Monday, June 11, 2018

Divided Houses (6/10/18)

Kate Spade 

On Sunday, June 10th, I said farewell to the saints at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. I served as their interim pastor for nearly two years and I will miss them greatly. I wanted my last sermon to be a grand message about healing the political divides in our communities and our nation. After the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I felt the need to go in a different direction.

The Sabbath and the Law (6/3/18)

I am so grateful for the time I spent at Rehoboth.

On Sunday, June 3rd, we examined the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, and the contrast between obedience to the law and true righteousness. This was my next-to-last sermon at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Moments of Clarity (5/20/18)

On Sunday, May 20th, I was elected to serve as the Pastor for First Presbyterian Church in Freehold, New Jersey. This is the sermon I preached for my candidacy. In this sermon I discuss my faith journey and how it brought me to Freehold. My first Sunday in the pulpit at Freehold will be July 8th.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Abiding in Hope (5/6/18)

Abiding in Hope (5/6/18)

Baptistery, Coventry Cathedral  

On Sunday, May 6th, I gave the saints at Rehoboth a little pep talk. I reminded them of the challenges that they face and I reassured them that I believe they can meet those challenges. I've told this to them before, but some messages are easy to understand intellectually, but more challenging to live into.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Back to the Future (4/29/18)

Lucas Cranach the Younger, The Vineyard of the Lord (detail showing Lutheran reformers)

On Sunday, April 29th, we considered a passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus states that he is the true vine. This is from a longer section that scholars call the Farewell Discourse. In this message, I thank the saints at Rehoboth Church for giving something back to me. I guess you could say it's my own farewell discourse.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Good Shepherds (4/22/18)

Anton Mauve, Landscape with Shepherd and Sheep 

On Sunday, April 22nd, we heard the story of the Good Shepherd. We considered some of the good shepherds in the congregation at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church and how we are called to tend our flock.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bearing Witness (4/15/18)

Margaret Hofheinz-Doring, Endless Road 

In my faith journey, I've had the privilege of going on a number of international mission trips. These trips are, in part, about bearing witness to what God is doing in the communities that we visit. But witness isn't just something we do, it's who we are.

Sharing Our Burdens (4/8/18)

Rowan and Irene LeCompte, Christ Shows Himself to Thomas

On Sunday, April 8th, we tried something a little bit different in worship. One of our members had recently started a new job, and he was nervous about that. After we heard the Scriptures, I had a public conversation with this member. We sat in front of the chancel, talk-show style, and he told us about the new job and his fears. Read on to learn more about the story and the message.

April Fools! (4/1/18)

Jackie Twedell, "Weeping Mary"

When I saw that Easter Sunday fell on April first, I couldn't resist using "April Fools!" as the title for my sermon. On Easter Sunday, we considered two different accounts of Easter morning, as presented in the Gospels of Mark and John.

Monday, April 16, 2018

It Is Finished (3/30/18)

James Tissot, What Our Lord Saw from the Cross

Every year, on Good Friday, the Belle Vernon Area Ministerium hosts a seven-last-words service. The service lasts three hours and each pastor offers a sermon on each of Jesus' seven last words. It's quite an event. Some people come for the entire service, while many others stay for a sermon or two.

The World Turned Upside Down (3/29/18)

John Trumbull, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

I'm really behind in posting my sermons. This sermon is from Maundy Thursday. It was a small service, held in the church social hall. We had a little over twenty people in attendance. I really enjoy the intimacy of those services.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Jesus Is Comin’ to Town! (3/25/18)

Wilhelm Morgner, Entry of Christ into Jerusalem

On Sunday, March 25th, we heard the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as it's told in the Gospel of John. It's the shortest of the four accounts of Palm Sunday. In the introduction to the sermon, I sang a little bit of Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Alas, no audio of this event survives.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Seeing Jesus (3/18/18)

By User:Bluemoose - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I've officiated a lot of funerals since I began my ministry at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. I've seen lots of flowers in funeral homes, and sometimes those floral arrangements include a spray of wheat. On Sunday, March 18th, we heard a story from the Gospel of John in which Jesus compares his death and resurrection to wheat being planted in the ground. This sermon also includes an important lesson that I learned from Rev. Dave Carver when I was in seminary.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Visible Promises, Abundant Mercies (3/11/18)

Coventry Cathedral, baptistery window by John Piper 

On Sunday, March 11th, we celebrated the sacrament of baptism as we welcomed Mason O'Casek into the family of saints here at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. We also heard the story of Moses and the bronze serpent, one of the most unusual stories from the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as a very, very familiar passage from the Gospel of John.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Thirteen Commandments (3/4/18)
 Lucas Cranach, The Ten Commandments

On Sunday, March 4th, we examined the Ten Commandments, as they appear in the Book of Exodus. This is one of those Bible stories that is so familiar, that sometimes we don't pay close enough attention to it. Even worse, we tend to view it as simply a checklist of behaviors that we have to follow, rather than understanding it as part of a larger covenant between God and humanity.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Lift Up Your Cross (2/25/18)

 James Tissot, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan!

On Sunday, February 25th, we heard Jesus give one of his harshest rebukes, "Get behind me, Satan!" We examined that story in light of Kate Bowler's memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason, And Other Lies I've Loved. Read on to learn more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lonesome Valleys (2/18/18)

Genesis 9:8-17; Mark 1:9-15

Emile Aebischer, Noah and the Dove
On Sunday, February 18th, we examined the story of God's covenant with Noah and Mark's account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. We considered these stories in light of the tragedy last week in Parkland, Florida.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Glimpses of Glory (2/11/18)

The fountain in Century III Mall; the former Kaufmann's location is behind the fountain.

Last Saturday I visited Century III Mall. On Sunday, we considered the account of the Transfiguration as it's presented in the Gospel of Mark. I used my visit to the mall to illustrate this story. I also offered a story of transformation from a Presbyterian church in Canada.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Everyone Is Searching (2/4/18)

Christ Healing Peter's Mother-in-Law from the Hitda Codex
On Sunday, February 4th we examined the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law in the Gospel of Mark. We considered this story in light of some positive changes here at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church and how we are living into Christ's call to be the Church. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Enemy Within (1/28/18)

The "evil" Captain Kirk from "The Enemy Within"

On Sunday, January 28th, we considered the story of Jesus healing a man with an unclean spirit. In this story, the unclean spirit immediately recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of God—but the text doesn’t tell us if the unclean spirit responded in anger or in fear. I decided to read it both ways, to give a sense of how each response can color our understanding of this story.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fish Stories (1/21/18)
He Qi, Calling Disciples
On Sunday, January 21st, we heard the story of Jesus calling some of the disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, and John. We also heard part of the story of Jonah. In seminary, I was taught that it was best to preach on just one text. But I think that the story of Jonah really sets up the call story in the Gospel of Mark, so I offered some exegesis of the Jonah story before I read the Gospel lesson. Also, I added some verses to the Lectionary reading, as they offer some important clues about how to read the Jonah story.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Follow Me (1/14/18)

On Sunday, January 14th, we heard call stories from 1 Samuel and the Gospel of John. We considered these stories as they related to the call to ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and also in light of some highly inflammatory comments by the president.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Baptized with the Spirit (1/7/18)

Baptism of Christ, detail

On Sunday, January 7th, we ordained and installed new Ruling Elders and Deacons. We also celebrated the Lord's Supper, the Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord; that's a lot for one Sunday! 

The Greatest Gift (12/24/17)

He Qi, Glory to God in the Highest
This was my sermon on Christmas Eve. Instead of the familiar birth story in the Gospel of Luke, I decided that we would hear this selection from the prologue to the Gospel of John. I believe that this story invites us to consider where we fit into the Christmas story.

Here I Am (12/24/17)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ecce Ancilla Domini! (Behold the Lord's Servant)

It seems that I've gotten a little behind in posting my sermons. Sunday, December 24th was a busy day; it was the fourth Sunday of Advent and it was Christmas Eve. This is my sermon from the morning service.