Archive for August, 2022

Sermon 08-21-2022: “When Bad Things Happen to Bad People”

August 23, 2022

Scripture: Luke 13:1-9

Whenever the headlines bring us news of yet another tragedy of some kind—whether it’s tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods; whether it’s pandemics and pestilence; whether it’s horrifying acts of violence like school shootings; whether it’s terrorist attacks; skeptics and atheists often take to social media, to late-night television, and to talk shows and ask questions like this: “Why would a good, all-powerful God allow evil [like this] to continue?… Either He is not really good or He is not very powerful; otherwise He would have eliminated suffering long ago.” 1

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Sermon 08-14-2022: “God Wants You to Have Heroic Faith”

August 17, 2022

Scripture: Hebrews 10:32 – 11: 2, 8-16

When I planned our current sermon series, I intended this week’s scripture to be a detour from the gospel of Luke. But today’s scripture is part of the same theme we’ve been discussing—the Bible’s surprising and often difficult path to lasting happiness and joy. In fact, today’s scripture, mostly from Hebrews chapter 11, is part of the “hall of faith” chapter—because it describes a Who’s Who of great heroes of faith from the Bible.

The author wants us to know that these great saints of the Old Testament are not part of an elite club of super-spiritual believers of which you and I could never be members. They may be heroes of faith, in other words, but they aren’t superheroes of faith. The author is saying that if these Bible heroes possess a “heroic faith,” well, so should we. So in this sermon, I want to encourage us modern-day believers to have the same kind of “heroic” faith.

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Sermon 08-07-2022: “If Christ Is Your Treasure”

August 17, 2022

Scripture: Luke 12:32-40

I’m a fan of a podcast called This American Life—which is also broadcast on public radio. Each week they choose a theme, and reporters go and find interesting, real-life stories related to that theme.

Years ago, the theme and title of one episode was “Blackjack.” More specifically, it was about what’s known as “counting cards” while playing blackjack. Nothing I’m about to say, I hope, will be construed as an endorsement of gambling. I’m opposed to it. I think it’s terrible. But according to the producers of this show, if you learn to count cards—which is difficult to learn—but if you learn to do it, you can “beat the house” and win money. So, from the perspective of card-counters, you’re not placing your faith in “Lady Luck”; you’re simply believing in math and applying it to the problem of blackjack. Also, contrary to popular belief, counting cards is not illegal; but casinos have the right to ask you to leave if they suspect you’re doing it.

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Sermon 07-31-2022: “Get Rich in the Only Way that Matters”

August 3, 2022

Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

If you’re of my generation—Generation X—and you needed to be reminded that you’re getting older, well… with great sadness we were reminded of this fact last week when actor Tony Dow—whom most of us know and love as Wally Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver—died, from cancer, at age 77. And I was genuinelysaddened. I know you can say it’s “just a TV show,” but, man… Leave It to Beaver was an important part of my childhood. I mean, that show dealt with real issues that I was facing when I was a kid at the time—that’s for sure!

Anyway, even the New York Times obituary writer put her finger on something that I always appreciated about Wally, the older brother to Beaver. While describing the kind of person Wally was, she said, “And [Wally] would never ‘squeal on’ the Beav, unless he had to.”1 

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