Sermon for April 29, 2018
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Have you ever wondered why it is that your performance, athletic or otherwise, approaches ideal as your self consciousness decreases? Sometimes people call it the flow, being in the zone, or even calling someone ‘unconscious’ as they seem to perform without effort. I’m reminded of a basketball game where Michael Jordan was having one of these moments. Scoring, and making it look so easy in the 1992 playoffs, he shrugged his shoulders after hitting his sixth three pointer of the first half as if to say, “Even I don’t know what I’m doing!” There is a profound spiritual truth in these experiences that only scratches the surface of the underlying reality that makes this possible.
Sermon for April 22, 2018
It can be easy to fool ourselves into thinking that, in order to really see one another, interact with others on a genuine, non superficial level, it would take too much effort. Add in the sense of fear and risk involved in possibly being the only one stepping from behind their persona and we can become comfortable in being a total fabrication for much of our lives. We think this persona we have developed over the years protects us- it doesn’t.
In reality, the effort lies in keeping people at arm’s length. Effort is expended in building a wall between yourself and others, in maintaining the persona, the mask, we present to the world. The true risk is not in the supposed vulnerability of being “real” but in the potential to totally forget who you really are, while losing the ability to see others also.
Sermon for April 15, 2018
You don’t have to live long to find yourself needing to learn to forgive. If you watch small children, you can get an idea of the process that goes on when one is hurt and tries to find forgiveness. One child does something, intentionally or not, which hurts another. Where there was once connection, a harmony and selfless play, there is now a divide. The hurt child is now left feeling isolated within his own identity, confused, cut off, alone.
Defenses now up, without some type of insight or guidance, the hurt child will begin to isolate himself, believing this will protect him from being hurt again. He might do this through a type of revenge, or simply cutting himself off emotionally, and even physically, from the offender(mommy, I want to go home!). In the short term, this initial reaction might work- but it won’t last.
Sermon for April 8, 2018
This is a particularly special sermon, both as a cornerstone of understanding the saving Grace of Christ and, for me, on a personal level. I don’t want to ‘rank’ sermons, but I do consider this one a “must read”. The issues and questions here are not only important in the context of the way to God, but also for your counsel to others as they seek God. The ideas discussed go much deeper than it might first appear and I encourage you to take some time to read, and re-read, and not be afraid to delve into some hard questions that might arise. As you work your way through, I want you to come back to one thing, often, as you read-
Matthew 22:37-40 New International Version (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you find yourself lost in some part of the sermon, becoming frustrated or judgemental, whatever the barrier might be, come back to this verse and read it again. Center yourself here, and then continue when you’re ready again. Remember that this is a sermon, not an essay or intellectual pursuit, and it is important that you take time to center yourself in the Spirit of God as you explore these truths.
I went through something, on the night before Easter day, and into Easter day itself, that I was compelled to share. At first, it didn’t even occur to me that sharing this private pain would be of interest, or help, to anyone else. It wasn’t really a decision to keep it private, but more a subconscious assumption that I would just bear my cross silently. Why would anyone want to hear about my issues? I was brought up to have a ‘stiff upper lip’ and forge on. Two things changed my mind and made me see that sharing my own private moments of helplessness and pain are absolutely necessary.