Recent Sermons

Divine Competence

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 and Mark 4:26-34

Sunday, June 13th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The story of the choosing of David and the Parables of Jesus assure us that God is at work in ways we do not see. God’s competence can give us confidence to trust.

 

Music: “These Are the Days” by Van Morrison.

Allowing God

Mark 3:20-35

Sunday, June 6th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Jesus’ call from God took him beyond the allowable scripts written for him by family and culture. How hard it is to break out of the scripts given to us by others? How willing are we to allow God to write the scripts for us and others?

 

Music: “What The World Needs Now Is Love” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Serving with Energy, Intelligence, Imagination, and Love

Isaiah 6:1-8 and John 3:1-17

Sunday, May 30th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. Sue Smith

This Trinity Sunday gives us the opportunity to think about the trinitarian relationship and how it might inform us to transform ourselves and our communities.

 

Music: “#69 Here I Am Lord” by Daniel L. Schutte.

Spirit People

Acts 2:1-21 and Romans 8:22-27

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

What God is up to in the human experiment is cosmic in scope. It is the personalization of the universe, the manifestation of God’s heart and Spirit in the creation through us. The human future, in God, is for us to become Spirit people.

 

Music: “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Preparing for Change

Acts 1:15:17 and John 17:6-19

Sunday, May 16th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Both texts are anticipating change and preparing for it. We too have lived through a year of dramatic change and are preparing for what is emerging. How might these texts guide us in our preparations?

 

Music: “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” by James Pankow (Chicago)

Chosen for What?

Acts 10:44-48 and John 15:9-17

Sunday, May 9th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

In Jesus’ farewell discourse, he tells his followers that he chose them, they did not choose him. Acts records how the Holy Spirit chose to fall upon a Gentile audience before they became baptized and followers. If we are chosen by God, what are we chosen to do and become? John gives us many clues.

 

Music: “Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright.

Love and Fear

1 John 4:7-21 and John 15:1-8

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

John makes Christ’s love the measure of human life. We are to be so connected to Christ, who is love, that Christ’s nature becomes our nature. Once Christ’s love nature embeds in us, fear is overcome.

 

Music: “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Jackie DeShannon, Jimmy Holiday, & Randy Myers.

The Meaning of Love

1 John 3:16-24 and John 10:11-18

Sunday, April 25th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

There passages are simple and direct, showing how Jesus has forever raised the bar for what it means for us to be human and loving. It means imitating Christ’s example.

 

Music: “Hummingbird” by Jim Seals & Dash Crofts.

New Mind and Heart

1 John 3:1-7 and Luke 24:36b-48

Sunday, April 18th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The risen Christ gives his followers their marching orders – to preach repentance, which means receiving a new and higher mind and heart. John spells out that transformation into Christlikeness is what the Christian journey is about.

 

Music: “The Fool on the Hill”, by John Lennon & Paul McCartney.

The Sending

Acts 4:32-35 and John 20:19-31

Sunday, April 11th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Jesus sends his followers as the Father sent him. We are to follow Jesus’ path, incarnate his life, and to give ourselves courage and love as he did. If Christ is where spirit and matter meet, then our task is to bridge the worlds and offer a new way to be human, after the pattern of Christ.

 

Music: “What a Wonderful World”, popularized by Louis Armstrong.

Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The paradox of Palm/Passion Sunday is how humility and surrender in Christ We celebrate the joy of Easter yet fail to consider how it upends our certainties and our lives. How do you live in a world where resurrection is a reality? Consider how resurrection changed the lives of the disciples. Consider how it might change our lives.

Exalted Humility

John 12:2-16 and Philippians 2:5-11

Palm/Passion Sunday, March 28th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The paradox of Palm/Passion Sunday is how humility and surrender in Christ become glorification and victory. We miss Christ’s glorification and victory by failing to see and take the pathway toward them.

 

Music: “What Wonderous Love Is This” from Glory to God, The Presbyterian Hymnal, #215

The Cost of Transformation

Jeremiah 31:31-34 and John 12:20-33

Sunday, March 21st, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The cost of transformation is immense, like a grain that must die, or a heart that must undergo surgery, or a life that must be given love. What is produced in these gestures of surrender and trust is of eternal worth.

 

Music: “The End of the End” by Paul McCartney.

The Big Picture

Ephesians 2:1-10 and John 3:14-21

Sunday, March 14th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The reason the gospel does not make sense is that we do not stretch beyond our own experience and perspective, which we take as gospel or normative. Jesus and Paul saw our small perspective as spiritual darkness. The Christian experience is to awaken us to spiritual dimensions which are present, but to which we are blind.

 

Music: “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Paul Simon.

Where God Dwells

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 and John 2:13-22

Sunday, March 7th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

For Jesus, both the temple and his body were places where God dwells. They are sacred. If they are to serve their sacred purpose, they must not get cluttered or distracted. If the exterior temple must keep its focus pure, so must the interior temple. This is the wisdom of which Paul wrote, which is foolishness to many.

 

Music: “Imagine” by John Lennon.

More Than We Dreamed

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 and Mark 8:31-38

Sunday, February 28th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

How do we look at the transformation which comes with a call from God? Do we see what we lose, the loss of who we were? Or, do we see how that loss, letting go, and death bring greater life than we ever deserved?

 

Music: “Higher Love” by Stevie Winwood and Will Jennings.

Animal Guides

Genesis 9:8-17 and Mark 1:9-15

Sunday, February 21st, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

God’s covenant after the flood is with Noah and the animals. The promise is given to humans and animals, who, on the ark, had been in community. As Jesus receives his call, he is sent to the wilderness, where he was tested. He was not alone. He was with the animals, the wild beasts, and the angels. Apparently, the human journey to God involves animals.

 

Music: “Blackbird” by John Lennon & Paul McCartney.

When the Veil Drops

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 and Mark 9:2-9

Sunday, February 14th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Humans straddle two realms – the physical and spiritual. The veil which separates these in our awareness is thinner than we think. Christ showed us how the spiritual is incarnated in the physical. Through him we see and the veil drops.

 

Music: “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison.

Action and Contemplation

Isaiah 40:21-31 and Mark 1:29-39

Sunday, February 7th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is depicted as a busy man. Yet, he regularly sought time to be alone in prayer, to connect to Source and to discern what to do next. The Jesus path requires a balance between action and contemplation, prayer and work.

 

Music: “Love Is the Answer” by Todd Rundgren (covered by England Dan and John Ford Coley).

A Change of Heart

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28

Sunday, January 31st, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Jesus was unusual in that he had power to change people’s lives and hearts. Paul, too, called for the church to have a change of heart in how they dealt with their differences – a preference of love over knowledge.

 

Music: “Fix You” originally recorded by Coldplay.

Changing Our Minds

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and Mark 1:14-20

Sunday, January 24th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Both texts are repentance texts. To repent means to change our minds, to get a higher mind. What causes people to welcome a change of mind? What blocks us from changing our minds?

 

Music: “Change the World” originally recorded by Eric Clapton.

Remembering to Listen

1 Samuel 3:1-10 and John 1:43-51

Sunday, January 17th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

What is it in us that can hear and discern the voice and call of God? Why do some hear and others do not? How can we develop our capacity to hear God speaking and calling to us?

 

Music: “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon.

Becoming More Than We Are

Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11

Sunday, January 10th, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

The Mark text mirrors the Genesis text. There is creation through the Spirit of God over the primordial waters; and there is new creation through the waters of baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives birth to a physical universe and to a new humanity awakened to the spiritual within the physical. In Christ, we are to become spiritually awakened human beings.

The Big Picture

Ephesians 1:3-14 and John 1:10-18

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 : 9:45 AM

Rev. John W. Monroe III

Both texts set the work of Christ in our lives within a cosmic context. Our lives and their purpose and significance are part of a very big picture. To understand and to set a proper course for our lives requires us to see something of the big picture.