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Divided Loyalties

Divided Loyalties Genesis 19:15-17, 24-26So one day I walked into a plant nursery, and hanging on the wall was a sign that stopped me in my tracks. The sign read “The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago.” Just recently, I’ve been thinking about that... Also,...

The Christian Faith In 25 Words Or Less

The Christian Faith In 25 Words Or Less John 3:16-21 Here, in 25 words or less, is the essence of the Christian Faith: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Twenty-five...

Lessons Learned From My Two Fathers

Lessons Learned From My Two Fathers Proverbs 2:1-8 Today I’d like to share with you some lessons I have learned from my two fathers. I refer, of course, to my earthly father and to my Heavenly Father. You see, so many times in my life, my Heavenly Father used my...

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.”...

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...

Keeping Christmas Holy And Wholly

Keeping Christmas Holy And Wholly Luke 2:1-14 Christmas is more than just a season. Christmas is a time to keep. The things that make Christmas Christmas ought to be true all year round. In the first place, Christmas gives us a new understanding of power. In King...

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...

Joseph: A Star On The Christmas Stage

Joseph: A Star On The Christmas Stage December 4, 2005 | PROVIDENCE Presbyterian Church | Matthew 2:19-23A friend I know set out to try to make Christmas an especially significant faith experience for his family one year. So three weeks before Christmas, he bought a...

God Is Up To Something So Good!

God Is Up To Something So Good! Mark 14:17-25 A story. A song. A symbol. Now, let’s see if I can weave them into a sermon. A story. A famous lawyer was being honored by his colleagues at the American Trial Lawyers Convention. He was asked to reflect on some of the...

Ten For Our Time #9: When Honesty Takes A Holiday

When God Is God When Tolerance Creates Trouble When Profanity Takes Precedence When The Sabbath Is Kept Wholly When Family Comes First When Pro-Life Becomes Principle When Marriage Is A Many-Splintered Thing When Robbery Seems Respectable When Honesty Takes A Holiday...

A Song Of Faith In A Sermon Of Grace

A Song Of Faith In A Sermon Of Grace Philippians 2:5-11 A song of faith in a sermon of grace. Frances Ridley Havergal was born in 1836 in Worcestershire, England, and she was reared in a minister’s home. She had one goal in life and that was to be a true servant of...

A Story That Begins And Ends In Grace

A Story That Begins And Ends In Grace Mark 14:26-31, 66-72 A few years back UCLA was playing Stanford University in a football game. UCLA killed them. The final score was 64 to 0. After the game, a reporter approached the Stanford coach and asked, “What was the...

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....

Cross Words #2: Thirsty Lips and A Thirsty Heart

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: Thirsty Lips and A Thirsty Heart John 19:28-29I ask you to come with me now to...

Skeletons in God’s Closet

Skeletons in God's Closet Matthew 1:1-16 Call them “skeletons in God’s closet.” I am referring to that long list of hard to pronounce names with which Matthew begins his Gospel. You see Matthew dug way back into the history of Israel, and he put together the family...

When Your Heart Needs A Home

When Your Heart Needs A Home Luke 15:11-24Here is the greatest story ever told by the greatest storyteller who ever lived... Once upon a time, there was a man who had two sons. The younger of those two sons said to the father, “Father, give me the share of the...

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,...

The Most Beautiful Song In The World

The Most Beautiful Song In The World Psalm 23 Two men were arguing over which one knew the most about the Bible. One man said to the other, “I’ll bet you don’t even know the 23rd Psalm.” The other man replied, “I’ve got ten dollars that says I do.” The first man said,...

Was The Triumphal Entry A Triumph?

Was The Triumphal Entry A Triumph? Mark 11:1-10 I stand before you today rather like the blindfolded discus thrower—he didn’t set any records, but he sure kept the crowd alert! Well, I’m not planning on setting any records today, but I sure would like to keep you...

Why I Believe #9: Why I Believe In The Atonement

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...

Have You Met Jesus? #6: The Man Who Was Both Saint And Sinner

The Nobody Who Became Somebody The Somebody Who Became Nobody The Man Locked In A Prison Without Bars The Men Who Crashed The Party The Man Who Put Christ First The Man Who Was Both Saint And Sinner The Woman Christ Complimented Have You Met Jesus?: The Man Who Was...

Faces About the Cross #2: The Dying Thief

Simon Of Cyrene The Dying Thief The Mother Of Jesus The People Of Jerusalem The Disciple Thomas Faces About the Cross: The Dying Thief Luke 23:32-43Two thieves were crucified with Jesus. One thief cursed and ridiculed Christ; the other called and reached out to...

What Then Shall We Say To These Things?

What Then Shall We Say To These Things? September 16, 2001 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Romans 8:31-39Whenever I get into trouble or whenever the world gets into trouble, I always turn to Romans 8. We are in trouble. On September the 11th, evil pierced not...

Matthew’s Messiah #1: His Designation

His Designation His Coronation His Confrontation His Isolation His Humiliation His Resurrection Matthew's Messiah: His Designation Matthew 3:13-17The words seem so simple, so straight-forward, so matter-of-fact: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to...

What In The World Is God Doing?

What In The World Is God Doing? Psalm 10As I start tonight, I want to read you some words written by a syndicated columnist. I want to read the words and then I want to tell you when the words were written: “What interests me is not whether God exists—I assume He...

The Faces and Places of Christmas #4: Jerusalem And The Jealous King

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: Jerusalem And The Jealous King December 24, 2000 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | Matthew 2:13-23It has always...

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...

Anticipating The Joy

Anticipating The Joy Luke 2:8-20It snows in Bethlehem. I know that we do not often think of that as being true; but last year, for example, at just this time of the year they had a seven-inch snowfall in Bethlehem. Because that region stands some 2,000 feet above sea...

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...

The Creation Of Mothers Took Overtime

The Creation Of Mothers Took Overtime May 10, 1998 | First Presbyterian Church Orlando | I Corinthians 13Richard Lederer is a Ph. D. professor of English who loves to collect what he calls “accidental assaults upon our language.” One of his funniest collections is...

A Journey With God #4: Cross Prayers

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: Cross Prayers Luke 23:32-49I want to tell you about two men, each of whom rode into a city to die and each of whom...

A Journey With God #3: Love Means Saying “I’m Sorry”

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: Love Means Saying "I'm Sorry" Luke 19:1-10Let me start with this.Let me start with this. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of...

Three Men And A Baby

Three Men And A Baby Matthew 2:1-12Just recently, while driving about the city, I was listening to a talk show on the car radio. The subject had to do with space travel. The featured guest on the talk show was a prominent scientist. A listener called in and asked this...

Tales With a Twist #2: Forgiven! Forgotten! Forever!

Eyes Too Busy To See A Forgiving God In An Unforgiving World It's The Little Things That Count The Cost Of Not Loving Is Too Great To Pay Who Said Life Is Fair? Jesus And The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day God Threw A Party But Nobody Came! E Unum Pluribus...

Bored To Tears Or Bold For Years?

Bored To Tears Or Bold For Years? Acts 4:5-12Just recently, a friend who teaches kindergarten told me about how she was teaching her children the "Popcorn Song". It's an action song which required the children to assume a squatting position and then at the appropriate...

Pilate Error: The Truth About The Lies We Believe

Pilate Error: The Truth About The Lies We Believe John 18:33-34You don't have to love country music in order to appreciate the colossal humor contained in the titles to country songs. Let me share some of my favorites with you. There's the old classic: "I've Got Tears...

Some Things We Can’t Repay, But We Can Pass Them On

Some Things We Can't Repay, But We Can Pass Them On Luke 19:1-10So many times I read something written or hear something said, and I think to myself: "Golly, I wish I had said that!" For example, I came across a series of quotes from different individuals on the...

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...

Tales With a Twist #3: A Forgiving God In An Unforgiving World

Eyes Too Busy To See A Forgiving God In An Unforgiving World It's The Little Things That Count The Cost Of Not Loving Is Too Great To Pay Who Said Life Is Fair? Jesus And The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day God Threw A Party But Nobody Came! E Unum Pluribus...

Christmas in the Carols #6: What Child Is This?

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 Gospel In Miniature

The Gospel In Miniature John 3:16-21If I were to ask you today to write down what you consider to be the single greatest verse in all of the Bible, what would you put down? Of course, I am sure that in all likelihood there would be a variety of answers given. However,...

The Claims of the Christ #6: I Am The Good Shepherd

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 Good Shepherd John 10:11-16Don Locker, a...

The Crises of the Christ #1: The Dawn Of A New Day

The Dawn Of A New Day The Duel In The Desert Coronation For An Unlikely King The Passion For Purity The Dawn Of A New Day Mark 1:4-11The word seems so simple, straight-forward, and matter-of-fact: “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by...

His Prayer, Our Prayer #4: A Declaration Of Dependence Upon God🎧

Close To His Majesty Soli Deo Gloria Riding On God's Shoulders A Declaration Of Dependence To Forgive And Forget Talk Back To The Devil The Defiant Doxology A Declaration Of Dependence Upon God Psalm 33:1-12Are you aware of the fact that when Abraham Lincoln delivered...

His Kingdom Is Forever

His Kingdom Is Forever Matthew 16:13-20Today I want to invite you to invest yourself and your resources in the Church of Jesus Christ. It's the soundest investment you will ever make. Let me explain what I mean... In 1529, Martin Luther wrote these words: Let goods...

Minor Men With a Major Message #12: The Man Who Was Most Like Jesus

The Man Who Snatched Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory The Man Who Wanted Somebody With Skin On The Man God Marked The Man Who Died With No One's Regrets The Man Who Chose The Wrong Friend The Couple Who Paid The High Cost Of Low Living The Man Who Put Profits Before...