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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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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.


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