30Apr

S7E53: Awakening to Table (Awakening/Becoming pt. 2, Easter 2017)

One of the major themes of the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is that Christ is revealed to them in the breaking of bread, which correlates to the experience we have when we receive Communion. All throughout the gospel accounts we see the picture of Jesus taking, and blessing, and breaking, and giving. We, too, are taken by Christ and blessed for our ministry, then broken (separated for various ministries) and given (to the world) so that all the world can be blessed in us, and in the presence of Christ. Christ's very real presence is in the act of receiving Communion, and therefore it ought to be something that we do each time we are gathered together in the name of Christ.

Luke 24:13-35

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on April 30, 2017

S.D.G.

27Apr

S7E52: Telling Your Story (What Are You Doing? pt. 2)

This week as we continue our series based on the five promises we make when we join the local church, we focus on our witness. Telling people about Jesus is something we are all expected to do as followers of Christ, yet so few of us ever share our faith. We think we don't know enough about the Bible to weather the fierce debate that will ensue over whether God exists or who Jesus really is. Yet all we really have to do is to tell our story. We don't have to make something up or make grand arguments to convince someone of the truth - that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He rose again on the third day, and that He lives and reigns with God the Father and offers us eternal life in His name. That's the good news! And it starts with just telling our own story, because that is what He has done for us.

Luke 24:13-35

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on April 26, 2020

S.D.G.

24Apr

S7E51: Awakening to Ministry (Awakening/Becoming pt. 1, Easter 2017)

This lectionary series from the Great 50 Days of Easter 2017 highlights how we are awakening into our faith and becoming more like Christ. We begin with the story of the first Sunday when Christ endowed His disciples with the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to go preach repentance for forgiveness of sins. The endowment of the Holy Spirit and this commission is for us as well. It is the Holy Spirit that enables our ministry to unbelievers so that God can work in their hearts as He has worked in ours. This understanding of the Holy Spirit and the commission of ministry is the basis for the Protestant Reformation doctrine of the Ministry of All Believers.

John 20:19-31

Recorded at Hudson UMC on April 23, 2017 (Previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

22Apr

S7E50: When Doubts Creep In (Easter 2014)

We all know the story of "Doubting Thomas," but I wonder if we don't give him enough credit. After all, how many of us, having witnessed the horrific death of a friend, having laid him to rest, would have believed if our friends came to us three days later and said "We have seen him, and he is alive!" It's hard to believe without seeing. We as Christians have the benefit of eyewitness accounts and yet we still have our doubts. It's not a lack of faith, but human nature to second-guess that which we do not see with our own eyes. Sometimes we doubt even what we see and experience first-hand. So let's consider how we can respond when doubts creep in, and remember that Jesus responded to Thomas by giving him the evidence he needed to believe.

As an aside, right after Easter 2014 I came down with a wicked cold that laid me up for nearly a week. I recovered just enough to deliver this message on the week after Easter, but you can hear in my voice and my pacing that I was still not 100%.

John 20:19-31

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on April 27, 2014

S.D.G.

20Apr

S7E49: Did You Miss Something? (What Are You Doing pt. 1)

During the Easter season we will be in a five-part series called "What Are You Doing?" In it we will be looking at the five promises that we make to the local church when we join as members. "As members of the local congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness?" In today's message we are looking at what it means to faithfully participate by our presence. In the story of Thomas after the resurrection, we see that his lack of presence that first week led to him missing out on receiving the Holy Spirit and the commissioning from Jesus. What are you missing out on when you neglect to be present in the ministries of the local church?

John 20:19-31

Recorded at Hudson UMC on April 19, 2020

S.D.G.

18Apr

S7E48: GC Talk - Is Covid-19 a Punishment from God?

S7E48: GC Talk - Is Covid-19 a Punishment from God?

In today's chat with Pastor Zach Taylor we talk about Covid-19 and the two extreme opinions we see in the world. The conservative Christian response is that we are being punished by God and Covid-19 is the sword He is using to accomplish His will. The liberal Christian response and the secular response is that God has nothing to do with it, that the coronavirus is just a mutated virus doing what viruses do. But where is the Biblical response? What have our forefathers of the faith had to say in times of natural disaster and plague? Then we address this question from one of our listeners: Is Covid-19 a sign that Christ is returning soon?

*** This podcast originally aired with incorrect data which has now been fixed.  Please re-download if you already downloaded it (error and correction occurs around 38 minutes) ***

Recorded via Zoom Meetings on April 17, 2020

References:

The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes, by Charles Wesley (1750)

National Sins and Miseries, by John Wesley (1775)

Hulk Hogan's Scary Coronavirus Message to Millions (from the New York Post)

Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague, by Martin Luther (1527)

S.D.G.

 

17Apr

S7E47: Prayer for Security (A Journey Through Lent pt. 8)

Our journey through Lent and the Psalms concludes with this Easter message based on Psalm 16, the very same text that Peter preached from (pointing to the divinity of Christ) on Pentecost. In these uncertain times we need a steady and secure refuge, and God (according to the Psalmist) is that refuge. He is where we can find our security. We try to place our trust in human-made things, but God establishes a foundation that is eternal, where human fortresses are destined to crumble and decay. In this Psalm we find three things that we can learn about the world. We find that the world has no physical foundations; the world has no intellectual foundations; and the word has no emotional foundations. For those we must turn our eyes to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who established our foundations in God when He emerged from the tomb.

Psalm 16

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on April 16, 2017 (previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

16Apr

S7E46: Does the Resurrection Matter? (Easter Sunrise 2017)

What sets Christianity apart from every other world religion is that we are not reliant on what we do, but rather on what God in His grace did for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, has no marker where His body lay. Millions of Christians travel to the holy land every year to see where Jesus walked, where He taught, even where He was buried, but there is no grave of Jesus today, for He is risen. He is risen indeed. The resurrection is the central tenet of our beliefs, and it is critical that we get this. It's all about the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Christ does not defeat death, and we have no hope beyond this life (and how's that going?). We must constantly remind ourselves that the resurrection matters a great deal, for it is everything to those of us who believe.

John 20:1-18

Recorded at Hudson UMC Cemetery (Easter Sunrise service) on April 16, 2017 (previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

15Apr

S7E45: Meeting the Risen Christ

John's gospel account is such a beloved text for the celebration of Easter and the Resurrection. So much so that this very text inspired one of the most beloved hymns of the church, "In the Garden" by C. Austin Miles. What is it about the resurrection that so captures the imagination of so many creative people? We want to capture it in art, in music, in sculpture. Simply put, the resurrection is the hinge-point of our existence as Christians. Without it, we follow a good teacher who was martyred. But the resurrection is something that only God could accomplish, and not mere mortals. The resurrection means that Jesus was more than a teacher or a prophet. He was, and is, the Son of God who died for our sins and rose on the third day, conquering death and offering us eternal life in His name. In other words, without the resurrection we have gained nothing; in the resurrection we have gained everything.

John 20:1-18

Recorded at Hudson UMC on April 20, 2014 (previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

14Apr

S7E44: Looking In or Looking Out? (Easter Sunrise 2020)

There is a lot of action in the Resurrection account from John's Gospel. First, the women arrive at the tomb to find it open, and they run to tell the disciples. Then John and Peter have a footrace to the tomb. John gets there first but doesn't go in. Peter goes in and sees the linen cloths. Then John goes in and sees it all. Then they return home, and in their absence Mary encounters the risen Christ, who tells her to go tell the other disciples, and she does. Eighteen verses packed with a lot of action, and we hear these words every year, but what truths can we glean from them this day? I ask the question, are you on the outside of the tomb, looking in? Or are you on the inside of the tomb, looking out? In other words, have you committed yourself to following Jesus? Have you repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus for your forgiveness? Or are you orbiting the faith wondering if it is true, if it is for you? If you are on the outside looking in, I invite you in. And if you are on the inside looking out, you are being sent to bring others to know that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

John 20:1-18

Recorded at Hudson UMC Cemetery (Easter Sunrise Service) on April 12, 2020

Watch the entire service on YouTube

S.D.G.

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