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Democrats VS Republicans

Democrats VS. Republicans – 01.13.2019
 
[Ezra 3:9-13 and John 1: 9-18]
 

          There was once an elderly gentleman who was sitting on a park bench, basking in the sun, when another elderly fellow sat down beside him. They looked at each other for a moment, but did not speak. Both men sat there for a short time, just staring straight ahead. After a little while, one of them heaved a big, heartfelt sigh. The other man jumped immediately and said, “Look, if you’re going to talk politics, I’m leaving.” Is there anything more uncomfortable than talking politics with someone you don’t know?  

Today we start a brand new sermon series called State of the Union. For the next few weeks we are going to take a close look at politics and piety – how do faith and politics come together in our lives? We’re going to look at the limits of tolerance, morality vs legality and we’ll close by talking about compromise. But to get us started, I wanted to talk about Democrats VS. Republicans. In this room, there are die hard right wing straight ticket republicans with a little tattoo on their shoulder that says “I heart Trump.” In this room, there are radical left wing straight ticket Democrats with bumper stickers that say, “Feel the Bern.” And then there’s a third group in the room this morning. A big chunk of us in the middle who feel sort of politically homeless – we don’t really like either party, and so we’re not sure what to do with politics. Before we get into all the pieces – we need to talk about our identity.

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VIP – The Sick. The Criminal.

VIP – The Sick. The Criminal.  – 12.24.2018
 
[Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 25:31-33, 41-46]
 
          My favorite part about Christmas Eve has got to be the candle-light vigil. We’ll get to that in a little bit, but think about it – it’s just a beautiful moment of light slowly spreading while the music rises. But what I really like about sharing the flame is that to spread my fire costs me nothing. When you light your candle on mine, my flame is not diminished. My flame is not smaller, but now you have light too. The same goes for love. To spread my love costs me nothing. When I give my love to you, my love is not diminished, my love is not smaller – but now you have love too. If my love comes in a roaring bonfire, or in a flickering spark – it can still ignite your heart all the same. Today is the final sermon in the series ACCESS – where we look at the story of Christmas and ask the question – Who is worthy? Who does God want at the birth of Jesus?  And through this whole month, all the pieces come together in the strangest puzzle for just one night to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. Tonight we will tell that story.

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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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