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Showing posts from November, 2017

Free Indeed!

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Christ the King Sunday November 26, 2017 John 8:31-36
You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody We’ve just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, a wonderful national holiday.  While we are deeply troubled as a people, we still have much to be thankful for.  We are known as the “Home of the Brave and the Free.”  Our nation and our government were founded on the principles of freedom. 
In some ways, it’s a pipe dream. No one is truly free.  We all serve some thing or someone. 
In the late 70’s, Bob Dylan had a Christian conversion experience and his change in perspective began to show up in his music – which, of course, some people absolutely hated.  Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, were thrilled and wanted to pull him into the booming contemporary Christian music marketplace.  Thankfully, Dylan resisted.  He’s never been anyone’s commodity. 
Of the songs that he wrote during this period in the early 80’s, my favorite has always been “You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody” because of its pla…

How to Be Rich With Little

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How to Be Rich With Little I Timothy 6:6-11
What a wonderful tradition of having this service and the meal that follows in our church.  The giving of thanks is a wonderful spiritual discipline that has the effect of cleansing our souls of the discontent that so often poisons our spirit.  I don’t think you can be gloomy and thankful at the same time. 
In his letter of instruction to his disciple in ministry, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy with these words:
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
But as for you, O man…

Purity in Christ

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The Sermon No One Wants to Hear (Purity in Christ) I Corinthians 6:9-11
Introduction Sometimes, I think I need to take a break from FaceBook.  Every day someone posts a link to an event or an essay that is controversial and upsetting.  This week, my feed was swamped with postings taking Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York to task because he gave moral cover for the killing of babies in the womb and homosexuality on ABC’s The View on October 30th.  Hillsong New York is a church plant of the very popular and influential Hillsong megachurch in Australia.  Most evangelical churches sing some of their songs, including Shout to the Lord, Cornerstone, and O Praise the Name.  They are terrific worship songs and it is obvious that God has blessed and used the ministry of Hillsong for his Kingdom. 
But to me, Carl Lentz’s failure to articulate a clear understanding of biblical morality when he was given a huge platform on The View is deeply troubling.  Granted, it would have taken a m…

all for One. One in all

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 all for One. One in all I Corinthians 1:4-31
Introduction – The Power of One I’m not a baseball fan.  To me, the game is just too slow.  But when I lived in LA during the 70’s and 80’s, I had the opportunity to catch Dodger games at Chavez Ravine.  When you go to the park, it’s more than just about the game.  It’s the Dodger dogs (foot-long hot dogs) with all the condiments, the seventh-inning stretch, and the chance to yell insults at Reggie Jackson – or whoever your favorite villain on the other team is.  So, when the Dodgers were in the World Series this year, I decided to watch for a little bit of personal nostalgia.  By all accounts, it was a great series between two very good teams.  But the better team won and the Houston Astros brought home the championship to a deeply grateful and battered city. 
Even more than the drama of the game, I enjoyed watching the camaraderie and unity of the two teams.  Each member of the two teams pulled together to try and get a win each game.  They…