Romans 8: 8-25

New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Pentecost)(B)(2021)

    by Doug Bratt
    Virtually all of us who have cared for and about people at the end of their earthly lives have heard what we sometimes call “the death rattle.” It can occur when a dying person is no longer able to swallow, cough or in some other way clear saliva and mucus from the back of the throat. Doctors suggest that while the sound of the death rattle is unpleasant, the dying person emitting it usually feels little or no pain or discomfort. Yet a death rattle can be very haunting for those who witness it because it signals that death is near. So might it make any difference if Christians thought of “death rattles” as one form of groaning for our redemption? If we thought of Christians’ death rattles as expressions of our eager expectation of our completed adoption as God’s sons and daughters?
  • Pentecost (B)(2021)

    by Jonathan Burkey
  • The Trinity in Us

    by Craig Condon
  • Joint Heirs with Jesus

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Exegesis (Romans 8:12-25)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Sermon Starters (Trinity Sunday)(B)(2021)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Celebrating our adoption as full children of God reminds me of something Richard Lischer wrote in his book The End of Words in terms of stories we can never tire of telling or hearing—and the story about how we by the Spirit get to call God “Abba” should be one of those stories: “When the adopted child repeatedly asks her parents to recount the events surrounding her adoption, the story must remain the same. And woe to the one who introduces omissions or changes in the sacred formula. “And then out of all the babies in the orphanage you chose me, right?” Could parents ever tire of telling that story? Would they ever dare substitute another for it? If telling God’s story strikes us as repetitious, that is because it is. It is repetitious the way the Eucharist is repetitious, the way a favorite melody or gestures of love are repetitious, the wa the mercies of God that come unbidden every day are repetitious . . . Such stories do not entertain, they do something fare better. They sustain. They do not inform, they form those who share and hear them for a life of faithfulness.”
  • Back to Normal

    by Dawn Hutchings
  • Trinity Sunday (B)

    by Bill Loader
  • Pentecost (B)(2021)

    by Jennifer V. Pietz
  • Family Resemblances

    by Michael Ruffin
    Family resemblances can be strong. My father died four decades ago, so it has been a long time since I witnessed any of his mannerisms. But when I see video of myself talking, preaching, or teaching, the similarity of the expressions on my face and of the inflections of my voice to those of my late father make our family connection obvious. There is no denying that I am my father’s child. My mannerisms also reflect those of another person who influenced me. That person was my teacher, mentor, and adoptive (in every sense but the legal one) father. I can see his expressions and hear his inflections in mine as clearly as I can those of my father. We weren’t biologically connected beyond the way that all human beings are, but his influence on me is undeniable. One reason for my mentor’s strong influence is his prolonged presence in my life. He lived to be much older than my father did, so his influence on me had time to take root and spread. There is a very real sense in which all human beings are children of God...
  • The Power of Hope

    by Michael Ruffin
    I volunteer at a local nonprofit called Jay’s HOPE Foundation that serves families of children with cancer. Founded by the parents of a little boy named Jay, who died of complications from a malignant brain tumor, the foundation supports kids with cancer through fun annual events; a summer camp; gas station, restaurant, and grocery store gift cards; school tutoring; hospital visits; and much more. The founders put their unmet hopes for their own little boy—that he would be cured and live a long life—into helping others who are going through the same devastating journeys. For them, “hope” means trusting in God to make all things new in spite of sickness, pain, and loss. They haven’t seen that hope realized yet, but they cling to it still...
  • Trinity Sunday (B)(2021)

    by Julianna Wehrfritz-Hanson
    Have you read the book The Hidden Life of Trees? One often just sees other kinds of life forms around us and don’t think about their inner workings or how they experience life. Studies have been conducted to explore the kinds of relationships that trees have with one another and the results are surprising. There seems to be communication between the trees through their root systems and by the kinds of chemicals that they send into the air. Apparently, trees can nurture other trees that have been damaged by sending them nutrients through the root systems. And that if a tree in a forest is taken down it has an impact on other trees in the vicinity. So, it would appear that trees have some sense of consciousness or spirit within them...

Illustrated 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 tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Groaning of Creation

    by Bob Cornwall
    As I was reading the passage, I thought about Ben Hur. While I know there’s a more recent version of the story, the one I know stars Charlton Heston. According to the subtitle of the original book, this is a story about Jesus, but it gets told in relationship to the story of Judah Ben Hur. At one point in the story, Judah, who is a Jewish noble, is sent into slavery because of his opposition to the Roman occupation of Palestine. He ends up on a ship, forced to row the galley across the sea. When disaster strikes, and the ship is sinking, Judah saves the owner, who adopts him as his son and heir. This act of adoption changes his identity from being a slave to a Roman citizen.
  • The Groans of Creation

    by Dan Clendenin
    I appreciated reading the recent book by Pope Francis, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (2015). This second encyclical by Francis takes its title from The Canticle of the Creatures by his namesake Francis of Assisi, who wrote, "Laudato Si', mi' Signore —" Praise to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs." Our "sister" now cries out to us because of the violence we have done to her in our "irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her."
  • Adopted by God

    by Chris Hayes
    I have a friend, Tina, who was adopted. She tells me of her experience growing up with the confusion of what it means to be adopted. One day, while at school in the second grade, Tina began to be teased about being adopted. When children do not understand something, it seems natural to make fun of it as a coping mechanism. (Perhaps children are not the only ones who react this way to misunderstandings.) Tina went home in tears not knowing how to react to the other children telling her that her parents were not her real mom and dad. With large tears flowing down her cheeks, Tina walked in the back door of her home and was greeted by a worried mother. “What is wrong?” her mother asked. Tina told the story of being teased at school about not having real parents and not being as good as the other children because of it. Tina’s wise mother took Tina into her loving arms and told her that all of those other children were born into their families and their parents had absolutely no choice about the kid they got, “But we got to pick you because you were so special,” her mother said.
  • Proper 11A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    A simple illustration of the tension-resolution or “Home—Away—Home” pattern in music is the old “Shave and a Haircut” routine. If someone knocks on a door rhythmically 5 times, your heart will cry out for the answering two knocks. Some of you may remember the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit in which cartoon characters (known as “Toons”) were supposedly real beings, co-existing with human actors in Hollywood. But sometimes Toons would try to disguise themselves. But a Toon’s Achilles’ heel was the fact that no Toon in the world can resist the old “Shave and a Haircut” routine...
  • Proper 11A (2017)

    by Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell
    When I was a senior in high school, my parents adopted a 10-year-old boy. Greg had been on the periphery of our life as my mother’s special needs student, but became increasingly a part of our family as it became clear that yes, the state would approve the adoption. We had just received word that Greg would be joining out family officially, and Greg and I were talking about something. I was explaining that my mom would be back in a few minutes when Greg cut me off, “You mean mom will be back in a few minutes.” He was laying claim to his new right as a son, adopted into our family.

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Of New Beginnnings

    by Robert Allred
  • Grown Children

    by Robert Allred
  • Papa, Papa!

    by Robert Allred
  • Towards God's Glorious Good

    by Peter J. Blackburn
  • Life in the Spirit (Week 2)

    by Phil Bloom
    ("The life of Venerable Matt Talbot shows how humility leads to productivity. When he was twelve he got a job helping a wine merchant. He started 'sampling the wares' and within a year became addicted. He lost that job, but got another one at a whiskey store. He spent most or all of his wages in pubs. Running up debts, he pawned his possessions including shirts and boots...")
  • Hope Versus Despair

    by Gilbert Bowen
    David Redding tells of his Aunt Emily. Redding says that if he were asked who, through his life, had provided the most persuasive testament to the Christian faith, he might have dropped a few names like the theologian Paul Tillich or the mystic Dionysius the Areopogyte, but if he were really to tell the truth, it would be none other than his great Aunt Emily. Aunt Em, he says, was one of those who seemed to take everything that befell her as a personal favor. She was one of those who embraced unavoidable trouble with the words, “This will do me a world of good.” She may have been too much of a Pollyanna for most people’s tastes, but she knew what it meant to have a forgiving attitude toward life. Redding writes that “While the rest of us picked and groaned at the lunch tossed at us at some truck stop, Aunt Em actually cut her way through the pork chops, shaking her head in disbelief that such marvelous food could be found in central Ohio. If the house were full, and all the beds were taken, one could tease her; ‘Aunt Em, because of the mob staying here tonight, you have to sleep on a plank floating in the flooded basement’. She would instantly reply, “That’s my favorite way. It will be so much better for my back than all those squishy mattresses. I know it will do me a world of good.” When she died, writes Redding, “They did not send me her final words. It was not necessary. For I feel sure the final words her lips would form would be the ones I had heard her use across the years. I can see her old, wrinkled, gray head, nodding as she breathed her last, “This will do me a world of good.” Trust in God gives to hope the confidence that even when the dreams must change, there is still good ahead - and God. Perhaps that is why we often encounter intense hope right in the midst of situations where there seems no basis for hope...
  • Sermon Starters (Pentecost)(C)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    In 2005 one of India’s oldest and richest family business’s fights over an inheritance transfixed the country. One of its more eccentric members had left her $1.1 billion worth of assets to her auditor. The accountant, however, didn’t just stand to inherit the full estate. He was also in line to completely control of one of the families companies and have a say in the way the family runs many of its other businesses. Family members insisted that, with the rest of the estate being worth about $9 billion dollars, they weren’t interested in the wealth involved. “It is a question of the family’s honor,” they maintained. “We are fighting to keep an outsider and a trespasser away from the family, its heritage, and its method of functioning.” Of course!
  • The Ecology of Grace

    by John C. Bush
  • Lectionary Blog (Romans 8:12-25)

    from Desperate Preacher
  • Boasting in Our Suffering

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • Back from the Dead

    by Edwina Gately
    ("I know someone who had a Pentecost experience. Her name was "Breezy" — a street name she was given because of the speed with which she moved from man to man working as a prostitute on the streets and down the back alleys. Twenty three years of prostitution and drugs had left their mark on Breezy. Her face was scarred, her body battered, and her spirit dead....")
  • Led by the Spirit

    by Vince Gerhardy
  • Pentecost (C)(2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
  • An Uninterrupted Eden

    from Homiletics Online
  • Slanted Truth

    by Shannon Johnson Kershner
  • Got Patience?

    by Linda Kraft
  • The Virtue of Hope

    by Robert Kruschwitz
  • Proper 11A (2014)

    by Stan Mast
    In the science fiction movie, “Contact,” a scientist played by Jodie Foster is given the opportunity to travel in a special spacecraft to make contact with another world. As her spacecraft arrives at that other world, she is transfixed by its beauty. First awed and then dazzled and then completely enveloped by it all, she repeats in rapt adoration, “So beautiful,” and “I had no idea.” That’s exactly what we shall say when we finally see the glory of the new heaven and the new earth and the new humanity that awaits our final salvation. “So beautiful! I had no idea.”...
  • Proper 11A (2011)

    by Susanna Metz
  • Are You Saved?

    by Amy Miracle
  • Memorializing Rightly

    by Debra Dean Murphy
    ("Archbishop Oscar Romero has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. It's no doubt a coincidence that this happened on Memorial Day weekend; much more significantly, it's the feast of Pentecost. And it's a remarkable thing. Both church and state villified Romero in his lifetime and in the early years after his murder. For the Vatican, the fear was that Romero, with his Marxism-infused rhetoric, was a practitioner of liberation theology..")
  • Awakening The Young Lions

    by Barry Robinson
  • Stuff We Really Don't Have to Believe: "God Causes Cancer, Car Wrecks, and Catastrophes"

    by David Russell
    ("The story is told of a man lying on his deathbed, reflecting on his life. At his bedside was his wife of seventy years. The husband turned to his wife and said, "I remember when we were just starting out and I got fired from my job; you were there by my side. And then when the house burned to the ground, you were right there by my side. And then there was the car accident. When I woke up in the hospital, you were the first person I saw..." good one!!)
  • Keeping Hope Alive

    by Lewis Smedes
  • Don't Be Childish, Do Be Child-like

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Why is it that one of the most typically 'child-like' things we do is to try and to act like an adult? Little children dress up like Mom and Dad. (My brothers and I did 'fashion shows' for our parents wearing their clothes.) Kids a little older pretend to drive the car. Older kids still play with pint-sized pots and pans, play-doctor kits and miniature tool sets...")
  • Enjoy the Scenery

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("We have become so disoriented that we confuse the distractions in our lives with the realities. What we might perceive as distractions are actually the realities. To a young person riding in a car, the beautiful scenery is a distraction to concentrating on the music. To a caring and concerned onlooker, the music is the distraction to the world. Has our focus in life become 'just getting there' instead of living it as we go along?...")
  • Heart-Healthy Christians

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
  • Why Are You Acting Like Orphans?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
  • Invisible Hope

    by Keith Wagner
  • The Green Face of God: Christianity in an Age of Ecocide

    by Mark I. Wallace
    ("At bedtime I sometimes read to my five-year-old daughter the Dr. Seuss classic The Lorax. The story takes place in a bucolic setting of heavily fruited Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, and Brown Bear Bar-ba-loots; it is a place where 'from the rippulous pond[s] / comes the comforting sounds / of the Humming-fish humming / while splashing around...")
  • Labor Pains and Hope

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • Led by the Holy Spirit

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("The Princess Diaries tells the story of Amelia Thermopolis, an average, awkward teenager whose estranged grandmother comes to America to give Mia the biggest news of her life. Mia visits her grandmother at her opulent mansion in San Francisco. A butler leads Mia to the grand living room, where she stands amazed as several servants bustle about...")
  • Proper 11A (2008)

    by Wesley White
  • What Cancer Teaches

    by Carlos Wilton

Other Resources from 2020

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  • Proper 11A (2020)

    by Chris Baker
  • Glorious Freedom

    by Phil Bloom
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 11A)(2020)

    by Doug Bratt
    In 2007 one of India’s oldest and richest family business’s fights over an inheritance transfixed the country. An eccentric citizen had left her $1.1 billion worth of assets to her auditor. That heir, however, didn’t just stand to inherit the full estate. He was also in line to completely control of one of the family’s companies and have a say in the way the family ran many of its other businesses. Of course, family members insisted that, with the rest of the estate being worth about $9 billion dollars, they weren’t interested in the wealth that was at stake. “It is a question of the family’s honor,” they, of course, maintained. “We are fighting to keep an outsider and a trespasser away from the family, its heritage, and its method of functioning.” God is prepared to leave God’s children an inheritance that’s worth immeasurably more than billions of dollars...
  • Adoption into God's Family

    by Craig Condon
    Well-known preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse explains the difference between an heir and a joint heir: “If a man dies, leaving a large farm to four heirs…each heir receives a percent of the whole. But if a man leaves a farm to four …joint-heirs, then each one owns the entire farm. Each one can say, ‘this house is mine; those barns are mine; those fields are mine’…Thus when God tells us that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, we are being informed that everything that God the Father has given to the Lord Jesus Christ has been given to us also.” God doesn’t adopt us because of what we have. He doesn’t give us His name because of our wit, our wallet or our good attitude. Adoption is something we receive, not something we earn...
  • Inheritance

    by Kellan Day
  • A Debt We Cannot Repay

    by Evan Garner
    Do you remember the film Saving Private Ryan? Do you remember how it ends? The title character, years after eight soldiers had collaborated to save his life, stands in the American cemetery at Normandy, overlooking Omaha Beach, where part of the D-Day invasion took place. Surrounded by row after row of white-cross headstones, the now-old Private Ryan looks at his wife and says, “Tell me I’ve led a good life…Tell me I’m a good man.” He seems to be responding to something that Tom Hanks’ character had said to him years earlier, right before he died. On the bridge in Ramelle that they had fought to hold, as Captain Miller took his dying breaths, he pulled Private Ryan in close and said, “Earn this.” What haunting words! What damning words! Can you imagine living out the rest of your days, wondering whether you had lived a life that was worth the lives of the eight people who had died trying to save yours?...
  • Proper 11A

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Now and Later

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Lee Krasner was one of the first women in American to embrace Abstract Expressionism. She experimented with forms and colors. She cut up and recycled her old paintings. She refused to show in the 1943 art show titled Women, wanting to be known as an artist rather than a woman artist. Despite all this, Krasner may be best known beyond the art world for being Mrs. Jackson Pollock. Krasner met Pollock when both artists had work in a show in 1941. Married in 1945, the couple was estranged when Pollock died in 1956 from an alcohol-related car accident...
  • On Getting Stoned

    by Jim Perkinson
  • Proper 11A (2020)

    by Mary Hinkle Shore

Other Resources from 2019

Other Resources from 2018

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Other Resources from 2015 and 2016

Other Resources from 2013 and 2014

Other Resources from 2011 and 2012

Other Resources from 2007 to 2010

Other Resources from 1999 to 2006

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Children's Resources

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