Stewardship as Joyous Gratitude

Sermon Text: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 & Luke 19:1-10

         The first week of this sermon series I talked about ownership as stewardship in the Christian tradition – our management of God’s property - and the sharing of all things with those in need. Last week I talked about the dangers of wealth and the impossibility of escaping those dangers and therefore the impossibility of entering God’s kingdom. It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s realm, in other words. His disciples then said, “Who then can be saved?” “With human beings it is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” said Jesus. ...Read full sermon here (PDF)

 

In the Light

Sermon Text: Matthew 17:1-9

Most of you know, I like to tell stories. I may have told these two before. I hope not. 
I remember a youth-lock in many years ago, when after the games and food and movies and all the other great stuff that happens at a lock-in, we had our evening devotion. It turned out to be a particularly moving time; it was one of those times when it seemed God was walking through the room. At the end, we stood in a circle to pray, and, as we prayed, I had the urge to sing a worship song. Now, anyone who has heard me sing knows this could end up in a bad way! The song, I Love You, Lord, and I Lift My Voice, was running through my head. It did not end up coming out of my lips, however. I kept thinking things like, “these kids don’t sing,” “they will think this is stupid,” or “I will end up singing by myself and looking weird.” After a few minutes of silence and my fighting the urge I felt inside to sing, I decided not to do it. The silence continued for a moment, Then one of our youth, who was unbelievably a worse singer than I and more of an introvert and the last guy in the group who you would imagine would do such a thing, started singing. I heard the words, “I Love You Lord, and I Lift My Voice,” coming from his lips. The whole group started singing, and it went on for a while as the kids experienced a moment of fellowship that was very special. After it was over, hugs and tears were shared. I watched all of this going on, feeling blessed to be part of it. This does not happen every day in youth ministry! It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Brian, if you won’t follow me, I’ll find someone who will.” It was a very humbling moment, and I shared it with the group later and thanked Mark, who sang, for actually listening and responding to the Spirit’s prompting. What a moment, what a lesson.
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Out of His Mind

Sermon Text:  Mark 3:20-35

I graduated college with a degree in theology in 1997. The problem with that was I moved to Ohio in 1996. I had not quite finished the honors portion of my degree when I left so it was a year later that I graduated. My college was small and the graduation was held in an old church in Glasgow. I was not there. However my mother was.  I was the first person in my family to get a college degree; I come from a line of coal miners and engineers. So my mother got all dressed up and traveled off to Glasgow to attend the ceremony and see me graduate. She sent me this picture. I know you can’t really see it but there is someone stepping off the stage, and someone getting ready to step on. The stage is empty. When she sent it to me, my mum wrote on the back of the picture “the moment they read out your name.” This is the moment I graduated. So she dressed up and drove over an hour to hear my name being read out. At the time I thought “You are nuts.” But it wasn’t over there. She saw all these graduates getting their pictures taken with their diplomas and in their robes, and she complained to me on telephone that I was the first one to get a college education and she did not have a picture. So I had a friend from summer camp who was graduating from Northern Kentucky University at the same time and had his gown ready. I borrowed it, rolled up a piece of yellow paper and headed off to Sears, paid $8 for the basic package and sent off the 8x10 to my mum. This picture still sits in her living room to this day. At least it is brought out when I visit. Again, at the time I thought my mum was crazy, but then I became a parent...Read full sermon here (PDF)