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

Sinners and Saints

August 18, 2019
Hebrews 11:29-12:2     10thSunday After Pentecost   What do you know about your family tree?  In recent times, we have become fascinated with locating ourselves in our families and culture.  The movie Rootshelped to spark our interest in “finding ourselves.”  Technology has helped make it easier for us to track our lineage.[1] Companies like 23 and Me and Ancestryhave tested more than26 million people’s DNA to add to their family tree data base.[2]  Where we come from and who we come from is an integral part of who we are.  One of my husband’s relatives, Mary Lewis, searched their family tree. …

Hope in the Meantime

August 11, 2019
Genesis 15:1-6   Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16   Luke 12:32-40 9thSunday after Pentecost   Last Sunday morning, 27 people were injured, and 10 people were killed within 30 seconds in Dayton.  The dead included the sister of the shooter, and the shooter himself. I found out about the shooting from a text message that my daughter, Kelly, sent to me. By the time I was able to search for the details, 22 more people were killed, this time in El Paso at a Wal Mart.  24 more were injured. The death count for that shooting is now at 31. The investigation so far…


August 4, 2019
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23     Luke 12:13-21 18thSunday after Pentecost       They say that you can’t take it with you, but that doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried.  Civil War Confederate Major William Wise was buried with his horse, his favorite hunting dog, and a sword.  He was convinced he was going where he could track down and kill Satan.  Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley took his red guitar, a Bible, and marijuana with him to his grave.  More recently, people are being buried with their cell phone.  During the visitation, friends all call the person.  I wonder if, when…

Let’s Talk!

July 28, 2019
Luke 11:1-1     7thSunday after Pentecost Examen, intercessory, thanksgiving, supplication, meditative, contemplative, petitionary, ….  “What are types of prayers, Alex!”  (I am the only one who watches Jeopardy?) Richard Foster lists 21 forms of prayer in his book entitled, Prayer:  Finding the Heart’s True Home.[1]Do we stand?  Do we sit?  When should we pray? Does the place matter? Do we close our eyes when we pray?  Is there anything too selfish, or miniscule, or too large for which to pray? Are we good enough to pray?  Are we ever not worthy enough to pray?  Luther wrote in a sermon, “We…

Are You a “Martha” or a “Mary?” When You Practice the Faith, You’re Both!

July 22, 2019
Luke 10:38-42     Lectionary 16     Sixth Sunday after Pentecost     July 21, 2019   When a pastor leaves a congregation, he can no longer influence it.  So, I figure this is my last shot! I am so thankful that the Spirit called me to serve this congregation back in 2001.  When I was given time to say something at the banquet a week ago last night, I wanted to keep it very short.  But I wish I had said more about what a wonderful congregation of people you are, following along the way of Jesus.  Once you got used to…

What Are We To Do? We Are To Love Boldly!

July 14, 2019
Luke 10:25-37     Lectionary 15     Fifth Sunday after Pentecost     July 14, 2019   What are we to do – as followers of Jesus? In last week’s story, in the gospel of Luke, Jesus sends out 70 of his followers to do two things: to declare the peace of the kingdom of God, and to bring the healing of the kingdom.[1]  When Bishop Humphrey preached on this story, he pointed out that the 70 aren’t sent out to invite folks back “to hear our great preacher, Jesus!”  I’ve been thinking about that, because it is so counter to our culture:…

We Are Set Free — To Love Each Other in Community

June 30, 2019
Galatians 5:1, 13-25     Lectionary 13     Third Sunday after Pentecost     June 30, 2019   You don’t hear many “Thou shalt nots” in a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  That’s because we are so Biblical! (All churches say they’re “Biblical!”  What that means, for us in the ELCA, is that we interpret all that’s in the Bible according to Jesus.  We give weight to those passages in the Bible that witness to Jesus and Jesus’ model and Jesus’ teachings, and we don’t pay much attention to passages in the Bible that contradict Jesus’ inclusive love and…

Entering Into the Mystery of God — Father and Son and Holy Spirit

June 16, 2019
Trinity Sunday     June 16, 2019   As I prepare my last sermons as your pastor, I’m finding that the liturgical themes are leading me to revisit my favorite themes!  Last week – Pentecost – gave me the opportunity to remind you of the fruit of the Spirit, and how important the practices of the faith are.  Today is the Sunday of the Holy Trinity, and I get very excited about Trinitarian theology!  (I’m not kidding!)  That’s because, years ago, I left behind a need to know things about God.  Instead, I want to know God.  (Do you hear the…

Led By The Spirit: Spiritual And Religious

June 9, 2019
Romans 8:14-17     Pentecost     June 9, 2019   The Spirit leads us to be baptized into a set of religious practices.  Through these practices, God creates faith and nurtures and nourishes us in a way of life: of being led by the Spirit.   On survey forms, do you know what is the fastest-growing religious category?  It’s “None.”  No religious affiliation.  Here’s where we are, in the mission field.  The number of people on church membership rolls is shrinking.  At the same time, in our culture, there is an increasing interest in “spirituality.”  more and more people declare themselves…