Archive for the ‘sermon’ Category

Jesus Lived Generously

October 14, 2015

That’s the title of the sermon I preached Sunday at Healdsburg Community Church. It’s on the feeding of the 5,000 as recorded in Mark, and I found quite a lot to think about there. It’s a provocative (and unsettling) commentary on how I respond to needy people–an ancient, contemporary issue. You can listen here.


Disappointment with God: Naomi’s Story

July 13, 2015

Here’s an audio link to the sermon I preached on Sunday. It’s a sketch of Naomi (in the book of Ruth), her bitterness and disappointment with God, and the way in which God reached into her situation. The sermon lasts 23 minutes, and I think it’s pretty good!

What in the World is Holiness?

July 21, 2014

That’s the title of the sermon I preached on Sunday. As you may know, I don’t preach very often, so it’s pretty exciting to me when I do! I spoke from Isaiah 6:1-5 and Hebrews 12:14-16, seeking to rehabilitate the word “holy.” If that sounds boring, it might be because the word hasn’t yet been rehabilitated for you.

Here’s the link: It goes about 25 minutes.

Sermon: What We Need

July 26, 2013

Here’s the audio of the sermon I preached last Sunday. You can either stream it or download.

The sermon is about God’s justice, his setting the world right. I examine the beautiful, little-known Psalm 72. There is mention of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, along with Abraham, David and Jesus.

The Lord’s Supper

November 6, 2012

Sunday I preached on 1 Corinthians 11, speaking briefly to women wearing hats but going on to focus on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. You can listen to it at

What Is a King?

April 13, 2012

Here, after considerable delay, is the audio for my Palm Sunday sermon. I had a ton of very positive responses.

My main concern was the nature of royalty. In religious contexts we talk about “King” and “Lord” but those political realities are lost to history: all that survives are pomp and circumstance. It’s hard to fill out the meaning of “the kingdom of God” if “king” is a vague concept.

It clearly wasn’t for those who cheered Jesus into Jerusalem. Nor was it for Jesus.

In the sermon I try to recreate the meaning of “king” and then discuss what kind of king Jesus was. He wasn’t conventional, certainly.

Signs and Wonders in the Kingdom of God

February 2, 2012

Sunday I preached at my church. We’re doing a series on the Kingdom of God, and my topic was signs and wonders. If you’re interested, this is a good introduction to my book, Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God’s Power. Due in July. Amazon, B&N,

My favorite part is talking about the usefulness of signs–the kind you see along the highway, that is.

Here’s the link to the sermon. You can stream or download. It’s just over 20 minutes.

The Difficult Jesus–Matthew 12

January 20, 2010

On Sunday I preached on Matthew 12: 15-37, which introduces what I call “the difficult Jesus.” So much of what we learn about Jesus in the gospels is attractive–wise, powerful, compassionate. But this passage portrays Jesus quarreling with the Pharisees, and it’s hard to stomach.

I don’t think Jesus was just  cranky. When we encounter the difficult Jesus, it’s worthwhile to ask, “What is so important it’s worth being difficult about?” Listen if you want to find out.

Herod’s Christmas Massacre

December 16, 2009

I preached Sunday on Herod’s massacre of the children. (Matthew 2: 13-18) I didn’t choose the topic, and for the longest time I wasn’t sure how to preach it. But in the end, I came to believe that Matthew’s way of telling the Christmas story offers an important corrective to our culture’s Christmas. We often experience dissonance between the beautiful, high, lovely vision that Christmas offers, and our real world of difficulty, loneliness, anxiety, violence and hurt. In Matthew, those two come together.

You can listen to the sermon at It begins with a carol, but trust me, the sermon is coming.

John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus

September 30, 2009

I preached last Sunday on Matthew 3, and the audio is posted here:

A brief summary: I talked about John the Baptist and why Matthew chose to start introducing Jesus through introducing him. John is an odd figure, the only person in the New Testament whose clothing and diet are described, a preacher who doesn’t preach where people live but in the desert.

The sermon discusses the historical impact of John, Jesus and the good news they preached. It talks about repentance as something meant to prepare us for Jesus’ coming into our world. Repentance is reorientation, turning from what interferes with or distracts from God’s purposes, and toward God to facilitate his entrance into our world.

I also talk about Jesus’ choice to be baptized, though he had nothing to repent of. I think Jesus shows himself as wanting to “join the church,” identifying with ordinary people at ground level. That is what pleases God so much, and it is Jesus’ consistent method for changing the world.