Jesus’ Upside-Down Kingdom

The kingdom of Jesus turns everything “upside down.” We settle far too easily for a tame and non-threatening gospel where grace does not surprise us. This sermon was preached at Lutheran Church of the Master, Carol Stream, IL, on June 11-12. I share it because I hope it will edify and encourage you if you like to hear a biblical … Read More

Jesus Prays for His Own – A Sermon (John 17)

The life of our Lord Jesus Christ had an intentionally designed dramatic climax. He was “born to die.” This was not just any death for any person but a death which revealed the depth of God’s love for the world (John 3:16). In John’s Gospel the glory of the Savior ultimately is his cross. In the death of Jesus we see … Read More

A Baptist Minister Drawing Lessons from Pope Francis

In late October I visited with Michael and Nancy Ristau, two dear friends who live in Lexington, Kentucky. I met Michael while speaking on a mens’ retreat for several churches in California years ago. Michael and Nancy are like other people I’ve met in my travels here and there, persons who feel drawn to form a deep and growing friendship … Read More

Shameless: A Priest Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Faithfully

Several years ago Father John Riccardo, a priest from Plymouth, Michigan, preached a sermon in the pulpit of the Kensington Community Church (MI), titled: “Shameless.” A better sermon on the gospel could not be found, at least in my judgment. For those conservative Protestants who insist that a Catholic priest cannot, or does not, preach the gospel here is a … Read More

One of My Favorite Modern Authors

I have many favorite authors. Some are theologians. Some are pastors. Some are missiologists. Some are novelists. Not all are Christians. The ones I appreciate the most make me think the best.  One of my favorite writers is a United Methodist Bishop by the name of Will Willimon. I am not sure when I first began to read Willimon but … Read More

The Power of the “Spoken” Word of the Gospel

Depending on your church background and experience many of you may think of the gospel (and almost exclusively) as a written message. The first Christians did not think of it this way at all. Let me explain. While reading the Book of Acts recently I noted this again and again. Take the beginning of this book: 1 In my former … Read More

Preaching Is in My Heart

The apostle Paul writes of preaching: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believe in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the … Read More

Preaching on Pentecost Sunday

This past Lord’s Day (May 11) was Pentecost Sunday. For many it passed with little or no recognition of this great truth of our Christian faith. But for me, and the congregation of First Reformed Church in South Holland (where I am preaching regularly until the new pastor is installed on June 15,) it was a great day to worship … Read More

Expository Preaching is Still My Preference

I have been out of the pastorate of a stated congregation, except for eight months as an interim, since May of 1992. I am sometimes asked, "What do you miss the most?" (There are several things about pastoring I do not miss at all, I assure you. One is the warfare that swirls around people’s dissatisfaction with the pastor, which … Read More

Check Your Motives if You Preach

William Willimon is a Methodist bishop who can preach. In fact, he is quite frankly one of my favorite preachers today. He tells an important story about preaching and the motives that those who preach often bring to the process of homiletics. Willimon once heard a preacher begin a sermon, with great drama and more than a trace of theatrics, … Read More