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 John 14:15-21
In my somewhat limited travels throughout the state, as I move from appointment to appointment, I’ve come across some common characters who seem to be everywhere. I find some of them in the congregations I’ve served; others in the larger community. Continue reading
Pastor Dale E. Austin John 14:1-14
There are very few verses in the Bible whose meaning is more hotly debated and even argued than when Jesus responds to Thomas’ question in the sixth verse of today’s reading. When the disciple asks to know the way to God, Jesus responds by telling him that he is “the way, the truth and the life.” Then he adds that most controversial of all comments, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Now just what did he mean by that? Continue reading
Posted in Sermons, Uncategorized, Worship
Tagged actions, Christian, discipleship, God, Gospel, Jesus, John, mission. witness, service, spirituality
Pastor Dale E. Austin Matthew 5:38-48
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless.”
As human beings, we are experts at rationalizing and justifying our actions, even when we know they are not really what God might want from us. Continue reading
Check out this very interesting post from another blog by Stephen Mattson: 13 Questions Every Christian Must Eventually Ask Themselves.