Pastor Tommy's Written Sermons

You can access Pastor Tommy's past sermons from 2023 here.

  • So, here we are, our third week in this series on prayer. And I’ve got a question for y’all. What do you do when you pray? What do your prayers look like? For a lot of us, our prayers pretty much boil down to asking God for stuff. Asking God for things like health and peace and joy for ourselves and others. And this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a vital part of prayer, and Paul’s going to be talking with y’all about it next week. Read the full text. 

  • I’ve got to tell you. The story behind this scripture is one of the most fascinating stories in the whole Bible. Here’s the background: Elijah is THE preeminent prophet of his time, maybe the greatest of all the Israelite prophets after Moses. And he spent most of his time prophesying against maybe the worst of Israel’s kings, which is saying a lot. King Ahab had rejected God and insisted that his people worship the pagan got Baal. But as bad as Ahab was, his wife Jezebel was even worse. She not only rejected God, but she set out to kill ALL of the prophets of the one true God. Read the full text. 

  • Why pray? It’s a pretty common question. This is the first week in a new sermon series that will take us through the next 5 weeks, called “Lord, teach us to PRAY.” Like our last series, it’s based roughly on a really good book, “How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People,” by Pete Grieg. Now, that whole “normal people” thing may be assuming some facts not in evidence, but I’m willing to give most of y’all the benefit of the doubt. And if you want to go deeper in your prayer life, I really recommend this book. Read the full text. 

  •, all these years later, I remember that day like it was yesterday. That was the day the world changed. Thinking back, it’s funny how it all started. I was a fisherman. My brother, father and I had just finished a good morning’s fishing and as we sat in our boat mending our nets, this guy walks up to us. On the outside he looked like most anyone else, but he had a sort of magnetism, a sort of power about him. He looked at me like he was looking into my soul and said to my brother and I, “Come, follow me.” Read the full text. 

  • Jesus had a friend to save. Lazarus was one of Jesus’ very closest friends, maybe even closer than some of the apostles. And so, when Jesus heard that he was sick, you might think he would immediately pack up and hurry to Lazarus’ side. His friend was sick. He might even die. Jesus needed to hurry. But no. He waited 2 days. It makes no sense. Read the full text. 

  • The apostle Paul was a really, really interesting guy. He was born a Roman citizen, which was pretty unusual for a Jew. As a result, he was entitled to substantial privileges and position. He studied under Gamaliel, probably the most famous and influential Rabbi of the day. By the standards of his culture, he pretty much had it made. Read the full text. 

  • There they were. Free … and in the middle of nowhere. For as long as they could remember, the Israelites had been Egyptian slaves. They were born slaves. Their parents had been slaves. Their grandparents had been slaves. Their lives consisted of being told, moment by moment, what to do, when to do it, and how fast to do it. The concept of freedom was completely foreign to them. Read the full text. 

  • Imagine this: You get up in the morning and turn on the TV, or tune in to your favorite news podcast. You make yourself a quick breakfast and hurry out the door. You get in the car, and turn on the radio or maybe another podcast to listen to as you drive. You get to work and turn on the radio or the podcast, or maybe that’s not an option because you have to jump right into 8+ hours of straight work. And as you work, you’re multitasking three or four things at once, in the midst of which, you manage to check your news feed or social media 20-30 times. You eat lunch at your desk while catching up on your podcasts and checking social media...  Read the full text. 

  • If I just had a little more time. How many times have you said that? If I just had a little more time. Now, of course, we know that when we’re asking for more time, we aren’t really asking for more time. I mean, that would be silly right? We know there are only 24 hours in a day and that’s not going to change. No, what we’re really asking for when we’re asking for more time is a suspension of the laws of physics, so we can do all the things on our ever-expanding to-do lists within that 24 hours we’re given. Read the full text. 

  • Peter thought he was set. He was Jesus’ right-hand man. And when Jesus ascended the Jewish throne and kicked the Romans out of the Holy Land, Peter was going to have it made. But then Jesus died. The man who could cure the blind and raise the dead couldn’t figure out a way to escape from the priests and the Romans? Actually, it was more like he hadn’t even tried. It was as if he’d expected or even wanted to die. Read the full text. 

  • In case you happened to miss the kids coming in with the palm branches, this is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. And I’m sure most of you know this, but the reason it’s called Palm Sunday and the reason we wave all those palm branches around is because that’s what the people did on the first Palm Sunday. They came out of Jerusalem to welcome Jesus into town for the annual Passover festival. And the reason they welcomed Jesus with tree branches, and also by laying their cloaks on the ground before him, was that’s the sort of thing you do for a king. Read the full text. 

  • I’m spiritual, just not religious. You’ve heard that, right? I hear it a lot. The Gallup polling company recently released a study on trends in church affiliation and attendance. The study found that while 47% of people in the US say they are religious (which is a 10% drop from 2012), only about 30% attend church regularly. Thirty-three percent of the population say they are spiritual but not religious, which is a 3% increase from 1999. And 18% say they are neither spiritual nor religious, more than twice as many as in 1999. Read the full text. 

  • It was time to pack up. Kirsten and the kids and I had spent the morning saying goodbye to a piece of property we used to own out around Ballinger. I loaded the last items into the back of our suburban, closed the door, and started to walk away. Then I heard it. A clicking sound, as if the suburban had locked itself. Of course, that’s crazy, right? Cars don’t lock themselves. Well, actually, this one did … with our keys inside. Read the full text. 

  • This is the third Sunday of Lent, and this Lent, we are studying the Apostles’ Creed. As I mentioned last week, the Creed is organized along the lines of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Last week we talked about God the Father, so this week, we’re going to talk about Jesus, God’s only Son. Read the full text.

  • The Creed we just professed begins with, “I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” But come on now, does God really exist? Now, up until about 300-400 years ago, that would have been a ridiculous question. Everyone just assumed there was a God, or gods. All you had to do was look outside at the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Or just contemplate the beauty and complexity of a leaf or a lion or a human being; the incredibly intricate interdependence of all living things. Read the full text. 

  • What does it mean to believe? It’s not as easy to answer as you might think. For one thing, there are different types or belief. I might believe it’s going to rain today. Or, I might believe, correctly as it turns out, that ice cream is the greatest food ever created, followed closely by pizza and bacon. Or, I might believe we should all be kind to one another. And there are political beliefs, which I’d just as soon not get into. Read the full text here. 

  • So, here we are. The last Sunday in our journey towards greater generosity. Pathway to Generosity Sunday. And as we’ve traveled this road, we’ve talked about why we give. We give because we are created in the image of a supremely generous God. When we give, we are simply living into, and simultaneously going deeper into, that identity. We’ve talked about why we give to the church. The church is the body of Christ, Christ’s physical manifestation in the world. Our mission is Christ’s mission: to spread new, abundant, eternal life to everyone; to bless the world. Read the full text. 

  • So, we’re starting to wind up our generosity initiative, Pathways to Generosity. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about why we give. We are generous because God is generous; He loves us so much He gave His only Son so that we would not have to spend eternity separated from him. And we were created in the image of that generosity. Then, last week, we talked about why we give to the church. We give to the church because we as the church are the body of Christ. Our mission is his mission: to spread new, abundant, eternal life across the world—to multiply followers of Jesus and, in the process, multiply God’s blessings for those in need of comfort, healing, food, shelter, and justice. Read the full text. 

  • Last Sunday we talked about why giving is a vital component of our spiritual growth. We worship a giving and generous God. In fact, we were created in the image of a giving and generous God. So, when we are generous, we are living into our true identity. And, what’s more, we become a beacon of hope for those around us who are struggling to make sense of life in a culture that’s all about selfishness. Read the full text. 

  • No one likes stewardship campaigns. I know y’all don’t like them because I’ve been where you’re sitting. Some of y’all may not give at all, or just a little bit, and you resent being made to feel guilty about it. Been there. On the other hand, some of you DO give regularly. You see the value in supporting the mission and ministry of this church. But you might resent the fact that we’re taking 4 weeks away from “real” preaching and teaching to talk about money, or you might just not like the church being all up in your financial business. Again, been there, done that. Read the full text.

  • When Pastor Tommy asked me to come and preach here this morning, he shared with me that part of the focus for Salado UMC this new year will be around community and the fact that when we participate in intentional and deep community with other followers of Jesus we find a framework that supports us as we grow as disciples of Jesus Christ and then encourages us to go out from our community and invite others to come and see who Jesus is and what he can do in their lives. So, I began to think about and pray over what God might want me to share with you this morning about community. And what kept catching my attention was the phrase everything in common. Read the full text. 

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  • When I was growing up, my folks had one of those old-style 8 mm movie cameras. They would shoot footage of Christmases and birthdays and other special events as we kids grew up. Not too long ago we got most of that footage onto DVDs and I had a chance to relive all those old times with my grandparents, my mom, my dad, siblings and friends. Such great memories. Read the full text.