Archive for August, 2021

Sermon 08-22-21: “The What, Why, and How of Spiritual Warfare”

August 26, 2021

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20

Last week, when I baptized Parker, I asked him the following question as part of our baptism liturgy: “Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin.” Note those words: spiritual forces, evil powers. This is a reference to the very thing that Paul himself describes in today’s scripture when he speaks of rulers, authorities, “cosmic powers” and “spiritual forces.” 

These aren’t human opponents, because Paul prefaces these words by saying, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood”… Instead we wrestle against these invisible spiritual forces that are not flesh and blood.

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Sermon 08-15-2021: “For New Disciples: One Warning and Three Encouragements”

August 19, 2021

Scripture: John 6:52-71

Brothers and sisters, this morning we’re going to celebrate that John Parker Carey, who went on the youth mission trip in June, responded to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ and made a decision for himself to become a faithful follower of Jesus Christ… for the rest of his life. Three other young people on the trip publicly reaffirmed their faith.

On a day like this, I can’t help but think of my own profession of faith, my own baptism, which happened when I was 14. So I’ve been thinking, “What would I have benefitted from hearing back then… back when I was just beginning my life as a young disciple of Jesus Christ?” 

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Sermon 08-08-2021: “The Cure for Complaining”

August 10, 2021

Scripture: John 6:35-51

Do you remember manna in the Old Testament? We use the expression today—“manna from heaven”—to refer to some unexpected gift that arrives at just the right moment. But it comes from the experience of Israel, when they were wandering in the wilderness for those 40 years, before entering the Promised Land. God fed them each day with this miraculous bread that fell from the sky each morning. In today’s scripture, Jesus intends for us to see parallels between Israel’s experience wandering in the wilderness and the crowd’s experience having witnessed Jesus’ miraculous feeding earlier in the chapter. He makes this comparison explicit in verses 49 and 50. 

So that’s what this sermon is about: I want to talk about how the crowd’s response to Jesus in John 6 is a lot like the response of ancient Israel in the wilderness—and a lot like our response to Jesus the “bread of life” today. Then I want to talk about how Jesus the “bread of life” is like manna—and what that means for us today. 

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Sermon 08-01-2021: “Do Not Work for the Food that Perishes”

August 10, 2021

Scripture: John 6:22-35

I want to begin today by talking about two separate but not entirely unrelated events in the news. First, over the past couple of months, two of the wealthiest men in the world spent billions of their considerable fortunes to do that thing that children of my generation believed we would all be doing by now… I’m referring, of course, to entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos launching themselves into outer space. And they did so in rockets that their own companies designed and built. As a former engineer, I think that’s kinda cool! And don’t get me started about Elon Musk’s Space X program. I love it!

Of course, if you had asked the seven-year-old version of me, in 1977, whether or not space travel would be as commonplace as air travel by the year 2021, I would have said, “Of course it will!” And I would have been disappointed if you told me back then that by age 51, I still wouldn’t have gone up in space. But at least a small handful of civilians so far have now done so… So we’re a little behind schedule, but we’re making progress.

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