preach-itSermon Archive

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March 2022

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


This message is the first in a series through the New Testament book of Philemon. The main, overarching thread that will link this series together is the way that Philemon demonstrates how the Gospel should be lived out amidst the messy reality of our lives. Other letters written by Paul make the Gospel (both what it is and what it isn’t) the main object of his teaching. However, this book is different. Paul’s letter to his friend, Philemon, isn’t about the Gospel exactly, but it is more of a pr

January 2022

Psalm 63

Psalm 63, which was penned by David when he was in the wilderness of Judah, begins with these words, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; My flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

The extraordinary thing being described in this opening verse of Psalm 63 is not the depths of David’s thirst. All human beings thirst deeply for one thing or another, and in verse 1 we could easily swap out the word “God” for “good

Psalm 84

Every Psalm is special and needed and beautiful, but some of them have won a special place in our hearts. Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest Bible teachers of the 19th century, called the 84th Psalm, “one of the choicest of the collection.” He wrote, “If the twenty-third be the most popular, the one-hundred-and-third the most joyful, the one-hundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experimental, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of Peace.”

Psalm 14 and 50

In our time together this Sunday we will be spending time in two psalms which describe two different forms that unbelief takes. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” And Psalm 50:19-22 says, “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay

Psalm 1

The Psalms are a masterclass on the topic of how to worship. They are a collection of Holy-Spirit-inspired song lyrics, but, of course, worship is more than just singing songs. God makes it plain in His Word that all of life- every day, every season, every pursuit, every relationship, every gift and every facet of our lives- should be offered up to God in worship. We would be making a mistake if we thought of worship as something that we separated off from the everyday of our lives. A postu