Pastor Dale E. Austin Luke 18:9 – 14
Some of the most spiritual-sounding people in the world may sometimes be far from genuine. When faith becomes self-centered, all about “Jesus and me”, and there is no interest in reaching out to other to minister to their needs or to share the gospel, then the individual’s faith is flawed at best and totally false at worst. These people may not realize it, but their inward-turned faith actually has become a form of self-worship rather than worship of God. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Luke 3:7 – 18
Humans are masters of self-deception. We can convince ourselves of all sorts of things that aren’t really true, especially if these things are about ourselves. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin John 18:33 – 37
As we wind up each year on the church calendar – and today is the final Sunday on that particular calendar – we generally turn to a consideration of Jesus as king. To some extent, this is quite ironic, because Jesus never referred to himself as a king. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Exodus 20:1-17
One of my favorite quotes, which I stumbled onto only a few years ago, comes from Martin Luther, the renegade German priest who kick-started the Protestant Reformation. In a letter to a friend he laments the concept that people are simply supposed to accept, with blind devotion, whatever the Mother Church teaches them, without questioning anything. He finds it difficult to believe in a God who would bless us with intellect, reason, and the capacity for rational thought, and then ask us to forego the use or exercise of these gifts. It’s a wonderful insight.
All too often we stop at the words of the Scriptures, telling ourselves that everything which God wants us to know is contained there. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Last week we heard of God making a fresh start with Noah and his family, following the great flood. In the following chapters of Genesis, we learn how the descendants of Noah spread over all the earth and developed cultures and languages of their own. In time, the world is as diverse and as varied as it had been before the flood. . . . and just as corrupt.
As was the case with Noah, God looks around and finds that not everyone in the human race is corrupt. There are pockets of virtue. There are still those who try to be faithful. Among them is a gentleman from a distant land, named Abram. One day, out of the blue, God taps Abram on the shoulder and asks him, “How would you feel about moving?” Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Genesis 9:8-17
If we take the time, it can be fascinating to compare the ways in which Christians and Jews understand many of the stories in the Jewish Scriptures, what we refer to as our “Old Testament.” We find that our understandings of the nature of God can vary considerably. For Christians, steeped in a long tradition of “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” we tend to favor a God who never changes, and who remains constant throughout all of history and, therefore, throughout the Scriptures. In contrast, Jews have no problem with a God who learns from experience, who may even make mistakes, but only once. Theirs is a God who is not afraid to experiment, to dabble in trial-and-error, and to learn and grow. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Mark 1:1-8
Personality cults have existed as long as human beings have roamed the earth. We easily become fixated on some charismatic individual, and soon lose sight of their message. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Mark 13:24-37
The Coast Guard motto, Semper Paratus, is often interpreted as “Always Prepared,” probably because we associate it with the well-known motto of both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Semper Paratus really means “Always Ready”. . . . . Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Luke 17:11-19
We’ve been hearing a lot recently about income inequality. The idea isn’t that everyone should share in the wealth of the country equally, but that everyone should be able to share fairly. Of course, that isn’t happening Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin Matthew 22:34-46
Riddles come in all shapes and sizes. Some are relatively simple; others case be incredibly complex. Some can be solved quickly utilizing a small amount of common sense. Others may require a great deal of time, some detailed notes and a lot of frustration before we can solve them. Some riddles occur naturally and we are constantly challenged to find the answers. Others flow from our imaginations, usually in an attempt to stump our neighbor.
Jesus was often confronted with this latter type of riddle. Continue reading