Category Archives: Sermons and Preaching

David or Saul?

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.

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Here and Now

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.

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Know Where Your Wheels Are

Read Mark 7:1-9 to start.

There’s a 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.

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Substitutes, Poor and Otherwise

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.

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Blessings, Mercy, and Precipitation

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.

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Straight Lines

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.

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Envy

Read James 3:13 – 4:6 to start.

Before I get to my topic for this morning, or rather as a lead up to it, I want to talk about stupid internet memes. Specifically, I want to talk about Tide Pods, and the eating of them. I wanted to bring one along this morning as a visual aid, but we don’t actually use them at home, and I was hardly going to go and buy a box of them to use as a prop. In short, Tide Pods, or for that matter other brands of laundry pods, have become popular over the last several years because they are really easy to use, no measuring required, just biff one of those puppies into your washing machine and away you go. The fact that they look like candy probably hasn’t hurt sales either. Of course, the fact that they look like candy is also a big problem, because when something looks like candy there is a temptation to eat it. About a year ago there was a trend of people posting videos of themselves doing the so-called Tide Pod Challenge, which involved a biting down on a laundry Pod and recording the results.

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Priorities and Motivations

Read 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 to start.

I’d like to start this morning by talking about a movie. You might be familiar with it, it was a highly successful film, although it’s certainly not recent. The movie is The Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s a war movie, set during WWII, quite a good movie, it won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1958. I remember watching it years ago. While the movie is fictional, it does depict real some historical events, as it takes place during the building of the Burma Railway, which the Japanese built to assist the war effort in Southeast Asia in 1942-43. There was indeed a major railroad bridge built in the same area as the movie indicates.

If you haven’t seen the movie, or if it’s been a long time, as it has for me, here’s a brief summary. A group of British POWs are brought in to build a bridge as part of the railway. The highest ranking British officer, played by Alec Guinness, in an effort to demonstrate superiority to his captors, orders his men to build the best bridge they can. They protest, not wanting to help the enemy finish the railroad, but the officer insists. He points out this will demonstrate British ingenuity and skill, and he points out that the bridge will be used by locals for many years after the war is over. Why not built a bridge that will last? He sees this as a triumph of civilization over barbarism. Continue reading Priorities and Motivations

But . . .

Read Genesis 2: 15-17

There are many words in the English language, something like 250,000 thousand, depending on how technical you want to get. Of those words, most adults know in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 on average, and children as young as four know roughly 5000 words. That’s a lot of words. This morning, though, there is one key word that I want to look at. It’s a common word, we use it every day. It’s only three letters long. The word is but. Continue reading But . . .

Peace and Rest

Read John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Not long ago I read an article about the end of the conflict in Columbia. Specifically, the article described it as the last armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, and a peace deal brokered in 2016 was supposed to have brought an end to an internal war that had simmered since 1948.

The thought that once that peace deal was in place there would be no ongoing war in the Americas or the Caribbean was hailed by this article as a great accomplishment, something that we should be happy about, something that we should take as a sign of increasing peace throughout the world. Continue reading Peace and Rest