Sermon 10-18-2020: “If Your Presence Will Not Go With Us”

October 21, 2020

Scripture: Exodus 33:12-23

The magician and comedian named Penn Jillette is one-half of the comedy magic duo Penn and Teller. Some of you have likely seen them on late-night TV over the years. If you know their act, Jillette is the one who speaks; his partner, Teller, is always silent. 

Years ago, Jillette posted a video on his blog about an experience he had just had after a show in Las Vegas. Oh, yeah… for context, here’s another important fact about Jillette that you need to know: he is an outspoken atheist. He talks about his atheism a lot. 

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Sermon 10-04-2020: “Are We a People Producing Fruits?”

October 5, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 21:33-46

I know that we often think of people in the Bible, our heroes of the faith, as being far more righteous than we are. Consider David; he was a “man after God’s own heart.” He did so many great things for God’s kingdom—he slew Goliath; he wrote most of the church’s prayer book, the Book of Psalms. And yet… he was also an badly flawed sinner. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in his dealings with Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. After David was king, he had an affair with Uriah’s wife and got her pregnant, while Uriah was off fighting in a war as a soldier in David’s army. When David finds that he is unable to cover up his sin, he literally arranges to have Uriah killed in battle. So he takes Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, as his own. 

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Sermon 09-27-2020: “Overcoming Anger”

September 28, 2020

Scripture: Exodus 17:1-17

I was talking with an older gentleman in a church I once served. He lived with his granddaughter and her husband and young family—he helped to cook and clean and carpool the kids around. He was complaining about “kids these days,” and how different things are today compared to the “good old days” when he was growing up. He said, “Back in my day, in the summer, we’d go outside with our friends first thing in the morning, get on our bikes, and our parents probably wouldn’t see us again until dinnertime. And they didn’t worry about us! And they didn’t send us out with bottles of water. We’d just drink from a someone’s garden hose when we got thirsty!”

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Sermon 09-20-2020: “Is There a Limit to God’s Forgiveness?”

September 21, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35

Years ago, at the church I was pastoring, we had an I.T. contractor who would come in occasionally and fix problems with our computers and our church wifi system. He wasn’t a member of our church—and I had only spoken to him in passing. But one time when he was at our church, he urgently wanted to speak to me. So we talked. 

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Sermonette 09-13-2020: “We’re All Prodigal Sons”

September 16, 2020

Scripture: Luke 15:11-32

So… when you hear this parable, whom do you identify with the most—the younger son… or the older son?

Because make no mistake: the younger son was was really bad! He caused great harm to his father and older brother. But at least when the younger son “came to himself” in verse 17—that is, when he came to his senses—he appreciated just how much harm he had done. That’s why he plans on telling his father, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’”

And notice the older son agrees completely on this point: his younger brother, as far as he’s concerned, no longer deserves any good thing from his father. He deserves only punishment.

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Sermon 09-13-2020: “Put On the Lord Jesus Christ”

September 13, 2020

Scripture: Romans 13:8-14

Last week, something happened to me that has never happened before: I was in the McDonald’s drive-thru ordering lunch. And when I drove up to the window to pay, I was informed that the driver in front of me paid for my meal. Well, that was nice!

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Sermon 09-06-2020: “All Things Work for Good”

September 8, 2020

Scripture: Romans 8:26-39

If you were compiling a playlist of the “Greatest Hits” of the Bible—you know, Bible verses most likely to make it onto coffee mugs, T-shirts, and bumper stickers—then surely this morning’s scripture includes a few of them: “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “If God is for us, who can be against us?” “In all these things we are more than conquerors.” 

And of course, Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” 

Lots of good stuff here, and I’m afraid this sermon will barely skim the surface. But before we dive in, let’s figure out why Paul is writing today’s scripture in the first place.

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Sermon 08-30-2020: “Who Am I That I Should Go?”

August 31, 2020

Exodus 3:1-14, 4:10-15

When I was a senior in high school, we had the equivalent of a beauty pageant: the “Miss Henderson” Pageant. “Henderson” was my high school in Chamblee, Georgia. It doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a middle school. But… my high school has a claim to fame: It is the only high school in America that graduated not one but two future astronauts. So… Go Cougars! Anyway, at the Miss Henderson pageant were three parts: beauty, talent, and an interview with the judges. And I’ll never forget one of my classmates, named Kim, competed in the pageant… and of course she was wonderful in the first two parts of the pageant… Talented, beautiful… and she was also a good public speaker. She surely had high hopes going in to the question-and-answer portion of the show that she might win… until the judges asked her the following question: “What would you like your legacy to be?” 

What would you like your legacy to be?

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Sermon 08-23-2020: “If Jesus Is Who We Say He Is”

August 24, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-23

Last month, CNN Tonight news anchor Don Lemon got into hot water for saying the following:

“Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth. So why are we deifying the founders of this country, many of whom owned slaves?”

“Jesus Christ, admittedly, was not perfect”? I’m not even sure what point Lemon was making with this comparison. For example, it would make sense if he said, “Don’t worship the Founding Fathers. Unlike Jesus, whom Christians do worship, the Founding Fathers weren’t perfect.” But obviously he said something very different. I don’t know…

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Sermon 08-16-2020: “Dogs Like Us”

August 19, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 15:10-28 ESV

I promise I’m not going to tell a story about Ringo, our family’s beloved English springer spaniel. This time I want to tell you about another springer that we owned back in the ’90s and 2000s—Presley was the dog we had when our three kids were born and growing up. And like all babies, my kids each spent a lot of time sitting in high chairs. And let me tell you… they were slobs. Just no hand-eye coordination at all! They spilled food everywhere! 

So every morning, every afternoon, every evening—for years while our kids were little and being fed by one of us—our dog Presley learned to park himself underneath the baby’s high chair, waiting for every little Cheerio that would fall on the floor—at least a couple of handfuls before all was said and done. 

Or maybe our child would spill a bag of Goldfish on the floor… No problem! Presley was on it! It was wonderful.

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