Sermons

Sermon Date: Sun, 12/10/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Mark 1:1-8

 

Advent II, 2017

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” So proclaimed Isaiah. John the Baptist was Isaiah’s predicted messenger of the Messiah calling us to prepare for the Lord.

As we continue the journey of significant words in scripture, that’s our word this morning, prepare. The dictionary definition is straightforward, “Make (something) ready for use or consideration…”

Sermon Date: Sun, 12/03/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Mark 13:24-32

 

Advent I, 2017

As we continue our year-long look at scripture words that are significant for our faith, on this first Sunday of Advent, it seems appropriate that our word is, well, Advent.

Sermon Date: Sun, 11/26/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 25:31-46

 

Reign of Christ 2017

This year I have been preaching on significant words in scripture for our faith. Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar year has long been known as “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday. These are fitting titles for the Sunday before a new liturgical year starts with the beginning of Advent. However, it can be awkward for a sermon series based on single words. “King” is not the best fit when trying to grasp gender neutrality and, well “Reign of Christ” is just plain awkward as a word

Sermon Date: Sun, 11/19/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 18:21-35

 

I am preaching this year on significant words in the bible. This week our word is forgive.

In the dictionary definitions you can see why the word can be tough to put into practice:
“To cease to feel resentment against an offender; to give up resentment; to grant relief from payment.”

“To cease to feel…” emotions can’t be turned on and off at will, so it takes something more to end the resentment we feel when we have been hurt by another.

Sermon Date: Sun, 11/12/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Psalm 100, Colossians 3:12-17

 

Commitment Sunday 2017

As we continue our year-long journey through important words in scripture, our word this Commitment Sunday is “Gratitude.” Let me offer some background on our text.

Sermon Date: Sun, 10/29/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Exodus 16

Reformation Sunday 2017

Elim is an oasis in the wilderness. There are springs of water and palm trees in abundance. It is a welcome place to rest from the harsh realities of desert wandering. The Israelites enjoyed themselves there. But the time comes to move on, Elim is not the promised land and there is more journey to make. And like cranky children in the middle of the thirteen-hour car ride to Disneyworld, they are reluctant to get a move on.

Sermon Date: Sun, 10/22/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: John 10:7-10; Matthew 14:13-21

 

Do you believe in God?...

OK, you’re here, so perhaps you do.

Maybe the real question is, do you trust God?

I ask these impertinent questions because as we continue our look at significant words in scripture, our word today is abundance. The essence of the word is “a large quantity of something.” The thing of it is, I am not sure we really like this word much. More to the point, we like having abundance, we are just loathe to admit it!

Sermon Date: Sun, 10/15/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 4:4-9

 

I am a worrywart!

As I continue to examine significant words in scripture, this week’s word is, worry.

Years ago I was struck by an exhibit at the Smithsonian. It was a large cross with words painted on it. The plaque said the cross came from a Tennessee roadside in 1966. The words said, “Let Go, Let God.”

It was a nice sentiment, but inside I was crying “How do you do that?”

Sermon Date: Sun, 10/08/2017 Bible Text: Philippians 3:1-14; Mark 10:35-45

The Rev. Gordon Lindsey

In that beloved children's story Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes upon a large mushroom on top of which a caterpillar is sitting. He is smoking a hookah pipe.

Alice tries to start up a conversation with him. He looks down at her contemptuously and asks, "Who are you?"

" I — I hardly know, sir, just at the present," says Alice, "At least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

Sermon Date: Sun, 10/01/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: John 14:15-31

World Communion 2017

I have been working through significant words of scripture and faith. Today’s word is “Spirit.

Truth be told, this is Spirit Redux! Our second look at the word.

In a recent book, “The Future of Faith” Harvard professor Harvey Cox delineated the unease in Christianity that has been written about for at least the last fifty years. Reflecting on the history of the church and where we are now, Cox identifies three eras: The age of Faith, the age of Belief, and the age of Spirit.

Sermon Date: Sun, 09/24/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: John 3:1-21

We continue with our journey through words in scripture and our faith that matter. Today the word is believe.

To get at this word I want to share a story about my first church in Massies Mill. Not far from the church was a notch of land along a tributary to the Tye River. There was a good strip of bottom land, a short dirt road separated it from three or four homesites on the hillside. The area was known as “Hippie Hollow” by the locals since the land had been bought and the homes built by young couples from the seventies who had moved to the county.

Sermon Date: Sun, 09/17/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 25:31-46; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

 

As our journey through significant words of scripture and faith continue we come to that word, yes, Faith.

Few of our words are as biblically defined as faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” says the author of Hebrews.

The dictionary summarizes: A confident belief in the truth, value or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

Loyalty to a person or thing or thing; allegiance.

Sermon Date: Sun, 09/10/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Numbers 22:22-35

So, fifty words in scripture and the bible significant for our faith and today’s word is Donkey! On our word wall, which asked what you might say to a donkey, someone noted, “Get out of my swamp!” If you know the reference, we’re not talking about that donkey! And we have BBQ for everyone today, not waffles!

So you might ask, what in the wide world of sports am I getting at with the word Donkey? Call someone a donkey, and well, we usually don’t hear it as a compliment!

Sermon Date: Sun, 09/03/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Philippians 2:1-11; Micah 6:6-8

We continue our journey through fifty or so words of scripture and faith that are (or should be!) significant for our lives. Our word this week is “Humility.”

Thinking about a couple of CPC folks about to go hike in the Canadian Rockies, I am reminded of the story of a young mountaineer making his first climb in the Alps. For the steep, hazardous ascent, the young climber had two guides. The fellow felt secure with one guide ahead and one following. They climbed for hours. Finally they reached for rocks protruding through the snow above them – the summit.

Sermon Date: Sun, 08/27/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Psalm 16; I Peter 1:3-7

The epistle of First Peter was written to some Christians in serious trouble. In the land we now know as Turkey, their Christian faith and their Christian ways of living made them stand out as different in their culture. They aroused suspicions, sometimes the hostilities of their neighbors. These early Christians probably felt like some Muslims feel in America today.

These Christians dressed differently than the people around them. They prayed differently and people wondered if they were a threat to the Roman government.

Sermon Date: Sun, 08/20/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Exodus 20:1-3; 32:1-6; Romans 1:16-26

After Hurricane Isabel, my neighbor Larry was anxious about trees on his property that could easily topple in future storms. He hadn’t lost any, but he was anxious so he had a tree company come out and consult on his trees. There were a couple of obvious candidates to be felled, another one that was selected looked fine.

Sermon Date: Sun, 08/13/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Proverbs 5:1-5, Matthew 6:19-34

One of our most notable human characteristics is our proclivity to collect things. Whether my Dept. 56 Dickens Village, the record collection I no longer have a turntable for, or Susan’s teacups, we all collect and hold onto “treasures.”

Sadie Sieker was a missionary for many years in the Philippines. Her role was as a house-parent and teacher for the children of other missionaries. Sadie loved books. So much so that the ones she treasured the most she kept in a footlocker under her bed.

Sermon Date: Sun, 08/06/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 5:1-2; 43-48 Matthew 19:16-22

This year I’m exploring significant words of the Bible and our faith. This week the word is perfect! Jesus tells his followers and young man on the rise “Be perfect…if you wish to be perfect, sell your possessions…”

Yikes! We are to seek perfection. I agree with Kathleen Norris, this has got to be one of the scariest words I know.

Sermon Date: Sun, 07/30/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Genesis 17:15-17; 18:1-2, 9-15; Psalm 126

 

So what makes you laugh? What tickles your fancy?

As we make our way through a year of significant words for life in scripture, that’s our word for the week.

Does a well well told joke do it for you: A certain preacher, no names, please, had delivered what he thought was a great sermon, and he was felling good on the way home. “How many great preachers do you think there are preaching today?” he asked his wife.

“One less than you think,” she answered.

Sermon Date: Sun, 07/23/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Genesis 2:18-25; Philippians 4:10-20

 

Our journey through significant words of scripture and faith continues today. The word this week is alone.

The dictionary defines the word as “separated from others; isolated; exclusive of anything else.”

In Genesis God says “It is not good that humans should be alone…”

Proverbs claims “The one who lives alone is self-indulgent…” (18:1)

Sermon Date: Sun, 07/16/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: I Peter 2:4-10, Deuteronomy 7:6-9

 

Once again, this week, we encounter a word from scripture that should be in our vocabulary. This time, because it describes you and me: “Chosen.”

“For you are a holy people and God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people…”

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”

The department head was a wise, friendly man.  One day, a young staffer sought his career advice: "Sir, What is the secret of your success?"

Sermon Date: Sun, 07/09/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 5:13-16

 

For the next several months, I’m preaching on words from scripture or our faith that engage us.

This week our word is “Salt!”

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.”

It’s an odd word for a sermon, isn’t it? There are more complicated theological words:

Christology, eschatology, reconciliation, atonement, predestination…

Sermon Date: Sun, 07/02/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Luke 10:25-37

 

When I was four-years old, I ran away from home!

Modeling a TV character, Hobo Kelly, I tried to pack all my worldly possessions in a bandanna and tie it to the end of a stick. They didn’t fit. So I made some choices, tied what I had and set out.

Sermon Date: Sun, 06/25/2017 Bible Text: Jeremiah 20:7-13 and Matthew 10:24-39

Rev. Michael Clang

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Once again, I am so delighted to be with you all this morning.  I was speaking with Gordon and trolling around on your web site and I really admire what you all are doing now with your “whiteboard grace”.

Picking a different word from Scripture and then meditating and reflecting on it each week.  What a wonderful individual AND collective spiritual exercise for you all to embark upon to grow in your faith.

Sin

Sermon Date: Sun, 06/11/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Romans 3:21-26

Trinity Sunday 2017

We continue the word of the week series. I’m preaching each week on a word from scripture or faith that seems imperative to our understanding of what it means to be a disciple. The word for today is, “Sin.”

Sermon Date: Sun, 06/04/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Acts 2:1-21

Pentecost 2017

Over the next several months I am preaching on words from scripture and Christian faith that every disciple should know. As today is Pentecost, naturally our word is Spirit.

Sermon Date: Sun, 05/28/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Genesis 12:1-3

Over the next several months I am preaching on 50 or so words from the Bible and our faith. A word a week. Words that I think every faithful disciple needs to know. Today’s word is Covenant, though you will not find that word in the text.

Sermon Date: Sun, 05/21/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Romans 5:1-11

Today I am going to start something new. Instead of preaching from the lectionary, I’ve selected 50 or so words in the Bible, or a part of our faith, that every disciple needs to know. So, every Sunday’s meditation will be on a new word. And, at the beginning of each week, as I shared with the children, the word for the week will be on the WhiteBoard Grace. Together then, we’ll all have an opportunity to create a congregation-wide devotional growing from our unique experiences and reflections on that week’s special word.

Sermon Date: Sun, 05/14/2017 Bible Text: Timothy 6:11-19

Presented by Deborah Rexrode

Sermon Date: Sun, 05/07/2017 Bible Text: Acts 3:1-10
Sermon Date: Sun, 04/30/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Luke 24:13-35

 

I can remember times when my hopes were… dashed against a stone. Something I really wanted to happen, didn’t. Something I was really counting on, fell through. Or worse, times when something did happen that changed all my hopes and dreams. This kind of disappointment comes to us in a wide variety of ways:

A high school senior has applied to her favorite college, but she doesn’t get accepted.

You’re in line for that promotion, but it doesn’t come your way.

After years of working, you reach retirement, only to receive a diagnosis that’s not good.

Sermon Date: Sun, 04/23/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: John 20:19-31

 

Last Saturday Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. Around the league, players, managers, even umpires wore Robinson’s retired number 42 to commemorate his career and accomplishments. April 15, 1947 was Opening Day and the day Robinson broke the Major leagues racial barrier as the first Black baseball player in the modern era. Jackie Robinson changed the playing field!

Sermon Date: Sun, 04/16/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 28:1-10

 

Easter Sunday

Pastor David was expecting a great day! Tomorrow would be his first Easter since graduating from seminary. Primed with the latest in theology he was called to Maple Street Community Church. He made the final touches to his sermon that morning and shared it with his wife. He told her about Paul Tillich and his theology of “new being.” He spoke about the resurrection as a symbol that the estrangement from our authentic self was over. He didn’t seem to notice his wife shaking her head. 

Sermon Date: Sun, 04/09/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Numbers 12:1-9; James 1:19-21

 

Palm Sunday

Our era has moved from sound bites to 140 character twitter comments. Do you recognize any of the following: #dog-eat-dog world; #assertyourself; #standyourground; #killthecompetition; #makeyourpresenceknown.

These are just some of today’s popular expressions for encouraging people to get ahead, achieve goals and be successful in life. Such philosophy of life is ingrained from an early age because we know, deep down, that Leo Durocher was right, “Nice guys finish last!”

Sermon Date: Sun, 04/02/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 12: 17-21

 

Fifth Sunday in Lent

My friend Mark often wore a T-Shirt that succinctly stated one of our culture’s famous dictums: “I don’t get mad, I get even!” It’s one of our great temptations, isn’t it? To keep score in life, always fighting for balance in life on that basis.

Sermon Date: Sun, 03/26/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: John 11:1-37

 

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Five-year old Johnny burst out crying when his beloved dog died. Scooter had been his constant companion, even sleeping at the foot of Johnny’s bed. Now the dog is gone, and little Johnny is a basket case. Johnny’s dad stammers a bit and says, “Uh, don’t feel bad, Johnny, we’ll get you a new dog.”

That’s Lesson 1 of Grief Management 101 in our culture; bury your feelings; replace your losses. Once you have a new dog, you won’t think about the old one anymore.

Sermon Date: Sun, 03/19/2017

 

Third Sunday in Lent

Sermon Date: Sun, 03/12/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 25:31-46

 

Second Sunday in Lent

When I make a visit to Chippenham hospital, exiting the parkway at Jahnke Rd. or head to the Presbytery office at the boulevard off-ramp of I-64, I often see someone sitting by the side of the road with a cardboard sign. 

Will work for food

Kids at home

Laid off

Disabled, Homeless Veteran

Anything you can do to help…God bless…

Sermon Date: Sun, 03/05/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 5:1-16

 

First Sunday in Lent

Sermon Date: Sun, 02/19/2017 Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mapes III Bible Text: Matthew 5:38-48

 

My all time favorite novel is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. In recent years it has had great popularity based on the musical versions, I adore them as well. Yet to sit and read the original novel is to uncover layers of richness to characters and story that don’t fit into the stage versions. 

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