Sermons

This Is a Wilderness Road

 

A Sermon for Covenant
This Is a Wilderness Road
Acts 8:26-39
Covenant Baptist Church
May 3, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

Our story begins, “Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.)”

Let’s pause there and note what the narrator notes—this is a wilderness road. My Bible places that sentence in parenthesis, but I don’t believe this detail is a parenthetical at all. This detail is our first indication that something strange and holy is about to happen.

In the Bible things happen in the wilderness. People go there and get tempted and tried, they go there by divine inspiration, they go there to fast and to pray, they end up miraculously fed, they end up baptized—think the Israelites or Elijah, John the Baptist or Jesus—the wilderness is where things happen. The wilderness nearly always represents a time of testing and trial. Read more →

Big God, Small God, Bold Speech, Bad Speech

 

A Sermon for Covenant
Big God, Small God, Bold Speech, Bad Speech
Acts 4:13-31
Covenant Baptist Church
April 12, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

We have probably all known someone who claimed to speak for God. They said they had a word from the Lord, or a message from the Holy Spirit, but what they chose to say was misguided or untrue or harmful.

Sometimes us sensible folks have decided to leave God out of it. We recognize how dangerous it is to slap God’s name on something that may turn out to be our own feeble opinion or stubborn prejudice. What we thought was the Spirit of God stirring in our bellies may actually be self-righteous indignation that we share out loud just to relieve our own angst. Or we might try to “tell the truth in love” only to realize later we used the name of God to justify our own need to try and control someone else’s behavior.

Once you realize how easy it is to mess up words, especially God-words, you might suddenly get a little shy about talking religion.  For me, learning how to use my voice to speak of God has been hard. I have to dig pretty deep and wrestle lot of confusion and ask many questions before I discover a truthful nugget worth saying. And even as I am saying it, I doubt whether it was the thing to say or whether I should have said that other thing, or whether I should say nothing at all and finally become a Quaker, where the speaking expectations are low. Read more →

Leaping Through the Beautiful Gate by Kate Bean

 

“Leaping Through the Beautiful Gate”
Acts 3:1-12, 16
Covenant Baptist Church
April 19, 2015
Kate Bean

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

The view from his vantage point wasn’t much to speak of. Dust. Dirty feet. Piles of animal manure. A life spent on the ground. A person created in the image of God, spent his entire life literally being looked down upon.

It’s no wonder at all that our introduction to this man paints him as daily being brought to the Beautiful Gate. Scholars still debate where this gate actually was, because no other sources refer to a gate by this name. Many have accepted claim that it must be the Nicanor gate, a gate that was described as having exquisite craftsmanship, cast in bronze. Read more →

Generous Spirit

 

“Generous Spirit of the Resurrected Community”
Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133
Covenant Baptist Church
April 12, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

Today’s psalm reading says, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.”

Eugene Peterson translates the psalm this way: “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!”

Anne Lamott says things slightly differently, reminding us, “Families are hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived.” She ways, “Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.” Read more →

Love Stronger Than Death

 

“Love Stronger Than Death”
John 20:11-18
Easter Sunday, Covenant Baptist Church
April 5, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

They call me a woman with a past—some speculate I was a prostitute, some gave me worse names than that. The truth is . . .

The truth is, my past is a long, long story. They say by my mid-twenties I’d acquired seven demons which is more than most people acquire in a lifetime. Different people define demons in different ways but the point is, whatever your biggest wound is, whatever your worst grief, whatever your most difficult struggle—I’ve suffered a similar one, plus another six, each as egregious as the last. The Scriptures never say that I was a sinner or a woman of the night—those labels came from rumor and hearsay. But the demons—whatever more modern name you might give them—those were real. I don’t say this to be dramatic or ask for sympathy. I only say it so you’ll know what I mean when I tell you I was healed. Read more →

Cry Hosanna

 

A Sermon for Covenant
Cry Hosanna
Matthew 11:1-11; 14:1-2
Covenant Baptist Church
March 29, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

Just before he was killed, there was this moment in time where he was praised and applauded, and the people loved him. Well okay, not everyone loved him. But lots of ordinary people did. Not so much the clergy. Not so much the political leaders. But the people loved him, which makes you wonder where they were a few days later where then the other cries and shouts began, the ones that said, “Crucify! Crucify!” Makes you wonder how popular opinion changed so fast, how the song they were singing turned to screech, how the words of one week could be such a far cry from the words of the next. Read more →

Mercy Not Sacrifice

 

“Mercy Not Sacrifice”
Matthew 9:1-13
Covenant Baptist Church
March 22, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

In the novel, Silence, a priest from Portugal travels to Japan as a missionary during a time of great persecution of Christians in that country.[1] Throughout the novel, Christians all over the country face torture and even death, and all throughout the novel, Christ is silent. God is silent. A few Christians lose their courage and apostatize. Many of them stay resolute and do not recant their faith. All the while, God says nothing to the priest. There seems to be no comfort, no deliverance, but the priest remains faithful.

At the end of the novel, the priest himself has been captured. He is told he must apostatize, not only to spare his own life, but to spare the lives of three other Christians—peasants who have already recanted their faith, but are still being tortured while the priest decides whether to recant and thereby spare their lives or refuse to recant and watch them die. All through the night, he can hear their moans as they hang over a pit, blood slowly dripping from the slit behind their ears where they have been cut. It is a gruesome scene. Read more →

Love One Another

 

“Love One Another”
John 13:34-35
Covenant Baptist Church
March 15, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

Love is a life-long lesson, a never-ending mystery, and a consistent challenge, so Jesus says, “Follow me. I’ll show you.”

This new command to love another follows on the heels of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. “Love one another” is not just a pretty little free-floating line. The words “Just as I have loved you” connect the abstract idea of love quite solidly to Jesus’ own concrete acts. God has demonstrated for us what love is, what love looks like in real actions. It seems to me God perhaps has more reason to hate, to condemn, and to lash out than anyone else; after all, it was God who created this human race to be a communion of saints and then had to watch one-by-one as we have fallen instead into a bloodbath of destruction and division. Yet despite this horrifying disappointment, God gets down on God’s knees, takes up a pitcher, a basin, a towel, reaches for your stinky feet and demonstrates that love is still possible. Read more →

Judge Not

 

“Judge Not”
Matthew 7:1-5
Covenant Baptist Church
March 8, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

This year during the season of Lent, we’re looking at Jesus, and we’re not just looking at Jesus and what he has done for us. We are looking at Jesus and what he has done for others, and what it would mean for our relationships with others if we were to follow him.

Today Jesus says that short but difficult line, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged,” and I think it’s important to note not only that Jesus said this with his words, but that with his life, he was always disappointing people as judge. The people wanted a God who would judge they way they did, and they did not get that kind of God. Read more →

Love Your Enemies

 

“Love Your Enemies”
Matthew 5:38-48
Covenant Baptist Church
March 1, 2015
Kyndall Rae Rothaus

(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)

Refuse to retaliate.
I do not think I have to convince you
this is the Jesus Way to live
amidst this broken-up world of strife.
You already know vengeance does not belong to you;
you already know it
that Jesus says to love
even your enemy.

Read more →