The Keys of St. Peters

Sermon: Hearing Jesus’ Word

Text: Luke 10:38-42; cf. Col. 1:21-29,
Gospel & Epistle for Proper 11, Year C

Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Col 1:2.)

Imagine for a moment you have an important guest coming to your house for dinner. How busy do you think you’d be preparing for it? You would scrub, polish, plan a nice menu, go shopping, maybe bake a special dessert. You’d be busy for days before preparing for the big day when the guest of honour finally showed up. And when He did, you’d be just as busy as before, stirring pots, making sauces, dressing the salad, warming the bread. Now you know what happens when you get whipped into this kind of frenzy, don’t you? I’m sure it’s happened to you. You get so wound up in preparations, you get so absorbed in your seven course meal and fancy dessert, you are so obsessed over how clean the bathrooms are and how scrubbed the floor is, that you actually spend very little time with guest of honour; You’re busy in the kitchen, and your guests are left to be entertained by other family members. Read More

Sermon: Ambassador’s of God’s Peace

Text: Luke 10:1-20

Gospel for Proper 9, Year C, RCL.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ga 1:3).

Introduction

Imagine for a moment, you have to go to Service Ontario. Perhaps when you went there were, already a ton of people there. You sat there waiting for over half an hour in a hot office. When your number was finally called, it took the agent 30 seconds to tell you that you didn’t bring the right documentation, you’re going to have to go home through rush-hour traffic and bring it back and fill out this form and pay an obscene amount of money. And so how might you react? Sometimes, we get angry at the agent sitting behind the desk. Did you think to yourself afterward: why on earth did I get mad at them? It wasn’t their fault! “Don’t shoot the messenger,” they might have said back to you. It isn’t their fault is it? They are simply an agent, a representative of the provincial government, just doing their job.

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Sermon: Kept in the True Faith

Text: John 15:26-16:4
Gospel for Exaudi (Sunday after the Ascension).

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

A few weeks ago, on the morning of Easter Sunday, a man walked into a Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, and detonated a bomb during Mass, killing fifty people. At almost exactly the same moment, another suicide bomber killed over a hundred Catholics in a church in a neighboring city. Twenty minutes later, a third terrorist blew himself up outside a Protestant Church, killing twenty-five people, including churchgoers. By the time it was over, the wave of coordinated bombings had killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds more. The suicide bombers were all Muslim extremists working with the Islamic State. They killed Christians believing that by doing so they were offering worship to Allah. How did the Sri Lankan Church respond to such attacks? They have suspended Church services indefinitely until security improves. But, isn’t that what the extremists wanted all along?

As for the rest of us comfortable North American Christians, we have no desire to be martyrs. We tend to like our stories of martyrdom the way we like our miracles: as ancient and remote as possible, softened in the mists of legend. But the age of miracles is not past, and neither, alas, is the age of martyrdom. Our society is just as drastically opposed to Christianity as was the Roman Empire and sometimes just as violent as any Islamic Extremist. This brings us to the point of today’s Gospel. When the going gets tough, how are we going to react? When we experience trials which test our faith and push us to the limits, are we tempted to throw in the towel? Read More

Sermon: More Important Than Remembering a Promise

Text: Psalm 98:1-6, Rev. 21:1-7.
Introit and Epistle for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, RCL Year C

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Have you ever needed to be reminded of God’s promises? When we suffer the loss of a loved one, when we’re knocking on death’s dark door, when we’re going through financial difficulties, or whatever else may plague us in this life, there are certain seasons when, before anything else, we need to be reminded of God’s wonderful and precious promises for us. But there is something more important than our remembrance of God’s promises.  Consider for a moment, what does it mean to us when The Lord makes a promise?

An elderly Christian was in much distress as he lay dying. “Oh, Pastor,” he said, “for years I have relied upon the promises of God, but now in the hour of death I can’t remember a single one to comfort me.” Knowing that Satan would love nothing more than to rob him of his comfort, the pastor said, “My brother, do you think that God will forget any of His promises?” A smile came over the face of the dying believer as he exclaimed joyfully. “No, no! He won’t! Praise the Lord, now I can fall asleep in Jesus and trust Him to remember them all.” A short time later he was ushered by the angels into the God’s perpetual light. There is something more important than simply remembering God’s promises. In our Introit today there are three things which are more important than simply remembering God’s promises, and they are the source of exuberant and joyous praise. Read More

Sermon: The Unexpected Job Offer

Text: John 20:19-31
Gospel for The First Sunday After Easter (Quasimodogeniti)

In the name of Jesus. Amen.  

Imagine for a moment that you have applied for a job at a pharmaceutical company. You’ve already been interviewed, but now management wants to have a meeting with you. Now, imagine that instead of offering you the job you applied for, management offered you the one above it. A senior position in the whole company. You would be running an entire department. A huge budget. Lots of benefits. Overseeing much of the company’s operations. You may think that you’re simply not up to it. ‘I couldn’t possibly do that!’ You may say. ‘Well,’ says the owner, ‘we think you can. Of course, there’s going to be a lot of responsibility. But we think you’re right for the job, and we’re going to change some things around so you get the right assistance. You’ll have everything you need to succeed.’  An unexpected job offer! Read More

Christmas Sermon: God is One of Us

Text: John 1:1-14 & 1 John 1:1-4
Christmas Day

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Back in 1995, Joan Osborne released a song called, “One of Us.” “What if God was one of us?” she sings, “Just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus, tryin’ to make his way home?” Isn’t that an interesting thought? What if God were an average height, average weight, average skin color guy who looked just like a million other people? What if God were one of us—who burped and farted, snored and woke up with morning breath, got sleepy and grumpy, and didn’t always make his bed. Read More

Resources on JWs

Here are three resouces I have made available on Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There are two PowerPoint presentations, one on the background of Adventism which led to the rise of JWs. The other is one on JWs, what they believe, and how to share the gospel with them.

Adventures in Adventism

JW – Presentation

There is also a paper I did which looks at how their denial of the Deity of Christ affects their view of what Jesus did on the Cross and salvation.

Disfiguring the Gospel JW Arian Soteriology Corrected

I pray that these are of some value.

Sermon: The Messiah’s Righteous Reign

Text: Jeremiah 23:5-8
Old Testament Lesson for the First Sunday of Advent, 1yr.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Introduction

Can you think of a government that isn’t plagued with problems? Even in Canada, we don’t have leaders who are always just and wise. Even well-intentioned politicians fail. More often than not, most of our leaders are corrupt and self-serving. We’re used to politicians who make promises to us while campaigning, but only keep a fraction of them. No sooner do they get into office, then they begin to dismantle everything the previous administration did, good and bad. We are cursed with leaders who are more concerned about winning the next election and pushing their own agendas than caring for the people.

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Sermon: Cursing the Hideout of Hypocrisy

Text: Mark 11:12-25
Seminary Chapel Service, Niagara Circuit Pastors’ Meeting.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Introduction

Place yourself for a moment in a church service in medieval England. The service is violently interrupted by a hoard of Vikings determined to pillage and plunder. As a parishioner, what might you be thinking or feeling? What would your reaction be as the pastor or liturgist who was interrupted? What if the interruption extended into desecration? Would you be shocked, angry, frightened?

Now this illustration only partly parallels the astonishing scene in the Temple. We are so used to the Bible story that we can forget how shocking it must have been. And the questions it raises are: what was wrong with the Temple? Why did Jesus do what he did? And can we be guilty of the same thing? Read More

Sermon: Invited to the Feast

Text: Matthew 22:1-14
Gospel Reading for the 20th Sunday after Trinity

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Introduction

When was the last time you were invited somewhere for dinner? Perhaps it was last weekend when you gathered with relatives for Thanksgiving. Perhaps you went to a simple dinner at a friend’s house. Maybe you did the inviting! It seems like every special occasion or any important event involves a good meal. It’s very much part of how we socialize. We invite people over for dinner, and we get invited over for dinner. How might you feel if you were to invite someone close to you to attend a special dinner like thanksgiving, and they rudely reject your invitation and instead, they insult and demean you? Well today’s Gospel lesson involves an invitation to a great feast! The greatest feast you’ll ever be invited to! Read More