Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sermon: "Recipe for Repentance: Trust”, Romans 4:13-25 (February 28, 2021)

(This is the second sermon in our Lenten series, "Recipe for Repentance". Last week's sermon can be found here, and the Ash Wednesday message can be found here.)


Paul’s letters aren’t always what you might call “user-friendly.” Many of us avoid reading them because they’re so complex and dense. Even the most devout among us, those who’ve successfully endured Leviticus’ litany of laws and stayed awake through the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, find themselves thwarted by Paul’s rhetoric. His arguments are so sophisticated and his language so theologically technical that it really can’t just be read; it must be studied and absorbed in order to be truly appreciated. And who has time for that, right?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sermon: “Recipe for Repentance: Humility”, Mark 8:31-38 (February 21, 2021)

(This is the first sermon in our Lenten series, "Recipe for Repentance". The text of our Ash Wednesday message can be found here.)


I’ve gotten into an online debate with a stranger exactly once. It was about a year and a half ago, back when the Democratic primary debates were the top news story in the United States. Everyone from every point along the political spectrum had an opinion on the candidates—and there were plenty of candidates to have opinions about. I generally tried to steer clear of online arguments during the political cycle, largely because I believe that listening is more important than speaking in situations like this. On this occasion, though, I made an exception and decided to offer my two cents.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Sermon: "Recipe for Repentance: Ashes and Crumbs", Psalm 51 (selected verses) (February 17, 2021--Ash Wednesday)

(This is the Ash Wednesday sermon for our Lenten Series, "Recipe for Repentance". The full worship service can be found here.)


“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion! Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin! Because I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. Yes, you want truth in the most hidden places; you teach me wisdom in the most secret space.” (Psalm 51:1-3, 6) 

On Ash Wednesday, Christians all over the world take ashes onto our bodies in remembrance of our mortality and need for repentance. It’s a reminder that, no matter how clean we feel, no matter how much we think we’ve “got it all together,” we are always at God’s mercy. We’re always subject to the death and decay of our sin. While we can easily wipe away the ashes on our foreheads, our sin is far more difficult to remove. We need to repent before we can be at one with the Lord.

When Ash Wednesday Meets Epiphany


You may or may not be aware of the Epiphany tradition of "Chalking the Door", but it's been something I've done for the past two years here at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sermon: “Jesus’ Deciphers”, Mark 9:2-9 (February 14, 2021--Transfiguration Sunday)


Every year, on the last Sunday before Lent, we read this story. Every year we hear the account of the disciples’ encounter with a transfigured Jesus. Every year, the disciples try to convince Jesus to stay up on the mountain with them for a while. And every year, we struggle to figure out what to make of this supernatural story.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sermon: "Delighting in the Caretaker", Psalm 147:1-11 (February 7, 2021)


Normally, I avoid preaching on the psalms. Not that I have anything against them; they’re beautifully expressive poetry that, over the course of 150 chapters, conveys the full range of human emotion. They’re incredibly useful for personal devotion. Not to mention that the psalmists wrote in such a liturgical style that the psalms are a wonderful resource for worship planning. It’s just that to me, the psalms often feel…well, repetitive. I mean, how many ways can you say, “God is awesome,” or “Everything is terrible, God,” or “Save me, God”? They’re obviously important texts, but psalm sermons can get bland if you’re not careful. So, in what’s perhaps a personal pastoral shortcoming, I generally avoid them for preaching purposes.