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Sermons from 2017


Sermon on Dec 31, 2017

John 3:1-36

First, we see earthly questions. And the first question comes from a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Now most of us are probably more familiar with Nicodemus' background than we are with maybe some of our close friends. You know, it's a regular occurrence here around First Pres that you will be talking with someone that you have known for many years and it comes up in conversation and you...

Sermon on Dec 31, 2017

Psalm 1

Good morning and happy New Year. I trust you don’t think it’s too premature for me to go ahead and wish you a happy New Year. After all, we’re only about twelve hours out from it becoming 2018. It’s sort of hard to believe that another year has come and gone and we’re about to start another year in just a matter of hours. Whenever New Year comes...

Veiled in Flesh

Sermon on Dec 24, 2017

Luke 2:1-7

I want you to see that Luke chapter 2, or this portion of Luke chapter 2, is offering us a choice. It proposes two different visions of power, two different models of life, to regimes, under one of which we, all of us, must live. You notice the contrast that Luke draws between two kings in our passage. Don’t you? In verse 1, there’s the kingship of Caesar...

Veiled in Flesh

Sermon on Dec 24, 2017

Luke 2:1-20

This morning we were looking at Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, and the nativity scene in verses 1 to 7. If you have your Bibles, if you don’t already have them open, would you turn to them once again to Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, to the passage we read a moment ago, and to the second half of the chapter. I thought since we considered the first half this...

Winter Grace

An Advent Service of Comfort and Hope

Sermon on Dec 20, 2017

Veiled in Flesh

Sermon on Dec 17, 2017

Luke 1:46-56

Over these weeks of Advent so far, we have walked with Mary through the events of Christ’s first coming and listened in as the angel, Gabriel, announced to her, her miraculous pregnancy. We went with Mary on her journey last Lord’s Day Morning to visit cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah and we saw the explosive joy that characterized their meeting. You remember Elizabeth was so...


Sermon on Dec 10, 2017

Matthew 1:18-25

As you have been hearing, we are celebrating the coming of the Lord Jesus who came on a rescue mission to save us from our sin and guilt and to reconcile us to God. And to help us think about the Biblical teaching on that point, I want to invite you if you would to take your Bibles in hand and to turn with me to Matthew's gospel, chapter 1. We looked...

Veiled in Flesh

Sermon on Dec 10, 2017

Luke 1:39-45

On this second Sunday in Advent, we are continuing to consider the Christmas story through the lens of the experience of the virgin Mary. It is a fascinating and, I think, important fact to notice that both at the beginning of the story of Jesus’ first coming and at its conclusion, both at the incarnation and at the resurrection, the first witnesses are women. At a time when the news is filled...


Sermon on Dec 3, 2017

Matthew 1:1-17

Christmas is a time for family. When we were kids, each Christmas in my family home, my brother and I would get up insufferably early. We usually would have to be sent back to bed two or three times before we were finally allowed out of our rooms. And then we’d all go downstairs and have breakfast. We were not allowed to touch the presents under the tree...

Veiled in Flesh

Sermon on Dec 3, 2017

Luke 1:26-38

Well, this morning is the first Sunday in the Advent season, so we are taking a break for this season from our usual studies in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians as we are reminded of the meaning and the significance of the birth of the Lord Jesus and as we celebrate together His first coming. We're taking a break to consider the message, the meaning of the...



Sermon on Nov 26, 2017

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

One of the recurring themes Paul has dealt with over and again in 1 Corinthians is the theme of division. It has really been troubling the Corinthian congregations, so back in chapter 1 and again in chapter 3, you will remember the Corinthians were dividing over their favorite preachers. There were different groups claiming their different favorite. “I follow Paul.” “I follow Apollos.” “I follow Cephas.” Even, “I follow...

Sermon on Nov 26, 2017

Psalm 117

It’s an interesting little providential quirk, really, that the very center chapter of the Bible, the five-hundred and ninety-fifth chapter of the Bible happens to be Psalm 117. The very middle chapter is the chapter before us. It also happens to be the shortest psalm and the shortest chapter in the whole of the Scriptures. I don’t think there’s any significance to that at all; I just think...

Sermon on Nov 23, 2017

Psalm 34:8-10

Sermon on Nov 19, 2017

John 8:12

Before we read, something to consider. Many of you know this; I talk about this a lot. My dad is a football coach. And my favorite team, my all-time favorite team that he coached was the 1995 Arkansas Razorbacks. You remember this team? I’m just joking; nobody remembers this team! But my dad, he was the Offensive Coordinator, and the quarterback was Barry Lunney Jr. The running back...

Sermon on Nov 19, 2017

John 2:1-25

 I heard a definition this week of “stress.” The definition of “stress” that I heard was that “it is the gap between our expectation and our reality.” Stress is the gap between expectation and reality. We all know the stress that comes with unmet expectations, that come with disappointments and letdowns and satisfactions that do not last long or they do not live up to what we hoped...

Sermon on Nov 12, 2017

1 John 3:1-8

Well, thank you very much for that very generous introduction. It's always a privilege to be here at First Pres and I'm grateful to Dr. Strain for giving me this particular opportunity. I first preached from this pulpit in 1991, so if you are twenty-six years or under, you were not even a glint in your father’s eye when I first preached here! The last time I preached...


We have been working our way through Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Christians and Paul, in this letter, is responding to a number of concerns that have been sent to him for his input and instruction by the Corinthians themselves, but he’s also responding to reports that have reached him directly from people who have worshipped in that congregation. And in the section we are in now in...

Sermon on Nov 5, 2017

Acts 1:1-11

As we’ve already heard from Spence Flatgard, today is Commitment Sunday, the second Sunday in our stewardship season. And our Scripture this year was chosen because it directs our attention not so much to the means, the finances that we need to accomplish the work of the church, as it does to the vision. We want to focus on the task committed to the church by the Lord...

If you were with us last Lord’s Day Evening, we had a presbytery-wide celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And the service was structured around the five Solas; those five slogans, almost, that summarized many of the central concerns of the Reformation. Since tonight I have a stand-alone message to preach – next Lord’s Day Evening we’ll have Dr. John Blanchard with us – I thought...


Sermon on Oct 29, 2017

Acts 1:8

Well as you know, this week and next week we are taking a short break from our studies in 1 Corinthians as a part of our stewardship season, and we’ve designated this morning as Vision Sunday to think about our vision as a church, and next Sunday, Commitment Sunday, as we pledge and give toward the ministry to which we are committed. We want to do a better...

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