The Parish Church of Connersville, Indiana

Sermons

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:14-17).

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The First Sunday in Advent 2022

This love we are called to then makes absolutely no sense outside of the moral law. There is simply no way to ‘just love’ because without the moral law and without the God/Man who fulfilled it, the word ‘love’ will always be a cruel shadow of the reality all lesser loves point us toward. Any supposed Christian teacher who tells you we are no longer called to follow the moral law, but rather, instructs you to ‘just love,’ worships a different God than He who says, ‘If you love me keep my commandments’ (St. John 14:15). Anyone who says we can abandon the new way to be human revealed by Jesus and the apostles He chose is an anti-Christ who seeks nothing less than to build their little earthly kingdom with the pain and misery of human failure Christ suffered and died to eradicate forever. The debt of love we owe God and our fellow man is honored through the obedience and trust we give to God before the eyes of the world, and this purpose for our lives is but an humble imitation of the loving obedience and trust our Lord carried to the Cross. This loving obedience and trust between God and Man is more important to the salvation of the world than any nation or war, king or president, and God has blessed us all with the call to participate no matter our strength or weakness, intelligence or beauty. All men can daily kneel and ask God to use them as part of the world’s salvation. All men can love as Christ loved.


Sermon Date: November 28, 2022

Passage: Romans 13

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The Sunday next before Advent 2022

If we understand then that all of the institutions of the Israelite people find their perfection in the ultimate Israelite we start to have a good understanding of what is going on in the second Passover of Jesus’ ministry. The feeding of the 5,000 is another prophetic acting out of who Jesus is; it is a sign of just who stands before the thousands gathered around the mysterious Galilean. God is reaching out once again to do what He has done from the beginning: feed His allies in the fight against evil. The same God who fed Adam and Eve in the garden, the same God who dropped mana from heaven takes the cheap bread of a poor, young boy and makes it a feast for His people. But again, what do the people do? By the end of chapter 6, the thousands have abandoned Jesus—God is again betrayed by the people He feeds. It is only the 12 and a few others who continue to follow God through the wilderness: feeding on the Word, following the heart of the universe as He proclaimed the kingdom of God.


Sermon Date: November 20, 2022

Passage: St. John 6

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The Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity 2022

But, a reasonable question to ask here is: What about the money? Does the king just magically forgive the ‘gazillion’ dollars the servant owes? No, that’s not how debt works. Someone has to pay. Just as someone must pay our sin debt or else good and evil are nothing more than illusions, and it is here where we start to understand the gravity of what Jesus is saying to Peter, to the other apostles, and to us. When Christ commands His church to adopt a radical, death-to-self kind of forgiveness, He does so knowing full well what the cost of forgiveness truly is. He knows the price of our forgiveness will be His unjust murder at the hands of the very people He came to save. There is nothing fair about Calvary: there is only the God/Man paying our unpayable debt with His blood and pain and life. There is nothing fair about us forgiving our brother or sister or enemy: there is only our recognition of what God has done for us and what we must now do to honor the God who has made us free.


Sermon Date: November 13, 2022

Passage: St. Matthew 18

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The Twenty First Sunday after Trinity 2022

In today’s Gospel reading, a powerful man learns the limits of his power when his son begins to die. The illness murdering the nobleman’s son doesn’t care about his money or status because it answers to a higher power than him or the governor or the emperor. This young man on his deathbed is feeling the sharp edge of mankind’s rebellion against his Creator; he is experiencing the grim penalty for a human people living in suicidal conflict with the natural order and its author. We can still hear a faint echo of this truth when both theists and atheists alike refer to a sickness as a ‘disorder.’ The poisoned fruit of living in a chaotic, fallen world is that our very bodies are coming apart at the seams—rebelling against our wills just as we have rebelled against the perfect will of our Creator. This real decay and death besieging us are the daily reminders that a creature who doesn’t have full control of when he uses the bathroom can’t possibly be in a position to rule himself. Or, more relevant to today’s reading, a creature who can’t save his son from death can’t possibly be in a position to save himself. This truth hits our faithful nobleman in the face, and so he humbles himself before a man who has none of the power people hoard and kill for, but who possesses all of the power which actually matters when the lies and distractions of this world are pulled away, and we see how naked and disarmed we truly are.


Sermon Date: November 6, 2022

Passage: Ephesians 6

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The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity 2022

A combination of the failure and disorder of many historical Christian bodies and the common human desire for a more relatable savior has led some to embrace an image of a political revolutionary Jesus: somewhere on a spectrum between Che Guevara and Barak Obama. As I speak, over one hundred million dollars is being spent to promulgate this ‘community organizer’ Jesus through the ‘He gets us’ TV and internet campaign. However, this anachronistic and false imagining of our Lord fails to honor the radically different position Jesus is claiming for Himself. Jesus is not a revolutionary; He is God. He is the authority from which all other authorities derive, and it is a testimony to the fallenness of the world that all authorities and their subjects do not recognize the fountainhead of human power and might. Any attempt to mentally strip Jesus of his divinity, and that is always the danger when fashioning a disempowered, revolutionary Jesus, leads to confusion and the dishonoring of our King. The King of Kings does not rebel; He reveals the rebellion within us.


Sermon Date: October 30, 2022

Passage: St. Matthew 22

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The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity 2022

And so, it is with Spirit renewed hearts and minds and bodies that God teaches us how to truly live. Freed from every lie our world tells us, freed from the false priests who seek to rob us of our destiny by making us bend the knee to their soulless death cults, we can live with an eternal purpose greater than ourselves or the small, dying men who ask us to join them in their slow-motion suicide. We can be honorable and just in an increasingly dishonorable and unjust world because we are no longer slaves to the illusion that we must build heaven with our own two hands or that we must forge it from the tears and broken bodies of our enemies. God has already created heaven, and He is bringing it to an earth near you. Saving the earth is not our job; it was already saved when the young King of the universe climbed on a cross and bled for it. We are not the heroes of the story; we are not Batman (at best we are the policeman who says, ‘Wow,’ when Batman saves the day, or perhaps the criminal saved from a life of crime by the intervention of a force he cannot resist). The humility to see this truth is a gift we should be praying for every day because this gift prevents us from becoming the very monsters we wish to slay, and it frees us to focus on on our actual mission: to love God and our neighbors.


Sermon Date: October 23, 2022

Passage: Ephesians 4

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The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity 2022

This conception of ourselves as the star of the show, the main character in the drama of the earth (the lover and the loved) is wildly destructive, and sadly, one of the last unifying element of the disconnected, individualistic world mankind have been building for the last 300 or so years. It should be no surprise that we face a suicide and drug epidemic in this lonely world where Man is instructed to be his own best friend, lover, and god. And make no mistake, anytime we move Christ from being the love we desire, the identity which gives us meaning, and the known truth by which we judge all else, we make ourselves the lonely kings of an empty kingdom, and as Jesus says over and over again, there is only room for one kingdom in the new world to come. God is either the center of our life, the ultimate desire of our heart, or He is our enemy. It should be no surprise that so much pain and suffering and regret flow from a people who have made love their enemy.


Sermon Date: October 16, 2022

Passage: St. Matthew 22

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The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity 2022

In today’s reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, we encounter the physical realities which reveal to the fallen world that the Christian is set apart from its mad cycle of sin and death. For 3 chapters, St. Paul has been laying out the true history of the universe by showing us how the eternal purposes of God have come together on the cross of Christ and the outpouring of the divine Spirit. Paul invites us all to celebrate the victory which begins the new creation—freeing us from the old story which still haunts us in our moments of disobedience and despair. That old story of humanity, given a new name each generation, is a lived through alienation from God and distance from our immortal brothers and sisters made in God’s image and likeness. We feel that distance even now. Can we look into the eyes of the person we love most in the world and truly know them in the way we know ourselves? No, even the most faithful couples or closest sets of siblings or best friends for life are still lacking the unity which would abolish the deep pit of loneliness which drives so much of the human experience. Adam and Eve, the first humans to bind themselves to this story of alienation and separation, responded to God’s fatherly call by hiding from Him in the garden He created to sustain their every need. They were ashamed and afraid, and so they hid from the only being who could save them from their new inward turned prisons. Our distance from each other is a symptom of our distance from God, and so God the Son came to destroy this distance. He became one of us to re-unite us with the God who lovingly created us, He died for us so that we would never again have to hide from God’s justice and love.


Sermon Date: October 9, 2022

Passage: Ephesians 4

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The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity 2022

And so, we pray for the incomprehensible power of God to save us from our brokenness, to fill us with the incomprehensible love of God revealed for 33 years in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and revealed every day by the church of Christ on her knees and on her feet trying to contain within ourselves the impossible fullness of God. This weight of glory can seem impossible to bear, but there is no one else to bear it. We have been called; we have been chosen to bear it, and we must. For, when we bear it, even if only for the moment of this brief life, we can finally understand that the power and love of God converge on the cross. There, the perfect plan of God and the best part of humanity came together to shout the great mystery of God’s love into the darkness. The mystery which proves that we are not God; the mystery which proclaims that God is bigger than all our dreams and knowledge, and His divine fullness is infinitely greater than anything we can contain. And yet, St. Paul prays that we be filled by this infinity, filled by the infinite and mysterious mercy of the God who would allow Himself to be murdered to save the world—a supernatural love seen in the Christian man or woman who embraces the mystery, chasing after it with everything they have, until the mystery of God’s love fully disarms us, until its majesty and glory force us to stand naked and without defense before the loving, consuming fire which will cleanse all, bring peace to all, and renew all. As we hear from the slaughtered lamb on His eternal throne in Revelation, ‘Behold I make all things new’ (Rev. 21:5). Just like our Lord on the cross, when we approach this mystery, it will kill us, but only in His death do we understand life, only in His death can we face the daily decay of our humanity and the destruction of all we love. We can take that death with joy, because the fallen world cannot strip us of the fullness of God’s righteousness and love placed in our souls by the blooded but unbroken victor of Calvary.


Sermon Date: October 2, 2022

Passage: Ephesians 3

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The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity 2022

What we find as we examine the lovingly honest words of our Creator is that the drive for success and fulfillment and possessions leads people away from God just as surely as an addiction to drugs or pornography or any of the other idols we find more culturally repugnant. Unfortunately, in many Christian circles, people really do think it’s not only just fine, but in fact noble and impressive, to ignore God as long as we are pursuing our dreams of success and wealth and comfort, but Jesus today targets this idol and compares our worship of possessions—even necessities like food and clothes—with the worship of a Syrian demon god. We cannot only sort of worship a Syrian demon god and also worship the true God; we will always show what deity we truly worship through how we prioritize and spend our time and treasure. We will show in our anxiety and worry about tomorrow that we have put our trust in mammon rather than the promises of the Living God.


Sermon Date: September 25, 2022

Passage: St. Matthew 6