Audio source missing

Esther – Week 3: The Spiritual Practice of Holy Boldness

website admin Sermon


Marylee: The king and Haman came in for the banquet with Queen Esther, and the king said to her, “This is the second day we’ve met for wine. What is your wish, Queen Esther? I’ll give it to you. And what do you want? I’ll do anything—even…(read more)

Audio source missing

Esther, Week 1: Where is God in all of This?

website admin Sermon

Overview of Esther Chapters 1-3

Marylee: This is the story of something that happened in the time of King Ahasuerus, who ruled from India to Ethiopia—127 provinces in all. He ruled from his royal throne in the palace complex of Susa. In the third year of his reign he…(read more)

Audio source missing

Grace, Memory, and Mathematical Hyperbole

website admin Sermon


21Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" 22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 23"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' 27And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' 29So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' 30He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' 34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

matthew 18 21-35 (ESV)

This last week we’ve had a spiritual exercise to do from Ho’oponopono [ho.o.po.no.po.no] the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The practice was to…(read more)

Audio source missing

Compassion, Chutzpah and Raising Chickens

website admin Sermon


17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

ephesians 4 17-32 (ESV)

I inherited my first flock of chickens from the pastor’s wife in Scott Valley. She left behind her clothesline and her chickens, and I learned to…(read more)

Audio source missing

On Floods, Fear, and Finding a Home

website admin Sermon


25"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

matthew 6 25-34 (ESV)

24"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

matthew 7 24-27 (ESV)

Sing: Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for You.

Last Tuesday was the anniversary of 9/11 and I remember the huge Sunday worship attendance following that awful Tuesday 17 years ago. People came from…(read more)

Audio source missing

Seeds, Weeds, and Good Dirt

website admin Sermon


1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears, let him hear."

matthew 13 1-9 (ESV)

18"Hear then the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

matthew 13 18-23 (ESV)

My mother liked to tell the story about me as a six-year-old walking into the kitchen to ask her, “What’s a phiz-a-can”? Apparently I’d been reading a story…(read more)

Audio source missing

Lost and Found

website admin Sermon


1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3So he told them this parable: 4"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

luke 15 1-10 (ESV)

Have you ever been lost? I preached at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond on Mother’s Day several years ago, and I told them that when Mimi was a little girl I lost her at Mervyn’s. One minute she was right next to me and…(read more)

Audio source missing

Faith, Resilience, and Eleanor Roosevelt

website admin Sermon


1And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" 6And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

luke 18 1-7 (ESV)
Audio source missing

Breathing In and Breathing Out

website admin Sermon


1O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

psalms 15 1-5 (ESV)