Tag Archives: Old Testament

Sermon: “Shame Rolled Away” (Ezekiel 20:1-11)

Each of us here today still lives with the scars and the effects of sin in our life: the sins that we have committed, and the sins committed against us. That is a reality of life in this fallen world. But the good news is that because of Christ’s death and resurrection, for those who believe and turn to God in repentance, we are no longer defined by our past sins. Continue reading

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Sermon: What Are You Building? (Eccl 3; 6; 7)

Things fall apart, and they don’t bear fruit like they should. Sometimes, a farmer plants a seed in the ground—and there is no rain. Sometimes, an entrepreneur builds a great business by wise decisions and honest dealings—and a hurricane wind comes through and wipes her investment away. Sometimes, a married couple tries for years and years to get pregnant—with no success. Sometimes, a single mom works for years scrubbing floors to get out of debt—and then she gets sick, can’t work, and falls right back into debt. In a broken world, wisdom, hard work and obedience to God’s law don’t always yield the results they should.
But the good news, Paul says, is that there is hope for redemption and re-creation. Human beings subjected the world entrusted to them to frustration, to futility—but because of what one perfect Human Being has done, all of creation can be reborn. The creation itself, Paul says, groans as if in labor pains, waiting for us as reborn human beings to be re-created in our resurrection bodies. In one sense, the creation has more “faith” and hope than we humans have! The trees and beasts of the field know that Jesus Christ is risen, and when he returns they will rejoice to see him restore creation to its full purpose. Continue reading

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Pandemic Sermon: Job 42:10-17 and Isaiah 49:14-23, “Receiving Double from YHWH’s Hand”

COVID-19 and the reaction to it has caused deep divisions in our societies, and right down the middle of Christian communities as well….When we come back to meeting together, as a full church, or as an LCC family, or as societies reckoning with the effectiveness of policies (as I hope there will be investigations and evaluations, based in actual scientific understandings of how these viruses work that we had at the time), there will be anger and resentment that has to be dealt with….If we don’t, we could have a permanent division in our communities, which would be tragic.
…As we build back our lives, and build back our church community, can we think of our process as parallel to this—and also see it as an opportunity? Can we articulate our losses, express our anger and our sorrow, hear the anger and sorrow of others, and pray that God would help us to direct it and deal with it appropriately? Can we accept that nothing happens outside of God’s knowledge or control? Continue reading

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Pandemic Sermon: Ezekiel 11:14-25, “I Have Been a Sanctuary”

The human desire to commune with God is very powerful, and when sacrifice according to God’s law was not available, it was very painful. Many allowed themselves to be squeezed into worshiping God on their own terms, rather than according to God’s law. But other Judeans were faithful and accepted the promise of God’s continuing presence through this time of suffering, a presence revealed in ways that they hadn’t seen before, and trusted that he would eventually bring this time to an end. For these Old Covenant saints who were truly seeking YHWH God, this disruption was a time of “creative destruction” that stripped away many beliefs and practices, and allowed them to see just how big and powerful YHWH truly is. Continue reading

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Pandemic Sermon: Numbers and Chronicles, “God Draws Near”

Throughout this time many of us are simply missing human touch and human contact, and direct interaction not through a screen. We are doing the best we can, but it is not the same. I imagine those families in ancient Israel who had loved ones with skin diseases, who had to stay outside the camp or the city and only call out to one another from afar. But there is hope, there is Good News. God was not satisfied with living in a tent or a stone temple among his people. As John writes in his Gospel, “The Word became flesh, and pitched a tent among us, and we beheld his glory.” Continue reading

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Reading Scripture with the Chronicler

On March 3, 2021, I had the honor of presenting a talk to the faculty and students of Spurgeon’s College (London), as part of their weekly postgraduate seminar. (As is seemingly every academic event these days, the seminar was conducted via Zoom.) My presentation was entitled, “Scripture Reading Scripture: Can the Chronicler Teach Us How to Interpret and Apply the Bible?” Continue reading

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Sermon: Job 42:10-17, “Receiving Double from YHWH’s Hand”

This is the audio (48:21, 44.2 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on February 28, Second Sunday in Lent. The sermon is titled, “Receiving Double from YHWH’s Hand.” The main text is Job 42:10-17; I also make reference to Isaiah 49:14-23. Continue reading

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Joshua 22: Should We Believe the Transjordan Tribes?

Regarding Joshua 22, in which the Transjordan tribes (Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh—Gilead) return to their inheritance after helping the other tribes conquer their territory: on its face, the narrative presents a potentially explosive situation, that ends up resolved peacefully. But is that all that is going on, or is there more to it? Continue reading

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Sermon: A People Yet to Be Created

This is the audio (25:00, 22.9 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on December 13, Third Sunday of Advent. The sermon is titled, “A People Yet to Be Created.” The main text is Psalm 102:18–22; I also make reference to the lectionary readings for this Sunday. Continue reading

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Book Review: “Tracking the Master Scribe”

My review of Sara J. Milstein’s Tracking the Master Scribe has been published in the most recent issue of Canadian-American Theological Review. Here is an excerpt from the conclusion, but you should subscribe to read the full review and all the … Continue reading

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