Giving Up for Lent

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Matthew 6:1-6,16-21   Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber writes, “Ash Wednesday is my favorite day of the church year, and Lent is my favorite season. “Our culture has quite ruined Christmas and Easter with Santa and the Easter Bunny and all the grotesque consumerism and made-for-TV specials behind it…

Just Shut Up & Forgive

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Matthew 18:21-35 In many ways today’s message is as simple and uncomplicated as it gets. I read this Gospel, and I am tempted to issue a two-word sermon: Just forgive. Or for those of you who prefer something longer, here’s the five-word version: Just shut up and forgive….

All In Your Power

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Exodus 1:8-2:10    Romans 12:1-8    Matthew 16:13-20 Without a doubt, there is too much bad news in the world around us. Near and far, there are natural disasters; crises of leadership; wars and rumors of wars; instability, hatred, and fear. Cumulatively, it’s almost enough to make you lose hope;…

The One About Skittles & Money

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 Before we get started, I want you to grab a pen and write down this phone number: 73256. We’ll come back to that in a bit. * * * The longer I’m a pastor, the more convinced I am that if you want to know God—…

When Jesus Cuts to the Bone

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Matthew 10:24-39 This sermon was preached at the Sunday morning service preceding an afternoon evangelism workshop offered by the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism and Reconciliation; Jeremy Tackett, Digital Evangelist; and Carrie Headington, Missioner Evangelist. As many of you know, this afternoon St….

Drowning In Grace

This sermon was given at the Great Vigil of Easter, held just before sunrise on Easter morning. Multiple Old Testament lessons are read during the service to recount God’s saving deeds, and new converts to the faith are baptized. Creation: Genesis 1:1—2:3 Noah & the Flood: Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13 Israel’s Deliverance at the Red Sea: Exodus 14:10—15:1…

The Thing That We Could Not

Preached at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Tifton, Georgia Matthew 21:1-11    Matthew 27:11-54     Philippians 2:5-11 Today is a day of spiritual whiplash. Today is a day when we show up, and we feel so alive. The church grounds are lush and green. The temperature is just right. Spring has sprung; the sun is gold; and God…

Temptation & Grace

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11 The holy season of Lent is here. These forty days are a time of fasting and prayer, a time in which we throw sheets and veils over all the razzle-dazzle, over all our shiniest objects, over all our spiritual crutches and best liturgical gimmicks. Why? For the same reason you…

Love, Ashes & Dust

Matthew 6:1-6,16-21 If you ask the average person what he or she knows about Ash Wednesday, you might get a funny half-answer like, “Ain’t that the day when those weirdoes put ashes on their heads?” (And to be clear: yes, that is the day when those weirdoes put ashes on their heads.) Or, if you’re…

Over the Wall

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Matthew 5:21-37 As a kid, the best thing about my summers was Camp Honey Creek, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia’s camp for kids and teenagers located on the coast near Jekyll Island. One of my favorite things about camp each year was the ropes course: a full-fledged tree-top challenge in which young…