preach-itSermon Archive

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November 2021

The Merciful

The phrase “just deserts” comes from a now obsolete meaning of the word “desert” which was something a person deserved or merited. You’ve probably heard the expression applied to people who get what was coming to them. We tend to take a certain amount of pleasure when our enemies, adversaries, and those people who manage to make our lives difficult or downright miserable get their “just deserts,” which is to say they get what we feel they deserve. “Poetic justice,” we might say whil

October 2021

Those Who Hunger and Thirst

In the fourth beatitude Jesus says, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Those words, “hunger” and “thirst,” are descriptive of a longing for something that is so powerful it feels desperate and necessary. It is a gnawing pang, an uncomfortable awareness of a thing’s absence, that not only doesn’t go away but it actually gets worse and more intense until it is satisfied.

Sometimes when we set out to explore the m

The Meek

In his book, “The Treasure Principle,” Pastor and author Randy Alcorn writes about a visit he made to Cairo, Egypt. His guide took him down an alleyway in an obscure, and poor quarter of the city until they passed through a gate into a square filled with trash and overgrown with weeds. It was a nearly forgotten graveyard for American Missionaries. Randy Alcorn had read about a young man, named William Borden, who was buried there, and he had come there to find his grave. Borden had been

Those Who Mourn

Our study through beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) brings us to verse 4; “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In last week’s message we saw that the Greek word for blessed, “makarios,” essentially means happy, but whatever the translation and whatever English word is used the juxtaposition of “makarios” (blessed, happy) with “pentheo” (mourning, lament) is provocative and also potentially confusing. Like water and wine, happiness and mourning seem to be mutually exclusive

The Poor in Spirit

The sermon on the mount spans three chapters (5-7) in Matthew. If you have one of those Bibles that prints the words of Jesus in red then you will find that those chapters are nearly a solid block of red ink. I say “nearly” because the actual content of the sermon is sandwiched between two small bits of commentary about who was in the audience. In the opening verses of chapter 5 we are told that the “disciples came to Jesus… and He taught them,” (Matthew 5:1-2) and then if we fast

You Are What You Eat

In the Bible, God often compares His Word to food. Consider the following examples:
When Jesus was being tempted by Satan He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 saying, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Psalm 119:103- “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
Jeremiah 3:15- “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.”
1 peter 2:2, calls us to “

September 2021

Dangerous Affections

The Bible gives no word of encouragement to those who would quit the life of a sojourner and make a home for themselves down here. We are, after all, the spiritual descendants of Abraham who lived in tents, not Lot who settled on the plain. 1 John 2:15-17 warns against some dangerous affections that threaten to replace loving God with a love for the world, and loving others with a love for the things of the world. Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters, for either we will hate the one

The Root and the Fruit of Christian Fellowship

Are you lonely?

If you are, you might take some small comfort in knowing that you are not alone. A new report finds many Americans are lonely. The study, published by the global health service company Cigna, found that 46 percent of U.S. adults report chronic feelings of loneliness, being disconnected, and feeling as though they were being left out. Cigna calls those “epidemic levels.”

What’s more, only around half of Americans say they have meaningful in-person social interactio

By This We Know Love

Here at State Road we talk a lot about becoming a people who love God, love others and love in action, but those statements rest on an implied assumption that we know what love is.  In our culture, love is a notoriously difficult word to define. This is owing, at least in part, to the limitations of the English language. For example in Greek there are perhaps as many as 7 different words for love, four of which we find in o

Loving God, Loving Others, Love in Action

When I was a boy growing up in Vermont I used to make a little extra money in late spring and early summer by gathering morel mushrooms in the woods and selling them to a local restaurant called “The Countryman’s Pleasure.” For whatever reason morels can’t be farmed or grown commercially, and so they have to be gathered in the wild. That’s why they bring such a high price. Today the going rate for fresh morels is about $30-35/pound.   

It all felt slightly clandestine when