Archive for February, 2022

Sermon 02-20-2022: “How to Love Like Jesus”

February 24, 2022

Scripture: Luke 6:27-38

So Lisa and I were having an argument a while back—it wasn’t an important argument, and I was at fault. But we were having this argument, and—friends, let me tell you—my perfect, 52-year-long streak of never winning an argument remains unbroken. Why do I keep trying? It’s worse than Charlie Brown’s stubborn hope that this time Lucy is going to let him actually kick the football. “This time I’m going to win an argument!” But I never do. But during the argument, I promise that these words came out of my mouth: “Yes, sure… what I did was wrong, but I guarantee you that 99.9 percent of other husbands would have done—or failed to do—the exact same thing in this situation.” 

But do you see what I was doing? It’s as if I were saying, “Honey, your standards for my behavior are way too high! You expect way too much from me! You see, it is not in my nature to behave differently from the way I behavedthis is just the kind of person I am… I can’t change!” 

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Sermon 02-13-2022: “Jesus and the Pursuit of Happiness”

February 24, 2022

Scripture: Luke 6:17-26

By now, many of you have heard about and are playing the online game Wordle. The game has exploded in popularity. All five members of my family play it every day… and we eagerly post our results in the family group chat. 

In a nutshell, you have six chances to guess a five-letter word that has been randomly selected by the Wordle app. With each guess, the game gives you feedback about which letters, if any, are in the in the word… and which letters aren’t. As one article on the Wordle phenomenon puts it, if you solve it, it makes you feel clever, but not too clever. And it doesn’t take much time. There’s only one Wordle a day, so it’s impossible to go down a Wordle rabbit hole.

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Sermon 02-06-2022: “When We’re in the Middle of a Miracle”

February 14, 2022

Scripture: Luke 5:1-11

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time a dear brother in Christ named Trace Embry. Some of you know Trace. He created and runs a wilderness therapy school for troubled teenagers called Shepherd’s Hill Academy. It’s off Highway 17 in Martin. Young people from around the world get placed in this program. Among other things, these kids get a first-rate education… but they receive that education without having access to any “screens,” or smartphones, or devices of any kind. No social media. They are segregated by gender. They live in cabins in the woods, with no electricity, no indoor plumbing—and only a wood stove to keep them warm… And by the way, they have to chop, split, and dry their own firewood themselves. Counselors, of course, live with them and work alongside them the whole time. On the weekend, these students are responsible for cooking their own meals over an open fire. 

And many of them receive the gospel of Jesus Christ while they’re at it.

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Sermon 01-30-2022: “Read the Sign”

February 4, 2022

Scripture: John 2:1-11

Recently, my family and I were watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond—the greatest show ever about marriage. And in this episode, Robert, Ray’s older brother, will soon be getting married to Amy. Robert, like a good fiancé, is trying to help Amy with the wedding plans—and Robert has been assigned the task of picking out the wedding invitations. So he asks his brother Ray and his father for advice on styles and colors of invitations—again, he’s just trying to be a good fiancé. At least until Ray convinces him that Amy doesn’t really want Robert’s help… Yes, she says she wants Robert’s help, but not really! Ray tells her that Amy’s been planning the perfect wedding since she was twelve years old—“And trust me,” Ray says. “She really wants to take care of these plans herself.” 

“Here’s what you’ve got to do,” Ray says. “Do a really bad job designing the wedding invitations. And once you show her a draft copy of it, and Amy sees how incompetent you are, she’ll take over and do it herself… which, again, she really wants to do anyway.”

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