Sermon 06-12-2022: “The Power Behind Positive Thinking”

June 27, 2022

Scripture: Acts 16:6-10, 16-34

Last week, we looked at how the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers at Pentecost. As I said then, when we place our faith in Christ and are born again, every single one of us receives the Spirit. And the main thing the Spirit does, I said, is to enable us fulfill Christ’s commission in this world, the Great Commission. Today’s sermon is a sequel to last week’s, because in this week’s scripture we see examples of the Holy Spirit in action in the lives of Paul, Silas, and Timothy, and in the lives of people they’re reaching with the gospel.

And I want to focus on three things that the Holy Spirit does for us believers in Jesus. One, the Spirit enables us to overcome disappointing circumstances. As part of this point, I’ll explain the importance of discerning God’s specific will for decisions we make. Point Number Two, he enables us to overcome sin. And, Point Number Three, he enables us to overcome suffering… And when I say “overcome suffering,” I don’t mean we can reach a place where we magically never suffer anymore; rather, I mean that the Holy Spirit will equip to handle it much better, to deal with it much more effectively, without having it destroy us or harm us spiritually. 

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Sermon 06-05-2022: “Treasuring Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit”

June 8, 2022

Scripture: Acts 2:1-21

I’ve told you before that back in 2012 and 2013, I made two trips to Kenya, in East Africa. I went there to teach indigenous United Methodist pastors—to teach them the basics of church history, Wesleyan theology and doctrine, and things related to liturgy and our Book of Discipline. Kenya was a former British colony and many of my students—about a hundred in all… many of them spoke English quite beautifully, but even the best English speakers in the classes only spoke English as a second language… and some didn’t speak it at all… Their first language was Swahili. Which meant I used an interpreter.

I enjoyed the experience! But it took a little while to get the hang of it… to learn to speak a sentence, or even a half-sentence, then to pause, then to allow my words to be translated… and then continue.

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Sermon 05-29-2022: “From Grumbling to Glory”

June 8, 2022

Scripture: John 5:1-18

Today’s sermon is about healing, both spiritual and physical healing—and about how all healing comes from God. And I want to make three important points about healing that emerge from today’s scripture. Point Number One: grace… all healing is a gift God’s grace. Point Number Two: grumbling… what does a grumbling or complaining spirit have to do with true healing? And Point Number Three: glory… true and complete healing leads to God’s glory; that’s the goal of healing in the first place… So… Grace, grumbling, and glory

But first, let’s talk about grace… 

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Sermon 05-15-2022: “We All Need the Gospel All the Time”

May 31, 2022

Scripture: Acts 11:1-18

Today’s scripture is basically a short summary of all the important events described in Acts chapter 10. So, as much as I would like to read and preach on all of chapter 10, I don’t have time. So I’ll be preaching on this summary instead. But I will make frequent reference to chapter 10.

And the three most important points that I need to make in this sermon are the following: One, non-Christians need the gospel. Two, Christians need the gospel. And, three, because everyone needs the gospel, we need to understand precisely what the gospel is… What does it mean?Because… based on Peter’s own experience, and our experience, it is incredibly easy to forget.

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Sermon 05-01-2022: “But That Night They Caught Nothing”

May 31, 2022

Scripture: John 21:1-19

It’s often emphasized that one difference between the gospel of John and the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is that John contains no parables—no Prodigal Son, no Good Samaritan, no Wise and Foolish Virgins. But I don’t think that’s quite right: it’s just that the parables that Jesus communicates are acted out. They are living parables… In some ways, every miracle Jesus performs in the gospel of John is an “acted out” parable—very symbolic, meant to communicate something important about Jesus Christ, his saving work, and our relationship with him and his Father. That’s why John alone among the gospel writers refers to miracles as signs

And indeed, today’s miracle—a miraculous catch of fish—is an acted out parable intended to encourage us as we live our Christian lives. So I want this sermon to encourage you… by looking at four different aspects of today’s scripture: One, the meaning of the fishing; two, the meaning of the failure; three, the meaning of the forgiveness; and, four, the meaning of the fearlessness. Fishing, failure, forgiveness, and fearlessness.

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Sermon 04-24-2022: “The Problem of Doubt and Its Solution”

May 2, 2022

Scripture: John 20:19-31

One of the most important events that takes place on Easter Sunday isn’t narrated within any of the four gospels. Instead, it takes place in between verse 18, which we looked at last week, and verse 19, the first verse of today’s scripture. 

Last Sunday, on Easter Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene encounters the Risen Lord. And Jesus commissions her to go and tell the other eleven disciples the good news of the resurrection. John, as we saw last week, already believes in the resurrection, based on the evidence of the empty tomb.

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Sermon 04-17-2022: “The Meaning of Easter”

April 25, 2022

Scripture: John 20:1-18

Last week, Augusta National played host to the most prestigious of the four major golf tournaments, the Masters. And I was deeply moved by the press conference that Masters-winner Scottie Scheffler held afterwards. Because like so many championship-caliber athletes, he used his platform as an opportunity to bear witness to his faith in Jesus Christ and to glorify God. He said, “The reason why I play golf is: I’m trying to glorify God and all that He’s done in my life.” He went on to say that as important as his golfing career is, his “identity isn’t a golf score.” 

He said his wife reminded him of this truth before he began the fourth and final round last Sunday—enjoying a three-stroke advantage over his nearest rival. 

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Maundy Thursday Sermon 04-14-2022: “You Are Completely Clean”

April 25, 2022

Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31-35

Brothers and sisters, I hope it’s not covetousness on my part when I confess that I really, really want an Atlanta Braves World Series ring. The Braves had the ring ceremony last Saturday in which they handed them out to the team. And these rings are awesome

Among many other things, the rings have a total of 755 diamonds—44 of which are configured in such a way to pay tribute to Number 44 Hank Aaron, who died last year. On one side there’s a pearl in reference to the famous pearl necklace that Joc Pederson wore. The top of the ring has a lid that opens to reveal an engraving of the Truist Park stadium with micro LED lights that light up.

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Sermon 04-10-2022: “Blessed is the King Who Comes in the Name of the Lord”

April 25, 2022

Scripture: Luke 19:28-40

The week before last, the Duke of Sussex, otherwise known as Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan made headlines again. You may remember that they resigned a couple of years ago from being full-time members of the British Royal Family and have been living in sunny southern California—instead of England—ever since… So… Go U.S.A.! I bet Harry doesn’t even blame us anymore for fighting our war for independence! But meanwhile, back in dark and dreary London, the rest of the Royal Family was attending a memorial service for Prince Philip, Harry’s grandfather. And Harry wasn’t there… He and his wife remained in California… as Royal watchers around the world fretfully observed.

And the reason Harry gave for not attending? Since he no longer lives with the rest of the Royal Family, he’s worried about his safety: he no longer has the same security team protecting him—the equivalent of our Secret Service. When Prince Harry goes to England, he no longer has the same level of protection that he used to have.1

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Sermon 03-27-2022: “When Our Father Says, ‘From Now On'”

April 1, 2022

Scripture: Luke 15: 1-2, 11-32

Almighty, gracious Father, since our whole salvation depends on our true understanding of your holy Word, grant that our hearts—freed from worldly affairs—may hear and understand your holy Word with all diligence and faith, so that we may rightly discern your gracious will, cherish it, and live by it with all earnestness, to your praise and honor, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

We are nearing the end of March, and I have one question for you: Is your bracket busted?

Of course it is!

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