Jun 11, 2019
Just Throw

Sermon On the Mound

Just Throw

Matthew 5:43-48

 
We wave the slogan, "I am not perfect, just forgiven" like a championship pennant.  It is a good slogan that focuses on the forgiving grace of God.
 
The challenge is that the slogan diminishes one of Jesus' commands in the Sermon on the Mount - "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." I am one who believes this command is not to be ignored or watered down.  This command is spoken in the context of love and being called to something higher than the way the world loves, such as loving our friends, family members and others who love us.  Jesus calls us to something higher - loving perfectly - loving as God loves.
 
The Perfect Game in Baseball is an illuminating illustration for being perfect as God is perfect.
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  • Jun 11, 2019Just Throw
    Jun 11, 2019
    Just Throw

    Sermon On the Mound

    Just Throw

    Matthew 5:43-48

     
    We wave the slogan, "I am not perfect, just forgiven" like a championship pennant.  It is a good slogan that focuses on the forgiving grace of God.
     
    The challenge is that the slogan diminishes one of Jesus' commands in the Sermon on the Mount - "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." I am one who believes this command is not to be ignored or watered down.  This command is spoken in the context of love and being called to something higher than the way the world loves, such as loving our friends, family members and others who love us.  Jesus calls us to something higher - loving perfectly - loving as God loves.
     
    The Perfect Game in Baseball is an illuminating illustration for being perfect as God is perfect.
  • Jun 2, 2019Take It With A “Grin” of Salt
    Jun 2, 2019
    Take It With A “Grin” of Salt

    Sermon on the Mound

    Take It With A "Grin" Of Salt

    Matthew 5:13-16

     
    What are Christians to be for the world?  Are we simply to be nice and humble people whose main virtue is self-abasement?  Jesus calls to be more than that and it starts in the church.  In these few verses Jesus challenges that thinking and the culture of niceness that permeates the church.  Jesus addresses what we are to be for the world, using the analogy of salt, light and fruit.  What do we do in the church when the salt has lost its flavor?  Would we ever pull someone out of the game?  What does Jesus say should be done?
  • May 26, 2019The Loudest Boos Come From Those in the Cheap Seats
    May 26, 2019
    The Loudest Boos Come From Those in the Cheap Seats

    The Loudest Boos Come From Those in the Cheap Seats

    Matthew 7:1-5

     
    There is a great lesson to be learned from baseball. There is no Monday Morning Quarterback like in football. The Monday Morning Quarterback (a.k.a. Armchair Quarterback). It refers to someone who doesn't participate in the action, but still makes judgement about it and believes he or she can make better decisions than anyone in the game.
     
    This is a great analogy for Jesus' teaching on "Don't judge, so that you will not be judged." At the same time this does not mean we are free from accountability. When we participate in the game, we have the responsibility to hold each other accountable. As followers of Jesus, accountability starts with the person in the mirror.
     
    Reflect on...
    1) Ask yourself, “What logs do I have in my own eye?”
    2) What will you do to be more engaged, empathetic and authentic in your judging?
     

    Would you like to hear more of the "Sermons on the Mound series"? Click here.

     
  • May 19, 2019Trouble with the Curve
    May 19, 2019
    Trouble with the Curve

    Sermon on the Mound                         Matthew 5:17-44

    Trouble with the Curve

    Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

    17 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Anger
    21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
    Lust
    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    Divorce
    31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    Retaliation

    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    Love Your Enemies
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
     
    Pastor Jeff's Message
    Jesus changes the rules, "You've heard it said...but I say..."  These are very challenging words and difficult teaching.  Jesus is holding his disciples (us) to a higher standard than what the law requires.  Are we willing to let ourselves be held to this higher standard or are these merely some archaic words that are out of date and out of touch with contemporary culture?
     
    There is a cost of discipleship.  Part of our calling to discipleship is that we will have to live more truthfully and less comfortably within contemporary culture.
    Jesus is described by John, as one full of grace and truth.  This is the tension we live in.  We extend grace and yet we must live by the truth of the gospel.

     

    Life Point: Jesus calls us beyond outward obedience to heart obedience.
    Reflect on: 1)  Are you more of a “you’ve heard it said” or a “but I say to you” type of disciple? 2)  How will you transform your discipleship from obedience to God, to being in-love with God?
     

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  • May 12, 2019Missing the Call
    May 12, 2019
    Missing the Call

    Sermon on the Mound                                Matthew 6:9-15

    Missing the Call

    “This is how you should pray:

    Our Father in heaven,

    let your name be kept holy.

    10  Let your kingdom come.

    Let your will be done on earth

    as it is done in heaven.

    11  Give us our daily bread today.

    12  Forgive us as we forgive others.

    13  Don’t allow us to be tempted.

    Instead, rescue us from the evil one.a

    14 “If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures.
     
     
    Mother's Day is a day of mixed emotions and feelings.  There are the joys of families being together and mothers receiving well-deserved honor.  This is a good day to celebrate Moms and their sacrificial love.
     
    For some, this day is a hard day.  There are the painful emotions of mothers who have lost children.  Mothers ignored by their children and women who were never mothers.  And there are children who did not have the blessing of mothers who loved them, some were abused, and other abandoned.  This is a good day to talk about forgiveness.
     
    We focus on the part in the prayer, "Forgive us as we forgive others."
     
    Life Point: Do you want Christ to forgive you the way you forgive others?
    Reflect on: What do you need to forfeit in order to forgive?
    To hear other sermons, click here.
     
  • May 5, 2019A League of Their Own
    May 5, 2019
    A League of Their Own

    Sermon on the Mound                                         Matthew 5:1-10

    A League of Their Own

     
    The view of baseball was dramatically changed during World War II.  Many of the players in the Major Leagues were drafted, and several owners created the All-American Girls Professional League.  It gave America a new view of baseball-a view that at first was not welcomed.
     
     

    What are the Beatitudes?

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us a new way of looking at our life in the world.  Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is key to developing a Christian worldview.
     
    Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turns upside down the long-held beliefs, mores, and expectations of what it means to be God's faithful people.  Nowhere is this more true than these openings statements about who is blessed (and by inference, and who is not.)  Like a fantastic season opener, or a game that starts off with a homerun, Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount in a way that will get us to our feet (or at least cause us to scratch our heads!)  The "Be-atitudes" or "The Blesseds" that begin the Sermon on the Mount are also often translated as "happy."  The most accurate translation would be "Blissful."  Such is the level of happiness, unlike any the world can offer, of the persons who fall into each of these categories.  This puts them in a "league of their own."  Some are less troublesome than others, e.g., "blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy."  But what about the "spiritually poor?" Or those who grieve?
     
    Beatitudes gives a new way of looking at the Christian faith-at what it means to follow Christ.  At first, it is not a welcomed view.  Is it any different today?
     
    Life Point: The Beatitudes show us a way to live at a level of happiness the world cannot offer.
     
    Reflect on: (fill in the blanks to mirror your life)
    Blessed/Happy are those who _______; for they _______________
     

    Would you like to hear previous sermons?

    They are available to download or listen to here.
  • Apr 7, 2019The Difference of One
    Apr 7, 2019
    The Difference of One

    A Turning Point                           Mark 12:41-44

    The Difference of One

    A Widow’s Contribution 41 As Jesus sat facing the temple offering box, he watched how the money people put into it. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a cent. 43 He called his disciples and said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others. 44 All of them have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.” Focus Jesus sits and watches people put a financial gift in the offering box. These are rich people who put in great sums of money from their spare change. Jesus notices a widow, she puts in two coins, not even worth a penny. Jesus says, "The poor widow gave more than anyone else because she gave all."  The difference of one makes a difference for you.
    This narrative takes place during the last week of Jesus' life, In just a few days, Jesus will give His all for us. Yet sometimes we ignore the gift, reject the gift, and/or take the gift for granted. We treat the gift as if it were mere spare change.
     
    Reflect on...
    If Jesus, born of a virgin, in a manger, died of natural causes instead of being crucified on a cross, what would be different in your life?

    Would you like to hear more inspiring sermons? Click here!

  • Mar 31, 2019It Gets Messy
    Mar 31, 2019
    It Gets Messy

    Turning Point                                    Mark 12:28-34

    It Gets Messy

    Love God and Your Neighbor

    28 One of the scribes went to Jesus during the argument with the Sadducees. He saw how well Jesus answered them, so he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of them all?”

    29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. 30 So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

    32 The scribe said to Jesus, “Teacher, that was well said! You’ve told the truth that there is only one God and no other besides him! 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

    34 When Jesus heard how wisely the man answered, he told the man, “You’re not too far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one dared to ask him another question.
     
    Focus
    For some strange reason, I have an affinity with stories of lawyers encountering Jesus.
    He asks a question, it is not a sincere question, he is hoping to entrap Jesus. He asks, "Which commandment is most important?"
    I think my answer would be, "They are all equally important, no commandment is greater than another." But is that really how I live? In practice, I probably do make some more important than others. Isn't murder a worse transgression than coveting? Aren't stealing and adultery worse transgressions than taking God's name in vain on the golf course?
    Still I think I would have said all are equally important. But it is not what I say, it is not what we say - it is what He says.
    Jesus offers a better and more challenging answer. He states clearly what commandments are most important. They are the most important in word and practice. Perhaps if we get these two commandment right, and live by these two commandments, all other commandment will fall in line.
     
    Reflect on... 1) When has messy love made a difference in your life?
    2) Who can you show “messy love” to?
    For more sermons, click here.
  • Mar 10, 2019One More Thing
    Mar 10, 2019
    One More Thing

    Turning Point                                              Mark 10:17-31

    One More Thing

    The Rich Man

    17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ 20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
     

    It is hard to enter the Kingdom of God

    23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” 28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.
    29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
     
     

    Focus

    A rich man seeks out Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus says, "Obey the commandments."
     
    The man is happy, he obeys all of them. Jesus then says, "One more thing..."
     
    The man goes away sad. He couldn't or wouldn't do the one more thing to follow Jesus and inherit eternal life.
     
    He faces a turning point in his life - and instead of doing "one more thing," he turns away sad.
     
    What is the one more thing for you? What is the one more thing you need to do or give up to completely follow Jesus and inherit eternal life?
     

    For more sermons click here.

     
  • Mar 3, 2019It Gets Personal
    Mar 3, 2019
    It Gets Personal

    Jesus Followers                   Mark 8:27-30

    It Gets Personal

    Jesus starts the questioning at a comfortable distance, "Who do people say that I am?"
     
    Then Jesus gets up close and personal and asks, "Who do you say that I am?"
     

    Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

    27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

    28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

    29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

    Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.*

    30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

     
    We may think we follow at a distance.  We might even attempt to follow at a comfortable distance.  Vibrant and vital discipleship get us personal and put us up close to Jesus .
     
    We all need to answer the question, "Who is Jesus?"
     
     
              
     
     

    Click here for more sermons.

     
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