Sermon: Exodus 20:1-21, Philippians 3:4(b)-14, Matthew 21:33-46

I have added last Sunday’s sermon to my sermon blog. Based on Exodus 20:1-21, Philippians 3:4(b)-14, and Matthew 21:33-46 it is entitled “Commanded To Love”.

Here is a potion of it:

We’ve splashed our rules all over the sanctuary walls.
So many rules we don’t have time for dancing …
Our grafffiti defiling the house of God.
God’s graffiti is different: God writes: Love upon our hearts.
Some night, let’s sneak into the sanctuary and paint over the rules
and write God’s graffiti all over the walls … Love Love Love Love.

You can read the sermon here.

Sermon: Matthew 20:1-16

I have posted my sermon from yesterday on my Sermon blog. Based on Matthew 20:1-16 it is entitled “Thank God That God Is God (And That We Are Not)”.

Here’s a portion of it:

Maybe we need to have a basic conversation with ourselves every morning. I recently heard of a minister who urged his congregation to revisit the conversation in John 1 between John the Baptist and the crowds when they asked him if he was the Messiah. John emphatically replied “I am not the Messiah” Maybe every day we need to look in the mirror and emphatically tell ourselves “I am not the Messiah!” or “I am not God”
God is God – and we are not

You can read the sermon here.

Matthew 18:21-35

I have added yesterday’s sermon to my sermon blog. Based on Matthew 18:21-35, it is entitled “Forgiving Others”.

Here’s a potion of it:

Jesus makes it clear to Peter, and to you, and to me, that we are to forgive others an unlimited number of times. He also makes it clear that God doesn’t expect you and me to do anything that he’s not willing to do Himself. The truth is that you and I are to forgive others an unlimited number of times because God forgives us an unlimited number of times. In other words, you can forget about keeping count when it comes to God’s willingness to forgive you. If you ask God to forgive you, He will. In the same way, you need to forget about keeping count if someone asks you for forgiveness. If someone asks you to forgive them, do it, regardless of how many times they’ve asked in the past. Forgive others as you have been and continue to be forgiven. Forget about keeping count.

You can read the sermon here.

Sermon: Exodus 1;8-2:10

I have posted my sermon from this past Sunday on my sermon blog. Based on Exodus1:8-23:10 it is entitled “God Has Big Plans”.

Here’s a portion of it:
Have you ever noticed that there is a difference in the way professional football teams and professional baseball teams prepare their rookies? Most NFL teams will sign a hot-shot rookie, for example a quarterback to a multi-million dollar contract and expect to get their money’s worth the first season. It rarely happens. A few years ago the rookie Adrian Peterson made a great impact as a running back for the Minnesota Vikings and last year Andrew Luck did well as a quarterback, but it’s rare that a rookie becomes a star in the NFL their first season. Many people have forgotten the names and unspectacular careers of Heath Shuler, Brian Bosworth, and Ryan Leiif, all who were expected to make a huge impact in the NFL their rookie seasons but did not. These are all players who excelled in college football and were highly touted as rookies, but simply were not ready for the challenges of playing professional football. Only time will tell what impact Johnny Manzell will have in the NFL this year. Major League Baseball , on the other hand, uses a completely different strategy. It is not uncommon for a baseball team to sign a rookie to a high-priced contract, and send him to play Double A ball in a town like Birmingham or Omaha or Triple A in Durham until they are ready to play in the Major Leagues. When I lived outside of Greensboro I got to see Derek Jeter, one of the biggest stars the New York Yankees ever had, begin his career playing Single A ball for the Greensboro Bats before he moved up to the Major League club. The American League rookie of the year last year, Will Myers, played for the Triple A Durham Bulls last year until the Tampa Bay Rays organization decided that he was ready to be moved up to the Major League team in Tampa in mid season last year, and he proved that he was ready when he hit a grand slam home run his first at bat in Tampa and went on to win rookie of the year honors.
God’s method is more like the baseball model than the football. God will not ask you to do more that you are able to do. God will not use you until He has put you through a time of preparation, much as Moses went through

You can read the sermon here.

Sermon: Genesis 45:1-15

I have posted my sermon from yesterday to to my sermon blog. Based on Genesis 45:-15 it is entitle’How Do You Treat Those Who Mistreat You?”

Here’s a portion of it:
When Norman Vincent Peale wrote The Power of Positive Thinking, he was lambasted by many theologians and religious leaders. One leader, the Methodist Bishop of New York State, was particularly outspoken in his criticism of Peale, to the point of publishing mean-spirited articles about him. Dr. Peale was also a featured book reviewer for a national magazine, and a book by this hostile Bishop came across his desk. Here was his chance to get even, to say everything back to this man that had been said about him. So, how did Peale review the book? Peale said, “It was a fine piece; accordingly I wrote a favorable review.”
Repay those who mistreat you with kindness.

You can read the sermon here.

Carpe Diem

Robin Williams, one of my favorite actors, committed suicide yesterday. He was a comic genius, but it has been reported that he battled addictions and severe depression and that in the end it seemed that he could not handle the problems that his addictions and depression presented him with. My hearts and prayers go out for all who suffer with these and other physical and emotional problems.

While I loved his comedy, particularly his stand up routines that were so fast paced, I also loved his more dramatic roles, such as the one he played in Dead Poets Society. This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie Dead Poets Society. This scene is a lesson for all of us to get the most out of life that we can. I would say — serve God every day in every way you can.

Carpe Diem — seize the day.

Sermon: Matthew 14:13-21

I have posted yesterday’s sermon on my sermon blog. Based on Matthew 14:3-21 it is entitled “Counting On Jesus”.

Here’s a portion of it:

Matthew West has a song that’s getting a lot of air play on the Contemporary Christian radio stations these days where he sings about a man who asked God why He didn’t do something about all the problems in the world — and God replied;
“I created you!”
In other words, God created us to work with Him, to put what we can do with what He can dom through us and see the miraculous difference we can make together.

You can read the entire sermon here.

Sermon: Genesis 29:15-28

I have posted yesterday’s sermon to my sermon blog. Based on Genesis 29:15-28 it is entitled “Dare To Be Different”.

Here’s a portion of it:

The poet Ann Weems wrote a poem entitled “Our Lord Is Called Hope.” She writes:
Our Lord was a Lord who turned
things upside down and inside out
a man who dined with sinners
a man who befriended prostitutes and tax collectors
a man who was called heretic
a man who broke the Sabbath rules
a man who changed water into wine.

And he bids us o follow Him
to turn things upside down and inside out
to go where the hurting is
to change water into wine
to change who we are into the Kingdom of God.
Weems. Searching for Shalom p.66

Sermon: Matthew 13:-9, 18-23

I have posted my sermon from yesterday on my sermon blog. Based on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 it is entitled “A Dirty Church”. Here’s a portion of it:

Nobody likes dirt — unless, of course, you enjoy planting flowers or growing vegetable.
When I was growing up we had a man that would help Mom and Dad with yard work on occasion named Nick White. Nick was an elderly gentleman who could tell people where to plant plants. He would dig around in the yard – getting “soil samples” as it were – then would announce:

“You can plant here. It’s good dirt.”
Sometimes you just need good dirt. What makes for good dirt? A proper balance of nutrients to start with, some fertilizer can’t hurt, maybe a little Miracle Grow, then some water and sunlight. These things can help plants grow. But frist you have to have good soil – or as Nick would say – good dirt. To have healthy plants you have to start with good dirt. And you have to be willing to get dirty.

You can read the sermon here.

July 4 2014

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Happy July 4th!

Today is a day for Americans to celebrate the freedoms God has blessed us with in this great land of ours. The United States of America is a great country — for many reasons — and I am proud to be a part of it!

The above words from the Declaration of Independence are some of the greatest words ever written. They provided a vision statement, so to speak, for those who gave their lives for freedom.

We all need to cherish these words and continue to work for these rights for all people. Let’s stop and give thanks today for those who have given their lives so we can enjoy our freedoms, and so others can enjoy them also.

A few things I would ask you to do today:

1. Give praise to God for this great country He has blessed us with

2. Read The Declaration Of Independence.

3. If you know someone who has served in the Armed Forces, thank them for helping protect the freedoms we enjoy for us and others.

As is my custom on July 4th, I offer this prayer for America from the Presbyterian Church Book of Common Worship:

Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage.
Make us always remember your generosity and constantly do your will.

Bless our land with honest industry, sound learning, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.

Make us who come from many nations with many different languages a united people. Defend our liberties and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government
the spirit of wisdom, that there might be justice and peace in our land.

When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful;and, in troubled times, do not let our trust in you fail.We ask all this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Presbyterian Church Book of Common Worship)