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Category: Sermons

Complicated

It was all supposed to be so simple. On my first or second Sunday here, I said to you that I had a plan. It was one of those plans that you read about in books about how to be a good pastor. I was going to call around…

Unqualified

Years ago, before we were married, Mariah and I went to visit Mariah’s parents for some holiday or another. And Mariah’s aunt and her cousin were also there. One day, Mariah and I were in the living room playing Jenga. And Mariah’s cousin wanted to play, too, so we…

Blessings

One of the best parts of being your pastor is the time with young worshippers right before a baptism. Those are the times when I get to stand in front of the chancel with our young people and bless the water that we will use to claim someone as…

This Was Not Part of the Plan

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to be here. This wasn’t part of the plan… if there was even any plan at all. When I was a kid, I was an acolyte, just like all of the other kids in my church. We would wear albs that…

Unashamed

In the beginning, God planted a garden. That’s not a scientific statement, it’s a theological one. It’s not about the material origins of the cosmos. It’s about the relationship between God and the world. And I understand that it might seem like a delicate distinction, but it’s an important…

Everything We Need

I have been told that you can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible you believe. It’s all or nothing. And that if I want to be a real Christian—a real follower of Jesus—I have to believe every chapter and every verse: the easy parts about love and…

Work

I am incredibly lucky. There’s a quote from the writer and theologian Frederick Buechner: “The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger coincide.” It’s a quote that I heard a lot in seminary and continuing ed. Someone would…

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….

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…

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…

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