First Baptist Church of La Crosse, Wisconsin
First Baptist Church of
La Crosse, Wisconsin
1209 Main Street
La Crosse, WI
(608) 782-6553


A Drama in Three Acts (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:36-42; Matthew 28:16-20)

This morning we have already witnessed an enacted sermon in the Christian ordinance of Believer’s Baptism. Most everyone here today is aware that Baptists perform baptisms in ways that differ significantly from many churches: Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic just to name a few. I remember sitting at a joint worship service of theological schools and listening to the president of a nearby seminary speak. He began, in the fashion that many have been taught, by making a few jokes. As it happens, since he was among Baptists, he decided to joke about baptism, and the obvious differences.… Continue reading

Family Snapshots: a Healing Community (Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-18; John 10:11-18)

Family Snapshots: a Healing Community (Ps. 23; 1 Jn. 3:16-18; Jn. 10:11-18)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd,” as almost everyone that’s been near a Christian church knows. I both grew up in a church and worshiped in another for many years that featured beautiful stained glass windows featuring artists’ conceptions of this saying. It’s always been a favourite of mine. In the background that Jesus (and John, who tells this story) would have shared with their hearers and readers were the many “shepherd passages” in the Old Testament, found from Genesis (“Jacob blessed “The God before whom my… Continue reading

Family Snapshots: A Neighbourly Community (Isaiah 58:6-9a; Colossians 3:1-4; Mark 2:18-22)

Although we are in the season of Easter, I have chosen a Gospel text that is set in the pre-Easter ministry of Jesus. In my doing so, I want to remind us, once again, that, although most of the Gospel stories are set in the time before Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of them were written and published after these events. The entirety of the written Gospels were read or heard by communities of faith that lived, as you and I do, after Easter. So the Gospels tell the story of Jesus to those who know how the story came… Continue reading

Family Snapshots: A Caring Community (Psalm 133; Acts 4:32-35; John 17:20-24)

The Sunday after Easter (technically called the Second Sunday of Easter) is usually a bit of a let-down. We showed off all the lilies and heard the wonderful anthems that our choir sang, and heard words about the Resurrection of Jesus. But that was last Sunday. How do we go back to more ordinary things today? Well, the fact is, we really don’t, or aren’t intended to, at least The Easter Season runs fifty days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost (pentekosta is the Greek word for “fifty”). During this period the Revised Common Lectionary gives us a reading each week… Continue reading

…For They Were Afraid…(Isaiah 43:1-3a; Acts 10:34-43; Mark 16:1-8) EASTER

Today we have used an age-old Easter greeting and response: “Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed!” And, though it is true, we also proclaim that this resurrection was not Jesus’ own act, as if he rose up all by himself. Jesus’ resurrection is primarily God’s act; an act that vindicated Jesus’ life and death. In the Gospel Lesson this morning the young man who spoke to the women at the tomb did not say that “Jesus rose from the dead.” He said, “He has been raised.” He means “raised by God, as Peter made abundantly clear in his sermon… Continue reading

Who Is This? (Isaiah 50:4-9; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 11:1-11)

For those of us who have put in some years inside most any church, today’s Gospel story is familiar. It occurs in all four Gospels, and we read one version of it every year on this day. We recognize it readily: the procession, the palms, the “hosanna’s” are things that I have either heard preached or preached myself for most of my life. Baptists tend to be better at Palm Sunday and Easter than we are at Lent or Good Friday. I’ve engaged in ecumenical dialogues on this where it’s been suggested that Baptists don’t have an adequate theology of… Continue reading

Living into New Things (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Revelation 21:1-5; John 12:20-33)

As I looked back three years to see what was happening the last time these readings from the Lectionary came up, I discovered that Maxine and I had just been through the death and funeral of Maxine’s sister Betty’s husband Dennis. Most everyone here knows that Maxine’s sister Mary died and was buried just over a week ago. In addition last Sunday night Maxine and I attended the closing of my home church in Eau Claire – the place I came to faith, the place I was baptized, the place I will always picture in my mind and heart when… Continue reading

There Are No Words (Numbers 21:4-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21)

I want to begin today by explaining the sermon title, which is a line from the 19th Psalm with which we began today’s worship. The Psalm sings about God’s communication with humankind. In the last part of the Psalm, God speaks through the Torah, which is not just a written word, but the teaching that accompanies it from God through faithful people. I hope we participate in being a channel of God’s speech each Sunday. At the beginning of the Psalm, however, God communicates by the wonder of the creation, which shares its wonder and intricacy without words. There are… Continue reading

Following Faithfully (Genesis 17:1-8,15-16; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38)

There’s a wonderful sentence that begins Hebrews chapter 11: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It is the witness of both the Hebrew and Christian faiths that the unseen world – God and all that God implies in the life of this seen world – is completely and wholly a reality, though unseen. Our faith is the inner and outer assurance and conviction that this is so, even though others may doubt it (and so may we from time to time). In order to think or talk about our faith we… Continue reading

Being Read By the Story (Genesis 9:8-17; Mark 1:9-15)

This past Wednesday, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, was Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. I remind you, almost annually, that Lent is the time we prepare for Easter by reflecting on how we’re doing spiritually. It is more than that, however, since it centres on the Gospel stories of the journey Jesus took to Easter. It’s important to remember that one of the greatest practical and, if you will, marketing difficulties for the earliest Christians had to do with the fact that the founder of their movement had been rejected by the powerful among his people,… Continue reading