Sermon Archive

You might recognize the name Elizabeth Gilbert as the author of the bestselling novel Eat, Pray, Love.  Along with her fiction writing, Gilbert also writes and speaks about creativity – how it works and how it sometimes doesn’t work.  She tells stories about her own experiences with writer’s block and the fear of failure that can stop creativity dead in its tracks.

Playing the Role of God Well

Genesis 50.15-21
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

As the story of Joseph draws to a close, Joseph declines to play God with his brothers. In not assuming the role of God, Joseph plays the role of God very well.

To briefly reprise the past four weeks, Joseph had earned the scorn of his older brothers. He was overly favored by his father, Jacob. He shared in little of the work his brothers had to do. He told his brothers and his father about dreams he had. They interpreted his dreams to mean that Joseph thought one day he would rule over his entire family. This made Joseph’s brothers so angry that they considered killing him. Instead, they allowed him to be sold into slavery in Egypt. There Joseph was a slave to a military officer. He also spent time in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Joseph was released from jail because he proved valuable to the Egyptian king. He became the second most powerful man in Egypt. When famine overtook the world, Joseph was able to save his brothers and their families, along with his parents and all of Jacob’s descendants.

After being reconciled with his brothers, Joseph sent them back to Canaan so they could move their families to the safety of Egypt. Joseph and his father were reunited nearly twenty

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The Mistreated Savior

Genesis 45.1-8
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

I need to begin by correcting a mistake which was pointed out to me by my wife, Julie. Julie is very smart. She is always right. And she has a master’s degree in Old Testament. Four weeks ago I told you that not only was Joseph the favorite of his father, Jacob, but I also told you that Joseph was the youngest. Joseph was the second to the youngest. Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob.  In Genesis 37.3 it says that Jacob loved Joseph because he was “the son of his old age.” In Genesis 44.20, Benjamin is described as “the child of his old age” so I got confused. In Genesis 35.24 “The sons of Rachael” are listed as Joseph and Benjamin, indicating that Joseph was born before Benjamin. I have been preaching for almost thirty years and Julie will also tell you that this isn’t my first mistake!

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Misfortunes and Blessings

Genesis 41.46-57
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

Joseph had experienced years of injustice and suffering yet somehow he is able to see nothing but blessings arising from his misfortune.

For the past couple weeks I have shared with you the story of Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob, the patriarch of Israel. We first encountered Joseph as a brash, arrogant and spoiled seventeen-year-old. He was the youngest son and the favorite of his father. Everybody knew this and his brothers hated him for it.

Now we find Joseph as a thirty-year-old man. He has acquired a lot of

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They're Good Kids, But ...

Genesis 37.15-36
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

When something upsets us our first reaction is rarely the best. Our first reaction happens with little regard for consequences. Our first reaction may bring short-term gratification. It may also bring unpleasant long term consequences. It never hurts to take a deep breath, step back, think and pray. Impulsive reactions are often the least Christian.

Last week I talked about Joseph the dreamer. He told his family about two dreams he had. In one, sheaves of wheat in a field bowed down to him as his sheaf grew tall. In the other, eleven stars, and the sun and the moon bowed down to him. Joseph didn’t offer any interpretation for these dreams. His family took them to mean that Joseph planned to rise over his family and that they would bow down and serve him. These dreams came from God, not from Joseph.

Joseph, the youngest son and favorite of his father, was sent to check on his brothers as they pastured the family’s livestock. Wearing his coat of many colors with long sleeves he is going to check up on them. He isn’t going to help with the work.

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It's Not Just Me

Genesis 1:1-5, 1:26-2:2
Pastor Leslee Fritz
UUMC

I’ve known that this Sunday was coming for a while now. It’s actually one of the positive attributes of the United Methodist itinerary system – you know about transition well in advance and can prepare for it.

So, I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today – my final time in this pulpit.


And it seems I have fallen into a common trap – at least according to several of my clergy colleagues.

I’ve spent considerable time over these last couple of weeks trying to figure out how to cram everything I want to say to you – as individuals and as a church – and everything I might want to say to you … someday … into a single, 15-20 minute sermon.

It can’t be done.

And it doesn’t need to be done.

In fact, this morning, I don’t really want to tell you anything. I want to use this opportunity – this gift – that I’ve been given to

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Just Say Yes to Your Calling

Acts 11.19-29
February 12, 2017
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

Every single Christian is called to some kind of ministry. In United Methodism we subscribe to Martin Luther’s doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. As he was separating himself from Medieval Catholicism, Martin Luther told people that it was not only the clergy who were called to be ministers of the gospel. All Christians are called to be ministers of the gospel. Each one of us has some spiritual calling to fulfill.

Some of you completed a spiritual gifts assessment as the result of last week’s sermon at the urging of Rev. Chu. Thank you for doing that. If you haven’t, you can do it at any time. There will be more opportunities for that as we go through this year. The church must help every follower of Jesus understand how to serve God and their fellow human being.

Completing a spiritual gifts assessment can be fun because it may give one new insight into oneself. It is always fun to learn something new, especially about ourselves. Remember, though, that knowledge is only as good as the implementation of what is learned. This is especially true when it comes to spirituality and ministry. Spiritual gifts must be used in practical, real-world ways or they are wasted.

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Foolishness Wiser Than Wisdom

1 Cor 1.18-31
January 29, 2017
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

Some Christians invoke this text to claim that Christian doctrine and the Bible are more reliable and authoritative than science. But the gospel is counter-intuitive. God rarely conforms to human expectations.

The cross has become a familiar cultural symbol. It was originally considered a scandal. I was once approached by someone asking to use my church for a wedding. They were from a different denomination. They asked if we would take the cross down. When I asked why, they called it a murder weapon and wondered if we would hang a handgun or an electric chair at the front of the church if those had been used to execute Jesus. I replied yes, because those would have taken on the same significance had they been the preferred Roman method of state execution at the time.

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Infinite Patience

“Infinite Patience”
James 5.7-10
December 11, 2016
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

Patience is something everyone would do well possess in greater degree. Who doesn’t need to practice more patience? How good are you at being patient? Ask me that question and my response might be, “depends on what day it is.” Do you ever get impatient with a Christian brother or sister? How about the pastor?

This may not be what we expect for an advent reading. James does reference the coming of the Lord but he urges patience as his readers await the second advent of Jesus, not the first.

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What Do We Want To Do Together?

“What Do We Want To Do Together?”
James 4.2c
October 23, 2017
Rev. William Bills
UUMC

The future of our church is really up to you. I can tell you what I think, what I hope for, what I want, but at the end of the day each one decides for themselves.

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The Chasms we Fix

We are all created in God’s image. When we buy into the us and them mentality we fix a great chasm that severs the very image of God that has been imprinted on all humanity. 

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