David Meriwether
 
David Meriwether

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Through the Christian Year
Leftovers Sampler
About David
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14139 Vantage Hill
San Antonio, TX  78231
When people ask how I prepare a sermon, I tell them that sermons are like stews on a stove. I begin with a hearty stock of the text, and let the lessons start to simmer. Then through the week, I add the ingredients that come through life and relationships, current events and personal questions. All along the way I sprinkle the seasonings of spiritual connections between text and living. The sermon is never "done," and even when it is delivered up, anyone should spiritually "season to taste."
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I have never repeated sermons (I do have favorite titles) because the time and place of worship is always unique. But you are listening because you were not there at the time and place. I hope you still think listening is worth your time.

 

I currently serve at Canyon Lake Presbyterian outside San Antonio and New Braunfels. The church does not have reliable ways to record services, so you will not see audio of "current" sermons. Instead, here are .pdf manuscripts when I can produce them.

 

June 22, 2014, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Ephesians 11:6-18, "A Different Definition of Faith"; [PDF]

We can be pretty sure about the “what is not” in the definition of faith? How do we fill the “what is” of what faith in Christ is? The writer of Hebrews has an answer with lots of examples. In fact, he tells us that faith is only found in living precedents.

June 1, 2014, Ascension, Ephesians 1:18-23, Acts 1:6-11, "Looking Up, Moving Forward"; [PDF]

This table is the best place to see past the way we already see, to trust the power of the Spirit who always comes, to believe in mystery and miracles again, to admit how little we know that gives us every reason to believe what we have never understood.

May 25, 2014, 6th Sunday in Easter, John 15:15-21, 1 Peter 3:13-17, "Cost/Benefit Analysis"; [PDF]

It is the strangest cost/benefit arrangement we can imagine: love me, live my love to others, stay true with the motives and decisions of your days, and you will have all the strength and courage of my love. Turn away from my love and, …well, you are on your own to pursue your own ideas and decisions to do it your way.

May 18, 2014, 5th Sunday in Easter, 1 Peter 2:2-10, Acts 7:55-60, "What Paul Thought oabout Saul"; [PDF]

Paul is nothing like the Saul he used to be, and he does not forget the way he was because he gives thanks for the love of God that did not give up on him when he was blinded by what he already saw. Instead of being sure of everything like Saul was, Paul is only sure of one thing.

May 11, 2014, 4th Sunday in Easter, Psalm 23, Acts 2:42-47, "Where the Shepherd Led"; [PDF]

If we erase all our modern political and economic questions and critiques about the followers pooling all their money to meet the needs of the ones who had real needs, we might that they were simply doing what he had shone them by example. So they turned what they did not need into help for those who did. It was that simple.

May 4, 2014, 3rd Sunday in Easter, Luke 24:13-35, "Blinded by What We See"; [PDF]

They were headed back to the real world and full of questions about all that had happened during Passover and a crucifixion. They were so full and focused that they did not recognize his face or his voice until they remembered him in the most common action of breaking bread.

April 27, 2014, 2nd Sunday in Easter, John 20:19-31, 1 Peter 1:3-9, "Doubt is a Good Thing"; [PDF]

Thomas has generally gotten a hard time for doubting, but most all of them doubted the resurrection. They invited him to the room the second Sunday. Jesus came back for Thomas, to show him that doubt and question were a way to new trust.

April 20, 2014, Resurrection Sunday, John 20:1-11, Acts 10:34-43, "Resurrected by Forgiveness"; [PDF]

We do not realize in the middle of bunnies and baskets that the real distraction of Resurrection Sunday is our own problem of a modern skepticism about the possibility of resurrection. But if we focus on Peter's experience and the witness he gives, we may realize that we can be resurrected to new life by the mystery of forgiveness.

September 30, 2012, 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Esther 7:1-6, Mark 9:38-41, "The FOR and AGAINST Lists"; [PDF]
October 21, 2012, 21st Sunday after Pentecost, Hebrews 5:7-10, Mark 10:35-45, "A King's Ransom"; [PDF]
March 10, 1013, 4th Sunday in Lent, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, "A Giggle in Grace"; [PDF]
 
The following sermons come from worship at Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX. www.npcsa.org. Some weeks there is a recording, some weeks a manuscript, and some weeks both (and some weeks neither).
 
August 19, 2012, 12th Sunday After Pentecost, Matthew 6:31-34, Ephesians 4:11-16, "Building Up and Growing Up"; [PDF]

It takes each one, every one of each one, doing our part to grow up in Christ to build up the whole body of the congregation. A new pastor has dedication and training to the ministry of equipping saints, and the saints do the ministry when you give yourselves to the future that God is already putting in front of you.

August 12, 2012, 11th Sunday After Pentecost, 2 Samuel 12:1-13, "Unrighteous Indignation"; [PDF]

It took more than courage for the prophet Nathan to awaken David's conscience about the evil he had done. It took faithfulness. The faithful church is the presence of Christ in our culture and we need to be more like Nathan in times when selfish ends justify any means.

* * * * * Q&A&Q - Question and Answer and Question: a different format for proclamation. From July 8 to August 5 we moved into the Fellowship Hall with a more informal worship "in the round." We replaced the sermon with a question and answer teaching time, and we adjusted the format to allow for more time; these recordings are a little longer. Each week we talked about a part of the worship service.

August 5, 2012, 10th Sunday After Pentecost, I I Corinthians 11:18-29, Q&A&Q: "Becoming the Body"; [Listen]

The Table reminds us that worship is NOT about what we think or learn, but about how what we think become what we do, and what we learn changes us to look more like the body of Christ in our actions in the world.

July 29, 2012, 9th Sunday After Pentecost, I Isaiah 6:1-8, Q&A&Q: "Worship - Beginning to End"; [Listen]

Worship is never an end in itself, and we don't worship for ourselves. The praise and proclamation and prayers are only completed in the sending to live as the body in the world that is not in worship yet.

July 22, 2012, 8th Sunday After Pentecost, I John 14:12-17, Q&A&Q: "Prayers and Asking"; [Listen]

We spend most all our time in prayer asking 0 or really telling God what we think God should do for us or for people we love. What if we stopped talking and started listening? Then God would have a chance to tell us what we should be doing for God!

July 8, 2012, 6th Sunday After Pentecost, I John 1:5-10, Q&A&Q: "Do you have to confess ALL your sins?"; [Listen]

We have this Prayer of Confession in the Order every week, but how often do we take advantage of the great thing it can do for us? It teaches us how to live with ourselves and others the way Christ lives with us.

* * * * *

June 24, 2012, 4th Sunday After Pentecost, Matthew 18:1-7, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, "Charges to the Congregation" [Listen]

Worship took a different turn this Sunday with the Baptism of a toddler and the Installation of Elders to service on the Session. So in the place of a sermon, there were to " charges" - challenges to the congregation related to the vows that we take as followers.

June 17, 2012, 3rd Sunday After Pentecost, 2 Cor. 5:16-21, Mark 4:26-32, "Growing and Tending" [PDF] [Listen]

"Parables" are pictures that point to a truth. They are imperfect and sometimes distorted by what we see in them. Lots of pictures in the Bible are hard to understand, but the parables Jesus tells and the pictures he draws are true to reality and full of meaning that we add in the hearing. The parable tells us God does the growing of the seed, but we are called to the tending of the field.

June 10, 2012, 2nd Sunday After Pentecost, 1 Samuel 8:4-11, 2 Cor. 4:7-13, "Stay Blind to What You See" [PDF] [Listen]

Samuel was hurt when the Israelites demanded a king, but God said they had always been like that. God has lived with their focusing on fears since they were in the wilderness. They could not trust the God they could not see in the face of the problem they saw in front of them. From them, we can learn to be blind to what we can see so that we can trust the Savior we cannot see.

June 3, 2012, Trinity Sunday, Romans *:22-28, Acts 2:1-13, "When the Math Doesn't Add Up" [Listen]

The Trinity is a doctrine that makes most everyone confused, and most of the lectures or sermons I have prepared hav not helped much. So, I began with some discussion to point to different understandings of how we explain God being real to us.

May 27, 2012, Pentecost Sunday, Romans *:22-28, Acts 2:1-13, "Work With the Wind" [PDF] [Listen]

Those first hearers were amazed because of the tongues of fire, but the real mystery was the power in the wind. The Spirit worked mighty deeds of God, and if we give ourselves to the Holy Wind, we can see wonders, too.

May 13, 2012, 6th Sunday of Easter, 1 John 5:4-6, John 17:6-19, "Its Us Against Them?" [PDF] [Listen]

We live in a time of hate and division, when people are quick to draws sides and label enemies. But Jesus died for the people who hated him, and told Nicodemus that God did not send the Son to condemn but to save. What change does it make in our following if we become as quick to forgive the ones who are against us as God forgives us?

April 15, 2012, 2nd Sunday of Easter, 1 John 3:1-7, John 20:19-31, "The Honest Follower" [PDF] [Listen]

We really should see ourselves in Thomas instead of give him a hard time for doubting. And if we do, then we may receive the same gift he did that night when he showed up in all his honesty - and with more faith than he realized he had.

April 8, 2012, Resurrection Sunday, Mark 16:1-8 ff, and Acts 10:34-43, "Write Your Own Beginning" [Listen]

Mark does not really have an ending, and it was a long time before people started trying to fill one in. The early followers never missed the ending. They were too busy with the beginning that Mark said had come to them - a new life with a Risen Lord.

April 5, 2012, Maundy Thursday, [Listen]

It’s not a sermon. Well, there is a brief meditation. It’s worship: scripture and responses in prayer and hymn, children and adult anthem. I post this because worship is more important than sermons, and because Resurrection Sunday is not real unless you go through Thursday.

April 1, 2012, Palm Sunday, Mark 11:1-9, "Election Year" [PDF] [Listen]

We are short on time this late in Lent. We only have this week. So here is the question: Do we want salvation enough to accept Jesus' idea of being saved, or do we want to be saved on our terms?

March 25, 2012, 5th Sunday in Lent, Jeremiah 31:31-34, "The Reality Better Than a Dream" [PDF] [Listen]

We all dream, sometimes we remember them. Dreams are powerful things. We can dream great visions that we hope and pray come true. God dreams, too! Let God dream for you. God’s dreams for you are better than any wordless longings you can have for yourself..

March 18, 2012, 4th Sunday in Lent, John 3:1-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, "The Coke Can" [PDF] [Listen]

We often define "grace" as "the love we don’t deserve", but what if deserving has nothing to do with grace at all? Confused? The answer is in a Coke Can.

March 11, 2012, 3rd Sunday in Lent, Exodus 20:1-17, "The Big Ten" [Listen]

Some people are upset about where the Ten Commandments can’t be displayed, but in worship we learn to follow them. A brief summary will tell us they are much more than the letter of the law.

March 4, 2012, 2nd Sunday in Lent - Lord’s Supper, Mark 8:31-9:1, Romans 4:13-16, "Contract or Covenant" [Listen]

A contract is terms and conditions about something that spells out what we will do for what we will get. Contract is about the WHAT. A covenant is ...well, is a promise and vow to someone about who we will be and how we will give. Covenant is about the WHO.

February 26, 2012, 1st Sunday in Lent, Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:13-21, "Live Hope, Do Good" [Listen]

We are starting a new season of seriousness this week, and we need to look far enough down our own road to entertain the real probably that being a Christian will cost us. We need to remember that Jesus said we have to take up our own cross and follow. We need to have eyes wide open for the places in our road where we can do good the way we would expect Jesus to do it.

February 22, 2012, Ash Wednesday, Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-20; "Why Ashes?" [Listen]

When we see that cross in ashes on our foreheads, we know that we are not marked for death. We live past the cross, and we will live his life forever.

February 19, 2012, Sunday of Transfiguration, Mark 9:2-11; "Looking Into the Valley" [Listen]

There is a reason the Transfiguration was so important to early followers who faced threats to faithfulness in the valley and no escape. They remembered that they did not need Moses or Elijah. They could still look down into their valley, and the only one they needed to see was Jesus.

February 12, 2012, 6th Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; "Exercising for Strength"[Listen]

Presbyterians run the race together in our "connectional church". EACH of us must exercise so that ALL of us will be strong together. Northwood is in a place right now where all of us together need everything each of us has got.

February 5, 2012, 5th Sunday after Epiphany - Lord's Supper, Mark 1:29-39, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; "By All Means"[Listen]

Paul was never in doubt about the mission of the church: "...that by all means I might win some." HOW we live, witness, care and serve is as wide open as "by all means&, but the test is if how we live the mission is really advancing the mission.

January 29, 2012, 4th Sunday after Epiphany, Mark 1:21-28, Deuteronomy 18:15-22; "Spirit Speak and Spoken Words"[Listen]

Go's Spirit speaks in messages that are deeper, richer, fuller than we can hear in spoken words. The demons we hear shouting in the world have no place at all deep in us. Only God is there, and only God speaks of a love beyond all loving, of purpose beyond any plans, of meaning greater than memories - because Spirit speak is always future tense, and Christ is always leading.

January 15, 2012, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, Jonah 3:1-5, John 1:43-51; "Full of Surprises"[Listen]

Jesus sees something in Nathaniel that others do not see. God sees something in Ninevah that Jonah does not see. Jesus sees something in others that we do not see. He even sees something in us that we do not see. And maybe finding our true selves in Christ's love could be the best surprise.

January 8, 2012, Sunday after Epiphany - Lord's Supper, Matthew 2:1-12; "Inquiry and Imagination"[Listen]

When we put them at the manger, we focus on the gifts in their hands. But when we look at their journey, we focus on why we call them "wise". We miss the meaning of their witness because we ask the wrong questions. Do we limit God's revelation by asking the questions that limit God to the answers we already have?

December 25, 2011, Christmas Day, Luke 2:1-20; "God Talks to Shepherds"[Listen]

If it was a message of "great joy to all people," why did God send a choir of angels to a small group of shepherds on a remote hillside in the night?

December 18, 2011, 4th Sunday in Advent - JOY, Isaiah 62; "Deeper than Merry"[Listen]

Mary and Joseph trusted God, gave their best, and knew that God had bigger things in mind than they could dream. They were “the Lord’s servants” and model parents.

December 11, 2011, 3rd Sunday in Advent - LOVE - Lord's Supper, Isaiah 61; "A Model Parent for God"[Listen]

Mary and Joseph trusted God, gave their best, and knew that God had bigger things in mind than they could dream. They were “the Lord’s servants” and model parents.

November 20, 2011, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Ezekiel 34:11-24, Ephesians 1:15-23; "Center or Sidelines"[Listen]

There’s the answer to why we think Thanksgiving is so different. We put thanks in the center of everything. Thanks moves lots of things to the sidelines. ...and that is really different!

November 13, 2011, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, I Thessalonians , Matthew 25:14-30; "Credit, Saving and Spending"[Listen]

Where is your heart? Where is your life? Where is your treasure? What does your treasure say about your saying yes and no? Those are the questions that can solve every fear you have…

November 6, 2011, Sunday after All Saints - Lord's Supper, Revelation 713-17, Matthew 25:31-40; "In Crowds and Clouds"[Listen]

Presbyterians may not have official saints, but we all have a crowd of people who taught us grace by living it. At the Table today, we gather our own saints, the crowds still living with us - and the greater cloud who have gone to God and still cheer us on.

October 30, 2011, Reformation Sunday, Joshua 3:14-17, Matthew 23:1-12; "Carrying the Load"<[Listen]

The Pharisees were good at putting heavy burdens on other people’s shoulders, and excusing themselves for not doing what the taught. Jesus does not excuse us from the burden, but says he will carry them with us.

October 16, 2011, 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Matthew 22:15-22; "Faith Before Taxes"[Listen]

They tried to trick Jesus with the question about Caesar and taxes, but Jesus knew they had the wrong question. We have to ask ourselves whether we answer to God or not? Saying yes to God means saying Yes to what Jesus wants - and saying No when Jesus would say no.

October 9, 2011, 17th Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 22:1-14, Philippians 4:4-9; "Mindfulness"[Listen]

Mindfulness is Attentiveness. What we keeps our attention shapes our choices about everything else. Paul tells us to have the same mind that Christ had. So, what is so important to you that it points your purposes and shapes your choices in all the parts of your living?

September 11, 2011, 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 18:21-35, Romans 4:1-12; "Being Honest about Evil"[Listen][PDF]

It is not often that Evil stops us in our tracks, but Presbyterians have always taken evil seriously, and we know there is plenty of evil in the world. Post 9/11, we still know that the only way to overcome Evil is for Grace to overwhelm sin.

September 4, 2011, 12th Sunday after Pentecost - Lord's Supper, Romans 13:8-14; "Under No Olbigation ...Except One"[Listen]

St. Augustine said to Love and do what you will. But he also knew we need help with such freedom, and that without help we get our loves out of order. Where do we find help to do the right thing when we are trying to do the loving thing?

Through 8 weeks in June to August, we performed a learning experiment with worship and sermon that we called "Q&A&Qquot; - question and answer and question. Rather than present a sermon, I gave an introduction to a text and topic in the previous Sunday’s bulletin, then stood in the center aisle and opened a conversation for about 20 minutes as part of Proclamation in the service.
 
June 12, 2011, Pentecost Sunday, Exodus 3:1-6, Acts 2:1-21; "Do You Hear Me Now?"[Listen] [no PDF]

On Pentecost Sunday, we usually talk about "speaking in tongues" or about how the followers spoke and all the people of the different regions heard another language. But the real point is that each person heard the gospel in their own language. God speaks to each one of us in our own language, and that is the good news.

June 5, 2011, Sunday of Ascension - Lord's Supper, Acts 1:6-14; "Task Force and Prayer Group" [Listen] [PDF]

With earthly Jesus turned to Spirit presence, they were in a world like they had never experienced before. Today, us churches are facing a world we have never experienced before. So instead of doing what we always do - like organizing a committee or doing a study, maybe we to take a lesson from what they did. All of them joined together to make the Spirit "one body," and they became a prayer group and a task force.

May 29, 2011, 6th Sunday in Resurrection, Acts 17:22-28, JOHN 14:15-21,; "The Unknown God"[Listen][PDF]

The Greeks were humble enough to think that some god was beyond them. But Paul said that all they needed to know about the one God could be seen in one human man. He not only shows us God. He shows us we are less-than-human until we become human like he was.

May 22, 2011, 5th Sunday in Resurrection, I Peter 2:19-25, JOHN 14:1-14; "A Statement of Fact"[Listen][PDF]

They were worried about where he [and they] were going, and how to get there. But Jesus told them the "way" was not found by asking "where." The "way" is found by following the "who."

May 15, 2011, 4th Sunday in Resurrection, I Peter 2:2-10, JOHN 10:1-10; "Shepherds - KIngs and Teachers"[Listen] [PDF]

Jesus was called King/Messiah and Teacher/Rabbi. He called himself "the Good Shepherd," so we think we are the lambs he loved. But he did not come to make us lambs! He came to make us shepherds and teachers of the King.

May 8, 2011, 3rd Sunday in Resurrection, 1 Peter 1:22-25, LUKE 24:13-31; "Blinded by Bad Vision"[Listen][PDF]

Why didn’t these two travelers on the road recognize Jesus? Their visions got in the way of seeing who he really was, what he really came to do. They had to give up their visions, and learn to see with his vision. They weren’t blind. They were just blinded by bad visions.

May 1, 2011, 2nd Sunday in Resurrection - Lord's Supper, John 20:19-31, 1 Peter 1:3-9; "Seeing is NOT Believing"[Listen]

Thomas loved Jesus, but he wanted to see the proof before he would commit his life to his love. Love and “prove it” are opposites! Love is never built on certainties. Love is at the heart a commitment of trust in the face of what we don’t know, with an understanding that we will never know for sure.

April 24, 2011, Resurrection Sunday, Matthew 28:1-10, Acts 10:34-43; "We are Witnesses"[Listen][PDF]

We are witnesses that life have been changed forever by an empty tomb and a risen Lord. So, do not be afraid of what God is able to do, because God gives you the power to do what God wants you to go.

April 17, 2011, Palm Sunday, Matthew 21:1-11; "Life is More than Fiesta"[Listen][PDF]

Everyone loves a party and a parade, especially one that lasts all week. But life is more than fiesta, and you can't sing "Hosanna" as a spectator on the sidewalk. You have to step out into the street and to follow this different King.

April 3, 2011, Matthew 7:7-11; "Asking for Good Gifts"[Listen][PDF]

Bad as we all are in our evil and sin, Jesus says we still know how to give good gifts. The problem is that we are "hit-or-miss," and we become so unsure. At the Lord's table, we see that love comes through in the simple gifts, because the love is the gift in whatever we unwrap.

March 27, 2011, Matthew 7:1-5; "Presbyopia"[Listen][PDF]

Presbyopia: "elder eyes" - old vision; the ability to see things at a distance, but they become blurry close up. We get scared when we don't things are not as they appear, and we wind up being afraid of everything. We jump to judge before we see others clearly, and we can't. Our corrective lenses don't really help with spiritual blindness. We need new eyes. We need his vision before we get judged the way we judge.

March 20, 2011, Matthew 6:24-34; "The Cure for Worry"[No Audio] [PDF]

Worry adds an extra problem to the situations that we face, and let's be honest: most of our worries are our own choosing. It's not like we don't have food or clothes. Jesus says God will provide what we need, so maybe the cure for worry is simple: 1) Shift our viewpoint. 2) Trust God. 3) Serve God. Sounds so easy, but... maybe life would be easier if we do what we hear him command.

March 13, 2011, Matthew 6:1-20; "Fast, Pray, Give"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus says there are three things we need to practice to get fit for a new life, things that are contradictory to the old life. Fast: We need to make a regular habit of being good to the body that we use to serve God. Pray: We need to develop the habit of listening until we are "tuned" to God's presence and speaking all the time all around us. Give: Instead of "giving" to ourselves all the time, we need to give to the people who have nothing, have too little, have real needs instead of confusing needs with wants like we do.

March 6, 2011, Matthew 5:38-48; A Communion Meditation "Going The Third Mile"[Listen][PDF]

We live in a world that divides between friends and enemies, neighbors and strangers, locals and foreigners, “believers” and “unbelievers.” Maybe we need to come face to face with the cross of forgiveness and realize that the way God has changed the way we live with God is the only way we can change the way we live with others. The way of God with us is forgiveness, and God has walked the third mile. If we put our burden down at this table, we can walk the way with God and turn enemies into friends.

February 27, 2011, Matthew 5:27-32; It's a Marriage. It's Personal"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus is not giving marriage advice. He is talking about vows and faithfulness to them. Some people take these vows very seriously, and some write their own. And some go into marriage without listening to the vows at all. Marriage is the place that exposes self-centeredness more clearly than any other, because it is the nature of marriage vows to deny self-centeredness.

February 13, 2011, Matthew 5:17-26; A Communion Meditation "Table Manners"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus says we have to go way beyond the limits of not murdering someone. We have deal with our own anger that would cause us to call them names. Followers do not measure their faithfulness by what they do not do. We are called to go to our brothers or sisters and face them with our anger before we come to a table and face the one who was murdered by angry people.

February 6, 2011, Matthew 5:13-20; "Do Who You REALLY Are"[Listen] [No PDF]

Jesus says we are "light," and we should Do who we REALLY are - "shine." When we shine HIS light into the dark places of the world around us, we are just helping Christ be a light to the whole world.

January 30, 2011, Matthew 5:1-12; "Who Wants THESE Blessings?"[Listen] [No PDF]

We call it "the sermon on the mount," but it is not a sermon. Matthew 5-7 is a collection of the gathered teachings and commands from Jesus to the followers. They begin with a list of the ways they are blessed to follow him. But when we look at mourning, being humble, and suffering persecution for the sake of right living, we have to ask, "Who wants THESE blessings?"

January 23, 2011, I Corinthians 1:4-9, JOHN 2:35-51; "Impulse Buy or Commitment"[Listen][PDF]

We live in a world where distractions and commercials get our attention to help us buy on impulse before we think. When Jesus walked up to the fishermen and said, "Follow me," he had chosen them before, and they said "yes." It was no impulse buy. It was an immediate commitment!

January 16, 2011, Isaiah 62:1-5, John 2:1-11; "Beneath the Surface"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus turned water into wine at his mother's urging. We ask for miracles, too, when we pray for things we cannot make happen. For Jesus, the miracle was a "sign" that pointed to his mission and told people he was a Savior. When we look beneath the surface of our wants and needs, we see "signs" of God's love and grace all around. The real miracle is the way that Christ makes us signs of his grace for others to see.

January 9, 2011, Isaiah 60:1-6, MATTHEW 2:1-13; "Wisdom = Seeing + Seeking"[Listen][PDF]

We sing "We Three Kings of Orient Are" and celebrate the mix of fact and fiction in the story. They were not Kings, there may not have been three of them, we don't know where they came from, and they were too late to be part of the scene at the manger. What the story does tell us is that foreigners could see a star that pointed them to a strange God, and they had enough wisdom to do more than see. They went seeking.

January 2, 2011, 2nd Sunday in Christmastide, Ephesians 1:3-14, Matthew 2;13-21; "The Other Cost of Christmas"[Listen] [PDF]

In the escape to tensil and holiday celebration, we forget that Christmas is the announcement of the birth of a Savior to will overcome sin and Evil, ours and the world. We know there are evil people in the world - like Herod - who do terrible things - like murder children. But they remembered and told the story, because God was willing to bear the other cost of Christmas so that Evil would always be conquered by divine love.

December 26, 2010, 1st Sunday in Christmastide, Isaiah 63:7-9, LUKE 2:8-20; "The Power of a Helpless God"[Listen]

Some of the shepherds went off to see if what the angel told them was true - and it was. But he did not look like a King in a palace. He was just a baby in a feed trough with a humble mother and father. That was the miracle! God was born to helplessness to show us just how far love will go for us.

December 24, 2010, Christmas Eve, Luke 2:1-20; "The Wonder of Christmas"[Listen]

The scripture is so familiar and the story so simple. Why have we added so many "extras" in activity and symbol and meaning? I wonder what we can do without, and still experience the wonder of Christmas?

December 19, 2010, 4th Sunday in Advent, Isaiah 7:10-16; "JOY - Great Expectations"[Listen] [PDF]

Late in our preparing, we see the candles lighting the way into God's future for us, and our choice is to "walk in darkness" or to step toward the "great light." The fourth candle named JOY is just enough to make us shift our weight and point our leading foot in the direction of God's light. You are expecting your Savior! He is on the way, ...anytime now.

December 12, 2010, 3rd Sunday in Advent, Isaiah 35:1-10, Luke 1:47-55; "LOVE - Mother's Day"[Listen] [PDF]

What better example of LOVE for Advent in all its waiting and preparing than Mary, the Mother of God - waiting with availability to God's will and preparing for the great thing that God was doing with her.

December 5, 2010, 2nd Sunday in Advent, Isaiah 11:2-9; "PEACE - A Peace That Works"[Listen]

In Advent we keep hoping for PEACE, and we look everywhere. We agree with Jesus that "there is no peace." But what if we realized that the peace we seek is not the peace he gives? What if we change our definition and start looking for his different peace? We might learn that peace is everywhere - because God is working everywhere. Christ gives a peace that works.

November 28, 2010, 1st Sunday in Advent, Isaiah 2:2-5; "HOPE - Future and Present in the Same Moment"[Listen][PDF]

Why the rush to Christmas? In the calendars of holy-days, we have a whole season to prepare for his Advent. And if we are really looking, we will see the future coming not just in this moment, but in every moment.

November 21, 2010, Christ the King, Jeremiah 23:1-6; Luke 23:33-43; "A King for 'All Things Now Living'"[Listen][PDF]

He said he was a king, and he acted like a very different one with great powers to heal and save. So the real question is why the followers quit following.

November 14, 2010, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Luke 21:5-19; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; "Thanksgiving - A New Work Ethic"[Listen][PDF]

The church in Thessalonica was having problems with their work ethic. Some were getting without giving, and Paul thinks the real problem is that the body of Christ is made for inter-dependence and mutual responsibility. Paul assumes that the body of Christ is givers and not getters. And the beginning and end of our giving is the thanks we give to the giver.

October 31, 2010, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, LUKE 19:1-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; "Every Good Resolve"[Listen][PDF]

Reformation Sunday celebrates our part of the Christian church, and we admit that the Reformation was a long time ago. In our time, we can celebrate the fact that the next great Reformation has already started. Reformed people know the world always needs re-forming, and that will not happen unless we live re-formed in the world.

October 24, 2010, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, LUKE 18:9-14; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; "Lord, Have Mercy"[Listen][PDF]

The Pharisee was thankful he was better than others, and the tax collector just confessed he needed to be better. When we focus on our need to confess our own sins, we are less likely to be judgmental. In fact, we may learn to show others the mercy we pray for ourselves.

October 17, 2010, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jeremiah 31:27-34, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; "All Scripture is Useful"[PDF]

Paul says, “all holy writings are useful.” We have trouble with the Bible: we are intimidated by what we don’t understand, we don’t understand the world of the writings then, we don’t know how to translate them to the modern world. But to be honest, what really bothers us in scripture are the things that are too easy to understand.

September 26, 2010, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19, LUKE 16:119-31; "Too Rich and Too Deaf"[Listen][PDF]

He was more than rich. He was deaf. He never heard the cries of the beggar, then he cried in his own torment past death. Jesus knew that the too rich and the too deaf never hear his message, because they are too self-centered. That is why they would never be happy in heaven, and why they go to hell. So, the question: What about us, between the rich and the poor?

September 19, 2010, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, LUKE 16:1-13; "The Means to One End"[Listen][PDF]

He was a dishonest manager and a shrewd manipulator who was not faithful to his owner and served his own interests. Why would Jesus use him as an example? ...to teach the followers that only the end justifies the means. And Jesus says there is only one end that never ends.

September 12, 2010, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, LUKE 15:1-10; "Cost-Benefit Analysis"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus tells three parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son to answer grumblers about why he spends so much time with sinners. He seeks the lost. Finding them is worth the seeking. What does it cost us when we do not look for the lost?

September 5, 2010, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jeremiah 18:1-11, LUKE 14:25-33; "Was Jesus Exaggerating"[Listen]

“Hate life itself...” and “give up all your possessions,” said Jesus. Now before we dismiss these sayings as idealistic exaggeration, maybe we ought to ask what cost we have paid for following the one who did what he asked others to do.

August 29, 2010, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Galatians 6:7-10, LUKE 14:7-15; "First in Line"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus was a guest at a banquet and saw two problems: some guests were rushing to the front leaving others in the back, and there were those who could not get in at all. He tells two illustration stories to teach the lesson that there is room enough for everyone at the Lord’s table. We just need to remember who he says always comes first at his table.

August 22, 2010, 21th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Hebrews 12:18-29, LUKE 13:10-17; "The Day That Makes the Difference"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus healed a woman in the middle of a worship service, and a lot of people were unhappy. They brought all their usual viewpoints into the sanctuary, and they forgot it was a holy place where they could connect to grace and listen to God. In worship, the Spirit has power to do strange and mysterious things that changes the way we see the week.

August 15, 2010, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Isaiah 5:1-7, LUKE 12:49-56; "Explaining Away the Obvious"[Listen][PDF]

Any Texan knows that a black cloud in the West means it is going to rain on someone. No clouds means more heat for everyone. Jesus says that the signs of the times are just as obvious, and he wonders why we can't see them. Could it be that we want to evade the present? Could it be that we are so caught up in the pressure of the present that we don't have time to look around?

August 8, 2010, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Hebrews 11:29-40, LUKE Luke 12:32-40; "Trusting in Something Better"[PDF]

Faithfulness is in the hoping – in the continual hoping that always pulls us into God’s promise. When hope turns away from the promise, hope is helpless and faith is frozen. The promise is everything, and it is worth giving everything to nothing but a promise. The promise is always out there somewhere just beyond our vision of sure and always beyond our grasp of certain.

August 1, 2010, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Lord's Supper, Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17, LUKE 12:13-21; "Letting Go, Taking On"[Listen][PDF]

Jesus teaches one lesson by giving an illustration of a rich man with too small a barn, who wound up being a fool. He was greedy and counted his life by "the abundance of possessions." We don't have to be rich to be greedy for stuff, and the grace from the Table may cure our ways and change our lives.

July 25, 2010, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Colossians 2:5-16, LUKE 11:1-13; "The Misplaced Comma"[Listen][PDF]

We live with "prayer confusion," asking Christ to help us do his will, and other times telling God what we want done to make our lives better or our loved ones lives easier. We think that if we say the right things, perform the right prayer rituals, the magic will happen. But what if we start from a different place in our prayers? What if we pray the way Jesus really taught us to pray?

July 11, 2010, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Colossians 1:9-14, LUKE 10:25-37; "A Different Definition"[Listen][PDF]

We define “neighbor” as someone close by - proximity of location or similarity or interests. Like many things, Jesus turns the definition upside down and says that a neighbor is the one who sees a person in need right in front of him, and does what is needed - and more. What if being a merciful neighbor means we go out of the way to pay the bill?

July 4, 2010, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Galatians 6:7-16, LUKE 10:1-11; "Oxymoron - Independent Christian"[Listen][PDF]

Us modern Americans have developed mythical definitions of freedom that celebration personal choice. But us faithful Christian have an inevitable contradiction with the commandment to follow Christ. What does it mean to call Jesus Lord? What would it mean if being a his faithful servant meant perfect freedom?

These sermons come from worship at Brenham Presbyterian Church, Brenham, TX. I served these good people from Nov, 2009 through June, 2010.
June 20, 2010, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Galatians 3:23-29, LUKE 8:26-39; "Asking a Name"[recorder failure] [PDF]

A name is a powerful thing, never to be taken lightly. The man from the Garasene region was possessed by so many demons that people had named him “Legion.” Why was he terrified of Jesus’ power? Luke tells about the amazing power of Jesus. Jesus called him by name and had power over his torment. We can know that same power when we call him by name.

June 13, 2010, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Galatians 2:15-21, LUKE 7:41-50; "Grace, Gratitude, and a Gentle Savior"[recorder failure] [PDF]

She had great gratitude because she had been forgiven much, and the other people at the table may not have felt the need for much forgiveness at all. Jesus says that there is enough mercy in God for a whole world of sinners. We just need to need the mercy.

June 6, 2010, 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 1 Kings 18:30-39, LUKE 7:1-10; "Faith for the Asking"[Listen]

The church celebrates the Trinity, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, 3-in-1. But we have a hard time keeping all 3 in the 1. One time to another, we really think of God as 1 of them and not all 3 of them. Jesus has a better explanation, and he points to the obvious solution to who God is in the 3-in-1. We cannot see God, but we can know God in Jesus.

May 23, 2010, Pentecost Sunday, John 14:8-17, 25-27, ACTS 2:1-21; "A Gift for Each One"[Listen] [PDF]

Jerusalem had become the intersection of the trade routes of the world. People from North and South and East and West were always in the streets. They heard the sounds of rushing wind. The gift the followers experienced was fire that touched their tongues and gave them the Spirit to speak, but everyone received the gift of hearing the message in their own language. The message? The Messiah of the Jews was really the Savior of the whole world!

May 16, 2010, 7th Sunday in Resurrection, , John 17:20-26, ACTS 16:16-26; "Do-Gooders and Trouble-Makers"[Listen] [PDF]

Who could be more different than a former Pharisee from Jerusalem and a Greek woman who sold cloth? But they had one thing in common! Paul opened his heart to a call, and followed the call he heard. Lydia opened her heart to what she heard, too. What do we really have in common? We are all being called to service and faithfulness, and we help each other listen to the Spirit who is always calling.

May 9, 2010, 6th Sunday in Resurrection, , John 14:23-29, ACTS 16:6-15; "God is Always Calling"[Listen] [PDF]

Who could be more different than a former Pharisee from Jerusalem and a Greek woman who sold cloth? But they had one thing in common! Paul opened his heart to a call, and followed the call he heard. Lydia opened her heart to what she heard, too. What do we really have in common? We are all being called to service and faithfulness, and we help each other listen to the Spirit who is always calling.

May 2, 2010, 5th Sunday in Resurrection, , John 13:31-35, REVELATION 21:1-5; "How God Makes All Things New"[Listen] [PDF]

“Making all things new” is what God does. God’s vision in Revelation is where the whole creation is headed. God did something completely new in Christ, and that is how all things have become new. But how does God make us new? God knows we keep living old ways, because we are blind and don’t know it. So God gives us Jesus to cure our blindness and give us a new vision of what love is. All things will become new for us when we do new things the way Christ would do them – when we love others the way Christ love us, and them.

April 25, 2010, 4th Sunday in Resurrection, Revelation 7:9-17, JOHN 10:1-10; "Shepherds of the Good Shepherd"[Listen] [PDF]

Psalm 23 is a favorite passage in the Bible. It tells us all the qualities that make a shepherd good. But what does it say about what makes a sheep good? What does the Good Shepherd say about making the sheep good? And how does the power of the resurrection change us from good sheep to good shepherds?

April 18, 2010, 3rd Sunday in Resurrection, Acts 9:1-9, JOHN 21:1-14; "Gone Fishin'"[Listen] [PDF]

Yes, Jesus had already appeared twice. They saw him and heard him. They knew he was risen from the dead! So why did they go fishing? Why did they go back to their old life? Why do we keep going back to the old habits and patterns when Jesus keeps showing up to offer us the new life?

April 11, 2010, 2nd Sunday in Easter, Acts 5:24-27, JOHN 20:19-31; "Honesty is the Best Policy"[Listen] [PDF]

We think of the Lord’s Supper as the center of worship on Thursday in Holy Week, but the early church celebrated at the Table as the center of worship every Sunday. The Lord had told them to remember him at the Table, and what they remembered was the difference between Jesus in the Upper Room and the Risen Lord who was always with them in the loaf and cup.

April 4, 2010, Resurrection Sunday, Isaiah 25:6-9, LUKE 24:1-12; "What They Remembered"[Listen]

We call Thomas “the doubter,” but all the followers doubted. The difference with Thomas was his honesty, and his not trying to hide from his doubts. The early followers all learned that hiding from our doubts does not protect us at all and doesn’t help anyone.

March 7, 2010, 3rd Sunday in Lent, Isaiah 55:1-13, LUKE 13:1-9; "Life is Priceless! Make the Most of It."[Listen] [PDF]

Jesus is welcomed by sinners and faces opposition from the insiders. He says that the door so narrow that insiders will find themselves on the outside even though people who come from all directions will have not trouble getting inside to sit down at the table.

February 21, 2010, 1st Sunday in Lent, Deuteronomy 36:1-10, LUKE 4:1-13; "The Review Before the Test"[Listen] [PDF]

Jesus was ready for the testing, and he used the answers of faithfulness, loyalty, and trust to face every test all the way to the final exam. We can use the forty days to experiment with his answers to the test that life is putting in front of us. His answers can bring the changes in us that we can never change for ourselves.

February 7, 2010, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Luke 5:1-11, ISAIAH 6:1-8; "A Vision in Plain Sight"[Listen]

Isaiah wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary, but he met the presence of the living God in a mystical vision of awe and wonder. His experience becomes the best lesson is what worship really is. For us at the table, the vision comes in plain sight.

January 31, 2010, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jeremiah 1:4-10, LUKE 4:21-30; "Welcoming the New Pastor"[Listen] [PDF]

Jesus wore out his welcome in one hour at his hometown worship service, and they even tried to kill him! Why? Maybe there are lessons here for every congregation about listening to the leading of a new pastor.

January 24, 2010, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, I LUKE 4:14-21; "Jesus' Mission Statement"[PDF]

In worship at Jesus' hometown synagogue, God's Spirit leads him to read his mission statement from Isaiah. As followers, our mission is to make his mission our own.

January 17, 2010, Sunday for Ordination and Installation, Joshua 1:1-9, I Corinthians 12:31-13:13; "The More Excellent Way"[Listen]

Like the chosen people looking over the Jordan into lands of Promise, we remember the struggles in the wilderness – and we remember that God is always with us. We move toward the future with faith and hope, but what unites us is “the more excellent way” - the living of Christ’s love.

January 10, 2010, Sunday of the Lord's Baptism, Isaiah 43:1-7; "One Baptism, Lived Everyday" [PDF][Listen]

We baptize with water, and God baptizes with Holy Spirit (and with fire). It’s all God’s doing, and we even hear the quiet, Spirit voice saying to us, too, “You are mine. You are beloved. I am pleased with you.”

January 3, 2010, Sunday before Epiphany, Matthew 2:1-12; "Huge World, Little Town" [PDF][Listen]

The Magi came to find the baby king, and learned he was the Savior of the whole world. The huge world has come to our little town, and we are called to go and tell everyone, including the ones we know.

December 27, 2009, 1st Sunday in Christmas, Luke 2:41-52; "The Secret to Parenting" [PDF]

Yes, Mary and Joseph left the city and left Jesus behind. They didn't know he was missing. But they left him in the right place, and he felt right at home in "church."

December 20, 2009, 4th Sunday in Advent, Micah 5:2-5a; "Little Town, Little Clan, ...Great Joy" [PDF][Listen]

From a little clan in a small town came the strength of the Lord and joy to the world.

December 13, 2009, 3rd Sunday in Advent, Zephaniah 3:14-20; "Strong Hands" [PDF]

Love is an active verb, and love is an deed done more than a thought said. Christian love is deeds done after the example of Jesus until life patterns begin to point to Christ.

November 29, 2009, 1st Sunday in Advent, Jeremiah 33:14-16; "The Promise of Hope" [PDF]

The widow’s mite has become a symbol of stewardship. She was not thinking about how rich or poor she was when she gave what she had. She gave first to God because she gave herself with her gift.

November 22, 2009, Christ the King Sunday, Mark 12:38-44; "He's Still the King" [PDF]

Pilate should have known, but he didn't have a clue. A king is a king. We have every reason to know, because the King is still the king.

November 15, 2009, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, I Samuel 1:4-20, 2:1-10; Mark 13:1-8, "Beginnings of the Birth Pangs" [PDF]

Jesus could see unrest and upheaval all around, and it was a sign of the end and the beginning. The worst of times can be the best of times, when we have faith that God is working all the time.

November 8, 2009, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 12:38-44; "What to DO with What you HAVE" [PDF]

The widow’s mite has become a symbol of stewardship. She was not thinking about how rich or poor she was when she gave what she had. She gave first to God because she gave herself with her gift.

November 1, 2009, All Saints' Day: Isaiah 5:6-9, Revelation 21:1-6a "Dreams, ...and in the Meantime" [PDF]

We all have dreams of great tomorrows that are bigger than reality, and Revelation dreams of a new heaven and a new earth. But what makes the dream real is love in the here and now. All the unofficial saints make the love of God very real.