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September 1, 2001

The idea of planning our Advent and Christmas messages around Mary had its genesis at a worship conference at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario. Keynote speakers Richard Middleton and Sylvia Keesmaat of the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto unpacked Mary’s Song, also called the Magnificat. Ron VandenBurg, a member of our worship committee at Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, returned to us full of excitement, suggesting this as our focus.

March 1, 2001

The story goes that Erasmus, a Renaissance scholar, was watching with the pope as wagonloads of wealth were brought through the gates of the Vatican. Turning to Erasmus, the pope observed. "No longer can the church say with Peter, 'Silver or gold have I none.'" Erasmus replied, "True. And neither can the church say to the lame man, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"

Mantaining spiritual vigor in the midst of great wealth was a challenge for the church of past centuries-and still is for the church today. We have been entrusted with incredible resources.

September 1, 2000


FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Service Plans and Sermon Sketches
for Advent and Christmas

June 1, 2000

Sermons on praise in the narrow sense (Ps. 95) and on worship in all of life (Rom. 12) are immensely important to preach. But suppose that you want to preach about the worship service, the liturgy, the event of gathering in Jesus’ name (for more on these three meanings of the term worship see p. 46). Perhaps worship has become a source of conflict in your congregation. Perhaps you want to deepen the congregation’s experience of common worship. To preach about worship, what text would you preach? Where in Scripture would you look?

December 1, 1998

In this series prepared for the 1997 Lenten season at La Grave Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, John Steigenga (the copastor who preached two of the sermons in the series) and I decided to trace Jesus’ journey to the cross using the famous idea of the Via Dolorosa. Traditionally, those words have referred to the last hours of Jesus’ life, particularly to the fourteen stations of the cross traced out on the streets of Jerusalem and enshrined in Catholic churches.

September 1, 1998

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go! Do you remember singing this bouncing little piece as a child? I sure do!

It was my song.

And it didn't seem to matter that the trip from Battle Creek, Michigan, where I grew up, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Grandma and Grandpa Brown lived, didn't include a single river crossing and hardly any woods.

September 1, 1997

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, all around the world." At some point during the upcoming holiday season we will almost certainly hear those familiar lyrics on the radio, on a TV special, or at the mall.