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

But Don’t We Have to DO Something First, to Please God?

May 29, 2016
Galatians 1:1-12     Lectionary 9; Second Sunday after Pentecost     May 29, 2016   “Don’t just do something.  Sit there!”  Have you ever heard that?  It was the title of a book, once upon a time.  The point is that often, we act too quickly, when it would be better to stop first, to think about what would be the best thing to do (or not to do!). “Don’t just do something.  Sit there!”  Does that go against the grain?  It does for me!  When there’s a problem, don’t you like to fix things?  Me too!  I’m much more…

Hope (not Bob)

May 23, 2016
  Romans 5:1-5                Holy Trinity Sunday       May 22, 2016    Whatever follows the words “I am” will always come looking for you. So, when you go through the day saying: I am blessed...blessings pursue you. I am talented;...talent follows you. I am healthy; heads your way. I am strong;...strength tracks you down…. You can choose to rise to a new level and invite God's goodness by focusing on these two words: I AM![1] This is the good news according to the popular televangelist Joel Osteen.  A good life of talent, health and strength is all…

God Comes Into the World as Holy Spirit

May 15, 2016
Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:14-17, 22-27     Pentecost     May 15, 2016   When a baby’s going to come, she’s going to come!  Right? Hopefully, the parents are ready to respond.  Hopefully, the parents are prepared for what’s happening because they’ve received pre-childbirth instruction.  Hopefully they have some things packed for an overnight stay in the maternity ward, and they already have purchased a car seat to bring the baby home in.  But sometimes, the baby comes early and the parents have to act in emergency mode.  Here’s the point: when a baby’s going to come, she’s going to come!…

Set Free

May 8, 2016
Acts 16:16-34 7th Sunday of Easter      May 8, 2016   “I put my FitBit on my dog, because I have a friend who is too competitive, and I can’t let her win.”[1]  This is not my confession, nor is it a confession from any of us who walked to Jerusalem.  This is one of the secrets posted on the web site  As an experiment, this web site was founded in 2005.  People were invited to send in postcards divulging a secret, with the qualifications that it was true and had never previously been revealed to anyone.…

Loving Each Other and the Son and the Father and the Holy Spirit

May 1, 2016
  John 14:23-29     Fifth Sunday of Easter     May 1, 2016   What makes us distinctive, as followers of the risen Christ? Is it adhering to a set of beliefs?  How much do we need to profess?  We believe that Christ died for us and rose from the dead to win our salvation.  That seems essential, to be considered a Christian.  How much more do we require?  Belief in the virgin birth?  Belief that the Bible is word-for-word inerrant?  What if you don’t believe the same set of propositions about God as I believe? Some traditions in the…

What Is God Up To? When Does Our Fear Hinder God?

April 24, 2016
  Acts 11:1-18; John 13:31-35     Fifth Sunday of Easter     April 24, 2016   It seems to me there is a great deal of anger in our culture.  Does that seem true to you, too?  Think of how it’s manifesting itself in the interminable presidential nominating process. Think of the minority of Republicans supporting Donald Trump.  They don’t care whether Trump is ignorant, or whether he’s bigoted.  Their standards of living have fallen over the past two generations, and no one in the political establishment has been doing anything to help them.  They’re angry! Think of the minority…

Held in Wounded Hands

April 17, 2016
John 10:22-30     Fourth Sunday of Easter          April 17, 2016   It is the fourth Sunday of Easter, and so, as it is every year, today is “Good Shepherd Sunday.”  It’s named that because that imagery is in our readings. Jesus, in our reading from John, tells us that we are his sheep, and so implicitly, he is our shepherd.  We even say “The Lord is my shepherd.”  So, today is “Good Shepherd Sunday”---again.  The same as it was on the Fourth Sunday of Easter last year.  And the year before that.  And the year before…

Being Ananias

April 10, 2016
Acts 9:1-20     Third Sunday of Easter     April 10, 2016   I am so impressed with Ananias!  Do you remember who he is?  He’s in the story we just read from the book of The Acts of the Apostles.  Ananias is not the chief character in the story.  The two main characters are Jesus (who is heard, speaking out of a vision of light), and Saul (who will later become St. Paul).  But in the story, I’m Ananias. Here’s what we read.  Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the…

A Sermon by Michael Powell

April 10, 2016
(St. Stephen member Michael Powell is a graduate of the College of William and Mary who then earned a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, located outside of Columbus, Ohio.  Michael has returned to Williamsburg as the Assistant Coach of the William and Mary gymnastics program.  A number of months ago, Michael shared this sermon with me, which he preached in 2010.  I thought it would be a good one to post today because this morning's preaching text of Saul's conversation is set in Syria, a land experiencing deep troubles.  You…