Written Sermons

Read the written versions of Dr. Mosser's Sermons below. 

Watch the sermon videos online. 

Click the links to view sermons from 2020 | 2021

Follow along with the texts in the Lectionary Calendar here.

  • During World War II, a vile man named Schmidt was a Nazi work camp guard in Poland. The cruel Schmidt was well-suited to oversee poor Jews well enough to work in German factories. Schmidt too was a Jew, although he had always paraded his non-observance and disrespect for Judaism. Yet this lack of respect for Judaism earned him a conspicuous position with the Nazi’s Third Reich. Read the full text.

  • The lesson last Sunday was the “Parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge.” This parable portrays a judge who, as Luke puts it, “neither fears God nor regards people.” This is an indifferent judge in the worst sense of the word. In Luke’s parable, the persistent widow, represents the voiceless, and had no clout in Israel’s justice system. Yet she refuses to retreat. Luke tells us that she continued to wear down the judge. Finally, the judge relents and gives the widow her justice. Read the full text.

  • The parable of the Unjust Judge is unique to Luke’s Gospel. As in most parables, the language is highly condensed and the meaning open. The two characters in this parable are a widow and a judge. About the widow we learn only that she sought “justice against [her] opponent” (v. 3) and was persistent in seeking it. Yet, Luke describes the judge as “unjust” [or unfair] (v. 6). This characterization is due either to his delay in responding to the widow’s appeal (v. 4a) or the charge that he “neither feared God nor had respect for people” (vv. 2 and 4b). Concern for widows (and orphans) is common in Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Read the full text. 

  • We live in a world today in which many decry the general incivility of our fellow citizens. William Bennett writes about the slide in moral values and Miss Manners may be one of our nation’s most pungent social critics. Although when we call her a social critic, it has a decidedly non-sociological meaning to it. People shoot other people on our urban freeways and more than one person has come to blows over something as insignificant as a parking place in front of the local grocery store. Read the full text. 

  • We observe World Communion Sunday on the first Sunday in October. This Sabbath day calls the Church to be the universal, inclusive Church. First observed by Presbyterians in 1936, the Federal Council of Churches adopted it in 1940. Shortly thereafter the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches observed the day. Read the full text. 

  • Who are these characters? Let me introduce you to each of these in turn. First, behind the high wall is the “rich man.” As Jesus tells the story he does not even have a name—he is just “rich-man.” He is set apart from other people in several ways and has read the book Dress for Success because he “was dressed in purple and fine linen.” Not only did he dress well; he also ate well. Read the full text. 

  • There is an anecdote about Henry Ford who conceived the automobile assembly line and who was visiting his family’s ancestral village in Ireland. Two trustees of the local hospital learned he was there, and managed to get in to see him. They talked Ford into giving the hospital five thousand dollars (this was the 1930s, and five thousand dollars was a great deal of money). The next morning, at breakfast, Ford opened the daily newspaper to read the banner headline: “American Millionaire Gives Fifty Thousand to Local Hospital.” Read the full text. 

  • Mark Twain once famously wrote: “Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.” Our lesson is certainly familiar to people who have spent time in the church. Yet, I hope it is not a basis for contempt. On occasion, it is good to review truths that we know so well that we tend to forget them. Our lesson narrates Jesus’ two parables: the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In fact, there is a third parable, the parable of the lost son, that completes the set in Luke 15. Read the full text. 

  • First of all, we might best begin by clearing up a small historical and linguistic detail between the time that Luke wrote his Gospel and today. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” When Jesus says this, he is using the rhetorical technique of hyperbole. Many New Testament parables use hyperbole. Read the full text. 

  • Sometimes a person trying to help another accidentally instills a sense of shame in the other. When people do us a favor, sometimes we feel as if we do not deserve it or perhaps, we feel a sense of others devaluing us—however unintended. Thus, as we explore Luke 14, we ask: “How can we offer Christian hospitality and at the same time allow receivers a defense of pride?” Read the full text. 

  • In Jesus’ healing of the infirmed woman, he demonstrates a trait of being a citizen in God’s realm. Jesus not only heals her, but also calls her a “daughter of Abraham.” This label suggests that she is a full member of Jewish society—remarkable. Luke’s Jesus constantly reminds us that God’s realm includes all: women and the unwell/infirmed. Read the full text.

  • Some folks might call this lesson “The Hospitality of Jesus.” Yet after exploring the text we might call it instead: “The Hostility of Jesus!” Today’s lesson is Luke 12:49-56. The context according to Luke is Jesus’ arrival that opens the New Age. This is what the Messiah brings—a new world and a new way of life. That Jesus should usher in this new kind of living should not surprise us. Read the full text. 

  • No one likes to wait. Yet, life offers us much which is simply about waiting. Since it has now happened to us, we watch news reports during winter ice storms when thousands of people spend time waiting for clear weather to move toward their destinations. They rarely look happy. And yet nobody can remain indefinitely on the alert. Read the full text. 

  • My nun friend, Carol Norén, points out that Robert Bellah’s Habits of the Heart, describes an attitude that the hero (or anti-hero) of our Bible story possessed. Bellah labels the attitude as “Sheila-ism.” Sheila was a woman in one of Bellah’s sociological case studies who acknowledged no external point of reference in spiritual or moral matters. She believed in “my own little voice . . . just try to love yourself and be gentle with yourself. You know, I guess, take care of each other.” Read the full text.

  • Of all the questions that Jesus’ disciples asked, it is of interest that among them would be: “Lord, teach us to pray” After all, as religious types we believe prayer arrives part and parcel with faith. Yet from numerous biblical citations regarding prayer there must have certainly been much unease and confusion about prayer and its essential nature. Thus, when Jesus teaches the disciples what to say as they pray, among the directives is the phrase “forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.” Read the full text.

  • When we invite someone over to watch a movie, then it is best if we provide a movie to watch. Likewise, when you ask someone over to taste some fine barbeque ribs, then you better have the cooker cranked up. When Martha welcomed Jesus into her home for dinner, she offered to Jesus and his disciples an implied contractual obligation to provide a meal—and, as many of you know, cooking a meal takes real work. Read the full text.

  • Everyone loves a good story. Perhaps this is a reason that Jesus’ stories never seem to lose their luster. We know that good stories have good characters. Characters are what Americans identify with when we see films or read books or watch television. Many times, when the medium that has arrested our attention does its best creative work, it captures us and helps us identify with a particular character. Read the full text. 

  • Luke is a masterful writer. He is also responsible for the largest contribution by a single author to the New Testament. Of course, Paul wrote more distinctive New Testament books than any other individual. By sheer volume, however, Luke is the clear winner. With twenty-four chapters in the Gospel, and twenty-eight chapters in The Acts of the Apostles, Luke has given the church a large gift of witness. We are indebted to Luke, however, for not just his quantity. We are indebted to Luke because he knows how to tell a story. Read the full text. 

  • In the Transfiguration account Peter, John, and James have seen Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus “of his departure [exodus], which Jesus was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (9:31). Now Jesus approaches the time when he will be “taken up.” That is, after crucifixion and resurrection Jesus will ascend to God’s glory. Jesus purposefully travels to Jerusalem where his appointment with his divine destiny occurs. He sends “messengers” ahead to arrange food and lodging. Read the full text. 

  • Our morning’s lesson offers us a basic biblical insight—so obvious that we often neglect to think about it. Professor Richard Rohrbaugh puts it this way: We must begin, therefore, with a plain fact we have rarely allowed ourselves to acknowledge: no biblical writer had modern Americans in mind when he wrote. The converse is likewise true: all too few Americans have ancient Palestinian peasants in mind when they read the Bible. Read the full text.

  • How would you like it if the preacher began a sermon by saying the equivalent of what Jesus does when he addresses the disciples? Do you remember Jesus saying: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now?” In other words, “I want to tell you some things that are crucial to faith, but you are not able to understand such complicated notions that are over your head.” Most of us would say, to just about anyone except Jesus: “Oh yeah—well same to you!”Read the full text. 

  • The day of Pentecost has finally come. The story before us today is from Acts. Acts is about mission and about proclaiming the good news to all people everywhere. The day of Pentecost is about the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift is similar to many things that happen to us. Among these gifts are the love of parents, the respect of neighbors or teachers, and the joy and happiness we receive in life. Read the full text. 

  • Acts 16:16-24 offers us the story of an exploited young woman. Plainly, she was a gifted slave because Luke writes that she “had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.” Not only was she a proverbial “cash cow,” but she also annoyed Paul by her peculiar behavior. She followed the apostles as they preached. Within hearing distance, she shouted, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” What may have been irritating behavior was also true. Paul did proclaim the way of salvation. Read the full text.

  • In our Long-Range Planning group, we discussed the topic: “How do we raise awareness of our church in the Salado community?” One way we do this is by our outreach ministries—the Samaritan visitors, yard sign ministry, the Wednesday night friendship meal, Wild Game Dinner, I-35 Thanksgiving meal and the like. It is safe to say that our church has the longest and most loving arms of any community church. Not bragging, just stating a fact: we do more ministry than anyone in Salado. Read the full text. 

  • I love confirmation Sunday because it is a day when a group of young folks take a step toward becoming full disciples of Jesus. This is a day when we as a church recognize your profession of faith. This is a day when the older members of the household of faith recognize each of you as our peer in the faith. Read the full text.

  • When we focus on the season of Easter, we might ask one another to “Be the change.” Another way to say it might be that we ask each other to live into our membership vows. As people join the church, we ask them to pledge loyalty “to Christ through the United Methodist Church by their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.” We affirm that all of us have as our first loyalty Christ, and that living out that loyalty through our church brings great joy and matchless privilege. Read the full text.

  • Change is both over and under-rated. Those who blow the trumpet for change, praising a persistent state of flux, see life as a man I once read about. This particular gentleman from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself years ago in a large city. There he saw an elevator for the first time. He watched as an older, weary-looking woman hobble onto the elevator, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father directed his youngest child: “Junior, go get your mother.” Read the full text. 

  • When I was a front-line manager in a previous job, I once had a boss who seemed to literally think that no one except for the person she was talking to had ears. This caused her to constantly say things that were inappropriate for the context she was in. I remember once we had just had a particularly tense meeting with our higher ups about not meeting our facilities goals and the financial impact of that situation. When I got back to my desk, which was open to my whole team who sat around me in an open floor plan, she loudly said, “Can you believe how bad we’re doing? I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re all fired before the end of the year!” and just casually walked away before I could reply. Read the full text. 

  • This Sunday we are studying what is probably one of the most familiar parables of Jesus. It’s most popular title “The Prodigal Son” has even become a part of our popular vocabulary; almost everyone knows what a “prodigal son” is. But I honestly don’t like that title because it puts the focus on the younger son, when the real focus of the story, is found in verse 11, “there was a man who had two sons.” So, I rather like the title I saw in a commentary: “The Parable of the Loving Father”.  With this new title in mind providing us a different perspective on the story, let us dive in. Read the full text. 

  • You might not be able to tell it from my writing, but I was a Communication/Public Relations major in college, which meant I took several journalism classes. In one of my classes, we spent several weeks learning how to write a good headline. We all wanted to avoid ending up on Jay Leno’s “Headlines” bit on the Tonight Show, with something ridiculous like “Missippi’s literacy program shows improvement”, or “Federal agents raid gun shop, Find Weapons” or “Committee appoints committee to appoint committee.” (I’m pretty sure this last one had something to do with church…). Read the full text.

  • During the sermon a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I didn’t own any camouflage clothes to wear to support our wild game dinner. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the outdoors, though. It just means I don’t want to blend in with my environment, because that would be a negative for my favorite outdoor activity: hiking. I especially love hiking in the mountains. There is something about the clean air, the trees and majestic views that speaks to my soul like they few things can. However, mountains do come with something I don’t like: bears. Read the full text. 

  • My hometown mascot was the “Red Devil.” Everywhere you looked in town, there were pictures of devils of various types. They were on our book covers at school. They were on the football ribbons everyone wanted to wear on Fridays. At pep rallies and football games, there was a cute Devil handing out candy to kids. Before football games, local ministers would pray for “the safety of the devils on the field tonight.” You can imagine that this created a lot of confusion in a young kid growing up in a Christian home. I wanted candy at the pep rallies, but I was taught to be scared of the devil! Isn’t that how he gets you? Read the full text. 

  • I’m not much of a fan of horror movies, but every once in a while, I hear about one that actually sounds like it might be interesting, like back in 1999 when The Blair Witch Project came out. I have to admit the clever marketing of the movie appearing to be real events hooked me in even though I knew it wasn’t real. And…I have to admit I found the movie pretty scary! I was the first of my friend group at work to see it and of course, told everyone as much as I could about the experience without spoiling the plot. I was really excited for the weekend that several of my friends went to see it because now we could finally discuss it. Read the full text. 

  • I remember very clearly the first time my parents thought I was old enough to watch my little sister while they went to the grocery store. I was given all the usual lectures about being the responsible older sibling and after agreeing to do my best, my parents headed out for the next half hour. My sister had a set of child size cleaning tools that included a couple of mops. I, being a big Star Wars nerd, used them for lightsaber fights with my sister. My parents didn’t like our “creative” use of the mops, so of course, as soon as they left, out came the mops and the sword fight began. Read the full text. 

  • I was raised by two parents that were quite the penny pinchers. My grandparents were children during the Great Depression so they passed a lot of the sense of scarcity on to my parents who then (attempted) to pass it on to me. My parents watched every cent that came through our house. I remember them balking at buying me Hot Wheels toy cars because they were too expensive! I had to do with Matchbox toy cars instead, which at the time were a cheap version of Hot Wheels. Read the full text. 

  • One of the things I love most about Central Texas is the water. I know that some of you probably are thinking, “What water?” if you are from Minnesota or Florida or Washington, but for a West Texan, this is a lot of water. There are TWO lakes within 10 miles of my house and at least TWO rivers! While I just enjoy hiking around the water, many people enjoy using our waterways for fishing. I am not much of a fisherman myself; there’s not much fishing to be had in the Permian Basin! However, I do know from observation that fisherman love to talk about the biggest fish they have caught or the “one that got away”. Read the full text. 

  • Have you ever experienced that moment that you realize that someone is not who you thought they were? Sometimes that’s a good surprise, like when you get to know someone better and they become a great friend. Sometimes it’s a terrible moment of betrayal, when someone who you trusted or loved turns their back on you. This is a common human experience for many reasons. Read the full text. 

  • Do you remember the first time you went back to your high school after graduation? Many people come back to see how the school and the people are doing without them, usually sometime after the first year they are “out in the world.” I remember the first time I went back to my high school after I had graduated. It was at Thanksgiving break my freshman year at SMU. What surprised me was that no one seemed too surprised to see me. Read the full text. 

  • At first, I was going to do my best to avoid preaching over this Scripture, but the more I read about it, prayed about it, and thought about it, the more God just would not let it go. There is just so much here to consider, contemplate, and learn. You see, having grown up Southern Baptist, this miracle makes me a tad bit uncomfortable, because, well, it involves alcohol, and even an extremely-ex Southern Baptist like me gets a little nervous to be talking about wine from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. Read the full text.

  • We just got out of the biggest consumer season of the year at Christmas, but advertisers are never done with us. But have you noticed the shift? We went from jewelry, cars, and iphones to gym memberships, diet plans, and Peloton. Marketers often turn to our fears and expectations to get us to buy, buy, buy and the new year is no different. (no offense to any advertisers or marketers out there…but you know it’s true…) Read the full text. 

  • Our lesson this morning, Epiphany Sunday, comes from Matthew’s Gospel and is the only place in our Bible where we read about the visit of the Three Wise Men or the Magi, who were astrologers from the East. What motivated them to take this perilous journey seems illogical and murky, but it is the stuff of a wonderful John J. Hopkins hymn, “We Three Kings” and pageantry galore. Read the full text.