preach-itSermon Archive

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April 2022

To The Word

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3

Over the past few years as we have been raising our children, one scripture that has repeatedly found its way into our life is Philippians 2:3. At times it has been a refrain prayed at night, other times a response to conflict between a brother and sister, and even the letters “CO” have found their way o

Easter Sunday

As Christians we live in light of the startling claim that we believe that even though we will die we will be resurrected and live eternally. Why do we believe that? Well, chiefly, because Jesus was resurrected, and God has promised in His Word that all those who put their trust in Jesus alone for their salvation will be raised from the dead as He was raised.

The importance of the resurrection to the truth claims of Christianity cannot be overstated. If the resurrection of Jesus Chri

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is when the church has traditionally remembered the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week.

What a difference a few days can make. On the Sunday before being crucified Jesus entered Jerusalem a hero, the great hope of the people, and on Friday he would leave the city condemned, rejected and despised. He had entered Jerusalem being carried on the back of a young donkey, but he would exit the city just a few days later under His own power and


There is a revealing moment at the center point of Paul’s letter to Philemon. It comes in verse 9, “…yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus…”

Right in the middle of the letter, and right at the moment when Paul will launch into his big ask on behalf of Onesimus, Paul tells Philemon something very revealing about himself. He says that he is an “old man” and “a prisoner a

March 2022

Leadership and Influence

I think one of the most eye-catching and thought-provoking things that God ever says to anyone in His word is found in Numbers 27:16-17, when He tells Moses, “Appoint a man over the congregation, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” No shepherd? What a mysterious thing for God to say! How could the congregation of the Lord be like sheep without a shepherd as long as God is on the throne? Isn’t he enoug

Baptism and Membership

A number of years ago, my brother, Joel, who pastors a church in Vermont wrote a piece entitled “In Praise of a Strange Tribe,” in which he reminisced about the church he and I grew up in outside Washington D.C. He wrote, “There was the homeless cab driver who worshiped with manic intensity. The bachelor patent officer in his sixties who lived alone with his mother and who sometimes raised his hand during the sermon. The foreign man who looked and sounded funny because he’d been in a


I think it was Vance Havner who used to tell the story of two men who were going up a steep hill on a bike built for two. It was hard work, and when they got to the top they had to stop and catch their breath. The guy at the front turned to his buddy behind him and said, “Man! That was a steep hill! My legs are burning!” and the guy at the back of the bike replied, “Boy, you can say that again! It was so steep, if I hadn’t been using the brakes, we probably would have rolled down th


There are few moments in the Bible that crackle with electric tension as much as when two estranged people come together again. I’m thinking of when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, or when Jacob and Esau met on the plain, or when David called out to Saul from the cave. The Bible is full of these moments. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Onesimus darkened the door of Philemon’s house again. What was the look on their faces? Did their voices crack with emotion when

February 2022


The African slave trade that was practiced in the early part of America’s history has cast a long shadow over our national psyche, and the scar of that evil practice has never really healed among the American people. The legacy of slavery in our own country also potentially makes the reading of Philemon uncomfortable because the existence, and apparent acceptance, of both slaves and masters within the early church is a central fact of this short letter. Paul’s counsel to his friend and


At the heart of the Gospel is the idea that fallen human beings need God to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. A Gospel-shaped heart and mind is one that looks to God in trust to provide what is needed. This spirit of dependence on God is often expressed in a believer’s prayers. Believing that something can be done without prayer is the same as believing it can be done without God.

On the other hand some folks approach prayer as though God had an emergency-room-style t