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The Most … Word #2: The Most Popular Word In The Bible

The Most Useful Word In The Bible The Most Popular Word In The Bible The Most Popular Word In The Bible Matthew 26:26-29It may surprise you to know that the word “bread” is what may be termed the most popular word in the Bible. I went to my Bible concordance recently...

The Tomb Is Important Because The Tomb Is Not Important

The Tomb Is Important Because The Tomb Is Not Important Revelation 1:4-8, 22:12-13 If you were to visit the city of Jerusalem today, you would be shown two tombs both of which claim to be the tomb of Jesus. First, you would be shown what is called “The Garden Tomb.”...

Palm Sunday: Celebration Or Confrontation

Palm Sunday: Celebration Or Confrontation John 18:33-38When Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on that first Psalm Sunday, because of the way He entered the city and because of the response He received, He knew that He was signing His own death warrant. Let me...

The Sound Of Hammering

The Sound Of Hammering Acts 2:22-24 Whatever else is to be made of it, the cross of Jesus Christ is a dreadful fact—as black as a splash of ink upon the record of human history. How did it happen—this appalling act? What sudden orgy of insanity overwhelmed the usually...

Crossroads On The Cross Road

Crossroads On The Cross Road Luke 23:26-32 We call it the Via Dolorosa—the way of sorrows, the way of grief. I refer, of course, to the route which Jesus traveled through the streets of the city of Jerusalem on His way to the hill called Calvary. Today, I would like...

The Best Loved Carol Of Them All

The Best Loved Carol Of Them All Matthew 2:7-12 Today, I wish to tell you the story of the best loved Christmas carol of them all, weaving in its sublime message and meaning. It is a story which will introduce to us seven people: a village priest, a substitute...

Christmas Is For Ordinary People

Christmas Is For Ordinary People Luke 1:26-38 Christmas has been, is now, and always will be for ordinary people. In other words, Christmas is for you and for me. When we stop to examine the Christmas story, what strikes home to us is its ordinariness. Christmas came...

What True Presbyterians Believe #1: Sola Christus

Sola Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Sola Gratia Sola Ecclesia What True Presbyterians Believe: Sola Christus John 14:1-6For four generations now, members of my family have served in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. For nearly forty years...

The Story I Never … #1: The Story I Never Tire Of Hearing

The Story I Never Tire Of Hearing The Story I Never Tire Of Telling The Story I Never Tire Of Hearing Luke 19:29-44I wish to read these few verses from Paul's letter to the Philippians. A handful of words, really. But these words are nothing less than the Word of God:...

The First Family Of Our Faith

The First Family Of Our Faith Matthew 1:18-25 Once upon a time ... in a little town called Nazareth, there lived a young woman named Mary and a young man named Joseph… Interesting that for all the impact Mary and Joseph ultimately made upon the world, we know so...

Simeon And Anna: No Songs Like The Old Songs

Make Your Heart Christ’s Home The Best Christmas Presents Are Wrapped In Heaven No Songs Like The Old Songs When It Is More Blessed To Receive Some Christmas Memories Simeon And Anna: No Songs Like The Old Songs Luke 2:25-38You know what they say—“There are no songs...

Mary: A Faith Too Important Not To Share

Mary: A Faith Too Important Not To Share Luke 1:26-35Once in a while, there are lines in television commercials which I can’t seem to get out of my mind…Once in a while, there are lines in television commercials which I can’t seem to get out of my mind… For example,...

Innkeeper: When God Knocks, How Will You Answer?

Innkeeper: When God Knocks, How Will You Answer? Luke 3:1-7 The inn at Bethlehem has become the most famous of all inns—not because of what happened there, but because of something that might have happened, but didn’t. How does the Bible say it? You know the words by...

1,500 Sermons Later

1,500 Sermons Later September 11, 2005 | PROVIDENCE Presbyterian Church | II Corinthians 4:1-6On September 8, 1968, I stood to preach my first sermon in my first church, the First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore, Texas. Ever since on the second Sunday of September each...

Cross Words #5: A Staircase To Heaven

You Can't Step In The Same River Twice Thirsty Lips and A Thirsty Heart The Very First Christian God's Light In Dark Times A Staircase To Heaven A Dying Word And A Living Faith Cross Words: A Staircase To Heaven John 19:28-30Nothing—not even Calvary—could conquer...

Cross Words #3: The Very First Christian

You Can't Step In The Same River Twice Thirsty Lips and A Thirsty Heart The Very First Christian God's Light In Dark Times A Staircase To Heaven A Dying Word And A Living Faith Cross Words: The Very First Christian Luke 23:39-43Two thieves were crucified with Jesus....

The Sublimity Of Simplicity

The Sublimity Of Simplicity Luke 22:14-20 I am a simple man. I have a simple faith. I simply believe in Jesus Christ. Consequently, I have a hard time with our tendency to complicate anything and everything these days. I remember what Alfred Lord Tennyson had to say...

To God Alone Be The Glory

To God Alone Be The Glory September 12, 2004 | Providence Presbyterian Church | Romans 1:8-17On the second Sunday of September 1968, I stood for my first time to preach my first sermon in my first church, The First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore, Texas. Consequently,...

Why I Believe #10: Why I Believe In The Resurrection

Why I Believe In The Incarnation Why I Believe In Angels Why I Believe In The Virgin Birth Why I Believe In Jesus Christ Why I Believe In God Why I Believe The Bible Why I Believe In The Church Why I Believe In Heaven Why I Believe In The Atonement Why I Believe In...

Why I Believe #8: Why I Believe In Heaven

Why I Believe In The Incarnation Why I Believe In Angels Why I Believe In The Virgin Birth Why I Believe In Jesus Christ Why I Believe In God Why I Believe The Bible Why I Believe In The Church Why I Believe In Heaven Why I Believe In The Atonement Why I Believe In...

Why I Believe #2: Why I Believe In Angels

Why I Believe In The Incarnation Why I Believe In Angels Why I Believe In The Virgin Birth Why I Believe In Jesus Christ Why I Believe In God Why I Believe The Bible Why I Believe In The Church Why I Believe In Heaven Why I Believe In The Atonement Why I Believe In...

Why I Believe #1: Why I Believe In The Incarnation

Why I Believe In The Incarnation Why I Believe In Angels Why I Believe In The Virgin Birth Why I Believe In Jesus Christ Why I Believe In God Why I Believe The Bible Why I Believe In The Church Why I Believe In Heaven Why I Believe In The Atonement Why I Believe In...

A Prayer for Christmas #4: The Peace Of The Christ Child

Joy Of The Angels Eagerness Of The Shepherds Perseverance Of The Wise Men The Peace Of The Christ Child Obedience Of Mary And Joseph A Prayer for Christmas: The Peace Of The Christ Child Luke 2:1-14Nobody loves Christmas more than I do. However, I do feel constrained...

A Provocative Church #7: Saved By Grace

Embracing In Spirit Focused On The Truth Teaching With Boldness Holding Fast To Hope Centered On The Savior Undaunted By Difficulty Saved By Grace Courageous At All Costs A Provocative Church: Saved By Grace Acts 16:25-34The Bible is a treasure chest of great stories....

A Provocative Church #5: Centered On The Savior

Embracing In Spirit Focused On The Truth Teaching With Boldness Holding Fast To Hope Centered On The Savior Undaunted By Difficulty Saved By Grace Courageous At All Costs A Provocative Church: Centered On The Savior Acts 4:1-12I suspect that most of the people who...

Faces About the Cross #4: The People Of Jerusalem

Simon Of Cyrene The Dying Thief The Mother Of Jesus The People Of Jerusalem The Disciple Thomas Faces About the Cross: The People Of Jerusalem Luke 19:29-44It’s a story I never tire of telling and I never tire of hearing. The Passover holiday crowds were gathering in...

Homesickness For God

Homesickness For God Psalm 42:1-6Have you heard the story about the very boring, negative, extremely judgmental preacher who had been invited to preach at Yale University’s chapel? In his sermon, he took the word “YALE” as his outline and let each letter Y-A-L-E serve...

The Faces and Places of Christmas #3: Bethlehem And The Wise Men

Israel And The Family Tree Nazareth And The Holy Parents Bethlehem And The Wise Men Jerusalem And The Jealous King THE FACES AND PLACES OF CHRISTMAS: Bethlehem And The Wise Men Matthew 2:4-12Why were the Wise Men wise? Good question. The Wise Men have both fascinated...

Miraculous Moments in Mark #5: Saved By A Semi-Colon: Epileptic Boy

Let Down By Friends: Paralytic On A Pallet Boat-Huggers And Wave-Riders: Storm At Sea Woman In The Crowd: A Bloody Shame A Dog's Life: Canaanite Woman Saved By A Semi-Colon: Epileptic Boy Eye-Opening Experience: Blind Bartimaeus Kangaroo Court: Before The Sanhedrin...

Miraculous Moments in Mark #4: A Dog’s Life: Canaanite Woman

Let Down By Friends: Paralytic On A Pallet Boat-Huggers And Wave-Riders: Storm At Sea Woman In The Crowd: A Bloody Shame A Dog's Life: Canaanite Woman Saved By A Semi-Colon: Epileptic Boy Eye-Opening Experience: Blind Bartimaeus Kangaroo Court: Before The Sanhedrin...

Miraculous Moments in Mark #3: Woman In The Crowd: A Bloody Shame

Let Down By Friends: Paralytic On A Pallet Boat-Huggers And Wave-Riders: Storm At Sea Woman In The Crowd: A Bloody Shame A Dog's Life: Canaanite Woman Saved By A Semi-Colon: Epileptic Boy Eye-Opening Experience: Blind Bartimaeus Kangaroo Court: Before The Sanhedrin...

Walking With Us In Love

Walking With Us In Love Luke 2:1-7 Familiarity breeds complacency. When William O’Dwyer was serving as the mayor of New York City, he frequently welcomed distinguished visitors to that place. On one occasion he greeted two dignitaries from South America. He asked them...

ICTC

ICTC Philippians 4:10-13I came across a little piece entitled “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” a collection of humorous insights into the faith from the lips of children. Here is a sampling from that collection: Bouncing out of her first day in the nursery class at Mt....

A Great Gospel, A Great Church, A Great Time To Be A Christian

A Great Gospel, A Great Church, A Great Time To Be A Christian September 13, 1998 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Romans 1:8-17The second Sunday of September, 1968,1 stood for the first time to preach my first sermon in my first church, The First Presbyterian...

Holding Jesus At Arm’s Length

Holding Jesus At Arm's Length Mark 1:21-28A personal word before I preach. The world-shaking tragedy of the crash of Swissair Flight 111 has become terribly personal for this congregation. Two of our most faithful members, Polly and Larry Hopcraft, perished in the...

The Gospel Of The Second Chance

The Gospel Of The Second Chance Acts 9:1-19Three of my friends—Elicia Beasley, Theo Kaffenberger and Charlotte Selzer—unbeknownst to each other, have delivered to me a wonderful collection of bloopers which have actually appeared in church bulletins. Here’s a sampling...

Songs of Faith – Sermons of Grace #9: Who Do You Say That I Am?

The Leadership Style Of Jesus Jesus Is Coming Soon-Look Busy! You Can Fail And Still Not Be A Failure The Cross: Stumbling Block Or Stepping Stone? Carpe Diem-Not A Fancy Name For A Fish Dish! Stop Stewing And Start Cooking Getting Back On Top When Life Gets You Down...

A Journey With God #5: The Gift You Won’t Want To Return

That’s What Friends Are For A Tale Of Two Sisters Love Means Saying "I'm Sorry" Cross Prayers The Gift You Won't Want To Return A Journey With God: The Gift You Won't Want To Return Luke 24:1-11A personal word, please, before I preach ... Easter possesses an...

What’s Worth Living For And Dying For?

What's Worth Living For And Dying For? Philippians 2:1-11Songs of faith. Sermons of grace.Here’s my Scripture in a verse: “God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.” Here is my...

No Vacancy

No Vacancy   December 24, 1996 | First Presbyterian Church OrlandoMy name is Eliazor Ben Yakkov, but I suppose that's not so very important. The year is 34 A.D. The place, the little town of Bethlehem. That is important. I am an innkeeper. I operate a small hotel...

Peace By Piece

Peace By Piece John 3:1-17One of my favorite "Peanuts" comic strips is the one where Lucy decides that her brother, Linus, has got to grow up and learn to live without his security blanket of his. So while Linus is asleep, she slips the blanket out of his hands, takes...

What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do #1: Believe It Or Not

Believe It Or Not Eyes Cleansed By Tears See More Clearly Sticking Your Toe Into A Sea Of Joy Jesus Died Of A Broken Heart The Man Who Came Last The Day The King Cried An Easter Symphony In Four Movements What To Do When You Don't Know What to Do: Believe It Or Not...

Looking At Life Through Easter Eyes

Looking At Life Through Easter Eyes John 20:11-18It's all a matter of perspective. It's all a matter of how you look at things. You know the old saying that one person looks at a glass of water and sees it as being half empty. Another person looks at the same glass of...

Home For Christmas #1: Make Your Heart Christ’s Home

Make Your Heart Christ’s Home The Best Christmas Presents Are Wrapped In Heaven No Songs Like The Old Songs When It Is More Blessed To Receive Some Christmas Memories Home For Christmas: Make Your Heart Christ’s Home John 1:1-5The letter came at Christmas time, tucked...

The Gospel: Cheerful Tidings Or Tearful Chidings?

The Gospel: Cheerful Tidings Or Tearful Chidings? Philippians 4:4-7Well, I'm back from my vacation, and boy, am I ever glad!"Well, I'm back from my vacation, and boy, am I ever glad!" You see my wife, Trisha, now more or less lovingly and laughingly refers to our...

Homeward Bound #8: Facing Death Unafraid

Life Is Forever! Reflections On The Resurrection The Promise Of The Pearl Someday Our Prince Will Come Take Me Home To My Mother You Can't Take The Sheep From The Shepherd! Life Is Uncertain, So Eat Dessert First! Facing Death Unafraid Finishing What We Start Moments...

Homeward Bound #7: Life Is Uncertain, So Eat Dessert First!

Life Is Forever! Reflections On The Resurrection The Promise Of The Pearl Someday Our Prince Will Come Take Me Home To My Mother You Can't Take The Sheep From The Shepherd! Life Is Uncertain, So Eat Dessert First! Facing Death Unafraid Finishing What We Start Moments...

Christmas in the Carols #7: O Come All Ye Faithful

Joy To The World Hark, The Herald Angels Sing We Three Kings Of Orient Are O Little Town Of Bethlehem Away In The Manger What Child Is This? O Come All Ye Faithful There's A Song In The Air Angels From The Realms Of Glory It Came Upon A Midnight Clear The First Noel...

Christmas in the Carols #5: Away In The Manger

Joy To The World Hark, The Herald Angels Sing We Three Kings Of Orient Are O Little Town Of Bethlehem Away In The Manger What Child Is This? O Come All Ye Faithful There's A Song In The Air Angels From The Realms Of Glory It Came Upon A Midnight Clear The First Noel...

The Claims of the Christ #7: I Am The Alpha And The Omega

I Am The Bread Of Life I Am The Door I Am The Bright Morning Star I Am The Way, The Truth, And The Life I Am The Resurrection And The Life I Am The Good Shepherd I Am The Alpha And The Omega The Claims of the Christ: I Am The Alpha And The Omega Revelation 1:1-8If you...

Christmas Dreams #4: Fulfillment

Embarrassment Banishment Postponement Fulfillment Christmas Dreams: FulfillmentDecember 25, 1988 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Matthew 2:22-23"What kind of preacher do you have?" a man asked an acquaintance. "He is a lighter of lamps in a dark world," came the...

Christmas Dreams #3: Postponement

Embarrassment Banishment Postponement Fulfillment Christmas Dreams: PostponementDecember 18, 1988 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Matthew 2:19-21Think with me about Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, the man most often forgotten at the manger… Just north of...

Christmas Dreams #1: Embarrassment

Embarrassment Banishment Postponement Fulfillment Christmas Dreams: Embarrassment Matthew 1:18-25He is, I think, the forgotten figure of the Christmas story. I refer to Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth… Our Christmas cards portray the Babe in Bethlehem, the mother...

Cross Road #5: No Exit

Agony In A Garden Blind Justice In The Fox’s Den No Exit Human Cruelty And The Gentleness Of God Cross Road: No Exit Luke 23:13-25To put it mildly, Pontius Pilate was on the spot. Was he ever! He was caught between the proverbial "rock and a hard place." He didn't...

Why Christ Came

Why Christ Came Matthew 1:18-23Have you ever wanted to cry out: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen"? But then when you tried to express your feelings in words, something down inside of you said: "Oh, what's the use? No one can really understand." Have you ever felt...

Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark I Thessalonians 4:13-18It was a question which was put to literally thousands of individuals all across this country: "Do you believe that there is life after death?" I was surprised to read the results of the survey. The results indicate that only...

The Greatest Strains Come From The Greatest Strain

The Greatest Strains Come From The Greatest StrainSeptember 21, 1986 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Romans 8:26-39I remember reading about the epitaph which marks the grave of a man named John Breshear and his wife, Phoebe. John Breshear grew up in poverty and...