Douglass Blvd Christian Church

an open and affirming community of faith

n open and affirming community where faith is questioned and formed, as relationships are made and upheld. 

Filtering by Category: Podcasts

Sermon Podcast: The Kingdom of Heaven has Come Near

DBCC podcast twinkies.jpg

Here’s the thing: All the bumper stickers laid end to end, all the Christian aerobics rooms stacked to the sky, all the handsome, grinning ministers in the world can’t make Jesus cool. Jesus isn’t cool—he’s God; the church’s job isn’t to sell him—it’s to live like him.

The gospel is pretty clear: Some will respond; some won’t.

Is it our job to help Jesus out so that more people will buy, so that we’ll get the results we think the gospel deserves?

No. Our job is to be a community capable of providing the resources necessary to equip disciples for the reign of God.


Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sermon Text

MP3

Sermon Podcast: Crossing Borders

dbbcc podcast border crossing.jpg

Where is Legion today and what responsibility do we have when we hear Legion’s voice? Where are those who’ve been held in bondage by the powers and principalities, those who need to hear the voice of Jesus and to be set free from the chains that tie them to the tombstone society has made for them?

Because Legion still runs the graveyard wherever people’s race, or immigration status, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, or physical or mental capabilities prevent them from flourishing the way God intended.

Legion’s still in power wherever the poor are kept in their poverty by those who believe they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, wherever children are bullied, and the elderly are forgotten.

Legion still lives wherever people are made to believe that the way they have been created by God is not good enough—either for God or for us.

So, here’s what I think: I think that we who would be like Jesus, we need to take the risk and cross the borders to go looking for the people Jesus himself went out in search of, and to speak the words and do the work necessary to see them free.

We need to brave the wasteland and go into the graveyards that house so many, and find ways to break the chains that keep them in bondage.

We can’t afford to wait and let them come to us.


Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sermon Text

MP3

Sermon Podcast: What Does This Mean?

Dry_Stone_wall_building.jpg

"Because if we could ever learn the lessons of Pentecost about healing divisions, maybe the rest of the world might finally be interested in listening to what we have to say. If we were ever to embody the life of Jesus—who in his death showed that he was more concerned about drawing all people unto himself than about being right—I think we might be surprised to find a world much more ready to hear what we have to say.

"I say we give it a shot.

"I don’t know. What do you think?"


Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sermon Text

MP3

Sermon Podcast: The Second to Last Word

DBCC Podcast Diversity and Unity.jpg

What if we were known as the folks who, when the rest of the world turns its back, are the ones who say, “Come on in. There’s room in here for you?”

You thirsty? Come on in.

You been stepped on? Sit down right here?

You hungry to be loved for the person God created you to be? We’ve got a table right here with room enough for everyone … for anyone. Come on in!

Wouldn’t that be something? If people knew us as the place where everyoneanyone is welcome?


Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sermon Text

MP3

Sermon Podcast: They Will See His Face

DBCC Smiling,_Waving_Kids_In_Front_Of_War_Torn_Kovil.jpg

"No, you start telling people that they live in a place where they can see the face of God, and pretty soon they’re going to start living like it’s true.

"And it’s not even like we’re responsible for pulling it off, for planning this new world that looks like John’s picture of God’s new city. But one day, after spending all this time with a different vision, we wake up to see that we inhabit an entirely different world from the one we used to inhabit, or the one that used to inhabit us."

A sermon on Revelation and the New Jerusalem.


Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Sermon Text

MP3

That May Be Enough (Deut. 34:1–12)

I messed up the recording this week, so it will be a few days before you can click the link at the bottom of the post for the sermon audio or just subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and you won't miss a single sermon…

Until then, here's the full text:

That May Be Enough

 (Deut. 34:1-12)

I remember it very clearly, my first brush with failure.  Not that I hadn’t failed before, but always before I could think of some reason, some excuse unrelated to my abilities: They didn’t understand what I was trying to get at.  I had a bad day.  They didn’t want me to succeed. 

But this time, I was left to take responsibility for my inadequacies. 

I was in seventh grade, and I wanted to play for the basketball team.  There were three hundred students in my class, and most of the male ones came out for the seventh grade team.  I got cut.  I wasn’t good enough; and I could see it plain as day.  There were twelve boys better than me.  I was confused.

I had such huge expectations of myself as a child, as in many ways I still do.  As a child, I was certain I would grow up to experience unparalleled heights of fame and expertise.  I was convinced that I could play professional sports; it was only a matter of picking which one I preferred to play.  Baseball.  Basketball.  Football. 

As a child I thought I might make my living some day singing in a Rock band.  Perhaps, it occurred to me, I could be a famous scientist, or a high-powere attorney.  Naïvely, arrogantly, I was convinced that I was special in ways that other people were not. 

And at 12 years-old, some man whose name, I cannot even remember, told me that I was not, nor would I probably be, everything that I thought I was, or hoped one day to become.

I was devastated for a week or so.  But with the resilience of pre-pubescence, I went and tried out for the wrestling team—which I made, and at which I excelled (inasmuch as a twelve year-old 100 pounder can excel at throwing around other hundred pound twelve year-olds).  But something profound had taken place.  Someone had placed limits on what had been, to that time, a limitless horizon.

We have such amazing dreams, you and I, expectations that we’ll somehow achieve, win, be something special.  We see clearly the vistas before us.  They’re so wide, boundless, and they’re ours for the taking.  We’re certain that if we work hard enough, want it bad enough, we’ll find the promised land that we envisioned so clearly. 

It’s right before our eyes . . .

I find the picture of Moses in our text today oddly fascinating, strikingly poignant.  He’s an old man now.  And whether it’s because God called him, or because he just wanted to shake the dust from his creaking bones, he climbs to the top of the mountain.  You can hear him wheezing, as he sits down below a scrap of shade growing out of an outcropping, all the years making his way through the desert finally catching up with him.  All the responsibility has bowed his once strong back, as if carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders has finally left him so stooped, he can no longer turn his eyes to the heavens, but only be satisfied peering down into the valley.  He leans back against a rock, pulls his shoes off, and shakes out the sand.  He sighs, half-snickering at the thought that he could drag his old body up the mountain one last time, half crying at the pain.

As he takes out an old handkerchief to blow his leathered beak, he hears God approaching, his old friend and sometime adversary.  God comes and sits down by Moses.  They exchange pleasantries.  Finally, God calls Moses’ attention to the land below the mountain—as far as his eyes could see.  God says, “This is it.  Remember from the time you were a little boy in Pharaoh’s house, how your sister would sing to you about the land I’d promised Abraham and Isaac and Jacob?  Remember all the stories?  Well, this is it.  This is what I was talking about all along.”

Can you imagine?  Moses’ eyes crinkled up, knowing that this is what he’s been waiting his whole life to see.  The hopes and dreams that had kept him awake, kept him alive through 40 years of wandering in the desert lie before him now.  Right below his mountain perch, he can see for the first time the very thing that God had called the Israelites out of the land of Egypt for—all those years ago now. 

Four hundred years, his people have been looking forward to this moment.  The very point to which his whole life has been leading, can be seen by the old man as he looks down the end of his nose.  No words, I’m sure, could describe how Moses must feel.  This is the finish line toward which he’s been striving for all these years.  And down in the valley is his gold medal, his Nobel prize, his “man of the year honors” all rolled into one big, green valley called, “The Promised Land.”

But just as Moses is about to descend to the winner’s circle to collect his prize, God says, “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you.  I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 

Do you see?  You work your whole life to get to the promised land, and just as you’re about to walk across the finish line, you see that you’re not going to make it after all.  Martin Luther King saw that.  He preached a sermon on this passage the night before he was assassinated.  You remember it.  “I’ve been to the mountaintop.  I’ve seen the promised land.  And I might not get there with you . . .”

Can you understand the pain of holding your life up by a dream, only to see that the dream is just too far out in front of you—that whoever walks across the finish line—you know it won’t be you? 

Devastating. Moses prepares to die with his storybook ending just out of his reach. 

But—and here’s the crucial thing—as he prepares to die, with chips still on the table, he realizes that he does so with God at his side.  A different ending than we had expected, but not an entirely bad one.  Kind of uneven, quite a few loose ends. 

We much prefer things to have some closure, don’t leave us hanging there with all this unfinished business.  But that’s how life is, isn’t it?  Kind of messy.  A few unmade beds.  A few hairs out of place.  None of it ever quite the way we planned it.

After I turned 29, I became profoundly depressed.  Susan didn’t know what to do, coming home every night to a self-pitying twit.  My mood cast a black pall over the house.  I convinced myself that I should have achieved much more in my life than I had.  I’m embarrassed to say now, given the self-preoccupation it demonstrates, but I felt like a failure. 

I looked back over the dreams I’d held so dear, the thoughts that I ought to accomplish something by the time I was 30.  I hadn’t gotten my Ph.D.  I hadn’t written my first novel.  I didn’t even play softball anymore.  I felt like I’d let my life slip through my hands. 

I embarrassed for my 29 year-old self even saying this out loud, in front of people who’ve lived so much longer, and had justifiable reason to be aggrieved.  But to me, at the time, my complaints were real—if only to me.

Then one day, for whatever reason, I woke up and I thought, “You know, whatever else might be said about me, I’ve been pretty lucky.  I’m married to a woman who loves me—often in spite of myself.  I work in a great job, with people who seem to appreciate what I do.  I have friends and family who care about me.  And every once in awhile, I think God even uses me to some good.  I haven’t done all that I dreamed, but God has blessed me in ways that I could never have dreamed on my own.  And if I died this afternoon, I think that might just be enough.”

And now, almost twenty years later, I’ve still got all of that—plus kids.

So, here’s the thing: Life is so rarely like the movies—with happy endings, neatly tied up.  Our lives have gaps and unanswered questions, false starts and unfinished business, dead-ends and unrealized dreams.  I’d love to be able to stand here and tell you otherwise, but I can’t—I get paid to tell the truth.

On the other hand, there may be a whole lot of grace wrapped up in such a realization.

“Why is that?”

Well, if somebody as important as Moses couldn’t get it all wrapped up in a storybook ending, why do we think we’ll be any different?  That is to say, God’s working out God’s purposes in ways that don’t necessarily lead to satisfying personal memoirs—Oh, they might; you could wind up dying having accomplished everything on your bucket list.  But if you do, you’ll be in some pretty rarified company. 

To put a finer point on it, God’s working out God’s purposes in ways that may include you, but aren’t about you.  Do you hear the difference?  God’s got work to accomplish—important work—and you . . . you’re a part of that work.  You aren’t, nor am I (nor anyone else, for that matter) the point of that work.

Listen to what gets said of Moses: “Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.  He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire lan, and for all the mighty deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel” (Deut. 34:10-12).

Pretty prime stuff that.  And still Moses doesn’t get the story book ending.  Oh, well.

I was listening to Storycorps on NPR Friday morning, after dropping the kids off for school.  Being interviewed was the first African-American, A.P. Tureaud, to integrate LSU in 1953.  He recalled the difficult times he encountered being the only black man on a southern campus in the 1950s.

He said, “The students wouldn’t speak to me.  I think someone had decided that if they totally isolated me, I would leave.”

He didn’t have a roomate, but the guys in the rooms on either side of him would take turns trying to keep him up with radios and banging on the walls.  If he walked into the showers, everyone would leave.  The professors wouldn’t touch his papers.

Understandably, he felt like he was all alone in the world.  Except for the mascot, a bengal tiger named, Mike, who lived in a cage across from Tureaud’s dorm room.  So, he used to spend time talking to Mike the tiger, figuring that they both lived in jails.

One day, while he was talking to Mike, a pick-up truck pulled up.  Tureaud said, as he saw it approaching that he hoped that it didn’t have a rifle rack hanging on the back.

But a black man in worker’s overalls got out.  He said, “Are you A.P. Tureaud?”

“Yes.”

So, he got into the truck and came back out with his seven year-old son.  And the man said, “I want him to meet you, because I want him to know this is possible for him to come to this school—thanks to you.”

Tureaud said, “After I composed myself, I said, ‘You just ruined my day.  I want to get out.  I want to get out, but now I can’t.’”        

Moses could tell us, only God knows where it all leads, what it finally means.  We are the story God writes.  God only knows.  Whatever we or our lives as preachers, homemakers, executives, second sopranos means is ultimately up to God.  We live therefore with the conviction that God really does put us to good purposes, even though we may not see clearly, even though we may not enter the promised land of concrete results and visible fulfillment in our exodus from here to there. 

This is God’s rodeo, after all, not yours or mine.

But whether you achieve all your goals, make progress, arrive at your planned destination, travel with the right people or not, here’s the promise: As with Moses, God goes with you... and that is always enough.

         -Amen.

13th Annual Matthew Shepard Sermon


I had a chance to preach this past Sunday at Trinity Parish Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington.  The invitation to preach this sermon came to me after DBCC's April 17 congregational vote to stop signing marriage licenses as show of good faith to our LGBTQ members. The folks at Trinity Parish couldn't have been kinder.

You can read the full text of the sermon below. The audio file is at the very bottom of the post. You can subscribe to our podcast and catch all of the sermons at DBCC and special events like the Matthew Shepard Sermon. 

We gather here today, of course, to offer up our worship to God.  As the sursum cordareminds us, "It is meet and right so to do."   In the process, we also seek to commemorate the life of a gay man who was left to die alone.  Thirteen years ago, 2 men took Matthew Shepard from a bar in an automobile, robbed him, pistol-whipped him, tortured him, and tied him to a fence to die alone in the night.  He didn't die on the fence, because a passerby the next morning saw him.  He died 5 days later in a hospital, on October 12, 1998--a victim of senseless violence against somebody on the margins.

That Matthew Shepard was gay apparently gave those two men all the motive they needed to inflict as much damage as venal little minds could concoct.

In the years since, Matthew Shepard has become a symbol of all that hatred can do when unleashed on the world. 

It makes me wonder how you get to that point?  How do you turn your fear of that which is different into something so potent that when it breaks over the levies, everything in its way gets swallowed up in in death?

Fear of what's different?  That doesn't sound altogether right.  Of course, fear of what's different is a part of it.  But that seems too easy, frankly.  Fear of what's different is the standard answer in cases like these.

But why do we fear what's different?  I think it has something to do with the fear that we're insignificant, with our insecurities about the potential meaninglessness of our lives.  Our confidence in our own agency is so tenuous that whatever stands over against how we view the world is a threat.  We know enough native logic that A cannot simultaneously be non A.  That is to say, we know, for instance, that "World Series Champion" cannot be used as an antecedent qualifier for "Chicago Cubs."  The universe just isn't structured to allow a thing to be itself and its opposite at the same time.  We know this.

For two men in Wyoming thirteen years ago, the prospect of homosexuality coexisting in a world with "natural" sexual affinities was logically impossible.  Matthew Shepard's existence itself threatened a whole way of construing the world.

If your world is threatened, if your equilibrium is disrupted, you've got to figure out what you're going to do to restore stasis.  If violence is all you know, violence is what you bring to the existential party.

Insecurity.  Fear.  Meaninglessness.  They stand as roadblocks to an otherwise satisfying existence.

It happens.

A few years after Matthew Shepard died, on a gray day in November 2000, when the sky looked like lead and the leaves had all vanished, I went to Creech Funeral Home in Middlesboro, Kentucky, down in Appalachia where I lived, to perform a funeral for Bryan Landon.  I didn’t know Bryan; he’d spent most of his adult life up in Louisville—where he’d finally succumbed to the ravages of AIDS.  My friend Bill, the funeral director, had asked me the day before if I’d perform the funeral, since Bryan didn’t have a church home, and his family refused to provide assistance because they disapproved of his “lifestyle.”  I said I’d be happy to do what I could.  Bill said to me, “But I want you to know right off the bat that, because he was estranged from his family and his church, there might not be many folks there.”  “Not a problem,” I said.

But as I walked into the funeral home on a cold November day, it occurred to me that I’d not absorbed the full implications of Bill’s warning . . . not many people had shown up.  And by “not many” I mean, nobody had shown up.  I waited in the funeral home chapel for five minutes or so after the funeral was supposed to have started—just Bryan Landon and me. Finally, Bill came into the back of the chapel with someone I didn’t know offhand.  She sat in the back row.  Bill made his way up front.  And I said, “Oh good.  Is that a member of his family?”

“No,” he said, “that’s the woman who cleans for us.”

I looked at him, puzzled.  He said, “Well, buddy, in 25 years as a funeral director, I’ve never had a funeral where nobody showed up, and I figured somebody besides you and I ought to bear witness to this man’s passing.”

And so, on a gray November day in 2000, along with a funeral director and a cleaning woman, I buried Bryan Landon.  He died of AIDS.  Nobody who knew him came to witness that he’d ever even walked this earth.  He had a family; he’d had friends along the way; he grew up in the Baptist church, singing Jesus Loves the Little Children—all the children of the world.  But in the end, nobody came to claim him, to speak words over him, to call him a child of God.   So, we three strangers wound up offering him up to God on the wings of weary and bedraggled prayers, clinging to all the hope we could muster in a gray place.

What continues to haunt me about that day, though, is that I still cannot find words to express the sadness, the outrage, the terribleness of it all.  Where was the church for Bryan Landon?

Where's the church on this whole issue of our brothers and sisters created by God gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered?  Who stands up for them?  And what would it even look like to stand up?  I think that's the question raised by Matthew Shepard's death, by Bryan Landon's death.  What would it take for the church to make a difference in a world where people are killed, bullied, and abandoned for being who God created them to be?  What would it take?

Jesus, in our Gospel for today, has been in a long conversation with the Chief Priest and the elders of the temple.  The occasion that prompted this conversation was the first act that Jesus performed after entering Jerusalem on a donkey, way back at the beginning of chapter 21.  Remember that?  Jesus comes into Jerusalem, now a few days prior to his death, to the enthusiastic support of the people--who are convinced he's the Messiah . . . the long awaited political/military leader who will lead a revolution to oust the Roman occupation.

That little parade makes the hairs on the back of the necks of the political leadership stand up.

His first act after entering to a chorus of "Hosannas" was to go straight to the temple and start turning over the lemonade stands, telling the folks in charge that they've destroyed God's house of prayer, made it a den of robbers.  Remember that?

What happens next, though, is the really telling part of the story.  Jesus, it says in verse 14, after revealing the people entrusted with the caretaking of God's house as frauds, welcomes the blind and the lame to the temple, and he heals them.

Isn't that great?  Jesus calls out the big shots, and right under their noses receives with open arms the people those big shots have assiduously attempted to exclude.

This little jaunt into the temple makes the hairs on the back of the necks of thereligious leadership stand up.

In fact, they're so annoyed with Jesus that they button-hole him the next day, and ask him by what authority he's doing all this stuff.  Just who does he think he is?

So Jesus launches into a series of parables to tell the religious leaders who he thinks he is, and perhaps just as importantly, who he doesn't think they are.

Our parable, the parable of the wedding banquet is the third in this series, all keyed by, I would like to suggest, Jesus making a statement about who should be allowed into God's house--and what God thinks of the leaders who're supposed to be running things.

So, our parable for today, involves a king who's going to give a wedding banquet for his son.  Each time the king sends out the wedding invitations, however, they're rudely declined.  The king asks for the pleasure of his subjects' presence at a wonderful occasion, but they're preoccupied by tending to other things--things they're convinced are more important than whatever the king has in mind.

In an honor/shame based culture like that prevalent in the ancient Near East, this was the granddaddy of all social snubs.  You don't turn down a king, then beat and kill the king's slaves.

This, of course, enrages the king--so he turns over every lemonade stand in the country.   Then, what does the king do?  He invites in everybody else who wasn't important enough to get an invitation the first time around--both the good and the bad.  The king throws an enormous shindig for folks on the margins, welcoming all those people who're used to being left out of the important stuff, those who've been abused, pushed aside, excluded, those who've been bullied and abandoned to die alone.

For, you see, the kingdom of God does not exist where some are not welcome … where the lame and the blind, where the tax collectors and prostitutes, where the hungry and the poor stand on the outside looking in.  The kingdom of God does not exist where people are barred entrance because of sexual orientation or identity, because of race or immigration status.

There doesn’t have to be a sign on the door that says, “You’re not welcome here.”  People know.

Well, then, how do we tell people they're welcome?

People will finally know they're welcome–not because we advertise our solidarity (as important as that is)–but because we show them … we keep throwing open the doors and inviting people to come in.  We keep working on behalf of those who’ve been turned away by the very people who are important enough to get invited to the party.  We keep standing side by side with those left to die alone.

Ok.  That's fine.  Nice words.  But what does it mean to do the things you're saying?  What would it take for the church to accept the host's invitation to attend the party right alongside those who've been systematically told they're not welcome?

Peter Velander gives us a glimpse of what it might look like, what it I think it takes.

He writes: “I remember the day I learned to hate racism.  I was five years old."

“The walk home from school was only about five blocks.  I usually walked with some friends.  On this day I walked alone.  Happy, but in a hurry, I decided to take the shortcut through the alley.  Without a care in the world I careened around the corner.  Then I looked up—too late to change course.  I had walked in on a back-alley beating.

“There were three big white kids.  In retrospect they were probably no more than sixth graders, but they looked like giants from my kindergarten perspective.  There was one black kid.  He was standing against a garage, his hands behind his back.  The three white kids were taking turns punching him.  They laughed.  He stood silently except for the involuntary groans that followed each blow.

“And now I was caught.  One of the three grabbed me and stood me in front of their victim.  “You take a turn,” he said.  “Hit the ______!”  (I’m not going to say it; you know what they said.)  Velander said, “I stood paralyzed.”

“Hit him or you’re next!” the giant shouted at me.  So I did.  I feigned a punch.  I can still feel the soft fuzz of that boy’s turquoise sweater as my knuckles gently touched his stomach.  I don’t know how many punches there were.  I don’t know how long he had to stand backed up against that garage.  After my minute participation in the conspiracy they let me go and I ran.  I ran home crying and sick to my stomach.  I have never forgotten.

“Thirty-five years later that event still preaches a sermon to me every time I remember it.  One can despise, decry, denounce, and deplore something without ever being willing to suffer, or even be inconvenienced, to bring about change.  If there is one thing that Jesus taught us it was how to suffer with and for others.

“Jesus walked the way of the cross.  He taught us the meaning of suffering as a servant.  Perhaps my first chance to follow that example came in the ally by a garage thirty-five years ago.

“I don’t know if that black boy from the alley grew up, or where he lives, or what he does today.  I never knew his name.  I wish I did.  I wish I could find him.  I need to ask his forgiveness—not for the blow I delivered, for it was nothing, but for the blows I refused to stand by his side and receive.  I think that’s what it takes.”

That's not easy.  That's not get-up-and-go-to-church-on-Sunday-morning easy.  It's hard.  I know.  Standing up for people this culture doesn't think are worth it is hard, painful work.

But, as Father Daniel Berrigan said, "If you want to follow Jesus, you'd better look good on wood."

You see, the truth of the matter is, as a people who claim to follow a savior who was strapped to his own rough cut piece of lumber and left to die alone, we can't stand idly by and watch the world do that to even one more person.

Matthew Shepard.  Bryan Landon.  Jesus.

It's time for the rest of the children of God to stand by the side of those forgotten, abused, bullied, and left to die alone . . . and take some blows.

I think that's what it takes.

-Amen.

 

Matthew Shepard Sermon

Sermon Podcast: Wanting What You've Got (Matthew 20:1–6)

This sermon begins with Louis C.K. and ends with the promise that "in the reign of God, we’re valuable not based on our production, not based on how much we’re worth.  We’re valuable because, by the grace of God, God says we’re valuable."

Here's the video Rev. Penwell references of Louis C.K.:



Remember, you can subscribe to our weekly podcast in iTunes and download all of the sermons automatically to your computer, as well as to your iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device.

 

Click the link below for the sermon audio or just subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and you won't miss a single sermon…

"Wanting What You've Got" by Rev. Derek Penwell

Sermon Podcast: "The Gates of Hell"

Rev. Derek Penwell preaches on Matthew 16 13–21, in which Simon Peter first articulates the disciples' belief that Jesus is "the Messiah, Son of the Living God."

In this passage, it's clear that Jesus sees a church playing offense--marching on the gates of Hell. After establishing that he's uncomfortable with martial metaphors for the reign of God, Rev. Penwell asks what weapons are we to use? The answer is in the passage following today's gospel, Matthew 16:21: "From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

Suffering, sacrifice, and death are the weapons of Christians. That is, as Christians we must be prepared to stand beside the oppressed and marginalized and receive the same blows they do.

It's all we've got. It's enough.

Click the link below for the sermon audio or just subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and you won't miss a single sermon…  

"The Gates of Hell" by Rev. Penwell

"The Mercy of Bread" (Matthew 15:21–28)

Back from vacay, Derek preaches on the Canaanite woman with a demon-afflicted daughter who has the audacity to approach Jesus. In other words, he preaches about marginalization.

Our culture is so good at teaching us who we can safely ignore, but coming to the table each week reminds us that no one can ever be expendable again.

 

Click the link below for the sermon audio or just subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and you won't miss a single sermon…

"The Mercy of Bread" by Rev. Derek Penwell

Mary Ann Lewis: "What If..."

Both Derek and Ryan are on vacation, so DBCC has a chance to hear from Rev. Mary Ann Lewis, one of the (many) ministers in our pews each Sunday.

Preaching on Matthew 14:22–33, Rev. Lewis reminds us that God doesn’t expect us to walk on water; but, God does expect us to get out of the boat and serve as God’s partner in the continuing unfolding of creation.

Despite our fears (of failure, of loss of agency), the right question isn’t “What happens if we do?” The right question is, “What happens if I don’t?”

We must make room in our hearts for the claim of God on our own lives.

***
Derek and Ryan should leave town more often! This is a great sermon.

Click the link below for the sermon audio or just subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and you won't miss a single sermon…

"What If..." by Rev. Mary Ann Lewis