~ Psalm 100/Mark 10:37-45 ~ On occasion, when I’m out and about with minister colleagues, at Presbytery meetings or with friends on vacation, I might tell them about one of the biggest challenges I face as pastor of Noe Valley Ministry. The challenge? De-Lording scripture texts! With astonishment they ask, … Read More

“God Is Sovereign…Or Not?”

  ~ Mark 9:30-37/1 Corinthians 1:19-31 ~   Flying across the country at 30,000 feet when suddenly the plane hits turbulence, jerks violently and drops precipitously. Spontaneously I pray, “God save us!” When the plane finally lands I heave a sigh of relief, thanking God for the protection. But then … Read More

“Feeling the Love”

~ 1 John 4 ~ There are a lot of words in the bible and church about God, words that attempt to describe God, define God. Words like ‘almighty’, ‘all-powerful’, ‘majestic’, ‘sovereign’ ‘unchanging’, ‘omnipresent’, ‘holy’. Theologians through the ages have stumbled around trying to define God. For every description of … Read More

“Jesus: The Antidote to a Vindictive God”

  ~ John 14:4-11/Luke 15:11-32 ~   It’s hard to hear fresh words about Jesus. We’ve been talking about Jesus for two thousand years after all. His name is used in both blessings and curses. Art featuring Jesus is everywhere. He has his own line of jewelry. Christmas and Easter … Read More

“Maybe Your God Is Too Big”

~ Psalm 8/Exodus 15/Revelation 4 ~ I want to play a word association game with you. I’m going to say a word and I want you to picture whatever first pops into your head. Ready? God. Hold on to that image. The scripture readings were a bit jarring, weren’t they? … Read More

“The Uncivil Jesus”

Mark 7:1-7/Matthew 23 “Civility” is in the news these days. The lack of it, that is. A restaurant owner tells a certain White House press secretary that he will not serve her and the hue and cry over uncivility fills the airwaves. But what really raised the hackles of many … Read More