Hebrews 11: 1-19

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  • Sermon Starters (Proper 14C)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his inimitable style, Frederick Beuchner writes about Abraham and Sarah’s faith in his book, Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith: ‘God tells Abraham, age 100, and Sarah, 90, that they will have a baby. Both laugh. God tells them to name their son “Isaac,” which in Hebrew means “laughter”. ‘Why did the two old crocks laugh? They laughed because they knew only a fool would believe that a woman with one foot in the grave was soon going to have her other foot in the maternity ward. They laughed because God expected them to believe it anyway...
  • Going with Faith

    by Vince Gerhardy
    One day, Zac and his father were climbing on some rocks that lined the seashore. Suddenly Zac’s father hears a voice from the top of a big rock, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” Zac had jumped and then yelled and was sailing through the air straight at his father. They both fell to the ground. When Zac’s father realised what had happened he gasped, “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that?” He responded with remarkable calmness and simplicity, “Sure, because you're my Dad.”
  • What Faith Is NOT!

    by Beth Johnston
    Just last month there was a great deal of news coverage on the anniversary of the first moon landing. 50 years ago last month the United States succeeded in their long stated goal of sending humans into space and bringing them safely home. They began and persevered in this ambitious program, not because it was easy, but because it was difficult. Some have calculated that this first “moon walk” was the culmination of the efforts of 300,000 to 400,000 people. To be fair they also did it in an attempt to beat the Soviet Union to the moon! One of the mementos carried by Neil Armstrong were two pieces of the Wright Brothers airplane from their historic 1903 flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Buzz Aldrin, the other man who walked on the moon that day, was a Presbyterian elder who had received special permission to serve himself communion on the surface of the moon. This was kept secret because of the backlash that happened after the Genesis story was read when humans first orbited the earth in 1968. In 1969 there was a planned break between landing on the moon and actually going outside. As the men prepared for that phase of their mission, Aldrin sent a message to earth - “I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.” Then he reached for the wine and bread he’d brought to space—the first foods ever poured or eaten on the moon. He wrote, “I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.” He then read some scripture and ate. Armstrong looked on quietly but did not participate...
  • Put Your Hand in the Hand of God

    by Charles Hoffacker
    Some of you may know how in 1939, as war clouds darkened over Europe, King George VI lifted countless spirits through a Christmas message broadcast to the British Empire when he quoted these lines from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins: "I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year 'Give me a light that I may tread into the unknown.' "And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'" Abraham did this when he faced the unknown, for he did not recognize the way himself, and other people could not guide him, but he walked into the darkness, one time after another, and put his hand into the hand of God...
  • Today

    by Mark Ramsey
    Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, better known to generations of children and parents as "Mr. Rogers" from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, was often honored for his work on his children's program and regularly found himself appearing before groups of celebrities. Whenever he did this, no matter the audience or the occasion, Fred Rogers never failed to end his remarks, not with "thank you very much" or with "have a good evening." He always concluded his remarks with the simple benediction: "May God be with you." Note that he didn't say, "God bless you" - asking God to do something new. He knew that God had already blessed them, couldn't help but bless them, would always seek to bless them. "May God be with you" meant "I hope that you are aware that God is with you."...
  • The Assurance of Things Hoped For

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In early March 1990, a retired couple named Jean and Ken Chaney were exploring the back roads of the forest when their car skidded into a snow bank on a little-used road just as a snow storm was beginning. The couple quickly determined that they couldn't get the car out of the snow drift without help, so they decided to simply wait for rescue..." and other illustrations)
  • Seeing Beyond the Horizon

    by Richard Donovan
    As I was thinking about this scripture, I could not help but remember the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town. In the play, Rebecca tells about a letter that her minister had sent to Jane Crofut when Jane was sick. She doesn't describe the letter, but she describes the envelope. The envelope had such a strange address. It said: "Jane Crofut The Crofut Farm Grover's Corners Sutton County New Hampshire United States of America Continent of North America Western Hemisphere The Earth The Solar System The Universe The Mind of God" That traces it all the way back doesn't it! Jane Crofut was real because—and only because—she first existed in God's mind...
  • Trust the Guide

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("I can remember, years ago, when I was growing up, our family took a little vacation to Gettysburg. We stopped by some kind of visitor's center, and my dad went in to look for a map of the battlefield. He came out, saying, 'Here's a map, but there's something even better. They tell me in there we can hire a guide to drive around with us and show us the battlefield.'...")
  • Lost? Looking for Peace

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("There's an old story, and it's a groaner but I'm going tell it anyway. It's about three flies buzzing around a messy kitchen table where somebody had just made a bologna sandwich...")

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