Philippians 2: 1-13

New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Palm Sunday)(B)(2021)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his delightful book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Beuchner writes, “Humility is often confused with saying you’re not much of a bridge player when you know perfectly well you are. Conscious or otherwise, this kind of humility is a form of gamesmanship. If you really aren’t much of a bridge player, you’re apt to be rather proud of yourself for admitting it so humbly. This kind of humility is a form of low comedy. “True humility doesn’t consist of thinking ill of yourself but of not thinking of yourself much differently from the way you’d be apt to think of anybody else. It is the capacity for being no more and no less pleased when you play your own hand well than when your opponents do.”
  • Palm Sunday (B)(2021)

    by Delmer Chilton
    The Rev. Denny Camp is a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In the late 1960s he graduated from Cummings High School in Burlington, NC. It was an old building built in the early 1900s; a long, brick, two-story building with staircases at each end of a central hall. Some long ago principal had organized the class changing chaos by decreeing that the East End staircase was UP and the West End staircase was DOWN. This rule was strictly enforced, going the wrong way on a staircase was a serious offence! One day Denny found himself at the bottom of the DOWN staircase a few minutes before classes changed. His next class was in a room directly over his head. To properly, appropriately, legitimately go upstairs, he would need to walk all the way to the other end of the corridor, go up the UP staircase, and then walk all the way back to his class room. This would probably have been good exercise for him, but he was a 15 year old boy; exercise was not on his mind, the easiest way to do what he wanted to do was. Denny glanced at his watch, looked around and saw no teachers, and headed up the DOWN staircase. When he was about halfway up, he first felt, then saw, then heard a presence above him. He glanced up the second floor landing and saw the Football Coach and Assistant Principal for Discipline glaring down at him. “CAMP! Get up here!” the coach yelled. At just that exact moment, the bell rang and a sea of teenage humanity started flowing down the DOWN staircase. Denny couldn’t make any headway – he was stuck. The Coach kept glaring down at him and shouting, “CAMP, GET UP HERE!” But he couldn’t move. He couldn’t go up, he couldn’t buck the tide. He couldn’t go down, the coach was calling him up. He was stuck, stuck going up the DOWN staircase...
  • Palm/Passion Sunday (B)(2021)

    by Jennifer T. Kaalund
  • Bodies at Worship

    by Katherine Willis Pershey

Recommended Resources

  • A Bowl of Humility

    by Sil Galvan
    Honk, honk, slice, splash, stop, start. Thick traffic. Teeming rain. My seven-year-old Volkswagen jerked along the freeway like a bug on sticky tape. Problems droned angrily around in my head. For weeks I'd been pouring all my hopes and energy into preparing an interior design presentation for a fat-cat client, and I'd just learned that I'd lost the job to a competitor. But your biggest mistake, Linda, I scolded myself, was counting on the money. When will you learn not to assume?
    (and another illustration)
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

    by Sil Galvan
    If we could summarize all of this in a song, I think we could do no better than this one: When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died; My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my Lord. The vain things that now tempt me most, I sacrifice them to his blood. Were ev'ry form of nature mine, my gift would still be far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
  • The Daffodil Principle

    from Homiletics Online
    ("More than 40 years ago, one woman began - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Jesus did the same when he planted himself deep in the dirt of human life...")
  • Terminal Velocity

    from Homiletics Online
    ("In this month of wild college partying on the beaches of Florida, we need to keep in mind that not all young people use their breaks to serve Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry. Some serve a Lord of love named Jesus, such as the 44 church volunteers from New York state who donned work clothes and hard hats and spent last Easter break plunging into two houses in inner-city Washington, D.C....")
  • What Is Your VROC?

    from Homiletics Online
    ("A Christian's spiritual VROC is in direct proportion to his VROD -- his vertical rate of DESCENT. The way to heaven is down to earth, through the practice of heartfelt humility. The more we humble ourselves, the more we climb into the presence of God. The more we look after the affairs of others, the more our own affairs are taken care of...")
  • Having the Mind of Christ

    from the Pastor's Bible Study
  • The Christ Hymn

    from Small Group Studies

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2020

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Sermon Starters (Palm Sunday)(C)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his delightful book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Beuchner writes, “Humility is often confused with saying you’re not much of a bridge player when you know perfectly well you are. Conscious or otherwise, this kind of humility is a form of gamesmanship. If you really aren’t much of a bridge player, you’re apt to be rather proud of yourself for admitting it so humbly. This kind of humility is a form of low comedy. “True humility doesn’t consist of thinking ill of yourself but of not thinking of yourself much differently from the way you’d be apt to think of anybody else. It is the capacity for being no more and no less pleased when you play your own hand well than when your opponents do.”
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 21A)(2020)

    by Doug Bratt
    the food pantry of the church I serve has been such a source of blessing. We’d had a pantry open once a month for the past seven years. But with the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, a local food bank challenged us to open once a week. That, however, presented tremendous challenges, including economic and volunteer ones. Our church had budgeted, after all, for a monthly pantry. We’d chosen to have the food pantry open monthly because we also felt that we wouldn’t have enough volunteers to staff it more often than that. Before this pandemic struck, we served about 100 households of our hungry neighbors on a monthly basis. After it struck, we serve approximately 700 households of our hungry neighbors on a weekly basis. This simply would not be possible were it not for God’s startling generosity with our pantry. The Giver of our daily bread has startled us nearly weekly with an amazing variety of provisions for our needs. One of the most stunning ways God has done this is through an incredible variety of supporters and support. Our denomination, as well as local government and businesses have come alongside our ministry with financial support. An amazing variety of houses of worship have provided volunteers and monetary support. And the stream of food donors who are our nearby neighbors never ceases to amaze me...
  • Hidden Beauty

    by Vince Gerhardy
    Leroy was about the ugliest dog you could imagine. His coat was straggly and wiry; he had the strangest ears; his tail was crooked and he drooled. You might give Leroy a first glance and think what a strange mistake of creation but you wouldn’t give Leroy a second glance. You would wonder how anyone could love a thing like that. But there was more to Leroy than his looks. He was bursting with personality and had loads of love to share. This was evident when he was taken to the local aged care nursing home. He didn’t care that the people there were frail, wrinkled, disabled, sometimes poked him a bit too hard, or got him in the eye when they meant to pat his head.
  • Palm Sunday (A)(2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In his memoir This Boy’s Life, writer Tobias Wolf relates that when he was a boy, he used to take a perverse joy over taking a loaded gun and then, from his second-story bedroom window, drawing a bead on passersby. Women pushing strollers, young children playing ball, garbage collectors talking and laughing together–whoever it was, Wolf would secretly aim the gun at them and then fight back laughter at the ecstasy he felt of having so much power over these people. Over time, however, he began to feel like this was empty. Over time, however, he began to feel like this was empty.
  • Proper 21A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The story is told among Jews of a rabbi who always signed his letters with the words, “From one who is truly humble.” One day someone asked how a humble person could ever say such a thing about himself. A friend of the rabbi’s replied that the rabbi had in fact become so humble that he no longer even realized it was a virtue–it had simply become his life. Describing himself as humble seemed to him as innocent as saying he had brown eyes...
  • Love's Labor

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky tells the tale of Madam Holakov’s confession to the monk Zossima. The old woman, doubting her destiny in the face of death, presumes her crisis is of faith. Father Zossima, however, sees the problem as one of love. When he advises Holakov to labor at loving her neighbors as a way to dispel her worries, she realizes he has struck a nerve. There is no doubt, she thinks, that she loves humanity; but the actual doing of it, the living of it, gives her pause. The old priest, concurring with her, recounts the story of a disillusioned doctor who had great dreams of universal love but bitter disappointments in dealing with the real thing. “I love humanity,” he said, “but the more I love humanity in general, the less I love people in particular.” While his dreams portray visions of saving humankind, in his daily life the good doctor can’t stand the people around him. “I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. … As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom.” The slightest irritation rattles the poor man’s nerves. He bristles at the way someone talks, sneers at the way someone walks or wheezes, and can barely tolerate the manner of someone’s dress or bearing. “In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men. … I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me.”...
  • Palm/Passion Sunday (B)(2018)

    by Stan Mast
    Fleming Rutledge is refers to the “godlessness” of the cross and its being the nadir of Jesus as the self-emptying servant: “Perhaps we can gain further understanding by examining a horrific incident that occurred in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998 and soon became emblematic of the ongoing struggle against the persecution of homosexuals. A young gay man, Matthew Shepard, was beaten within an inch of his life by two other men and was then tied to a fence and abandoned. Eighteen hours later, in near-freezing weather, a passerby discovered the comatose figure and for a moment mistook it for a scarecrow. Matthew Shepard died in the hospital five days later without ever recovering consciousness. The particular cruelty of this death left people groping for words...
  • One in Christ

    by William Willimon
    Driving down to Atlanta to record this sermon for Day 1, I thought of the very first church I served. I was a student at Emory at the time. I drove out to the church on Saturday to meet with the lay leader. He met me at the little one room church, then named, "Friendship Methodist Church" (That's a misnomer if ever there were one!). I got there before my host so I thought I'd go in the church and look around. But I was surprised by a big padlock and chain barring the front door. When the lay leader arrived I said, "Glad you are here to open the lock on the door." "Oh, that ain't our lock. The sheriff put that there," explained the lay leader. "Things got rough here at the meeting last month. Folks started yelling at one another, carting off furniture they had given to the church. So, I called the sheriff and he came out here and put that lock on the door until the new preacher could get here and settle 'em down."
  • Proper 21A (2020)

    by Richard O. Johnson
    Maybe you’ve heard the story of the mother who, wishing to encourage her young son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets for a performance by the great master Paderewski. When the night arrived, they found their seats in the front row, just beneath the majestic Steinway on stage. The mother got into a conversation with the person in the next seat and didn’t notice that her son had slipped away. When 8:00 arrived, the house lights came down, the audience quieted, and only then did they notice the boy sitting at the piano bench, innocently picking out, with one finger, “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” The mother gasped and was about to retrieve the boy when out walked the great pianist. He slipped on to the bench beside the boy, and whispered to him, “Don’t quit! Keep playing.” And then Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began improvising a bass line; and his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized...
  • Empty and Full

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The whole question of whether you see a glass as half-empty or half-full has become some sort of personality evaluation. Are you an optimist? A pessimist? A surrealist? (See the graphic below.) Paul's play with words considers the polarities of empty and filled...
  • Palm Sunday (C)(2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
    "In his troubling novel, Silence, Japanese author Shusaku Endo tells a story about the persecution of Christians in 17th century Japan. Christians were given a chance to escape persecution by stepping on a fumie, a crudely carved image of Christ. Those who wouldn't do it were killed. Those who took that step of apostasy stayed hidden, deeply shamed by their denial..."
  • Palm/Passion Sunday (A)(2015)

    by Stan Mast
    ("As a little boy I was entranced by early TV. On our tiny flickering black and white set, I watched Lassie and Walt Disney Presents and Saturday morning cartoons. But my favorite was The Lone Ranger. If you’re anywhere close to my age, you’ll recall the question people always asked after an encounter with the Lone Ranger. With wonder or horror in their voices, they gasped, 'Who was that masked man?'...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Following His Example

    by Mark Adams
    ("In his book The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg shares the story of Leon, Joseph, and Clyde-three psychiatric patients in a hospital in Ypslilanti, Michigan who suffered from a messiah complex. Now, their problem wasn't just a touch of narcissism. I mean, they weren't simply conceited..." and other illustrations)
  • The Way Up Is Down

    by Mark Adams
    "I love this quote from Bill Hybel's book Descending Into Greatness. He writes: 'In the vocabulary of our world "DOWN" is a word reserved for losers, cowards, and the bear market. It is a word to be avoided or ignored....it is a word that negatively colors whatever it touches. We say: DOWN and out, DOWNfall, DOWNscale, DOWNhearted and worst of all, DOWN under..." and other illustrations
  • Focusing on the Main Thing

    by Robert Allred
    ("You may have read the obituary of a middle-aged tennis enthusiast who had shared with his friends and family that he had based his life on the principles presented in this favorite passage of scripture. He had applied these truths to his tennis, and he had won many tournaments..." and other illustrations)
  • From Selfishness to Selflessness

    by Bob Allred
    ("Although she does not want the title bestowed upon her, Mary Beth Talley has become a hero at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. A volunteer caregiver to several mentally challenged youth, she was especially fond of Heather MacDaniel, a sweet youth who has Downs Syndrome. Gathered in the Sanctuary, they were singing the praise chorus 'Alleluia' when a gunman opened fire...")
  • Recovery: Step Seven

    by Mickey Anders
    ("I once read in an article that said the famous author Alex Haley, author of Roots, has a picture in his office, which shows a turtle sitting atop a fence post. What a sight that must be! The turtle's poor legs would dangle far to the sides of the post, and there would be absolutely no way he could get down. In my mind's eye, I can see the poor turtle struggling for all he was worth; all to no avail..." and other illustrations)
  • Sometimes the Only Way Up is Down

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Perhaps you remember that ultimate disaster movie of the seventies The Poseidon Adventure. When a tidal wave, caused by an undersea earthquake, capsizes the dangerously top heavy SS Poseidon, a group of survivors struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds to reach the hull and safety..." and other illustrations)
  • What Would Jesus Ride?

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Columnist Philip Yancey recently made a list of the people who have most influenced him, whose qualities he very much wants to emulate. He reports that he stared at the list for some time before realizing that all have in common the surprising trait of humility. Does this mean that they all have some kind of negative self-image? Not at all..." and other illustrations)
  • Small Talk, Big Talk: Freedom Is One Long Meeting

    by John Auer
    "I actually met Emma Tiller on my own before I found out she was interviewed in one of Studs Terkel’s fabled oral histories of Chicago – Division Street or Hard Times. Emma Tiller was a veteran of the Civil Rights movement in the South then living out her citizenship in the community of the Cabrini Green projects..."
  • This Humble God

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Juergen Moltmann, now retired professor of theology at Tuebingen, was probably the most influential Christian thinker among the clergy of Europe in the latter half of the twentieth century. But he did not grow up in the faith, but rather in Nazi Germany. He was drafted at age 16 near the end of World War II, was captured at war's end and taken for several years to a camp in Scotland where he was forced to perform manual labor. The cold damp weather was bad for his health. One winter he had a terrible cold and no handkerchief for his nose. He was forced to use his coat sleeve for the excessive nasal discharge. The coarse material became stiff and abrasive... felt like sandpaper on his nose. He looked up from his work to see a group of local women and children standing with the military guards observing him and the other prisoners. One of the women looked directly at him for some time. She then spoke with one of the guards and handed him something. The guard walked over and gave Juergen an old white rag. At first, he only stared at the nondescript piece of cloth in his hand, failing to understand what had happened. Then, suddenly, it dawned on him what she had done. This was easily one of the most significant gifts he had ever received. It helped to change his life. The act did not cure his cold, nor did it free him from incarceration. But this love came from one who knew what it meant to be without the essentials of life. The old woman had just the right thing for his need: not a starchy new handkerchief, but a soft, worn rag. This was an act of grace and she had given it to a hated German prisoner. She became Christ for this young man and helped heal his loneliness, despair, and suffering...
  • The Cross: Should a Symbol Betrayed Be Reclaimed?

    by Mary C. Boys
    ("So it is from my earliest days to my final end that I am marked with the sign of the cross. Yet, as Paul Ricoeur says, symbols give rise to thought. And my thoughts have been complicated by the painful recognition that this central symbol of Christian life has a shadow side--a realization I owe initially to Chaim Potok's My Name Is Asher Lev...")
  • Palm/Passion Sunday (B)(2012)

    by Delmer Chilton
    Scroll down the page for this resource.

    "My dad's sister, Aunt Mildred, never, ever really threw anything away. When her nieces' and nephews complained to her about this, she would say, 'You just never know when you might need it.' Our protests that you had to be able to find 'it' in order to use 'it' when you needed 'it,' fell on deaf ears. She was confident that she knew where all her 'its' were. And I think she did..."

  • Open Minds

    by Nancy Cushman
    ("Mike Yaconelli tells the story of a visitor at his church. The older man sat in the front row. He had braided and partially dreadlocked hair that hung below his belt and he had an extremely long goatee that shot in all directions from his chin. His nervousness was obvious. Mike could feel his fear...")
  • Questions of the Heart

    by Patricia de Jong
    ("It was 1959, the year we moved from the house on Edna Street to the big house on Plymouth Terrace, which was across town. Moving was a traumatic experience for me, since I grew up with a feeling of not being like other kids because of the big steel brace which supported my right leg...")
  • The Gift

    by Laurie DeMott
    ("Long long ago, when I was 16, my family gathered in our living room for the annual opening of Christmas presents. Although my parents were not materialistic types, the fact that there were five children, generally a foster child or two, and a handful of relatives visiting on Christmas morning meant that the pile of presents under the tree always appeared gargantuan to young eyes, full of promise and excitement about good things to come...")
  • Hum a Few Bars

    by Kathy Donley
    On the tenth anniversary of September 11, I heard some stories I hadn’t heard before. One was about two women, Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi. Phyllis’ son, Greg, died in the attack on the World Trade Center. Aicha’s son, Zacarias, was charged with 6 counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism. About a year after the attacks, these two women were brought together because Aicha requested a meeting with some of the victim’s families. Several people were there and they were all nervous, each wondering what the others wanted from each other. Aicha started by saying, “I don’t know if my son is guilty or innocent, but I want to tell you how sorry I am for what happened to your families. I know what it is to suffer, and I feel that, if there is a crime, a person should be tried fairly and punished." That opening statement broke the ice and allowed others to share freely. On that day Phyllis and Aicha began to be friends. In 2005, Aicha came to America for her son’s trial. Phyllis wanted to give her as much support as possible. She didn’t speak a word of Aicha’s native French, but she placed an international call, and somehow they managed. Phyllis said that when Greg was killed she thought, “I will never forgive the people who murdered my son.” But four years later, she said, “When I watched Zacarias at the trial, my heart was broken because I could not look at him as a stranger. I saw him as the son of my friend Aicha.”...
  • A Date With Destiny

    by Art Ferry
    ("Hamilton Whaley was a prosperous lawyer in Tampa, Florida. From his own story in Guideposts, he was happily married, had 5 great kids, a big comfortable house in a pleasant community. He was active in a good church and making more money than he ever dreamed of. He was also a partner in one of the leading law firms in the state, a vast organization with nearly 70 lawyers..." and several other illustrations)
  • The Real Meaning of Palm Sunday

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
    ("George Fallen tells of visiting an artist's studio out in Dallas, TX. One picture was the artist's pride and joy--a picture of Jesus on the cross. Fallen and the artist discussed the painting briefly. The artist said that the hardest thing about painting the crucifixion was putting the scars in Christ's hands and feet and side...")
  • Humility and Harmony

    by Justin Fisher
    ("Some of the greatest messages in life come from the most difficult situations. This past week I have had occasion to re-read letters from four of my favorite heroes: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and St. Paul. And, I was struck with the realization that some of their greatest writings came not from their positions of leadership and power but from their dark and lonely days in prison...")
  • He Gave It All Up for Us

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("In 1927 a man named Asibi, a West African native, was stricken with the deadly disease, yellow fever. Not many people survived this dreaded disease. However, Asibi lived. It seems that his body had conquered the disease. Asibi's blood contained the antibodies from which to begin to develop a successful vaccine...")
  • A Humbling Experience

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("The owner of a beautiful hunting lodge in Scotland invited some of his friends to spend the weekend there. In their revelling and partying, one of the guests opened a bottle of champagne and it shot out onto a wall. It left an ugly blotch. All through the rest of the weekend, the guests watched that blotch dry into an ugly stain...")
  • Our Humble, Servant King

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Once there was a beautiful garden. Of all the plants in the garden, the one that the master regarded as the most beautiful was a splendid and noble Bamboo. Year after year, Bamboo grew yet more beautiful and gracious. He was conscious of his master's love, yet he was modest and gentle in all things. One day the master looked at Bamboo and said: 'Bamboo, I want to use you.'...")
  • A Heavenly Inauguration

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("During the nineteenth century, when Italy was divided into a number of independent states, there was a popular movement for the reunification of Italy under Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. Before he became king there was a surge of enthusiasm to drive out the Austrians, keep the French at the borders, and to place this man on the throne...")
  • When God Became Man

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("There are two Greek words for 'form': 'morphe' and 'schema'. They must both be translated 'form', because there is no other English equivalent, but they do not mean the same thing...")
  • We March to a Different Beat

    by Mark Haverland
    ("There's a book about the history of military drill called Keeping Together in Time. In a sense I'm suggesting that we too need to march together in time, or in step, with Jesus. It turns out that the roots of the drill lie in prehistoric hunting dances...")
  • The Mind of Christ

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I sat down with a group of leaders in a congregation a few months ago. This particular place, like many, has had its share of struggles. Indeed, those people who had come together that night shared that the congregation as a whole just wasn't very 'nice.' They were, by then sitting on fifty years of conflict and more and their dealings with one another had become downright abrasive. We began our meeting with prayer and then I read these words from Philippians...")
  • How to Have a Perfect Church

    by John Jewell
    ("If you should find the perfect church without fault or smear, Please, don't join that church, you'd spoil the atmosphere. If you should find the perfect church where all anxieties cease, Then pass it by lest joining it you mar the masterpiece...")
  • Mary Christmas

    by David Leininger
    ("Henry Rogers wrote The Eclipse of Faith. In it he imagines that some powerful hand has wiped the influence of Christ out of our civilization, as a hand would clean a blackboard in a schoolroom. Rogers represents himself as going into his library to find no trace left of the life or words of Jesus...")
  • The Most Important Statement the Church Ever Makes

    by David Leininger
    ("Listen to C. S. Lewis: 'A man who was merely a man, and said the sort of things Jesus said, would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with a man whose says he's a poached egg -- or else he would be the devil of hell...")
  • Stories and Letters from Prison

    by Barbara Lundblad
    Some years ago, Carl Jung told the story of a man who asked a rabbi why God was revealed to many people in days of old, but now nobody sees God. “Why is this?” he asked. The rabbi answered, “Because nowadays no one bows low enough.” Perhaps we are looking for God in all the wrong places. In today’s video, Sister Margaret goes to prison. She is not Jesus. She is not God. But she believes God is there in Riker’s Island...
  • Humility: Christ Humbled Himself

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Abraham Lincoln is often selected as being the greatest giant of our presidential past. When people make a list of the greatest American presidents who ever lived, Abraham Lincoln is most often on the top of the list. Why is that?...")
  • Authority: Human or Divine?

    by David Martyn
    The reality is that any inner strength you have is a gift from God. Paul writes to the church at Philippi “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you.” The love of God is already in you. When you express it, when you give it away, you are God like in your actions, you have the authority of God in what you do—that’s the fear and trembling part. David Albert tells a story that, for me, captures the essence of this mystery. I spent must of yesterday looking at violin bows. I must have tried 50 or 60 of them at my favorite luthier’s shop. Some were light chestnut in colour, others red maroon, still others a dark, rich brown. There were octagonal and round ones. Some had buttons (the piece that tightens the hair) made of nickel, others silver, and still others gold, and they could be in either one or three parts. Frogs (that’s what one holds when playing) were of ebony, ivory, or tortoise shell (I could never in good conscience own one of these last two; some of the ivory ones came from mastodon or woolly mammoth tusks which, when one considers that the donors are extinct, pose over ethical questions than if they came from elephants), with slides (attaching the hair to the frog) of abalone or oyster shell. Grips on the bow itself were of gold, or silver, or nickel wire, or plastic; the really fancy ones had whalebone (I thought those had only been used for 19th Century Corsets!). Some of the bows were lighter and some heavier, fatter or skinnier, flexible or stiff, heavily arched or straight. “There are actually 157 different kinds of Brazilian hardwood,” said my luthier friend, “even though we usually only talk about two of them.” He showed me some of the various types. And so I started trying them out...
  • The Essence of a Good Reputation

    by R. Tim Meadows
    ("It was early in my political career, and I was home from a legislative session for the weekend. I went down to the little country market, not far from my home to get something, and while there ran into an old friend of my family I had not seen in some time. He was sitting around, swapping stories, drinking coffee, and generally doing what 'old men' do at local country stores, especially throughout the South...")
  • Grabbing at Glory

    by Nathan Nettleton
    Do you remember the line the serpent in the garden used to tempt Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. “Eat this, and you will be like God.” Adam and Eve made a grab for equality with God. And what does Paul say of Jesus? “He did not regard equality with God as something to be grabbed at.” Adam and Eve got too full of themselves and rejected their place as servants of God. Jesus emptied himself and took on the form of a slave. Adam exalted himself, and became disobedient unto death. Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
  • Exploits of Power

    by Michael Phillips
    (includes several quotes)
  • Enemies at the Lord's Table

    by W. Maynard Pittendreigh, Jr.
    ("I had two elders in my first pastorate who had some sort of a falling out. I was never sure what happened between them, but they absolutely detested each other. It was awkward because during session meetings, they would often ignore each other. When they didn't ignore each other, they were putting each other down and being very insulting and degrading...")
  • The Mind of Christ

    by Ed Searcy
    ("A woman finally stirs up her courage to approach the pastor about the abuse that she has hidden from everyone for so long. She wonders what is the 'Christian' thing to do ...'WWJD' she asks. She opens her Bible here, pointing to this text as the reason that she has stayed with him for so long ...a text that she learned long ago meant that the Christian thing to do was to just 'take it' ... to 'suffer'... ")
  • Out of the Devil's Reach

    by Byron Shafer
    ("On June 9th of this year, a stirring address was given at Harvard Divinity School's diploma ceremony by Eric Gutierrez, a member of the Class of 2005. His subject was 'Walk Humbly: Religion in American Public Life'. This morning I want to share with you some excerpts from that speech...")
  • Jesus, Our Emmanuel

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. Dan and Barb Stephens of Fort Collins, Colorado related the following story...")
  • Running On Empty

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("I felt like Mohammad Ali had to have felt one time on an airplane. Ali was in his prime, and he was about to take off on a flight and the Flight Attendant reminded him to fasten his seat belt. In good Mohammad Ali fashion he announced 'Superman don't need no seat belt'. The Flight Attendant came back just as quickly, Superman don't need no airplane, either"Ali fastened his belt..." and other illustrations)
  • Who's Working in You?

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("There was an old man in Chicago who got a burden and a passion in his heart for the inner city kids in Chicago. He didn't have a big developed plan, but what he decided to do was just to adopt an inner city high school. And what he did was every time there was a sports practice that ended he would be there and spend time with the kids..." and other illustrations)
  • Proper 21A (2005)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Once upon a time, a man had everything his heart desired. His family was healthy; and, lo, good fortune smiled upon him. As was his custom ~ when he was in town, when the fish weren't biting, when he could manage to squeeze time in, when he was not too tired ~ he regularly went to church...")
  • What's in a Name?

    by Woodie White
    ("The year is 1750, the place a village in West Africa. Excitement fills the village as an infant son has been born to a young couple, Omoro and Binta. It is a special time for it is a time of naming. You see, the Mandikas, the tribe to which Omoro and Binta belong, believe the name given carries great significance...")
  • Shall We Dance?

    by William Willimon
    ("He was talking about someone who had risen high in his organization, a man with great ambition whose ambitions had been mostly realized. 'In a way, I've always been grateful to that man,' said my friend. 'Grateful? Why?' I asked. 'It was he who helped to curb my own ambition, he who showed me the limits of success and the goals I at one time thought I wanted...")
  • The Call To Courage And Humility

    by Steve Zeisler
    ("A group of us, led by the great mountain man in our midst, Paul Winslow, climbed a rock face in the Sierras last summer. There was an easy route to the summit, or you could work your way up the cliff face. Some in the group were good athletes; some were not...")

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

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Other Resources from 2016 and 2017

Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

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Other Resources from 2011 and 2012

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2000 to 2007

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 1997 to 1999

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Resources from the Bookstore

Children's Resources, Dramas and Readings

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The Classics

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Currently Unavailable

  • Temptation of the Palms

    by Richard Ferris
  • High Swing, Low Swing

    (Puppet Script by Louise Ferry)
  • Standing with the Victims

    by Darrell Jodock
  • Our Inner Garment

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Many things divide us: language, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, politics, ideology, culture, personal history, temperament, private wounds, moral judgments. It is hard, in the face of all this, to see people who are different from us as brothers and sisters, as equally important citizens of this world, and as loved and valued by God in the same way we are....")
  • Lectionary Links (Proper 21A)(2011)

    from Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Lectionary Links (Palm/Passion)(B)(2018)

    from Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Christ Our Pattern

    by Paul Apple
  • Downward Dog: Finding God in a Dog

    by Melissa Tidwell
    We love dogs—we need dogs—precisely because of the way they live so unfiltered, so free of pretension or anxiety about status or wealth. They go after their Frisbee with passion, they lick their food bowl with relish, and they look at us with utter kindness and devotion. This week, in honor of the feast day of St. Francis, consider learning from the saints who have found God in their animal friends, and the untamed natural world that they bring us. Maybe let your dog be the pack leader, seeing their love poured out as a sign of the irresistibility of grace.
  • The Advent Hymn to Christ

    by Owen Bourgaize
  • Proper 21A

    by Robin Griffith-Jones
  • United In Christ

    by David DeWitt
  • The Mind of Christ

    by Steve Shepherd
    ("Jimmy Moore was a dying man. There just wasn't any future for him. Then he got his chance at life again in the form of a heart transplant at Vanderbilt University. Two years later, he completed the grueling Music City Triathlon ...")
  • Passion Sunday

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Pastor Faith Brace tells the following story of an experience she had while visiting in northern Manitoba. 'No one was at the airstrip to meet me. Three Cree women sat in the cab of a pickup truck nearby. It was a raw cold evening in April, not winter, but not spring either in northern Manitoba. They offered me a ride—“but you’ll have to ride in the back,” they said..." and other illustrations)