Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Weinstein’

Sermon 12-31-17: “Pray Always and Do Not Lose Heart”

January 4, 2018

Today’s scripture, the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8, is about more than the need to be persistent in prayer. It’s also about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ—and how we can be ready for it.

Sermon Text: Luke 18:1-8

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In our Wesleyan tradition, on New Year’s Eve in fact, is something called a “Watch Night” service. Methodist churches rarely have them anymore, but the idea is that, instead of ringing in the new year, you spend the night in prayer—literally “keeping watch.” And what are you watching for? The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As Jesus says in many places, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”[1]—of his return.

God’s Word tells us repeatedly—through Jesus in the gospels and in Revelation,[2] through Paul in 1 Thessalonians,[3] and through Peter in 2 Peter[4]—that the Second Coming will occur like a “thief in the night.” This image implies two important truths—and I confess that, for most of my life, when I contemplated the image of a “thief in the night,” I only considered one aspect of the image: that Jesus’ return will be unexpected. Jesus said, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.”

The Second Coming will be unexpected—at least for the vast majority of people living in the world. Many of us have security systems in our homes, not for the sake of people breaking in during broad daylight but in the middle of the night, when we’re asleep. So the alarms can go off and we can be alerted to the danger. So, when I’ve considered the “thief in the night” image in the past, I’ve always considered the “in the night” part more than the “thief” part. But… let’s turn our attention to the “thief” part: How will Jesus, in his Second Coming, be like a thief. Have you ever thought about that? I mean, that’s kind of a negative image for Jesus, isn’t it? How will Jesus be like a thief?

He’ll be like a thief for those people who find their treasure in anything other than God and his kingdom and his glory; for anyone who treasures earthly things above heavenly things; or temporal things above eternal things. Why? Because everything that isn’t of God, everything that isn’t of his kingdom, everything that isn’t for his glory in the end will be “destroyed by fire,” Peter says.[5] It is passing away. It is being consumed by moths and rust, Jesus says. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 11-19-17: “That I May Gain Christ”

November 29, 2017

In today’s scripture Paul considers everything he’s lost as a result of following Christ. From the world’s point of view, it’s substantial. Yet Paul says he counts it all as loss in comparison to what he’s gained in Christ. Too often, I can think of many things in my own life that don’t seem like “rubbish” in comparison to Christ. What about you? How can we learn to treasure Jesus the way Paul does?

Sermon Text: Philippians 3:2-14

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Sadly, each passing week seems to bring new allegations against celebrities who have used their power to sexually abuse, harass, or rape people. In the case of Harvey Weinstein—one of the most powerful and influential Hollywood producers over the past 30 years—friends and associates like Ben Affleck and director Quentin Tarantino have apologized publicly because they knew this stuff was going on and they never said anything or did anything to stop it. They didn’t even confront their friend about it. And the truth is, there were dozens or even hundreds of powerful people in Hollywood who also knew about Weinstein’s behavior, and none of them did anything about it. Weinstein’s behavior was, in one report I read, Hollywood’s “worst-kept secret.”

Why the silence—not on the part of Weinstein’s victims—I totally get that—but on the part of his many powerful friends and associates? Why didn’t they do anything or say anything to him? Why didn’t they hold him accountable? Because Harvey Weinstein had the power to make or break their careers in Hollywood. He had the power to do great harm to their careers, or contribute to their success—as actors or filmmakers. He had the power to make their Hollywood dreams come true or prevent them from coming true. Because of their connection to Weinstein, many people won Academy Awards who otherwise wouldn’t have won them!

So these friends and associates decided that they had too much to lose. And they weren’t willing to risk losing it—even for the sake doing the right thing, telling the truth, being people of integrity.

How very different, by contrast, is the apostle Paul, as we see in today’s scripture! He was willing to lose everything that the world placed a high value on—everything that made him “somebody” in the eyes of the world. Why was he willing to do that? That’s what this sermon is all about. Read the rest of this entry »