Morton Presbyterian Church

Morton Presbyterian Church
Sermons from Morton Presbyterian Church, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Even When: Sermon on Psalm 23 and John 10:1-15
May 10 • 6 min
Our life-giving Shepherd is with us even when we travel through the darkest valleys.
Ordinary and Holy: Sermon on Luke 24:13-35
May 3 • 9 min
The risen Christ makes his loving presence known among ordinary people in ordinary situations, like walking and talking together, and sitting down to a meal.
Probing Questions: Sermon on John 20:19-31
Apr 26 • 11 min
To move into the future with Jesus it is critical to ask probing questions.
Lockdown: Sermon on John 20:19-23
Apr 19 • 8 min
No barrier can stop the risen Christ. He comes wherever fearful, overwhelmed people are and gives them the peace of his presence, the breath of new life, and the call to continue his life and work.
While It Is Still Night: Easter Meditation on John 20:1-18
Apr 15 • 7 min
While it is still dark God is already up and doing the work of resurrection.
Squeezing Water From a Rock: Sermon on Exodus 17:1-7
Mar 22 • 6 min
This pandemic season is a wilderness journey of uncertain duration, and our fears are many: fear about the sickness itself, fear for loved ones, fear that there won’t be enough of needed resources, financial fears, and more. As they struggled with…
Making Deals with the Devil: Sermon on Matthew 4:1-11
Mar 1 • 15 min
When the church seeks the power of the state to accomplish its goals, however good they may be, the church is in danger of making deals with the devil.
The Sunlight of His Face: Sermon on Matthew 17:1-9.
Feb 25 • 13 min
Thanks be to God for those precious times when heaven and earth touch, and we glimpse God’s big picture in the shining face of Christ.
The Road Less Traveled: Sermon on Matthew 5 and Joshua 24
Feb 21 • 12 min
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus sets before us the less-traveled way of God. We must choose whether or not to walk in it.
Where Heaven and Earth Connect: Sermon on John 1:42-51 and Genesis 28:10-19.
Feb 12 • 13 min
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream. He is the connecting point between heaven and earth. He is the place where time and eternity intersect.
What We Have Seen: Sermon on John 1:35-51
Feb 2 • 13 min
Inviting others to come and see Jesus is simply about telling what we have seen.
Behold the Lamb of God: Sermon on John 1:29-42
Jan 28 • 13 min
Christ is the Passover Lamb whose life, death, and resurrection delivers liberation to the cosmos.
Come and Converse. Sermon on John 1:29-42
Jan 21 • 15 min
Jesus models the way to invite people into his company.
Powerful Gentleness: Sermon on Isaiah 42:1-9 and Matthew 3:13-17
Jan 12 • 9 min
Jesus’ first act of ministry was to go down to the river where the sinners were, and get in the water with them. Christ continues to pursue justice and righteousness in the gentle, yet persistent way of the servant in Isaiah 42.
A Christmas Vision: Sermon on Matthew 2 and Revelation 12
Jan 12 • 10 min
The vision of the dragon in Revelation 12 points to the shadow in the Christmas story: evil operating through agents like Herod, aiming to destroy the child and the child’s siblings. Its agents are still at work, but Christ’s people take the way of the…
An Investment in Hope: Sermon on Jeremiah 32:1-15
Nov 11, 2019 • 13 min
Jeremiah bought a field that he would never be able to use as a sign of hope. It was an investment in God’s future.
Our Assignment: Sermon on Jeremiah 29:1-11
Nov 3, 2019 • 14 min
God calls us to seek the wellbeing of the communities in which God has placed us.
God Sees: Sermon on Luke 13:10-17 and Exodus 3
Sep 24, 2019 • 11 min
God lifts up those who are bowed down.
You’re In God’s Plans! Sermon on Jeremiah 1:4-10.
Sep 1, 2019 • 11 min
There is no one who is too young, too old, or too anything to take part in what God’s doing in this world.
Long-Term Care: Sermon on Luke 10:25-37
Aug 6, 2019 • 12 min
Neighbors require long-term care.
What is the Most Important Thing? Sermon on Luke 10:38-42
Aug 6, 2019 • 12 min
Love is the heart of both service and contemplation.
Holy Fieldwork: Sermon on Luke 9:57-10:12
Jul 14, 2019 • 11 min
Jesus sees a great harvest of people to be drawn into the Reign of God. He calls his followers out into the field.
The Abundant Table: Sermon on Luke 9:1-17
Jul 7, 2019 • 10 min
God truly does make cups overflow with wine, and baskets overflow with bread.
Standing Against the Chaos: Sermon on Luke 8:22-39
Jun 30, 2019 • 16 min
Jesus says “No!” to the forces of chaos.
Jesus Is Touched: Sermon on Luke 7:11-17
Jun 23, 2019 • 14 min
When Jesus saw the grieving widow, he was touched to the core with compassion.
A Family of Dreamers: Sermon on Acts 2:1-17.
Jun 23, 2019 • 11 min
When the Holy Spirit of God gets into people, they start dreaming God’s dreams.
Unexpected Faith: Sermon on Luke 7:1-10
Jun 4, 2019 • 16 min
Jesus appreciates faith and the fruits of faith wherever he finds them.
A New Understanding: Sermon on Acts 11:1-18
May 19, 2019 • 14 min
So that the good news of Jesus could spread, Peter and the early church needed to come to a new understanding of God’s relationship with Gentiles.
Necessary Questions: Sermon on John 20:19-31.
May 5, 2019 • 13 min
Being willing to ask questions like Thomas leads us to deeper faith.
And It Was Morning: Easter Sermon on John 20:1-18
Apr 21, 2019 • 9 min
God’s work of resurrection begins in the night.
The Hand on the Table. Communion Sermon on Luke 22:14-34.
Apr 15, 2019 • 6 min
Many guilty hands are on the Lord’s table, but so is his nail-scarred hand, offering us the gifts of his body and lifeblood.
A Fragrant Offering: Sermon on John 11:38-12:11
Apr 12, 2019 • 12 min
Mary’s Offering foreshadowed the one Jesus was about to make.
RSVP: Sermon on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.
Mar 31, 2019 • 13 min
Will the church choose the welcoming way of inclusion, or the pious way of exclusion?
A Call to Repentance: Sermon on Luke 13:1-9
Mar 26, 2019 • 14 min
Jesus calls us to stop speculating about what wrongs others may or may not have done and turn our attention to examining ourselves.
Feeling Our Way Forward. Sermon on Luke 4:1-13 and Exodus 32:1-8.
Jan 20, 2019 • 19 min
For the people of God there are no shortcuts to the Promised Land.
A Case Study in Repentance: Sermon on Luke 3:1-20
Dec 17, 2018 • 12 min
Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” provides a case study in repentance.
Now is the Time to Stand Up! Sermon on Luke 21:25-36.
Dec 2, 2018 • 11 min
When we see what is happening in the world around us, Jesus calls us to stand up. Now is the time to stand up for Jesus and with Jesus. Now is the time to stand up for what Jesus stands for, and for the people Jesus stands for.
True Religion: Sermon on Mark 7:1-23 and James 1:17-27.
Sep 2, 2018 • 14 min
True religion is not a matter of how pious we appear on the outside. It is what is in the heart. It is known in what comes out of the heart, and especially in compassion for the most vulnerable.
Come Away and Rest: Sermon on Mark 6:6b-13, 30-32.
Aug 26, 2018 • 11 min
Jesus invites all his disciples to come away and rest a while.
Lord, Where Else Can We Go? Sermon on John 6:60-71.
Aug 26, 2018 • 11 min
In times of pain and uncertainty, we can choose to stay with Jesus, the One who has the words of everlasting life.
Cold Anger: A Sermon on Ephesians 4:25-5:2.
Aug 12, 2018 • 16 min
The power of anger transformed becomes the power of compassion, the power to act creatively and constructively, and the power to persevere in seeking justice.
Rooted and Grounded in Love: Sermon on Ephesians 3:14-21.
Aug 5, 2018 • 14 min
The infinite love of God is the root of life itself, of our lives, of our life together, and of our faith and how we practice it.
The True Bread: Sermon on John 6:24-35.
Jul 31, 2018 • 13 min
Jesus offers us more than a living. Jesus offers us a life.
A Haunting: Sermon on Mark 6:6b-34.
Jul 20, 2018 • 10 min
The Herods and Pilates of this world cannot stop God
Front Porch Church: Sermon on Mark 1:29-39.
Jul 20, 2018 • 14 min
You shall love your neighbor, and your neighborhood.
The Life-giving Spirit: Sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14 and John 20:19-22.
May 22, 2018 • 13 min
God’s Holy God’s Holy Spirit is the breath of life. The Spirit is the power behind hopes and dreams.
Hands and Feet and Heaven: Sermon on Luke 24:36-53.
May 13, 2018 • 9 min
Christ ascended has taken our life into the heart of God, and calls us to take the life of God into our hearts and live it out here.
A Society of Friends: Sermon on John 15:9-17
May 9, 2018 • 15 min
Jesus creates a society of friends who embody his love to a hurting world.
The Master Gardener: Sermon on John 15:1-11 and Isaiah 5:1-7.
Apr 29, 2018 • 15 min
God is a constant, active, attentive gardener who tends to the vine, Christ, and his branches with love.
The Lord is Our Shepherd…and Theirs: Sermon on John 10:11-18 and Psalm 23.
Apr 22, 2018 • 13 min
Jesus is our Good Shepherd, but we are not his only sheep.
Because God Loved Us First: Sermon on 1 John 4:19 and Mark 10:13-16.
Apr 1, 2018 • 5 min
We love because God loves us first.
Unless a Grain Falls…Sermon on John 12:12-32.
Mar 18, 2018 • 14 min
To produce a harvest of new life, a seed must die to life in its present form. This is the way of Jesus and those who want to follow him.
A Faithful Father: Sermon on Mark 9:14-29.
Feb 20, 2018 • 14 min
When evil spirits seem to rule the day, we can follow the anguished father’s example of raw prayer: I believe! Help my unbelief!
A Moment of Clarity: Sermon on Mark 9:2-9.
Feb 11, 2018 • 14 min
When the going gets tough, and opposition, stress, and struggle wear us down, it is time to ask Jesus to show us the big picture again.
A Bigger Circle: Sermon on Mark 1:29-39.
Feb 11, 2018 • 11 min
The church, the members of Peter’s household, are called to care for the home folks, but also to push the boundaries, sharing the good news with others.
It’s Urgent! Sermon on Mark 1:14-20
Jan 28, 2018 • 7 min
Jesus calls us to turn to the Kingdom of God, to trust in the good news, and to live the good news, following him.
The Beginning of the Good News of Jesus: Sermon on Mark 1:1-11.
Jan 18, 2018 • 8 min
In the Gospel of Mark our first glimpse of Jesus is not as an infant in a manger, but as a grown man striding deliberately through the wilderness to the Jordan River to join sinners in the waters of baptism. Sinners and all people on the edge were his…
The Vineyard Revisited: Sermon on Matthew 21:28-46 and Isaiah 5:1-7.
Nov 2, 2017 • 14 min
God’s goal is good fruit: justice and righteousness for everyone. As coworkers with God that needs to be our goal, too.
Amazing Offending Grace: Sermon in Matthew 20:1-16.
Nov 2, 2017 • 12 min
Whether we come early or late, in God’s kingdom we still end up in the same wonderful place at Jesus’ side.
The Lesson of a Little Child: Sermon on Matthew 18:1-14.
Oct 18, 2017 • 13 min
Jesus calls his disciples to aspire to the way of humility instead of the way of greatness as the world defines it.
Flame Rekindled: Sermon on Exodus 3 and 4
Oct 8, 2017 • 14 min
God reunited Moses’ old passion for justice.
The King’s Table: Sermon on 2 Samuel 9 and Luke 15:1-2.
Oct 3, 2017 • 8 min
Our king, Jesus, welcomes you to eat his his table always.
The Midwives of Israel: Sermon on Exodus 1:1-2:10 and Matthew 16:21-26.
Sep 21, 2017 • 13 min
Like the brave women who defied Pharaoh, followers of Jesus put their lives on the line for others.
With Us Everywhere: Sermon on Matthew 14:22-33 and Isaiah 43:1-4
Sep 13, 2017 • 13 min
When Jesus’ disciples are in trouble on the water, Jesus plunges into the middle of the chaos. He takes the direct route to them through the stormy sea. He fulfills the promise of Isaiah 43: “When you go through the waters, I will be with you; when…
YOU Give Them Something to Eat! Sermon on Matthew 14:13-21
Sep 3, 2017 • 11 min
Why do we persist in thinking that the little something we have to offer is nothing? Like the five pieces of bread and two fish that in Jesus’s hands became enough to feed many hungry people, in Jesus’s hands what we have to offer becomes enough to…
Walking Humbly: Sermon on Genesis 32:22-31, with allusions to Micah 6:8.
Aug 27, 2017 • 16 min
Up until the wrestling match with the mysterious being at the Jabbok River, Jacob strutted through life, grabbing what he wanted. In the darkness, however, this being grabbed Jacob, touched him in a vulnerable spot, and left him walking much more…
The Unwanted One: Sermon on Genesis 29:15-35
Aug 20, 2017 • 15 min
Jacob’s family was a mess. Yet God chose to work out God’s purposes in this very flawed family. God still chooses to work through flawed, sinful, weak, messy people, messy families, and messy churches. In this particular story, Leah, the wife that…
In a Hard Place: Sermon on Genesis 28:10-19a and John 1:43-51.
Aug 13, 2017 • 12 min
A joyous mountaintop is not the only place where heaven and earth touch, and God makes God’s presence known. Heaven and earth also touch in the rocky wilderness, where God comes in the dead of night, in a time of great struggle and uncertainty. This…
It’s Unstoppable! Sermon on Matthew 13:31-33 and Isaiah 55:6-13.
Jul 30, 2017 • 13 min
Like a weed that can’t be eradicated, like yeast that won’t stop fermenting until it has permeated the whole lump of dough, like the word of God that never returns empty, God’s reign is unstoppable. We can be unstoppable citizens of that reign.
Weedeaters: Sermon on Matthew 13:24-30.
Jul 23, 2017 • 12 min
A weedy field is an apt way to describe the messy mix of life together. As in Jesus’ parable, it is tempting to try to eliminate the weeds, but that can’t be done without devastating collateral damage. Only God can sort out the mess, the good from the…
A Farmer’s Perseverance: Sermon on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.
Jul 17, 2017 • 13 min
There will be a harvest. That is the promise of the parable of the seed and the soils. Though large amounts of seed seem wasted, some fall on fertile ground, germinate, take root, and bring forth an amazing harvest. The farmer’s labor is not in vain….
The Beloved Community: Sermon on Acts 2:42-47 and 4:33-37.
Jul 9, 2017 • 14 min
Through his loving Spirit, Jesus creates the beloved community of his friends, who love one another and the world as he does. Those in the beloved community have a profound regard for each other’s wellbeing, and for the wellbeing of all people. All…
Agents of Healing: Sermon on Matthew 9:35-10:8 and Acts 3:1-10
Jul 2, 2017 • 12 min
Jesus sends his disciples out to be agents of healing. We really can make a difference for others. We have the call, the authority, and the power to help ease pain, to support and help people to cope, and even to prevent some forms of suffering. The…
Together at the Table: Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:17-29
Jul 2, 2017 • 9 min
What does Paul mean by “discerning the body” in communion? He reminds the church at Corinth and us that holy communion unites us not only with Christ himself, but also with all the members of his body. To practice the sacrament in a worthy way, we…
Come Join God’s Circle: Trinity Sunday Sermon on John 14 and John 17, selected verses.
Jun 11, 2017 • 14 min
The very nature of God is living love, flowing from one person of the Trinity to the others and back again. This love is so great that it flows out to create a universe, and welcomes all creation into the circle of love. There is a place for each one…
What Baptism Means: The Wind, The Fire, and The Water. Pentecost Sermon on Acts 2:1-21
Jun 4, 2017 • 8 min
Like the outpouring of wind and fire at Pentecost, the outpouring of water in baptism points to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit washes over us like waves of water engulfing us. God’s Spirit moves like a powerful wind, blowing all…
What Baptism Means: Get the World Wet. Sermon on Matthew 28:16-20
May 28, 2017 • 13 min
The call to baptize in Matthew 28 is more than an instruction on how to perform a baptism ceremony. It is a call to the baptized to pour out the blessings of baptism on all people so they can experience how good God is. Jesus sends the church out to…
Homesickness. Sermon on John 14:1-20, 25-27
May 21, 2017 • 11 min
Jesus is our way, our truth, and our life, but he is also our home. We are safe at home with Jesus in life, and in death, and in the life to come.
What Baptism Means: Godparents and Godgrandparents. Sermon on 2 Timothy 1:1-8
May 14, 2017 • 14 min
Jesus’ followers of all ages need spiritual parents and grandparents to nurture and support us on the journey of faith. In the service of baptism we promise to do this for one another.
What Baptism Means: Living Water. Sermon on John 4:1-30.
May 7, 2017 • 14 min
Rain may stop. Springs may fail, and wells and rivers may dry up. But the living water of Jesus flows on and on through our lives into eternity.
What Baptism Means: Healing Waters. Sermon on 2 Kings 5:1-15a
May 2, 2017 • 9 min
Just as God drew Naaman down to the healing waters, God draws us to the waters of baptism. Baptism points to the healing waters of God that flow into and through our lives, washing away guilt, soothing our wounds, comforting our aching hearts, and…
What Baptism Means: Dying and Rising with Christ. Sermon on Romans 6:1-12.
Apr 24, 2017 • 12 min
Baptism signifies dying with Christ and rising to new life with Christ. We die to sin and death. No longer are we slaves to sin and death. Now Christ Jesus is our Lord. If we die with Christ, we shall also live with Christ. We are in and with…
What Baptism Means: Babes in Arms. Sermon on John 3:1-10 and Mark 10:13-16.
Apr 24, 2017 • 8 min
No matter what our age, no matter how much we know or understand, no matter how many good things we do, salvation is God’s gracious gift to us. God loves us before we are able to love God back. To participate in God’s kingdom, we must be as little…
The Easter Earthquake: Sermon on Matthew 27:50-28:20
Apr 16, 2017 • 13 min
Easter shakes everything up. When the risen Christ is around, outsiders don’t stay outsiders, the sick don’t stay sick, and the dead don’t stay dead. The earth quakes, and the powers of oppression tremble in fear. But the poor, and those who are hurt…
What Baptism Means: You Belong. Sermon on Acts 8:26-39, Galatians 3:26-29, Genesis 17:1-12a
Mar 26, 2017 • 13 min
Baptism is a visible sign that you belong to Christ and to the body of Christ, where all are welcome, all are united in him, and all are equal in him. This is good news for everyone, but especially for those like the Ethiopian man, a eunuch, who have…
What Baptism Means: Bathed in Forgiveness. Sermon on Psalm 51, Romans 7:14-20, Acts 22:3-16
Mar 21, 2017 • 15 min
The sign of baptism reassures us that God’s forgiveness is real. As water washes away dirt, so God washes away sin. When the joy of salvation eludes us, we can remember our baptism and the loving God who baptized us. What baptism meant for Paul,…
What Baptism Means: You Are My Beloved. Sermon on Mark 1:1-13.
Mar 21, 2017 • 10 min
The first thing to know about baptism is that it is a gift of God’s love. Just as God did when Jesus was baptized, God announces, “You are my child, my beloved. I am pleased with you.” We are baptized with Christ, and Christ is baptized with us.
I Choose Love: Sermon on Matthew 5:38-48 and Ephesians 4:22-24, 31-5:2
Mar 21, 2017 • 12 min
Jesus said that it’s not enough to love family and friends and others who are easy to love and who love us back. The real test of love is to love even an enemy, which is what God does all the time.
Little Lights and Pinches of Salt
Feb 19, 2017 • 12 min
Can the little we are able to do really make a difference? According to Jesus it can. According to Jesus, we are salt and light. A little light can be seen from far away, and a pinch of salt goes a long way.
Upside Down Kingdom: Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
Feb 19, 2017 • 13 min
Who are the truly blessed? According to Jesus it’s not the winners of this world, but the poor and poor in spirit, the gentle, those who mourn, who ache for justice, and who get in trouble for their witness. The wisdom and way of the kingdom of heaven…
A Deeper Righteousness: Sermon on Matthew 5:17-37
Feb 19, 2017 • 13 min
Jesus declares that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. Does that mean we must out-Pharisee the Pharisees? Does that mean we must police every thought as well as every action? Well, no. Jesus is aiming at something deeper.
Kingdom Arriving Now: Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23 and Isaiah 9:1-7
Jan 31, 2017 • 12 min
Not long after Jesus rejected the devil’s offer of all the power and wealth of this world’s kingdoms, Jesus heard that Herod Antipas had arrested John the Baptist. Jesus chose this dangerous time to begin preaching the arrival of the kingdom of heaven….
Eyes on Jesus: Sermon on John 1:29-42
Jan 22, 2017 • 8 min
In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ first disciples come to Jesus when John the Baptist points Jesus out to them. They turn their eyes to Jesus and start following. Jesus is on his way somewhere in this story, and the disciples have to follow along to see…
You Are Worth It: Sermon on John 1:1-18
Jan 19, 2017 • 10 min
One wondrous thing about the incarnation is that God truly wanted to come to us. In God’s eyes this world is worth it, this life is worth it, and each person is worth it. You are worth it. The sermon includes a summary of a short story entitled “The…
Little Bethlehem: Christmas Sermon on Luke 2 and Matthew 2
Dec 27, 2016 • 9 min
About three miles southeast of Bethlehem, King Herod built a fabulous palace in top of a human-made hill. He called it the Herodium after himself. King Jesus was born down below in Bethlehem.
Someone Else’s Child: Sermon on Matthew 1:18-25
Dec 27, 2016 • 13 min
Those who would follow Jesus are called to make the same kind of persevering commitment that Joseph made when he was asked to take responsibility for the Christ Child. Sometimes that means we are literally called to care about and care for other…
The Desert Shall Blossom: Sermon on Isaiah 35 and Matthew 11:2-11
Dec 11, 2016 • 12 min
New life blossoms wherever Jesus goes.
Prepare for Arrival: Sermon on Matthew 3:1-12 and Isaiah 11:1-9
Dec 4, 2016 • 12 min
It’s time for an Advent visit with the prophet John the Baptist. According to him, those who want to meet the king and participate in the kingdom so beautifully anticipated in Isaiah 11 must repent. Dickens’ story of Ebenezer Scrooge is a parable of…
Studying Peace: Sermon on Isaiah 2:1-5
Nov 27, 2016 • 15 min
The prophet Isaiah points out that if people can study war, we can also study peace. We can learn from God, the supreme practitioner and teacher of peace. These lessons are urgently needed in our divided nation and world.
Jesus, Remember Me: Sermon on Luke 23:33-43
Nov 20, 2016 • 9 min
Sermon for Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday. It may seem odd to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus as Advent and Christmas approach. However, the sign placed above his head does read “This is the king…”.
Eye to Eye With Jesus: Sermon on Luke 19:1-10
Nov 13, 2016 • 14 min
Jesus saw Zacchaeus through gracious, loving, merciful eyes. Without exception, that is how Jesus sees everyone. The loving light in Jesus’ eyes is at the heart of the gospel story, and it is at the heart of our life’s story.
Just Don’t Go There! Sermon on Luke 18:9-14
Nov 6, 2016 • 13 min
A sermon on Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.