Sermon for our new series - "The Way of the Heart"
1 Samuel 1
I wonder how often we actually consider what could be called the way of the heart? I am not talking about warm fuzzies or romance. I am not talking about being good people, but about where our heart lies within the scope of our being. Where it lies within the scope of our relationships. Hearts can be gladdened by so much, but also saddened by even more. The effects of the world, the effects of sin and grace upon us do that. That is why this summer, our series is called “The Way of the Heart.” It will be a time we invest into the stories of 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings. Looking at real people with real problems. How those problems may or may not relate to us, but also where the Scriptures and God fit within that. Within you. Why these stories, this Word, matters for you. The lives of Hannah, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon. A collection of people that have just as much to do with Jesus, as Jesus does with you. Without Hannah there would be no Samuel. Without Samuel, no anointing of David. Without David, no Jesus.
Sermon for Pentecost/Confirmation Sunday - Ezekiel 37:1-14
It is amazing for me to look at you today and realize that you have been mine for 2 years. You are my first full confirmation group here at Bethany and First. This is both good and bad. Good because I have been with you, you with me, we have a bond in some way and I have had the chance to be your preacher for these years. Bad because I think in some way I may judge myself based on you. Looking ahead in 5 or 10 years to see where you are and wondering what you remember from me. What of what I said to you will take root in you? To transform you and embed you in the Kingdom forever? I will always, in some fashion, compare every group back to you. Whether for good or ill, I don’t know.
Sermon on 1 John 5:9-13
Well, we made it. This is the last of our series on the Resurrected Life. This attempt for me to try and make clear to you what the Resurrection, what Easter, has to do with everything. Something more than a day but a way of life. A formation of your soul into something other than what the world might say is you. Read the letter again this afternoon. It will take you less than 10 minutes. You can come away from it asking God to show you the dark places he has to call you out of into his marvelous light. The places you and I protect to hide our sin. But the light being the light of Christ that is his forgiveness. What he wants to do.
Read about you as a child of God. Being joined in the great communion that is Christ that brings us to God. That in that communion, that fellowship, that relationship, we are molded more and more by the love of God. Not our own love, but the love Christ has for us in his life and death. Love that looks like a crucifixion, not like a high school romance. Love for the unlovable. A deciding love in which we need to pray each day to have our wills, our hearts, our lives continually formed by his love. Depending on him for all things.
Sermon on 1 John 5:1-6
The resurrected Life, as we have seen over these last few weeks is not something you choose. It is not as though we wake-up one morning and say, I think I will be resurrected today. No. It is something that happens to us. Something that we have seen as a working of the Spirit. Something outside of us. Something that is based on the truth of an event 2000 years ago when Mt. Calvary was where our sin was killed. Where our unbelief was to be buried as the Lord God incarnate, made human for your sake, coming to earth in the midst of suffering and strife, bled and died to bring victory. Bled and died to kill you and then rose to raise you. The Resurrected Life, the post-Easter life being tied not to your personal ability or piety but to the very work accomplished by Jesus.