4th Sunday after Pentecost
How Big Is Your Debt
Text: Luke 7:36-50
Let’s say that you are the average American. As the average American, you have debt. Most people agree there are “good” kinds of debt and “bad” kinds of debt. Good debt would be your home or land mortgages, school loans, and possibly vehicle debt. “Bad” debt would be other kinds of loans and especially credit card.
Now, since you are the average American, let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt (which is about the American average these days). Some of you may gasp in horror at $10,000, others of you might say, “I wish!” But you are hypothetically an average person right now, so you have $10,000 of debt.
Most wouldn’t fret too much about that debt. Sure it’s debt and all, but it’s not too bad. It’s about 50 days of work, maybe a fourth of a year’s wages. Not too bad. You make some payments. Yeah, there’s interest, but you chip away. You know you’ll probably pay it off eventually (assuming you don’t spend more). As long as you make regular payments, the only penalties you suffer are a little lower credit score and lots of wasted dollars in interest. Read the rest of this entry
What is Your Thanksgiving Like?
Text: Luke 17:11-19
What is Your Thanksgiving Like? I’m sure we would all answer that differently, yet I’m sure most of us would also answer that similarly. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning. Football. Family. Friends. FOOD. Some people have an annual Thanksgiving Day family football game in the backyard. Some have the tradition of going for an early evening walk to burn off just a few of the several thousand calories consumed earlier in the day. Some like to do traditional family recipes. Some like to try something creative every year. Some have that one dish or that one pie that absolutely must be a part of the big feast.
We all have our family traditions and customs for Thanksgiving. Whether it has to do with the people, the place, or the piles of food, I would imagine most of us do similar things every year to celebrate.
However, when something different happens on Thanksgiving, that’s when it often becomes quite memorable and meaningful. That time crazy uncle Larry tripped over his own two clumsy feet and the entire vat of mashed potatoes spilled onto his wife’s head, you remember that. That time you told the joke of a lifetime and your sister squirted milk out of her nose on her dinner plate, you remember that. When I was a kid I remember one year my parents decided not to make turkey but to cook a full little cornish hen for every guest, that was different. We all love our traditions on Thanksgiving, but often it’s when something special or different happens that it becomes memorable and meaningful. Read the rest of this entry
Easter Festival Service
I Will Sing
1. Because the Lord is my strength
2. Because the Lord is my salvation
Text: Exodus 15:1-13, 17-18
We live in the United States of America—the land of the free and the home of the brave. We cannot fathom what it is like to be a slave. We read about the Civil War and we watch movies on the Civil War. But this many generations removed from the 1860’s, we don’t really know what it was like. Slavery is something that we haven’t experienced.
Not for a few decades or for a hundred years in America, but for 400 years the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. It was merciless slavery, too. They were beaten and whipped and driven beyond their limits to hand-make bricks, build homes and buildings, and do much more menial labor. And when the Israelite nation grew too large for the Egyptians, they worked them even harder and tried killing every Israelite baby boy that was born.
Four hundred years of oppression. Four hundred years of bondage. Four hundred years of slavery. God’s people cried out to the Lord for help and deliverance. God listened. Read the rest of this entry
New Year’s Eve
One More Year of Grace
1. Be thankful this year
2. Be fruitful this year
Text: Luke 13:6-9
December 21, 2012. I promise this is the last time I mention the Mayan calendar in a sermon for a very long time . . .
There were more than a few people that thought the world would end on December 21, 2012, the day the Mayan calendar expired. I personally know several people that stockpiled caches of food and supplies and weapons in case some Hollywood version of Armageddon broke out. I know people that worried about this for weeks leading up to the date, to the point of being afraid to drop their kids off at school. I know a person that didn’t really know what to believe but made a fortune off of a blog about 2012 and the end of the world.
Yet here we are 10 days later and a little less than five hours from entering 2013. What have we learned in 2012? Ancient calendars can’t be trusted. The internet can’t be trusted. Only God knows the day or the hour of the end of the world, and our times are certainly in God’s hands alone.
So as we move forward into the year 2013, we’ll turn to Jesus for guidance in Luke 13. There he shares what we can do with One More Year of Grace. Read the rest of this entry
Find Strength to Give Thanks
Text: Philippians 4:10-20
This Thanksgiving stuff is a lot of work. It takes a lot of energy and strength to pull off a successful Thanksgiving. Hours are spent cleaning every nook and cranny of the house. After all, it’s been a while since you cleaned the dust bunnies off your ceiling fan and that would be embarrassing if your company saw that! All the sheets and towels need to be washed and put in place. All the fine china needs to be unpacked and washed off.
Then there’s the Thanksgiving menu. How many visitors are we going to have again this year? 15? Wait cousin Sal has three kids now? Ok, 16. How big of a turkey do we need? 18 pound? 20 pound? Can we trust Jennie-O’s calculations of pounds per person? Do you think we need a ham too? What sort of stuffing should we make this year? Do we need three pies or four? When am I going to have time to bake those pies, because I need the oven all day on Thanksgiving for the bird.
What time should we eat? Well, what does the football schedule look like? Which games do we want to watch? Definitely not the Lions game. Boring! We have to plan dinner properly so we can watch football and so we can also plan when we pass out in a turkey-tryptophan coma. (By the way, the tryptophan in turkey making you sleepy is not true and just an urban legend.) Oh, and most important of all—Black Friday sales start as early as 7pm on Thursday now! Which store do we want to stand in line at first? We need to finish our Christmas shopping ASAP so we have time to put up the Christmas lights and tree on Friday. Read the rest of this entry