Sermons & Blog

Leadership in 5 Steps

Have you ever looked for the territories of Zebulun and Naphtali on a map? If you have a smartphone you can try it if you like. Type in Zebulun or Naphtali to see what you get. Actually, to save you some time, I tried it with Google Maps last night. You know what you get? Nothing! Nothing, except for one archaeological dig. Because the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali haven’t appeared on a map for over two thousand, seven hundred years. They used to be there. These were the lands in the northeast corner of Israel that were allotted to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali when Joshua led the Hebrew people into the promised land some 3400 years ago. But in the eighth century BC these were

What Are You Looking For?

“What are you looking for?” These are the first words spoken by Jesus in the gospel of John. What are you looking for? What do you want out of life? What’s the purpose, what’s the meaning of your life? Or to use the words of the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” It’s a question we all ask ourselves sooner or later. I think it’s just part of what it means to be human. I think that God created us this way, to be always searching for meaning and purpose in life. We were created to be the bearers of God’s image in the world, but sometimes it takes a lifetime just to figure out what that means. Last week we talked about our altars in

Where's Your Altar?

It’s a little awkward isn’t it? Jesus comes from Galilee to be baptized by John at the Jordan river. But John doesn’t want to baptize him. You get the sense from reading today’s gospel that Matthew wasn’t all that comfortable with Jesus going to John to be baptized. Nowadays, I don’t think it bothers most of us that Jesus was baptized by John. In some ways it serves to reaffirm the humility of the man Jesus, and to underline his willingness to stand in solidarity with all of us, those being baptized by John and those of us who have been baptized in the years and centuries that followed. But many Christians do have a question about Jesus’ baptism and it’s more along these lines. If bapti

Overwhelmed with Joy

Several years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a preaching workshop in Toronto with colleagues from across Canada, and the main text we focused on was this very text from the gospel of Matthew. One of the things that Anna, our workshop leader insisted on is that in preparing to preach, you have to go into the text and wrestle with it until it speaks to you. And so, after spending time with the text, reading it, questioning it, discussing it, looking at commentaries, whatever, the first question that you have to ask yourself before you start preparing your sermon is this: What is the moment in the text that gets you? The words that fascinate you, trouble you, thrill you, haunt you, dis

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