Sermons

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July 2019

“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

“Souls Full of Troubles”/Psalm 88:1-5, 8-13/Luke 8:26-39/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-23-19 

By |June 25th, 2019|Sermons|

The man in the tombs was, most likely, afflicted with a mental illness. After Jesus’ healing, we are told in verse 35, the man is found sitting at the feet of Jesus, “clothed and in his right mind” – while before he had been unclothed and not in his right mind. He had had a mental illness; his brain had been sick. To borrow a phrase from our Psalm this morning, he had had a “soul full of troubles” – a troubled soul. […]

“For Fathers and More: The Bible on Raising Children”/Exodus 13: 3-6, 8-10, 14; Mark 10:13-16; Ephesians 6:1-4/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-16-19

By |June 18th, 2019|Sermons|

The statistics—the numbers—that you are about to hear are a little dated, but newer sources that I read this week say that little has changed in the past ten years, so I’m going to go ahead and run them by you: A father in Japan . . . spends an average time each day with his children. . . of 17 minutes. 17 minutes per day. “That statistic,” said the original article, “which is printed on government-sponsored posters aimed at getting men to do more at home, touched off a round of finger-pointing between the sexes in Japan. (Another poster has the caption) ‘A man who does not help in child-rearing cannot be called a father.’ ‘That is not true,’ responds Noboru Yamada, a banker and father of two children. ‘We just don’t have time.’ When his children were young, he continues, he changed a diaper . . . about every six months, and spent more than a few minutes a day with his kids ‘once every ten days or two weeks.’” And that’s OK, in his mind. I wonder what kind of Father’s Day gifts he’ll be getting today. […]

“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? […]

“Living Generously Begins with Trust”/Matt. 6: 19-21, 24; I Tim. 6: 17b; I Cor. 8:1-7/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-2-19

By |June 10th, 2019|Sermons|

             As our Stewardship Committee has  presented to you in the past, we have become convinced of the wisdom of a “year-round stewardship program,” as opposed to one or two Sundays in the Fall, talking about only pledge cards. Stewardship, of course, is about much more than pledge cards; it incorporates use of our talents, our time, our church building and other resources, care of creation . . . And we want to use all those responsibly throughout the year – so we don’t think about “stewardship,” here, only on each second Sunday of November. Our stewardship theme for this year, as readers of our church newsletter know, thanks to Steve Blair, is “Living Generously Begins with Trust”- yes, same as today’s sermon title. And the foundational Bible verse for this year is Second Corinthians 8:7: “But just as you excel in everything . . . in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us . . . see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” […]