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

Sermons

Everything is New (Josh. 5:9-12; 2 Cor. 5:16-21; Lk. 15:1-3,11b-32)

Last week we looked at the necessity for course corrections in our Christian lives – sometimes in the form of U-Turns, and sometimes not such radical corrections. They are, quite commonly, course corrections to open ourselves up to new ways of seeing and doing things that are more aligned with the values of Jesus and the Good News. And that takes work. But today, our lessons offer us more Good News, and that is, we’re not in this alone. We are constantly the recipients of God’s help through Christ, the Living Word, through the written word of the Bible, and… Continue reading

Make a U-Turn, If Possible (Isa. 55:1-9; 1 Cor. 10:1-13; Lk. 13:1-9)

This is the third Sunday in Lent, and I have tried to think of ways to reflect on the quality of our lives as disciples of Jesus without being depressing, morose, bitter or morbid, and walking around like we’d lost our last friend on earth. And yet, when we do consider some of the things we need to, we can get on kind of a “downer” can’t we? Today’s passages all touch one another in speaking in some way about what we call “repentance.” If you’ve been around the Baptist patch for a while (and some other nearby “patches” are… Continue reading

Risky Living in Hope (Gen. 15:1-12,17-18; Php 3:17-4:1; Lk. 13:31-35)

Just before those famous lines we sang as a call to worship about “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” we can read why their strength needed to be renewed: “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young shall fall exhausted.” In sum, life is hard, so people who would make it through need to wait upon the Lord. That word “to wait,” comes from a word for a line or cord, stretched tight. The verb to wait here means to be “stretched tight, or taut” waiting to see what happens. It is an eager… Continue reading

Risky Living in Hope (Gen. 15:1-12,17-18; Php 3:17-4:1; Lk. 13:31-35)

Just before those famous lines we sang as a call to worship about “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” we can read why their strength needed to be renewed: “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young shall fall exhausted.” In sum, life is hard, so people who would make it through need to wait upon the Lord. That word “to wait,” comes from a word for a line or cord, stretched tight. The verb to wait here means to be “stretched tight, or taut” waiting to see what happens. It is an eager… Continue reading

Encouragement to Discipleship (Dt. 26:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13)

I have never been one who thought of the Lenten season as a time to be morose and brood about sin. Believe it or not, I grew up thinking that Lent in that way was not a part of my Baptist tradition. It was only later that I learned that some Baptists think of very little else than sin – usually someone else’s. Much later I learned that the name “Lent” itself is derived from a Middle English word for “spring,” which, in turn, was derived from the lengthening of daylight hours we begin to experience now. I think that’s… Continue reading

At the Gateway of Lent (Exod. 34:29-35; 2 Cor. 3:12-4:2; Lk. 9:28-36)

Today is the Last Sunday in Epiphany. Epiphany, as we said when we began it, is the season of the church year when we follow the story of how Jesus was shown to be the Messiah and the Saviour of the World. The Last Sunday of Epiphany is traditionally called Transfiguration Sunday. Next week we begin the Lenten Season, when we trace the steps of Jesus to the cross. Light is a key symbol during Epiphany, and Jesus’ transfiguration uses that symbolism extensively, so it’s a fitting climax.

In my own mind, the scripture lessons for today present some obvious… Continue reading

Like the Wideness of the Sea (Jer. 1:4-10; 1 Cor. 13; Lk. 4:21-30)

Our readings for the morning are diverse. We have the story of the “call” of the prophet Jeremiah. We have what many consider to be the high point of Paul’s writing, a hymn, or a poem on the topic of Christian love. And we have (the other half of) Jesus’ sermon in his own hometown synagogue.

As different as these readings are, they are tied together by the fact that they all arise within conflict. Jeremiah was called into the political and social chaos that whirled about the end of the Kingdom of Judah. Jesus conflicted his listeners to the… Continue reading

With Interpretation for Today (Neh. 8:1-3,5-6,8-10; 1 Cor. 12:23-31a; Lk. 4:14-21)

This is the date on which we think about and celebrate our congregation’s birthday, and the day we have our Annual Meeting. Each year on this Sunday I try to have some word that might help us to think about a course through the year ahead. This is the 164th year of our existence as the first organized congregation in the city – actually begun in 1852, before La Crosse was incorporated in 1856. Today we look back with pride and some amazement.

This is also the third Sunday in the Epiphany Season, and an apt time to think about… Continue reading

The Abundant Community (Isa. 62:1-5; 1 Cor. 12:1-11; Jn. 2:1-11)

On the Sunday after Christmas I took some time to unpack that wonderful passage in John 1 about the Word becoming flesh, and suggested to you that, in this act, God decided to be enfleshed, and embedded in the world, joined to it, if you will, in a deep, self-conscious, and spiritual way. On the next Sunday, Mark Stahlhut preached on the same John 1 text and talked about God’s fullness that dwelled in Jesus, from which we have all received. Between that prologue and our Gospel Lesson today, there is material that transitions the focus from God’s work in… Continue reading

Moments of Clarity (Isa. 43:1-7; Acts 8:14-17; Lk. 3:15-17, 21-22)

We live in a confusing world, and many times we are forced to decide what to do with less than a satisfying amount of information or a sense of the implications of our choices. It’s just part of life that, every day, we have to choose one thing or another, one way or another, one action or another. It’s only occasionally that we get clarity about the decisions we make. Life is ambiguous and can come out many different ways. Even our choices seem limited much of the time, but we have to live with those choices nonetheless. As we… Continue reading