God is our Refuge

Note: The following sermon was delivered September 3, 2017, at the Virginia Scottish Games Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans Service.

Psalm 46: 1-11

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
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Finding Thankfulness in the Midst of Pain and Healing

Note: The following sermon was delivered September 6, 2015, at the Virginia Scottish Games Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans Service.

Luke 17: 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Here we have a nice, little story of healing from Jesus. Isn’t it sweet and quick? And isn’t that what we always want when we’re hurting and looking for healing? Don’t we want a prayer, a puff of magic smoke, and an instant healing? But so often, it’s not like that at all. It’s a long, drawn-out process. And we often wonder why. Continue reading

Let it Be Christmas

Note: The following sermon was delivered August 31, 2014, at the Virginia Scottish Games Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans Service.

Reading of Scripture

Luke 2: 1-19

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

To answer the question on everyone’s mind: Yes, I realize I just read the Christmas story on what is supposed to be the hottest day of August. And you might wonder why I did it. Well, to be honest, I love Christmas. Without Christmas – without the birth of Christ – there’s no fulfilling of prophesy. Without the fulfilling of prophesy, there’s no announcement in the angel chorus; there’s no shepherds, no manger, and no wise men. There’s no young Jesus baffling the teachers of the law with His wisdom. There’s no turning of water into wine. There’s no calling of disciples. There’s no healing, no casting out of demons, no walking on water, no raising of the dead, no compassion, no love, and no forgiveness. Without the birth of Christ, there is no death of Christ. And without the death of Christ, there is no raising of Christ from the dead. And without a risen Christ, there is no victory over sin and death. And without victory over sin and death, there is … no hope for the likes of you and me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. … Continue reading