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

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…

Serving the Lord at St. Stephen (Written and proclaimed by William Dichtel)

June 3, 2019
Good morning, My wife and I have been members of St. Stephen for a little over a year and we have grown spiritually here and love this church more than any we have attended. I’m pretty old…I’m even older than Pastor Ballentine…but in all of those years and despite attending a number of churches, I don’t think that I have seen so many positive ministries undertaken within a church on behalf of others in the church or in the surrounding community. Let me give you some examples of ministries at St. Stephen… Some of the ministries have been large…

Radical Grace

May 26, 2019
  John 5:1-9     6th Sunday of Easter “Do you want to be made well?” Jesus asked.  I am captivated by this question every time that I read it.  “Do you want to be made well?” These were Jesus’ first words to the sick man lying in the vicinity of the pool.  He had been ill longer than most people were alive.  He was slow to move, and when Jesus spotted him, he was lying down.  Could he even get up? We with bodies that are fully functional can only imagine the impact of his disability.  Control of bodily…

Memorial Service Homily for Frank W. Youngk

May 14, 2019
John 21:1-14     May 13, 2019   It was a tragic death – sudden, unexpected.  The group of those who loved him are huddling together, in confusion and despair and even hopelessness.  They are struggling to make sense of a tragedy that they might never be able to fully understand. Yes, that is what’s going on in the story I just read.  Jesus has been crucified.  He has died.  He was buried – and all of his followers’ hopes had been buried with him.  This had happened in Jerusalem.  Now, they’re 80 miles north of Jerusalem, in the region…

Where Does Faith Come From?

May 11, 2019
John 10:22-30     Fourth Sunday of Easter     May 12, 2019     Where does faith come from?  Have you ever thought about the mystery of faith? In our culture, we’re not good at mystery, because then we’re drawn into something we can never fully understand or control or master, and we don’t like that!  Instead, we’re all about needing to be in control.  We strive for effectiveness and efficiency.  We work to improve our technique – in time management, in increased productivity, in managing people. But what do we miss when we’re concerned with control and efficiency, effectiveness and…

The Risen Christ In Our Ordinary Days

May 5, 2019
John 21:1-19     Third Sunday of Easter     May 5, 2019 I love the way the gospel of John ends.  The risen Christ appears to his disciples during an ordinary day. The four gospels are four collections of stories that were spoken for years before they were written down.[1]  (Those of you who were here yesterday, to hear the gospel of Mark, know how much impact it has, when we listen to the stories being told, with all their drama and comedy and tragedy.)  Jesus’ followers began telling the stories after Jesus’ resurrection, to persuade listeners that Jesus is the…

Walking Wounded

April 28, 2019
John 20:19-31     Second Sunday of Easter   Easter was glorious, wasn’t it?  Our worship space filled with flowers, music that stirred our souls, and lots of smiling people. The atmosphere was joyous!  How very easy to forget that only two days earlier Jesus hung on a cross until he died. We had little thought to Jesus’ pierced flesh.  We have no problem putting that in the past and disconnecting it from Jesus’ victory over death. When it was evening on that day.  That day was the first day of the week, the same day that Mary stood weeping outside the empty…

What They Did When They Didn’t Find The Body

April 21, 2019
Luke 24: 1-12     Easter Sunday     April 21, 2019   The women had done all that they were supposed to do, after Jesus was crucified.  They had been faithful: The women who had come with [Jesus] from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid.[1]  They had been obedient to religious custom: Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.[2]  They had been obedient to religious law: On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.[3] Think of how hard that obedience to the sabbath commandment would have been!  Joseph of Arimathea had placed…