“Grace Isn’t Fair – And That’s Good” September 30, 2020

“Grace Isn’t Fair – And That’s Good” A sermon based on Matthew 20:1-16 A few years ago, Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal, two zoologists at Emory University, decided to study the evolution of fairness.  They wanted to explore where our distaste for unfairness comes from.  Is it a cultural add-on – something we learn – or is it hardwired? To study this question, Brosnan and de Waal designed an experiment using capuchin monkeys.  Pairs of monkeys were placed in cages...

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“How About Once?” September 13, 2020

“How About Once?” A sermon based upon – Matthew 18:21-35 Genesis 50:15-21 The Coach of the Detroit Lions had put together the perfect football team. But then his quarterback got blindsided and was out for the season with a knee injury. Then his backup went down with a concussion. He tried the trading route, free agents, but nobody any good was available. One evening while watching the news from Iraq, he saw a young Iraqi soldier with an amazing arm. The soldier rifled...

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Ezekiel :1-11 and commentary

Ezekiel 33:1-11    New English Translation (NET) Ezekiel Israel’s Watchman 33 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people, and say to them, ‘Suppose I bring a sword against the land, and the people of the land take one man from their borders and make him their watchman. 3 He sees the sword coming against the land, blows the trumpet, and warns the people, 4 but there is one who hears the sound of the trumpet yet does not heed the warning. Then the...

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“What a Shame to Run Out of Stories” September 6, 2020

“What a Shame to Run Out of Stories” Romans 13:8-14 Matthew 18:15-20 We have some friends in Portland who have attended First United Methodist there for a number of years, and naturally I had a few questions to ask. He described their music program, bragged about their choir, and told me of all the great programs that this church offered to the community. When I asked about the pastor he confirmed that Donna Pritchard was awesome. At the time, Rev. Pritchard was being...

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“You’re Making a Big Mistake” August 30, 2020

“You’re Making a Big Mistake” Exodus 3:1-15 Matthew 16:21-28 When I am asked why I ever entertained the notion of filling the pulpit, as they say – when I’m asked why I became a preacher, I usually answer that it wasn’t my idea. Truth is, there was a handful of people who dragged me kicking and screaming into this thing called ministry in the United Methodist Church. I resisted at first. To my way of thinking, I was totally unqualified: I didn’t have the education, I didn’t...

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“Where’s My Jesus, and What Have You Done With Him?” August 23, 2020

“Where’s My Jesus, and What Have You Done With Him?” Matthew 16:13-20 I’ll never forget my first job. I had somehow managed to get my Junior Lifesaving certificate from the YMCA and so, at the age of 14, I figured I was more than qualified to be a first class, bona fide life guard. As luck would have it, we lived close to an old run down dance hall and resort called Greter’s Lake. Now, this place had seen better days, but folks still came out in the summer and paid their...

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“It’s a Big Table” August 16, 2020

“It’s a Big Table” Matthew 15: 21-28   It’s a known fact that there will be things in our lives that are guaranteed to trigger certain memories. It happens every time. These memories might fade with time, but they will always be there. Every time that I smell Ivory soap, for example, my mind immediately goes to the big old cast iron bath tub at Grandpa John’s house with the crusty old fixtures and a worn out stopper on a rusty old chain. Every time. Our gospel message...

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“Step Out of the Boat” August 9, 2020

“Step Out of the Boat” A sermon based upon Matthew 14:22-33 Let me tell you about Clarence Palin. As far as I know, Clarence had worked in the woods of W. Montana all his life since he was just a kid. There wasn’t a piece of equipment that he couldn’t run and run well. To us youngsters that didn’t have 20 years’ experience under our belt, Clancy was considered an old timer – and I mean that in a good way. The thing is, if you do anything long enough then sooner or later...

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“That’s What Love Does” August 2, 2020

“That’s What Love Does” A sermon based on Romans 9:1-5 & Matthew 14:13-21 In our reading today from the epistle of Romans, Paul makes a statement that almost slipped by me. Now chapter 9 of the book of Romans starts out as a lament; that is obvious. Verse 1 from the Living Bible reads, O, Israel my people! O my Jewish brothers! How I long for you to come to Christ. My heart is heavy within me, and I grieve bitterly day and night because of you. Even though we know that...

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“The Kingdom of God – So, What’s That Like” July 26, 2020

  “The Kingdom of God – So What’s That Like?” A sermon based on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52   Wow… Wow, wow, wow. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, the kingdom of heaven is like yeast, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure found in a field, the kingdom of heaven is like finding a precious pearl or a net full of fish.” When my daughter was quite a bit younger, she took up the habit of (like) saying the word “like” (like) all the time. I used to keep...

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