The Love of God

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Text: John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:1-10

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to the human race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And everyone a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain:
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song. Continue reading The Love of God

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful
A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Text: Mark 9:2-10
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. Continue reading Endless Forms Most Beautiful

With Authority

WITH AUTHORITY
A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Text: Mark 1:21-28
21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching – with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. Continue reading With Authority

Can you hear me now?

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-11
1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to God under Eli. The word of God was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. 2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of God, where the ark of the Holy One was. 4Then God called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So, he went and lay down.6God called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him. 8God called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that God was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if the Voice calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Holy One, for your servant is listening.’” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10Now God came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Continue reading Can you hear me now?

Mixon Muses January 2018

In a blog for the New Year, Amy Butler, Senior Pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, reflects on the transition from the old to the new. In her column, entitled “Goodbye, 2017. Won’t Miss You Much,” she reflects on all the trouble that 2017 brought to us as people of faith. I won’t re-hash her reflection. You can read it for yourself at https://baptistnews.com/article/goodbye-2017-wont-miss-much/#.Wk2HeN-nGUl. But I do want to consider one brief paragraph from the middle of her piece. She summarizes, “In short, 2017, you have shaken us awake to deep problems that have always been present but are now undeniably urgent, requiring all of us to wake from complacency and decide if we will have the courage to live what we believe. Thanks a lot, 2017. No, really … thank you. We now see more clearly the critical work ahead of us, and each of us has a decision to make about what will happen in 2018.”

You’ve heard and read enough of my own griping and grieving this past year to know that I share Amy’s perspective. 2017 “woke” many of us to deep-seeded difficulties in this world in which we live. In particular, 2017 surfaced the breadth and depth of racism, xenophobia, sexism (including harassment and assault,) homo-hatred, and pure meanness that lay just below the surface of our society and was dormant but present in the life-stream of our culture. The pressing question is not one of making “America great again.” The more urgent concern is whether we might be kind, considerate, humane, decent, compassionate, loving – those qualities, which we as people of faith claim as our legacy. Are their ways in which can infuse these qualities into our social fabric and our cultural structures?

Continue reading Mixon Muses January 2018

What can I give him?

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 7, 2018

Text: Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)

“What can I give him, poor as I am?” Christina Rosetti penned these words more than a hundred years ago, and still the question seems timeless. What can I give him? What can you give him – Jesus Christ, Child of God, Maker of Heaven and Earth? Talk about the classic dilemma of what to give someone who has everything!

During other seasons, we frequently sing, as our Song of Response to the Giving of our Gifts,

We give thee but thine own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O God, from thee.

We sing this partly because I believe it to be true. Jesus, himself, championed what is known as the debt code over against the more prevalent purity code practiced by most Jews in his day. It is an argument that, because all that is, including life itself, was created by God and shared with us by God’s grace, we are eternally indebted to God for everything. There are no hierarchies in the mind of God. None of us is better than another. None of us has a birthright to the privilege we hold. “It is God who has made us and not we ourselves. We are God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture (Psalm 100:3). Our indebtedness to the Creator is a great leveler – we are all, each and every one of us, sheep of God’s pasture. No claims of purity, righteousness, class, race, nationality, gender, age, ability, intellect, power or privilege make us superior to another. God loves us everyone equally, without favoritism. Continue reading What can I give him?

Oh, Mary! (Sermon)

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, December 24, 2017

Text: Luke 1:26-55

A Contemporary Word Encountering Angels Morton Kelsey, The Drama of Christmas
Most of us think we might like to have an encounter with a friendly angel. We forget that any such encounter strikes humans with a combination of awe, wonder, and terror. An experience of a real angel would be like looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon for the first time and seeing below us the ageless rocks laid out in a vast panorama; we would feel insignificant, a mere fragment of both space and time. An angel – an awesome, mysterious, numinous reality – would give us a feeling of the ineffable Holy, and we would need to be reminded in any such encounter that we have nothing to fear. The Holy not only gives humans an overwhelming sense of being loved but also makes demands on them just by appearing to them. I knew one man who started a practice of praying and keeping a journal and was making great progress, and then he stopped; he told me he had seen some light, and he didn’t like it.

A Contemporary Word Christmas Traffic U. A. Fanthorpe, Consequences
Three, two, one, liftoff
Signals mission Control. And off they go
To the dark parts of the planets
In their pressurized spacesuits,
Cocooned in technology, the astronauts.

Mission control whispers in someone’s ear.
Yes, she says, I will. And in due time
A different traveler makes a quieter journey,
Arriving hungry, naked, but true to instructions,
Docking on Earth, taking one small step. Continue reading Oh, Mary! (Sermon)