Archive for October, 2021

Sermon 10-24-2021: “Is Jesus Enough for Us?”

October 29, 2021

Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

If you recall last week’s sermon, I concluded it by talking about Mark 10, verses 13 to 16, and the way that young children receive Christmas presents. And how they do so with empty hands… Little children, I said, can’t do anything to earn or deserve or pay back the gift-giver for the gift that they receive. They literally can’t… They don’t have any money… or anything of value to give. “If you want to enter God’s kingdom,” Jesus says, “be like them.” But he says it even more emphatically: “Be like them… or else,” Jesus says. “Or else you won’t enter God’s kingdom, you won’t receive eternal life, you won’t be saved.” There’s no other way!

Come to me empty-handed, or you can’t come at all!

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Sermon 10-17-2021: “The Discipleship of Christian Marriage”

October 28, 2021

Scripture: Mark 10:1-16

Last week, before Josh preached his powerful sermon on confirmation Sunday, he asked me about whether or not he should say this, or that or the other thing… He was trying to be very careful. He wanted us in the congregation to feel challenged by Jesus’ words, but, he said, “he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.” I said, “Don’t worry about it! People like being challenged in sermons. People ought to be challenged in sermons.”

I worry that I spoke too soon.

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U-NITE Sermon 10-10-2021: “A Stubborn Donkey or a God-Ordained Purpose?”

October 19, 2021

Scripture: Numbers 22:1-41

[Read vv. 1-6.]

Did you hear about the ESPN scandal that happened recently?

On the last Sunday night in August, at the beginning of the new football season, ESPN decided to broadcast football games between top high school teams in the country—so that a football-starved national audience would get to watch future college and NFL stars when they were still in high school. It’s not my thing, but some people care about that, right? So on this Sunday night, in their prime-time slot, ESPN broadcast a game between IMG Academy—which is basically a boarding school in Florida for top high school athletes—and Bishop Sycamore High School, an allegedly elite football powerhouse from Columbus, Ohio… only

Bishop Sycamore was… terrible. I mean, unbelievably bad. In 2020, they had an 0-6 record. They only had 30 to 35 players on their roster. They didn’t apparently have enough helmets for every member on the team, so players were seen sharing one another’s helmets during the game! 

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Sermon 10-03-2021: “Four Principles of Powerful Prayer”

October 19, 2021

Scripture: James 4:13-17; 5:13-18

I’ve told you before that two of the greatest experiences in my life happened back in 2012 and 2013—when I went, on two occasions, to teach theology, doctrine, and church history to a group of indigenous United Methodist pastors in Kenya. These pastors usually don’t have access to a Western-style seminary education, so they’re stuck learning from people like me!

Taking part in worship was a highlight of my two trips. Each worship service featured a time for testimonies, during which people in the congregation could stand up and talk about something powerful that God was doing in their lives. So a student in my class—a Kenyan pastor—talked about an incident that happened in his life that had happened just a few days earlier: His wife, he said, had cooked a batch of mandazi, which is a pastry that Kenyans often serve with tea… it’s fried bread. And it’s delicious! 

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