• Psalm 1 Prosperity; Now and Forever (Wagner)

    We can choose the path of prosperity, a life that leads to happiness, OR, we can choose the alternative; what I like to call, the path of “nothingness.” Which will you choose? The answer is simple. Everyone would choose prosperity over nothingness.

  • Psalm 8:1 I Don’t Understand, But Believe (Gerhardy)

    Now that I’m older, I’m more comfortable with the idea that there are some things about God that I will never fully understand. If I understood everything about God , then he wouldn’t be God.

  • Psalm 8:1-4 Our Mysterious Yet Personal God (Gerhardy)

    We don’t often talk about the mystery and awesomeness of God these days. We have tried to be a bit more logical about God and refer to him as a buddy, a friend, a wonder worker. We often think about God as a bigger and more powerful version of us.

  • Psalm 13 Life Between Verses 4 and 5 (Leininger)

    “How long, O Lord?” How long? Ever ask that question? Most of us have. They say, “Into each life a little rain must fall,” but the truth is that there are times when the rain becomes such a downpour that we are about to drown in the deluge.

  • Psalm 19 Sweeter Than Honey (Donovan)

    More to be desired than gold? Sweeter than honey? God’s mercy is sweet, but his laws? We don’t usually love laws. Laws keep us from doing things that we want to do. How could the Psalmist say that God’s laws are sweeter than honey?

  • Psalm 19:1-14 A Matter of Priorities (McLarty)

    The scope of creation is more than we can fathom. The best we can do is to stand in awe and sing: “All things bright and beautiful / all creatures great and small / All things wise and wonderful / the Lord God made them all.”

  • Psalm 22 Dealing with Sadness (Bowen)

    We are a people committed to happiness. Tocqueville noticed this almost two hundred years ago. As Americans we think we must be happy all the time or something is really wrong. Others are more comfortable with the inevitable ebb and flow of human life.

  • Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd (McLarty)

    Is the Lord your shepherd? Are you willing to follow his lead and seek his will, or are you determined to chart your own course and say, in the words of one my children when he just a toddler, “My do it my way!”

  • Psalm 23 The Shepherd Who Cares (Gerhardy)

    I don’t remember when I first came into contact with the 23rd Psalm but it was the Miss Ross, choir teacher at the State School I attended who insisted that we learn the words off by heart. I was probably 11 at the time.

  • Psalm 23 Faith for Personal Crises (McLarty)

    I got a call telling me that Patrick, my son, was in the hospital. He’d gone to the ER to have a piece of food removed from his esophagus. Something went wrong and he was in ICU. Before I could get out the door, I learned that they were airlifting Patrick to Dallas.

  • Psalm 23 Storm Children (London)

    Garrison Keillor tells of the storm home and the storm child. The principal of his school was fearful that a winter blizzard might strand at school the kids who lived in the country. So he assigned them all a “storm home” in town just in case.

  • Psalm 23 Funeral sermon: A Letter to the Deceased (Molin)

    I knew there would be many voices heard today, sharing stories and memories; laughter and tears with you who knew and loved Steve. So rather than prepare a sermon, I simply wrote a letter. I hope it speaks for you in this time of remembering. Here goes….

+ Funeral Homilies

  • Psalm 25:1-10 Those Misleading Express Lanes (Wagner)

    Impatience is just one virtue we lack during the Christmas season. Extravagance inflates our credit card debt. There is also the problem of overindulgence, as we stuff ourselves with holiday food and spirits. These are the “paths” that lead us to self-destruction.

  • Psalm 26:3 Our Confirming God (Gerhardy)

    If parents can love like that, then can you imagine how much God loves us? Multiply your parent’s love for you a million times and you would still fall short of describing God’s love for you.

  • Psalm 30 Joy in the Morning (Wagner)

    Lin and I once took some lessons in ballroom dancing while on a cruise several years ago. We weren’t very good. However, there were moments when the fun and joy we felt as we danced gave us a sense of truly being together and really alive.

  • Psalm 32 No More Guilt (Wagner)

    David states that the first step in receiving forgiveness is to confess our sins to God. The key is to be completely honest and forthright. It sounds simple, but most of us don’t ask God to forgive us.

  • Psalm 32:1-11 Confessing Sins Protestant Style (McLarty)

    Confession and Forgiveness go hand in hand. So, why, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, did we throw out all the confessional booths? And, if we don’t use confessional booths, what do we use?

  • Psalm 33 Singing the New Song (Bowen)

    In the words of Yeats, “An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, Unless the Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing for every tatter in its mortal dress.”

  • Psalm 34:19 Discouraged (Gerhardy)

    French doctors created a name for a disease which made its appearance in prison camps during World War II. They called it “barbed-wire sickness”. One symptom was an appalling sense of futility. What was the point of going on when there was no future?

  • Psalm 37:5 Give Yourself to the Lord (Gerhardy)

    Friends, especially the confirmees, today you are doing something that will be an important part of your ongoing relationship with God and his church. But before we get to that point I want to ask two questions.

  • Psalm 51:1-12 The Vocabulary of Guilt (Anders)

    I wrote my paper on the sense of smell. I worked hard, and was eager to see my grade. It was an “A” scratched out––and a “C” with the words, “I smell something fishy.” Guilt, whether real guilt or a false guilt, can stay with us for a lifetime.

  • Psalm 51:1-17 Good News in the Ashes (Leininger)

    The custom of using ashes is from an old ceremony. Christians who had committed grave faults were obliged to do public penance. On Ash Wednesday the Bishop blessed their hair shirts and sprinkled ashes over them––made from the previous year's palms.

  • Psalm 51 If…Then… (Molin)

    As children grow up, they learn a very important word; consequences. “Tommy, if you don’t finish your homework, you can’t go outside and play with your friends.” To children, consequences look a lot like punishment.

  • Psalm 51:1-13 The Lenten Journey (McLarty)

    In Jesus day, no self-respecting Jew would have anything to do with a Samaritan. But on his final journey, Jesus went straight through Samaria. Consider today: Where is Samaria on your map? Where do your deep-seated prejudices lie?

  • Psalm 62: 5-12 Count on God (Anders)

    Ed Cone says, “Centering down, the Quakers call it, reaching a quiet core of yourself, is all the more essential today in a culture that has lost its appreciation for silence and gentle ambient sounds.”

  • Psalm 66:8-20 Steadfast Love (Wagner)

    The steadfast love of God is a love “that won’t let our feet slip.” When I was a teen, my mother slipped on the ice and broke her ankle. It was the first time in her life she enjoyed a short break from the job of raising a family.

  • Psalm 78:1-8 A Matter of Influence (McLarty)

    The psalm begins, “Hear my teaching, my people. Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.” I don’t have to tell you, there are a lot of competing voices today clamoring for your attention.

  • Psalm 84:1-12 Pilgrim Song (Hyde)

    Have you ever been away from home, from family… and your heart aches to be there? You may have been a soldier in the trenches, a missionary on your first assignment, or a college student your first night on campus.

  • Psalm 91:1-6 On Eagles’ Wings (McLarty)

    Psalm 91 is addressed to the faithful, not the ungodly. Though God’s providence and protection is available to all, only those who choose to dwell in the shelter of the Lord will experience the fullness of God’s grace and love.

  • Psalm 95 Bow Down to Reach High (Donovan)

    I particularly like this Psalm, because it calls us to our central purpose as the People of God. “O come, let’s worship and bow down.” I wrote a letter recently encouraging church leaders to attend worship. I said, “Worship is our first duty to God.”

  • Psalm 96 The Bone-Melting Music of God (Anders)

    Barbara Brown Taylor said that to preach is to “toss the fragile net of our words over the bone-melting music of God.” Ms. Taylor’s point is that preaching attempts to hint at the majesty of the music of God. And I think that’s what our worship services do.

  • Psalm 98:1-8 Sing to the Lord a New Song (McLarty)

    This week I learned that it was customary for the Hebrews to celebrate God’s mighty acts by writing a new song. For example, when God led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and set them free, Moses wrote a song to commemorate the occasion.

  • Psalm 98 Make a Joyful Noise (Wagner)

    What does it mean to sing a new song? First, it means to accept the fact that times change. Secondly, to sing a new song means to open the door to newness and creativity. Finally, to sing a new song means to “make a joyful noise.”

  • Psalm 99: 1-9 A Matter of Authority (McLarty)

    My mentor told me, “There are only two hard-and-fast rules in the Presbyterian Church: Rule Number One, God has the first and last word on all things. Rule Number Two, if in doubt, refer to Rule Number One.” God is sovereign over us and all creation.

  • Psalm 100 I’m Thankful For… (Leininger)

    What can we say to those for whom a Day of Thanksgiving rings hollow? Perhaps there is some comfort in remembering the event we commemorate, that first Thanksgiving celebrated by the pilgrims. Those folks had had an exceedingly difficult time.

  • Psalm 100 Sing to the Lord! (Gerhardy)

    Why don’t you, like the majority of Australians, only come near the church for weddings and funerals? We come together in this church because it is here in our worship service that God comes and meets us.

  • Psalm 100 Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow (Entrekin)

    In 1621 the Pilgrims uprooted themselves and sailed for America, a trip so dangerous that the travelers’ guides of the day said, “First, make thy will.” They had many reasons to complain. But they knew they were God’s own and they gave thanks.

  • Psalm 100 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Celebrating All Circumstances (Donovan)

    He took me by surprise—this man of privilege—this man whom I so envied—this man who had so much for which to be thankful. Now he was saying, "I don't feel thankful!" Those were terrible times! I could understand how he felt! And I can understand how we might not feel thankful at Thanksgiving. Life is not always easy. Times are not always good.

  • Psalm 100: 1-5 A Matter of Gratitude (McLarty)

    Psalm 100 is brief, concrete and straightforward; plus, it gives us specific direction as to what God would have us to do: • Shout for joy. • Serve Yahweh with gladness. • Know that Yahweh is God. • Enter into his gates with thanksgiving. They’re all action verbs.

  • Psalm 105 A Matter of Perspective (McLarty)

    The difference between hope and despair has to do with how you interpret your life experiences – whether you focus on the trials and tribulations – or the ways in which God uses those trials and tribulations to bless you and draw you closer to himself.

  • Psalm 106 A Matter of Remembering (McLarty)

    My thesis is this: Only in retrospect can we fully appreciate God’s willingness to overlook our sinful nature and reconcile us to himself. It’s a matter of remembering.

  • Psalm 107:1-3, 17-32 At Your Wits End (Anders)

    As you know, I love sailing. I was interested to note that the Scripture does too. Verse 23-24 says, “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business in great waters; These see Yahweh’s works, and his wonders in the deep.”

  • Psalm 107 A Matter of Faithfulness (McLarty)

    Lots of people today are adrift. That’s the first group the psalmist mentions. The second are those who’ve rejected God. The third are lost in sin. The fourth suffers through no fault of their own. The Good News is that God is faithful to all four groups.

  • Psalm 109:1-20 Praying the Unprayable (Leininger)

    The Psalmist begins with a lament. He feels betrayed. People have been lying about him. Then he says, let the guy go to trial. Find him GUILTY! Let him die soon. Have you ever felt like praying such a prayer?

  • Psalm 111 An Awesome God (Wagner)

    A large church. A piece of paper on the shelf under the pulpit––notes, scribbled in pencil--the minister’s sermon from the previous Sunday--quickly thrown together. Little thought had gone into it. When a person truly loves the Lord, they give their whole heart.

  • Psalm 116:12 & Luke 17:11-19, The 10% (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?

  • Psalm 118 Simple Gifts (McLarty)

    Her question was, “What are you most thankful for?” I made a list of all the things I have to be thankful for. To my surprise, what came to mind were not the big ticket items, but the simple gifts of life we often take for granted.

  • Psalm 118:1, 18-29 The Gate’s Open (McLarty)

    It was helpless feeling being locked in. I would’ve felt just as helpless if I’d been locked out. It gave me an insight: When you’re locked in – or locked out, there’s no sweeter sound than for someone to say to you, “Come on in, friend, the gate’s open.”

  • Psalm 121 Where Does Your Help Come From (McLarty)

    That put a new spin on things. From this perspective, the hills the psalmist was seeing must have looked less like Mount Zion and more like the hillside outside Los Angeles, where huge block letters spell out the name, “H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D.”

  • Psalm 121 Where Does the Love of God Go? (Brettell) Haiti earthquake

    This is not the homily I intended to deliver today. I intended to talk about the wedding feast at Cana, but that was before an earthquake destroyed Haiti--before houses caved in trapping men, women, and children who had little hope of escape.

  • Psalm 121 The Faith of a Child, a funeral sermon (Brettell)

    In the hospital, I asked Vanessa what her favorite Bible story was. She spoke of the boy Jesus staying behind in the temple. She liked it because—“Sometimes kids just do things. Even Jesus got in trouble once in a while when he was a kid.”

  • Psalm 123 A Matter of Where You Look (McLarty)

    Psalm 123 is a brief psalm making a single point: If you want to experience life in all its abundance, regardless of the circumstances, look to the Lord. “In my distress, I cried to Yahweh.”

  • Psalm 126:1-8 Too Good to Be True (McLarty)

    Elation is proportionate to despair. The worse the circumstances, the more dramatic the response when the situation is reversed. When Cyrus the Great ended their exile, the people of Israel didn’t praise Cyrus, they praised God.

  • Psalm 130 An Available God (Hyde)

    if we were to take a poll and ask you to list your favorite psalm, I doubt any of us would choose Psalm 130. It isn't poetic. It’s strictly a blue-collar psalm and doesn’t do much to stir our imaginations. But when you’re hurting, you don’t think poetically.

  • Psalm 139:1-17 A Moral Dilemma: Stem Cell Research (Leininger)

    Should we or shouldn’t we? What brings the issue to mind, of course, is that stem cell research has been in the news again lately. The 213th General Assembly (2001) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), affirms the use of fetal tissue for vital research.

  • Psalm 139 Prayer: Not Room Service (Donovan)

    Just imagine what it would be like to be God, listening to all those prayers--millions of prayers each hour. What do all these prayers say? If there is one common denominator, I suspect that it could be summarized by the words, “Give me!”

  • Psalm 139 Funeral homily: A Sailor Twice Over (Hoffacker)

    This sailor twice over has embarked from among us on a dark and silent tide that will take him beyond the boundaries of place and time to where in his final, peaceful harbor he will indeed see his Pilot face to face and hear long-expected words of welcome.

+ Funeral Homilies

  • Psalm 146:1-10 A Matter of Choice (McLarty)

    What does it mean to praise the Lord? Being overused, this phrase has lost its meaning. Remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and the PTL Club? PTL stands for Praise the Lord. The Bakkers ran a lucrative business under that name for twenty-five years.