Nazarene, not Nazarite

Screenshot 2020-08-10 at 6.43.21 PMI was listening to Fred McCoy this morning and he mentioned that Jesus was a Nazarene, adding that he was not a Nazarite and getting one or two half laughs. I have something of a history with getting those two mixed up so it probably meant more to me than anyone else present.

Students at Oneida Baptist Institute have chapel services 5 days a week Monday through Friday and twice on Sunday. Continue reading

Pentecost Sunday

Here is a sermon I wrote a few years ago for Pentecost. I found full text of this message, originally title The Holy Spirit Bears Witness, courtesy of cloud storage and decided it was worth sharing. 

Our celebration of Easter corresponds with the Jewish festival of Passover. It’s no mere coincidence if we think about the Passover lamb as symbolic prophecy for the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Pentecost, fifty days later, corresponds to the Jewish Festival of Weeks. Jews still celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost is the Greek word for Shavuot).

Before the crucifixion, Jesus told his followers that he must go in order for the Comforter to come. Before his ascension in Acts 1 to told the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem and “wait for the promise.” John the Baptist had prophesied that one coming after him that would baptize with fire. Jesus said in Acts 1 they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I’m going to take for granted you either have read or will read Acts chapter 2.  On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the first “Christian sermon” and the New Testament Church Age began. Continue reading

The Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 11.11.21 AMThis morning at church I preached a rare topical sermon. I wanted to point out two things, first that all expositional sermons have a topic and secondly that even when offering a topical sermon I do so in an expositional manner.

What I really said – or tried to say, perhaps almost said – was that I would deliver a topical sermon in an exponential manner. Exponents, you know from math class. If the sermon multiplied exponentially that would mean the longer I preached the more of it there would left to preach. It would never end. Not what a congregation wants to hear at 11:30 on Sunday morning.

You can listen to the Never Ending Sermon at the Unity Baptist website. Don’t worry, the actual run time is only 36 minutes. There should be a link in left-hand sidebar to Storms of Life. This funny moment brought to you by a tongue tied preacher. Writing can be edited; live and in person just happens.

What We Are Called To

For reasons I do not understand an old post saw some new life today. A follower came across “Remember What We Are Called To” in her reader this morning, originally published June 30, 2015. The subject is 1 Peter 3:15 which I just preached on again Sunday morning as part of a series through 1st Peter. The context back in 2015 was the Supreme Court decision striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage. So with a new introduction here is the body of that post. Good shelf life on this one (just remember it’s from the archives when I mention President Obama).

1-pet-3-15

1 Peter 3:15 is the basis for Christian Apologetics. Apologetics may sound like apologizing but an apologist is one that defends the Christian faith. It’s about being prepared to answer questions about why we believe what we believe. One must be well versed in scripture and certain that his own faith has been built on a sure foundation. Apologetics may involve boldness, defending a faith that is not always popular, but care must also be taken not to offend. We will offend people by sharing the Gospel; but we must be sure is the cross that offends and not us. Continue reading

On Sermon Writing

preacherI know from my interactions with readers that most visitors to The Master’s Table are Christians. Many write blogs of their own, author or review Christian books, or are otherwise involved in church culture. Not surprising since many of my posts are devotional in nature; my writing explores what it means to serve God, worship, share the Gospel and so forth. I’ve blogged on meeting Christian writers, musicians, speakers and pastors; working at summer VBS; serving on the stateside mission field; publishing a book about who God is and how we relate to him. On occasion I have not only published sermons but written on the act of preaching.

While the vast majority of the readership here is Christian I have no way of knowing how many actually preach the Gospel. We all know a good sermon when we hear one or at least know what we like. But how familiar with the process is anyone that has never prepared a sermon? While there may be those that joke their pastor only works one hour each week surely no one that has put any thought into it actually believes that. Surely. I’m not going to write a step-by-step guide on how to DIY your own sermon. But I would like to share some insight into what goes on in the mind of the preacher before the sermon is being delivered. Continue reading