Preaching Connection: Holy Spirit

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Movies for Preaching

Tender Mercies (1983) – 1

Tender Mercies (1983). Written by Horton Foote.  Directed by Bruce Beresford. Starring Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, and Wilfred Brimley.  92 Mins.  Rated PG. He’s not necessarily a fellow one wants to hang out with, or even meet.  Robert Duvall’s Mac Sledge, a role for which Duvall won the Academy Award for Best Actor, is an…

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Additional content related to Holy Spirit

Galatians 3:23-29

Occasionally the Revised Common Lectionary’s choice of where to begin and end a Lesson isn’t just puzzling. It’s also downright bewildering. This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson is a case in point. After all, the chasm between verses’ 23-25 and 26-29 may seem to be a kind of grand canyon that has no bridge that crosses it….

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John 16:12-15

You may have heard it said that the Holy Spirit is the “shy one of the Trinity.” The description is meant to denote how the Spirit of Truth always points us to Jesus Christ—as Jesus seemingly describes in our passage today. It seems to me, though, that an unintended consequence of this descriptor is what…

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Romans 5:1-5

A quick glance at the church year’s calendar may make gospel proclaimers’ pulses race. Trinity Sunday has, after all, come again. It may make proclaimers’ palms sweat not just because, as the New Testament scholar Beverly Gaventa to whose commentary I owe a great deal for this commentary, notes, “reference to the Trinity is itself…

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Acts 2:1-21

COVID-19.  Has anything in our experience ever made us think as much about the act of respiration, of breathing, than the global pandemic we have been in for over two years now?  Way back in 2006 I visited Japan.  At that time there was no particular flu bug worrying anyone.  Yet I was struck to…

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Romans 8:14-17

My last surviving parent’s death last year reminded me that inheritance can be complicated. My mom and dad, while never materially wealthy by North American standards, did what they could to ensure that their children as well as worthy causes would inherit something from them. But, of course, so many others also wanted a “piece”…

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Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Sample sermon: You wouldn’t think a wasp could do so much damage. Unless you are allergic to bee and wasp stings, getting stung by these bugs, though briefly painful and annoying, does not generally create any lasting effect or damage. However, about 150 years ago there was one particular kind of wasp that appears to…

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John 14:8-17 (25-27)

The lectionary helps us to focus on the Holy Spirit in this passage by assigning this text to Pentecost Sunday, the Sunday in which we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost we remember and express gratitude for yet another one of God’s promises fulfilled: the promise of a “True Friend” (Dale Bruner’s…

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Acts 16:9-15

How did the Holy Spirit prevent Paul and company from entering into the regions of Asia, as Acts 16 narrates this for us?  Yes, Luke (our narrator) makes clear that the Spirit “prevented” them from going in the direction they were minded to go, but I wonder just how that all worked out.  Should we…

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Acts 11:1-18

Luke is hands-down one of the best writers ever used by the Holy Spirit to compose a portion of Scripture.  His narratives in the first two chapters of his Gospel alone prove as much.  Other examples of narrative wizardry abound in Luke and Acts.  So it is a bit odd in Acts 11 to encounter…

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1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Balkanization is a concept we generally link to the breakdown of countries, regions or even society into various, often competing factions. Careful observers of the 21st century Church, however, also sense balkanization within the Body of Christ. North American Christians who label themselves “evangelical” or “progressive” often view each other with suspicion, if not outright…

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Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

Though the power of Mary’s song always draws my heart’s cry for justice and hope, this year I’m particularly drawn to what we learn about the way of God in the support that Elizabeth offers to Mary. After Mary gives her big “YES” to God’s plan for the salvation of the world, past, present and…

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2 Peter 3:8-15a

We usually think of a “last will and testament” as a dry legal document by which a now-dead person divvies up his or her possessions. Yet we periodically see or hear about a last will and testament that’s really a kind of testament that communicates the deceased person’s final thoughts. Sometimes its words scold family…

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Psalm 122

Psalm 122 is one of fifteen psalms extending from Psalms 120-134, each of which is labeled “A Song of Ascents.”  The sense of that title is that these were pilgrimage songs sung by Israelites as they ascended up to Jerusalem.  Not surprisingly, therefore, the terms “Jerusalem,” “Zion,” and “house of Yahweh” occur with great density…

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Psalm 84:1-7

In the Calvin Seminary Chapel above and behind the pulpit area is a large clear-glass window with a cross in the center.  A few years ago during a May Term preaching class in the chapel, we all noticed that a large Horned Owl had made a nest in the uppermost window pane near the top…

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2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

So here we are at the most intimate, and soul laid bare, part of Paul’s letters to Timothy. In these sermon commentaries, we’ve hinted all along about what Paul reveals in these verses—that he’s at the end of his earthly life, abandoned by fellow ministry partners, waiting on his imminent death. The lectionary selection leaves…

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Acts 2:1-21

We have come to the conclusion of our fifty day celebration of Easter.  It is fascinating to me that our exit from Dr. Luke’s account of the spread of Easter faith is the on ramp to that whole story.  With this Pentecost story, we loop back to where it all began.  Even as Luke tells…

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Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Sample Sermon:  You wouldn’t think a wasp could do so much damage.  Unless you are allergic to bee and wasp stings, getting stung by these bugs, though briefly painful and annoying, does not generally create any lasting effect or damage.  However, about 150 years ago there was one particular kind of wasp that appears to…

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Acts 16:9-15

This first reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter continues to trace the progress of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, as it focuses on an abridged section of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey.  I say “abridged” because the Lectionary starts our reading in mid-paragraph leaving out some crucial historical and theological details found…

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Acts 11:1-18

In this season of Easter, the Lectionary has directed our attention away from the Old Testament readings that are usually the first reading.  Instead we have been following the book of Acts, which traces the new thing God did as a result of the Resurrection of Christ.  That new thing was the spread of the…

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Luke 4:1-13

“He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them, he was hungry.”  Luke 4:2 I’ll say. This curious line in verse 2 is easy to glide past en route to the real drama to come once the devil shows up to woo Jesus to his side.  At best we see this as…

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1 Corinthians 13:1-13

In the more than twenty years that I’ve ministered with and to the church I currently serve, I’ve never preached on 1 Corinthians 13.  Now I remember why.  Not only is it so lovely that it nearly defies description.  It’s also like a figurative lit stick of dynamite.  So I take comfort in the assertion…

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Acts 11:1-18

It’s hard for many of us to imagine Christians getting upset with each other over whom they eat lunch with. So we sometimes assume Peter’s Jewish Christian colleagues were angry with him because he shared the gospel with gentiles. You and I may assume this upset them because they thought of the gospel as belonging…

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