Singing from a Cell

In our last sermon on the church in Acts, we hear the story of Paul and Silas, singing from the depths of a prison. And we imagine, “What were they singing?” 

The Terrifying Experience of Meeting Jesus

Following Jesus can be a scary experience sometimes, because Jesus takes us to places we never thought we would ever go. Some of those places can be quite terrifying like when Jesus took his disciples to see the demon-possessed man in such an unclean place (a graveyard).

Delighting in the Human Race

The Scriptures are filled with creation stories, each of which is a hymn of praise to the God whose beauty we experience with our inner and outer sense. Proverbs 8 is a beautiful creation story told by “Wisdom,” a young child who delights in God’s creative work – especially in humanity. 

What “Does” It Mean

When the Spirit comes on the Day of Pentecost, the enmity and confusion of different languages and different cultures is transformed into a beautiful mosaic of unity in differences. 

Down by the River: Part 2

On the way to the river again, Paul and his friends encounter a young girl with a “Pythian Spirit.” It is an encounter between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a religious world far different than what the church ever encountered back in Israel. The church is dislocated and relocated outside of its familiar boundaries. 

Down to the River to Pray

When the Apostle Paul and his companions go down to a river, “where they supposed there was a place of prayer,” they encounter a merchant named Lydia who responds to their gospel by opening up her home to them. This story can instruct us in several ways that God can be at work in us, taking our experience of grace and communicating it for others.

Boundaries and Perspectives

Simon Peter’s account of his visit to the house of Cornelius is a story about crossing boundaries and differing perspectives. SueJeanne Koh-Parsons and I try to capture the spirit of this story through a dialogue sermon. 

The Easter Church: Saint Dorcas

Since Simon Peter is instrumental in raising Dorcas from death, it is easy to see this story as another “hero of the faith” story about Peter. If we see it is a story about Tabitha, it opens up a way of seeing “the sainthood of all believers,” and not just the sainthood of the well-known heroes. 

The Easter Church: Christ the Persecuted

Jemar Tisby recently wrote – after the shooting at the Chebar synagogue in Poway, CA – “Troublesome though it may be, Christians must contend with these twin facts: White nationalism is on the rise and white Christians are susceptible to this ideology.” The way we interpret the story of Saul of Tarsus may well show us how to avoid this susceptibility. 

The Easter Church: Ending the Blood Curse

The “Easter Church” in the book of Acts lived with the deep conviction that the living presence of Christ was ever with them. When they are accused of plotting revenge, they offer an amazing interpretation of the cross and resurrection.