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VIP – The Poor. The Hungry. The Naked.

Sermon Text – 12.23.2018
 
[Luke 2:1-7 and Matthew 25:31-40]
 
          In 1952 baseball legend Ralph Kiner went into the general manager’s office and demanded a raise. He’d played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for years now and had often fought with his manager Branch Rickey about salary. But that season he had hit 37 home runs, and he felt entitled to make more money, because he was so good. Rickey refused, but Ralph pointed out, “I led the league in homers. I hit more home runs than anyone else in Major League Baseball for the sixth season in a row. I deserve a raise.” The manager paused, and calmly asked him, “Where did we finish this season?” Ralph Kiner shrugged, “last.” “Well,” the manager replied, “we can do that without you.” Sometimes in life, it’s not about how great you are all by yourself – how impressive or incredible or praiseworthy you are. Sometimes the question is how is your team doing?

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VIP – The Misunderstood

VIP – The Misunderstood – 12.16.2018
 
[Matthew 1:18-25 and Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46]
 

          Have you ever been misunderstood? For example, have you ever ordered a cake and you wanted something on top – like writing or pictures and you struggle to explain what you want? For example, you call in and say, “Oh just write happy birthday on the cake.”  Or maybe you want to specify which color of frosting you want and say, “write thanks for a great year in purple.” Or perhaps you’d like to get a little multi-cultural, maybe it’s a friend from Mexico and so you ask, “please write Happy Birthday in Spanish.” Or sometimes you’ll have a really large party and so you’ll need two cakes, and you tell them on the phone, “write happy birthday on both.” Ah, but they keep messing up your order, so you think forget the words, I just want a picture, and you tell them, “Just put a paw print on the cake.” Ah, good grief, they can’t get the words right, they can’t get the pictures write. So just, forget it – you think – no words, no pictures and you tell them, “I want sprinkles.” For crying out loud, you know what, next time I order a cake I’m going to tell them, “just put nothing” on the cake. Nothing at all.

     

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VIP – The Unprepared

Sermon Text – 12.09.2018 [Matthew 25:31-40 and Luke 1:18-20, 59-64]           Halford Luccock in his work “Unfinished Business” tells the story of a little town named Flagstaff in Maine. Over the years, in the 1940’s,  the residents decided to build a large hydroelectric dam in the area and as a consequence the town of Flagstaff was going to be flooded. It was all planned ahead of time, and the residents were given compensation and relocated before the waters came. What’s fascinating about the story is what happened to Flagstaff from the moment the flooding was announced – to the moment it flooded. All improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it was going to be covered with water in six months? Why repair ANYTHING when the whole village was going to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town fell apart. Became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. By it the end, six months later, it was truly a depressing sight – an entire town destroyed before it was destroyed. The explanation went like this, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.” When we do not believe in a better tomorrow, we give up today.


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