Good Friday Homily

Do you identify with Pilate at all? I wonder if some of you do. He didn’t show any malice towards Jesus. No ill will. In fact, he could say that he had some healthy respect for him, and even had a good idea that Jesus was innocent. But Pilate — and perhaps...

The Upper Room: Strength From On High

Easter is coming!  This is the season in which churches all over the world spend time in the Gospels.  In the recent past New Life has spent a lot of sermon time in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so it feels like the proper moment to turn to the Gospel of John! So we hope...

Avoid that half-dead body!

While preparing my recent sermon on the Good Samaritan it hit me how much context matters. Multiple contexts, I should say! There’s the conversational context in which the parable occurs, namely, the interaction between the lawyer and Jesus. Then there’s the...

A Lifelong Journey with a Tough Sermon

I grew up Mennonite, as did my wife Lise. (Our two churches were separated by a half a mile.) This meant we often heard from the Sermon on the Mount, which many have said is the central text of the Mennonite faith. You might immediately think of the “turn the...

Getting Practical about Jesus’ Hard Commands

Gee, what to do with a pastor’s blog? Many things, I suppose. One idea is the “cutting room floor”, that is, writing about an additional item or two that didn’t make it into the sermon. Another idea is addressing some relevant issue, or talking about a current church...