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July 28 Sermon: Is the Honeymoon Over?

Hosea 1:1-11 People get married for lots of reasons. Some are better than others. “Because I’ve prayed about it, and I believe it’s God’s will,” is an excellent reason. If we ask God to help us find our car keys in early morning moments of frustration and hurry, how much more should we ask God to help us select a life partner! “Because I can trust this person to be my loving and faithful partner in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow throughout all our days” is also a good reason. You’d be crazy to marry someone you didn’t trust. Now some marriages do experience a breach of trust down the road even when there’s ample trust at the outset; human beings are, afte

Sunday's Sermon: The Best of Times; The Worst of Times

It was the best of times. The nation was at peace. The economy was booming. The stores were closed on the Sabbath to incentivize worship attendance, and it worked! Houses of worship were filled to overflowing. No, it was the worst of times. In the sanctuaries they extolled a God who blessed the faithful but made no demands upon them. At home, on those long Sabbath afternoons, businessmen wiled away the hours hatching get rich quick schemes. Dishonest weights and measures, mixing in some chaff with the wheat, and making high interest loans to people most in need and least able to repay were their favorite tricks of the trade. Another day, another dollar; a sucker is born every minute, you see

"Been-Heres" and "Come-Heres" Worshipping Together

John Calvin was a refugee. Calvin, the theological father of the Presbyterian Church, was born in Noyon, France in 1509 and educated as an attorney. He settled in Paris, had a conversion experience, and became friends with a group of intellectuals who wanted to reform the Catholic Church. Calvin was forced into hiding when French authorities launched a violent crackdown on the would-be reformers. In 1535 he fled across the border to Geneva, Switzerland. Calvin intended to stay in Geneva only a month, but his friend William Farel insisted he remain and work with the city authorities there to reform the church. Farel even laid a curse on Calvin in the event Calvin should depart. Terrified, Cal

Sunday's Sermon: The Plumb Line

In case you missed it, here's today's sermon, based on Amos 7:7-17: Agricultural work is a mixture of solitude and community. Whether you’re harvesting produce in California or dressing sycamore trees in ancient Israel, you’re usually working the field or the orchard in groups, but the nature of the work calls for focus, and allows each person in the team to be alone with his or her thoughts. Managing flocks even more so. Israelite shepherds, like Old West cowboys, spent a lot of time in very rural, even deserted places. This was the way Amos, an agricultural laborer from the town of Tekoa in Judea, made a living. Then one day, the silence and solitude about him, broken only by the wind rust

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