August 25 Sermon: Destiny's Child

Jeremiah 1:4-10 On the Sunday we celebrate those who teach and those who learn it's fitting to overhear God's call to a young boy named Jeremiah. The first thing we learn about Jeremiah is that he is child of destiny. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” We Presbyterians might even say Jeremiah is predestined to be a prophet. In this context, predestination does not mean we’re robots built and programmed by the Almighty to execute a predetermined program. Predestination is the good news that you matter. You aren’t an accident. You aren’t a mistake. You aren’t a random assembly of molecules cursed with the task of conjuring up meaning for y

August 18 Sermon: Attitude Adjustment

Scholars call Isaiah 5:1–7 “The Song of the Vineyard,” but that begs the question, “Just what sort of song is it?” I appreciate the video interpretation we just saw, how the spare use of piano chords and plaintive plucking of a guitar string gives way to a more electronic and industrial sound, but given the themes of hard work, betrayal, revenge, and alcohol in the words, I’m thinking that “The Song of the Vineyard” was topping the country charts in eighth-century Judah. Yes it’s a vineyard he’s building rather than a still, and we’re talking wine rather than beer or bourbon, but that just means that the “The Song of the Vineyard,” was the “Old Town Road” of its day; the song has a foot in m

August 11 Sermon: Tired of Church

I’ve been ordained for nearly a quarter-century, and in that time, people have told me, in no uncertain terms, what they like and don’t like about worship. Some people like organs. Other people like guitars. Some people don’t like “political preaching.” Other people don’t like “preaching that ducks important issues.” Some people love passing the peace. Germophobes and introverts can’t stand it. Now the God who speaks in Isaiah 1 seems irritated with just about every aspect of Israelite worship. The bleating of sheep and lowing of cattle, smoke rising into the heavens, the crowds jostling in the temple courtyard, the smell of incense and the sounds of prayers—God repudiates it all. It’s as if

August 11 Preview

Guest praise band leader Jennifer Lynn has a set of great songs lined up for us to sing this Sunday! For more details about Sunday school and worship, watch the video! #Isaiah #Churchhistory #FirstPresbyterianChurchColumbiaMO

August 4 Sermon: Misguided Youth

Hosea 11:1–11 God and Israel have a troubled relationship, and the prophet Hosea likes to express the nature of that trouble with images drawn from troubled human families. Last week Hosea likened Israel to an adulterous wife and her God to a spurned and jealous husband. This week, God is the loving and long-suffering parent of an ungrateful and rebellious child. It wasn’t always this way between God and Israel. The Lord fondly remembers the good ol’ days of their relationship, when God parted the Red Sea waters and liberated the Israelites from slavery. God led them through desert wastes for 40 longs years, in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of flame by night. Those were the days of

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