMES, AND GOD (2/27/2000)
This week millions of people saw the 42nd annual Grammy Awards and heard host Rosie O'Donnell advise winners regarding their acceptance speeches, "I ran into God backstage and He said 'You're welcome.'" Winners in high profile athletic contests regularly thank God for giving them the victory. Do we believe that God arranges those things?
Romans 8:31-39 THE LOVE THAT WON'T LET GO (8/3/08)
As is our custom, we celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first Sunday of the month. As we come to the Table, we reflect on God's incredible love for us despite our many flaws and failings.
Romans 12:1-18 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS" (11/18/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. Our creedal affirmation concerning the "communion of saints" is closely linked to our faith in the "holy catholic church." And both raise questions. Click here for ordering information.
Romans 12:1-21 WALKING ON EGG SHELLS (10/29/06)
With a national election approaching in less than a week and a half, we consider the political landscape in light of our Christian faith.
Romans 13:1-7 THE LORD OF THE BALLOT BOX (4/20/08)
A Pennsylvania primary election is set for this Tuesday, April 22nd. When the schedule was announced, it was thought that this trip to the polls would have no import beyond local contests, but such is not the case - the eyes of the nation will be on Pennsylvania this week. So saying, is there anything that Christians should be cognizant of as they approach the polling place? Absolutely - in this election or any.
Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20, Exodus 12:1-14 THE PROD OF THE PAST (see above)
Romans 13:11-13 THE REASON FOR THE SEASON (12/2/07)
The Lectionary Epistle lesson for this first Sunday of the new liturgical year encourages us to "behave decently...not in orgies and drunkenness..." Did the Apostle Paul know something 2,000 years ago about 21st century Christmas parties?
Romans 14:1-13, Matthew 18:21-35, THE FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS (see above)
I Corinthians 1:3-9 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS (11/30/08)
The First Sunday in Advent is the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in terms of our journey of faith.
I Corinthians 3:5-9 PLANTING AND WATERING (5/20/01)
Presbyterian Heritage Sunday offers us a chance to reflect on and be challenged by the tradition that has nourished us.
I Corinthians 8:1-13 IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW..." (1/29/06)
In this week's lectionary Epistle lesson, the Apostle Paul feels compelled to deal with a local controversy in the Corinthian church. Should Christians eat meat that has previously been offered as a sacrifice to a pagan idol? That does not sound like it would have much to do the with church in the 21st century, but...
I Corinthians 9:24-27, Psalm 119:1-16 BEATIN' BALLS & BEATIN' BALLS (see above)
I Corinthians 11:17-26 CHRISTIAN AMNESIA (7/1/01)
As our nation prepares to remember the sacrifices made to insure our freedom, the church comes to the Table and remembers "the Lord's death until he comes."
I Corinthians 11:23-26 WAITING AND REMEMBERING (11/3/96)
We prepare ourselves to celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. After all the theologizing, we consider what it really means for us.
I Corinthians 11:23-26 THE GOOD OLD DAYS (10/7/01)
Homecoming Sunday at First Presbyterian (and World Communion Sunday). A meditation in preparation for a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
I Corinthians 12:12-31 THE BODY OF CHRIST (1/25/04)
The lectionary Epistle lesson reminds us that the church is not a collection of "Lone Rangers" but rather a closely knit organism, as closely knit as a human body.
I Corinthians 13, Jeremiah 1:4-10 THE GROWN-UP CHURCH (see above)
I Corinthians 13:1-3 NORMAN (6/29/03)
Loving the unlovely. Like it or not, that is part of our calling as Christian people. A lesson one preacher learned from a most unforgettable character.
I Corinthians 13:1-3 THE GREATEST GIFT (2/1/04)
The lectionary Epistle lesson last week reminded us that the church has been given a variety of talents and gifts to accomplish its ministries, but this week's lesson says there is one gift that is head and shoulders above all the others.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Mark 16:1-8 HEAVEN (see above)
I Corinthians 15:1-20 IS IT TRUE? (3/31/02)
Karl Barth once said that people come to church from week to week with only one question in mind: Is it true? And on Easter, the question is writ large.
I Corinthians 15:35-58 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY" (1/20/08)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. We encounter an affirmation that has challenged Christian thinkers for 2,000 years. What do we mean when we affirm a belief in bodily resurrection? Click here for ordering information.
II Corinthians 4:1-10, Jonah 3:1-10 A GOSPEL FOR LOSERS (see above)
II Corinthians 4:5-12 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!!! (6/1/97)
Ever feel like giving up? As the sermon title suggests, DON'T!
II Corinthians 5:16-21 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS" (11/25/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. Someone has suggested that forgiveness is incredibly powerful - it can change the past! Thus, our affirmation in the Creed saying, "I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins." Click here for ordering information.
II Corinthians 5:16-21 AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST (6/23/02)
The 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has concluded its work. The theme of the gathering was "Ambassadors for Christ," and the pastor's meditation is a reflection on the work just completed.
II Corinthians 9:6-15; I Timothy 6:6-10 A CONTRARIAN VIEW OF GIVING (10/31/04)
With Stewardship the focus in many churches at this time of year, we offer a tongue-in-cheek bit of "comfort" to those who would rather not hear about the subject.
II Corinthians 13:11-14 THE TRIUNE GOD (6/2/96)
"...God in three persons, blessed Trinity" says the hymn. What do Christians mean when we speak of God as "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?" A sermon for Trinity Sunday and in preparation for the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
II Corinthians 13:11-14 GOD TALK (5/18/08)
Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday on the liturgical calendar that is set aside to call attention to a church doctrine. And an important doctrine it is, especially in an era when so much "god talk" is merely political rhetoric.
Galatians 1:1-12 THE BUSINESS OF THE CHURCH (6/8/08)
Do a Google search on "the business of the church" and you will come up with a variety of answers as to what that business might be. The pastor's message suggests how the Apostle Paul might respond to such an inquiry.
Galatians 3:26-4:7 WAITING...WAITING...WAITING! (11/28/04)
The First Sunday in Advent. As we begin the new church year, we find ourselves looking ahead to Christmas once again...and waiting.
Galatians 4:4a MISSING JESUS (12/24/04)
Christmas Eve. What happens to a family when the Nativity set they purchase happens to have an EXTRA Baby Jesus?
Galatians 5:16-25, John 14:15-27 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "THE HOLY GHOST" (see above)
Ephesians 2:11-22 THE FAMILY OF GOD (5/11/03)
Mothers' Day. And on the Presbyterian Calendar, Christian Family Sunday. As is our custom, we recognize the mothers in the congregation and hear our lesson remind us of our family relationship as members of God's household.
Ephesians 3:14-21 FLATTENING FENCES (7/26/09)
This week's Epistle lesson offers us one of Paul's prayers for the church, this one focused on the divine power we have available to break down seemingly impossible barriers.
Ephesians 3:16-21 ROOTED AND GROUNDED (6/17/01)
Dr. Leininger has returned from Louisville and brings a report on the work of our General Assembly, the theme of which this year is "Rooted and Grounded in Love."
Ephesians 4:1-16, Ezekiel 37:1-14 "2020" VISION (see above)
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16, Psalm 133 COMMON GROUND (see above)
Ephesians 4:25-5:2, II Samuel 18:5-33CIVIL WAR ISN'T! (see above)
Ephesians 5:15-20 WHEN WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH (8/11/02) As we welcome the Conewango Clippers Barbershop Chorus to our worship today, we remember that music helps us communicate in ways that mere words never can.
Ephesians 5:21-33 FOR BETTER OR WORSE (4/25/10)
In the Spring, so they say, a young man's fancy turns to love, and as Spring continues on Hilton Head Island in all its splendor, we encounter the subject in all its glory.
Ephesians 6:10-17 SPIRITUAL EXCELLENCE
A summertime quest which studies St. Paul's discussion of The Armor of God, the equipment we need if EXCELLENT discipleship is our goal. Click on the sermon title to read each message in the series.
Ephesians 6:10-20 BEING A CHRISTIAN "SURVIVOR" (8/27/2000)
With all the attention given to the TV series, "Survivor" lately, the lectionary Epistle lesson for this week offers some advice and equipment for "Being a Christian 'Survivor.'"
Ephesians 6:10-20 THERE'S A WAR GOING ON! (8/24/03)
The Epistle lesson this week lists the equipment God's people have been provided to withstand the assaults of evil - the Armor of God.
Philippians 1:1-6 SAINT WHO? (11/2/03)
All Saints Sunday, a day to remember those whose work on earth is complete and who have moved to the Church Triumphant.
Philippians 1:21-26 ALL HALLOWS EVE (10/31/99)
Halloween! The ghosts and goblins are what we think of most, but there are spiritual riches to be mined by getting behind the masks and costumes to the significance of the holiday.
Philippians 2:5-11 THE MOST IMPORTANT STATEMENT THE CHURCH EVER MAKES (6/25/2000)
As the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly gathers for its annual meeting and as St. Paul Presbyterian Church looks toward the future and a change in pastoral leadership on Dr. Leininger's final Sunday with us, we consider what is ultimately important.
Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 21:1-11 A WORLD IN TURMOIL (see above)
Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 21:1-11 HALTED HOSANNAS (see above)
Philippians 2:5-11 MERRY XMAS (12/16/07)
The oft-seen greeting from which our title is drawn prompts us to wonder what life would be like if the Babe of Bethlehem were indeed nothing but some unknown "X."
Philippians 3:4b-14 GOING FOR THE GOLD (8/29/04)
The Athens Olympics are coming to a close, but the images remain. Our point of departure this week is the fact that the Apostle Paul must have been a sports fan himself considering all the metaphors of athletics he used to make his points.
Philippians 3:13b-14 FASTER! HIGHER! STRONGER! (10/1/2000)
The familar trilogy which is the motto of the Olympic Games sets the tone for a message on Christian discipleship. A sermon in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Philippians 3:13-16 A TALE OF TWO CHURCHES (1/1/06)
As we begin 2006, we look to the future with a parable. A meditation in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Philippians 4:10-20, Malachi 3:8-10 GIVING DANGEROUSLY (see above)
Colossians 1:15-23, Matthew 11:2-6 THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST (see above)
Colossians 1:15-23 CHURCH AND STATE (5/24/09)
An important anniversary is upon us - the 75th birthday of one of the church's most important theological statements, the Barmen Declaration. In honor of the event, we look back at the difficult years the church experienced in Hitler's Germany.
Colossians 1:15-20 WHOSE CHURCH IS IT ANYWAY? (7/14/96)
Following the meeting of the 208th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), this sermon reports on the action while offering a reminder about who is ultimately in charge.
Colossians 3:12-17 SILLY GOOSE (11/3/02)
Lessons we can learn from the geese that have been winging their way past us to their winter home in the South. It turns out that these geese are not silly at all. A sermon in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 GRIEF & HOPE (11/6/05)
It is somehow fitting that the lectionary Epistle lesson on this first Sunday in November - celebrated as All Saints Sunday in some churches - gives us a theological perspective on death.
I Thessalonians 5:12-18, Psalm 100 AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE (see above)
I Thessalonians 5:12-18 THANKSGIVING IN A 9/11 WORLD (11/25/01)
Christ the King Sunday...hard on the heels of our national Thanksgiving Day. We consider both of those themes and reflect.
I Thessalonians 5:14-18 "GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES..." (11/20/05)
Again we approach another national Day of Thanksgiving. The title of the message comes directly from the lesson.
II Thessalonians 3:6-17 A FAITH THAT MATTERS BETWEEN SUNDAYS (10/26/03)
Reformation Sunday. We are reminded of one of the Reformation's most important lessons, the Sanctity of the Common Life.
I Timothy 2:1-4 THE GOD OF PEACE (8/6/2000)
August 6 - a fateful and always disturbing anniversary! May the events of August 6, 1945 never be repeated!
I Timothy 2:1-4 PRAYER FOR PEACE (8/7/05)
The world remembers an inauspicious anniversary this weekend as we recall the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. We continue to live in a dangerous world.
I Timothy 2:1-7 PRAYERS FOR THE PRESIDENT (1/18/09)
The coming Inauguration reminds us that, as Christians, we are to remember our political leaders in prayer, a most timely instruction as a new administration faces profound challenges, both at home and abroad.
I Timothy 6:6-10; II Corinthians 9:6-15 A CONTRARIAN VIEW OF GIVING (see above)
I Timothy 6:6-10 WILL THERE EVER BE ENOUGH? (10/30/05)
You have heard it said that "Money is the root of all evil." That is a MISquote from this week's lesson.
II Timothy 1:1-7 A MOTHER'S MOST VITAL TASK (5/10/98)
Mothers have quite a list of responsibilities, not the least of which is passing on the faith to their children. Read about two women who handled the task admirably in preparation for the message. A sermon for Mothers Day.
II Timothy 2:1-13 IN MEMORY OF CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS (5/29/05)
As the nation celebrates Memorial Day, it is appropriate to remember faithful "Soldiers of the Cross."
II Timothy 2:8 "REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST..." (4/7/96)
A sermon based on the Apostle Paul's reminder to Timothy of the one thing that can sustain him - and us - in the midst of the trials of life and death. An Easter sermon in preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
II Timothy 3:14-17 BE PREPARED! (2/8/09)
Boy Scout Sunday is celebrated in churches around America today in recognition of the historic importance Scouting has placed on faith. The sermon is developed from the familiar Boy Scout motto and insists that the best place to Be Prepared for life in the here and now as well as the life to come is in the church.
II Timothy 3:14-4:5 THE MOST DANGEROUS VERSE IN THE BIBLE (10/17/04)
The epistle lesson this week deals with a theme that is precious to all Christians, but not in the same way from one to another - Holy Scripture.
II Timothy 4:9-18 LIVING WITH LONELINESS (8/13/2000)
Ever been lonely? Who hasn't? The scripture does not offer any "cure" for loneliness, but the experience of the Apostle Paul might offer some help.
Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20 ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS... (see above)
Titus 2:11-14 CHRISTMAS IN THE CROSSFIRE Have you noticed? This year there seems to be more than a bit of controversy about how we should greet one another at this time of year. Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? What do we make of it?
Philemon 1:1-21 A PLACE AT THE TABLE (9/5/04)
The Lectionary Epistle lesson today comes from one of the New Testament's "Post Cards," the note from the Apostle Paul to his friend Philemon asking for a rather large personal favor.
Hebrews 10:11-25, Mark 13:1-8 WHEN YOUR CHURCH PROVOKES YOU (see above)
Hebrews 10:19-25 JESSE, YOU'RE WRONG! (10/10/99)
Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's widely published comments saying "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers" cries out for a response. The direction of the pastor's message is apparent from its title.
Hebrews 10:19-25 WHY BOTHER WITH CHURCH? (6/18/2000)
As we first encounter a new presence in the First Presbyterian Pulpit, we consider a question that is basic. After all, there is much wrong with the church. But, on the other hand...
Hebrews 10:32-11:1 HOPE? (1/23/05)
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." Hope is what gets us through the miseries of life whether it be the quagmire in Iraq, the tsunamis of South Asia, the mudslides of California, the floods of Utah or the personal, private disasters that we all inevitably face.
Hebrews 11:1-6 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "GOD, THE FATHER..." (6/17/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. We affirm our belief in "God, the Father." Click here for ordering information.
Hebrews 11:passim-12:1 "HERE I STAND!" (10/27/02)
Reformation Sunday, the day the church remembers Martin Luther's defiant posting of the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, the day we mark as the start of the Protestant Reformation.
Hebrews 11:1-13, 39-12:2 THE VOICE FROM THE GALLERY (4/15/01)
Imagine coming to church on a Sunday, listening attentively to the progress of worship when, suddenly, a voice in the back breaks in with "I have a word from the Lord!" What kind of surprise is this? Come to think of it, is not "surprise" what happened on Easter?
Hebrews 11:1-16 IN GOOD HANDS (1/14/96)
We have arrived at a New Year, an exciting time or a scary time, depending upon your point of view. God's people have nothing to fear. We are, after all, "in good hands." A sermon in preparation of the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 STRANGE SAINTS (8/9/98)
STRANGE SAINTS (2) (8/12/01)
The Lectionary takes us to "Faith's Hall of Fame" today and introduces us to some of the strangest saints we could ever imagine. (Sermons linked above are similar but offer different illustrative material.)
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 SUPERSTARS (8/15/04)
The Olympics are back and our lesson from Hebrews lends itself to looking at heroes.
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 SUCH A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES (6/25/06)
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has just finished meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Leininger was in attendance and brings us a report.
Hebrews 12:1-2 LOSING WEIGHT (1/5/03)
The annual January challenge - what to do about those unwanted pounds and inches that have accumulated over the holidays? Is there a challenge here for our spiritual fitness as well?
Hebrews 12:1-11, Zephaniah 3 TOUGH LOVE (see above)
Hebrews 13:8 THE CHANGELESS CHRIST (9/7/03)
This week our schedule returns to "normal" as we gather for worship at both 9:00 and 11:00 AM. Sunday School classes, youth groups, choirs, etc. resume regular activities. We are surrounded by change, not only in the church but everywhere. In the midst of all that, it is good to be reminded that we have one rock of stability on which we can count.
James 1:1-5 MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS (3/8/98)
Abortion. Capital Punishment. Assisted Suicide. Human Cloning. Bombs over Baghdad. Just a few of the ethical conundrums we face. How do we make those tough calls? A sermon with a formula for decision-making.
James 2:1-10, 14-17, Mark 7:24-37 "EPHPHATHA - BE OPENED!" (see above)
James 2:14-17, Deuteronomy 15:7-11 THE LAST SERMON EVER ABOUT STARVING CHILDREN (see above)
James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38 A STORY WORTH SHARING (see above)
I Peter 1:3-9, Psalm 118:14-24 SALVATION (see above)
I Peter 1:3-9 PARTY TIME!!! (4/7/02)
"Holy Humor" Sunday. We celebrate God's great cosmic Easter "joke" on sin and evil.
I Peter 1:3-9 THE WISDOM OF BR'ER RABBIT (3/30/08)
"Holy Humor" Sunday. We celebrate God's great cosmic Easter "joke" on sin and evil and remember the classic Joel Chandler Harris story about Br'er Rabbit and the Laughing Place.
I Peter 2:1-10 CHRIST IS OUR CORNERSTONE! (10/29/2000)
"Christ Is Our Cornerstone" is the motto chosen by First Presbyterian 105 years ago in celebration of the laying of the cornerstone of the building then being constructed and which is now our sanctuary. As our pastor is installed today, the century-old motto is showcased once again as we focus on our future.
I Peter 2:21-25 FOLLOWING JESUS (4/28/02)
What does it mean to follow Jesus? That is the question at the heart of the Christian literary classic, In His Steps. The story of the events of over 100 years ago in the fictional town of Raymond, Kansas provide the framework for today's message.
I Peter 3:18-22 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "HE DESCENDED INTO HELL" (8/19/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. Our series continues with an affirmation that all churches do not make. "He descended into Hell" has its biblical basis in a passage of questionable interpretation. So what are we to make of it? Click here for ordering information.
I John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36-48 FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (see above)
I John 3:1-7 THE FAMILY ALBUM (5/7/2000)
The lectionary invites us to consider an incredible family relationship - Scripture calls us "Children of God!"
I John 3:1-7 "YOU LOOK JUST LIKE YOUR FATHER." (5/4/03)
The Third Sunday of Easter. This week the lectionary presents us with a wonderful reminder of our family heritage as Christians as we prepare for our "family meal."
1 Juan 3:11-18 "COMO APLASTAR AL PASTOR" (16/9/07 - Chetumal)
Esto será un sermón inusual. Es un sermón que su pastor no puede predicar…por lo menos, aquí no, no desde su propio púlpito. De hecho, éste es un sermón que yo no podría predicar tampoco desde mi propio púlpito. Éste tiene que venir de un forastero, y pronto usted entenderá por qué.
I John 4:7-21, Acts 8:26-40 A WINSOME WITNESS (see above)
Jude 1-4, 17-25, Mark 9:14-24 THE APOSTLES' CREED: I BELIEVE... (see above)
Revelation 1:4b-8, John 18:33-37 THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA (see above)
Revelation 1:8-18, Exodus 3:1-15 THE BUSH IS STILL BURNING (see above)
Revelation 2:1-7 LOST LOVE (9/29/96)
Today we begin to hear Christ's Word to the Church as found in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation, a series in conjunction with our midweek study of this confusing and controversial last book of the Bible. This morning we encounter the Church at Ephesus.
Revelation 2:8-11 THE RICHEST CHURCH IN TOWN (10/13/96)
We continue with our series on Christ's Word to the Church as found in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation, a series in conjunction with our midweek study. Today we consider the church at Smyrna.
Revelation 2:12-17 A TRIP IN TIME (10/20/96)
Our sermon series based on the Lord's message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor found in Revelation 2 and 3 continues with a visit to the church at Pergamum.
Revelation 2:18-29 WHEN INTOLERANCE BECOMES A VIRTUE (11/10/96)
We continue our sermon series based on the Lord's message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor found in Revelation 2 and 3. Today we consider the church that was too tolerant for its own good, Thyatira.
Revelation 3:1-6 WHEN LIFE BECOMES TOO EASY (11/17/96)
We continue our sermon series based on the Lord's message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor found in Revelation 2 and 3. Today we see what happens when the church becomes complacent as we consider the congregation at Sardis.
Revelation 3:7-13 THE PILLARS OF THE CHURCH (11/24/96)
Christ's word to the church through those directed to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 2 and 3) is a missionary challenge today. We consider the church at Philadelphia.
Revelation 3:14-22 WHEN THE LORD GETS DISGUSTED WITH HIS CHURCH (12/8/96)
We conclude our series on Christ's Word to the Church (Revelation 2 and 3) as we meet the congregation in Laodicea. As the sermon title indicates, the situation was not good.
Revelation 5:11-14, Acts 9:1-20 MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL (see above)
Revelation 7:9-17 TERRORISTS, TRAGEDY, TRAUMA & GOD (9/16/01)
What a horrible week! The incredible carnage, the mindlessness of it all! How do we make sense of it?
Revelation 12:1-12, John 16:16-33 BEATING THE DRAGONS (see above)
Revelation 12:7-9, Psalm 91:1-11 "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH SUGAR!" (see above)
Revelation 19:6-9 THE UGLIEST BRIDE IN HISTORY (10/6/02)
As the church around the globe gathers for World Communion Sunday we see some things that ought not to be. But, gratefully, we also see the Lord's word of unconditional love we find in scripture. A sermon in preparation for a celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Revelation 20:11-15 THE APOSTLES' CREED: "...HE SHALL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE..." (9/30/07)
This is one of the sermons in the series on the Apostles' Creed found in the book, As We Believe, So We Behave. Our series looks to the future and God's ultimate triumph. Click here for ordering information.
Revelation 21:1-5 A FINE '99 (12/27/98)
As we move from the old year with its hurts and heartaches to the new with all its promises and possibilities, we are reminded that our God makes ALL THINGS new. A sermon for the congregation of St. Andrew by the Sea United Methodist Church, Hilton Head Island, SC.
Revelation 21:1-5a THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS (7/2/2000)
As we begin a new ministry in Warren, we are met by a God who is more concerned about our future than our past. Good News!
Revelation 21:1-6a THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS (1/4/04)
As we begin a new year, we are met by a God who is more concerned about our future than our past. Good News! A communion meditation for the New Year.
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 I WAS A GUARD AT ABU GHRAIB (5/16/04)
The Sixth Sunday of Easter. With great pain we have watched the recent news accounts of the atrocities suffered by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of US troops. No one knows how it will all play out, but we do have a word of hope from our scripture lesson for the week.

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