Bible

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August 2019

“Ezekiel: The Case of the Disappearing Grapes”/Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:1-4, 7; 18: 1-9, 20, 25-29/Rev. Rodger Allen/8-11-19

By |August 13th, 2019|Sermons|

Seminaries, the graduate schools which train people for ministry, have a different look to them these days than they used to. The majority of the students today are not 22- or 23-year-olds who have come straight from college, but instead fall into the category called “second-career” – they have left some other occupation in their mid-20’s, mid-30’s, or mid-40’s, and enrolled  in a 3 or 4 year program to train for a new career in ministry. They are people like me, and Laurie. Phil was one of those second-career seminarians. Phil had been a banker; he had gone to business school and then worked his way up through the ranks to a middle-management position in a respected bank. But Phil had gradually recognized that he was being called by God out of the banking industry and into the ministry, and he quit his job, sold his house, and moved to a small efficiency apartment on the seminary campus to begin three years of classes – three years of hard work with little or no income; three years which, at best, would result in his starting his career over again at the ground floor; three years, though, which would leave him doing what God had called him to do. […]

July 2019

“Surprised by Joy”/II Kings 4:8-17; Luke 11:1-13/Rev. Rodger Allen/7-21-19

By |July 23rd, 2019|Sermons|

We believe, as Christians, in God’s wonderful gift of grace:  that God offers us, as a gift, out of love for us, the chance to know God and God’s will in this life, through this life, and the opportunity to be with God forever, in eternal life, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God had done this, for us. And we also believe that, in grateful response to what God has done for us, we Christians should try to live our lives the way God wants us to; it is our way of saying “thank you” for God’s wonderful gift. We do, in gratitude, particular things that are pleasing to God, and that help us become the kind of people God wants us to be. Like: […]

“Shall We Kill Them Now, Lord?”/Luke 9:51-62; Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-30-19

By |July 2nd, 2019|Sermons|

Our Gospel passage today is not an especially famous one, but as we shall see, it is a key passage for Luke, in the development of his account of Jesus’ life. We’ll look at the passage in three parts this morning, and you may want to keep it in front of you; we won’t be going, however, exactly in the order of the verses. The first of the three sections is a short one, consisting only of the first verse: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The phrase “set his face” attracts our attention, as it is not one we usually use in our everyday speech. Set the table, yes; set your hair, maybe; “set the stage” – but not “set his face.” Yet it is a phrase that makes sense, once we visualize it. To “set” is to place or put; to set one’s face, then, would be to place it pointed toward a certain direction. To set one’s face to go to Jerusalem, then, would mean to face Jerusalem, to look toward the destination of Jerusalem. Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem: he faced the direction he had decided to go next. […]

June 2019

“Pentecost: God Comes Again/”Acts 1: 3-14; Acts 2: 1-8, 12-18, 41-42/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-9-19

By |June 11th, 2019|Sermons|

             More than once, I’ve been in a Bible study group, or in an adult Sunday School class, which began . . . not with a Bible reading, or a teacher presentation, or even a discussion, but with a question. And it was a sincere, wondering question, not one of those just-intended-to-prompt discussion questions. Why, it was asked, do we study and hear so little about the Holy Spirit in church? After all, it is, we profess, one of the three persons of God; co-equal with the one we call “God the Father,” and with Jesus Christ, according to our Book of Confessions. We hear a lot about the activities of God the Creator and Lawgiver and Protector of Israel, and a lot about Jesus – but very little about that third person, the Holy Spirit. Why? […]

May 2019

“Growing in Faith”/Hebrews 5: 11-6:1Acts 16: 1-5/Rev. Rodger Allen/5-26-19

By |May 30th, 2019|Sermons|

Bible passages from the book of Acts are recommended for our consideration each year at this time. After Jesus’ resurrection on Easter and his ascension into heaven forty days later, his disciples started telling his story and sharing his teachings, to people in and beyond Jerusalem, eventually resulting in the formation of Christian churches. So on the Sundays following Easter, we often review the stories of their doing that – and those stories are found in the book of Acts. One thing the book of Acts emphasizes is that the early church grew, as the story of Jesus was told. It grew in numbers, and it grew in faith. “Growing in numbers” is a concept we pretty easily understand, though it’s not quite as easy a thing to actually do as we would like. “Growing in faith” is a little more ambiguous phrase: what all does it mean, to “grow in faith”? […]