Sermon: The Word in the Wilderness

[This sermon was given as part of a series of ecumenical, community Lenten services.] Good evening. I am Pastor Stephen from the Reformed Church of Stout. Way back at our first Lenten evening service this year, Pastor Robby remarked that Colfax Center is often listen as being in rural Holland. Well, we live in urban…

First Glance: John 21

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15) The story of Jesus’ breakfast on the beach with the disciples is one of restoration. Peter, who…

First Glance: Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34) Jesus does not ask that his enemies get what they deserve (“Father, smite them, for they knew exactly what they were doing!”). Instead, he prays for their forgiveness. He prays…

First Glance: Matthew 18:21-35

“…In anger his master handed him over to the jailors to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.’ ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’” (Matthew 18:34-35) If I’m honest, I find these verses a little…

First Glance: Mark 15:16-16:8

But go tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. (Mark 16:7) It wasn’t until last night, sitting around a table studying this passage with fellow disciples of Jesus, that I noticed the angel’s phrase in this verse. ‘Go tell…

First Glance: Mark 14:32-52

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi,” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. (Mark 14:44-46) Sometimes I try to think back to what it felt like…

First Glance: Mark 12:13-34

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. (Mark 12:13) I think it’s fair to say that when I first looked at this week’s passage my response was, “This is hard. I don’t really understand what’s going on.” Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, and Scribes all come to Jesus with…

First Glance: Mark 11:20-33

They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked, “And who gave you authority to do this?” (Mark 11:27-28) The day after cleansing the temple, Jesus…

First Glance: Mark 11:1-19

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no…