Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vicar of Wadley: The Vicar is back

Vicar of Wadley: The Vicar is back

Monday, April 17, 2006

Vicar of Wadley: The Vicar goes on Vacation

Vicar of Wadley: The Vicar goes on Vacation

To the faithful choir members

I off to the beautiful beaches of Florida. Posting to resume after said vacation. In the meantime, the choir did great Sunday. Marty did a wonderful children's sermon. And I did pretty good myself with the help of the Holy Spirit. All in all I would say it was a good Easter worship. Praise God.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Holy Week effects posting of sermons

I am sorry, but Holy Week, a sick child in the hospital, duties of the church, Easter egg hunt, kids out of school, and Easter Sunday have all but eliminated my posting of sermons. I will begin again after Easter posting for you the sermon series on the 7 Deadly Sins, and then Holy Week Sermons. In the meantime if you want to read a really good Easter Sermon here is one by John Chrysostom Pastor of Constantinople (~400 AD).

Well if you don't want one that old go here to the sermons of Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg. You have a lot of choices of which way you want to receive his sermons. Older ones are in text, newer ones are podcast, streaming video, flash or windows media. Take your pick. The pictures are from a few of his Easter sermons. I like to check what he says.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Part 3 of the sermon Greed

We the church ought to be the place where people can come and realize hey you can get off that merry go round, you don’t have to have more and more. There is another way of living and being. There is relief from that burden its put on you, you can be free of debt. You don’t have to worship at the temple of Donald Trump or Martha Stewart.

But sadly too many churches are not witnessing to the power of the resurrection over sins in our lives especially sins of greed. We do look like the outside world, and send a message, you got to have more if you are going to belong here. And more and more people are walking away from the church giving up on the church. There is a church in Columbus Georgia that in order to join that church you have to show your income to, and you have to be making a certain amount to join. Now can you imagine that? They probably would turn me down.

Well, I don’t want to belong to the temple of Donald Trump or Martha Stewart or a church like that. I want a church that is representing the kingdom of God, that does live in the resurrection power, where people are being healed, set free of addictions, problems, that is of one heart and mind, where God’s grace is upon everyone. We can’t imitate the early church. We are not meant to. But we are meant to be like Christ little Christs and that the early tried to do. Sadly we have gotten away from that. I believe that God is calling us to become the church he meant us to be in the first place. The one that Jesus gave his life for, and that his resurrection gave life to. In verse 11 it is the first time the word church is used. That was important then and important now. Because God was speaking through this even to the early church about how Greed can even destroy its community. And He is speaking to us now that the same thing can happen.

Think about how many church fights have been over money issues. Think about how many families have been wrecked by the greed train. God knew then and God knows now that it is a train wreck waiting to happen. When couples come to counseling often they’ll talk about every issue in the book, even sex, mother in law issues, drinking, who disciplines, who takes out the trash, but they will not talk about the financial problems and how they handle money, and what it is or is not doing to them. But Greed is ruining families. And churches need to be a place where families can be healed of the effects of greed, the problems it brings on, the debt issues, the loneliness and isolation, and where they can come out from hiding to the light of truth. Because Jesus said I am what, the light of the world, and the truth that shall set you free.

Not all churches are mimicking the world. Many have realized that this is a big problem, and have begun to address with seminars on getting free from debt, or having consumer counselors on staff. But and this is but if those same programs don’t address the deeper issue of the sin of greed then those people seeking the help will fall right back into the same cycle of greed and debt all over again. And then go into hiding over the shame of it.
Well, lets be a church where people don’t have to hide and be ashamed that they can come and be healed and confront their problems and be set free from the sin of greed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Lets be the church where God is at work in all of us pouring out his grace on all of us, that it doesn’t matter what you wear, what you drive, what kind of house or trailer you live in, what kind of jewelry you wear or don’t wear. Lets be the church where all believers are one in heart and mind, and no one claims that any of his possessions are his or her own. Because you see all possessions are God’s anyway, we are just minding the store.

Part 2 of Greed/7Deadly Sins

And yes we can look at them and say; well that is them; those billionaires, but we don’t see how that has anything to do with us. We are not like them. We don’t have the near the amount of money they have.

In our scripture we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira who sought to hold onto property instead of sharing it. It is a disturbing passage from the very beginning. Because you see if you look just above that chapter into Acts 4:32-37, It begins by saying All the believers were one in heart and mind (read from bible). And then verse 36 gives an example of Joseph…

So what is so disturbing is that they were now no longer of one heart and mind, they were not united but separated. This decision and choice by Ananias and Sapphria separates them from the other believers. It has its affect on taking care of the needy among them. It was a slap in the face of the power the apostles had in testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And it robbed them of God’s grace upon grace and robbed the others. As Peter says to them they let Satan fill their hearts and minds to do this deed, which then led to the lying, the cheating, and the deceiving. And you only thought that kind of behavior went on today. Pointedly Peter points out to them that not only had they lied to the community worst of all they had lied to God. Now we don’t know why Ananias fell down and died in that moment. It is easy to read into all kind of Spiritual ideas. But it could have been a heart attack, a stroke, but whatever it was he paid a hefty price for his thoughts and actions. Discuss the Rich Fool Luke 12: And then we have the same thing happening to his wife. Perhaps it is a spiritual thing or it is the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual effects of all their behavior. But then the effect on the community is fear. I cannot explain all of this and I won’t. It is sad though that while everyone else in the community originally were of one heart and mind, here were two who could not believe, could not trust enough, could not accept God’s grace to be part of the community. They let that bug called greed come into their minds into their hearts and effect their decisions, which then effected everything.

But you know what if you read further in verses 12-16, you realize this behavior of this couple did not stop the work of the Holy Spirit in this community. It didn’t stop the Holy Spirit’s power working through the disciples to heal, to testify, and more and more believed in the Lord. Why? Because the community did not give into the voice of Satan through the greed bug. Because they were willing to confront it for what it was, and not let these two get away with their sin. And they were not willing to let this sin get into their community and tear it apart. Now there is always a fine line of confronting others in a church. But the leaders had enough wisdom to know if they let this couple get away with their behavior it would begin to erode the community, erode the work of the Holy Spirit, and erode the witness they had in the world. They would lose all that they had gained, all that Jesus had brought about by his resurrection, and they would be just like everyone else in Rome, greedy. People would be saying hey they are just like us and everyone else, why would I want to be part of that group. I am already part of that by going to such and such temple. Do you hear that. And isn’t that true today, If we mimic what the world is doing, being and saying, we have no witness, we are not different, we don’t provide another way of being, thinking doing your life. And so people continue to listen to the voice of greed and trying to get more and more.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Greed one of the 7 Deadly Sins

This is part one of the sermon on Greed by Abi Carlisle-Wilke

Greed Don Trump and Martha Stewart
April 2, 2006
Acts 5:1-11

Greed is a sin that bites us all, lures us in, saying come on in, we’ll have a good time. Martha Stewart isn’t the first person to go to prison for their actions caused by greed. Many a person who has wanted more has found themselves bit by the Greed bug. It is that voice that says come on you have got to have more this is not enough, more I say, and you and I listen and go okay I do have to have more and go get more. And either people find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt for trying to have more, or working 2 or 3 jobs. But here is the big but there is no satisfaction, it is a continuous want for more…..
Martha Stewart was caught by her desire to have more in stock trade gone bad. Yes she did learn some things from having done that. Her stock has taken a hit, her program the apprentice with the Don didn’t work out, I don’t think she has ever recovered from it.
Donald J. Trump's casino empire has filed for bankruptcy protection after months of negotiations with bondholders over restructuring a crushing debt. There have been a whole slew of companies brought under by their ceo’s urge for greed. Enron World com Adelphia the list could go on.

Testifying before Congress, Alan Greenspan named "infectious greed" as the culprit in the current rash of corporate scandals. The Federal Reserve Board chairman showed that his knack for coining defining phrases hasn't been dulled by the down market. But someone like Greenspan spanking businessmen for exhibiting greed feels a bit like a betrayal. We’d been told all along that greed--well harnessed and regulated--was good not only for corporations, but society as a whole, even the poor. We’ve come to think that greed is an ambiguous quality--sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Discuss Affluenza
And * Curing Affluenza-Six 25-minute videos featuring Tony Campolo

And yes we can look at them and say; well that is them billionaires but we don’t see how that has anything to do with us. We are not like them. We don’t have the near the amount of money they have.

Sunday's sermon on Gluttony

Well, this Sunday I am preaching on the sin of gluttony. I will be first to admit it is one of the easiest sins for me to give into. We do so often think it all has to do with food and eating. We think of the buffetts and all the food you can eat for one price. We think of Super Sizing our value meals at the fast food places. We think of the holiday feasts, especially at Thanksgiving. We think of Family Reunions and everybody bringing enough food to fee the countryside. We think of the church dinners with all the casseroles, good food, and really good desserts. The list goes on...... Just look what they say about how overweight we Americans are, and we are.

Also, look at how much time we spend thinking about food. We now have the Food Channel. Look at all the cook books like Paula Deen's out there. Rick Ezell in his book the 7Sins of Highly Defective People says on page 128-129 "Gluttony is not about overeating on Thanksgiving . Gluttony is not about appearance; it is an attitude. It is not about being overweight; it is overindulgence. It is not about recreational eating; it is about rampant excess. it is not about too many external effects; it is a lack of internal balance." He then asks the question What is so bad wit a little gluttony, anyway? He sees it that we seek to feed the soul with the body's food."

Do you realize how much scripture centers around food? Do you realize how many stories Jesus tells about food. He was accused of being " a gluttonous man and winebibber", Luke 7:34. But Jesus was no glutton.

In his book Sinning Like a Christian, Will Willimon uses Luke 16:19 to bring out that part of the problem with gluttony is that it is more than self -indulgence; it may also be a way of being blind to the needs of others in a world where millions go hungry. He sees it as excessive consumption as well as excessive attentiveness to food. page 121. He further points to how we are gluttons when it comes to to noise, TV, cars, hi tech, gas, (They do call them gas guzzelers.)

If we are all to eat to survive, to live then what must we do?

We are reminded that in John 6 Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life. Maybe that is one of the ways we deal with this sin by feeding on Jesus for our soul, instead of feeding it body food to excess.

Just thinking out loud for Sunday

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

7Deadly Sins Sermon series

Blogger: Vicar of Wadley :: Edit Post ' Vicar of Wadley '

In this post I wrote about preaching on the 7 Deadly Sins. This is the series I am presently preaching and this is the sermons I will be posting.

Here is the original schedule:
  1. Pride with an introduction to the “se7en deadly sins” First
  2. Envy Un-harden your heart Mark 15:1-10
  3. Wrath Defusing your anger James 1:19-25
  4. Sloth Putting an end to your procrastination Proverbs 24:30-34
  5. Lust Avoiding Fatal Attractions Matthew 5:27-30
  6. Avarice Donald Trump and Martha Stewart Acts 5:1-11
  7. Gluttony What’s feeding you? Proverbs 23:15-21

    Easter “The Power of the Resurrection to break our sins”
    1 Corinthians 15:1-11 April 16

In the Beginning....

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
I have never really posted my sermons. I've been a little afraid to do so. You know, did I include all the footnotes; that I don't necessarily have when I am in the pulpit? Did I remember that remark or story that I told at one church, but not at the other? I have the awareness that I am preaching to a certain group of people, and what I say here wouldn't necessarily work in your church. Perhaps this then can be some food for thought for you. Perhaps it will feed your soul, or spark some interest, or warm your heart, or inform you.
I will try to include resources, footnotes, scriptures, etc.
But I got to tell you, I am still learning to Blog. I don't know how to do html. I don't pod cast. I am not sure how to change the code on the sidebar. I am confused by rss, but I am willing to learn. So if in the beginning, it is confusing to you; well that is because it is confusing to me.
I'll take your comments as long as it is constructive criticism, and not mean spirited. You will be ignored or receive a buzzer if you are mean spirited. Who knows you might get a rose if you are thoughtful.