Generosity is Natural

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Sermon Text: Deuteronomy 26: 1-11

We continue this morning with our stewardship series of sermons with today’s message, “Generosity is Natural.” Generosity is natural? Can you see this Scottish guy trying to get his head around that?

We are known to be a nation of people who are no stranger to saving a penny, not mean by any matter, but thrifty. I heard the story of the Scotsman who wanted to see his boss after pay day. "There's been a mistake" said he. "You've paid me £30 pounds short." His boss nodded. "I know.” "But I paid you £30 too much last week." The man responded "I noticed that too. I don't mind an occasional mistake, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, I felt I had to draw your attention to it."

I also heard that copper wire was invented by 2 Scotsmen fighting over a penny.

Of course, none of that is true, if you have been to Scotland, you would find that the Scots are some of the most generous people on earth. It is a stereotype founded in myth. So, what do we mean by the sermon title, “Generosity is Natural”?…See full sermon here

Reboot "Commit to Commission"

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Sermon Text: Matthew 28: 16-20

We conclude our ReBoot sermon series this morning with Commit to Commission. Our scripture read so well by Kat is the Great Commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus instructs his disciples to go make disciples of all nations to baptize them and teach them to obey what Jesus has taught. The basic point is the instruction to increase the number of disciples.

Pastor Joy was very gracious to me with this sermon, as she allowed me to change the title. When the series was first put together, this sermon was called Commit to Reproduce. Now, that makes a lot of sense in the context of the key point of the scripture, but I wasn’t sure if some of you would be disappointed if you read that title in the weekly news and then heard a message on the Great Commission. Some of you would probably be relieved. I do wonder if more people would have come along if we had kept that title. We’ll never know.

I spoke on this passage a few years ago. Some of you may remember, I ended up dressing up as a Blues Brother and much of my message that day was focused on the verse 17, which says, “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” We thought about faith and doubt walking hand in hand.

This morning our focus will be verse 20, in particular where Jesus ends his instructions with the statement, " And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the ageSee full sermon here

Paul's Gospel

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Sermon Text - Galatians 3

If growing up here is anything like growing up in Scotland, I am sure many of you have experienced picking teams. All the kids line up and the top two become captains and pick the rest. You stand there waiting to be called. Pick me, Pick me. You wait until you find your place in the order of things, just praying you are not the last one picked. There is satisfaction in being picked early and a little embarrassment in being one of the last picked. I have experienced both.

This morning we will continue with our journey through Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This morning we will take a look at what’s going on in chapter 3. Much of what we read in based on the early church picking teams and deciding who fits where in the grand scheme of things, and how Paul responds to thatSee full sermon here

The Perfect Dad

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Sermon Text: Luke 15: 18-24

One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was Happy Days. It used to be on Sunday afternoon, which was also the day the kids on my street played football. I vividly remember us all stopping the game at 2pm and running home to watch Happy Days and then ½ an hour later resuming the game. Of course, like every other kid back then I loved The Fonz. He was not only the coolest guy on the show, he was the coolest guy on the planet. Or was he? There was one other person on that show that I thought was great, and that was Howard Cunningham or Mr. C as The Fonz called him. The middle-aged dad. Mr. C. always seemed to get it right. He had the wisdom, the humor, the advice, he almost always solved everyone’s problems, and always had the respect. Even the Fonz listened to and respected him. And when Happy Days finally ended after 11 seasons, it wasn’t Richie or even The Fonz that had the final farewell monologue, it was Mr. C. I remember thinking it would be cool if he was my dad. Because he was the perfect dad. If only all dads could be like Mr. C. Of course, Mr. C. was not even like Mr. C. I saw an interview with Tom Bosley who played Howard Cunningham. He was asked how he felt playing America’s favorite father. His response was it was wonderful because he had great scriptwriters, the problems started when he went home and had to adlib being a real dad. He had as little clue as everyone else.

Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for manySee full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Secure

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Sermon Text: John 10: 22-30

“The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”

That quote is from Berkof’s Systematic Theology, a staple from my Bible College days, to introduce that particular doctrine that our eternal salvation is secure and guaranteed. It is also perhaps the least exciting and attention-grabbing beginning to a sermon I have ever had!

It is so not exciting that I am going to read it again for you. Because it really is great news, and really quite exciting. “The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”…See full sermon here

A Time of Doubt

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Sermon Text: Mark 1: 9-15 and John 20:24-29

Listen to the words of this letter written in the late 70’s:

"Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear. The tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak." Lord, my God, you have thrown [me] away as unwanted - unloved, I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer, no one. Alone. Where is my faith? Even deep down right in there is nothing. I have no faith. I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart.”

“I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of the darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?”

These are the words of Mother Theresa written to Rev Michael Van Der Peet, a spiritual confidant, in September 1979. Her letters which were revealed after her death show a person who was wracked with doubt for many years…see full sermon here

Weird Friends

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Sermon Text: Matthew 9:9-19

Over the last few weeks our theme has been “Keeping the Church Weird” and today’s topic is weird friends. Now I am willing to bet a few of you know something about weird friends. It seems every friend group has at least one who is a little on the weird side.

I remember in primary school, which is Scottish for elementary school that there was this boy who was on the periphery of my friend group who always wore a rain jacket and wellies. Wellies are Wellington Boots, y’know those big rubber boots. Every day, he had on a rain jacket and wellies. He might have been wearing shorts on a sunny day, but he’d still be wearing his wellies. Playing football, he’d be in a rain jacket and wellies. We thought that a little weird. Now looking back wearing a rain jacket and Wellington Boots in Scotland probably should have been seen as wise. But at the time we thought it pretty weird. What I did not consider was the reasons for him wearing those things. It was probably economic. He probably didn’t have another pair of shoes or another jacket, maybe from experience he just expected it to rain every day!…See full sermon here

Cookies

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Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

I googled typical Scottish person this week. Can you imagine what popped up? A lot of pictures of pasty white people wearing tartan, mostly with bright red hair and beards. And Sean Connery.

Now there are pasty white red heads in Scotland but that is not the place I know. Scotland was and is a melting pot, long before The United States claimed that phrase. It is a country formed by Britons/Picts/Welsh, Irish, Scots, Gaels, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings/Danes, Normans, and later joined by Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Africans and many more. A land, not unlike the United States, of many different heritages and cultures trying to live well together. The common link is they are all Scottish. People that are different but trying to co-exist together. A bit like us. A bit like the church in Corinth that Paul is writing to in today’s passage. Corinth was a port town and therefore very cosmopolitan. Travelers from different lands and cultures settle there and make up society including the fledging Christian Church…See full sermon here

Clothes

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Sermon Text: Colossians 3: 12- 17 and Luke 2: 41-52

We will look at two different passages that are provided in the lectionary this morning. I am going to read the Gospel passage which tells of Jesus in the temple aged twelve and we’ll try to blend in the passage from Colossians that Kassidy read for us.

(Scripture) Luke 2:41-52.

I am sure we have all had the experience of being lost, or losing someone. Perhaps you were the one who was lost, perhaps you lost a child, and it is not a pleasant experience.

I have a friend in Ohio who used to be a youth leader. He once took a group of youth out west on a mission trip. On this particular day they were visiting the Grand Canyon. But they were not on the south rim where most tourists go…See full sermon here

Noise

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Sermon Text: 1 Kings 19: 8-13

Let’s begin with a quick survey.

How many of you would consider yourself an extrovert? How many would consider yourself an introvert? Just checking. I suspect this message will be more popular with the introverts. We’ll see.

This sermon is called Noise, but really it is about silence.

Silence? Those of you who grew up in large families or have a large family as we speak, may wonder what this thing silence is that I speak of. Some of us like to crank the music up high or for some reason need movies to blast at us through the surround sound. I went to a movie a few weeks back at Tinseltown and I went into their RPX theatre with the speakers all around. It was cool, but almost too much. Some of us of course will leave the room when that happens to seek some peace and quiet…See full sermon here.