Building Congregational Vitality

Posted on 11 Jan 2021
  BEING TRANSFORMED Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 25:31-36,40 “Building Congregational Vitality”   Friends, this has been a long and emotional week in the United States of America. Yesterday, I found myself unusually exhausted for no particular reason other than following the news cycles
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Growing in Wisdom and Divine Favor

Posted on 27 Dec 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED “Growing in Wisdom and Divine Favor” Luke 2:41-52 December 27, 2020   Before turning to God’s Word in Holy Scripture, let us turn to God in prayer… Gracious God, your Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.    Just as the experts in
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Home by Another Road

Posted on 21 Dec 2020
Home by Another Road At the beginning of each Advent season, there is a social media account that I follow with great delight. I don’t know who created it or who maintains it. It’s called Wandering Wisemen and it follows three magi playmobil figures along with their camel on their journey from
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Watching for John

Posted on 13 Dec 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED Luke 1:5-25 – “Watching for John” December 13, 2020   Luke 1:5-25 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were
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Waiting with Joseph

Posted on 07 Dec 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED “Waiting with Joseph” Matthew 1:18-25 December 6, 2020   Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her
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Speaking Words of Wisdom: Let It Be

Posted on 29 Nov 2020
Speaking Words of Wisdom: Let It Be          When I graduated from seminary, it took a long time for me to receive a call to serve a church. Things didn’t go at all as I’d planned. Door after door closed and I wasn’t really sure what God was up to. I’d
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Being Transformed

Posted on 22 Nov 2020
“Being Transformed” Luke 19:1-10 Commitment Sunday – November 22, 2020   I am reminded on this Thanksgiving week, that Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.   This year will certainly different for most of our families, but we still plan to make the best of it,
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Blessed are the Peacemakers

Posted on 05 Nov 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED Proverbs 3:5-18; Philippians 4:4-9 “Blessed are the Peacemakers” November 8, 2020   This has been an historic week in our nation, an emotional roller coaster for many. We do not worship in a vacuum, but in the context of what is going on around us. This morning, at least
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Every Day’s a School Day

Posted on 02 Nov 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED “Every Day’s a School Day” – Matthew 23:1-12 All Saints’ Sunday – November 1, 2020   Our Scripture text from the Gospel of Matthew resides in the context of Jesus being questioned. In order to pigeon-hole Jesus and seek to define to which party he belonged,
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Be Still and Know

Posted on 29 Oct 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED  “Be Still and Know” – Psalm 46 Kirkin’ of the Tartan – October 25, 2020   Before I read our scripture for today, I want to share a story about an unexpected gift.   Back in August, a friend was on the way to the beach with her two teenagers.
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From Chaos to Commandments

Posted on 22 Oct 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED “From Chaos to Commandments” Exodus 20:1-17 October 4, 2020 The 10 Commandments are a gracious gift from God to bring order out of chaos and build community. Over the years, I have forgotten many things…. I have forgotten phone numbers. At one point, I probably had forty or
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Being Transformed

Posted on 22 Oct 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED “Jonah” – Jonah (selected verses) October 18, 2020 Special thanks to Jordan, Leah and Rosie for their part in the wonderful skit today, and many thanks to all the mid-highs and their leaders who are participating in leading worship! We are so glad that all of you are a part of
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Take Care That You Do Not Forget the Lord

Posted on 25 Sep 2020
  “Take care that you do not forget the Lord” Deut. 6:1-12 Matthew 22:32-40     It was back in 2009 when I was in Nicaragua with a group of North Carolina college campus ministries. I can still remember that dirt road that wound through the hills of the Nicaraguan countryside. I
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Take care that you do not forget the Lord

Posted on 25 Sep 2020
“Take care that you do not forget the Lord” Deut. 6:1-12 Matthew 22:32-40     It was back in 2009 when I was in Nicaragua with a group of North Carolina college campus ministries. I can still remember that dirt road that wound through the hills of the Nicaraguan countryside. I gazed
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God Heard their Cries

Posted on 25 Sep 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED Exodus 2:23-3:10 – “God Heard their Cries” September 20, 2020   When we read ancient biblical narratives, we cannot help but do so in light of current events. Just this week, we have heard tragic news of horrific west coast fires, and seen images
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Wrestling with God

Posted on 11 Sep 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED Genesis 32  – “Wrestling with God” September 13, 2020   I was on the wrestling team for one season during 8th grade. The season fell between football in the fall and soccer in the spring, so the timing worked out fairly well. My best friend and wrestling
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Surely the Lord Is in this Place

Posted on 03 Sep 2020
  BEING TRANSFORMED “Surely the Lord Is in this Place!” – Genesis 28:10-22 September 6, 2020   God of grace and mercy, open your Word to us by the power of your Holy Spirit so that we, like Jacob, may know that God is with us and for us, always, come what may, even
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Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?

Posted on 27 Aug 2020
BEING TRANSFORMED – Genesis 18:1-2,9-15 “Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?” August 30, 2020 Genesis 18:1-2,9-15 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. As he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day, he looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he
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There’s A Better Way

Posted on 17 Aug 2020
There’s a Better Way As we continue in the book of James seeking practical wisdom for these extraordinary times, I just couldn’t bring myself to portion out any part of James chapter 4. It’s “only” 17 verses, which seems like a digestible enough bite of scripture. It’s a packed 17 verses,
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James 2

Posted on 24 Jul 2020
  PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR (EXTRA) ORDINARY TIME James 2:1-10, 14-17, 26 July 26, 2020   James 2:1-10, 14-17, 26 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into
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Not Just Hearers

Posted on 17 Jul 2020
  PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR (EXTRA) ORDINARY TIME James 1:1-27–“Not Just Hearers” July 19, 2020     During this summer, we have explored Practical Wisdom for an Extra-ordinary Time. Over the past six weeks, we have delved into the Book of Proverbs and rediscovered ancient
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Choose to Cherish

Posted on 26 Jun 2020
  PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR (EXTRA) ORDINARY TIME “Choose to Cherish” Proverbs 5:1-14,21-23 June 28, 2020 For human ways are under the eyes of the Lord, and (God) examines all their paths.   Prayer for Illumination Holy God, illuminate your Word today, that it may not return empty, but
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Whose Insight?

Posted on 12 Jun 2020
  PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR (EXTRA) ORDINARY TIME “Whose Insight?” – Proverbs 3:1-18 June 14, 2020   Today, we continue our summer series on Practical Wisdom, Practical Wisdom for Extra-Ordinary Time. Before our scripture reading for today, I have invited the Rev. Dr. Phil Noble and his
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Whose Voice?

Posted on 04 Jun 2020
Practical Wisdom for (EXTRA)Ordinary Time “Whose Voice?” – Proverbs 1:1-9,20-23, 32-33 June 7, 2020   We begin today a summer series on “Practical Wisdom” from the Old Testament book of Proverbs and the New Testament letter of James. In this series, we seek to share “Practical Wisdom for
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The Spirit’s Gifts

Posted on 01 Jun 2020
“The Spirit’s Gifts” Acts 2 (selected verses) Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020   Have you heard that thousands of people are moving out of New York City and other large cities? I am sure that you are aware that countless persons have been working from home, and that many of them have been
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The Comfort of the Advocate

Posted on 26 May 2020
The Comfort of the Advocate (“The Good Voice Speaking Truth”)   Around 10 or 11 years ago, I was a seminary intern at First Presbyterian Church of Bartlesville, OK. I’d finished my seminary coursework and I’d moved to Oklahoma to a place I didn’t know to intern full time in a church. I
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The Peace of the Spirit

Posted on 20 Apr 2020
  The Gifts of Easter – The Peace of the Spirit Second Sunday of Easter, April 19, 2020 John 20:19-31   Over the coming weeks of Easter season, we will explore the Gifts of Easter. As outlined in biblical narratives, we will explore the gifts that Jesus gave to his first disciples.
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Hallelujah Anyway – Easter Sunday

Posted on 12 Apr 2020
“Hallelujah Anyway” Mark 16:1-8 Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 Before turning to hear God’s Word in Holy Scripture, let us turn to God in prayer. Let us pray… God of new life and new beginnings, meet us right where we are, enter the strangeness of these days, and grant us peace, once again,
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Hope in the Lord” – Third Sunday of COVID 19

Posted on 05 Apr 2020
“Hope in the Lord” – Third Sunday of COVID 19 Psalm 130, John 11 (selected verses) Fifth Sunday in Lent March 29, 2020   Friends, this is the fifth Sunday in Lent and the third Sunday of COVID 19. This is the third Sunday that we have not been able to gather together as we normally would
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A Reflection on Psalm 103 for the Second Sunday of Covid 19

Posted on 21 Mar 2020
  A Reflection on Psalm 103 for the Second Sunday of Covid 19 Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22, 2020       Psalm 103:1-18 1  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
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Engaging the Mind of Nicodemus

Posted on 10 Mar 2020
  “Engaging the Mind of Nicodemus” John 3:1-17 March 8, 2020   One of the most significant questions for the gospel of John is:  Who is Jesus? The second most significant question is:  What does the answer to that first question mean for my life? In our text for today, we
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Love Liberates

Posted on 03 Mar 2020
  Prayer of Illumination Matthew 4:1-11 Love Liberates Over the course of 19 dangerous journeys, she covered thousands of miles through woods and rivers with death and punishment breathing down her neck. In the recent movie Harriet, we see an enslaved woman named Araminta Ross make the
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What’s Next

Posted on 25 Feb 2020
  “What’s Next?” Jeremiah 29:4-7,11-14; Acts 16:6-10 Annual Report Sunday – February 23, 2020   Our Old Testament reading from the prophet Jeremiah speaks to the exiles of Jerusalem. The exiles have found themselves in Babylon, today’s Baghdad, a long way from home. Babylon, by
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Engaging the Hard Stuff

Posted on 21 Feb 2020
  Engaging the Hard Stuff February 16, 2020   Our text today is a challenging one. You may have questions about it. God’s Word to us is not always simple even when we would like for it to be. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are free to ask questions of the text. It’s ok to say,
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Engaging in Well-Being

Posted on 10 Feb 2020
“Engaging Well-being” Matthew 5:17-20; Psalm February 9, 2020 Psalm 112     Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are
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Engaging Fellowship

Posted on 03 Feb 2020
  “Engaging Fellowship” Matthew 5:1-16 February 2, 2020   Today, we hear the words of Jesus from the beginning of the famous Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus speaks of those who are “blessed”. The Old Testament view of being “blessed” was often linked with material prosperity, having
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Engaging Leadership

Posted on 27 Jan 2020
  “Engaging Leadership” Matthew 4:12-23 January 27, 2020   Matthew 4:12-23 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken
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Engaging Service

Posted on 21 Jan 2020
  Engaging Service {Read Isaiah 49:1-7}   This scripture passage seems like a bit of a doozy. For a bit of context, we’re in the second portion of the book of Isaiah. The Israelites have been exiled to Babylon. They want to go home, be reunited with those who’ve been scattered, and
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Engaging Welcome

Posted on 13 Jan 2020
  “Engaging Welcome” Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Matthew 3:13-17 January 12, 2020   In the context of human frailty and sinfulness, baptism and ordination affirm the worthy and dignity of each person, as well as the call to humble, selfless service. Today, we affirm the dignity and
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Engaging Worship

Posted on 06 Jan 2020
  “Engaging Worship” Matthew 2:1-12; January 5, 2020   In the church calendar, it is still Christmas! Today is the 11th day of the season of Christmas! Do you still have your tree up? Or is it long gone, off to be shredded for someone’s mulch? Tomorrow is Epiphany, the 12th and last
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The Gift of Presence

Posted on 02 Jan 2020
The Gift of Presence What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever been given? Can you think of one? A dear saint in the first church I served would ask that question any time folks were gathered together in the Christmas season. Pete is in his 90’s now and I’m sure he’s still asking that
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Love Can’t Wait

Posted on 23 Dec 2019
Love Can’t Wait Sunday, December 22, 2019 Prayer of Illumination: God meet us in the midst of your holy words today. Let them come alive for us, so that in hearing your word we might see the love of your son Jesus and in seeing, be moved to courageously follow your Word made flesh in the
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What Can’t Wait? Joy Can’t Wait

Posted on 17 Dec 2019
    “What Can’t Wait? Joy Can’t Wait” Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:46b-55 Third Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 15, 2019     Our text for this third Sunday of Advent, Isaiah 35, speaks about the hope of return from exile. For a whole generation, the ransomed people of Israel
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What Can’t Wait? Peace Can’t Wait

Posted on 09 Dec 2019
“What Can’t Wait? Peace Can’t Wait” Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12 Second Sunday of Advent – December 8, 2019   Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and
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What Can’t Wait? Hope Can’t Wait!

Posted on 03 Dec 2019
“What Can’t Wait? Hope Can’t Wait!” Luke 2:1-5; Romans 5:105 First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019   Isaiah 2:1-5 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
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When All Seems Lost

Posted on 25 Nov 2019
When All Seems Lost Luke 23:33-43 It may seem strange to read this particular story at this time of the year. Doesn’t it make more sense to read it just before Easter? It does and we do. Today, though, is a special day on the church calendar. It is the Sunday before Advent begins which makes it
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Preparing Our Defense…Or Not

Posted on 21 Nov 2019
“Preparing Our Defense…Or Not” Luke 21:5-19 November 17, 2019   To our children who just received their Bibles – Did you know that in 1450 a man named Johann Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press, and in 1455 he produced the first book ever  printed? Does anyone know what
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Engaging our Imaginations in the Generosity of God

Posted on 13 Nov 2019
Sermon Title: Engaging our Imaginations in the Generosity of God Based on Luke 10: 25-37 Delivered November 10, 2010: Middle School Youth Sunday and Commitment Sunday   Godly Play Good Samaritan Live Enactment Wording for scripture modified from Godly Play curriculum[1]  Today we will
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Responding to Jesus’ Invitation

Posted on 06 Nov 2019
“Responding to Jesus’ Invitation” Luke 19:1-10 All Saints’ Sunday – November 3, 2019   In first century Palestine, tax collectors were recruited by the Roman government to collect taxes from their neighboring villagers by whatever means they deemed necessary. The Romans did not care how
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Embracing Humilty

Posted on 29 Oct 2019
“Embracing Humility” Luke 18:9-14 October 27, 2019   The Pharisees are often misunderstood. Because of several rather pointed comments and parables told by Jesus, we often view them with suspicion. Most Pharisees, as scholars will tell us, were relatively good people. They lived righteous
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