I Believe In Jesus, Prt 1

Sermon Text  – 09.16.2018 [Matthew 4:1-10 and Hebrews 2:14-17]
Do you know what poor people need more than anything else? Some people say food, some people say money, some say shelter, safety, opportunity. But more than anything else, what poor people themselves claim they need is respect. For someone, anyone, to look at them and see more than just a victim, more than just a poor person. To believe in themselves, to rise above, they need someone else to believe in them – give them a chance. Read more…

I Believe In God

Sermon Text – 09.09.2018
[Genesis 2:4-7 and Hebrews 11:1-3, 6]      
     Did you know that the African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of over 30 feet in a single bound? It’s a truly impressive animal, and yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any ol’ zoo with a simple three foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. They are afraid to jump, because they do not have a good footing, a solid foundation. I think this parallels the way some of us live our lives. There are barriers in our world – tiny, insignificant barriers – that cannot beat us, but we let them hold us back, because we are afraid. We don’t have a solid foundation – and so we do not make the leap to freedom. Truth is the only reason we as a church will ever be able to step out on a limp, take chance, leap over that three foot fence that is holding us back would be if we have a solid foundation. Read more…

Ruth: A Story of Dedication

Ruth 1:10-18; 2:11-12 and Deuteronomy 10:12-21
Sermon Text: 09.02.2018

          There is a light in the heart of humanity. There is a glimmer, a flicker of the candle that defies logic, ignores failure, persists. Some call it ignorance. Some call it stupidity. I just like to call it hope. For example… Thomas Edison is well known for his creation of one of the early models of the light bulb. It took him 1,000 tries. Babe Ruth is well known as the home run champion of the world for a long time. He had 714 major league home runs. Lesser known is the fact that he was also the all-time strikeout champion. When he retired in 1935 he held the record with 1,330 career strikeouts. For all of his fame as a home run champion, he struck out almost twice as often. Henry Ford went broke five times before he found success. Michael Jordan, possibly the greatest basketball player of all time (I look forward to your letters, Lebron fans) – Michael Jordan is credited with this quote, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve bene trusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.” Walk Disney was fired by a newspaper because he lacked imagination. He also went bankrupt several times before Disneyland was built. The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on state a comedy club he froze and was jeered offstage in less than two minutes. 12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling. 27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss. Now these stories would all be very Read more…

Daniel: A Story of Peer Pressure

[Daniel 1:8-16 and Daniel 6:6-11, 16
Sermon Text: 08.26.2018

          In the 1950’s there was a psychologist by the name of Solomon Asch who conducted a series of tests to see just how much people would give in to peer pressure. The test was simple enough. The test subjects were told that they would be given a standard eye test. They were shown a piece of paper with a line on it, and a second paper with three lines of different lengths. All the test subject had to do was raise their hand to identify which line was the same length as the line on the first paper. But only one person in the room was actually a test subject. Everyone else was part of the test – instructed to raise their hand for the wrong answer. Without a group around them, the error ratio was less than 1% – everybody got it right. But, in a group setting, the first they did it, over 75% gave the wrong answer to at least one of the questions – if everyone around them gave the same answer. Peer pressure is real.

          Today is week four of our five part sermon series – Old Testament Stories of Love. So far we have spend some time with Moses, Esther and last week we heard the whole story of Samson. But today we will examine two stories about the same man. Both stories of Daniel are all about handling and responding to peer pressure. Let’s take a look.

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Moses: A Story of Trust and Awe

Sermon Text – 08.05.2018

[Exodus 3:1-6 and Exodus 14: …]

A wise man once said there are two season in Michigan – winter and construction – and of course, there’s nothing worse on a long car-ride than a traffic jam. We all know what’s it’s like – you see that train of brakelights going off into the distance and mentally add four hours to your arrival time. And of course, most of the time it’s a car crash or an animal or something like that, and even if nobody is hurt and the lanes aren’t actually blocked – traffic still slows down to a standstill because every single driver insists on plastering their face up against the window to stare and see what happened as they drive by. There is no need for traffic to be so back up except that we cannot tear our eyes away. WE have to slow down and take a look. I imagine that’s sort of what Moses must have felt like when he saw the burning bush. Scripture tells us, [read v.3]. I mean, common! It’s a bush, that’s on fire, covered in flames, and yet it is not burning up! Let’s slow down and take a quick peek. SO that’s what we’re going to do this morning. We’re going to slow down and take a quick peek at this story – see if we can learn something in the process. Today is the first sermon in a new series called “Old Testament Stories of Love” and for the month of August we’re going to wander the pages of the old Testament and see what we can learn about this God that we worship. Read more…

Samson: A Story of Mistakes

Sermon Text – 08.19.2018

[Judges 13:24-25; 14:5-14 and Matthew 5:38-44]

My first two years of college, I lived in the dormitories, and during that time I got into something called a prank war with some friends of mine who were from the other half of the dorm. It all started one day, when I was working at the coffee shop on campus, and my friends delivered to me a massive plate of jello. Big huge thing of green jello, and inside that jello were my shoes. They put my flip flops in jello. So, to get back at them I did something called cupping. Cupping, if you haven’t heard of this, is where you take dozens of plastic cups and you staple them together to spell out a word or make a picture. You place the stapled cups somewhere inconvenient and then you fill all the cups with water. It’s annoying, because it’s so hard to clean up. Because there are so many cups, you can’t pick them all up at once, but if you try to pull them apart, they staples make it tear and water goes everywhere. So I put two giant J’s made of stapled together cups in the middle of their dorm room – filled to the brim with water. Read more…

Esther: A Story of Courage

Sermon Text – 08.12.2018

[Esther and John 15:1-5]

Last week, we started a new sermon series called “Old Testament Stories of Love” and we talked about the story of Moses and how God acted in fantastic and amazing ways to help Israel escape slavery in Egypt. Today we’re going to talk about the story of Esther, which is an amazing story of courage. But in the story of Esther, God acts in a very different way. God’s involvement in the story is extremely subtle. In fact, the book of Esther is often criticized because it never mentions God. At all. In the whole book, the name of God NEVER comes up directly. Scholars talk about how the story of Esther is a different sort of action from God. It’s indirect, it’s implied – there are no burning bushes or parting of the red sea in THIS story. It is a story of remarkable coincidences – or maybe it’s a story to show us that there are no coincidences. Read more…