"WHOLENESS" - Psalm 27

Perhaps many of you are familiar with the cartoon character “Ziggy.” “Ziggy” has been around for several decades. In one cartoon, Ziggy has taken his pet parrot to the doctor because his parrot is frazzled, frenzied, and stressed out to the maximum. The parrot’s feathers are awry, eyes are askew. No telling what has caused this awful state. And then Ziggy presents his parrot to the doctor, saying, “I left him at home all day with the TV turned to CNN.”

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Alex EvansVirginia Evans
“DORCAS” - Acts 9:36-43

When certain momentous events happen in life, especially on a Saturday, the preacher is presented with a challenge: drop the planned sermon and re-group, or continue on as planned.The events yesterday – the vitriol and violence in Charlottesville – certainly present a challenge. But I am not sure another text is better than those words from Isaiah today. I am deeply moved by the anthem that Nathan offered. And the story of Dorcas – the window – also calls us appropriately today to discipleship. Se we carry on.

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"SHALOM" - Deuteronomy 34:1-12

The story of God and God’s people begins with the story of Abraham and Sarah, which begins in Genesis 12. Across the recent weeks and months, several of my sermons have engaged us with the early stories: God calling Abraham and Sarah and telling them to go, go to the land that he would show them. God would be their God and they would be God’s people. He would bless them and make them a blessing in the world.

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"ALL" - Ephesians 1:3-14

In my recent week off, I read another book by thoughtful and well-known preacher, writer, and podcaster – Rob Bell. You may recall other books of his that I have read and referenced. He has several very good ones. Bell’s most recent book is entitled, What Is the Bible? – how an ancient library of poems, letters, and stories can transform the way you think and feel about everything.

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"Welcome"

How do you feel welcome?  Every time we enter a space with other human beings in it, whether it is outside, inside a building, or a new group of people, we are greeted in some way.  And each greeting is a little bit different.

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"REDEMPTIVE" - Selections from Genesis

The book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, is a fascinating and fantastic story. Genesis begins, you recall, when the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind of God swept over the face of the waters. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis presents the truth that all creation comes from God. God was before. God is Creator. God reigns over all.

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"DEATH" - I Corinthians 15:12f

A few of you know that I have become a big fan of “THE DAILY.” “The Daily” comes out each weekday - a free podcast - and once you download the app, it shows up every weekday for your listening pleasure. Hosted by Michael Barbaro, 20 minutes each day, you get some really important and fresh insights on pertinent news. Michael Barbaro writes for the New York Times and, on “The Daily,” he simply calls up his colleagues all around the world, who also work at the New York Times, but who are working on the hottest stories. You get a great conversation and keen insights into the latest news. It is fascinating, fun, and so informative.

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"BECOMING" - Acts 17:16f

In the Richmond Times Dispatch on Thursday of this week, there was a large picture depicting significant events in New Orleans. The picture showed a crane removing the statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. The headline reported: “3rd Rebel Statue pulled down in New Orleans.” Then, a few paragraphs into the article the mayor of New Orleans commented: “Today we take another step in defining our city not by our past but by our bright future. While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans.”

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"BELIEVE" - John 14:1-14

As we continue this “Word of the Week” series, one of you suggested to Kathryn and me that we preach a sermon, not on one word, but on the many small words in our language, for example – the prepositions. As we think about words and language, it is not just the words that matter, but how the words connect to other words. Critical prepositions often frame the meaning of words. In fact, the one who suggested this knows, not just about language, but about translations, even Bible translations. The critical issue in translating the Bible is so often how the little words, the connecting words, the prepositions get translated. Those little words determine much about the larger words.

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"TOGETHER" - from Psalm 23 and Acts 2:42f

Some of you know that the first church I served as pastor was Pickens Presbyterian Church, in Pickens, SC. From 1988-1997 (nine wonderful years) Ginger and I lived in the upstate of SC and continue to love the people of that church and place. Our children had their formative years there. The congregation in Pickens nourished us, shared faith with us, and taught us so much about ministry.

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"What Things?" - Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19; Luke 24:13-35

“After the Resurrection, why is Jesus so…weird?” This is what Michael said when we were talking about the scripture a little earlier in the week.  He pointed out: “Jesus never appears in front of a crowd, he only appears to a few people at a time—he walks through walls, he vanishes into thin air, he cooks up a fish breakfast on the beach. If the disciples were really trying to convince us of Jesus’ resurrection, why do they make it seem so odd? Why doesn’t it make more sense?”

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