• Luke 1:26-38 God’s Time (Hoffacker)

    This girl from a nowhere town had it all figured out in her teenage mind. Marry a decent guy named Joe, settle down, have some kids, live like most every other woman she knew.

  • Luke 1:26-38, Called to Greatness (Sellery)

    How many girls do you know have been painted by DaVinci and sculpted by Michelangelo...who've been serenaded by Bach and Schubert... who've been praised by Augustine and Aquinas… who’ve been venerated over the ages by a constant stream of devotions?

  • Luke 1:26-38 A Faithful Response (McLarty)

    What constitutes a faithful response? That’s what I’d like us to think about this morning: When faced with an unexpected, unsolicited and undesirable situation, what does it mean to respond in faith?

  • Luke 1:26-38 When the Angel Leaves the Room (Hyde)

    Gabriel is sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth. His purpose is to pay a visit to a young girl named Mary. Mary is betrothed to a man whose name is Joseph. Joseph is of the house of David. That’s important, that Joseph is descended from King David.

  • Luke 1:26-38 The Rebirth of Images (Hoffacker)

    A promise of national security, and a woman pregnant before marriage. Two very different stories. Indeed, they appear to be opposites. In one story, safety is gained. In the other, it is lost. But there is a bridge between the two.

  • Luke 1:26-38 Two Responses; One Sovereign God (McLarty)

    God calls us to be part of his kingdom. Sometimes we hear him, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’re quick to respond; and sometimes we don’t want to be bothered. Through it all, God is faithful to us, pouring out his grace and love, whether we deserve them or not.

  • Luke 1:26-55 Mary’s Complaint (Leininger)

    Mary was preparing to enter a new phase of life. It had been arranged for her to marry a local carpenter, a man named Joseph. Now...catastrophe. She was pregnant. unwed mother...and through no fault of her own.

  • Luke 1:35-45 With God Nothing Is Impossible (Kegel)

    Mary visits her kinswoman Elizabeth whose unborn child, John the Baptist, leaps for joy in Elizabeth's womb. Mary is called blessed because she believes the Lord's promise. We are called to be optimists not on the basis of wishful thinking but on God's sure promise.

  • Luke 1:39-45 Making a Place for Hospitality (Entrekin)

    Mary entered the house. But no matter how beautiful, comfortable, well designed and perfectly appointed the house, it is the people inside who make it welcoming or not.

  • Luke 1:39-55 This Magnificent Mess (Anders)

    Perhaps some of you have plaques on the wall that say, "God bless this mess." Our text for today tells us that God blessed Mary in a messy time of her life, and yet she might well have called it "this magnificent mess."

  • Luke 1:39-55 The Song of Divine Triumph (Hoffacker)

    Today's Gospel tells us of a pregnant woman who sings a song -- a song about her child, who he is, and who he will become. Mary's song is her response to her cousin Elizabeth's spirited greeting, but it is more than that. It comes from deep inside her.

  • Luke 1:46-49 Mary Sings (Gerhardy)

    Nowhere is there more singing than in Luke’s Gospel. Zechariah becomes a father in his old age– he sings. Mary hears that she is going to be a mother – she sings. The angels sing. When the shepherds saw the child in the manger - they sing. Old Simeon sings as he holds the child in his arms. Even Mary is singing.

  • Luke 1:46-55 Simply Sing Out the Praise of God (Hoffacker)

    Notice what Mary does not say. She does not say, "I am not worthy." Nor does she say, "I am worthy." Worthiness is not the point. Somehow this young girl understands: It's not all about her; it's all about God.

  • Luke 1:68-79 Repent and Behold (Kegel)

    A woman severely crippled by cerebral palsy said, "Pastor, why do we hear so much about duty and loyalty in the Christian religion? Why don't we hear more about the joy of being a Christian? In spite of her disability, that woman knew the joy of following the Lord.

  • Luke 1:68-79 Preparing the Way (Wagner)

    Historically Advent was a time of meditation, worship and penitence. But for us Advent has become busy, overwhelming and frantic. Although we are preparing for the arrival of the “Prince of Peace,” the days of Advent are anything but peaceful.

  • Luke 1:68-79 Zechariah’s Song (McLarty)

    The history of Israel is filled with long periods of slavery--Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman. Their glory days under David and Solomon were a brief moment of glory. Little wonder their hope lay in the promise of a Savior from on high, who would set them free, once and for all

  • Luke 2:1-14 Merry Christmas (Sellery)

    Merry Christmas! We all say it. But do we really know what it means? Or has it become an innocuous, seasonal version of: Have a nice day? Let’s take a closer look. The “Merry” part is easy.

  • Luke 2:1-20 The Perfect Christmas & the Real Christmas (Hoffacker)

    Crossing the mind of almost everyone around this time of year is the fantasy of the perfect Christmas. This fantasy appears in many versions, but a standard one goes something like this.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Mary’s Story (Sanders)

    Welcome! I am so glad you came by to visit a widow lady. I have been lonely since Joseph died. I do miss him a lot. James and the others are good boys, but they spend quite a bit of time at the carpentry shop.

  • Luke 2:1-20 The Christmas Gift (Sellery)

    What we want for Christmas is often very different from what we get. It has been that way from the very first. The chosen people wanted a powerful Messiah who would smite their enemies. Instead they got a helpless newborn who when grown would tell them to love their enemies.

  • Luke 2:1-20 The Eternal Houdini (Hoffacker)

    There's one phrase in Luke's Christmas story to which we pay little attention. "She wrapped him in bands of cloth." Some of us may remember an older translation, where he was "wrapped in swaddling bands." This is mentioned twice in the Christmas story

  • Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Colors (Zingale)

    To help us understand Christmas better, I would like to look at the Christmas event through the vivid colors which were present at the manger as described by our little mouse friend.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Straight to Bethlehem (Molin)

    When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive and bear a son, she was surprised. When Joseph learned that his fiancee was pregnant, he was surprised. But nobody was more surprised than the shepherds near Bethlehem when angels appeared to them.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Good, But Not Safe (Hoffacker)

    The Aslan of whom Mr. Beaver speaks with such respect is the story's central character, the savior of that world, the Christ of Narnia. Knowing something about lions, Lucy wonders aloud whether this lion is safe, and Mr. Beaver answers her. "Who said anything about safe?"

  • Luke 2:1-20 When Heaven Came Down (Hyde)

    Barbara Brown Taylor says that Christmas Eve is the time “when the membrane between heaven and earth is so thin you can almost see through it. "

  • Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Peace (Kegel)

    The Hebrew word for peace, SHALOM, encompasses all we need for a full and rich life. Shalom is what God gives us in Jesus Christ. He is the peace which surpasses human understanding.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Season (Wigmore)

    In each of the Christmas gospels, we hear a story directed to a particular people who were living in their own particular darkness. Luke’s writing primarily to the people living in the darkness that was the Roman Empire.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Christmas: Not a Day but a Season (Bedingfield)

    The message from the Church is this: Christmas is NOT a day that ends as soon as the wrapping paper is gathered from under the tree. No, Christmas is NOT a day, it is a SEASON. And it does NOT begin in October, it BEGINS after sundown on Christmas Eve.

  • Luke 2.1-20 O Holy Night (McLarty)

    One of the best memories of my childhood is attending the Christmas Eve service at the Methodist Church and hearing my mother sing, O Holy Night. I can't tell you how happy I was, when I came back to Hope to find that the Christmas Eve service continues to be a tradition here at First Pres.

  • Luke 2:1-20 Good News of Great Joy (Brettell)

    I love Christmas Eve. I sense that it is special for you as well. For many of us, it's the first peaceful moment we've had in the past four weeks. Now we come together as family and settle in the pews--and there's a collective sigh of peacefulness.

  • Luke 2:15-21 Naming Jesus (Bedingfield)

    On the eighth day after His birth, Mary and Joseph took their newborn son to be circumcised, as was the requirement for Jewish males. During the liturgy of circumcision, the baby boy is named. A “good” name would say something about who the parents prayed their child would become.

  • Luke 2:15-21 The Name of Jesus on Our Lips (Hoffacker)

    Mary and Joseph have their child circumcised on the eighth day. Thus he becomes a participant in the covenant, a son of Israel. Circumcision brings with it the shedding of blood--the first small step in the shedding of his blood for the redemption of the world.

  • Luke 2:22-40 There Was a Man Whose Name Was Simeon (Molin)

    It occurs to me that the question with which I began this sermon is the wrong question. Rather than asking “what would you like to do?” perhaps I should be asking “how would you like to be remembered?”

  • Luke 2:22-40 The Rest of the Story (Kegel)

    What we must not do is give up. People of good will can differ on means to a good end. People in our churches can seek to follow the Bible and still come up with different answers to major questions such as abortion or health care reform, capital punishment or war.

  • Luke 2:22-40 A Pattern Far Better (Hoffacker)

    The scene in the temple brings together a baby, a young couple, and a pair of old people. Imagine a world where each and every child is welcomed and treated as important in God's plan, regarded as a precious revelation, a sign that God remembers us for good.

  • Luke 2:22-40, Bucket List (London)

    Do you have a Bucket List? You know, a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket?” Simeon had a Bucket List. There was just one thing on Simeon’s Bucket List? To see the Lord’s Messiah?

  • Luke 2:41-52 Fast Forward (Molin)

    Jesus is 12 years old and has traveled with his family to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. After a couple of days of partying, the caravan turned back toward Nazareth. At suppertime, Mary began looking for Jesus. “Joseph, is Jesus with you?” “No, I thought he was with you!”

  • Luke 2:41-52 The Perfect Child (Gerhardy)

    Most parents with young children would like to know what it would be like to raise a perfect child. Imagine a child whose twos weren't terrible - no temper tantrums, no back talk, no refusing to go to bed, no fights with his brothers and sisters.

  • Luke 2:41-52 Why Have You Treated Us So? (McLarty)

    What makes this pilgrimage unique is that Jesus was twelve years old. Was he a boy or a man? If he was a boy, he’d travel with the women and children. If he was a man, he’d travel with the men. This sets the stage for what happened: He went missing on the way back.

  • Luke 2:52 Growing in Grace (McLarty)

    The Old Testament said, "The child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Yahweh, and also with men." (1 Samuel 2:26). Luke said virtually the same thing of the boy Jesus.

  • Luke 2:41-52, Holy Hijinx (London)

    The modern version of this story would have Joseph and Mary being investigated by Child Welfare because they “lost their 12 year old kid.” The media would jump on the story and demand to know how any good parents could travel an entire day’s journey and not know their kid was missing.

  • Luke 3:1-6 A Political Season (Hoffacker)

    Luke tells us who God's Word comes to--and who it doesn't come to. It comes to John the Baptist, a plain-spoken man in the wilderness--not to the governors or high priests.

  • Luke 3:1-6 All Flesh (Hyde)

    Luke begins by naming emperors, governors, priests. They are in charge. But God chooses not to come to the rich and famous, the important and highly-placed. God comes to a simple man named John.

  • Luke 3:1-6 A Highway Fit for a King (McLarty)

    “I was living in Hope, Arkansas. George Bush was in his second term in The White House. Mike Huckabee was Governor. The Razorbacks were 10 and 3 and on their way to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando … when I heard the voice of God calling my name.”

  • Luke 3:1-6 One Shock after Another (Leininger)

    The story of Jesus is one shock after another--after another--and after another. A comforting thought when I realize that the times I need Jesus most are when I am in the midst of my own shocks. They obviously will NOT be more than he can handle.

  • Luke 3:1-6 God’s Coming (McLarty)

    Luke speaks of God's coming to a particular individual in a particular place at a particular point in time. This is not a broadcast carried on CNN. It's a personal message signed, sealed and delivered by God himself.

  • Luke 3:7-18 Find a Need and Fill It (Hoffacker)

    What about us? Like his prophet John, God does not care about roots, but cares passionately about fruits. So you believe in me, God says. What are you going to do about it? Perform deeds worthy of repentant people.

  • Luke 3:7-18 Hospitality from the Margins (Entrekin)

    John calls them a “brood of vipers”. Not the ideal way to warm up a crowd. But John is a prophet and he knows things that others don’t know - that these people who say they want baptism live like snakes living under rocks.

  • Luke 3:7-18 Good News, Bad News (Molin)

    What John the Baptist should have done is to tell a joke. “Jesus is coming soon… And is he ever ticked!”

  • Luke 3:7-18 What Should We Do? (Hoffacker)

    John the Baptist tells these tax collectors, soldiers, and private citizens that the glorious fruits of repentance include much that is ordinary. They are to cease from extortion, bullying, and grumbling about money. They are to share with the destitute their surplus clothing and food.

  • Luke 3:7-18 What Shall We Do? (McLarty)

    “What shall we do?” That’s what the people asked John so long ago. Ultimately, it’s a question only you can answer.

  • Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 Not Water Only (Kegel)

    John the Baptist's baptism was a symbolic washing. Christian baptism is much more. It is God's action washing away our sins and making us new and different people, children of God, heirs to the promises of God.

  • Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 Terms of Endearment (Leininger)

    Charlton Heston starred as John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." They filmed in November on the Colorado River. The water temperature was in the forties. He said, "If the Jordan had been as cold as the Colorado , Christianity never would have gotten off the ground."

  • Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 Come, Holy Spirit, Come (Brettell)

    Luke used the Greek word e`toima,sate (eh toi mas uh tay) which is more than just “prepare.” It’s an imperative meaning “You—all of you—put everything in readiness and keep it all in readiness.” “Prepare” doesn’t convey the full emotional impact.

  • Luke 3:15-22 Obedience (Hyde)

    Obedience is not our favorite game to play. It’s one way that Jesus’ life was so remarkable, so different from our own. By his words and deeds, the Nazarene modeled what it means to be wholly obedient to the desire and purpose of Another.

  • Luke 3:15-22 Good News Is Bad News Is Good News (McLarty)

    Good News – the Lord is coming to save us. Bad News – he's coming with a vengeance to convict us of our sins. Good News – by doing so, he's able to forgive us and reconcile us to God.

  • Luke 4:1-13 The Desert Will Blossom (Hoffacker)

    Biblical faith is born in the desert. Wherever we are, we are in the desert when we feel God’s absence, when we believe that God has abandoned us. The desert is not a place where we can expect to dwell secure. It is a place in which to wander.

  • Luke 4:1-13 Tourist or Pilgrim? (Hoffacker)

    Do I live life as a pilgrim or as a tourist? The tourist travels through life, but wants to the journey to be comfortable. The pilgrim also sets out on a journey, but travels in search of something outside the familiar.

  • Luke 4:1-13 According to the Scriptures (Hyde)

    How would the tempter address us? He would approach us at the level of our greatest desire. What do you consider your most important role? "If you are a good mother, you would do this..." "If you are truly my friend, you would do that..."

  • Luke 4:1-13 Attracted to Power (Entrekin)

    Jesus faces the temptation to control, command, and dominate by depending upon God alone who speaks through scripture. God, with the power to create the heavens and the earth, gives to Jesus the power to lay power aside, to become powerful, paradoxically, in weakness.

  • Luke 4:1-13 Trials, Tests, and Temptations (Brettell)

    When Luke talks about wilderness, he’s talking about an area that is rocky, barren, dry, blazing hot during the day, and frigid cold at night. Almost nothing—not even cactus—grows there. What little water exists there is mostly alkaline—deadly to drink.

  • Luke 4:14-21 The Mission Statement of Jesus (Hoffacker)

    Jesus still does these things, because his Church does them. The poor gain hope. The captives experience freedom. The blind receive sight. The oppressed are set free. When Jesus reads that passage in the Nazareth synagogue, he announces a mission statement for himself and for his body the Church.

  • Luke 4:14-21 Out and In (Hyde)

    Nazareth provides Jesus an opportunity to pull back for awhile, eat some of mama’s good home cooking. And then the sabbath comes when no work is done. As was his custom (Luke is careful to point this out to us, isn’t he?) Jesus makes his way to the local synagogue.

  • Luke 4:14-21 Agenda for Jesus (Kegel)

    We are one with those whom Jesus came to save, with the poor and captive, the blind and oppressed. We need to hear over and over again the good news of the Lord's favor upon us. We are not saved by who we are or what we have done, but by the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross.

  • Luke 4:14-21 When Preaching Turns To Meddlin’ (McLarty)

    Now, had Jesus stopped there and accepted the praise of his elders, the story would have a happy ending. But Jesus brought up two examples of how God pours out his love in ways we don't appreciate.

  • Luke 4:14-30 Jesus’ First Sermon (McLarty)

    The text today is one of my favorites. It's the story of Jesus' first sermon. As a preacher, it gives me some measure of comfort to think that if Jesus' preaching could create such a stir, perhaps there's hope for me!

  • Luke 4:14-30, Good News Gone Bad (London)

    Jesus’ inclusive ministry remains something we struggle with. We still sit quietly judging the worth of others. We still like the idea that God’s blessings are meant only for us and not for others. We still long to constrain the ways of Christ and keep him obedient to our rules.

  • Luke 4:21-30 Not Just Inside (Kegel)

    It has been said that the past is another world. This is a new world we are living in, not the foreign country of the past. The new world is today is filled with people from the four corners of the globe.

  • Luke 4:21-30 What About Us? (Molin)

    Why would the early church include this story in the scriptures? Unless, of course, they thought that believers of every age would assume that Jesus owes them a blessing. We’ve trusted him with our lives. So where’s the home field advantage?

  • Luke 4:21-30 In and Out (Hyde)

    But Jesus doesn't cater to their terms. Not in Nazareth, not anywhere. He never told people what they wanted to hear. He told them the truth. In fact, instead of leaving well enough alone, he quits preaching and goes to meddling.

  • Luke 4:21-30 Infinite Circles (Hoffacker)

    Jesus is needling his hometown congregation—bringing up episodes in their history when the people of God refused to recognize a prophet in their midst, but that prophet was acknowledged by such unlikely sorts as a pagan widow or an enemy general.

  • Luke 4:31-44 Christ’s Powerful, Authoritative Word (Batchelor)

    The common thread through these events is the authority of Jesus. He taught with authority. He rebuked demons with authority. He even rebuked a fever with authority. Jesus speaks to nature and nature listens and obeys. Jesus speaks to spiritual powers and they obey. A little word from Jesus has authority over all things.

  • Judges 6:11-24a and Luke 5:1-11 Foolish Suggestions (Hoffacker)

    Gideon had a religious experience, an epiphany. Shaken by what has occurred, he now sees his ordinary workplace as a holy spot. He starts back to his job, and thinks that just maybe he could try to rescue his people.

  • Luke 5:1-11 Why I Stopped Fishing in a Parking Lot (Molin)

    Overwhelmingly, the most common reason for people coming to church is because someone invited them. 79% begin attending a local congregation because someone whom they know and trust said “Why don’t you come to church with me this Sunday?” Let me ask, why did you first come? Who invited you?

  • Luke 5:1-11 First, You Have to Row a Little Boat (Wagner)

    Peter trusted, as did the other disciples, and they hit it big. However, they will hit it even bigger when they put their efforts into relationships. Jesus needs followers who are "people focused" and not "self focused."

  • Luke 5:1-11 and Isaiah 6:1-13 Foolish Invitations (Hoffacker)

    These stories of Simon and Isaiah reveal a pattern, a pattern that occurs in our lives as well. It may happen at a time of crisis, when the king is dead. It may happen some place where we know how life works. In either case a word of grace and power is spoken—directly to us. Will we hear this invitation?

  • Luke 5:8-11 Encounter with the Divine (Gerhardy)

    Having been cleansed and restored to God, let's be like Peter and Isaiah take up the challenge to catch people - telling them what Jesus means to us. Let's not excuse ourselves with the plea, "Master, we worked all night and took nothing. We tried so hard but we haven't had any luck."

  • Luke 5:1-11, Put Out into the Deep (McLarty)

    God claims the least likely individuals as his children and gives them the authority to speak and act in his name. They all have one thing in common: They’re not worthy. They’re woefully inadequate. Their feet are made of clay. Sound like anyone you know?

  • Luke 5:1-12 and Judges 6:11-24 Foolish Suggestions (Hoffacker)

    Wherever we spend the bulk of our time, in that familiar workplace, there on our own turf, Jesus speaks a word of grace and power directly to us. Will we hear it? To Simon he said; "Put out in deep water, and let down your nets for a catch." What foolish suggestion is the Lord making to you?

  • Luke 5:1-11 Those Whom God Calls (McLarty)

    Wouldn't you love to have been there on the boat that morning out on the lake and heard Jesus' words and seen Simon's face? It was what we call a "Christological" moment – Simon seeing in the face of Jesus the Presence of God; and seeing himself as a poor unrighteous sinner.

  • Genesis 45:3-15 Luke 6:27-38 – Pay-Back Time (Leininger)

    “Do not be distressed, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

  • Judges 6:11-24a and Luke 5:1-11 Foolish Suggestions (Hoffacker)

    Gideon had a religious experience, an epiphany. Shaken by what has occurred, he now sees his ordinary workplace as a holy spot. He starts back to his job, and thinks that just maybe he could try to rescue his people.

  • Luke 5:1-11 and Isaiah 6:1-13 Foolish Invitations (Hoffacker)

    These stories of Simon and Isaiah reveal a pattern, a pattern that occurs in our lives as well. It may happen at a time of crisis, when the king is dead. It may happen some place where we know how life works. In either case a word of grace and power is spoken—directly to us. Will we hear this invitation?

  • Luke 5:1-12 and Judges 6:11-24 Foolish Suggestions (Hoffacker)

    Wherever we spend the bulk of our time, in that familiar workplace, there on our own turf, Jesus speaks a word of grace and power directly to us. Will we hear it? To Simon he said; "Put out in deep water, and let down your nets for a catch." What foolish suggestion is the Lord making to you?

  • Luke 6:12-21 Are You Blessed? (McLarty)

    What we find in the beatitudes and the woes is a reversal of our value system. What appears to be desirable and lasting in the eyes of the world turns out to be an empty promise; while the things that are undesirable and unpopular in the eyes of the world are the source of real life.

  • Luke 6:17-26 Just a Plain Sermon (Molin)

    There was only one sermon that day. There was only one crowd. But there were a myriad of responses, because the poor felt encouraged, but the wealthy felt judged. The hungry went away hopeful, but the well-fed went away worried about the future.

  • Luke 6:17-26 The Power of the Victim (Hoffacker)

    For the victim to use power for personal advantage is hardly surprising. Some such action is necessary to redress past wrongs. But it should come as no surprise if victims of one kind produce victims of another kind. What makes the Gospel good news is that it points to a different alternative.

  • Luke 6:17-26 With Jesus You Don’t Need Buttons (Amon)

    You will be happy only in God. If you take a goldfish out of the water so that you can sing a song to it will it be happy? No. But if you put the fish back in the water it will be happy. It is the same with us. We will be happy only in God.

  • Luke 6:17-49 Ancient Biblical Hospitality for Today (Entrekin)

    Why the blessing of God upon those who are discarded and shoved aside? Because this is where God's heart is. These are the ones with whom Jesus fundamentally identifies. This is who God welcomes and honors. It's scandalous really. God is prejudiced...for the poor.

  • Luke 6:20-31 Jesus’ Third Way (Hoffacker)

    Walter Wink talks about the Third Way which Jesus embodies and teaches. It is a third way beyond both passivity and conventional violence. It is an alternative to both fight and flight. This Third Way that Jesus promotes enables people to resist violence so that love prevails.

  • Luke 6:20-31 You Are Blessed (Kegel)

    Count yourself blessed every time someone smears your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that person is uncomfortable. You can skip like a lamb, for even though they don't like it, I do...and all heaven applauds.

  • Luke 6:27-38 Unimaginable Love (Wagner)

    Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great and you will be children of the most high." To be children of the most high is to be people who live by a higher standard.

  • Luke 6:27-38 Pay-Back Time (Leininger)

    Listen to Joseph's gracious response: "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children."

  • Luke 6:27-38 Know Who You Are (Kegel)

    Karl Barth once commented that all sin is basically ingratitude. Jesus is saying much the same thing to his disciples gathered before him on the plain. Our gratitude to God is shown in how we treat other people.

  • Luke 7:1-10 Such Faith as This (McLarty)

    Too often we hedge our bets. We ask God to provide, yet never quite let go of the reins. One way or the other, we want to be in control, just in case God doesn't come through. We take a leap of faith, but keep one foot on the ground.

  • Luke 7:1-10 Noticeable Faith (Robb)

    A couple weeks ago, some friends called and asked if they could talk to me about my two open heart surgeries. I agreed and we met. As we discussed their circumstances, it became apparent they really wanted to know about the wisdom of a “SECOND OPINION.”

  • Luke 7:1-10 To Whom Shall We Go? (Kegel)

    An eight year old boy was afraid his parents will divorce and prayed, "God help my mother and my father not to get angry and not to fight," and a little Jewish girl who thought of the deaths in the Holocaust and wondered whether "maybe we're living in hell right now."

  • Luke 7:11-17 Interfering with Death (Hoffacker)

    Guess what? We are here as the Church to interfere with death, to call its bluff. Insofar as we do this, people will be shocked as much as people were that day in Nain when the young man got off the bier.

  • Luke 7:11-17 When Grief Turns to Fear (Hyde)

    Always surrounding our experiences of death is the deep and eternal compassion God has for us, a compassion so wonderfully given expression in Jesus Christ his Son. In Christ, God has intervened in the world to show us what God is like.

  • Luke 7:18-28 Are You the One? (Batchelor)

    Today's reading tells us that many people believed that this teaching was from God. These people see God's salvation breaking into the world in Jesus. Luke specifically mentions the tax collectors who were considered to be the scum of society.

  • Luke 7:18-28 A Reason to Rejoice (Batchelor)

    Even John, who is now in jail, has a reason to rejoice. When his disciples tell him all that they have seen and heard, John can rejoice in the sure and certain knowledge that the savior is at work in the world. Jesus has begun the work that will save us from our sins.

  • Luke 7:36 – 8:3 That Kind of Woman (Stevenson)

    I ask, "Which are you: the one forgiven little or the one forgiven much?" Jesus died for your sins. Go ahead and admit that you owed much so that you could be forgiven much. Then show your gratitude to God. Don't worry if they call you a fanatic. You know the truth!

  • Luke 7:36 – 8:3 Saved by Faith (Kegel)

    Grace is like water. It always flows downhill. When it snows at the top of Mount Everest, eventually that moisture flows down to the sea. In the same way grace always goes to the lowest places in our lives. God is seeking the lost to save them.

  • Luke 7:36-50 The Woman Who Washed Jesus’ Feet (Leininger)

    Even though the Gospels introduce many men and women who met Jesus, few are identified by the word "sinner." But this woman was a special case. She had a reputation.

  • Luke 7:11-17 I Believe in Miracles (McLarty)

    Jesus healed many people, but not everyone. Those he healed got sick again, and those he raised from the dead eventually died again. The purpose of healing the sick and raising the dead was not to suspend the laws of nature but to bear witness to the power of God over life and death.

  • Luke 8:26-39 What’s in a Name (Stevenson)

    Ancient Hebrew belief considered names important. Knowing a demon’s name gave you power over it. That is why Jesus asked the demon’s name. The name reveals the magnitude of the problem. The man doesn’t have "a" demon but a legion of demons in him.

  • Luke 8:26-39 Christ and Chaos (Hyde)

    You’re hurting so bad right now, the only thing you know is the churning of your stomach and the pain in your heart. You’re not sure you’ll even make it through the day, so you just sit here in this place hoping you will hear a word – just a word – of hope.

  • Luke 9:29-31 Encouragement (Gerhardy)

    Who has been encourager to you? They were God's servants to you, giving you the confidence, helping you deal with doubt, supporting you and encouraging you. Thank God for those encouragers. It follows then to ask, "How can we be God’s servants who encourage others?

  • Luke 9:28-36 Listen to Him (McLarty)

    What I hope you'll get out of the sermon this morning is a clear and compelling invitation to listen to the voice of Jesus. If you do, you're in for a blessing.

  • Luke 9:28-36 The Greatest Miracle (Gerhardy)

    One of the young people of St Paul’s recently ran off a country road after passing an oncoming vehicle and was heading straight for a tree. Before hitting the tree the car came to a stop – caught up in a fence. Injury was averted. Was that a miracle?

  • Luke 9:28-36 The Radiance of God (McLarty)

    A few years ago, I had an elder in my church who’d disappear every two or three months. I asked his wife what was going on. She laughed and said, “Oh, he just needs a little time every once in a while to be alone with God.” She said he’d go backpacking on horseback in the mountains of New Mexico.

  • Luke 9:28-43a A Redeemed Face (Hoffacker)

    Your face reveals what you look at, what you honor, what you desire. Spend your time with pornography, and your face will show it. Look on another race with hatred, and your face will show it. But see the beauty that surrounds you, even on ordinary days, and your face will show it.

  • Luke 9:28-43a It’s Better Higher Up! (Tilleraas)

    In a sense, the disciples had been pregnant with the knowledge that there was something very different about their Master. They had experienced many of those "oh, oh" and "oh my God" moments before––but today was the day that the veil was lifted from their eyes and they beheld the glory of God.

  • Luke 9:28-43a Mountain Tops in Our Faith (Brettell)

    But imagine—just imagine—what would have happened if Jesus had said, “Okay, we’ll stay here. You go ahead and build those three dwellings for Moses, Elijah, and me. We’ll just stay put.” Imagine what would have happened. NOTHING WOULD HAVE HAPPENED!

  • Luke 9:28-43a The Real Jesus (Kegel)

    Charles Dickens was so concerned that his children would know and love Jesus that he wrote a beautiful little book entitled "The Life of Our Lord." He never intended this book for publication; the little book was for his family. It was only published in 1933 after the death of his youngest son.

  • Luke 9:51-62 The Unexpected Call (Hoffacker)

    Jesus has the annoying habit of calling people, whether their life is a moral disaster or a moral example. This is because he is interested in something besides improving bad people's behavior. He wants all people, regardless of their behavior, to become his disciples.

  • Luke 9:51-62 Ban the Buts (Leininger)

    Another joined the march. Jesus invited him, "Follow me." BUT he said, "first, let me go and bury my father." Pam Laing responds, "I wish we could kick all the 'buts' out of the church."

  • Luke 9:51-62 Don’t Look Back (McLarty)

    A young couple were new in town and looking for a church home. They'd visited several churches already and wondering what his had to offer – Family life center? Personal growth groups? It's a competitive world for churches. He said, "Oh, you'll love our church. We'll give you a Cross to bear."

  • Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 A Guide for Ministers (Kegel)

    Jesus gives advice to the seventy he sent out to every town and place where he intended to go. The number is important for it was the number of nations that ancient people believed to exist on earth. Seventy people sent meant that no tribe or nation on earth was to be excluded from the Gospel.

  • Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 Do Not Be Afraid (Hoffacker)

    During the week, dispersed in many directions, each of us will, no doubt, feel rising in our hearts at least one of these forms of fear. This fear will try to disrupt our discipleship, interrupt our journey to the kingdom. But if we listen, we will also hear Jesus telling us once again: "Do not be afraid!"

  • Luke 10:1-2, 17-18 Words and Deeds (Gerhardy)

    When we look at the church, our church, we see mundane meetings, ordinary folk, unspectacular routine, people with all kinds of troubles. Yet Jesus sees heaven and earth being transformed through us. Jesus commissions us to be part of his revolutionary overthrow of the powers of death and evil.

  • Luke 10:25-37 The First and Foremost Samaritan (Hoffacker)

    There comes someone to help us. Someone of a despised race. He takes risks in approaching, and spends resources on our recovery with no guarantee we will ever thank him. Even to us, who may appear to despise him, this Samaritan shows compassion. For once we learn his name. His name is Jesus.

  • Luke 10:25-37 Nothing More To Say (Hyde)

    "And who is my neighbor?" What the lawyer's really saying is, "Let's keep this on the intellectual level. Let's stay in the library or the classroom or the sanctuary. I don't want to venture out into the sunlight of the real world."

  • Luke 10:25-37 Parable of the Good Samaritan (Condon)

    Jesus WAS the Samaritan. He was an outcast who was willing to seek and save people who were perishing. He was and is the ultimate neighbor whose compassion contrasted with Jewish religious leaders who had no compassion for those who suffered.

  • Luke 10:25-37 Parable of the Good Samaritan (McLarty)

    Wallace Vickers made an easy target. He was the brunt of a lot of jokes. But not for Leta Hayes. She'd smile and say, "He's as good a man as he knows how to be." Well, I'd like to think we could say the same of the priest in The Parable of the Good Samaritan – he was as good a man as he knew how to be.

  • Luke 10:25-37 See, Feel, Act (Hoffacker)

    When Jesus closes the parable of the Good Samaritan with "Go and do likewise," he is not imposing a single strict way to respond to travelers who have ended up in trouble. His intent is far larger and more practical, something that applies to countless circumstances.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Finding Our Center (Hoffacker)

    Martha welcomes Jesus into her house. A hospitable gesture, but something more as well: a defiance of conventional behavior. Jesus is alone with women who are not his relatives; he allows one to serve him, and he teaches the other one. All of these are violations of social norms.

  • Luke 10:38-42 It’s All In the Timing (Hyde)

    If you had your druthers, would you rather live with Mary or Martha? If you lived with Martha, the house would always be spotless, but you'd have to put up with her constant fretting. If you lived with Mary, you would eat off paper plates. With Mary, PB&J would be a gourmet meal.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Overworked and Underpaid (Kegel)

    "Overworked and Underpaid." I have never met a person who did not feel overworked and underpaid. I have had physicians tell me that they were overworked and I could easily believe that. When they got to the underpaid part, I had a bit more trouble.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Mary and Martha (McLarty)

    Martha had the gift of hospitality. Luke says, " Martha received him into her house." On another occasion, we're told that " Jesus came to Bethany… they made him a supper there. Martha served..." (John 12:1-2). Hospitality is one of the oldest and most time-honored of all gifts.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Hearing and Doing (Brettell)

    Christ Jesus calls us to be both Mary and Martha depending upon the circumstances. AND he calls Mary to take on the role of Martha at times, just as he calls Martha to take on the role of Mary at times.

  • Luke 10:25-37 Seeing Our Neighbors (Brettell)

    But you know what? There’s another side of the story of the Good Samaritan. The story is really not as simple as it might at first seem. We need to be careful that we don’t too quickly place ourselves in a position of judging the actions of the Priest or the Levite.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Passionate Spirituality (Hoffacker)

    Martha is driven by duty rather than delight. She may be an effective organizer, a great cook, conscientious in all that she does, but she is simply responsible, not inspired, even on the day when Jesus himself comes to dinner.

  • Luke 11:1-4 Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Gerhardy)

    Sign seen in a textile mill, "When your thread becomes tangled, call the supervisor." A young woman thought, "I’ll straighten this out myself." The situation worsened. Finally, she called the supervisor. "I did the best I could," she said. "No you didn’t. To do your best, you should have called me."

  • Luke 11:1-13 Seek and Find; Knock and Open (Molin)

    Jesus promises all those who are seeking: you will find. It may not be the exact answer you were looking for, but it will be God's answer for you. That's what prayer is, isn't it? Seeking God's answers for the struggles of our lives?

  • Luke 11:1-13 Ready to Give (Hoffacker)

    Jesus offers this story to give us hope. If ordinary, tired people will get out of bed in a situation like that, then don't you think that the Holy One, blessed be his name, whose mercy endures forever—don't you think that this Lord God may be at least that approachable by those who pray?

  • Luke 11:1-13 Why Do You Pray (Brettell)

    When I’m at the hospital visiting with someone who is critically ill, the one thing they want most is prayer. People see my collar and ask me to pray for them. I’ve had people say to me, “I haven’t prayed in years; I’m not sure I remember how; will you pray with me?”

  • Luke 12:13-21 Avarice: The Disease and Its Cure (Hoffacker)

    Clarence Jordan's translation of this verse brings out its original earthiness: "You all be careful and stay on your guard against all kinds of greediness. For a person's life is not for the piling up of possessions." In these few words, Jesus rejects much of what keeps our society humming.

  • Luke 12:13-21 It’s Not the Money (Leininger)

    You have heard that whenever anyone says, "It's not the money...", it's the money. But, in this case, it really is NOT the money. Rather the problem is the seemingly insatiable demand in our culture for more and more and more.

  • Luke 12:13-21 A New Lease on Life (Hyde)

    “Teacher,” a man blurts out to Jesus, “tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” Notice he doesn’t use the magic word, please. Obviously, this man is one of the younger sons in the family. If he had been the oldest, he would be the one receiving the inheritance.

  • Luke 12:13-21 Overlooking Saipan (Kegel)

    We don't know what life will bring. There are people here this morning facing Alzheimer's or cancer, blindness. Some may have the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry. For others, life will not be that way. But we will all be asked whether we were rich to God--and whether we allowed God to be rich to us.

  • Luke 12:16-20 The Parable of the Rich Fool (McLarty)

    The Bible doesn't say, "Money is the root of all evil." It says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." (1 Timothy 6:10). And there's a big difference. It's no sin to be rich. It's not wealth that's our downfall, but greed. And this is precisely the direction the parable is taking us.

  • Luke 12:32-40 Make God Happy – Give Your BMW to Me (Molin)

    Twenty centuries later, we read what Jesus said, and we say “Right on, Jesus! You really gave it to those pious Jews. Good for you.” What we fail to realize is that the message of Jesus has not changed in 2000 years, except now he is speaking to us.

  • Luke 12:32-40 Light on Your Feet (Hyde)

    What is your greatest fear? Chances are it would have something to do with your future--your mortgage--your health. Add to the list. To run with Jesus you don’t need no baggage, no ticket, to get on board. Just be ready

  • Luke 12:32-40 Fear Not (Kegel)

    Jesus said, "Don't be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food...." I remember spending quite a lot of time fretting over the wedding dinner—filet mignon, walleye or squash ravioli. Insisted on a soup course—cream of wild rice. Life is more than food.

  • Luke 12:49-56 Flashing Yellow Lights (Molin)

    Has your faith ever caused you to make a choice? Have you ever had one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock, and intentionally decided to go in a direction God was calling you instead of another road? If so, you understand exactly why Jesus said what he did.

  • Luke 12:49-56 A Strange Sort of Peace (Molin)

    The hard sayings of Jesus are hard because they call us to live by our convictions--to walk the walk as well as to talk the talk. We cannot hear only what we want to hear. We cannot love only those we want to love. We cannot put our faith in a drawer and take it out only when it suits us.

  • Luke 12:49-52 Not Peace but Division (Gerhardy)

    The secular world has taken over Sunday. Is that because Christians let it happen? What would happen if every Christian in Australia with one voice said "Sorry I can’t do that – that’s my time to worship God"? Would it make a difference?

  • Luke 13:1-5 When Bad Things Happen to Good People (McLarty)

    When bad things happen, we often look for a positive outcome to soften the blow. When a child died, a funeral director said, "You know, God picks the most beautiful flowers for his heavenly bouquet." Somehow, I didn't find that to be a very comforting thought.

  • Luke 13:1-9 Whose Fault Is It Anyway? (Kegel)

    Blame the stars, blame the schools, blame the government, blame the folks – even blame oneself. We do it and we keep on doing it. We ask the same question, "Whose fault is it, anyway?" Jesus tells us not to blame the victim.

  • Luke 13:1-9 Telling the Truth (Entrekin)

    Jesus does not offer simplistic answers. He does not explain God. He does not point fingers. He looks straight at us and says, "Examine yourself, friends." In case we miss the flashing yellow light he adds, "Unless you tell the truth about who you are and repent, you'll perish just like they did."

  • Luke 13:1-9 Truth that Leads to Change (McLarty)

    It's a paradox: The more we invite change, the more we stay the same. A friend calls this "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." It gives the appearance of change while doing nothing to address the underlying problem deep down below.

  • Luke 13:1-9, Our Way or Yahweh (London)

    God's ways are not our ways. God does not enact judgement by having towers fall on people as punishment for their sin. "No," says Jesus to such thinking. Yet, Jesus also says that if we don't repent we too will die a terrible death.

  • Luke 13:6-9 Another Year of Grace (Gerhardy)

    Jesus' words, "Cut it down, right now, and stick a match to it" cut deeply. The owner has a right to be angry at that useless tree. But as we listen to Jesus story we know he isn't just talking about a fig tree. He's talking about you and me. We are led to ask ourselves, "Am I bearing fruit?

  • Luke 13:10-17 Maybe Resting on the Sabbath Is Overrated (Molin)

    When Jesus healed the paralytic woman in the synagogue that day, he abolished the law of resting on the Sabbath. But resting on the Sabbath is still a good idea--a wonderful idea. Even Europe knows that. But in this country, we have created a non-stop culture.

  • Luke 13:10-17 Repressive Religion (Leininger)

    Now Jesus does this healing. Work. And not even an emergency healing. In fact, the woman had not even asked to be healed. But Jesus did it anyway. It is not much of a stretch to conclude that he did it on purpose. He knew the rules. Why would Jesus deliberately tweak their ecclesiastical nose?

  • Luke 13:10-17 Set Free (Hyde)

    Have you thought of chance encounters that shaped who you are and what you have done? Well, consider the crippled woman in Luke's story. There is no indication that she had come to the synagogue looking for healing.

  • Luke 13:31-35 Paying Attention (Entrekin)

    Multi-tasking makes for shallow living. You can do a lot, but none of it goes very deep. There's a cost. Albert Schweitzer said that "your soul suffers if you live superficially." Moments of grace, epiphany, insight, are lost to us because we are in such a hurry.

  • Luke 13:31-35 In His Own Time (Hyde)

    Jesus calls Herod a fox. Then, in the next breath, he uses the image for himself of a hen protecting her brood. And what is the natural enemy of a hen? A fox.

  • Luke 13:31-35 Just Do It (Kegel)

    George Barna, the sociologist of religion, has written about the end of congregations as we know them and how the future of the church may be small house churches, gatherings of highly committed people who pray for one another and challenge one another in their Christian life.

  • Luke 13:31-35 Challenging the Foxes in Life (Brettell)

    When I first began Seminary, a professor said, "You think you're safe here? You think that because you made it to seminary that you're safe from the devil's wiles and temptations? You're in more danger now than ever before in your lives. The devil has to tear you away from this place."

  • Luke 14:1, 7-14 Outside the Comfort Zone (Hoffacker)

    Rather than limiting our guest list to people who are clones of ourselves, people with whom we're comfortable, invite instead those who are different, people who make us uncomfortable, but whose difference from us may bring with it a blessing.

  • Luke 14:1, 7-14 Choose to Sit in the Back of the Bus (Molin)

    Now the text doesn't say this, but I think Jesus moved his chair to the very back of the room, and then announced to the crowd "Please turn your chairs around, for now the head table is here." The great were humbled, and the humble were made great. (The remainder of the sermon is delivered from the back row).

  • Luke 14:11 Upside Down and Back to Front (Gerhardy)

    Reading the Gospels is never as puzzling as Alice in Wonderland, but sometimes you wonder if Jesus gets things back to front and upside down. Today's reading is an example. Those who are great will be the least in the Kingdom of God and those who are humble will be the greatest. That's so back to front.

  • Luke 14:25-33 How Much Are You Willing to Give? (McLarty)

    To be honest, we all fall somewhere on the scale. This is why I've never been one to criticize those who come to church only on Christmas and Easter. Hey, that's two Sundays out of the year! If the service is uplifting and inspiring, maybe they'll add Pentecost next year.

  • Luke 14:25-33 The Danger of Discipleship (Leininger)

    Imagine your search committee meeting with a candidate for this pulpit. "Reverend, tell us your understanding of church membership." Answer: "The first rule is you must hate your father and mother, your wife and children, your brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life."

  • Luke 14:25-33 Riot Control (Hyde)

    "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple." Whoa. Barbara Brown Taylor says Jesus wouldn't have made a very good parish minister, and from what he says here, she has a pretty good point.

  • Luke 14:1, 7-14 Friends in Low Places (Molin)

    That, my friends, is a picture of grace: being invited into a place we have no business being. By grace, we are lavished with gifts that we did not pay for and do not deserve. And only by the kindness of our Host have we even been allowed to enter and to stay.

  • Luke 15:1-10 Jeremiah: the Judgment (Hyde)

    In Jesus there is always hope. In Jesus, as Fred Craddock puts it, “Hope can live on one calorie a day.” In the darkest of moments, when you don ‘t think you can go on anymore, when your world is wastedand no bird flies in your sky, there is still hope. And this is why…

  • Luke 15:8-10 Loose Change (Sylvester)

    When Lucien took the collection, our little daughter Else put a mitt-full of pennies on the plate. I must have looked surprised. She said, “The kids at school spin pennies at each other down the hallway, and sometimes I find stray pennies. I save them for the collection plate.”

  • Luke 15:3-7 The Ninety-Nine and One (Hyde)

    Are you grateful that you were lost and have been found? When the Shepherd picked you up and laid you across his shoulders and brought you home, do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the sound of angels in heaven rejoicing? How can we possibly deny that joy to others?

  • Luke 15:1-17 The Parable of the Lost Sheep (McLarty)

    Our lives are based on an acceptable percentage of failure. We start every school year knowing that not everyone will graduate. Marriages start out with a predictable rate of divorce. We’re happy when the employment rate is below five percent. And sad to say, not every newborn baby will live.

  • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Invited to Extend Forgiveness (Hoffacker)

    Sometimes our poisonous behavior does not resemble what the younger son does. Sometimes we defect in place. We look righteous, act righteous, feel righteous. But inside, our heart is a cesspool of resentment. We hate anybody who seems to get away with anything.

  • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Sonny Moneybags (Leininger)

    Besides Dad and Junior, there was another in that household, the elder brother. Call him “Sonny Moneybags,” because now all of the family wealth will come to him, not just a portion. You can imagine Sonny’s reaction when he heard of his brother’s plans: “Goodbye and good riddance!”

  • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 The Welcome Mat (Robb)

    This group Jesus was mixing with was “RENEGADES.” They were scoundrels and misfits. He had no business mixing with them!!! This is the setting in which the story of the Prodigal Son takes place.

  • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, Hear It Again (London)

    Jesus leaves us with a parable that has no ending. What will happen to this dysfunctional family is left up to us. Do we recognize our own lostness? Do we embody the love of God in all we say and do? Are we reconciled one to another? Would you like to hear it again?

  • Luke 15:11-32 Jesus’ Father (Hyde)

    Wayne Oates says a “child learns to trust those who demonstrate that they are dependable.” Has God proven himself to be dependable to you? If, in your mind God has not, could it be that you have not depended enough on him?

  • Luke 15:11-32 Expanded Imagination (Entrekin)

    In John Paul Sartre’s words, Imagination is the ability to think of what is not. That is the starting place for forgiveness. The Imaginative Father becomes the Forgiving Father as he pictures a family that is not broken, not bitter, not blaming.

  • Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son (McLarty)

    This parable should be called the Parable of the Loving Father, rather than the Parable of the Prodigal Son, because that’s really what it’s about – a father’s love for his children, with little regard for whether they deserve it or not.

  • Luke 15:11-32 Jesus Tells about a Father (Wigmore)

    When Mother’s Day arrived, a chaplain in a state prison was overwhelmed with prisoner requests for Mother’s Day cards. He gave out boxes and boxes of ‘em. When Father’s Day rolled around, he had stocked up–but almost none of the men asked for them.

  • Luke 16:1-8 The Parable of the Dishonest Manager (McLarty)

    The question is: What are you supposed to do when the wheels come off the wagon – whether it's your fault or not? The parable teaches us to get into high gear. And this is exactly what the manager did.

  • Luke 16:1-13 The Dishonest Manager (Anders)

    The steward traffics in what is, by definition, unrighteous currency -- money. We are called to traffic in righteous currency. The currency of God's kingdom is forgiveness.

  • Luke 16:1-13 It’s the Little Things That Count (Wagner)

    The point of the story is this: Long-term security is more important than short-term gain. The man's long-term security had to do with his relationships with other people and his relationship with God. His sacrificial act would benefit him greater than any short-term profit.

  • Luke 16:1-13 A Scandalous Story (Hoffacker)

    The good news is that Christ behaves like the manager in the story from Luke. Christ suffers unjustly, but what he does is set us free from debts we can never pay. The whole business of the cross looks like a scandal, yet it is a bestowal of life and freedom.

  • Luke 16:19-31 Dying Into Life (Hoffacker)

    An example of the trust exercise appears in a story Jesus tells. Two people fall backward. One is unable to trust, and cannot be caught. The other one closes his eyes, falls backward, and is caught by the one behind him. The trustful one we know as Lazarus.

  • Luke 16:19-31 Redeem the Present, Insure the Future (Hoffacker)

    Rabbi Joshua visited Rome. He was astonished at the magnificent statues, covered with fine cloth. Then a beggar asked for a crust of bread. He observed, "Here are statues covered with expensive clothes. Here is a man, created in the image of God, covered with rags. A civilization that pays more attention to statues than to people shall surely perish."

  • Luke 16:19-31 Have You Heard About These Two Guys? (Molin)

    When we come before God, we can come, clinging to all our worldly stuff: Our checkbooks and college degrees and professional titles. Our hands will be full, but our hearts will be empty. Or we can come to God without anything; humble, broken, needy--asking God to bless us.

  • Luke 17:5-6 Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed (Gerhardy)

    Jesus didn't need to increase the size of the faith of the disciples. They already had faith. He assures them of that and states that, even though their faith may be small, God can accomplish great things through them. And we know that he did. With God's help, they changed the world.

  • Luke 17:5-10 Warm Hearts, Calloused Hands (Molin)

    Jesus describes another kind of church-- a church where the people work at feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the imprisoned, and reaching out and touching the untouchables of our world.

  • Luke 17:5-10 More Faith (Kegel)

    Dr. F.B. Meyer tells of a church that was seeking revival. An elder got up and said, "I don't think there is going to be a revival here as long as Brother Jones and I don't speak to each other." He went across to Jones and said, "Brother, you and I haven't spoken to each other in five years. Let's bury the hatchet. Here's my hand."

  • Luke 17:11-19 Attitude of Gratitude (Kegel)

    Ten lepers were healed but only one turned back to give thanks to God. Ten were healed but only was saved. As Martin Luther said, "God does not need our work and has not commanded us to do anything for Him but to give thanks and praise Him."

  • Luke 17:11-19 Don’t Forget to Say Thank You! (McLarty)

    What's unusual is not that the other nine were well on their way to the Temple, but that one turned back to say thank you. Luke tells us, almost tongue-in-cheek: "By the way, he was a Samaritan." Imagine that you're part of the Jewish audience to whom Jesus was speaking. This would've been a slap in the face.

  • Luke 17:11-19 Dead Men Walking! (Gerhardy)

    Imagine that the economy went really bad and we had to line up for basic food rations. Imagine that there was a breakdown in law and order in our community. Would we still hold a festival of thanksgiving? Would there still be something to be thankful about? The apostle Paul would say, "Yes".

  • Luke 17:11-19 Returning Thankfully (Donovan)

    What rejoicing! They were well--no longer outcasts. They could go home. But first they must get a priest to pronounce them healed. Where was the nearest priest? But one of the lepers stopped. He had something even more important than finding a priest.

  • Luke 17:11-19 Writing Your Thank You Notes (Hoffacker)

    Ninety percent of this group of lepers never thanked Jesus. It's easy to see why. They were hugging their relatives, perhaps for the first time in decades. Do Christians today do much better?

  • Luke 17:11-19 & Psalm 116:12 The 10 Percent (London)

    This one loved God so much that obedience to the rules had become beside the point. This one, this ten percent-er, was so grateful that he could do nothing other than give 100 percent of his thanks to Jesus. Have you ever been that grateful? So grateful that it overwhelms you?

  • Luke 18:1 Keep on Praying (Gerhardy)

    A magazine cartoon has a little fellow kneeling beside his bed for his bedtime prayer and saying, "Dear God, Uncle Jim still doesn't have a job; Sis still doesn't have a date for the social; Grandma is still feeling sick - and I'm tired of praying for this family and not getting results."

  • Luke 18:1-8 The Voice of the Widow (Hoffacker)

    God is not the unjust judge, but the widow who wears him down. Where then is the unjust judge to be found? Listen carefully. That judge is inside each of us, and the purpose of our prayer is to wear him down, to force him to do justice. Prayer is the widow's voice, strident yet sane, insisting that things be different.

  • Luke 18:1-8 Bothering God (Hyde)

    I just love it when the underdog wins, don't you? Except when the Razorbacks are playing. Obviously, I always pull for them. Or when Notre Dame is involved. I always root for them to lose. It's not a Catholic thing on my part. I've just always thought they got more respect than they deserved.

  • Luke 18:1-8 The Squeaky Wheel (Kegel)

    C.S. Lewis recalled a nagging feeling that he should get a haircut. "In the end I could stand it no longer. I went. The moment I opened his shop door the barber said, ‘Oh, I was praying that you might come today'. And in fact if I had come a day or so later, I should have been no use to him."

  • Luke 18:1-8 The Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow (Sylvester)

    But this widow was a tough old bird. I imagine her as an older Bette Midler with the same compact, fast-talking attitude. That's how the judge saw her. An angry little bantam hen peck, peck, pecking, day after day, until he was black and blue from harassment.

  • Luke 18:9-14 Two Ways (Hoffacker)

    Which will you emulate: the Pharisee or the tax collector? Which path will you take: the one that leads us into a hard shell, or the way that leads us out into the land of the living?

  • Luke 18:9-14 From Judgment to Compassion (McLarty)

    Next time you're around somebody who seems overly cocky, and you feel your blood beginning to boil, think of the Pharisee in the parable as a little boy locked up in a grown-up body who's still trying to win the approval of his mommy and daddy.

  • Luke 18:9-14 The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Sylvester)

    The parables of Jesus are not about you and me. They're about the nature of God. And God's love is not a limited resource reserved for those who deserve it. He has more than enough for all who ask. The Pharisee didn't ask. The tax collector was so broken, that's all he could do.

  • Luke 23 & John 19 The Seven Last Words of Christ (Donovan)

    For whom was Jesus praying? Most likely his prayer included not only the soldiers who were inflicting his wounds, but also the Jewish leaders who instigated the crucifixion, the crowd that demanded it, and the disciples who, for the most part, were nowhere to be found.

  • Luke 19:1-10 Those Who Stand Tall (McLarty)

    Those who stand tall are not necessarily big people, either in stature or worldly acclaim. They’re not necessarily the rich and famous. They stand tall because of their compassion and benevolence and willingness to give themselves in service to others. I’ll give you a couple of examples….

  • Luke 19:1-10 It’s All About the Money (Hyde)

    When someone tells you it’s not about the money, it is indeed about the money. That is true in the Gospel of Luke. It’s all about the money…. Lord, reach down deep into our hearts and remove anything – anything – that would keep us from coming to you.

  • Luke 19:1-10 Saving Stories (Bowen)

    The thing that made the tax collector different than other wealthy bureaucrats, was this. Some discontent still stirred in him. He was still hungry for and open to something more in life? And he was willing to look the fool to find it?

  • Luke 19:28-40 How Can We Sing Hosannas? (Stevenson)

    When I was a child growing up in a Methodist Church, I knew of three religious holidays– Christmas, Easter, and believe it or not Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday was the time that we sang the song which went: “Hosanna, loud hosanna the little children sang.”

  • Luke 19:28-40 In the Name of Peace (Wagner)

    Jesus was intentional about selecting an untamed donkey. This was his way of symbolizing that he came to “tame” the world. He understood his mission to bring harmony, peace and love to people who were in conflict with each other and with God.

  • Luke 19:28-40 Faithful Followers or Fickle Friends (McLarty)

    Fred Rogers used to ask the children on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood: “Have you ever noticed how the very same people who are good sometimes are the very same people who are bad sometimes?” We’re a curious blend of saint and sinner, and there’s no getting around it.

  • Luke 19:28-40 & 23:13-46, The Agony of Victory/The Triumph of Defeat (London)

    Not a lot has changed in 2000 years. We are still the people in the crowd. We still have our own set of misguided expectations of who God should be. We still place demands on God and threaten God with “leaving him” if he doesn’t meet our demands.

  • Luke 20:9-20 The Slain Son Is Our Cornerstone (Batchelor)

    Today's Gospel is an account of another parable. This parable is tragic on many levels. The parable itself tells of the tragedy of a son's death at the hands of evil people. The meaning of the parable illustrates a horrible tragedy in Israel. Worst of all, the people who had the most to gain from this parable rejected it and as they rejected it, they were doomed to commit the very crime illustrated in the parable.

  • Luke 20:9-20 The Slain Son is Our Cornerstone (Batchelor)

    This is one of those rare times when the meaning of a parable is immediately crystal clear to its hearers. It is crystal clear and it is terrifying. The people respond in horror, "May it never be!" The scribes and the chief priests were also horrified.

  • Luke 20:27-38 God’s Novelty (Hoffacker)

    A continuation of this life is not the Gospel message. What Jesus teaches is a new life. What Jesus experiences in his death and resurrection is a new life. What Jesus makes possible for us is a new life. Not resuscitation for more of the same, but resurrection for something different!

  • Luke 20:27-38 Seven Weddings and a Funeral (Hyde)

    A little girl and her father were walking on a clear, starry night. She turned to him and asked, "If the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what will the right side be like?" When it comes to answering that question, we'll just have to leave it up to God, won't we?

  • Luke 21:5-19 A Choice of Temples (Hoffacker)

    Great Lakes Crossing is a temple--if we give our hearts to it. If shopping and entertainment are our summit, then this is our holy site, our Midwest Jerusalem, our Babylon with plenty of parking. Scripture promises the eventual overthrow of every such place and its ideology.

  • Luke 21:5-19 Out of the Rubble (McLarty)

    The Jewish people were forced to scatter to the four winds. They would be without a homeland for nineteen hundred years – until 1947, to be exact – when the United Nations partitioned a small sliver of land to create the nation of Israel. Yet, they survived.

  • Luke 21:10-12, 18-19 Interruptions (Gerhardy)

    Sin interrupts God's plans for the world and so God interrupts sin by becoming a human being who lives among us filled with grace and truth and dies for us.

  • Luke 21:25-36 Out of the Blue (Molin)

    There is no time clock to tell us when the last day is coming. Being prepared is the goal--knowing that when the time comes, our faith in Jesus will save us. When the time is up, when the game is over, the right team will be those who trust Jesus Christ as Savior.

  • Luke 21:25-36 Head’s Up (Leininger)

    Luke reminds us to live our lives trusting that he keeps his promises, that Jesus is with us in the chaos of our daily lives, in the ordinariness and in the tragedy that daily life affords. Advent calls out to us with hope.

  • Luke 21:25-36 Be Alert (Kegel)

    Millions have been freed from addiction by twelve step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. We can all be freed from the burdens of our past by forgiveness—the forgiveness we receive from God and the forgiveness we give and receive from each other.

  • Luke 21:25-36 Purple Rain, Purple Reign (London)

    The redemption that is ours in Jesus Christ is not some sort of luxury cruise through the calm waters of the Sea of Pain-Be-Gone. God's plan has never been to insulate His people from the rain that falls, but to prepare us for the storms that come our way.

  • Luke 21:25-36 Company’s Coming (McLarty)

    Let's make no mistake about it: There's more to the hanging of the greens than decorating the sanctuary. What we're about is nothing less than preparing for the coming of the Lord. Company's coming! That's the word for the day.

  • Luke 22:19 Heroes (Wilson)

    It's still traditional in most corners of our land that we observe Remembrance Sunday. We might visit a grave – because there are still plenty of servicemen's graves in our cemeteries, not everyone died abroad.

  • Luke 22:14-28 Walking in Humility (Entrekin)

    We look for a Lord who looks the part – powerful, in charge, with bodyguards, who rides in a limo and gets calls from Oprah and Fox News. The problem is, that is not the Lord we have, now or ever. This Lord comes to town on a donkey, not a Humvee.

  • Luke 23 & John 19 The Seven Last Words of Christ (Donovan)

    For whom was Jesus praying? Most likely his prayer included not only the soldiers who were inflicting his wounds, but also the Jewish leaders who instigated the crucifixion, the crowd that demanded it, and the disciples who, for the most part, were nowhere to be found.

  • Luke 23:1-49 The Ultimate Removal from Community (Hoffacker)

    There is nothing simple or haphazard about an execution. Some years ago, one state released its plans for a new execution facility. Everyone involved in the execution is to be isolated from everyone else. The witness room is to be done in light and cheerful colors. The family lounge is designed to resemble a living room.

  • Luke 23:13-46 & 19:28-40, The Agony of Victory/The Triumph of Defeat (London)

    We are the ones who shout not only "Hosanna!" but also "Crucify Him!" Nevertheless, the Good News, the Gospel for today, drives us to give thanks that God's love for us is bigger than our misguided demands and flawed expectations.

  • Luke 23:33-43 Leadership on the Cross (Hoffacker)

    Under similar circumstances some people lash out in defiance, others are paralyzed by pain, broken by torture. Jesus chooses a different alternative, a regal one, that shows his cross is not a trap, but a throne. He forgives those who are mocking him. He sees them for who they truly are. Not powerful people, but weak, ignorant, blind, and fearful.

  • Luke 23:33-43 Safe at the End (Gerhardy)

    If the thought of the last day of our life or the last day of everything fills you with fear, then be consoled by the fact that we have a living King. Jesus promised the man next to him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise". He promises us a future after death.

  • Luke 19:28-40 & 23:13-46, The Agony of Victory/The Triumph of Defeat (London)

    Not a lot has changed in 2000 years. We are still the people in the crowd. We still have our own set of misguided expectations of who God should be. We still place demands on God and threaten God with "leaving him" if he doesn't meet our demands.

  • Luke 23:33-43 Humble Savior, Exalted Lord (McLarty)

    The question is: Was Jesus acclaimed because of his greatness, or did the crowds pursue him because of what they hoped he could do for them? Were they hoping to be disciples, or were they just hoping to be healed--or to witness a miracle?

  • Luke 24:1-12 Habeas Corpus (Hyde)

    Jesus, for those who choose to believe, cannot be contained by something as mundane as a grave. And this is what is at the heart of Easter... the grave cannot contain us either, those of us who believe in the Risen Christ.

  • Luke 24:1-12 Hard to Believe (Leininger)

    A man in Somerset County, Vt. apparently intent on suicide, built a cross in his living room and attempted to crucify himself by nailing one of his hands to one side with a 14-penny nail. The unnamed 23-year-old then had a logistical problem....

  • Luke 24:1-12 Just a Stone’s Throw to Life (Molin)

    But there is still a question that must be addressed. The women on the way to the tomb asked it, remember? "Who will move the stone for us?" It occurs to me that the important question today is not "Who moved the stone for Mary?" but rather, "Who will move the stone for us?"

  • Luke 24:1-12 What Does the Empty Tomb Mean? (Brettell)

    The tomb is a bit actor in this Easter drama. It has its moment of glory, and then it's gone. The Gospel leaves it behind . . . and we need to leave the tomb behind. If we continue to gaze at the tomb, all we'll see is dark emptiness. We'll miss the blazing brightness of the risen Lord.

  • Luke 24:1-12 He Is Risen! (Gerhardy)

    A primitive tribe was shown the Jesus film. They saw Jesus arrested and beaten--and became very upset. But then came the resurrection. The gathering spontaneously erupted into a party. The people were dancing and slapping each other on the back. Jesus had risen from the dead!

  • Luke 24:1-12 Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? (McLarty)

    So, let's see … a good place to look for the risen Christ is in scripture … among God's people … in the beauty of nature … in service to the poor. And, if that weren't enough, another good place to look for Jesus is wherever you happen to be, when you least expect it.

  • Luke 24:1-12, An Idle Tale? (London)

    I remember holding my son for the first time and it literally taking my breath away. It's an amazing thing to have new life placed in your hands. But that's exactly what Easter offers — the gift of new life in our very own hands, resurrection life here and now as well as in the age to come.

  • Luke 24:1-12 The Easter Story (McLarty)

    After you've heard the Easter story for the umpteenth time, it can become routine. If you're not careful, you can miss the message altogether. Let me borrow a slogan from an old Kellogg's Corn Flakes commercial and invite you to "taste it again … for the very first time."

  • Luke 24:13-35 Christ Alive in the World for Which He Died (Hoffacker)

    Our destination may not be Emmaus, but often enough we walk our own trail of tears. We may not have seen Jesus crucified, but something happens that shatters our faith. We walk home, retreating like a defeated army. Then something comic happens. Jesus appears beside us. But we don't recognize him!

  • Luke 24:13-35 A Tradition Like No Other (Molin)

    All of us have a story to tell. Each of us has come face to face with Jesus in our own way, just like the travelers on the road to Emmaus. We don't have to be seminary graduates; they weren't! We don't have to have the bible memorized; clearly, they didn't. But to know that Jesus is alive...

  • Luke 24:13-35 In Our Midst (Sellery)

    Could this week’s gospel be any clearer? The risen Christ is with us always. But too often, he goes unrecognized. He is only a Sunday presence at best… here for the breaking of the bread and then ignored. That’s not God’s plan. We are meant to live in the risen Christ… continually, not spasmodically… actively, not abstractly.

  • Luke 24:13-35 Travels with Jesus (Sellery)

    The risen Savior does not intrude. He doesn’t come cartwheeling down the road and knock the disciples off their feet. He modestly joins them in conversation. They set the pace on the road they have chosen. He listens. He wants to know what is important to them. He obviously cares. He did then. He does now.

  • Luke 24:13-35 A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Emmaus (McLarty)

    What does this story tell us about living a life of faith in the spirit of Jesus' resurrection from the dead? That's what I'd like for us to think about in the sermon today. First, I think it tells us we can expect Jesus to meet with us along the way, in the course of everyday life.

  • Luke 24:13-35 Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (Leininger)

    Several things are striking about this story. One is how incredibly NORMAL these two disciples are. Their reaction to the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is about what one might expect from any of us - disappointment, grief, disbelief. These were not gullible morons - they were normal folks.

  • Luke 24:13-35 The Christ of the Commonplace (Leininger)

    Two travelers. Friends? Brothers? Husband and wife? We have no idea. Just Cleopas and whomever. Perhaps the reason one remains unidentified is to allow us to insert our own name into the story. Cleopas and David--or Cleopas and Debbie--or Connie or Jim.

  • Luke 24:13-35 Scripts of the Exile (Butler)

    If we are going to take our faith seriously, we are going to be called to do some strenuous up-stream swimming. That is, we are going to face situations in which the convictions of our faith will place us in opposing positions to the messages of our culture.

  • Luke 24:13-35 Oasis Emmaus (Bedingfield)

    Have you ever gone anywhere just to get away from something? Maybe that's what's happening in this story. The disciples have just suffered the biggest disappointment of their lives. They had given up everything to follow Jesus. And now all that seemed to have gone up in smoke.

  • Luke 24:13-35, What Things? (London)

    The story of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus offers us guidance in staying focused on the important things, together in community. We need to hear Jesus ask everyday: "What things?" "What things are the important things?"

  • Luke 24:36b-48 A Guy with a Body (Hoffacker)

    It may seem unreligious to talk about bodies, but God makes them, sustains them, and resurrects them. For him bodies are something holy, whether the body of Jesus, or yours, or mine--and it's beginning to look as though God can't quite tell the difference.

  • Luke 24:36b-48 Eatin’ Fish with Jesus (Wigmore)

    AA is tailor-made for people like me. A sponsor, Floyd, could see how bad I was hurting. He said, "Just keep coming back and let us love you until you can learn to love yourself." I've been doing that going on 34 years – And I think it's actually starting to work!

  • Luke 24:36b-48 The Open Bible (Kegel)

    Didn't I just say that the Bible was clear in what it teaches? Then why are there so many different interpretations? The Lutheran Church wants to say that it is the Bible Church, but Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists and Disciples want to say the same thing.

  • Luke 24:36b-48 Looking Back, Looking Ahead (Wagner)

    Ministry has continued through the years because as a church we have been willing to walk in new directions. Whether its working toward the construction of a new facility, starting a new Sunday school Class, or sending care packages to our soldiers in Iraq, we have been willing to travel on various missionary roads.

  • Luke 24:36b-48 A Glorified Body (McLarty)

    I imagine that heaven is something like that: An infinite number of people clothed in their glorified bodies living in community with God and each other, knowing each other and being known by each other perfectly, unconditionally, without blemishes, impediments or faults.

  • Luke 24:44-53 The Other Miracle (Sellery)

    Today, not all the news about God’s Good News is good. The Word is under assault every day… and not only from the mockers, the bigots, the anti-Christian zealots and the secular establishment. The world has always been a formidable obstacle to the word, but so too are the flesh and the devil.

  • Luke 24:49-53 & Acts 1:11 Desire for God (Hoffacker)

    Our culture is no friend to prayer, except prayer that reinforces the status quo. But all authentic prayer is response to God, and God has been known to be a change agent. Moreover, prayer acknowledges our dependence on God, and our culture is uncomfortable with dependence.

  • Luke 24:50-53 Who Do You Look Up To? (McLarty)

    Who do you look up to? The problem is, whether your heroes are Presidents or statesmen, inventors or scientists, missionaries or philanthropists, they all have feet of clay, and, sooner or later, are apt to disappoint you. The Christian faith has an answer: Jesus Christ.