The Desire to Stop

Adapted from a sermon preached at Centenary United Methodist Church on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. The text was Luke 1:26-38. One of my favorite quotes about the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary comes from Elie Wiesel: “Whenever an angel says, ‘Be not afraid!’, you’d better start worrying. A big assignment is on the way.” It’s …

Sticks and Stones (1 Samuel 17 Sermon)

This sermon was preached at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, June 21, 2015. The text was 1 Samuel 17:32-49.  Today, myself and countless other pastors are climbing into their pulpits wondering what in the world we can possibly say in the wake of the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. On Wednesday …

Emptied (Palm Sunday Sermon)

This sermon was preached at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Sunday, March 29, 2015 (Lent 5, or Palm/Passion Sunday). The text was Philippians 2:5-11. Pastors’ families tend to have weird traditions no one else has. A few examples from my own childhood: my family learned to negotiate my dad’s busy Christmas Eve …

Lifted Up (Lent 4 Sermon in Duke Chapel)

This sermon was preached at Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC on Sunday, March 15, 2015 (Lent 4). The texts were Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-21. In October of 1991, Glenn Summerford tried to kill his wife. The weapon was not a gun or a knife or Summerford’s hands; instead, it was a poisonous snake. …

God’s Dream (2nd Sunday after the Epiphany/MLK Weekend Sermon)

This sermon was preached at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, January 18, 2015, the day before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The text was 1 Samuel 3:1-11. The new movie Selma portrays the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. not just as a civil rights leader but as a man with …

What Comes Out (Matthew 15 Sermon)

This sermon was preached on Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown Winston-Salem, NC on Matthew 15:10-20. In the fall of 1964, the musical Fiddler on the Roof came to Broadway, and five years later it became a movie. Set in early 20th-century Russia, it tells the story of Tevye, the …