Archive for July, 2021

Sermon 07-25-21: “Leave the ‘How’ to Jesus”

July 29, 2021

Scripture: John 6: 1-21

If you have a dog that likes to play fetch—like a certain spaniel that you’ve heard me mention before—then you’ve probably had this experience: Your dog wants you to throw the ball to him. But you don’t have the ball. And so you’re pointing to it. “It’s over there, dummy!” And what does the dog do? Instead of following your finger to where it’s pointing, the dog stares at your finger. The dog doesn’t understand the point of, well… pointing. Our dogs easily get confused.

And in today’s scripture we see that humans aren’t so different.

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Sermon 07-11-2021: “Do Not Fear, Only Believe”

July 16, 2021

Scripture: Mark 5: 21-43

I’m a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, the “master of suspense.” My favorite movie of his is Notorious, from 1946. It’s set just after World War II. Cary Grant plays an American secret agent who is trying to uncover a secret chemical weapon, which is hidden in the wine cellar of a Nazi played by Claude Raines. Raines is conspiring with other Nazis to use this new weapon to revive the Third Reich—unless Cary Grant, the spy, can stop him.

So Grant gets himself invited to a party at Claude Raines’s house. And at some point during the party, Grant sneaks down into the wine cellar in order to find the chemical weapon.

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Sermon 07-04-2021: “Strength through Weakness”

July 7, 2021

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 2: 1-10

Many of you have asked about our beach trip last week… My family and I had a wonderful vacation… at Englewood Beach, in Florida, south of Tampa. We enjoyed some perfect or nearly perfect days there. So thank you, Lord! The only thing that detracted from the trip at all is that, somehow, I forgot to apply an adequate amount of sunscreen on Day One at a the beach, so I had to manage a sunburn for the rest of the week. No big deal, though! 

But getting sunburned reminded me of a traumatic experience one summer, when I was 11 or 12, when the Whitewater Water Park opened in Atlanta. Do any of y’all know Whitewater? The summer it opened, there was a big marketing campaign to promote it. And the TV commercials showed this fair-skinned kid whose skin tone was unnaturally pale. I’ve always been fair-skinned—prone to sunburns, unable to tan—but even I wasn’t like the kid on TV; they added some special effect to make him appear ghostly white. And there was a jingle that went along with the commercial. The kid sang these words: “I used to be the whitest/ I looked just like a ghoul.” A ghoul—like a ghost or phantom. And they rhymed “ghoul” with “cool”—as in “staying cool at Whitewater.” That was the tagline.

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