Hungry Heart

Sermon Text:  Matthew 5:6

I’m going to talk about music. Indulge me for a moment. The first time I heard Bruce Springsteen was back in the early ˊ80’s when a tune called Hungry Heart was played on the BBC Radio 1. Springsteen wasn’t a big deal in the UK back then, but I remember this song sticking for some reason. It was the first of his to get near the UK charts. It sounds like a very upbeat, happy pop song, but when you listen to the lyrics, they are quite dark and speak of a longing within us that we need fulfilled but somehow are not able to. I think it connected with many folk, who saw beyond the pop tune.

The Rolling Stones connected with an earlier generation with their song, Satisfaction, that had a very similar theme: “I try and I try and I try and I try; I can’t get no satisfaction.” I know some of you have that riff stuck in your head now. You are welcome. Read full sermon here (PDF)

The Poor in Spirit

Sermon Text:  Matthew 5:3

The Beatitudes of Matthew summarize Jesus’ teaching, like the Ten Commandments summarize the Law of Moses. Jesus delivers the Beatitudes from a mountain, like God did when God spoke to Israel from Mt. Sinai, which is a hint that Jesus is making a new covenant with God’s people.

And Jesus is speaking here to his disciples. They will be the ones who will be poor in spirit, who will mourn, who will make peace, and so on. He promises them a reward, not in this world but in the coming world, which he calls the kingdom of heaven.

The radically different qualities and values of that coming kingdom are what the Beatitudes describe...Read full sermon here (PDF)

Doing What Is Not Your Duty

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:1-11 & Matthew 5:38-48

This is kind of a milestone for me today.  It’s my 500th sermon that I’ve preached to you here at LPC.  And on this Memorial Day weekend as I begin, I want to share a couple of memories from one of our country’s greatest allies … Winston Churchill.

            Here is the first: At the age of 91, just a few months before his death, Churchill was invited to give a commencement address.  He looked awful and he had to be helped to the podium.  Everyone waited in silence for his first words.  He spoke: “Never give up!  Never give up!”  Then he turned and sat down.  The audience rose with admiring applause.  How inspiring!  A speech we can all remember: “Never give up!”

            Here is the second story: Churchill carefully planed his funeral, which, as I said, followed shortly after that famous commencement address.  In St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, every part of the service was memorable.  At the end of the service, a bugler stood on the balcony and played Taps … notes that signal the end of the day.  Just as people were wiping away their tears, from higher in the sanctuary, another bugler stood and played Reveille: “It’s time to get up, it’s time to get, it’s time to get up in the morning.”

            “Never give up!”  “Time to get up!”

            No … I’m not done.  But these two phrases will guide the rest of the sermon today.  And I hope it is memorable...Read full sermon here (PDF)