Ephesians 1: 3-19

New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Proper 10B)(2021)

    by Doug Bratt
    A number of years ago Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko wrote about a man named Bill Mallory who traveled to India to discover the meaning of life. He didn’t, however, find it. On his return to the United States the disappointed Mallory saw a sign outside a Chevron gas station that read, “As you travel, ask us.” So each time he entered a Chevron station, he would say to an attendant, “I’m a traveler, and I’d like to ask a question. ‘What is the purpose of life’?” Sometimes Mr. Mallory received answers like, “I’m new here” or “I don’t remember reading anything in the manual about that.” Mostly, however, he just got blank stares. Yet Mallory’s persistence made him famous among Chevron station employees. Eventually a Chevron district manager called him to suggest he put his question on paper and mail it, with a self-addressed envelope, to corporate headquarters. A few weeks after Mallory did precisely that, he received a letter back from Chevron’s customer service department. So what was Chevron’s corporate headquarters’ idea of “the purpose of life? To have a company credit card, an application for which it sent to him. While Royko’s story may make us smile, a credit card may actually be a good metaphor for the purpose of life for many North Americans. After all, we use credit cards to buy the bigger, better, faster, more beautiful things we so deeply crave that we easily assume give us the meaning we perhaps even more deeply crave.
  • Chosen for Blessings

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Exegesis (Ephesians 1:3-14)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Proper 10B (2021)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 10B (2021)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • Proper 10B

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Cosmic Super Glue

    by Jim McCrea
    When I was a teenager, I read every single mystery Agatha Christie ever wrote. I always thought she had a wonderful ability to create an atmosphere — one that gave her readers a sense of a time and place, especially that of England during the time between the two world wars. More importantly, her plots were often brilliant, so that it was a great mental exercise to try to outguess her. Over time, I began to learn enough about her tricks that I could begin to distinguish which clues were significant and which were red herrings. However, even after I gained that skill, it took a while to master the ability to string those still-ambiguous clues together to identify the guilty party. So I was very proud of myself when I finally was able to do that, even if I couldn’t do it every time. But then I read a review of one of her novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The reviewer explained that Christie had done something in that book that no other mystery writer had ever done before, something I won’t disclose in case any of you ever want to read that book. But in that review, the author revealed who murdered Roger Ackroyd, and there was no warning that a spoiler was coming. So I was disappointed to be robbed of the chance to figure things out for myself. However, when I read the novel after seeing that review, I discovered that it provided a whole new way to enjoy her book. Now that I was in on the secret, I could see the clever ways she scattered both real clues and distractions throughout the book. That proved to be an interesting exercise in learning writing technique...
  • Redeemed, Forgiven, and Adopted

    by Charles Qualls
    During the terrible days of the London Blitz at the beginning of World War II, an eight-year-old boy was found sobbing amid the smoking ruins of a burned-out building. The boy was asked where his father was. “He’s overseas in the service,” the child answered. “What about your mother, brothers, sisters?” “I don’t have any,” was the boy’s reply. “They have all been killed.” “Any relatives, grandparents, anybody?” The boy responded negatively. The rescuer then stooped down nearer to the child’s face and asked, “Son, who are you?” Sobbing convulsively, the boy said with a quivering voice, “Mister, I ain’t nobody’s nothing.”...
  • The Check Is in the Mail

    by Eleonore Stump
  • Christmas 2B (2021)

    by Jay Sunberg
  • Proper 10B (2021)

    by Nathan Williams

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Unity in Christ’s Family

    by Craig Condon
    John came into the family room where his parents were watching the news. He heard the end of a report about a man trying to collect a large inheritance. “If that man’s parents died, why can’t he get the money that was left?” John asked after Dad turned off the TV. “He ran away from home when he was sixteen years old,” Dad explained. “That was thirty years ago, and he never contacted his family again. They searched and searched for him and found out he’d moved to another state. They wanted to have a relationship with him again and made repeated efforts throughout the years to contact him, including several visits to the city where he lived. But he wouldn’t even speak with them.” “But he’s back now, so won’t he get at least some of the money?” asked John...
  • The Dance

    by Kathy Donley
    Howard Thurman was a Baptist minister and author, dean of the chapel at Howard University in the 30’s and 40’s and the first African-American dean of the chapel at Boston University. In his autobiography he talks about his principal, Dr. Hope, who was at Morehouse College where he studied in the 1920s. He said that Dr. Hope always addressed his students as “young gentlemen.” They were black men in Georgia when lynchings, burnings and unspeakable cruelties were part of the routine existence. Thurman said "Our manhood, and that of our fathers, was denied on all levels by white society. No matter what his age, whether he was in his burgeoning twenties or full of years, the black man was never referred to as `mister,' or even by his surname. No. To the end of his days, he had to absorb the indignity of being called [by any of several racial slurs]. No wonder then that every time Dr. Hope addressed us as `young gentlemen,' the seeds of self-worth and confidence, long dormant, began to germinate and sprout."...
  • Stepping Back

    by Vince Gerhardy
    The Louvre Museum in Paris is a place jammed full of works of art. Some of the paintings are surprisingly small. For example, I was surprised to find that the Mona Lisa is just a little over 77cm high and 53cm wide. Other paintings are enormous. A painting that stands out is entitled ‘The Coronation of Napoleon’ which is 6.2 metres (20 feet) high and almost 10 metres (33 feet) wide (that’s not including the magnificent frame). As I walked past the painting I was close to it and focussed on what I could see. In a distorted way, I could see the individual faces of the people in the painting, their expressions, what they were wearing, but overall, the painting didn’t seem to make that much sense because there was so much going on that I couldn’t see. The problem was this. I was too close. I could only gaze at one section of the painting at a time. The top of the painting was so far up it was just a jumble and a blur and it was too wide to take it all in. When I stood back, a whole new world opened up. From a distance I could take in the whole painting and the moment of time the artist had captured with this very complex work. Stepping back enabled me to see how all the people, their expressions, the action of Napoleon and Josephine all made one complete picture. At the same time I wondered how many times the artist had to get down from his ladder to step back and view the bigger picture of what he was doing...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 10B)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    William Sloane Coffin once noted that when we think about Jesus’ call to receive the kingdom like children, we often think only about the natural humility of kids. But, Coffin said, we should not underestimate the sweet idealism of children. It’s children, after all, who want to save the seals, save the whales, and save everybody else while they’re at it. It’s kids who set up lemonade stands and sell cookies so they can then turn their nickels and dimes over to this or that relief agency. It’s children who take home the little church-shaped piggy banks, fill them with copper coins, and then bring them back to the minister, really believing that those pennies will help make a new addition to the church a reality. It’s children who have a neighborhood walk around a school, holding up homemade signs calling for racial reconciliation and really believing that they are making a difference by taking to the sidewalk that way. And, of course, we encourage this in children...
  • To the Praise of His Glorious Grace

    by Jim McCrea
    "Franz Jägerstätter who was a farmer living in a small town in Austria near the German border at the start of World War II. He had had somewhat of a wild youth, but in his twenties he enrolled in religious classes and his life was suddenly and totally changed. In 1938, when Austrians were asked to vote on whether their country should be annexed by Germany, Franz spoke out strongly against the plan..." and other illustrations
  • A Caveful of Compassion

    by Nathan Nettleton
    Over the past few weeks, most of us were transfixed by the dramatic events in a cave in northern Thailand. The eventually successful quest to rescue twelve boys and their young soccer coach captured our imaginations and drew people together in a shared hope like few other stories in recent years. I think that at some primal level, all of us can identify with the feelings of being trapped underground and unable to get out, because somehow these stories always get us hanging on the edge of our seats, glued to the news reports, following every development until the end...
  • The Adopted Children

    by John Pavelko
    Novelists enjoy employing the orphan as the protagonist. This frees the character from parental authority and family obligations. Without parents the child is allowed to exercise greater self autonomy. It also frees the writer from developing the parental characters who may actually be irrelevant to the story. J. K. Rowling is the exception. Harry Potter was made an orphan by the murderous Lord Voldermort but throughout the series we are constantly being told how Harry is a reflection of both his parents. He has his mother's eyes and his father's uncanny knack for stretching the rules and regulations of Hogwarts...
  • The Gift of Grace

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One day there was a limousine parked along a highway. It had apparently overheated. But, no one stopped to help. Finally, after several hours, Robert Wise saw the troubled limo and stopped to help. The driver asked him if he would drive to the next town and call his boss about his predicament. 'No problem,' Wise responded. A short time later, Wise returned and told the driver he had made the call...")

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

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Other Resources from 2015 to 2017

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Other Resources from 2013 and 2014

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Other Resources from 2009 to 2012

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Other Resources from 2000 to 2008

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

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