Philemon: Common Unity

Philemon: Common Unity

Paul’s letter to Philemon is the story of vulnerability, sacrifice and mercy played out in community. I was able to preach through this book and decided to look at it from three different perspectives, the perspectives of the characters in this story: Onesimus, Philemon and Paul.

It’s almost like the parable of the prodigal son in real life. Onesimus was Philemon’s slave. The situation was such that Onesimus wanted to run away from his master, and stole from him as we went. Onesimus eventually ran into Paul in a different city and Paul sends Onesimus back to Philemon with a letter. This letter says that Philemon ought to free and forgive Onesimus. Paul is concerned with these two reconciling and rightly living out God’s community on earth.

In the story of Onesimus we learn about vulnerability (download):


In the story of Philemon we learn about sacrifice (download):


In the story of Paul we learn about mercy (download):

God’s Greatness Demands Our True Worship

Some weeks ago I gave a sermon on Malachi 1:1-11.

I saw the text focus on three areas of God’s greatness, His love, His fatherhood, and His plan of redemption.

I feel that Malachi is so very relevant to us today because of his style: he is attempting to shock his audience out of their apathetic stupor. The original audience needed a shock and so do we. We can easily assume God’s blessings and act like grown up spoiled kids when things don’t go our way. Unlike the shock-jocks that used to be so popular on the radio (maybe when radio was more popular), Malachi’s outrageous statements are not to be an end in themselves; there is a point to it all: to bring us back to hope. As I say in the sermon, he holds a gun to our heads, not to kill us, but to bring us to life.

The problem with us worshiping God is that we can’t actually do it. By the mere fact of God being God, we will never measure up to the standards that are present. Which is why we need One to lead us in true worship. We are in need of Someone to show us how and to enable us to worship.

Here’s the audio:

Download this sermon

Psalm 46: first thoughts

This post is my personal reflection of a sermon I prepared. You can also download the message: God is Present and Powerful to Bring Us From Our Darkness to His Morning

Rouault - Landscape

Rouault - Landscape

I was originally just going to post a summary of the sermon I gave last week on Psalm 46, but then got to thinking. This venue has a little more freedom and even different expectations than a person sitting in a church on Sunday. So I think it would make more sense to give kind of a background of what I am wrestling with in light of the message I gave. Kind of like me preaching to myself.

Last week was the first week of Advent, and did not want to miss out on tying in the whichever text I chose to anticipating the coming of our Lord, looking back at the anticipation the birth of the Messiah. I was originally going to preach from 1 Tim. 1:15:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

I had done a message like this before and planned on using a lot of previous research, saving some time, but also excited to present it in a new way. And this is an excellent text for Advent, God taking on flesh, leaving the perfect love of the Trinity, coming to this earth, hanging out with those who do not want Him, but coming with a plan – and following through with that plan – saving sinners. But God had other plans with me for the sermon.

The more I was reading in my own devotional and prayer life, the more I felt God directing me to Psalm 46. It’s a psalm that most people know or have heard before, especially part of verse 10:

Be still, and know that I am God.

But in wanting to do justice to the text as I have studied it, it seemed the climax of this psalm, and therefore the sermon, was in verses 4 and 5:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.

The dawning of the morning is what all creation is waiting for and longing for and this is the climax of the psalm. It’s in Jesus, in His coming to the earth, making all things new, taking the disorder and creating order, taking all that’s crooked and wrong and making it straight and right.

You can also download the message: God is Present and Powerful to Bring Us From Our Darkness to His Morning