S8E25: This Place Is a Mess! (”Company’s Coming” Advent Series pt. 1)

Advent (the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day) is the season of preparation for Christ's return.  In the same way, the secular season of Christmas (between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) is a time when we prepare to receive guests into our homes. For the season of Advent 2020, we are looking at "Company's Coming," and we begin with the declaration: "This Place Is a Mess!"  We have been so long waiting for Christ's return that many of us live as if he is not coming at all.  Yet throughout the Olivet discourse we have been reading parables of the coming Kingdom that hint that he will return at a time when we least expect it.  Jesus said that no one knows the hour or the day, and that is good, because if we knew when Christ would return we would live however we like and then clean up at the last moment, and that is not how God calls us to live.

Mark 13:24-37

Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 29, 2020



Lectionary Readings for First Sunday of Advent, Year B

November 29, 2020

Old Testament: Isaiah 64:1-9

Psalter: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Gospel Lesson: Mark 13:24-37



S6E27: God Is Good (Thanksgiving Eve Service)

This year (2018), the Ministerium of Penns Grove, Carneys Point and Pedricktown held what we hope to be an annual eccumenical Thanksgiving Eve service at St. Gabriel's Parrish in Carneys Point.  As we were discussing the service at our monthly meeting, I made mention that I always write a Thanksgiving sermon just in case we ever have a Thanksgiving Eve service, something we did yearly at my home church in Pitman.  And so I ended up giving the message, based on the lectionary text from Joel.  Joel is one of those Old Testament prophets who brings a message of doom and gloom for an unfaithful nation.  And yet, in the midst of their transgression, God delivers a promise of restoration, saying they will never even remember the bad times.  God is good, all the time, and in the midst of our troubles, we always have that to be thankful for.

Text: Joel 2:21-27

Recorded at St. Gabriel's Parrish on November 21, 2018 (Originally published December 12, 2018)



S8E24: A Better Meal (Thanksgiving 2013)

In the good times and in bad times, no matter what we ought to give thanks to God for all things.  Here in 2020 we have been going through some of the most difficult times that most of us can remember.  And so this Thanksgiving message from 2013 is especially poignant.  When we consider the people who followed Jesus looking for a repeat of the miracle feeding of the multitudes, we see in them a glimpse of ourselves, who cannot see beyond our present circumstances.  Yet Jesus says to them and to us that we are to strive for the eternal things of God, not for the temporal things of the world.  

John 6:25-35

Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 27, 2013 (Previously unpublished)



S8E23: In Service to the King (Christ the King 2017)

The mark of a Christian is not that they claim to be Christian.  The mark of a Christian is the outpouring of the love they have been given from God to others.  In this Christ the King message preached in 2017, we look at Jesus' loving words for those who did acts of lovingkindness as a natural response to the grace they have been given - so natural, in fact, that they never even gave it any thought.  But Jesus also has harsh words for those who have not responded to God's grace in outward love.  It is a message that forces us to ask the question, who is Christ to me?

Matthew 25:31-46

Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 26, 2017 (Previously unpublished)



S2E29: The Coming Shepherd

A shepherd has a very particular relationship with his sheep.  He gathers in the ones that wander away from the flock and he protects them from the wolves that seek to devour the strays.  On this Christ the King Sunday, we see how God promises to his people Israel, through the prophet Ezekiel, to be the shepherd for his own people - a promise that he kept when he came to Earth as the man Jesus Christ.  So grab your Bible, turn it to Ezekiel chapter 34, and join us as we welcome the coming shepherd.

Ezekiel 34:11-16,20-24

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on November 23, 2014 (Originally published November 24, 2014)



S8E22: In Christ’s Glory (”There” Is NOW! pt. 3)

On this final Sunday of the church calendar, which we call Christ the King Sunday, we observe the reign of Christ in all of his glory.  And we conclude our short series in Matthew 25 with what is often called "The Parable of the Sheep and Goats."  However, as we will see in today's teaching, it is neither a parable, nor is it really about sheep and goats at all.  It is about two different states in the human condition.  We are either in Christ or we are not.  And when we are in Christ, we naturally act as Christ does without giving it much thought; yet when we are in the world, we only think of ourselves.  In which group do you belong?  

Matthew 25:31-46

Recorded at Hudson UMC on November 22, 2020



S5E28: We Adore Christ (Who We Are pt. 3)

When we pursue an object of our love, be it a person or some other thing, we go after it with everything we have.  In the same way, Christ gave everything out of love for us.  Why, then, wouldn't we as a church respond in adoration for our Lord?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on November 19, 2017 (Originally published December 13, 2017)



S8E21: Enter Into the Joy (”There” Is NOW! pt. 2)

As we continue our expository look at Matthew 25, we come to the parable of the talents.  Often this has been misunderstood to be a parable about money or blessing, but it is really about the kingdom work that we do in the absence of Jesus.  The main thing to note about the talents given to the slaves is that it is not given to them as their own resources, but the resources of the Master, which he entrusts to them to grow in his absence.  In the same way, God gifts us with certain talents (a word in English derrived from this very parable) in order to grow his kingdom here on earth.  What are you doing with what God gave you?  And when he returns will he likewise say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your master"?

Matthew 25:14-30

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on November 15, 2020



S5E27: We Preach the Gospel (Who We Are pt. 2)

e continue looking at "Who We Are" as a church by examining the central message of everything we do: the Gospel (or the Good News).  But many modern Chistians face a dilemna: we don't know how to put the Gospel into words, and some of us don't really know what the Good News is, exactly.  In American society the Gospel has become watered down into a feel-good self-help message that doesn't challenge us out of our comfort zone.  Jesus said the Gospel would be an offense and a stumbling block.  But we are called upon to preach the gospel at all times, and so preaching the gospel as a church is what makes us who we are.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on November 12, 2017 (Originally published December 12, 2017)


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