Focussed on Jesus

Focussed on Jesus

Hebrews 11:29-12:2 Hebrews chapter 11 contains one of my favourite verses in the whole of the Bible. “By faith,” it reads, “they were sawn in two”. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of the rewards of the life of faith, I tend to think of things a little bit less, well, […]

Justice not Religion

Justice not Religion

Isaiah 1:1-20 The book of the prophet Isaiah begins by jumping full on into a tirade against the people of the day.

A Prayer for Followers

A Prayer for Followers

Colossians 1:1-14 I’ve heard it said that we in the Uniting Church don’t read the Epistles very much. By contrast with more evangelical traditions, I suspect there’s truth in this: that we have a fairly strong tendency to favour the gospel passages from the lectionary. And I’m not suggesting that that’s a bad thing. I […]

Followers who make followers

Followers who make followers

Luke 10:1-11 Last week, looking at the end of Luke Chapter 9, we had a series of interactions between Jesus and potential followers in which, as we reflected, Jesus didn’t go out of his way to make it easy. He warned one man that following him might mean not even have a fox’s hole to […]

Following with Commitment

Following with Commitment

Luke 9:51-62 Today our series on “Followers of Jesus” brings us to some of the challenges that Jesus placed in front of those who wanted to follow him. To what are, let’s face it, some unreasonable seeming demands that he makes, some very negative marketing. “I’ll follow you wherever you go”, someone cries to him […]

Empowered to Follow

Empowered to Follow

Romans 5:1-5 | John 16:12-15 Last week was Pentecost, and in Churches around the world the followers of Jesus gathered to celebrate the festival, to mark the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on all people – or at least, the start of that process, for of course it would be some time later that […]

Seeking the Spirit

Seeking the Spirit

Acts 2:1-21 We’ve jumped back this week – from a series of four Sundays in which we’ve been looking at the way that the early Church acted, and the way it grew – its internal struggles with the radical inclusion of those who had previously been excluded, it’s living out of the love of God […]

Staying True

Staying True

Acts 16:16-34 Today’s reading continues straight on from where we left off last week – Paul and Silas, having met with Lydia and shared the good news with her, are now based at her home, speaking to the people of Phillipi.

Rejecting Prejudice

Rejecting Prejudice

Acts 16:9-15 Last week we reflected on one of the last of the stories from the Peter narrative – the conversion of Cornelius, a significant step for the gospel, out of its Jewish enclave and into the gentile world, in Acts chapters 10 and 11.

Including Outsiders

Including Outsiders

Acts 11:1-18 One of the things I often do when I’m preparing to talk about a passage, writing a sermon, is to go back to a big excel spreadsheet that I’ve got which lists every sermon I’ve ever preached – the Bible passages, the title, and a one-line summary. This isn’t because I’m trying to […]

Practicing Love

Practicing Love

Acts 9:36-43 Over the next five weeks we’re going to be looking at a series of stories from the book of Acts – the book, probably written by the same author as Luke’s gospel, though we don’t really know who that was, that charts the development of the early Christian Church, mostly through the stories […]

Easter Celebration – Sharing Good News

Easter Celebration – Sharing Good News

John 20:1-10 | Acts 10:34-43 Some preachers love preparing and preaching on Easter Day. I know that because my Facebook feed is full of them. So much enthusiasm for celebrating this most incredible of days with the faith community that they are part of, unpacking once again the miracle of the day as it unfolded, […]

Celebrating God’s Presence

Celebrating God’s Presence

Luke 19:28-40 There’s a sermon that I, and I think many preachers, tend to preach on Palm Sunday. You’ve probably heard it – if not from me, from some other preacher over the years.

Welcoming when we return

Welcoming when we return

Luke 15:11-32 What is there to say about the story of the Prodigal Son that has not been said a thousand times before? One of the two best known of Jesus’ parables – I reckon it’s probably just nudged out of the top spot by the story of the Good Samaritan – it, like the […]

Persevering when we fail

Persevering when we fail

Luke 13:1-9 A couple of weeks ago, in a scripture class, I ended up talking with a year 5 group about the word ‘Covenant’, especially as used in the Old Testament. For us it’s mostly a Bible word, although it does seem to get used in legal contexts as well – particularly, as far as […]