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Sermon Resources from Practicing Our Faith and the The Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith

Fifteen sermon ideas can be found on the Practicing Our Faith website — a dozen core practices that enhance Christian discipleship. Each practice can serve as a theme for a single sermon or a sermon series. The accompanying resources for each theme make it possible to carry it into adult study programs.

http://religioninsights.org/best-resources-sermonsFifteen sermon ideas can be found on the Practicing Our Faith website — a dozen core practices that enhance Christian discipleship. Each practice can serve as a theme for a single sermon or a sermon series. The accompanying resources for each theme make it possible to carry it into adult study programs.

    Honoring the Body Sermon by Don Richter.  Honoring the Body is based on Psalm 23 and I Corinthians 6:12-20, was preached by Don Richter for the May 2, 2004 Vespers Service at the Asheville School. 
           "Our work involves understanding Christian faith not simply as a set of beliefs and doctrines - although these are important - but as a way of life shaped by practices, by what Christians do in the world in response to the gift of faith. We like to think of practices as embodied wisdom that has been handed down to us by generations of faithful followers of Jesus; wisdom about how to care for the earth and manage our stuff, skills for making strangers feel welcome, gestures for forgiving others, including our enemies; and even good manners for sharing food and fellowship around the dinner table - as we just did - and here around the Lord's Table." ...[Sermon].
    Embodied, But Not Merely Bodies Sermon by Thomas Kennedy Embodied, But Not Merely Bodies explores the many challenges of being "creatures who are embodied, but not merely bodies." Discusses the paradox of honoring the body as we separate from the world to worship God. 
     "It is perhaps easiest for us to think about what honoring the body might mean during the season of Lent, for during Lent the body is always before us--in the ashes smudging our foreheads, in the scourging of Jesus and his bloody sacrifice on the cross and in the resurrection of his body which we await, in the small penitential sacrifices we make of chocolate or coffee, or coke. Other seasons of the church year -- in the long, hot, slow march of the Sundays following Pentecost, for example, it is perhaps all too easy to think of ourselves as fundamentally spirit, our bodies comfortably inhabiting pews while our minds -- our real selves-- are somewhere else. Not so, in Lent, or so it seems to me." ...[sermon].
   Honoring the Body Sermon by Albert G. Butzer III  Honoring the Body is based on Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:18-25 was preached by Albert G. Butzer III at the Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. 
     "As some of you know, I'm in the midst of a sermon series based upon an important new book called Practicing Our Faith, edited by Dorothy Bass, the church historian. Each chapter of the book deals with a different practice or discipline of the Christian faith. In a chapter called "Honoring The Body," Stephanie Paulsell tells of her experience as a Lamaze partner for a friend from her church. She writes: After a long and difficult night [of labor], my friend began pushing the baby out. The nurse, the midwife, the baby's father, and I all gathered around her, holding her legs, rubbing her arms, urging her on with our voices. As exhausted as she was, seeing the baby's head appear allowed my friend to reach for the strength she needed. And when with one final act of loving will, she pushed her daughter out into the midwife's waiting hands, we all burst into tears of joy and relief and wonder. I remember thinking as we stood there half-weeping, half- laughing: this must be the way God made the world, this must be the way that God made the world.
     Indeed, to consider a topic like "honoring the body," we really should go all the way back to the beginning and remember the way that God made the world. [Serrmon].
   The Girl with the Foot in Her Hands Sermon by Stephanie Paulsell  "Congregations that practice foot washing appreciate the sacred vulnerability of human bodies. All Christians can learn to see the body as both fragile and deeply blessed. Through the vulnerability of our bodies, God has given us into the care of one another. Find Paulsell's "Honoring the Body" in our website bookstore. In the Free Will Baptist churches of my hometown, the quarterly communion service always includes the intimate work of foot washing. The whole church gathers in the sanctuary for prayers and the Lord's Supper, and then the community separates, women into one room, men into another. During my senior year in high school, I often attended these services with friends. I can't say for sure what went on in the men's gathering, but I imagine it was very similar to the ritual enacted among the women. After receiving communion, we would leave the sanctuary in twos and threes, trying, I will admit, to pair up with a good friend whose feet we would wash and who would, in turn, wash ours. Once we had all gathered, the older women would begin singing "Amazing Grace." We would all join in, singing it over and over until everyone's feet had been washed."
   Weaving Hospitality Sermon by Thomas Blair Weaving Hospitality is based on Romans 12:9-13 was preached by Thomas Blair at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore (MD) on June 21, 2009. "In a day and age when hospitality’ can mean little more than a smiley face at the end of an email… this morning we have an opportunity to consider wonder what the word ‘hospitality’ really means to us. this is the third part of our Summer Sermon Series, from the book “Practicing Our Faith”­ an anthology of essays describing ways that we meet that of God in the normal, everyday course of our lives. [Sermon].
   Entertain Angels Sermon by Martin Copenhaver Entertain Angels is based on Genesis 18:1-15 and Hebrews 13:1-3 Martin Copenhaver preached at the Wellesley Congregational Church on March 14, 1999. "In this time and in this setting, among people like us, perhaps no Christian practice is more urgently needed than hospitality. Admittedly, that may sound like an odd statement. So much of the original meaning and power of hospitality has been lost in our time that when we hear the word “hospitality” we may think of something meager, like the Hospitality Committee of a club, or the hospitality suite at a convention, or those name tags that say, “Hello, My Name Is...” We may think of social graces, soft sweet kindness and making sure that everyone has something to drink. Obviously, when I speak of hospitality as an urgently needed Christian practice, I am thinking of something richer, deeper, more adventuresome and more profound than that." [Sermon]
  Receiving the Lord Sermon by Gerard Braun Receiving the Lord, Gerard Braun preached October 8, 2002 at an SMP Health System Leadership Retreat, explores receiving the Eucharistic "host" as dimension of Christian hospitality. "Last week priests of our Fargo diocese got together for our annual presbyteral days to take a look at some of the changes in the new Roman Missal - the instruction on how we celebrate the Mass. Now you can imagine when it comes to the liturgy there is a fairly wide spectrum of practice.  As one example, the question arose about the proper approach to receiving the Eucharist. There are a number of people who will approach the person giving out the Eucharist, Jesus present in the bread and wine, and take the bread themselves, rather than letting the Eucharist be placed in their hand or on their tongue. Some folks call this "snatching" and these people "snatchers." [Sermon].
   Hospitality, Hometown Style Sermon by Elaine Lange Hospitality, Hometown Style is preached by Elaine Lange in July 2002, testifies to acts of hospitality received and given by the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation. "Hospitality....I have been giving this a lot of thought lately. When I was asked to give the reflection for today, I was told that the theme of the scripture readings was "hospitality." So, as any dutiful teacher/student would, I went to see what Webster had to say on the matter. Webster defines hospitality as "receiving and entertaining strangers or guests generously and kindly." Something tells me that the influential woman of Shunem in the first reading didn't run to her dictionary to look up the word for what she had just naturally done for Elisha.  She simply followed what her heart told her to do. She asked a hungry stranger to have supper with her.  Elisha must have enjoyed her cooking because he came back several times! So often, that the woman and her husband fixed up a little room on the roof for Elisha. No blanket and pillow on the couch for this prophet! Such was "hometown hospitality" Shunem-style!" [Sermon].
   Practicing Hospitality Sermon by Agnes W. Norfleet Practicing Hospitality is based on Luke 16:19-31 and Agnes W. Norfleet preached at North Decatur Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia. "A while back, when I noticed that this was the gospel text appointed by the Common Lectionary for today, I moaned. I thought, do I want to preach about Lazarus and the rich man on Bring A Friend Sunday? Because -- it's not a very friendly story. As another preacher, Patrick Willson, has noted: The parable of Lazarus and the rich man embarrasses us in all manner of ways. It embarrasses biblical scholars because it doesn't exactly behave in the predictable way parables are supposed to behave. Several volumes on the parables do not condescend to comment on this story; it isn't really a parable like the other parables of Jesus. Those scholars who deign to examine the story ruefully admit that it is something of an uninvited guest at the family table, a form of Egyptian folk tale that stowed away with Jewish travelers coming from Alexandria." [Sermon]
   A Flood of Hospitality Sermon by Kristine Carlson A Flood of Hospitality, Kristine Carlson, preached at Holden Village on June 30, 2003. "I want to tell you what happened to me and to my community last year. I come from the Red River Valley. This is prairie land; it is flat land. When artists draw pictures of it, they simply make a straight line right across the middle of their canvas. Above the line is blue sky, below the line stretches green and gold land in the summer, and in the winter, white land. This is my geography: sky and flat land. Winding like a giant dark snake through this flat prairie land is the Red River of the North. Of the north because it's in the north and because it flows north, north into Canada and into Hudson Bay. When you think about it, this is a really stupid way for a river to flow because in the Spring it's frozen up in Canada. But further south, where I live, the river is fine. The water can't flow north because it's frozen up there, and so down south the river floods." [Sermon]
   The Practice of Hospitality Sermon by Dorothy Bass. The Practice of Hospitality based on passages from the Psalms, Leviticus, and Romans Dorothy Bass preached on February 18, 1999 at the Chapel the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. "The Bible includes many passages on the practice of hospitality. We begin this morning by recalling three of these. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. (Psalm 23: 5-6). When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34). Contribute to the needs of the saints. Extend hospitality to strangers.(Romans 12:13). This is the word of the Lord. When speakers visit Valparaiso University, we often show them hospitality by taking them out to dinner after they speak. A few years ago, a rabbi was the speaker, and several of us were eating with him at Strongbow's. [Sermon].
   Jubilee Sermon by Terry Fretheim. Jubilee was delivered by Terry Fretheimon on Jubilee Sunday on June 30, 2003 at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the Northern Cascade mountains of Washington State. Each summer, Holden celebrates Jubilee, a festival based on the idea of Jubilee described in the Hebrew Bible. During this festival, only essential work is done; the volunteers who keep the Village running are given respite. The Village also holds an auction to raise money to help people working to right economic injustices. Jubilee focuses on Leviticus 25:8-12, 23-24; Deuteronomy 15:7-1; and Luke 4:16-21 [Sermon]
   Simple Living Sermon by Erika Jacobs on June 30, 2003. "We live in a salvation-hungry world. This hunger shows itself among us in ways that are deep and broad. Take bumper stickers. Salvation language abounds on bumper stickers. Save the whales; save the planet; save our cities; condoms save lives. Save, save, save, save. What are you going to do with all of that salvation language that's out and about? One temptation for us is simply to display the inadequacy of this language and get people to come to church where they can hear about real salvation. And that has happened all too often; we make a sharp separation between what the church has to say about salvation and related ideas and practices that may be current in the larger culture. But one important task of the church is this: to make the connections between the church's message and those ideas and practices. One thing mission is about is making the connections!" [Sermon].
   Being Content Sermon by Roger Livdahl. Being Content by Roger Livdahl is based on I Timothy 6: 6-10 & 17-19, was preached on June 30, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. "It's Lent, a time for reflection on our Lord's suffering and sacrifice on our behalf. It is also a time for a look at how well our life reflects the example set by Jesus. This self examination may lead us to ask the question, "How important is God in my life?" As I get older, I seem to get more introspective. I keep thinking that, maybe for the sake of my kids, grandchildren, and other descendants I should write an autobiography; so that they could see what was really important to me in my life." [Sermon].
   Taking Sabbath Seriously Sermon by Thomas Blair is based on Mark 2:23-38 was preached on November 11, 2009 at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore (MD) on July 12, 2009. "As the sixth in our “sizzling summer sermon series”­ this is the only topic that takes on one of the Ten Commandments, specifically, the Fourth: “Remember the Sabbath Day and Keep it Holy.” I need to begin with a quick story. A Jewish man in his mid­20’s, at the beginning of his professional life, announces to his parents that he is going to get married. He tells his parents that she is the most wonderful girl, beautiful, bright and charming—but there is one thing they should know… she’s not Jewish, but she’s ready to convert. This news is met with mixed reactions. [Sermon].
   Unwrapping the Gift of Sabbath Sermon by John W. Sonnenday is a sermon based on Exodus 16 was preached on July 1, 2003 at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia. It is used here by permission of Journal for Preachers. "Our story from Exodus is a story of contrasts: life in the bondage of the empire versus life in the freedom of the wilderness. The people of Israel had been living in the Egyptian empire where they cried out for release from bondage. God had seen their misery, had compassion on their sufferings, and under the leadership of Moses, had delivered them from the power of the empire. Now they were on their way to the promised land, that land flowing with milk and honey, but in between bondage and blessing lay the wilderness. And when they got there, the people complained against Moses and Aaron, his brother: "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill the whole assembly with hunger." [Sermon].
   Resting in God's Promises Sermon by Thelma Megill-Cobbler preached on July 1, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. Six days shall you labor. The seventh is the Sabbath, the day on which, the Exodus version of the commandment tells us, God rested, and human beings--in God's image-- are to rest. The version from Deuteronomy commands doing no work on the Sabbath, in remembrance of being led out from slavery. Slavery, after all, is ceaseless labor. To this command to keep the Sabbath holy, some of us will immediately object: my work is important. I can't give up an entire day in the week! [Sermon].
   Getting to the Heart of Our Stories Sermon by Dorothy Bass was preached on April 27, 2003 at the opening service of the annual meeting of the Associated Church Press. "When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." [Sermon].
    Come and See Sermon by Albert G. Butzer III probes the tension between saying too much and saying too little in sharing our personal faith with others. Peached on July 1, 2003 is based on scripture: John 1:35-51. Text: "They said to him, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?'  He said to them, 'Come and see.'" (John 1:38-39). "Last Sunday I began a series of sermons based upon a new book called Practicing Our Faith edited by church historian, Dorothy Bass. Each chapter of the book deals with a different practice or discipline of faith. Last Sunday's sermon dealt with the practice of keeping the Sabbath. This morning we turn to another faith practice: sometimes called testimony or witnessing to one's faith, occasionally called evangelism, which is a dirty word for many Presbyterians!" [Sermon].
    Discerning and Deciding Sermon by Thomas Blair is based on Romans 12:1-3 was preached at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore (MD) on July 26, 2009. From 1987 to 1989 I was a teacher at Charlotte Latin School. It was the custom there­ as in many schools, at the end of the school year, for the students to give their teachers gifts. I remember a fellow teacher­ Jim McDaniel, who had been there since the school’s founding, in 1969. He had a special place in a closet in his room, filled with boxes, presents the students had given him over the years. Many of the boxes were unopened, still wrapped in gift paper. Most of these were long, flat boxes­ just the right size for a tie. Jim already had plenty of ties, ‘teacher ties’, with pictures of coffee mugs on them, or mathematical equations, or apples. He said he didn’t need any more ties, so he just put the boxes away, storing them for whatever rainy day there might be when he’d have the inclination to unwrap one of them." [Sermon].
   Living as community, then and now Sermon by Dorothy Bass is a homily given by Dorothy Bass, based on Acts 2:43-47, at Valparaiso University Chapel, November 9, 2010. "A reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the second chapter: Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. The Word of the Lord. What would it be like to be one of those Christians, living together in perfect harmony? Sharing everything. Overflowing with prayer and praise. Eating together with glad and generous hearts. And all without being the slightest bit in-groupy: accepting without distinction the wave of new people —different people, from different cultures—who are daily adding to—and changing—their community. How amazing! As these first Christians headed off to bed each evening, they probably sang “somos uno,” “we are all one in Christ,” in a perfect blend of Spanish and English that everyone within hearing could understand." [Sermon].
   Get Thee to a Community Sermon by Martin Copenhaver is a sermon based on Acts 2:43-47 and I Corinthians 12:12-26 was preached on January 16, 2004 at the Wellesley Congregational Church on February 28, 1999. Let’s imagine that one day a friend says to you, “I’m a little embarrassed to ask this, but you’re a Christian, right? I mean, I’ve never paid much attention to these things. Anyway, at this stage of my life I’m interested in giving this Christian faith a try. I wasn’t brought up in a church, so I don’t really know all that much about it. I mean, I know the basic outlines of the Christian story, but what do I do next? Where do I get started?” How would you respond? What would you recommend as the starting place? Where would you tell someone to begin? What’s the first step in giving this Christian faith a try? [Sermon].
   Bread Rises! Sermon by Michael Cobbler is a sermon based on Nehemiah 5:1-13, was preached on October 20, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. "The preacher holds up a large photograph. This is a picture that hangs over in my office at the Center for Diaconal Ministry. You can take a look at it later on, if you wish. As I look at it, I see many faces of God's people a wonderful display and array of humanity. There is one in this picture who has barely reached his second month. There is another who has seen many months and years. And there is one on the right who kind of looks like a loudmouth pastor! (I wonder who that may be!) [Sermon].
   Status: Delinquent Sermon by Amy Plantinga Pauw is a sermon based on Jeremiah 31:7-14 was preached on October 20, 2003 at Holden Village. "Borrower name: Amy Pauw. Status: Delinquent. I saw it right there on the library computer screen. I was standing at the front desk of the library on the campus where I teach, trying to check out yet more books. "Me, delinquent?" I thought. It turned out I was, in that area of my life and no doubt in others. Being labeled delinquent gave me a new way to think about the Christian practice of shaping community. The responsibility of a library goes beyond acquisitions and cataloging. It has to shape a community of book borrowers. Without that community there is no reason for a library to exist. But if the community of borrowers is composed of unrepentant delinquents, the library won't exist for very long. Neither will the community." [Sermons]. 
   When All Might Listen As One Sermon by Theodore J. Wardlaw is a sermon, based on Nehemiah 8:1-10, was preached on October 20, 2003 at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. "I'm preaching this morning from the Book of Nehemiah. You're probably wondering why. Maybe you think I've got a score to settle with our lector for this morning, Cathy Harris. Why else would I ask someone to read a text with such impossible names as Hilkiah or Mattithiah or Hash-baddanah. But this is not pay-back time for Cathy; she's a brand-new elder and a faithful Centralite and I think she's terrific. Nor am I preaching from this text because, on this Inaugural weekend, this is the only text in scripture where you can find the words "Water Gate." I acknowledge the coincidence, but I would not do something so cheesy as to choose this text, on my own, for that reason." [Sermon]. 
   Forgiveness Sermon by Thomas Blair is a sermon based on Ephesians 4:25-32 was preached on November 11, 2009 at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, MD on August 9, 2009. "Forgiveness starts with being forgiven so writes theologian, L. Gregory Jones, Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University and author of this week’s essay from Practicing Our Faith, the book we’ve been reading in our Summer Sermon Series. Our topic for today is Forgiveness, and this is the working definition we’re given "People are mistaken if they think of forgiveness primarily as absolution from guilt. The purpose of forgiveness is the restoration of communion, a reconciliation of brokenness. To forgive another means to provide a door of opportunity for reconciliation that is not just a restored relationship but a newly changed relationship between forgiver and forgiven. Crucial in forgiveness is the connection between receiving forgiveness from God and giving forgiveness to another, and one is not possible without the other. Forgiveness starts with being forgiven."  [Sermon].
   Bearing Good Fruit Sermon by Susan Bachman is a sermon, based on the 4th chapter of Ephesians, was preached on October 20, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. Ephesians 4:1, 17-24, 31-32. Today let's start with a journey to the Dark Side. Let's take a visit to the land of No Forgiveness. We know the place well. We enjoy going there. The paths are broad and easy to walk. The poet William Blake, wrote a poem in 1794 that captured well what it is like to live in the land of No Forgiveness. In such a land there is death and spiritual decay.--death or destruction for others and twistedness for one's own soul. I want to recite Blake's poem, "A Poison Tree" for you; I imagine maybe 50% of you are already familiar with the poem or at least were supposed to read it for freshman literature classes. It's only 16 lines, so it won't take long. [Sermon].
   The Awkward Dance of Forgiveness Sermon by Angela Janssen is a sermon based on John 21:1-19 was preached on October 20, 2003 at Holden Village. "There is a song that strikes fear into the hearts of 7-year-olds and vacation Bible students everywhere. At least, it did for me, for I was a very shy child and the pastor's kid on top of it, which made me fair game for every Sunday school teacher under heaven. The song starts like this-"OHHHH... (Do you know this song?) OHHH ... Angela do you love Jesus? Oh, yes, I love Jesus. Do you really really love Jesus? Yes I really really love Jesus. Tell me why you love Jesus. This is why I love Jesus because he first loved me. Oh how I love Jesus..." It's like a bomb dropping, and you can almost see the Sunday school teacher scanning the room for that child who had most disrupted class the day before. Which, I shouldn't even have to mention, couldn't possibly be me. "OHHH..." This song wouldn't be so bad, only it seems to go on forever. Once is not enough. Oh, child, do you love Jesus? Do you really really love Jesus? Tell me why you love Jesus." [Sermon].
   Do You Want to Be Made Well? Sermon by Lorraine Brugh Do You Want to Be Made Well? Lorraine Brugh is a sermon based on John 5:1-9 was preached on October 20, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. "I don't think Jesus' question to the invalid man in this passage was an idle one. Did you catch it? His question was "Do you want to be made well?" At first glance, it seems obvious. It did to the man who had been ill for 38 years. He answered in the affirmative, saying that he had no one to bring him into the waters which were supposed to have healing properties. So why did Jesus bother to ask? Anyone in that situation would want to be healed, wouldn't they? Isn't it obvious?" [Sermon].
   Being Healed Sermon by Kimberly Clayton is a sermon based on Matthew 9:18-26 was preached on October 20, 2003 at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. "As many of you know, this past fall my mother was very ill. In fact she almost died. For over a year and a half she bled every day because her colon was diseased. She became weak and exhausted from almost constant anemia. She tried all of the available drugs in an effort to get the disease under control. She saw doctors - got second and even third opinions. Her life became more and more limited as her condition worsened." [Sermon]. 
   About the Nine Sermon by Theodore J. Wardlaw is a sermon based on Luke 17:11-19 was preached on October 11, 1998 at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. "We are, for the most part, people who get what we want. Getting what we want, after all, is the pre-eminent way in which we define our own success. Getting what we want is, in great measure, the motivator which many adults used with us when, as children or adolescents, we were needful of some advice as to how to make our way in the world. "Son, if you ever want to be able to get what you want, you've got to stay in school, you've got to work hard and make good grades and choose good friends." Getting what we want is what we reflect about, occasionally, in one of those well-chosen moments when the guard is down and the one listening is trusted enough, and willing enough to promise never to tell anyone as we confide what it is, really, that we want, and what our strategy is to go about getting it. Life itself becomes, in great measure, a matter of getting what we want, and--who knows?--maybe, sometimes, it so happens that life's meaning and ultimacy are grasped, or at least glimpsed when we indeed have gotten what we want. We are, for the most part, people who get what we want." [Sermon]. 
   To Make the Wounded Whole Sermon by Kenneth Carter is a sermon based on James 5:13-20 was preached on October 17, 2003 at Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte (NC) on September 28, 2003. "I was usually the first one at church, on Sunday mornings, but that day there was a car parked out front. I went in, began to make preparations for worship and then Marvin came in. I had seen Marvin around town before, but never in church. We had met at the local seafood restaurant, and said hello when we saw each other, but that was about it. Soon other folks began to arrive, and they found their pews, like we would, like you have this morning. They began to whisper to each other, "There's Marvin", and they would almost point to him. They were surprised that someone new was in church-this was a small community-and they were really surprised that it was Marvin." [Sermon].
   Dying Early, Dying Well Sermon by James Bachman is a sermon based on Romans 3:22b-24 was preached on Oct 20, 2003 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. Dying Early, Dying Well by James Bach. Romans 3:22b-24: "For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Death and taxes, they say, are the two inevitables. Ordinarily, we expect to pay taxes first, and pay taxes again, and pay taxes yet again, then eventually die, and then our estate pays taxes yet again! But here in late March I've had to postpone my taxes even though April 15 draws ever closer. My assignment is to turn our attention to death. [Sermon].
   Unless a Grain of Wheat... Sermon by Paul Rohde is a sermon based on John 12:24 preached at Holden Village on October 20, 2003. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24 (RSV)
Friends in Christ, grace and peace from the God of our planting and rising. Amen. This Gospel is so gentle, we might miss its absoluteness. This quiet, simple appreciation of seed stirs memories in me of my Uncle Oscar, filtering the heavy, satin kernels with his strong weathered hands. [Sermon].
   Dying Well Sermon Albert G. Butzer III is a sermon based on John 11:32-44 was preached at Providence Presbyterian Churchin Fairfax, Virginia on Oct 20, 2003. John 11: 32-44 Text: " Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." (John 11:32). In an essay which appeared recently in The Christian Century magazine, editor James Wall reflects upon the tragic death of Princess Diana. At first, says Wall, we were angry with the paparazzi for pursuing her for pictures. Then we grew angry at the tabloids who pay huge sums of money for those pictures. Then we grew angry with the limousine driver who was drunk the night of the accident. Finally, we directed our anger at the Royal family for what appeared to be insufficient grief over Diana's death. But Wall goes on to say: [Sermon]. 
   Singing Our Lives Sermon by Jen Baker Singing Our Lives is a sermon was preached on October 20, 2003 by a senior church music major at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. As I stand before you all today, I can't help but reflect on a similar time last year when I gave my first homily. I mention this to you because it has an interesting link to the reflections I'll share with you today. Last spring I spoke about the church musician's role in helping the worshipping community express our faith. A few days later, I was given a copy of Practicing Our Faith. Even more meaningful than the gift was a handwritten note inside the front cover from Dorothy Bass in which she had thanked me for my words. She had noted that I would find Chapter 13 particularly interesting. [Sermon]. 
   Singing Changes Things Sermon by Kimberly Clayton is a sermon, based on Isaiah 52:1-10 and Acts 16:25-34, was preached on Oct 20, 2003 at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. Isaiah 52:1-10; Acts 16:25-34. My friend Agnes Norfleet was the Associate Pastor of Central Church in Atlanta when the new Presbyterian Hymnal appeared in the pew racks of that sanctuary. As in this church, members helped to purchase these new hymnals by giving one in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one who had died. On any given Sunday morning, you can open a Hymnal and read the dedication given with great love and tenderness. [Sermon]. 
   Do Strange Things Sermon by Martin Copenhaver is a sermon based on I Corinthians 11:23-26 was preached at the Wellesley Congregational Church on March 7, 1999. When a group of people has been living together and interacting with one another for any period of time they will develop their own peculiar rituals. I mean that word “peculiar” in two ways. The rituals will be specific to that group, reflective of the group’s unique history.And the rituals also will be peculiar in the sense that they can seem quite odd—to those outside the group most surely but, on occasion at least, to those who are part of the group as well. [Sermon].
   02/24/2004 God is in the Details Sermon by Kenneth Carter is a sermon based on 1 Corinthians 13 and was preached at Providence United Methodist Church, Charlotte (NC) on February 1, 2004. We don’t remember how it actually happened, but our older daughter signed up for the middle school orchestra. The school was known for its excellent band program, but not for orchestra. We’ve always given our children a fair amount of latitude, so we let it slide, and we wondered: where is this going to lead? [Sermon].
   Practice the Presence Sermon by Martin Copenhaver is a sermon based on I Thessalonians 4:13-14 and Matthew 28:1-20 was preached on January 16, 2004 at the Wellesley Congregational Church on April 4, 1999. In his wonderful new book, Living Jesus, New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson asks what he contends is the most important question concerning Jesus: “Do we think he is dead or alive?” Johnson observes, in a disarmingly plainspoken way, “It makes a big difference whether we think someone is dead or alive. To the person in either of those conditions, it probably makes an even bigger difference. But it certainly also matters to anyone interested in that person.” [Sermon]. 
   Giving Gifts Sermon by Nancy Willbanks is a sermon based on "Practicing Our Faith" was preached on August 3, 2003 at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church (Cambridge, MA). This sermon has been germinating for a while, probably starting back in February when I was doing my taxes and looking at seed catalogs. And in February when I went out into my backyard just to make sure that the shed had survived the last big snow and ice storm, mostly what I saw were the tops of a few sticks like this sticking up out of the snow. Looking at those sticks without faith, knowledge, attention and hope, you would never be able to appreciate the juicy raspberries and beautiful roses that these sticks have produced this summer: bowls and bowls of red and black raspberries, and beautiful, fragrant pink roses. [Sermon].
   The Manna Life Sermon Dorothy Bass Sharing Food is a sermon, based on the 16th chapter of the book of Exodus, was preached during Lent 2002 at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University. A reading from the 16th chapter of the book of Exodus.The whole congregation of the Israelites came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." [Sermon].

Practicing Our Faith: Fifteen sermon ideas can be found on the Practicing Our Faith website — a dozen core practices that enhance Christian discipleship. Each practice can serve as a theme for a single sermon or a sermon series. The accompanying resources for each theme make it possible to carry it into adult study programs. More sermon resources from Practicing Our Faith


More Sermon Resources.




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