It is Finished! So, Get to Work! – A Sermon on the Ascension

It is Finished! So, Get to Work! – A Sermon on the Ascension

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
The following is an "It is Finished" sermon preached on Ascension Sunday, 2017. You can listen to the sermon here: [audio mp3="http://joshuapsteele.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/05-28-17JS.mp3"][/audio] GOODBYES SUCK You know, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s goodbyes. Anyone else here hate goodbyes? Yeah, and the fact that I hate them so much means I’m not really very good at goodbyes. Sometimes I get awkward and silent. Sometimes I get awkward and really chatty! Heck, sometimes I get awkward and I make poor choices, like the one time when I was getting ready to say goodbye to my family when they dropped me off at college. They were looking forward to a final dinner with me, in the school cafeteria, before they left. But I was worried about the awkwardness of saying a tearful…
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The Lasting Supper – Luke 22:14-30

The Lasting Supper – Luke 22:14-30

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
[audio mp3="http://joshuapsteele.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/04-13-17JS.mp3"][/audio] There is something special about last meals, isn’t there? I’d like to show you a series of photographs. These photographs, except for the last one – which I added, are from a piece called “No Seconds,” and they were put together by Henry Hargreaves. I don’t want to belabor the artwork with my commentary, so I’ll give you a few seconds to take each slide in. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="4236,4245,4244,4243,4242,4241,4240,4239,4238,4237,4246"] Now, I don’t know about you, but those pictures affect me deeply. The whole idea of a criminal’s last meal affects me deeply. Why? I think it’s because these last meals combine the familiar with the unfamiliar. They combine the expected and the unexpected. I mean, on one hand, you’ve got comfort food. On the other hand, heinous crimes.…
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Getting Ahead in God’s Upside-Down Kingdom: An Appeal for a Consistently Pro-Life Ethic

Getting Ahead in God’s Upside-Down Kingdom: An Appeal for a Consistently Pro-Life Ethic

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
[audio mp3="http://joshuapsteele.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/01-29-17JSGeetingAheadinGodsUpsideDownKingdom.mp3"][/audio] [MP3: Getting Ahead in God's Upside-Down Kingdom] [PDF Sermon Manuscript: Getting Ahead in God's Upside-Down Kingdom] Opening Prayer God, our Refuge, I ask that your Holy Spirit would move in our lives, so that we would: promote your justice embody your steadfast faithful love and humbly obey Your will, even if it costs us our reputations, and even if it costs us our lives. I ask that this transformation would begin with me. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Introduction I’d like to start off with a very basic question: Do you want to get ahead in life? Do you want things to get better? Do you want your life, and your children’s lives, to improve? I mean, despite the many things that divide us humans, don’t we all want progress?…
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A Disappointing Christmas Homily

A Disappointing Christmas Homily

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
Good morning! And Merry Christmas! Together, let us pray: O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ: grant that, as he came to share our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. You know, they say…
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Following Jesus Beyond the Bandwagon

Following Jesus Beyond the Bandwagon

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
(A chapel message in a Christian school.) There are a few things you should know about me: I am a student at a Christian seminary. Before that, I went to a Christian college. Before that, I went to a Christian high school, and a Christian middle school. Before that, I was home-schooled, and I grew up in a Christian home. Oh, also: I’m the world’s worst sports fan. I’m serious. The students in my youth group give me a hard time about it. Every week, they’re like, “Josh, did you see the game?!” “Josh, are you going to watch the game?” And I’m like, “Game? What game? I don’t even know which sport’s season it is!” World’s. worst. sports fan. I’m telling you. The one redeeming quality about my sports fandom…
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The Feast of St. James the Apostle: A Homily for Ministers

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
Readings: Psalm 34; Jeremiah 16:14-21; Mark 1:14-20 Like so many other feast days – scheduled, as they are, on the days of the namesakes’ deaths – the feast day of St. James the Apostle is a strong rebuke to our aspirations. To our aspirations as human beings, and especially to our aspirations as ministers of Christ’s Church. [caption id="attachment_3910" align="aligncenter" width="247"] Saint James the Greater, by Rembrandt[/caption] James & John: Fishermen No More? You see, James started off as a mere fisherman. An admirable one, to be sure, because he and his brother John answered Jesus’ call in Mark 1. They left behind their father, their family, and – they grew to hope! – their family’s fishing profession. James was off on a new adventure, hopeful and headstrong. So much so…
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The Groom’s Big Day

The Groom’s Big Day

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/256270902" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] READINGS Ephesians 5:21-33 – Wives and Husbands Psalm 67 – May God Be Gracious to Us and Bless Us Revelation 19:6-10 – The Marriage Supper of the Lamb Matthew 25:1-13 – The Parable of the Ten Virgins HOMILY What makes a great wedding? Is it the fragrance and color of the flower arrangements? The particular grandeur of the venue? Is it the number and camaraderie of the guests? Or the quality and sound of the music? Is it the menu at the reception? Or perhaps the selection at the (hopefully open) bar? I hope it’s not the quality of the sermon! But, really, what makes a wedding great? Surely (gestures toward bride and groom) these two have something to do with it. Is it, perhaps, their…
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Son of Man, Can Your Bones Live?

Son of Man, Can Your Bones Live?

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
What would it have been like, on the first Holy Saturday? What would it be like, tonight, if Jesus has been dead for almost 33 hours? All the hopes and dreams of tonight’s readings – shattered. Blown away by the cold winds of death. Jesus of Nazareth lies in a dark grave, and we, his shell-shocked followers, gather to make some sort of sense of this week’s events – to salvage some sort of hope from this week’s wreckage. And so, some sorry snots get up to try and encourage us. They open up the Hebrew Scriptures and read about our great God. Remember, when He made the heavens, earth, and humans? Remember, when He rescued Noah? Remember, when he stayed Abraham’s knife-laden hand? Remember, when he rescued us from Egypt?…
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Three Recent Sermons

Three Recent Sermons

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
It's been a grueling past few weeks at Beeson. Our Spring Break happens to coincide with Holy Week this year, and it can't come quickly enough! Part of the hard work has been preparing to preach three sermons for class. However, the opportunity to study and preach God's Word is a joy that outweighs the burdens of preparation! I have preached twice in the past month on Psalm 32. First, I delivered a sermon ("The Refreshment of Forgiveness") designed for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C, for Dr. Doug Webster's Preaching Practicum. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/249090987" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Then, I preached/presented on the same passage for Dr. Allen Ross's Exegesis of Psalms ("Psalm 32: Psalm 1 for Screw-Ups"). [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/248878329" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Preparing and preaching…
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Sermon: The Challenge of Christmas Light

Sermon: The Challenge of Christmas Light

Bible and Scripture, Sermons
There are better preachers out there. So, if you're short on time, go and listen to them! However, if you've got 26 minutes to spare, I offer "The Challenge of Christmas Light" to you, and would love to hear your feedback. I  preached this sermon on December 27, 2015 at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Mountain Brook, AL, as we celebrated the Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. My sermon text was that day's Gospel lesson, 1 John 1:1-9, expanded to include 2:1-2. But I also reference the Old Testament lesson, Exodus 33:18-23. You can read the sermon manuscript here: The Challenge of Christmas Light Sermon Manuscript. And you can listen to the audio here (note: it begins just as I finish reading the collect for the Feast of St.…
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