Preaching Connection: Assurance

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Movies for Preaching

Wide Awake (1998) – 2

Wide Awake (1998).  Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Joseph Cross, Rosie O’Donnell, and Robert Loggia. Rated PG.  88 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes 67%. In big ways, Thomas the Doubtful had it right.  Show me the evidence, please, in all of its gory glory.  Enough already with other people’s hopeful delusions.  After all, empirical…


Additional content related to Assurance

Exodus 14:19-31

Over and over again in the story, God refers to the people as His army or His battalion. But they couldn’t have been a very fearsome force. They’ve just spend the last 430 years in slavery. Maybe they got strong building bricks but they would have had a lot of disadvantages. Hard to think that…


Psalm 126

Some of us might remember that another version/translation of Psalm 126:1 mentions specifically the time when “the captives” were brought back to Jerusalem.  That framing of this psalm places this on the far side of the seventy-year exile in Babylon as the people of Israel slowly returned from captivity after Persia conquered Babylon and the…


Psalm 91:9-16

For some reason on this occasion the Lectionary would have us skip the first 8 verses of Psalm 91, which is too bad in that those verses contain one of the most lyric images of God’s providential care of us in the whole Bible.  We are the baby birds who find shelter under the wings…


Psalm 8

Comments, Observations, and Questions The Lectionary usually reserves Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday as it is assigned for that day in both Year A and Year C of the RCL. Oddly, it is not a cinch to see how Psalm 8 fits a Trinitarian theme but since in Year B we are getting this psalm…


Isaiah 40:1-11

Advent began last week with a lament filled with longing for the coming of God (Isaiah 64).  On this Second Sunday of Advent, the mood changes dramatically with the Good News that God is coming soon. That shift of mood parallels the radical shift between Isaiah 39 and Isaiah 40.  Even the most casual reader…


Romans 15:4-13

I didn’t have much money when I was in college.  So I tried to drive as far on a tank of gas as I could.  As a result, I ran out of gas in the middle of the night twice … in the space of less than a month.  Each time I called my relatively…


Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

The word “faith” conjures up a variety of images.  Twenty-first century Western culture often seems to think of faith as belief that has no objective basis.  One of the Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definitions of faith is “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”  From that perspective, one might have faith that, for…


John 14:1-14

In the flow of John’s Gospel, what we see in John 14 takes place before the crucifixion.  Yet in the Year A Lectionary we read this a month after Good Friday and in the Eastertide season.  So what do we see here in John 14 that is startlingly instructive?   As we will note, the disciples…


1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23

The wonder of grace.  That is what this brief passage is all about.  At the end of these verses Paul once again loops back to previously sounded themes about the wisdom of the world versus the apparent foolishness of the cross.  He also hits for a third time the silliness of the Corinthians in balkanizing…


1 Corinthians 3:1-9

“We have the mind of Christ.”  That was Paul’s amazing, lyric, profound final word in what we now call 1 Corinthians 2.  It is this mindset alone, Paul claims, that allows us to see in the cross of Christ something other than a complete and senseless dead end.  The cross is wisdom, not folly, but…


2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

Among the things Jesus and Paul made eminently clear in the New Testament is the idea that disciples of Christ are not supposed to run around wild-eyed about the return of Jesus and the end of history as we’ve known it.  Don’t panic, Jesus said.  Don’t be deceived that this thing happened in secret somewhere…