Fearless Generosity

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Text: Ephesians 3:14-21 (NRSV)
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father-Mother, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.16I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20Now to the Holy One who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Continue reading Fearless Generosity

Grieving With Hope

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, November 12, 2017

Text: Amos 5:18-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Last week, as we sat in this sanctuary celebrating the saints – past, present, and future – who have blessed our lives and the life of the church universal, a lone gunman stood at the door of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and indiscriminately mowed down the congregation. While reaching for the light of lives lived in loving and faithful service to God, we are once more plunged into the darkness, darkness which seems to become daily existence for us. We even begin to wonder if the end of the world may really be at hand.

Hatred and violence surround us – whether it is gun violence, sexual violence, the violence of hate speech and incivility, the violence of poverty and economic inequity, the violence of war with its threat of nuclear destruction, or the violence of people uprooted from the familiarity of home and forced to live in camps or on the run. Sadly, this list seems only to scratch the surface of what we are confronted with on a regular basis. Continue reading Grieving With Hope

The Music Lingers

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Text: Psalm 27; Revelation 7:9-17

These are times both tough and tender. We are faced with challenge and change. The familiar disappears and our comfort with it. We are confronted by ugliness and evil. We wrestle with disasters born of nature and of human hearts and hands. We hear of wars and rumors of war. Some of our neighbors – far and near – struggle to survive. Some of us have so much and some so little. The needs seem overwhelming. We are not sure which way to turn.

For many of us this is also a time for grieving as we say farewell to friends and loved ones. Emotions are raw; tears tremble very close to the surface and spill over when least expected. And death is not the only sort of loss we know. There can be loss of employment, memory, ability, friends and relationships, hope. We can even lose our way. We are not at all certain that the center will hold nor do we know what the future will bring. Perhaps there has been no time in our lives when faith was more needed. Continue reading The Music Lingers

Always Thankful

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (J. B. Phillips)

Jesus never went to church. Of course, that is primarily because churches didn’t exist in those days, nor, though he himself was the Christ, was he ever a Christian. Luke’s gospel tells us that, in the beginning, at least, “he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom” (Luke 4:16.) I guess that’s sort of like going to church. But we also note that that traditional congregation was so outraged by his proclamation that they ran him out of town, threatening to throw him over a cliff (Luke 4:28-29). So much for being a good, synagogue-going young man. He had learned his lessons so poorly, or so well, that they didn’t want to hear what he had to say or have anything to do with him. Continue reading Always Thankful

God Changes

Trigger Warning: I want to begin this sermon differently than I have in the past when I’ve told these stories. Rather than tell you a crazy story in hopes of jostling your emotions, then wrapping a bow at the end of the sermon like a 30min family sitcom, I’d rather give you a trigger warning. I’m going to talk some about suicide and that might draw up some strange and uncomfortable memories and feelings. Please feel free to get up and move around, the walk out and take a breather, or to openly cry with us all. Either way this is a safe space, you will not be judged and you are welcome, loved, and graced by God no matter who or what you’ve done and matter what you do in the future: God is love and Love always has your back.

From my previous sermons and from our times together, many of you know that when I was growing up my sister Carolyn took her own life in a desperate attempt to escape the pain of being queer, poor, and young, unable to see the possibilities of escape before her.

It was devastating. It changed my family life and it changed the way I thought about God, religion, and spirituality – as crisis events tend to do.

The crisis of suicide hits home for me. It has been entry point into spirituality in my faith journey.

Continue reading God Changes

Grumbling in the Wilderness

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, September 27, 2017

Text: Exodus 16:2-15

As we all know, much of California is desert and semi-arid land that has been reclaimed through irrigation. The family farms and agribusinesses of the Central Valley are always vulnerable to the paucity of rainfall, the depth of the Sierra snowpack, and Colorado River water. Much of the nation’s produce is dependent on a complex water management system that makes the desert bloom.

Just east of San Diego is Anza Borrego State Park. Anza Borrego’s terrain is desert sand. Perhaps it was ocean floor at one time, but now the land is hot and dry. In the five years we lived on southern California, when I was a child, our family visited it once or maybe twice. My father would have happily taken us again, but it only took one trip for my mother to know that it was not a place she wanted to visit. She never handled heat well and she saw nothing in the vast expanse of sand and rock that was attractive to her. She had a major gripe against this little section of God’s universe, so we did not spend much time there. Continue reading Grumbling in the Wilderness

On Our Journey Now (Sermon)

A sermon preached by
Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, September 17, 2017

Text: Exodus 14:19-31
19The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so, the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Holy One drove the sea back by a strong east Wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch, the Holy One in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25God clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Holy One is fighting for them against Egypt.” 26Then the Holy One said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Holy One tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30Thus the Holy One saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the Holy One did against the Egyptians. So, the people feared the Holy One and believed in the God and in God’s servant Moses.

Continue reading On Our Journey Now (Sermon)