Read Genesis 4: 1-10 to start.
The story of
Cain and Abel is a familiar account. I know I’ve mentioned Cain in many past
sermons, on topics such as envy, anger, revenge and forgiveness, as well why do
bad things happen to supposedly good people. I have used Cain repeatedly and
thusly because he is a ready example of how things can go so tragically wrong
in such a short time. It’s easy to reference him, and it’s generally
applicable, because we see sinful behaviour all around us, all the time, and we
see it as well when we look inside. Cain embodies our sinful nature with all the
jealousy, rage, impulsiveness, and false self-righteousness that we know to be
inside the very worst parts of ourselves.
Continue reading What About Abel?
Read Matthew 2:1-12 to start.
I know what
you’re thinking. It’s the middle of February. This sermon is a couple of months
late, or really early. And if this were a Christmas sermon, it would certainly
seem to be in the wrong time of year. But this is not a Christmas sermon, even
if my first reading this morning is one most commonly, and quite reasonably so,
associated with that season.
I’d like to
talk this morning about gifts and giving. The wise men of Matthew chapter 2,
they are perhaps the most obvious and best known givers of gifts mentioned in
all of scripture. Their gifts are also well known, I’m willing to bet that
everyone here can name the three gifts that the wise men brought, for that
matter if you went out on the street and asked random strangers, a good number
of them would also be able to list gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Continue reading Giving and Sharing
Read Daniel 5: 1-6, 17-27 to start.
A week and a
half ago I spoke at Awana. There’s only I believe at most two people here this
morning who were there that night, so for them this might sound a little bit
familiar. The topic that evening was straight lines. I asked a few of the kids
to come up and draw a straight line on the whiteboard, in order to demonstrate
that without a guideline, it is almost impossible to do so. The lesson proved a
few things, yes, it’s not easy to draw a straight line freehand, none of them
could do it. And I also discovered that kids will go really slowly when they
are trying to draw this straight line, like really slowly, I think an ant
moving along the whiteboard would be quicker. If you’re wondering, going slowly
didn’t help much at all.
figure out a way to do a pretty good job, though. He drew his line at the very
bottom of the board, and thereby used the frame itself as a guide. That worked
better, at least until he reached the point where the marker and brush holder
caused his line to bump up.
Continue reading Measuring Up
Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 to start.
being in my early to mid twenties, working in a retail environment, and every
so often a customer, generally an older man, would call me “Boy” or “Kid” or
something along that line. I did not appreciate that, not at all. I did not
consider myself a kid at that point in my life, and frankly, 20 years later, I
still think that it’s generally rude to call a younger person “kid” or “boy” in
that situation. Looking back, though, it’s easy to see that I was in many ways
still a kid. Sure, I was old enough to have a full time job, own a car, pay
rent, vote in elections, and indeed, I did do all of those things. I thought I
had stuff all figured out, and I chafed when someone implied that I was a young
whippersnapper, or wet behind the ears, or any other cliché that an older
person might trot out to describe a younger person.
Continue reading Three Things I Wish I knew When I was Younger
Read 1 Samuel chapter 15 to start.
There are two
well-known individuals that we are going to look at this morning. From what we
read, you can probably guess the first one, which is of course King Saul. The
second, and we’ll read his account a bit later, is David. We know David a lot
better than we know Saul.
We often think of David in relation to someone else. David and Goliath is of course the obvious example. David and Jonathan, that’s another, and sadly, there’s David and Bathsheba, but we’ll get to that a bit later on.
Continue reading David or Saul?
Read Romans 13:11-14 to start.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to
awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works
of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as
in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness,
not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not
provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
One of my favourite movies growing up was the 1960 Disney adaption of the Swiss Family Robinson. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a rollicking adventure story of a family who is shipwrecked on an unoccupied island and who has to survive and indeed make a new life for themselves. This Disney adaptation features action, excitement, humour, and pirates. I call it an adaptation, because the movie is wildly different from the book. The aforementioned pirates, for example, who are a major plot point in the movie, are not even present in the book. In the movie, however, it was the pirates who drove the ship the family had been sailing on into the storm where they were shipwrecked. It was the pirates that the two older brothers encountered on the far side of the island, and from whom they rescued a prisoner. And it was in anticipation of those same pirates coming to retrieve the prisoner that provokes the family to prepare elaborate defenses.
Continue reading Here and Now
Read Mark 7:1-9 to start.
TV show I watch sometimes called Canada’s
Worst Driver. If you are not familiar with it, the premise is that a small
group of really terrible motorists are nominated for the ignominious title of Canada’s
Worst Driver, and they are put through a series of challenges to see which of
them really is the worst. There is a strong education aspect to the show where
the bad motorists are taught how to be better drivers, how to be safer on the
roads, and most of them learn a lot and they leave in much better shape then
when they arrived. There are two phrases that are used again and again on this
show. One of these I actually referenced in a sermon back in 2016, and that is look where you want to go. Those six
words are an excellent description of how you should live the Christian life,
because if we wish to follow Christ, to be like Him, then we’d best to looking
at Him, and the example that He gave, or we’re going to fall far short of the
mark. If we are not looking to the author and finisher of our faith then we are
going to have a hard time emulating Him.
Continue reading Know Where Your Wheels Are
Read Exodus 32:1-8 to start.
I’d like to
start this morning with a question. Actually, there are two questions, one
leads to the other. The first one is who here still eats toast? Between those
who are on low carb, keto, or gluten free diets, probably lots of people don’t
eat toast much anymore. I don’t eat toast all that often, it’s not my breakfast
go-to, but my wife and a couple of my kids opt for toast fairly often. If you
eat toast, or for that matter if you eat popcorn, or corn on the cob, or baked
potatoes, or steamed carrots, odds are pretty good that you use butter on at
least some of those foods. Maybe all of those foods. Maybe you use a little
butter, maybe you use a lot.
Continue reading Substitutes, Poor and Otherwise
Read Matthew 7:24-29 to start.
The wise man
built his house upon the rock. That’s of course the title of a children’s song
we sing from time to time, it’s not one we trot out every single week or
anything, but I recall it being quite popular when I was Sunday School age. The
first two verses of that song are lifted wholesale from this passage of
scripture. Those two verses tell the story of prudent construction versus
unwise building methods, much as the parable we read to start does. It’s a
familiar account, and a familiar song, and it’s an easy to understand principle
as it applies both to building a house and to establishing your manner of
living. If you follow Christ, if you hear His words and decide to obey them, then
you will be established and sound. If you do not, then you will find yourself,
as Paul describes in Ephesians chapter four, tossed about by every wind of
doctrine. The wise man takes one approach, the foolish man a different one, and
the results speak for themselves.
Continue reading Blessings, Mercy, and Precipitation
Read Judges 17 to start.
We’ll get back to the story of Micah from mount Ephraim in a few minutes, but first, I’m going to talk about my backyard. I know, I know, it’s January, and there’s a foot of snow covering it, but I want to talk about that yard to start this morning. Most everyone here has been to my house I think, if not when it was my house then at some point over the past 30 years. So you’ve seen my backyard, even if you aren’t all that familiar with the back part of it. It’s a double lot, which is great for the kids to play in, but it takes a while to mow it all. The back portion, the area behind the row of pine trees, we call it the back forty, although it’s not even half of an acre, there’s really nothing back there apart from a little area where the kids attempted to plant a garden, a big bush at the back, and a whole lot of grass. I haven’t specifically gone out there with a tape and measured it, but it’s a lot of walking back and forth and back and forth when you mow it.
Continue reading Straight Lines