Mark 9:14-29: Faith and Faithfulness

In today’s Gospel, Jesus triumphs in a spiritual miracle, casting out a demon.  For us, this is almost unrelatable because we can explain, in some way, people’s bizarre conduct.  In our world, people exhibit many weird behaviors.  Still, we almost always come up with some explanation, often traceable to an illness—Bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, a horrible […]

Sandy Webb’s Funeral Homily: Baptism Does What?

John 3:1-7, 14-17; Genesis 7:11-13, 22-23; 8:1, 9:8-15; 1 Peter 3:18-21 Sometimes, someone enters your life who speaks the truth, flowing from a heart of love, without pretense or agenda.  Whenever a friend like this becomes part of your life, don’t let him go.  Such people are rare.  Don’t allow being comfortable to obstruct genuine […]

Romans 6:19-23: Sin’s Wage vs. God’s Gift

All around us, whether infiltrating the air or intertwining itself into the tapestry of our culture, is an assumption.  To be free is to be the boss, under no one else’s thumb.  Now, at first, who will disagree?  Oh, how gratifying and cathartic, until we realize we turn ourselves into self-made gods.  Only scan human […]

Romans 1:8-17: The Gospel is Jesus

We use different words to describe faith.  We trust the 911 operator will direct our call to the closest fire station.  We rely on the bank manager to keep the ATM filled with enough money when we drive up to withdraw 20 bucks.  We believe a close friend will not betray a confidential conversation.  Faith […]

Romans, Lesson 8: Not Works but Faith

Earlier in Romans chapter 3, Paul transitioned from using “Law” to mean “Torah” (when he was addressing the Jewish Christian in the congregation) now to mean “God’s standard of righteousness for everyone” (Romans 3:19).  Paul’s point?  No one, whether Jew or Gentile, is righteous before God by what he does because no one can meet […]

Luke 17:1-10, Acts 2:42-47: Faith

What is faith?  What is its source?  How does faith become yours?  Do you create it within yourself, or does someone give it to you? How we answer changes the way we worship.  Our understanding of faith affects the how we tell others of Jesus and shapes the way we live.  Our understanding of faith […]

Romans: Lesson 7: God’s Righteousness for Us

In Romans 3:1, Paul started focusing on the Jewish Christians’ sin of insisting on circumcision when Christ fulfilled it on the cross, then instituting His baptism.  The Jewish Christians’ insistence reveals that a works righteousness had taken hold of them.  They saw circumcision as their work for God (viewed from an Old-Covenant template) instead of […]

John 3:5, 16: Donna Defferding’s Funeral Sermon

We face death as we face life—with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  We cling to the promises of His Word, which, when facing death, seem even more incredible and powerful.  We find one of our Lord’s most beautiful promises in John chapter 14: “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, […]

Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-6: Faith Receives What God Wants to Give

To plant a seed, you make a small hole in the ground, put the seed in it, and cover it with soil. But then you have to wait until the seed germinates, for until then, there’s nothing that you can see. And so a planted seed gives us a beautiful picture of faith. Waiting for […]

Matthew 9:18-26: Your faith has made you well

Look at what happens when Jesus speaks! Jesus spoke, and a sick woman then had the confidence to touch the hem of His garment. Jesus spoke, and a desperate father sought out Jesus and asked Him for the impossible. Jesus spoke, and a little girl was raised from the dead. The word of Jesus does […]