Sermons from 2005

Sermons from 2005

Spiritual Role Models, Part 2

For many years the California coast town of Monterey was a pelican’s paradise. As the fishermen cleaned their fish they threw off the leftover parts and they fed these pelicans. The birds, from these gifts of these fishermen, grew fat, lazy, and contented. Eventually, the leftovers of the fish were utilized; they were able to make some product out of them so there were no longer snacks to throw to the pelicans. When this change came, the pelicans, who were…

Spiritual Role Models, Part 1

Years ago in a Nike commercial, Charles Barkley declared, “I am not a role model.” With this commercial Barkley set ablaze a controversy among sports enthusiasts in regards to a question that is still burning: should athletes be viewed as role models? Barkley argued that kids should look up to moms and dads, teachers, and such. He further declared, “I am not a role model. I am a professional basketball player. I am paid to wreak havoc on the court.…

What Is a Church to Do?

Paul is still on his third missionary but this begins a new section in a sense that from here on out Paul is moving toward Jerusalem and then on to Rome. That is the focus and the last eight chapters of Acts will detail that journey from Ephesus to Jerusalem to Rome. We see a bit of that journey in these verses. What is a church to do? This question is pondered by many church leaders today as the fear…

Jesus and Other Gods

I received an encouraging note from a discerning young man in our congregation. This is what he wrote to me by e-mail: “Pastor Ritch, I am in the seventh grade. My social studies teacher brought up the subject of beliefs of certain religions. He said that Jews and Muslims and Christians all believe in the same God. I went to him and asked him what he meant. He said, ‘We all believe in the same God but we all believe…

Our Spiritual Fight with Evil

Every authentic Christian engages in a spiritual fight with the Devil everyday. We cannot enter the day thinking, “Today is a day of peace”. We do not have to look for the fight; the evil one comes to us and engages us in it. An article for the San Francisco Chronicle, Herb Caen writes, “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning…

The Holy Spirit and You

The book that we have been studying has a one-word title, Acts, and it tells us of deeds and actions. This title appears in many Greek manuscripts. In fact, some of those manuscripts give an even longer title, The Acts of the Apostles. However, many commentators will argue that this book will be more precisely entitled, The Acts of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostles. After all, the work that is described in these pages is super-natural in character and…

A Complete Faith

Throughout my life as a student, in high school, college, and in seminary, I dreaded the thought of receiving an “incomplete” mark. To me, an incomplete on my record was worse than a failing grade because that incomplete signified that somewhere along the line in that class I just gave up on my responsibilities as a student. Occasionally, I would have dreams, nightmares as they were, of being incomplete. In one such dream, I would arrive at class and the…

Encouragement to Do God’s Work

A man was shoveling snow from his driveway when two boys carrying shovels approached him. “Shovel your snow, mister? Only five dollars!” The man looked at the two boys with a puzzled look and he said, “Can’t you see that I am doing it myself.” The two boys replied, “Well, mister, that is how we get most of our business; from people who are half-way through and feel like quitting.” Perhaps there are some of us who are half-way through…