Identifying a Christian – April 24, 2016 – Pastor Al


John 13:31-35

April 24, 2016


Two men from the United States were riding on a train in Britain. English trains have compartments where six or seven people can be seated. In the compartment with these two men was a very distinguished looking gentleman. The two Americans were quietly discussing this gentleman between themselves.

In a very low tone one of them said, “I would wager money that he is the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The other man said, “I don’t think so. I’ll take that bet.”

So the first man approached the gentleman and said, “Sir, would you mind telling us, are you the Archbishop of Canterbury?” (more…)

Oh, God – April 17, 2016


Revelation 7:9, 14b-17

April 17, 2016


Some of you will remember a couple of humorous films a few years ago in which the late comedian George Burns played God. Oh, God, parts I and II, were not great movies, but they did allow us to reflect on what God might really be like.

A pastor was trying to explain to a child about God. The pastor said, “God is everywhere!”

“Everywhere?” asked the little boy.

“Everywhere!” said the pastor.

The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.”

“Yes, I know,” said the mother.

“You mean he is even in the cupboard?”

“Yes,” said the mother.

“In the refrigerator–even when we close the door and the light goes out?” the little boy asked in amazement. (more…)

Big Fish Story – April 10, 2016


John 21:1-14



According to the book Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Thomas McClure of Detroit, Michigan, has an interesting hobby. Mr. McClure has developed a method for hypnotizing fish. Ripley’s doesn’t give any more details on the story than that. Thomas McClure hypnotizes fish. There are so many unanswered questions to this story. How does one go about hypnotizing a fish? Do you wave a watch over a pond and declare, “You’re getting sleepy, Mr. Catfish, you’re getting very sleepy.” And more importantly, WHY would anyone want to hypnotize a fish? What greater purpose does it serve? And how can you tell if the fish is really hypnotized or not?

It sounds like a pretty big fish story to me. It’s bad enough that fishermen have such a reputation for, shall we say, exaggeration? (more…)

Panic Room – April 3, 2016


John 20:19-31

April 3, 2016


The title of today’s sermon, “Panic Room,” has nothing to do with the IRS forms some of you still have at home, waiting to mail. Surely you have your papers in order. However, the title of my sermon is about fear.

In 1947 Vladimir Zenchenkov, a government accounting clerk in Russia, returned home from a night of drinking to discover that he had misplaced 400 ration cards owned by his boss.

This was not a good thing. Ration cards were a prized commodity in postwar Russia. With Siberia beckoning, Mrs. Zenchenkov advised her husband to make himself scarce. The next day she told his coworkers that he had run off with another woman. For the next 22 years, according to the newspaper reports, the terrified Zenchenkov never once left his house. (more…)

Resurrection – Easter Sunday – March 27, 2016


1 Cor 15:19-26/Luke 24:1-12

Easter Sunday

March 27, 2016


A priest found a branch of a thorn tree twisted around so that it resembled a crown of thorns. Thinking it a symbol of the crucifixion, he placed it on the altar in his chapel on Good Friday. Early on Easter morning he remembered what he had done. Feeling it was not appropriate for Easter Sunday, he hurried into the church to clear it away before the congregation came. But when he went into the church, he found the thorn branches blossoming with beautiful roses.

Welcome to this celebration of Easter day. The thorns of Good Friday have blossomed into the roses of resurrection. Christ the Lord is risen.

Pastor Cameron Smith tells a wonderful story. It is about the only white person in the state of Georgia buried in a cemetery reserved exclusively for African-Americans. This man had lost his mother when he was just a baby. His father, who never married again, hired a black woman named Mandy to help raise his son. She was a Christian woman who took her task seriously. Seldom has a motherless boy received such warmhearted attention. One of his earliest memories was of Mandy bending tenderly over him in his upstairs bedroom at the beginning of each day and softly saying, “Wake up–God’s morning is come.” (more…)

A Song of Victory – Easter Sunrise Service – March 27, 2016


Psalm 118:14-24


There is an old story about a man and his wife who lived in a remote section of southern Appalachia. One day the woman found at their door a little leaflet left there by a traveling evangelist. In the leaflet there was a prediction about the end of the world. Greatly disturbed, the woman said to her husband, “John, it says here that God’s going to destroy the world.” “So, what,” drawled her husband. “It’s his’n ain’t it?” (more…)