Sermons


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

Christ’s Resurrected Body

April 23, 2017
John 20:19-31     Second Sunday of Easter     April 23, 2017   When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the [Jewish leaders], Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." What are you afraid of?  Are you afraid that their money won’t last through their retirement?  Are you afraid of declining health and mobility?  Are you afraid of doing poorly on your exams and final papers?   Are you afraid your project budget won’t…

I Have Seen the Lord

April 16, 2017
John 20:1-18 Easter An interesting news story caught my attention the other day.   I must say, It warms my heart for a three-year-old to want to know more about Jesus and the Easter Story.  Isla was having this deep theological conversation with her dad. “I just don’t understand what Easter is all about.  Why do you give me chocolate?” "I don’t get the Easter characters either. Are Easter Bunny and Jesus best pals?" Isla wants to know. "Is Easter Bunny in the Bible?" "Does he carry a large basket of eggs?" Isla asks. A woman after my own heart,…

The Questions of Identity

April 13, 2017
John 13:1-17, 31b-35     Maundy Thursday   You can smell the pot roast simmering as soon as you step through the door. The rolls baking in the oven instantly return you to the last time everyone showed up for dinner.  The kitchen is slightly warm and humid from the potatoes boiling on the stove. Joe’s brought a fruit salad, and Sue her famous salted caramel bars.  You quietly hope that Aunt Karin isn’t going to be the one to make the gravy. Gathering for meals is something that we do to celebrate birthdays, retirement, Christmas, Easter or simply…

Dying to Our Sinful Selves and Rising With Christ

April 2, 2017
John 11:1-45     Fifth Sunday of Lent     April 2, 2017   For the third week in a row, we have an involved and engrossing story from the gospel of John.  There’s so much that we could get into! It’s one of the most revealing insights into Jesus’ humanity.  Do you remember how the story begins?  We discover immediately that this is about Jesus and three close friends.  Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet…

Identity: It’s Complicated

March 26, 2017
John 9:1-41     Fourth Sunday in Lent     This reading from John’s Gospel is a great text for Lent if we consider that Lent is traditionally the season of preparation for those who will be baptized at Easter. This is the season of instruction for the candidates who will be asked, “Do you wish to be baptized?” To answer “yes” each candidate ought to know into whom or what he or she is being attached through the sacrament of baptism. If you want to get to know Jesus, this is a powerful reading. The scene is full…

Our Lives of Faith Are Our Response to What God Did When We were God’s Enemies

March 19, 2017
Romans 5:1-11     Third Sunday of Lent     March 19, 2017   Paul writes to the Jesus people at Rome: [W]e have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. Then what Paul writes is truly shocking: And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, …  Can I just pause here to allow that to sink in?  Our sufferings!  [W]e also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and…

Nick at Night

March 12, 2017
  John 3:1-22     Second Sunday in Lent When you are in the dark, how do you feel?  Do you feel at peace, enveloped by the quiet?  Are you unsettled and afraid? Does darkness feel more secure than what you might discover in the light, or vice-versa?  Are there things you would rather do in the night? Nicodemus came to Jesus in the dark of the night.  Of course, they had just changed the clocks, so now it was dark an hour earlier than it was the day before.  Try explaining that to your dogs. Here’s what happened before setting…

Returning To Be the Human Beings God Has Created Us To Be

March 5, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11     First Sunday of Lent     March 5, 2017   I’m going to be very Lutheran today!  We are sinners, all of us.  That is because “we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.”[1]  At the same time, simultaneously, we are saints.  That is not because of anything we have done.  It is accomplished purely through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  “God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ.  By grace you have been saved.”[2]  This is fundamental Lutheran…

What Kind of Crazy Are You?

March 1, 2017
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Ash Wednesday  What kind of crazy are you? This is the question we should be asking on our first date, so states Alain de Botton in his article, Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.  Apparently, this is either people’s most deep seated fear, or their dreadful reality; this was the most read article of 2016 in the New York Times.[1] Please note that Botton uses the term “crazy” without prejudice or disrespect, and not intending offense to those with mental illness.  He writes, “…we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try…