November 25, 2018 — Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

“Treasuring the Past”
We often cherish the past without paying much attention to how it leads us into the future. Given the importance of the past, in this homily we dug into the history of God's people as a way to understand how our past leads us into our future. What we find is that God is at the center of both our past and future; and we see that when we take note of the little things: the seminal places of our lives, the memories we have, and the blessings we offer to our children.

November 11, 2018 — Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

“A Little Help from My Friends”
We are losing our religious vocabulary and one way to reclaim it is to use it. But how? In the story of Jacob's dream, we find a man in need and in his time of need God enters his dream and calls him to slow down, listen, and proclaim what's happened. This is our call, too. And when we live it we begin to reclaim our religious vocabulary — as words like worship, prayer, and proclamation are used with more regularity. (Note: the opening story about pointing north comes from Jonathan Merritt's book, "Learning to Speak God from Scratch.")

October 21, 2018 — Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

“Be Aware”
On Stewardship Dedication Sunday, we explored the story of Abraham and Sarah entertaining angels unaware. In this classic biblical story our attention focused on mimicking Abraham and Sarah's hospitality; there is more to this story than that. On a day when we are invited to share our financial gifts, Rev. Ben invites us to take note that God has given us gifts that we are called to use. Check out this homily to see how God is inviting you to use your gifts.

October 14, 2018 — Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

“The Dance of Fear”
I fear...was the statement we are called to finish today. In this homily, Ben explores where our fears come from and how we attempt to overcome them and the ramifications of our work. What happens when we are called to dance with fear and we can't do it? Or we are too fearful to attempt? Or we attempt to control our fears and create new plans? Using the story of Sarai and Abram who take God's promise into their own hands, Ben explores what happens when we attempt to control fear. Here's a hint: God keeps inviting us to dance!

October 7, 2018 — World Communion Sunday

“An Inventory”
”I want...” I invited the congregation to think about how they'd finish this statement. As we enter the season of stewardship we are called to consider what we can give. And what happens, more often than not, is that the scarcity mentality fills our brains and hearts. Then we read stories of God's abundance. When God takes Abram and Sarai and turns them into the parents of a nation; or when Jesus takes five loaves and two fish and turns them into a meal for 5000. God's abundance always supersedes our scarcity. If you need proof, watch the video of the HMPC children acting out the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 included below.

September 30, 2018 — Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

“Let Us”
The Tower of Babel is a story of beginnings that focusing on the overarching question: What are we doing? The people of this story wondered what they were doing and came up with the idea to build a city, a tower and make a name for themselves — all commenced with the phrase, "Let us." Yet, God unraveled their plan by confusing their language, again with the same phrase, "Let us." Is God a part of your plans when you ask, "What are we doing?" As the Tower of Babel story shares, God wishes to be a part of your plans.

September 23, 2018 — Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

“Blessed are the Cains”
While the famous story of Cain and Abel is about the first murder committed in scripture, it is also about how humanity has responded when we've been punished by God. Cain cries out to God, reminding God that he will be lost without any protection or care. In the process, we see that God welcomes our cries for aid. So blessed are the Cains who cry out to God.

September 16, 2018 — Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

“An Intimate God”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we found out the truth that our lives are a constant renegotiation of our plans. This past week we read the second creation story. In it we find a reassuring word from God that we are called, given permission to live that call, and given boundaries. This pattern of call, permission, and boundaries guides our life of faith and it expands our lives to include a constant renegotiate our plans with God.

September 9, 2018 — Rally Day! Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

"Will We?"
We are created in God's image and given dominion over all of creation. Will we remember that? It is a choice we have to make each day as we consider God's call to us — will we? In today's homily, Rev. Ben explores what happens when we remember that all of us are made in God's image and given dominion. Also, a second video showing our Rally Day Worship with Presentation of Bibles, Backpack blessings and kids singing!

September 2, 2018 — Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

"Bored to Newness"
In the church we focus on time, space and numbers — how long does it take, what does our space look like and how many were there? are common questions we ask when we think about how we are to gather together as people of God. What if we used this short text from Acts — when Paul preaches so long that a boy falls asleep and falls down three flights--to consider two more important things: our words and invitations? Watch Rev. Ben's homily on altering our focus to what's truly important when we gather to glorify God.

August 19, 2018 — Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

The Mission Piece
What's the most important thing? That depends on what's happening in your life at the time. Thinking about that question in light of the story of Paul baptizing disciples in Acts 19, we find that the answer to our question is: God. Yet, as easy as it is to say that God is the most important thing, it is often a missing piece in our lives. Check out Rev. Ben's homily and explore how saying, "God is already here," gives you a reminder of that truth and helps you remember the answer to the question that started this homily.

July 29, 2018 — Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Why We Do What We Do
Carissa Spruill, a youth at HMPC, played a beautiful musical interlude between the reading of scripture. Rev. Ben then delved into a central question for all Christians: Why do we do what we do? At the heart of our call from God is a perplexing challenge — to proclaim the Word of God and then deal with the ramifications. Some times we fail to see that we need God because of our successes (or paths to success) and other times we fear what may come if we do proclaim the Word. This vacillation forms the heart of this homily as it invites us into the heart of the Christian life, where all are welcome.

July 15, 2018 — Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Being Prepared
It is important to be prepared, to be ready for whatever might come our way. In this homily, Rev. Ben delves into the challenges of being prepared when the Holy Spirit places us in places and situations where our preparations don't always work. As we find, we aren't the first ones to challenged by the Holy Spirit and we discover four ways to know when God is pushing us into a new place, where it doesn't really matter if we are prepared or not.

July 8, 2018 — Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Blessings of Being Busy
I wrote a letter to God. In it, I wondered why we are busy and what it means to be busy. Often, I want to be busy, to be doing something so I have something to show for my time; simultaneously, I want to relax and enjoy life. Can we have both? What does God call us to do and how does God enact control over our lives as we discern whether it is a blessing to be busy? Check out Rev. Ben's homily to find out more.

June 24, 2018 — Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Our Role
Stephen is stoned to death; Saul is complicit in his death. Stephen is a martyr and Saul is a villain. This line of thinking divides us as we take sides. Looking closely at the various roles we play and our justification for them, we find God at work. Using the story of our family's argument over the purchase of a minivan, Rev. Ben weaves a narrative homily about how God constantly pulls us toward middle ground where grace and love abound.

June 17, 2018 — Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Why I'm a Presbyterian...
How often do you utter the phrase, "I can't wait until..."? We are focused on future, what's lies ahead that we often forget what's happening around us. What calls you back to the present? For me, it is scripture. The stories of the Bible remind me that God is still actively involved in today's world. So the remedy for our desire to move into the future at the expense of the present is to find a go-to verse that grounds us. Turns out Acts 5 is a harsh, unlikeable text but has some potential for being a go-to verse; check out Rev. Ben's attempts to make it your go-to verse.