Archive for February, 2021

Sermon 02-14-2021: “Listen to God’s Beloved Son”

February 16, 2021

Scripture: Mark 9:2-9

Well, he did it again… Forty-three-year-old Tom Brady led his team to Super Bowl glory. For the seventh time! He’s only seven years younger than I am! I’m at the age where I can’t even get up off the couch without experiencing pain—some of you know what I’m talking about—and here Brady is, routinely being crushed by the world’s biggest, strongest, heaviest athletes, and he’s not only getting up, he’s winning Super Bowl championships!

His example should inspire over-the-hill people like me!

His team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had an unusual victory parade last week—a boat parade, on the Hillsborough River near Tampa. And aside from the unusual location, the most noteworthy part of the parade was when Tom Brady threw the Super Bowl trophy from his boat to one of his teammates on another boat—fittingly, he threw it to one of his tight ends, Cameron Brate… who caught it!

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Sermon 02-07-2021: “Turning Giants into Grasshoppers”

February 16, 2021

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31

In case you missed it, the biggest news in the business world over the past couple of weeks is GameStop, a brick-and-mortar store that sells video games. Their business model is considered by many people to be obsolete, as more and more people buy or download video games online. In other words, GameStop today is where Blockbuster Video was ten years ago.

I’m not going to explain what “short selling” is, but it allows Wall Street investors to profit off of GameStop’s demise. If the company’s stock price continues to fall, these investors make a lot of money. If it rises, they lose a lot of money. And the last couple of weeks, they’ve lost a lot of money. All because a bunch of individual investors banded together online to buy shares of GameStop stock, pushing the price of this otherwise failing business sky-high—and thus punishing Wall Street for betting against the company’s future success.

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Sermon 01-31-21: “The Brother or Sister for Whom Christ Died”

February 2, 2021

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8: 1-13

My family and I miss eating at restaurants! That’s one activity that in the wake of COVID-19 we have seriously curtailed. And so many restaurants and restaurant chains are going under! I know it’s happened here in Toccoa—as so many people stay home or choose drive-through or take-out because they don’t want to sit down in a crowded restaurant with lots of people.

It may not be obvious, but in today’s scripture, Paul is asking some of these Christians in Corinth to do the same thing: to avoid sitting down in restaurants. Not because of threats to their physical health, but threats to their spiritual health… and the spiritual health of others. You see, most restaurants and banquet halls in Corinth were connected to pagan temples. And when the pagan priests would sacrifice bulls or cows or sheep or birds or pigs whatever else—well, believe it or not the gods wouldn’t eat very much… Seriously, the priest would burn up parts of the animal as a sacrifice, serve part of what was left over in the temple dining room—where rich people in Corinth gathered to eat, the same way we go to restaurants. And then the temple would sell the rest of the meat in the marketplace.

Most meat consumed in Corinth had first been offered as a sacrifice to these idols.

So what should Christians do? You’ve got to admit it’s a good question! In Acts 15, one of the rules the early church gave to Gentile converts was to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols. And Paul, probably in an earlier letter that we no longer possess, had passed down this rule to the Corinthians. But… Some of these Corinthians who were “in the know” thought they knew better… and they had a pretty good counterargument: We know that idols aren’t real. All meat comes as a gift from the one true God whom we worship. Therefore, what’s the harm of going into these temples and having a nice meal?

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