Note: this sermon followed an Advent “Lamp” Lighting reading and a monologue that I wrote for an original Advent Series based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The reading and monologue follow the sermon if you are interested in reading them. The story I am about to share has been used so much I am […]
SERMON: Turn and Rejoice SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:46-55; Isaiah 9:6-7 A few weeks ago Michelle and I went on a short clergy retreat. We watched a TedX video by Simon Sinek titled, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” He begins his video by drawing three concentric circles. He called the center circle the golden circle […]
SERMON: Look for Joy! Cantata Sunday Note:No sermon for this Sunday but below are the readings associated with the candle lighting. Here is a video link to the service/cantata. Martha Cratchit’s Monologue – Advent 3 Let me tell you about Christmas at the Cratchit’s because it is for me a fond memory. All the hours […]
How do we prepare the way for God? Isaiah tells us to make a highway in the wilderness, level the rough places, make straight the crooked, THEN the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and ALL people shall see it together. In the looming darkness of this week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino a glimpse of God’s glory would be nice. I don’t need a spectacular glory show. I just think it would be nice if some of that glory brightened things up a bit – maybe give us some hope.
When it comes to being corrected, we all get creative. We can come up with all kinds of ways to avoid hearing hard truth. We can deflect it back and consider the messenger an idiot. We can get defensive and put on battle armor. We can avoid by refusing to listen. We can minimize, justify, deny, blame, or just shut down, but the result is all the same. Our stubborn will refuses the warnings, thus leaving us to learn the hard way.
Jesus once said that someone coming back from the dead is not enough for some people to see the error of their ways.
Understanding the power and example of the love of Jesus Christ… this is how I can best describe my experience at Claremont School of Theology after attending Chapman University and having a broadcast career…i had no idea what to expect when I got the call into ministry…other than…as a whole: 1) the world is harsh 2) I loved Jesus and 3) I wanted to help.
Pardon me if this sounds like a commercial for Claremont. It’s really not meant to be. It’s more of a message of hope…that future leaders of faith have learned from past mistakes and a counterargument to those who believe that the church has lost touch and relevance.
What an interesting way to begin one’s ministry. He turned the water into wine. Why does John tell this story first? I know we like to think that a biographer followed Jesus around chronicling the details of his life but the truth is no one thought to put all these stories together until twenty or thirty years later. Of the gospel writers, John was the last, and he starts the story of Jesus’ ministry with a wedding invitation.
It causes us to pause. I don’t think I have ever seen a painting of Jesus having fun; hanging with his buddies. It is so interesting to imagine him as a guest someone’s wedding banquet. Perhaps it was a childhood friend or a cousin. These things went on for days, and there was Jesus, with his mother, enjoying it with the rest of the community.
The promise of material wealth as the reward for faithfulness is known as the “Prosperity Gospel,” and Creflo Dollar is not the only person promoting it. One verse that is referred to over and over again is John 10:10 that says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NRSV)
In 2006 Time Magazine asked, “Does God Want Us to be Rich?” That article identified Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, along with Dollar as promoting a form of the Prosperity Gospel.
The article quotes the very popular Joyce Meyers who said, “”Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” … “I believe God wants to give us nice things.” The Prosperity gospel promotes the idea that if we want to help others we need resources to do it.
We don’t often read from the Book of Malachi. It is the very last book of the Old Testament. Not much is known about Malachi as a person but we do know that his name means “messenger,” and he has a message for God’s people.
Imagine being the guy at Goodwill tasked with the job of opening garbage bags of clothing. He holds up a sweater with a hole the size of a baseball. He pulls out a wad of clothes that have obviously been soiled by someone’s cat. He retrieves a pair of Nike tennis shoes that hold some promise and then notices the side is blown out. What do you suppose this guy says when this happens day after day? What message do you suppose he has for the generous people who dump, I mean, donate such items? If you can imagine that you have Malachi’s message in a nutshell.
Today I am going to talk about disciplined giving as an act of resistance to a consumerist culture. I realize that we are just beginning our fall stewardship campaign and you might be inclined to think that today’s sermon is just another message on why you should give to the church. So let’s just get that part out of the way. We are a community of faith that owns property, pays staff, trains leaders, and reaches out into the community. If you believe in the message that all people are created in the image of God and are welcome as they are at God’s table of grace and acceptance AND you want to support this community of faith as it seeks to be a beacon of light and love in a dark world – then by all means, make a commitment to give regularly to First Christian Church of Orange; pledge your money, commit to learn, and participate in the work.