No! Not Worthless! — 10/03/2010

Based on “all texts”

In Luke’s gospel, there seems to be an interesting translation of a Greek word (achreios). Because of that, in most bibles, we have the phrase “worthless slaves”. This (and verses like it) has led to people doing truly unhealthy things (both spiritually and physically) to themselves.

(Sermon excerpt):

Jesus sounds like He’s anti-self-esteem. Monks used to go into the desert to force themselves to suffer, and if living a life of solitude in hostile environs wasn’t enough, they would deny themselves food and water, sit in the blazing sun for hours, even flagellate themselves. That sounds impressively anti-self-esteem. Is this what Jesus wants from us? This kind of self-loathing behavior? I hope not — indeed, I know not.

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Money, Money, Money — 09/19/2010

Based on the text from Luke 16:1-13

This message hits home pretty hard for anyone struggling with money, faith, or devotion issues. There’s also some fun facts about the words “hate” and “despise”.

(Sermon excerpt):

Here’s a happy reality — for more and more of us, the job keeps pushing into all the other dimensions of our lives. Cell phones, Blackberries, PDA’s, e-mail, pagers, GPS devices all keep us connected. Many of us are on the job “24/7″ whether we like it or not. Under such circumstances, it is tough NOT to serve wealth — even if the wealth you are serving is the bottom line of your employer.

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Often, we rely on our own efforts. And we rely on our efforts alone. It seems natural. It seems like what we’re supposed to do. The problem is that when things start to go bad… really bad, we feel helpless. We feel inadequate. We feel defeated. We feel like a failure. We feel that all hope is lost.

When I use the term “we”, I include myself.

It’s extremely difficult to let go. It’s seemingly impossible to not only let God take the reigns, but to also trust He’s going to do the right thing. What if He can’t do it? What if nothing happens? What if He won’t do it my way? I have struggled with all of these, and continue to do so.

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When the Advocate Comes — 05/31/2009

I’ve been struggling a bit with what to call out, what order to do it in, and what segues to use to tie everything together. I hope these quotes summarize the heart of the matter, but I implore you to set aside 10 minutes… and give this one a read.

(Sermon excerpt):

The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. That can be uncomfortable.

When we look in that mirror I mentioned a while back, what do we see?

I can pretend, fake, convince, deceive, lie, cheat, play-act, and fool myself, you, and lots of others that “I’m okay.” The Spirit takes me by the hand to that mirror and shows me: “There you are.” But He does not leave it at that — He guides me into the truth that that “real me” is no longer “really me” — the Christ who now lives in me is the “real me.”

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Can You Explain it? — 06/07/2009

(Sermon excerpt):

Can you explain the Holy Trinity? Well, we can try: There is one God, but three persons. A Tri-unity, or trinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Some have likened it to water: three distinct forms (liquid, vapor, solid), one substance. Or, as one person I read recently tried to express it: I’m a son, a father, and a grandfather. Same me; three ways.

I feel that this is where many get caught up. It becomes a hurdle or a road block that we cannot pass.. or rather, won’t allow ourselves to pass.

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The Lord’s Prayer — 05/24/2009

Based on the text from John 17:6-9

(Sermon excerpt):

You are not a gambler . . . an alcoholic . . . a sex addict . . . a gossip . . . a racist . . . a petty thief . . . an abuser of persons. You may, in fact, be guilty of one or all of those evil behaviors, and maybe some that you would absolutely die of embarrassment if I were to mention them today because it would come too close to home, and there may be some that you have been involved in so long that you no longer consider them to be anything like evil (because we can all find justification for what we really want to do), and they may be labeled as addictive (and lest you look down your nose at that term, Gerald May reminds us “We are all addicted.”) — but even so they are not who you are. That’s the garbage that you allow into your life. The demonic feeds on that.

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Friends Are Not Made, They’re Born — 05/17/2009

Based on the text from John 15:9-17

(Sermon excerpt:)

To be sure, when we act in love, this itself can change how we feel. Ever been angry at a friend? So angry that you did not want to speak to her, to him? If that person is no longer your friend, I will guess that you never got past that anger and back to love. If your friendship remains, it is because one or both of you decided to do something — an apology was given, hands were shaken, hugs were shared. If you ever find yourself in that position again, where you are angry at a friend because of some upheaval, the very first action you can take is to pray for that friend. It’s really hard to be angry with someone for whom you are praying.

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