Psalm 31

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  • The Suffering Servant

    by Craig Condon
    well known preacher Chuck Swindoll once told the story of Terry Shafer. A few years ago she was strolling the shops in Moline, Illinois. She knew exactly what she wanted to get her husband, David, for Christmas. A little shop on Fifth attracted her attention, so she popped inside. Her eyes darted toward the corner display. “That’s it!” she smiled as she nodded with pleasure. “How much?” she asked the shopkeeper. “Only $127.50.” Her smile faded into disappointment as she realized David’s salary as a policeman couldn’t stand such a jolt. Yet she hated to give up without a try, so she applied a little womanly persistence. “Uh, what about putting this aside for me? Maybe I could pay a little each week, then pick it up a few days before Christmas?” “No,” the merchant said, “I won’t do that.” Then he smiled. “I’ll gift-wrap it right now. You can take it with you and pay me later,” he said. Terry was elated. Then came Saturday, October 1. Patrolman David Shafer, working the night shift, got a call in his squad car. A drugstore robbery was in progress. David reacted instantly, arriving on the scene just in time to see the suspect speed away. With siren screaming and lights flashing, he followed in hot pursuit. Three blocks later the getaway vehicle suddenly pulled over and stopped. The driver didn’t move. David carefully approached the suspect with his weapon drawn. In a split second, the door flew open as the thief produced a .45-calibre pistol and fired at David’s abdomen. At seven o’clock in the morning a patrolman came to the door of the Shafer home. Calmly and with great care, he told Terry what had happened. Stunned, Terry thought how glad she was that she had not waited until Christmas to give her husband his present. How grateful she was that the shopkeeper had been willing to let her pay for it later. Otherwise, Dave would have surely died. Instead, he was now in the hospital—not with a gunshot wound, but with only a bad bruise. You see, David was wearing the gift of life Terry could not wait to give—his brand-new bulletproof vest...
  • Exegesis (Psalm 31)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Passion Sunday (B)(2021)

    by Maggie Mraz
    A church basement in Burlington, North Carolina hosts a weekly Wednesday evening small group with fervent consistency. The gathered reveal the efforts of Sustainable Alamance, a Christian Community Development Initiative. This faith-based, non-profit organization works tirelessly to confront employment discrimination impacting individuals with criminal backgrounds. A 37-year-old former gang member dressed in black eloquently speaks of the struggle he is currently facing in his attempt to relate to local church leaders. He is having trouble connecting meaningfully with the faith community since his release from prison. “They think THEY know God. I KNOW GOD!” Gang life and 11 years of incarceration shaped this man’s life, but “thug” formation was overshadowed by a divinely inspired passion to reach out to youth in the neighborhood with the hope of teaching them a different way of life. It is intoxicating to listen to this man share how the transformation from gangster to minister taught him about the character of God. Honest talk of formerly dwelling in past insecurity, the closeness of God, and the spiritual process of leading his life into a place of confidence and maturity rings true like the words of a scriptural psalm...
  • Passion Sunday (ABC)

    by Howard Wallace
  • Suffering: The Psalmist’s, Christ’s and Ours

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    In a famous study by Victor and Mildred Goertzel, entitled Cradles of Eminence, the home backgrounds of 300 highly successful people were investigated. These 300 subjects had made it to the top. They were men and women whose names everyone would recognize as brilliant in their fields, such as Helen Keller, and Albert Schweitzer. The intensive investigation into their early home lives yielded some surprising findings: 1.Three fourths of the children were troubled either by poverty, by a broken home, or by rejecting, over-possessive or dominating parents. 2.Seventy-four of 85 writers of fiction or drama and 16 of the 20 poets came from homes where, as children, they saw tense psychological drama played out by their parents. 3.Physical handicaps such as blindness, deafness or crippled limbs characterized over one-fourth of the sample...

Resources from 2020

  • In Tough Terrain

    by Neil Bishop
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2020)

    by Bruce Cromwell
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2020)

    by Nancy deClaissé-Walford
  • Into Your Hands

    by Laurie Gudim
  • Easter 5A (2020)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Passion Sunday)(A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The very young among us know nothing of danger. Point a gun at an infant or little child and he will as likely grab for the barrel and try to play with it same as if you held out a teething ring or a rattle. Of course, there can be other reasons to not sense danger, like overly optimistic naivete. I think of the comic movie Crocodile Dundee. A savvy New York reporter has taken Mick Dundee from his sheltered life in Australia’s Outback to New York City. One night they are out for a walk in the big city when they are approached by some leather-clad men. In this scene, notice how the New Yorker’s face instantly freezes into fear and panic. She knows danger when she sees it. But Mick isn’t even ruffled and even after it becomes clear those young men really had been there for a mugging, he still laughs it off as just kids having fun...
  • Easter 5A (2020)

    by J. Clinton McCann
  • Prayer and Praise

    by Bruce K. Modahl
  • Easter 5A (2020)

    by Chris Nafis
    Maybe this is why Jesus and then Stephen invoke this Psalm as they go to their deaths. They are clearly in distress; their adversaries are literally in the process of violently killing them. But from that place of desperation, this Psalm is an assertion of faith. It is a proclamation of hope, and a witness to where that hope lies – in the Lord who is a rock and a refuge. As we read about these acts of violence in horror, both Jesus and Stephen pronounce to us that there is hope in the God who has the ability to respond to our cry to “save me in your steadfast love” even when that cry comes from Sheol. Perhaps this, too, is why Jesus and Stephen invoke this Psalm. Their deaths are meant to invite others into that same love, strength, and courage. These public deaths provide opportunity for public testimony. They are speaking to God, but they are also speaking to the people of God...

Resources from 2017 to 2019

(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!)
  • Palm/Passion Sunday (B)(2018)

    by Doug Bratt
    Here’s a simple illustration of the subtle persecution experienced by Christians today. I offer it as a thought starter for the section of your sermon on verses 11-13. My aged mother enjoys a daily meal at a wonderful senior citizen’s center. She has many friends there and they spend many happy hours together. But one day, she mentioned Jesus as they were eating. There was stony silence. She said, “I could feel the walls go up. ‘Don’t bring that name in here,’ was the message.”
  • Easter 5A (2017)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Palm Sunday)(C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    When situations are quite literally “out of our hands,” we find ourselves throwing everything into God’s hands. When my daughter was in the hospital with a serious bone infection some years ago, I well remember the evening she had a violently adverse reaction to a medication. I went crazy with anxiety and a sense of helplessness. I just had to get out of the room and so marched into an empty stairwell and pounded my fists against the concrete walls in fear and frustration. But when I finished that pounding, I opened up my clenched fists and heaved empty hands toward heaven. I had to put it into God’s hands. Mine were empty and powerless.
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2017)

    by Karl Jacobson
  • Passion Sunday (C)(2019)

    by Kristen Marble
  • Easter 5A (2017)

    by Stan Mast
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2017)

    by Stan Mast
    The siege of the city of Aleppo is a perfect illustration of the disastrous effects of sin. In much the same way as President Assad of Syria laid siege to that city, sin besieges us, hemming us in, squeezing the joy out of life, raining down destruction on us, and ultimately taking our lives. Only the Suffering Savior can deliver us into “a spacious place.”
  • Easter 5A (2017)

    by Chris Nafis
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2017)

    by Danny Quanstrom
  • Safe on the Rock

    by Leslie Scoopmire

Resources from 2014 to 2016

(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!)

Children's Resources

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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!)