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Confessions of a Xenophiliac - I Peter 4:9-10 - Jun 10, 1990 - 574

They say that true confession is good for the soul, and in that spirit, I want to begin my sermon with a simple confession. Although I am preaching a series of sermons on spiritual gifts, I am not entirely sure that what I am preaching about this morning actually is a spiritual gift. I think it is ... More

Forgiveness: Healing the Hurt We Never Deserved - Matthew 18:21-35 - May 4, 2003 - 757

This is the first sermon in a series I never planned to preach. The story of how it came to be starts in February when I spent a week preaching at Word of Life Florida. One day I ate lunch with George Theis, former executive director of Word of Life. He told me about a book called Total Forgiveness ... More

What is a Christian? - 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 - May 20, 2007 - 775

A friend sent me an email telling about a question posed to her by a co-worker. Here is the exact text of the question:How is a Christian defined? It used to be that if you were not Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist, you were a Christian, whether Catholic or Lutheran or Episcopal or Baptist. But it seems ... More

Grow Up! - 1 Corinthians 13:7 - Apr 9, 2006 - 541

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you weren’t married? If somehow you were suddenly single again? No matter how happy your marriage is, every honest person would have to answer yes to those questions. We’ve all thought about it from time to time. We’ve wondered ... More

Love Never Gives Up - I Corinthians 13:7 - Dec 10, 2000 - 401

The New International Version tells us that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The Contemporary English Version says that love “is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.” The New Living Translation says “love never gives up ... More

The Winds Of War - Matthew 24:6 - Aug 6, 2006 - 142

(Date: January 20, 1991)What a week it’s been for all of us! This has been one of those rare moments when time, which had been rolling smoothly along, suddenly came to a total halt. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?It was late Wednesday afternoon and I was rushing home so ... More

Hold Lightly What You Value Greatly - Luke 12:16-21 - Jun 23, 2007 - 302

The land of a rich man produced plentifully and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul ... More

Looking for a Second Chance: What About Purgatory and Postmortem Salvation? - Hebrews 1:3 - Jun 11, 2000 - 213

Most people think that Catholics believe in purgatory and Protestants don’t. That statement needs qualification in two ways. First, the various Orthodox churches also believe in purgatory, though we don’t often hear about it. Second, there is a sense in which Protestants in general and e ... More

The God We Hardly Know - Sep 22, 2006

David Mains caught me off guard with his question. “If you had to grade your congregation on their knowledge of the Holy Spirit, what grade would you give them?”Up until that moment, the interview had gone well. David and his daughter Melissa had thrown me fast pitches right over the cen ... More

Sobriety: Knowing When to Say No - Nov 17, 2002

SOBRIETY KNOWING WHEN TO SAY NO “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 There are a great many references to wine, strong drink, and drunkenness scattered throughout the Bible. The earliest reference is in Genesis, the last in Revelat ... More

Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts - Various - Apr 1, 1990 - 567

The name Peter Drucker will be familiar to you if you are a student of business or economics. To put it simply, he is one of the great minds of the 20th century. His writings include Managing for Results, The New Society, The Effective Executive, and America’s Next Twenty Years. For over a ... More

Martha's Vineyard - I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:7 - Apr 29, 1990 - 569

I first met Bill Petch twelve years ago this summer. I was fresh out of seminary and starting my first pastorate. It happened that my church was like most churches pastored by men right out of seminary—small and struggling. When I arrived on the scene, there were about 50 people left in a c ... More

Going Against the Flow - 1 Peter 4:1-6 - Mar 20, 2005 - 600

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time ... More

When God Comes to Dinner - Genesis 18:1-15 - May 19, 1996 - 20

Last Tuesday night I sat on the platform at the UIC Pavilion for the Say Yes Chicago campaign with Luis Palau. During the evening Luis told the story of an evangelist named Mordecai Ham who came to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1934 for a citywide tent campaign. One night only six people came forwa ... More

Sense and Nonsense About God's Love - 1 John 4:8 - Apr 27, 1997 - 475

I’d like to begin my message with a simple observation. No attribute of God is so widely believed as the love of God. This observation is quite easily testable. Take a microphone to the streets of Chicago and ask them to tell you what God is like. I will assert without fear of contradiction th ... More

The Day Before the End of the World - 1 Peter 4:7-11 - Apr 3, 2005 - 604

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve ot ... More

Never Be Surprised by Hard Times - 1 Peter 4:12-19 - Apr 24, 2005 - 603

I begin with the words of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, from an interview with William F. Buckley: “As an old man, looking back on one’s life, it’s one of the things that strikes you most forcibly—that the only thing that’s taught one anything is suffering. Not ... More

Letter From a Friend - Romans 15 - Mar 6, 2007 - 737

“I need to ask your forgiveness.”  Thus began a letter from a friend. The letter went on to describe a situation that was very understandable to me. During a phone call with someone else, my friend made a comment that he now regretted. And so he now wrote to ask my forgiveness. In h ... More

Curing the Itch Mites - Oct 28, 2007

Ray: How many of you know what itch mites are? We had never heard of them until two months ago. Marlene: We learned all about itch mites when we hosted a wedding reception in Chicago for Mark and Vanessa who had gotten married in California two weeks earlier. Some friends offered to let us have the ... More

Something New Under the Sun: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living - 24. TIMES AND SEASONS - Aug 6, 2012

Something New Under the Sun: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living - 31. HERE COMES THE JUDGE - Aug 6, 2012


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