Posts Tagged ‘Matt Lauer’

Sermon 11-22-15: “The Goat within Us All”

November 23, 2015

choosing_sides

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is often used by preachers like me to urge their congregation to be like the “sheep” in the parable. And since most of us are more “goat”-like than “sheep”-like, that means we need to “try harder.” The problem with this approach is that it ignores the context of the parable. Jesus is speaking here of Final Judgment. Salvation or damnation hangs in the balance. If the only difference between “sheep” and “goats” is that one did something that the other failed to do, then are we saying that we have to earn our way into heaven?

I hope not! If so, I’m lost, and so are you!

In this sermon, I’ll offer what I hope is a grace-filled way to understand the parable—one that will inspire us into doing good works rather than guilt-ing us into it.

Sermon Text: Matthew 25:31-46

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

The following is my original sermon manuscript with footnotes.

manning

Last Sunday marked the end of an era: In the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a future Hall-of-Famer, who now holds the record for most career passing yards, who has won a Super Bowl, and who is easily among the best to have ever played the game of football, Peyton Manning was benched. His coach put in the second-string guy. I can’t blame the coach: Last Sunday, Manning finished the day with just 35 yards on 5-of-20 passing, zero touchdowns, four interceptions, two sacks and an almost unheard-of zero passer rating. For the season, Manning has nine touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. It’s not good.

Manning went from being a hero to being a goat. It’s not the first time Manning has been a goat, just not usually during the regular season. In fact, the only knock against his career is that while he’s been consistently heroic during the regular season game, he’s sometimes been goat-like during the playoffs—and in two of this three Super Bowl appearances. Of course, football is a team sport, so he doesn’t deserve as much blame as he gets. Besides, this season, one problem is that he has plantar fasciitis, which I know from painful personal experience is just awful!

Heroes and goats… Have you heard that expression before? Sports writers, sports-talk radio show hosts, and sports fans use this expression often. I don’t know where it comes from—but it’s clear from today’s scripture that being a goat back in the first century was no better than being a goat in the twenty-first century! Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 02-08-15: “Basic Training, Part 5: Forgive Us”

February 19, 2015

Basic Training Series

Forgiving others—and sometimes forgiving ourselves—is among the most difficult things we’re supposed to do as Christians. As I discuss in this sermon, we struggle with it, in part, because we refuse to accept that our relationship with God and with one another should be based on grace, not merit. We don’t deserve the many gifts that God gives us—the gifts of life, eternal life, love, and material possessions.

Sermon Text: Matthew 6:9-15

The following is my original sermon manuscript with footnotes.

Do you feel sorry for Pete Carroll? I sort of do. In case you don’t know, the coach for the Seattle Seahawks had his team poised for victory in last Sunday’s Super Bowl. While the Patriots had taken a late four-point lead, the Seahawks were on the Patriots’ one-yard-line with less than a minute left in the game and one timeout. Meanwhile, they have the best running back in the business, Marshawn Lynch. They had three chances to hand the ball off to Lynch and let him bust his way over the goal line to put his team up by three with seconds remaining.

Pete-Carroll-

It seemed so easy to win at that point except… What did they do on second down? Instead of handing the ball off to Lynch, quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass, which was intercepted at the goal line. Game over. The Seahawks managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For someone like me who was mildly rooting for the Seahawks because I always root for the NFC team, plus the Patriots are—you knowevil, it was frustrating to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »