Recent Sermons

Below are excerpts from some recent sermons.  You can also explore the full list since June 2015.  Some sermons include the podcast at the bottom of the page, with older podcasts from 2013-2015 still available. 

Preaching from St. Stephen’s Pulpit

God,Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!

October 23, 2016
 Luke 18:9-14 Lectionary 30  in Ordinary Time ~ 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Who are you in our story, the Pharisee or the tax collector?  Pharisees were a sect of Jews who held strictly to both written and oral law.  We tend to think of Pharisees as being hypocrites.  The reality is that most of them were righteous and respected Jews who followed the law.[1]  First century listeners would have been surprised by the behavior of this Pharisee. The second person in our story is a tax collector.  Tax collectors were agents of the oppressive Roman government.  He was probably…

When Our Wounds Bring Blessings

October 16, 2016
Genesis 32:22-31    Lectionary 29 in Ordinary Time; 22nd Sunday after Pentecost     October 16, 2016   Four weeks ago, I endured a small surgical procedure on my back.  A cyst had become infected, and the surgeon cut it out.  The wound has had to heal from the bottom up so an abscess doesn’t form, so my wife, Patty has been packing the wound each day with a strip of thin, sterile, cloth tape.  (Patty had to use more than a foot of this tape to pack the wound right after the surgery.  I am glad to say…

The Difference That It Makes

October 9, 2016
  Luke 17:11-19     Lectionary 28 in Ordinary Time;  21st Sunday After Pentecost   What difference does it make?  What difference does St. Stephen Lutheran Church make in the world, and in this community?  What difference does it make for you to be part of our church community?  What difference do you make in the lives of others because you are part of this church community?  What difference does Jesus Christ make? In various ways, I’ve asked you these questions, and you have told me stories.  Unlike rooster sightings, I welcome your stories, and invite you to come and share…

When We’re Suffering Because We’re Waiting

October 3, 2016
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10 Lectionary 27 in Ordinary Time     20th Sunday after Pentecost     October 2, 2016   Paul is writing a letter to his co-worker, Timothy.  We read some of it this morning. Do you remember who Paul is?  Only a couple of decades after Jesus’ resurrection, Paul began establishing congregations of Jesus people in the cities, towns and regions of Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica.  The New Testament of the Bible contains letters Paul wrote to those congregations.  (He also wrote one to members of a congregation in…

Jesus, the Optometrist

September 25, 2016
  Luke 16:19-31 Lectionary 26 in Ordinary Time  19th Sunday after Pentecost September 25, 2016 I have a friend named Jane who collects prints and figurines of roosters.  When she told me she does this, I thought how hard they would be to find.  I had not seen any anywhere.  Well, maybe one or two.  But once they were brought to my attention, I started noticing roosters.  Do you know how many there are once you can see them?  (This is going to be like a song stuck in your head.  Now you, too, will start seeing them everywhere! …

Turning Away, and then Re-turning

September 11, 2016
Exodus 32:7-14; Luke 15:1-10      Lectionary 24 in Ordinary Time; 17th Sunday after Pentecost     September 11, 2016   All human beings hunger for God.  Many human beings do not know that it is God who they are hungering for!  It’s a hunger for something that is deeper than the surface, something indefinable.  Some who don’t know who they are hungering for will try to cover up the hunger, losing themselves in drugs or alcohol or sex.  Some, who engage in hours of intense exercise, are trying to outdistance the hunger.  Some will try to satisfy the hunger…

Choose Life

September 4, 2016
  Deuteronomy 30:15-20   Luke 14:25-33  Lectionary 22   15th Sunday after Pentecost   They had gathered to study God’s word and to discern the Holy Spirit’s working in their lives. This group of African-Americans welcomed into the holy space of their lives a young white man.  Before the night was out, nine of them would be shot by this stranger to whom they had shown hospitality.  It was a little over a year ago that this mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, the oldest black church in the south. At the accused gunman’s first court appearance,…

Following Jesus With Healthy Humility

August 28, 2016
Proverbs 25:6-7; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14  Lectionary 22 in Ordinary Time; 15th Sunday after Pentecost     August 28, 2016   Do we talk about humility enough?  All three of this morning’s readings point to an important gift of the Spirit: the virtue of healthy humility. If you practice humility, you run counter to our culture of self-promotion, in which celebrity is the point. Humility is not humiliation.  Healthy humility is not self-abasement.  It’s not false modesty.  You are healthy in your humility when you claim your strengths, those things you’re good at, but not for the…

Sabbath Practice: The Ground From Which We Act to Heal the World

August 21, 2016
  Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 13:10-17      Lectionary 21 in Ordinary Time; 14th Sunday after Pentecost     August 21, 2016   The preacher is supposed to prepare with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.[1]  (Yes, this is an iPad.  I read the newspaper on my iPad!)  In addition, on any particular week, the preacher works with the appointed Scripture out of his or her own life story.  So let’s go with this a little bit. The theme of this morning’s readings, from Isaiah and Luke, is sabbath practice.  It’s based on the Third Commandment:…