Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Sermon 02-22-2023: “Our Dangerous Heart Condition and Its Cure”

March 13, 2023

Scripture: Matthew 6:1-6; 16-21; Joel 2:1-2; 12-17

Britannia est parva insula. That is the sum total of my knowledge of Latin, which I took for one year in high school. It means, “Britain is a small island.”

I was taught Latin by a notoriously grouchy, deeply sarcastic yankee from Boston called Coach Hogan. If you’re from Boston, or Massachusetts—Ben Menard—I promise I’m not assuming that you’re anything like Coach Hogan. He was a piece of work… A brilliant man—rumored around the school to have gotten a perfect score on the SAT. He was asked about it one time. He replied, “If I did, do you really think I would be stuck here, teaching morons like you”—although I think that was his way of being humble. 

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Sermon 02-19-2023: “Be More than Merely Human”

March 13, 2023

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:9

I want to make three points in today’s sermon: Point Number One, the Holy Spirit really changes us. Point Number Two, the change may happen slowly, and here’s why. And Point Number Three, How does the Holy Spirit change us? What is going on inside of us that makes us want to change?

But first, the Holy Spirit really does change us…

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Sermon 02-12-2023: “Let The One Who Boasts, Boast In The Lord”

March 13, 2023

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:30-2:12

In today’s sermon, I’m talking, first, about the problem of fear in general. Second, about Paul’s problem with fear. And, third, what God wants to do about it.

First, the problem of fear…

I shared this story a couple of years ago, but it perfectly illustrates an important point I need to make, so I’m sharing it again. Like it or not… Suffer through it! Back in 2012, a friend from seminary, an ordained deacon—I’ll call her Laura—called me out of the blue to tell me about an upcoming mission trip that she was going on with her church. Her church was paying for her to go to Kenya, in East Africa, to teach a group of highly effective, very enthusiastic, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Spirit-filled indigenous United Methodist pastors. She was teaching them crash courses in church history, in United Methodist theology and doctrine, and in liturgy. In fact, she was going to teach them the same curriculum that we teach local lay pastors here in the States. Going to seminary is financially out of reach for most of these men and women, so this would be the next best thing.

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Sermon 02-05-2023: “God Turns Nobodies into Somebodies”

February 9, 2023

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

I know there’s been some controversy in the past few weeks surrounding former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett IV, but I’m not talking about that this morning… The fact is, as much as it pains a Yellow Jacket like me to admit, Stetson Bennett deserves all the accolades that come his way because of what he accomplished on the football field.

His story is simply remarkable… and incredibly unlikely. Bennett grew up a huge UGA fan, and got to realize his dream of playing quarterback for the Bulldogs his freshman year in 2017—well, at least he had a shot at playing quarterback. Bennett didn’t receive a coveted scholarship offer, but he made the team as a walk-on. I mean, he’s 5’11”—a little undersized to be a starting quarterback in the SEC.

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Sermon 01-29-2023: “Quarreling Is A Deadly Sin”

February 9, 2023

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

I’m going to answer three main questions in today’s sermon. First: What is the Corinthians’ biggest problem and how does it relate to us. Second: Why are they quarreling… and what can we learn from their experience? Third: What’s the solution?

Any of you remember this classic jingle? [sings]“Reach out, reach out and touch someone/ Reach out, call up and just say hi…” That was, of course, a famous jingle from AT&T in the late-’70s and ’80s. Basically, they were trying to encourage us Americans to make long-distance phone calls. Because back then, very few Americans would would “call up and just say hi” to anyone who lived far away. Why? Because you’d have to pay long distance charges! Long-distance was for emergencies only—or for sharing really important information. 

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Sermon 01-15-2023: “Set Apart and Stuck Together”

February 9, 2023

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians—which I’m going to be preaching on starting today and running through the First Sunday of Lent—is relevant for us Christians living in Toccoa, Georgia, in the twenty-first century. So what does today’s scripture teach us about being a Christian here and now? I’m going to focus on two things… Your bulletin says three, but I only have time for two… So good news: You’re going to beat the Baptists to the Mexican place! Just kidding. You know me better than that! The sermon is just as long as usual!

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Sermon 01-08-2023: “God’s Beloved Sons and Daughters”

January 12, 2023

Scripture: Matthew 3:11-17

Let me begin by asking, Did anyone make New Year’s Resolutions?

I don’t typically make them myself… but I’m afraid a new year’s resolution was made on my behalf. You see, I had a checkup with my doctor recently. And all was well, I’m happy to report. But he did tell me that I’m not hydrated enough; that I’m not drinking enough water. 

How much is “enough”? He told me: “Two liters of water a day minimum.”

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Sermon 12-25-2022: “For We Saw His Star When It Rose and Have Come To Worship Him”

January 12, 2023

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12

What can we learn from these magi, or wise men, in today’s scripture about finding Jesus, following Jesus, and falling in love with Jesus? I want to focus on three things: The first thing we learn is that we all need God’s word, holy scripture. The second thing is that Jesus wants to be in a saving relationship with everyone… He wants to be at the very center of everyone’s life. And when he is—the third thing—Jesus changes everything…

But first, in order to find, follow, and fall in love with Jesus, we need to listen to his Word, the Bible…

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Sermon 12-24-2022: “The Sign of A Manger”

January 9, 2023

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20

Tonight’s scripture is, of course, the very scripture that Charlie Brown’s one faithful friend, Linus, reads during the classic TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus reads it, you may recall, after Charlie Brown asks, in frustration, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus says, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” 

And then Linus reads this passage… Did you know, by the way, that CBS executives were nervous about this scene, and they tried to have Charles Schulz and the producers cut it because it was just… so… um… religious? because it was so specifically Christian? As if Christmas isn’t, first and foremost, a Christian celebration!

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Sermon 12-18-2022: “The What, the How, and the What Now of Christmas”

December 28, 2022

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

In today’s sermon, I want to address three important questions that today’s scripture helps to answer: First, the what… What is Christmas? What does it mean? Second, the how… How does Jesus fulfill the meaning of Christmas. And, third, the what now… How do we live our lives now in light of Christmas—more specifically, what can we learn from Joseph about living in light of Christmas?

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