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Evangelism 101

Sermon Text – 08.20.2017
[John 15:1-16]

          What if I told you that I have the answer to all the problems of the world? What if I told you I know the solution, I am sitting on the cure to brokenness and darkness in the world around us? What if I told you I have good news for you this morning? See, so many of us have a desire to make the world a better place. We have a desire to reach out to those around us. I always talk about how we must spread God’s love out there in the world. Spread God’s love, Spread God’s love, Spread God’s love. And that sounds so great, it’s so inspiring, and you leave on Sunday morning, and you get to Monday morning and the question comes up – what the heck does that even mean? How do I share God’s love? Most of us interpret it as, you know, be nice to people. There’s an old quote that a LOT of people in the Methodist church love. It says, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” Some people think that’s from St Francis, but there’s no actual evidence for that. And it sounds really cool – I’ll preach with my life, with my actions. The problem is, when you pull the words out, and you stop talking about Jesus – it gets watered down to just basic friendliness and that’s it. Just sorta, generic acts of kindness, be a good person. Anything more than that, and we get nervous – I don’t know how, I don’t have training, I don’t have time, I don’t have….whatever. But the gospel is not generic acts of kindness, it’s radical, life-changing good news. It’s words and action that transform lives. And a lot of us think – woah, that’s a bit much. I’m not looking to transform lives, that’s a little intense, I just want my watered down tiny acts of niceness. But my goal here this morning is to show you what you are capable of, to show you what God is capable of, through you.



Sermon Text – 11.25.2018

[2 Corinthians 11:4-6 and John 10:22-30]
          What’s the difference between a Lutheran and a Methodist? Baptist and a Catholic? Why do we have all these different labels – are we all Christians? What about Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons? A long time ago, a famous guy once said, “In essentials, we need unity. In non-essentials, liberty, and in all things, charity.” Some people say that was Augustine, but nobody can quite nail down that quote. In 2011, Trey Parker and Matt Stone got together with Robert Lopez and launched the broadway sensation – The Book of Mormon. Essentially it was a broadway performance musical comedy poking fun at the religion of the Church of the Latter-Day-Saints. Despite crass jokes and an extremely “rude and crude” style – the show was a hit, both with critics and the public, garnering 9 tony awards and even a grammy to top it off. To be honest, Mormons are easy to make fun of. If you’ve ever met a Mormon – you’ll find that they are incredibly kind people, but their beliefs sound bizarre from the outside, and it’s easy to misinterpret or misunderstand. Late night comedians love to make fun of the rumors – from polygamy to magic underwear. Now, as is almost always the case – where rumors are concerned there’s one foot in fact and one foot in fiction.    



Sermon Text – 11.18.2018
[Genesis 16:1-16]
          In 1991, Disney released the classic film Beauty and the Beast. It was an instant sensation – catching two Oscars, 5 grammys and roughly 450 million in box office receipts worldwide. Just a few years ago, over 20 years later, Disney brought to the world the live action musical version of the tale as old as time. Capturing 1.28 billion in the box office worldwide. Despite some small controversies, this is a story that rings a chord for many of us. For those who don’t know, or who have never seen either film – the basic premise is that once upon a time, there was a handsome, but very selfish prince. One night he was visited by an ugly old woman, looking for shelter. She offered a single rose in exchange for a place to stay. The prince laughed in her face and sent her away. But the old woman suddenly transformed into a beautiful and powerful sorceress who cursed the prince by turning him into a beast until he could find true love. The core theme seems to be don’t judge a book by its cover, but underneath the obvious is a recurring theme of hospitality and what it means to care for others, and not only for ourselves. One of the most memorable songs in the film is the classic song – Be Our Guest – emphasizing the need to provide for strangers, to break the ice, to turn a prison into a house, to turn a house into a home. And every time I watch the film, in the very beginning, when the old woman is offering the rose, I can’t help but roll my eyes and think – “If only he had helped that woman, things would have been so different.” But then I realized, this ugly process the prince goes through is transformative, and even though it’s painful and hideous – there is growth and he comes out better in the end because of it.



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