Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

Sermon Text – 02.10.2019
[Jonah 2:1-4, 7-10]
          In the darkest moments of our life we are given a simple choice. Read more…

I Just Don’t Want To

Sermon Text – 02.03.2019
[Jonah 1:1-4, 15-17]
           Today is the first week of February, five weeks into the new year. Quick show of hands, how many of you made a New Year’s Resolution? Read more…

Burn The House Down

Sermon Text – 01.27.2019
[Genesis 32:22-32 and Job 38:1-3, 42:1-6]
          What is the difference between wrestling someone and fighting them? One of my absolute favorite things to do as a father is to wrestle with my boys. Read more…

Freedom Of Religion

Sermon Text – 01.21.2018
[Luke 19:1-10 and John 8:1-11]

          This is a book called “Jesus Freaks, Volume 2” put together by a group called Voice Of the Martyrs alongside a band named DC Talk. They were a big deal in the 90’s. It’s a collection of stories of people who were killed for their faith. I wanted to read part of a story. The story is true, but they change the names to protect the families. It comes out of North Korea in 2001, about a young man named “Kim.”

      [read p20] – that young boy gave his life to Jesus that night, and his brothers did the same. He grew up and became a smuggler – bringing bibles illegally into North Korea – that’s how his story got told. You ever read a story, and just weep because you’re so thankful you live in America? We got problems, yeah – but not like this. The Constitution of the United States of America reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assembly, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Simply put – America has freedom of religion. Praise God. But it’s not all good news is it? Freedom of Religion is a VERY tricky concept.
       Today is part two of our sermon series State of the Union. For the month of January we have been looking at the State of Our Union – and honestly? It’s kind of disappointing. The world continues to let us down. We’ve talked about political parties, but today I want to talk about freedom of religion. The struggles of our country and how Jesus would respond. Today, I want to talk about tolerance.

Read more…

Democrats VS Republicans

Democrats VS. Republicans – 01.13.2019
[Ezra 3:9-13 and John 1: 9-18]

          There was once an elderly gentleman who was sitting on a park bench, basking in the sun, when another elderly fellow sat down beside him. They looked at each other for a moment, but did not speak. Both men sat there for a short time, just staring straight ahead. After a little while, one of them heaved a big, heartfelt sigh. The other man jumped immediately and said, “Look, if you’re going to talk politics, I’m leaving.” Is there anything more uncomfortable than talking politics with someone you don’t know?  

Today we start a brand new sermon series called State of the Union. For the next few weeks we are going to take a close look at politics and piety – how do faith and politics come together in our lives? We’re going to look at the limits of tolerance, morality vs legality and we’ll close by talking about compromise. But to get us started, I wanted to talk about Democrats VS. Republicans. In this room, there are die hard right wing straight ticket republicans with a little tattoo on their shoulder that says “I heart Trump.” In this room, there are radical left wing straight ticket Democrats with bumper stickers that say, “Feel the Bern.” And then there’s a third group in the room this morning. A big chunk of us in the middle who feel sort of politically homeless – we don’t really like either party, and so we’re not sure what to do with politics. Before we get into all the pieces – we need to talk about our identity. Read more…

VIP – The Sick. The Criminal.

VIP – The Sick. The Criminal.  – 12.24.2018
[Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46]
          My favorite part about Christmas Eve has got to be the candle-light vigil. We’ll get to that in a little bit, but think about it – it’s just a beautiful moment of light slowly spreading while the music rises. But what I really like about sharing the flame is that to spread my fire costs me nothing. When you light your candle on mine, my flame is not diminished. My flame is not smaller, but now you have light too. The same goes for love. To spread my love costs me nothing. When I give my love to you, my love is not diminished, my love is not smaller – but now you have love too. If my love comes in a roaring bonfire, or in a flickering spark – it can still ignite your heart all the same. Today is the final sermon in the series ACCESS – where we look at the story of Christmas and ask the question – Who is worthy? Who does God want at the birth of Jesus?  And through this whole month, all the pieces come together in the strangest puzzle for just one night to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. Tonight we will tell that story. Read more…

VIP – The Poor. The Hungry. The Naked.

Sermon Text – 12.23.2018
[Luke 2:1-7 and Matthew 25:31-40]
          In 1952 baseball legend Ralph Kiner went into the general manager’s office and demanded a raise. He’d played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for years now and had often fought with his manager Branch Rickey about salary. But that season he had hit 37 home runs, and he felt entitled to make more money, because he was so good. Rickey refused, but Ralph pointed out, “I led the league in homers. I hit more home runs than anyone else in Major League Baseball for the sixth season in a row. I deserve a raise.” The manager paused, and calmly asked him, “Where did we finish this season?” Ralph Kiner shrugged, “last.” “Well,” the manager replied, “we can do that without you.” Sometimes in life, it’s not about how great you are all by yourself – how impressive or incredible or praiseworthy you are. Sometimes the question is how is your team doing? Read more…

VIP – The Misunderstood

VIP – The Misunderstood – 12.16.2018
[Matthew 1:18-25 and Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46]

          Have you ever been misunderstood? For example, have you ever ordered a cake and you wanted something on top – like writing or pictures and you struggle to explain what you want? For example, you call in and say, “Oh just write happy birthday on the cake.”  Or maybe you want to specify which color of frosting you want and say, “write thanks for a great year in purple.” Or perhaps you’d like to get a little multi-cultural, maybe it’s a friend from Mexico and so you ask, “please write Happy Birthday in Spanish.” Or sometimes you’ll have a really large party and so you’ll need two cakes, and you tell them on the phone, “write happy birthday on both.” Ah, but they keep messing up your order, so you think forget the words, I just want a picture, and you tell them, “Just put a paw print on the cake.” Ah, good grief, they can’t get the words right, they can’t get the pictures write. So just, forget it – you think – no words, no pictures and you tell them, “I want sprinkles.” For crying out loud, you know what, next time I order a cake I’m going to tell them, “just put nothing” on the cake. Nothing at all.

      Read more…

VIP – The Unprepared

Sermon Text – 12.09.2018 [Matthew 25:31-40 and Luke 1:18-20, 59-64]           Halford Luccock in his work “Unfinished Business” tells the story of a little town named Flagstaff in Maine. Over the years, in the 1940’s,  the residents decided to build a large hydroelectric dam in the area and as a consequence the town of Flagstaff was going to be flooded. It was all planned ahead of time, and the residents were given compensation and relocated before the waters came. What’s fascinating about the story is what happened to Flagstaff from the moment the flooding was announced – to the moment it flooded. All improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it was going to be covered with water in six months? Why repair ANYTHING when the whole village was going to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town fell apart. Became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. By it the end, six months later, it was truly a depressing sight – an entire town destroyed before it was destroyed. The explanation went like this, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.” When we do not believe in a better tomorrow, we give up today. Read more…

Evangelism 101

Sermon Text – 08.20.2017
[John 15:1-16]

          What if I told you that I have the answer to all the problems of the world? What if I told you I know the solution, I am sitting on the cure to brokenness and darkness in the world around us? What if I told you I have good news for you this morning? See, so many of us have a desire to make the world a better place. We have a desire to reach out to those around us. I always talk about how we must spread God’s love out there in the world. Spread God’s love, Spread God’s love, Spread God’s love. And that sounds so great, it’s so inspiring, and you leave on Sunday morning, and you get to Monday morning and the question comes up – what the heck does that even mean? How do I share God’s love? Most of us interpret it as, you know, be nice to people. There’s an old quote that a LOT of people in the Methodist church love. It says, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” Some people think that’s from St Francis, but there’s no actual evidence for that. And it sounds really cool – I’ll preach with my life, with my actions. The problem is, when you pull the words out, and you stop talking about Jesus – it gets watered down to just basic friendliness and that’s it. Just sorta, generic acts of kindness, be a good person. Anything more than that, and we get nervous – I don’t know how, I don’t have training, I don’t have time, I don’t have….whatever. But the gospel is not generic acts of kindness, it’s radical, life-changing good news. It’s words and action that transform lives. And a lot of us think – woah, that’s a bit much. I’m not looking to transform lives, that’s a little intense, I just want my watered down tiny acts of niceness. But my goal here this morning is to show you what you are capable of, to show you what God is capable of, through you.