All age sermon – He has been risen

Matthew 28:1-10

All age Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church of Scotland in Renfrewshire on 24th April 2011, Easter Sunday.

Sermon – The ultimate Artist

John 1:1-18

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, on 2nd January 2011, Second Sunday after Christmas

My daughter's response to the sermon.

It is perhaps fitting to start the year with one of the most profound and baffling Biblical passages in the New Testament, especially when it starts with the words: “In the beginning”. It is also one of my all time favorites. If there was a holy of holies of Biblical texts, this would be it. I also love preaching about the Word made flesh, because I am passionate about bridging the gap between the spiritual world and the material world, and exposing this dualism farce that almost derailed Christianity in the last two centuries. It’s perhaps more of an obsession now, than a passion.

But this challenge of Christianity is nothing new, of course. The reason I thought last week’s passage was so important in reminding us that Jesus was Jewish, is that we often tend to look at Christianity through Greco-Roman lens, rather than through Jewish lens. This was a major problem in the first few centuries of the Early Church.

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Sermon – Escape to Egypt

Matthew 2:13-23

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, on 26th December 2010, First Sunday after Christmas

I don’t know how you spent your Christmas day, but I spent considerable time looking at historical accounts about the birth of Jesus. While most normal people I know spend Christmas day playing with the brand new toys and gadgets that they got for Christmas, I was reading historical articles. Sad, I know… You see, I was trying to figure out how to harmonize the birth account in Luke chapter 2, which we read on Christmas Eve, with the account in Matthew chapter 2, which we read today. The problem was a gap of at least 10 years between the two accounts.

Luke places the birth of Jesus at the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Luke writes: “When the first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria.” According to historical records, Quirinius became the governor of Syria after Herod’s son, Archelaus was deposed in 6 AD. The problem is that Matthew places the birth of Jesus at the time of Herod the Great, which is at least 10 years before that time, as he died around 4 BC. Do you feel a headache coming? I certainly did.

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Sermon – A Saviour is born

Luke 2:1-20

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, on 24th December 2010, Christmas Eve

Christmas is that time of the year when preachers usually go into imagination melt-down. Virtually every year at Christmas we have to preach from the same passage, so it is quite difficult to know what we can say that is new and fresh. Everyone knows about the baby born in a stable, the shepherds, the choir of angels, the wise men and so on. Is there anything surprising about Christmas anymore? Haven’t we already said everything that can be said about it?

Every year we hear that Christmas is not about pine trees and tinsel, or about buying and receiving gifts, but about the baby Jesus being born in a stable. We are urged to think about the Son of God being born into the world, and to not allow ourselves to get distracted by all the commercial hype around Christmas. That is a good message in itself, but it’s getting a bit old now and I have to admit I am getting tired of hearing it. It’s like a broken record. Is there anything new and surprising about the birth story of Jesus?

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Sermon – King of the Jews

Luke 23:33-43

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, on 21st November 2010, the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost – Christ the King.

Today is the last Sunday in the Christian Lectionary Calendar before Advent, when we start preparing for Christmas. And as we think about what’s coming in the next few weeks, I’m sure everyone is trying to figure out how they can buy the most gifts with the least amount of money possible. And we don’t do that because we’re tight for cash; we do it because we do our best to resist the temptation of giving into consumerism…

I know that toy stores will become dangerous territories for the coming weeks! When I walk into a toy store I cannot help but be amazed at the variety of toys available these days. You can buy a costume and be anyone you want, from a Star Wars trooper to Robin Hood and King Kong. I still remember when I was a child I had to build my swords from wooden sticks, and my shields from discarded cardboard. There was no ‘made in China’ sticker within a mile of the toys I played with.

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