Genesis 15: 1-6; 21: 1-3

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  • We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

    by Klaus Adam
    In 1981 a Jesuit priest in Jamaica faced a decision that would change his life forever. Fr. Richard Ho Lung was a famous professor at the University of the West Indies. His career was a success. His life was comfortable and secure. Then God asked him for a new level of faith. The abject poverty in Kingston, Jamaica, kept haunting him, and he knew that God was asking him to do something to help the poorest of the poor. On May 20th, 1980, a fire destroyed Eventide, a squalid residence for Kingston’s abandoned poor. 150 people died in the fire and Fr. Richard realized that the time to act had come. God was asking him to build centers in Kingston to care for the abandoned poor, and to create communities where they could finally experience love. However, this would mean leaving everything he had accomplished as a professor. It would mean leaving his security behind. It meant that, like Abram, God was asking him to look up and count stars that he could not see. “I was in torture,” Fr. Richard said, “I wept and prayed about this… It meant giving up my two Masters and my Doctorate…” Nevertheless, he trusted in God and began a group called the Missionaries of the Poor to care for the destitute...
  • Carrying the Weight of God

    by Rian Adams
    If you Google “shield” the first shield you find, in search and images, is the shield of Captain America. I find it interesting to note: The most popular shield on the internet belongs to a superhero. Captain America is the archetypal hero. He is the pillar of justice, good, and morality. Google shows us that a hero is the first picture of shield our soicity sees. That mythical shield comes from the most durable metal on earth. If you’re a comic geek you know that Captain America’s shield was an accident. The shield’s creator worked with Wakandan Vibranium… but it gets better. The metallurgist worked long hours and fell asleep before the final metal blend was complete. He took no notes, so the shield’s contents are a mystery. The image creatively suggests that the God who shields us will always be a mystery...
  • Great Rewards But Slow in Coming!

    by Richard Donovan
    I am reminded of a story of an old missionary couple who had served Christ for decades on the mission field in Africa. When age and health finally forced them to retire, they boarded a ship to return to America. By coincidence, President Teddy Roosevelt was aboard the same ship, returning from a big-game hunting expedition. When the ship came into the New York harbor, the missionary couple watched the fanfare that attended Roosevelt's return. The mayor and other dignitaries had come to meet the President. A brass band played as Roosevelt walked down the gangplank. A limousine and driver waited to take him in luxury to his hotel. It was a splendid scene. The missionary couple watched until the President and dignitaries had left. Then the husband turned to his wife and said, "It doesn't seem fair. We have served in Africa on the mission field for thirty years, and nobody even met the ship to welcome us home. This man spends a few weeks in Africa on a hunting trip, and is met by the mayor and a brass band. It just isn't fair!"...
  • Lent 2C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("A few years ago the cover story of National Geographic magazine was about Abraham. The article's author re-traces the steps of Abraham's journeys through the Ancient Near East by taking a modern trip along that same path. He notes along the way the varying ways by which the Abraham story has been used and interpreted by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike....")
  • Starry, Starry Darkness

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Not many people know it, but Van Gogh didn’t start out as an artist. Like his father and his grandfather before him, Van Gogh was a preacher. He was ordained in the Wesleyan tradition and began his ministry in England. But Van Gogh was an intense young man and he had a difficult time as a preacher because he asked so many difficult questions. Van Gogh tried to follow the scriptures to the letter so he sold all that he had and went to be a missionary among the miners of Belgium, but the peasants found his intensity a little too hard to bear and Van Gogh was forced to leave the ministry. Van Gogh found it increasingly more difficult to follow the strict teachings of the church.
  • Deep and Terrifying Darkness

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("There was a lot of fuss a few years ago about a film called The Last Temptation of Christ. I never quite understood why, as it was asking a question and making a point that was very powerful. It asked what would have happened if Jesus had chosen to reject his calling, to opt for safety instead of the cross...")
  • Sermon Starters (Lent 2C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    Covenant ceremonies involving the shedding of blood were well known among the Native Americans in the olden days. I’ll never forget a scene from the movie, “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Wales, played by Clint Eastwood, is being pursued all over the west by a gang of renegade soldiers. His life is further complicated by the threat of attack by band of Indians. But Eastwood rides directly into the Native camp and with steely coolness challenges the chief to make peace with him. The chief is impressed with Eastwood’s bravery and agrees to peace. They seal the deal by taking out their knives, slicing across their palms, and clasping hands, thus mingling their blood and making the peace sure. Their blood was central to the covenant of peace between them.
  • Can We Really Trust God?

    by Jim McCrea
    Steve Souther tells an interesting story of what happened when he took his stepmother to a medical clinic in Charleston, South Carolina for a cancer treatment. While his stepmother was having her procedure done, Steve was in the waiting room, trying to entertain his 7-month old niece. At one point, the baby became fascinated with a beautiful butterfly ring on the finger of the lady seated next to them. The little girl grabbed onto the ring, which caused Steve and that ring owner to start talking. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatments of her own. She had happened to wear the butterfly ring to one of her appointments and the doctor noticed it. He said that it reminded him of something that had happened the month before. He liked to decompress from the stress of practicing medicine by going fishing. On this particular trip, he brought up a net full of shrimp. Then, while he was examining his catch, he saw something unusual — a butterfly was in the net with the shrimp. The doctor assumed that the butterfly became caught in the net when it was being lowered into the water and somehow survived the ordeal. As the doctor watched, the butterfly’s wings began to dry, then it took off on a slight breeze and flew away. After saying that, the doctor looked into the woman’s eyes and said, “You are that butterfly.” Steve adds that the woman felt the story was a gift from her doctor — a sign of hope that she clung to during the hard parts of her treatment. ..
  • Promises, Hope and Vultures (Genesis)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The story of this photo and the photographer who took it is not straightforward. The photo raised questions from the moment it was published. Why would the photographer sit and wait for a photo rather than helping the child and/or shooing away the vulture? What happened to the child? How could God allow something like the famine and poverty in Sudan? Some of the questions have been answered. But the questions raised in light of scripture and image together may be especially pertinent during Lent. There are any number of questions brought about by the juxtaposition. These are some.
  • A Leap of Faith

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time there was a man who was discouraged and had a broken heart. He went home and told his wife, Sophia, that he was a failure because he had been fired from his job at the customhouse. Upon hearing the news, she startled him with an exclamation of joy. 'Now,' she said triumphantly, "you can write your book!' To that he responded with the question, 'What are we going to live on while I am writing this book?..." and other illustrations)
  • Building a Faithful Journey

    by Anne Watkins
    ("In 1998, Peter Barton was 47 years old. By his own admission, he was not a religious man. He did not describe himself as a particularly spiritual man either....")
  • Abraham's Faith and Ours

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Who was this Pontius Pilate anyways? What kind of a person was he? Let’s take a closer look. Pontius Pilate, according to an inscription verified by archaeologists in 1961, in Caesarea Maritima, was Roman Prefect of Judea. He held this office for ten years, from A.D. 26-36...")
  • Are You Ready in Faith?

    by Tim Zingale
    ("A certain lord kept a fool or jester, in his house as a great men did in olden times for their amusement. This lord gave a staff to his fool and told him to keep it until he met a greater fool than himself, and if he met such a person, a greater fool, he should give him the staff. Not many years after, the lord fell sick..." and other illustrations)

Other Resources from 2019

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Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

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Resources from 2013 to 2015

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Resources from 2010 to 2012

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Resources from 2007 to 2009

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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 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!)

Children's Sermons and Dramas