Light My Way

Sermon Text:  John 20:1-18

Our journey to Easter morning this week has led us from a Palm Sunday celebration where, incidentally, I should have realized every time I said “donkey,” you would think of Shrek. We then experienced a very meaningful Maundy Thursday service, where many took part in our prayer vigil, and our thoughtful Good Friday service. We have travelled well. We have experienced the emotions of Holy Week. We traveled through those dark days so that the joy of Easter morning finds its proper context. The joy of the Risen Lord finds its context in the pain and sorrow that leads to resurrection. We do not expect to hear more about darkness on Easter morning. Instead it is a time of sunrise, light and brightness....Read full sermon here (PDF)

Holy Ground...You Are The Hope

Sermon Text:  Exodus 3:1-5 & Luke 1:26-38

In a world of lost hope, where despair often abounds … YOU have been chosen to bring to the world a New Hope.  How?  In the birth of the Babe.  Whether you realize it or not, no matter where you are, you are standing on Holy ground.  Even in the most unlikely of places … God is there through His Son and through each of us!
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    Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of New York City during the Depression, and he was quite a character.  He would ride the city fire trucks, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the city newspapers went on strike, he would get on the radio and read the Sunday “funnies” to the children.
    At any rate, one bitter cold winter’s night in 1935, Mayor LaGuardia turned up in a night court that served the poorest ward in the city.  He dismissed the judge for the evening and then took over the bench himself.  After he heard a few cases, a tattered old woman was brought before him, accused of stealing a loaf of bread.
    She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick and her grandchildren were starving.  But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, insisted on pressing charges.  “My store is in a very bad neighborhood, your honor,” he said.  “She’s got to be punished in order to teach other people a lesson.”
    The mayor sighed.  He turned to the old woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you,” he said.  “The law makes no exception … ten dollars or ten days in jail.”
    But even as he spoke, LaGuardia was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a ten-dollar bill.  “Here is the woman’s fine,” he said, “and furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this court room fifty cents for living in a city where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.  Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”
    The following day, the New York Times reported that $47.50 was turned over to the bewildered old woman.  These fines were given by the red-faced storeowner, some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations and city policemen … and they all gave their mayor a standing ovation as they handed over their money.
    That’s how it should be in God’s world.  Just when it seems that all hope is lost … Even in the most unlikely of places … we find ourselves standing on Holy Ground where WE have the CHOICE to make a difference.  And because of Christmas … God is there through His Son and through each of us!...
Read full sermon here (PDF)

 

You've Got To Be Putting Him On!

Sermon Text:  Romans 13:9-14

Last week I challenged you all to think about the question: Does It Really Make a Difference Who Jesus Is?  I believe we all agreed that it makes all the difference in the world. 

            And so today, I want to challenge you to go a step further ... begin “Putting Him On!” 

            A press conference was held to advertise a large convention of barber and beauty shop suppliers that was about to take place in Atlantic City.  A disgustingly unkempt man was introduced as the most messed-up specimen of human nature that could be found.  The man was dirty from head to foot.  His clothes were nothing but rags and he smelled of alcohol and the filth of the alley in which he was found.  The convention’s publicity agent announced plans to transform the man from the worst looking derelict to the finest looking gentleman in the city.

            A team of barbers and beauticians went to work on the man.  They bathed, shaved and shampooed the guy.  They cut and styled his hair.  They massaged and manicured him, cologned and perfumed him, dressed him in a designer suite and Italian loafers.

            During each step of this transformation, which took several days, photographs were taken and printed in the newspapers.  Everyone who followed the scenario was amazed at the truly remarkable change that had taken place in the man’s appearance.  One company personnel executive was so impressed he offered the man a job.  The new employee was instructed to report for work the next morning at nine o’clock.

            Well, the next morning he didn’t appear at nine.  In fact, he didn’t show up at all.  So the personnel officer went looking for him and found him sprawled out, drunk and dirty back in the alley where he had been originally found.  He had sold the Italian loafers and bought a bottle of booze.

            Those barbers and beauticians had managed a miraculous transformation of the man’s outward appearance ... however, there had been no inward changeno transformation of character.  He was still the same man.

            Jesus said, “By their fruit you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16).

            Has Jesus changed YOU?...Read full sermon here (PDF)