Sunday Sermon: Samuel’s Call

Every nation and people group have formative stories that describe the lives and rise to influence of some of their most influential leaders. Some of our greatest leaders, such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, have as part of their narratives stories from their childhoods, such as chopping down a cherry tree or living in a log cabin. They are as much a part of their legacy as their individual achievements.

Such is the case for many of the stories we will look at from 1-2 Samuel during this sermon series looking at the Life of David. They are the collection of the formative stories for Israel that were assembled in its present form around the time of the Exile. The stories of 1-2 Samuel describe how Israel moved from a group of tribes into a nation led by a king. They tell how David, a shepherd from Bethlehem, became the great military, political, and spiritual leader of his people. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Samuel’s Call”

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Sunday Sermon: Hope That Comes With Us

There are some things that frustrate me. You know what I mean? Things just that just make me want to groan in agony.

You want to know what frustrates me? That we spend so much of our time belittling someone, because they do not look like us or share our same opinions, or they go about things in a different way than we would like. That frustrates me.

When I look at all the violence that exists in our world. When I think about the violence that exists in our streets. That frustrates me.

When I think about the drug problem in our Commonwealth. When I think about the struggles families experience trying to make ends meet or get out of debt. When I think about how families spend so much time in the rat race of schedules. That frustrates me.

When I think about the state of the church and the statistics that show the decline of Christianity in the United States. When I think about the fact that for someone to be considered an average attender in worship that they only need to be in church two times a month. When I think about the fact that people think they no longer need God or church. That frustrates me. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Hope That Comes With Us”

Sunday Sermon: Run the Race

Today’s sermon will be a little different than normal. This morning, I want to specifically speak to our five youth who were confirmed today. In doing so, I hope I might say something that will impact each of our lives, and that includes my own.

This is a momentous day in each of your lives and in the ministry and life of this congregation. What each of you have done is to make several public proclamations. By your presence, you have proclaimed your thanks for those who have walked with you through the years and have taught you about faith, about Jesus, and about what it means to follow the Lord. You have proclaimed your desire to live for Christ with your every word and breath. Finally, you have proclaimed your intent to be a witness of Jesus Christ through your example and actions in this world.

It is a huge responsibility and blessing you have committed yourselves to today. It is not something to be taken lightly. For as all of us can attest, living for Christ and seeking to be his witness every day are some of the hardest things we will ever attempt to do. That is why stories like the rich young ruler, who wanted as little of Jesus as he could without the Lord wrecking his life, speak to us. We want to proclaim our faith in Christ without the life Jesus desires for us ever messing with the life we want. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Run the Race”

Sunday Sermon: Not That Heavy

It was a short walk, maybe about 10 steps, from my bedroom to the kitchen where my mom would sit at the table. Often I would make those few steps to go to her with a question on how to do something.

How do I solve this problem? How do I answer this question? How do I get out of this bit of trouble?

We all go to our parents, especially our mothers, for assistance, because we trust them and know that they will help us. So, we go with our questions looking for help and trusting that our mothers will try to lead us in the right direction.

So it is with questions in mind as we gather today. I think all of us gather for worship each Sunday with a very basic question on our hearts. That question is this: How do we live this life that Jesus desires? In other words, how are we to follow what Christ desires for us today in a world filled with all of its challenges, obligations, and influences? Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Not That Heavy”

Sunday Sermon: What Sustains You?

This has been a very difficult week. One of those weeks where the events of the past seven days cannot be ignored.

It began with the images that came out of Nepal as the people there began to look for survivors after a devastating earthquake and aftershock. Nearly 7,000 people lost their life in this tragedy, and it is expected that the number will grow.

As the week progressed, we were met with the images from the events in Baltimore. We watched as the city burned and people protested – many peacefully and some less so – the events surrounding the death of Freddie Gray.

The question that I keep thinking about after this week is: what sustains us? What keeps us going? We look at these events and it is easy to allow them to overwhelm us or even to lead us to the perspective of “is the world even worth it?” What keeps us focused on the main thing when we are overwhelmed by so much hurt, pain, and sadness in our world?

It is a question that I think about when we think about the news of our own lives. What sustains us when life gets overwhelming, or difficult, or challenging?

All of us know what it means to experience the difficulties of life. We have faced the loss of close friends and family members. We have experienced the break-up of friendships. We have experienced the pain of financial struggles and other difficulties. What keeps us going in these moments? Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: What Sustains You?”