Archive for the ‘Sermons’ Category

Title: God’s Math

Text: Ephesians 4:1-6

Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.

Notes: This was a difficult day for a sermon. I learned this week that I will be moving on Sept. 1 and it was announced at the services at the church today.  It was an emotional day and a difficult day for a sermon.

I loved the image of God’s Math in the passage from Ephesians.  We find seven “ones.”  The bottom line was “The sum of God’s love is one.” My favorite point of the sermon:  “God’s love multiples. It does not divide.”

Click here for the sermon: God’s Math

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I had the chance to speak at the Epworth Camp Meeting.  This was a first for me and I hope I get the chance to do it again in the future.

It was a fun service that begin with four or five people sharing about their faith journey and witnessing about what God was doing in their lives.  What a powerful and moving moment!

After some music, I had the chance to share the message.

Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10.  This is the text of Samuel’s call.

Notes:  This weaves in some of my call story with this passage about God’s cal of Samuel.

Bottom Line: God calls the Least Expected to do the Least Expected. (One of my favorites ever!)

Click here for audio of Least Expected

Click here for Sermon for June 24: Now: Don’t Waste Your Grace.

Sermon Text:  2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Notes: There’s a challenge when it comes to working through Paul’s letters.  They are written to specific churches and usually in response to specific issues.  In fact, sometimes, we lose the exchange of letters and it becomes like reading half of an e-mail conversation.  In this passage from 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, I would love to read the response of the church.  I’d love to know what they had been saying to Paul, what they had been asking him to do and what they were trying to bring to his attention.  Based on Paul’s response, it seems that what they were saying was hitting him right in the heart.  Paul invested two years of his life into getting the church going at Corinth.  To hear what they were saying now had to hurt.  We always hurt when we love someone and we see them going in a direction we don’t wish them to go.

The idea of “don’t” really started to stick in my mind on Wednesday or Thursday of that week.  I had just finished telling my daughter Grace to stop climbing on the couch.  She stopped, said she was sorry and then went to trying to climb up on the counter.  She’s definitely persistent.

Don’t!  It’s the way that we try to stop behaviors or prevent them from happening.  When I thought about the Don’t, I started to see this passage as having two key parts:  First, the issue:  The church is warned that it shouldn’t take God’s grace in vain.  Second, the comparison:  Paul gives the image of what it means to live a life where grace matters.

Click here for Sermon for June 24: Now: Don’t Waste Your Grace.

Text: Acts 2:1-21

Thoughts: I love this passage from the Pentecost. How can you not?  It’s the birthday of the church.  In preparing a sermon from this passage, I felt I needed to relay the story and what is going on.  I opted to teach through the text and to work slowly through the 21 verses.  I opted this week for The Message.  I love the use of the word “thunderstruck” in the text!  Pentecost comes at an important time.  The followers of Jesus are feeling their way through life without Jesus physically present. Pentecost turns the Holy Spirit loose!

Images: I was listening to some music in the car this week and came across Jason Gray’s song, “The Sound of our Breathing.”  It’s a strong image of our breath being tied to the name of God.  The Spirit of God is God’s breath, the wind that blows through Pentecost.  I also tried to think of a visual to demonstrate what it is like when the church is fully inflated and then a way to make the contrast of what it’s like when we waste our breath.  I decided on a beach ball.  See the picture!

The audio for the sermon this week might be a little off.  I will try to clean up the file when I return back home from some time off.

Click here for audio of May 27: We’ve Got the Power

Sources: The book, “The Names of God.”  Jason Gray’s “The Sound of our Breathing” and the notes on the writing of the song.  Numerous reflections on the name of God.

Notes: I find this passage to fall in an interesting place in the book of Acts.   It comes after Jesus ascends and makes the promise of the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit.  And it fall before the events of Pentecost.  In Feasting with the Word, the author for this section says that the disciples seek a structural solution to a spiritual issue.  So, in dealing with this passage this week, the word that kept coming to mind was transition.

I ran across a quote from former baseball player Willie Stargell that said, “All of life is a transition.”

The disciples are living in transition — moving from Jesus in their presence and looking to the day he returns.  How do we handle life in the transition?  They handle their unfinished business; they look for others to share in the journey; and they take a chance to move forward.

May 20: Sermon audio for WHAT NOW?

 

>> Link to the sermon:  Click Here for May 13 Radical Hospitality

Notes:

This was a tough sermon to deal with because it really takes in action that is happening over 48 verses in Acts 10.  I felt strongly that I had to share the story of Cornelius because it is essential to the statements that appear in Acts 10:44-48.  I was struggling with a place to begin and my thoughts kept going back to Starbucks, a place I think is one of the most hospitable that I encounter.  That led me to their website and to the mission statements.  I also knew that Bishop Schnase talked about radical hospitality in his book, “Five Practices,” and I felt like it would help to add something to the message.

Text:  Acts 10:44-48

44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 They heard them speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter asked, 47 “These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. Surely no one can stop them from being baptized with water, can they?” 48 He directed that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay for several days.

>> Link to the sermon:  Click Here for May 13 Radical Hospitality

Notes:  Thanks to some technical issues, I was not able to post sermons for a few weeks.  I will post two older ones later this week.  Now, let’s concentrate on this week!  I love a good story and I love to hear one and to tell one.  There’s a great story flowing behind this passage from Acts 8:26-40.  I started to explore Philip’s life as a disciple and I noticed how often he was willing to “go.”  He goes and tells Nathaniel about meeting Jesus. Philip goes to Samaria and starts a church.  And then Philip gets another message to go “Going” is already a part of Philip’s nature.

It’s a strange passage and a strange encounter on a dirty, dusty road between Jerusalem and Gaza.  Philip asks the man he meets if he understands the scroll of Isaiah from which he’s reading.  And the man’s reply is classic: How will I understand without someone to explain it to me?

The mission of the church is to share in the journey with others, to start where we all are and to help us move closer to the image of Christ.

Click here for May 6: ALONGSIDE