Category: Sermons

With Glad and Generous Hearts

A few years ago, when I worked for Back Bay Mission, we got a new executive director. She wasn’t a member of the United Church of Christ, and I needed to introduce her to the denomination and to a whole bunch of people. So I took her to Cleveland. I took her to the annual

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Kids These Days

Many of you know that I’m an amateur musician. I play clarinet and tenor saxophone. And while my clarinet is reserved for things like summer band, I actually practice my saxophone. It sits on a stand in my office at home. Sometimes, I can pick it up and work for an hour or so. Sometimes,

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The Rules

Linda Tirado is an author and a journalist. And she told this story to some people at NPR: In 2008, Linda and her husband moved to Cincinnati. They didn’t have much money, so they got a cheap basement apartment. And then a summer storm came through and the flooding ruined a lot of their stuff

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Short. Sweet. Simple.

I am a writer and a preacher, so I know a simple truth: words have power. Words can lift us up and tear us down. Words can impart wisdom and spread ignorance. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… words have almost unimaginable power. A few months ago, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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God’s Away on Business

When I was in seminary, I spent a few months as a student chaplain at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. Along with the other student chaplains, I took classes at the hospital and covered on-calls.  During the week, during the day, there were real professional chaplains at the hospital. People who knew what they

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A Terrible Prophet

The church is a hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints. And even pastors like me struggle to love as we ought to. If you’ve listened to my sermons, you know that I have some issues with how our country has been treating people who come to this country seeking asylum. And you

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Bargains

Sorry there’s no recording this week! We’ve heard the first part of this story before. I know. I’ve preached on the first part of this story from this pulpit before. There was a man named Elkanah, who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. In a world where a woman’s worth was measured by the children

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Wisdom

When I was in high school, I took an English class where I had to present and analyze a poem in front of the class. I chose a poem by Ogden Nash. I don’t remember which poem of his I chose, and his poems are still copyrighted by his estate so I can’t recite one

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That Holy Spirit

Sorry there’s no recording this week! For the last few weeks, we’ve been reading snippets of Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome. Three weeks ago, we heard Paul introduce himself. And he didn’t give the believers in Rome a summary of his resume. He simply told them a fact and a story. He wrote,

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Who Would Go Back?

Sorry there’s no recording this week! You’re going to get a very short sermon today. Mostly because I off-handedly promised the confirmands that I would tell this story: When I was in college, I was in the jazz ensemble. And one of the things we did was travel to different jazz festivals to compete against

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