Behold, My Servant

At the end of “the Beauty and the Beast” the spell is broken and the true nature of the beast is revealed. You might call this a manifestation, a sign that shows something clearly. The season of Epiphany is all about manifestations that reveal the true nature of Jesus as both fully God and fully man. As the old hymn says “God in man made manifest.” Today we see such a manifestation just after Jesus is baptized in the Jordan river.

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Unfolding the Master Plan

The Ulm Minster is the tallest church in the world (530 ft). It was planned and begun by Heinrich Parler in 1377, but it was not completed until 1890. That’s 513 years of construction! In the beginning, God had a clear plan for the heavens and the earth, for the garden, and for Adam and Eve. Unlike Ulm Minster, which had many architects and builders along with way, God has overseen the development of his plan over thousands of years.

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Go Before the Lord

What was it like when you were born? Was there joy, excitement, wonder, anticipation? Some babies are born with a clear purpose, like princes and princesses. For others, their sense of purpose develops over time. While John the Baptist wasn’t born into a royal household, he was born with a purpose. 

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What Have You Seen and Heard?

A witness is someone who has personally observed something. John was one of the Apostles who lived with and observed Jesus. He saw Jesus die on the cross, and he was also a witness to the resurrection. I was not there to personally witness the resurrection, but I can rely on the testimony of John and others and I have personally seed evidence of what God has done in my own life.

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Proclaiming the Lord’s Death Until He Comes

Jesus, on the night before he died, took the ancient Jewish Passover meal and transformed it with new meaning and significance. Through the sacrament of Holy Communion we are united to Christ, united to one another, and spiritually strengthened to live our our faith in the world.

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The Weary World Rejoices!

When things feel hopeless, we need a source of hope. I don’t mean simply saying, “I wish things were better.” Rather, we need something that makes us say “things will be better.” We can find this hope in something that has happened which points to something that will happen. One night, more than 2,000 years ago, hope entered the world in the form of a baby.

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God’s Favor

When a new president chooses his cabinet members, he has to consider the experience of the candidate, their reputation in the political community, their background and any scandal that might result from their selection, and the likelihood that Congress will confirm their appointment! This is now how God chose King David, nor is it how he chose Mary to be the mother of his Son Jesus.

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Hope for the Hopeless

Situations that seem bleak are often just around the corner from the glory of God. As two disciples walk along the road to Emmaus, they had heard rumors of the Resurrection, but they weren’t convinced and they felt confused and hopeless. Jesus reveals himself through the Scriptures and the breaking of bread to open their eyes to his glory. In the midst of our hopelessness, we can trust that God will never leave us or forsake us.

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Hope, Peace, and Joy

“Hope,” “Peace,” and “Joy:” this time of year we see these words written everywhere: yard decorations, television commercials, wrapping paper, and Christmas cards. These words make us feel good, like a warm blanket and a steaming peppermint latte, but what do they really mean? Imagine for a moment receiving a gift in beautiful packaging, but when you open it there is nothing inside. The words “Hope, Peace, and Joy” can be like that. We hear them, and they make us smile, but a few moments later it is as if they meant nothing. These words can also be some of the best gifts you have ever received, which fill the deepest needs and desires of your heart. Ultimately, it is your choice.

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The Crucified King

As Americans, we don’t have much of an appreciation for the role of a King. In fact, you might say that the roots of our nations are decidedly anti-king. Our constitution was set up with a system of checks and balances to make sure that no one person could hold all the power at one time. We have a right to be afraid of earthly kings, but Jesus is a king that will never fail us. His rule is just and perfect, he always has our best interests and the best interests of his kingdom in mind. And one day he will make right all that is broken in this world.

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