“Little Brother,” Genesis 4: 1-10, Hebrews 11: 4

This is a strange story, isn’t? Whether we’ve grown up in church and heard it our entire lives or are new to faith and just getting exposed to it, it is a story that leaves us with more questions than answers. It doesn’t start out confusing, in the beginning it seems fairly straight forward. Adam and Eve get sent out of Eden and proceed to try to make the best out of their new life by starting a family. The kids grow up, one becomes a farmer and the other becomes a herder. Now this is one those places where the time and place we live in may make us miss something important. Continue reading ““Little Brother,” Genesis 4: 1-10, Hebrews 11: 4″

“12 Guys in a Crowd,” Acts 2

I wanted to call this sermon “12 Random Drunks.” I chickened out at the last minute. That’s what has always grabbed my attention on Pentecost. Giant roar of wind, flaming tongues descending, that’s all well and good but what in the world kind of society are we dealing with when the assumption is that twelve people are drunk at nine in the morning at a religious festival. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s day have religious purposes in theory too. Continue reading ““12 Guys in a Crowd,” Acts 2″

“Bearing Witness,” Acts 1: 6-14

Last Sunday evening Meghan and went to Clemson to see one of her cousins get married. It was a very nice venue, beautiful decorations and all that. The original plan was for the ceremony to be outside and the reception inside, the rain messed that plan up so the entire thing had to be indoors. There wasn’t enough space to have a “ceremony” area and a “reception” area, so we all sat at the tables we had been assigned to for the reception during the ceremony as well. It was fun, we were with all Meghan’s cousins, we were also at the closest table to the cake because whoever put the seating chart together knew who they dealing with (the farther away I am the more people I have to shove out of the way when they get between me and cake). Continue reading ““Bearing Witness,” Acts 1: 6-14″

“The Air we Breathe,” Acts 17: 22-28, John 14: 15-21

About a week after Groundhog’s day 2002 my sister and I both received letters from my grandmother. It was a long letter, overflowing with emotion, talking about what a special thing seeing the date 02/02/02 was and how we should take the opportunity to recognize those moments, the rare beauty in our day to day lives that we so often miss because we get so busy and distracted. What was weird was that our letters were practically identical. She pretty much wrote the same thing to each of us. That night one of my uncles called, my three cousins had all gotten the exact same letter. Continue reading ““The Air we Breathe,” Acts 17: 22-28, John 14: 15-21″

“Old Abandoned Rocks,” 1 Peter 2: 2-10

First Peter is written to a people in crisis. That’s the first thing we need to understand and remember if this text is going to have any meaning to us. In fact, if you’ve still got your Bible handy move back to the very beginning of the letter, you’ll see its written to the “exiles” in provinces all over Asia Minor. When we think about persecution, particularly persecution of Christians, we tend to think about on a macro, big picture level. We think about governments persecuting Christians like in some Middle Eastern countries or in China and the Soviet Union at the height of their Communist revolutions. When we think about persecution in the ancient world we tend to have a similar picture, we think about the Roman Empire systematically coming down on Christianity and images of Christians fighting lions in the Coliseum and streets lined with martyrs on crosses come into our minds. Continue reading ““Old Abandoned Rocks,” 1 Peter 2: 2-10″

“Making the List,” Romans 16: 1-16

You may be familiar with the name Fred Craddock, he literally wrote the book on preaching that you’ll need if you ever decide to take preaching at Gardner-Webb and plenty of other seminaries and divinity schools. He’s revered in preaching circles, was a long time pastor and teacher of preaching before he passed away a little over two years ago. He has a fairly famous sermon[1] on this exact text from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he begins by apologizing to the congregation and admitting that in his classes at Emory in Atlanta he always advised against preaching from “the lists.” “Avoid the lists,” he said, “they’re deadly. Don’t preach from the lists.” Continue reading ““Making the List,” Romans 16: 1-16″