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Ron Lavin

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Adult study


Prohibitions And Invitations In The First Commandment -- Exodus 20:1-2 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
The oldest problem in the world is idolatry. Idolatry is older than adultery.
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Tenth Commandment -- Exodus 20:17b -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
Some time ago I was preaching a sermon on covetousness, referencing the Tenth Commandment.
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Eleventh Commandment -- Mark 12:28-34a -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
The most important Commandment of all is to love God more than anything else and love our neighbors
Life Begins At Forty -- Acts 7:30-34 (NRSV) -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
The context for God giving the Ten Commandments to the Hebrews is their forty year journey in
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Second Commandment -- Exodus 20:7 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
If you are a Christian, you were baptized "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Third Commandment -- Exodus 20:8 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
"What's so special about your Sabbath day?" a young man asked his girlfriend.
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Fourth Commandment -- Exodus 20:12 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
The first table of the Law (Commandments One through Three) deals with our relationship with God.
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Fifth Commandment -- Exodus 20:13 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
The Fifth Commandment speaks against murder.
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Sixth Commandment -- Exodus 20:14 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
There are many misunderstandings of adultery in our society.
Prohibititions And Invitations In The Seventh Commandment -- Exodus 20:15 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
A man once sent an unsigned letter to the Internal Revenue Service with no return address.
Prohibition And Invitations In The Eighth Commandment -- Exodus 20:16, Matthew 7:1-5 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
Martin Luther says that the meaning of the Eighth Commandment is:
Prohibitions And Invitations In The Ninth Commandment -- Exodus 20:17a -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
Thomas Aquinas once observed: "We were created so that we would love people and use things.
Foundations -- Deuteronomy 5:1, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Matthew 5:17-18 -- Ron Lavin -- 2005
An expert on the Jewish Law once tried to challenge Jesus and trick him.
That The Next Generation Might Know -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
He (God) decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our for
The Bread Of Life -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
From Attractive Distractions To Singing God's Steadfast Love -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfuln
When The World Oppresses You -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
My Protector -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say t
Sing To The Lord A New Song -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm ha
Your Word Is A Lamp For My Feet -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
I Will Lift Up My Eyes To The Hills -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?
I Wait For The Lord -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the LORD more than
When God Seems Far Away -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
Lord, you have searched me out and known me. -- Psalm 139:1, RSV
Fearfully And Wonderfully Made -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
The High And The Holy One Delivers Help And Hope -- Ron Lavin -- 2000
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.

Bible Study


I Believe; Help My Unbelief -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Immediately after his transfiguration, Jesus came down from the mountain and was faced with a proble
Hebrew Thinking And The Question Of The Trinity -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
As a parish pastor, one of the questions I was frequently asked was, "How can God be one and yet thr
I Believe In God The Father Almighty -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Is the world really ruled by a loving Father as we confess in the Apostles' Creed or is this notion
I Believe In God The Father Almighty, Creator Of Heaven And Earth -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
In the last chapter we looked at the amazing personal relationship we have with the heavenly Father.
I Believe In Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Imagine that you are a first-century Christian.
He Was Conceived By The Power Of The Holy Spirit And Born Of The Virgin Mary -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
The emphasis on the tension between the divinity and the humanity of Jesus continues as we look at t
He Suffered Under Pontius Pilate -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Let me begin this chapter on Jesus, the Suffering Servant, with the story of a French Bishop.
He Was Crucified, Died, And Was Buried -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
In this short phrase from the second article of the Apostles' Creed, we enter into the heart of dark
He Descended Into Hell -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
In this phrase we meet a tough challenge. What does the descent into hell mean?
On The Third Day He Rose Again From The Dead -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
In the last chapter we looked at the descent to the place of the dead based on two obscure Bible ver
He Ascended Into Heaven, And Is Seated At The Right Hand Of The Father -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
When he had led them out of the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
He Will Come Again To Judge The Living And The Dead -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father
I Believe In The Holy Spirit -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
In a conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus told him (and us) about the work of the mysterious Holy Spir
The Holy Catholic Church, The Communion Of Saints -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
To say, "I believe in the Holy Spirit," means that you believe in the work that this Spirit of God d
The Forgiveness Of Sins -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Some years ago a Ball State University student told me that she did not believe in the Apostles' Cre
The Resurrection Of The Body And The Life Everlasting -- Ron Lavin -- 2001
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Faith Development


Plans For Your Welfare -- Jeremiah 29:11 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Listen to me, you islands;hear this, you distant nations:
The Sacrament And The Prodigal -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.
Grace -- Ephesians 2:4-10 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Grace is freely given to us when we don't deserve it.
Hope -- Jeremiah 29:11 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
The original context of this passage was the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews.
Your Word Is A Lamp To My Feet -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Oh, how I love your law!I meditate on it all day long.
Saved By The Word -- Romans 10:8b-17 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
In this Bible passage we meet Saint Paul's clear vision of salvation through the word of God.
Not Ashamed Of The Gospel -- Romans 1:16-17 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Grace said, "No, sorry, I can't make it," to Mary Anderson's invitation to come to her house for cof
New Testament Baptism -- Matthew 28:18-20 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
What did Jesus mean when he spoke these words?
Do You Need To Be Baptized -- John 3:5 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Grace Livingstone was nervous about what the pastor would say about the necessity of being baptized.
The Darkness And The Light -- Matthew 4:17, Isaiah 9:2, 1 Corinthians 1:18 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
These four Bible passages point us to the difference between the people of darkness and the people o
Baptized Into His Death -- Romans 6:3-4 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Christ's death and resurrection are intricately interwoven with the death and resurrection of his pe
Old Testament Passover And New Testament Sacrament -- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 -- Ron Lavin -- 2004
Baptism is the first sacrament.



Abba, Your Kingdom Come -- Luke 11:1-13 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 12 | Ordinary Time 17 - C -- 2006
The provoking incident for Jesus teaching his followers what to pray and how to pray is that the apo
You Fool! -- Luke 12:13-21 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 13 | Ordinary Time 18 - C -- 2006
The incident stirring up this text is the request of someone in the crowd who asked Jesus to judge b
Ready Or Not, Here I Come -- Luke 12:32-40 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 14 | Ordinary Time 19 - C -- 2006
When you were a child, did you play the game, "Hide and Go Seek"?
Family Ties And Good-byes -- Luke 12:49-56 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 15 | Ordinary Time 20 - C -- 2006
If ever we needed to strengthen the institution of family, it's today.
Cured Cripples And Crabby Critics -- Luke 13:10-17 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 16 | Ordinary Time 21 - C -- 2006
Have you ever been crippled by something that happened to you?
Only The Lonely -- Luke 14:1, 7-14 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22 - C -- 2006
There are three words I hope you will take home from church today.
Counting The Cost Of Discipleship -- Luke 14:25-33 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 18 | Ordinary Time 23 - C -- 2006
The best thing to say to a pastor after you hear a sermon that moves you is not, "That was a good se
Only The Lost And The Least -- Luke 15:1-10 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24 - C -- 2006
A woman approached her pastor with a question: "Where is the lost and found department in our church
Welcome, Rich And Poor -- Luke 16:19-31 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26 - C -- 2006
Can you name some disillusioned people you've met in life?
Faithquakes -- Luke 17:5-10 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27 - C -- 2006
A woman who went through her first earthquake in California said, as it was happening, "I think a tr
A Puzzling Parable With A Sharp Point -- Luke 16:1-13 -- Ron Lavin -- Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25 - C -- 2006
A young boy used to describe foods like spinach by saying, "I hate it." His wise mother responded, "
Final Instructions -- Acts 1:1-11 -- Ron Lavin -- Ascension of the Lord - B -- 2005
Final Instructions
Ashes For Remembering -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 -- Ron Lavin -- Ash Wednesday - B -- 2005
Ashes For Remembering
The Author Who Wipes Away Sins -- Acts 3:12-19 -- Ron Lavin -- Third Sunday of Easter - B -- 2005
The Author Who Wipes Away Sins
Salvation In Jesus' Name -- Acts 4:5-12 -- Ron Lavin -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2005
Salvation In Jesus' Name
Yesterday, Today, And Forever -- Acts 8:26-40 -- Ron Lavin -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2005
Yesterday, Today, And Forever
God's Surprises -- Acts 10:44-48 -- Ron Lavin -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - B -- 2005
God's Surprises
Man Proposes; God Disposes -- Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 -- Ron Lavin -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - B -- 2005
Man Proposes; God Disposes
Lord Of All! -- Acts 10:34-43 -- Ron Lavin -- Easter Day - B -- 2005
Lord Of All!
It's All About Jesus -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12 -- Ron Lavin -- Good Friday - B -- 2005
It's All About Jesus
Chocolate Cake, Flooded Waters, And Baptism -- Genesis 9:8-17 -- Ron Lavin -- First Sunday in Lent - B -- 2005
Chocolate Cake, Flooded Waters, And Baptism
What Part Of "You Shall Not" Don't You Understand? -- Exodus 20:1-17 -- Ron Lavin -- Third Sunday in Lent - B -- 2005
What Part Of "You Shall Not" Don't You Understand?
What's New? -- Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- Ron Lavin -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - B -- 2005
What's New?
The Passion Of The Servant Leader -- Isaiah 50:4-9a -- Ron Lavin -- Passion Sunday - B -- 2005
The Passion Of The Servant Leader
A Funeral For "I Can'ts" -- Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 -- Ron Lavin -- Second Sunday in Lent - B -- 2005
A Funeral For "I Can'ts"



Reborn As God's Children -- Hosea 1:2-10, Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19), Luke 11:1-13, Psalm 85 -- Frank R. Fisher, Ron Lavin -- Proper 12 | Ordinary Time 17 - C -- 2007
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Reborn As God's Children" by Frank R. Fisher
Seek The Welfare Of The City -- Luke 17:11-19, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, Psalm 66:1-12 -- Frank R. Fisher, Ron Lavin -- Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28 - C -- 2007
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Seek the Welfare of the City" by Frank Fisher
Have You Seen Any Eskimos Lately? -- Matthew 2:13-23, Hebrews 2:10-18, Isaiah 63:7-9, Psalm 148 -- Ron Lavin, Fanny Lee Seville -- First Sunday after Christmas Day - A -- 2007
Contents What's Up This Week
Va-Va-Voom -- John 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10 -- C. David Mckirachan, Ron Lavin -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Va-Va-Voom" by C. David McKirachan
Doing A New Thing -- Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8, Psalm 119:9-16 -- Frank R. Fisher, Ron Lavin -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Doing a New Thing" by Frank Fisher
Smokin'! -- John 14:8-17 (25-27), Romans 8:14-17, Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b -- Frank R. Fisher, Gregory L. Tolle, Ron Lavin -- Day of Pentecost - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Smokin'!" by Frank R. Fisher
The Good Little Girl -- John 21:1-19, Revelation 5:11-14, Acts 9:1-6 (7-20), Psalm 30 -- Scott Dalgarno, Ron Lavin, John E. Sumwalt -- Third Sunday of Easter - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "The Good Little Girl" by Scott Dalgarno
Comfortable Clothes -- Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a), 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99 -- John S. Smylie, Frank R. Fisher, Ron Lavin -- Transfiguration Sunday - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Transforming Light" by John Smylie
Ashes For Remembering -- Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a), 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99 -- John S. Smylie, Frank R. Fisher, Ron Lavin -- Ash Wednesday - C
ContentsWhat's Up This Week "Transforming Light" by John Smylie
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160+ – Illustrations / Stories
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Proper 23 | OT 28 | Pent 18
26 – Sermons
150+ – Illustrations / Stories
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30 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Dean Feldmeyer
Thomas Willadsen
Katy Stenta
Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
George Reed
Quantisha Mason-Doll
For October 2, 2022:


John Jamison
Object: A printed copy of the job description that is included with this week’s message. (Download here.)

* * *

Hello, everyone! (Let them respond.) I have another story for you today. Are you ready? (Let them respond.) Great!

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Coffin
All of today’s texts address times along the faith journey where a mature faith is helpful. Modern examples include a church which has just completed a major building project. The ribbon cutting celebration is in the past. It is time to make payments to the creditors. Also, there are maintenance and upkeep costs along with knowing the state will be making inspection visits to assure building safety standards remain current.
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Mark Ellingsen
Lamentations 1:1-6; 3:19-26
John Calvin well describes the distress and doubt which this lesson depicts:

...for there is nothing more difficult for men than to preserve their minds in a state of peace and tranquility, undisturbed by any disquieting fears, whilst they are in this world, which is subject to many changes. (Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol.V/1, p. 18)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Alice loved ballet. She'd been given a ballet video for her birthday, and she spent hours watching it. When she'd been attending ballet classes for three weeks, she announced to the assembled family that she was going to be a ballet dancer when she grew up.

Alice's mother and father exchanged meaningful glances. "Ballet means a lot of hard work," warned her father.


John S. Smylie
David O. Bales
What's Up This Week
"Where Have All the Churches Gone?" by John Smylie
"Caught Not Taught" by John Smylie
"Oh, Mulberries!" by David Bales

Note: This installment was originally published in 2007.

* * * * * * * * *

Where Have All the Churches Gone?
By John Smylie
Lamentations 1:1-6


David E. Leininger
A couple of years ago, a fascinating book by Mitch Albom hit the bestseller lists, Tuesdays with Morrie. The author had learned that his old teacher was slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, and after an absence of many years, the two reconnected and began to get together every Tuesday. The book shares some of the great lessons that emerged from those weekly conversations. For example:

"Okay, question," I say to Morrie. His bony fingers hold his glasses across his chest, which rises and falls with each labored breath.

"What's the question?" he says.
Carlos Wilton
The little-known book of Lamentations was likely composed in the ashes of Jerusalem, following the Babylonian invasion which carried the leaders of the Jewish community off into exile. It speaks to the concerns of the Jerusalem community for their long-term survival under occupation by a foreign power. While the book's title sounds grim, and its setting is dark, the book is fundamentally life-affirming. It is a testimony to the steadfast love of God that may be discovered through renewed faith, even in troubled times.

Dallas A. Brauninger
1. Text

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" [6] The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
John W. Clarke
In most congregational settings, the name Habakkuk does not bring people to their feet. He is not considered famous biblically speaking, like the more recognized names of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. In point of fact, most people do not know who Habakkuk is or what he did.

Habakkuk was a prophet who undertook to sustain the faith of the nation through one of the most hopeless periods of Hebrew history.
Robert R. Kopp
The Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite movies.

It's about an English teacher named John Keating who returns to his stodgy old alma mater named Welton Academy -- the students call it "Hellton" -- and challenges students to live extraordinary lives.

Mr. Keating tells a few students about a secret organization called The Dead Poets Society.

"The Dead Poets Society," he reveals with eyes aglow, "was a society dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life. That phrase is by Thoreau and was invoked at every meeting."

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