Archive for April, 2021

Sermon 04-25-2021: “Christ the Advocate for Sinners”

April 27, 2021

Scripture: 1 John 1:1-2:2

I told you before about my two mission trips to Kenya seven or eight years ago. Before I left, I had to get some shots and prescriptions to help me avoid diseases like malaria, yellow fever, cholera, typhoid… But I’ve told you before that I’m a hypochondriac. I worry about getting sick. And my doctor probably sensed that about me—so for extra safety—he recommended that I go to a camping store before I left and buy what’s called a “Steripen”: it’s an ultraviolet water purifier. It’s almost like a flashlight, except it has long, narrow wand in place of a bulb. Whenever you have to drink water that isn’t from a sealed bottle, you turn the Steripen on and place the wand in the cup. After a minute the ultraviolet light kills all the bacteria inside… so you won’t get sick! 

“When in doubt,” the doctor said, “use the Steripen.”

So I happily bought one… And I’m sure I didn’t need it. All the water we drank, if it didn’t come from a bottle, was filtered… supposedlyBut how would I know? I didn’t see it being filtered… and even if it was filtered, how do I know the filter worked properly? 

Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 04-18-2021: “Did Our Hearts Not Burn Within Us?”

April 20, 2021

Scripture: Luke 24: 13-35

Next month marks a special day in the life of Methodist and Wesleyan churches around the world. Indeed, even in the Church of England, this day is celebrated as a “feast day” for John and Charles Wesley. I’m referring to Aldersgate Day, May 24. Two-hundred-and-eighty-three years ago, in 1738, John Wesley attended a Bible study on Aldersgate Street in London. 

He wrote about it in his journal as follows:

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.1

Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 04-11-2021: “The Five Ps of Resurrection Faith”

April 14, 2021

Scripture: John 20: 19-31

One of the best things I’ve done in ministry—indeed, one of the best things I’ve done in my life—was to go to Kenya, in East Africa, on two different trips. Kenya is a place where our United Methodist Church is growing explosively. We simply can’t start churches fast enough there; we can’t train and equip pastors fast enough there. So on two occasions I went to Nakuru, Kenya, to teach church history, United Methodist theology and doctrine, and liturgy to a group of highly effective, very enthusiastic, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Spirit-filled indigenous pastors who couldn’t otherwise begin to afford a seminary education on their own. So these classes I taught were a small step in the direction of a seminary education.

My friend and seminary classmate—I’ll call her Laura—was the one who told me about this teaching opportunity. She called me out of the blue one day and told me that the large Methodist church where she worked was paying for her to go and teach these classes in Kenya. She was leaving later that month, but her church was sponsoring another trip later in the year. She said, “I think you should consider doing it, Brent. In fact I’ll recommend that the church send you next time… that they pay for your trip… because you’re so brilliant.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 04-04-2021: “The Meaning of Easter”

April 5, 2021

Scripture: John 20: 1-18

If you remember the movie Back to the Future, you remember the DeLorean that Doc Brown converted into a time machine. Once the DeLorean reached a speed of 88 miles per hour, and the flux capacitor reached 1.21 gigawatts of power—or “jigga”-watts, as Doc Brown insists on pronouncing it—the DeLorean would disappear in a flash of light and travel either into the future or back into the past… at a preset date that you would enter on the dashboard.

And I was always amused by that scene in which Doc Brown is showing off the time machine to Marty McFly. He says, “We can travel back in time to when Jesus Christ was born.” And he enters the date, “December 25, 0-0-0-0,” on the dashboard display. This, of course, is wrong in two important ways: First, there is no year zero. Our calendar goes from the year 1 B.C. to the year A.D. 1. From one to one.

Read the rest of this entry »