October 24, 2010
Text: Luke 18:9-17
Title: The Prayer of Repentance Made All the Difference

I want to share with you a little story from an author named John Ortberg:

Many years ago, early on in our marriage, my wife and I sold our Volkswagen Beetle to buy our first really nice piece of furniture. It was a sofa. It was a pink sofa, but for that kind of money, it was called a mauve sofa. The man at the sofa store told us all about how to take care of it, and we took it home.

We had very small children in those days, and does anybody want to guess what was the Number One Rule in our house from that day on? "Don't sit on the mauve sofa! Don't play near the mauve sofa! Don't eat around the mauve sofa! Don't touch the mauve sofa! Don't breathe on the mauve sofa! Don't think about the mauve sofa! On every other chair in the house, you may freely sit, but on this sofa—the mauve sofa—you may not sit, for on the day you sit thereon, you will surely die!"

And then one day came the "Fall." There appeared on the mauve sofa a stain…a red stain…a red jelly stain. My wife called the man at the sofa factory, and he told her how bad that was. So she assembled our three children to look at the stain on the sofa: Laura, who then was about 4, and Mallory, who was about 2½, and Johnny, who was maybe 6 months. She said, "Children, do you see that? That's a stain. That's a red stain. That's a red jelly stain. And the man at the sofa store says it's not coming out, not for all eternity. Do you know how long eternity is, children? Eternity is how long we're all going to sit here until one of you tells me which one of you put the red jelly stain on the mauve sofa."

praying handsOctober 17, 2010
Luke 18:1-8
Title: “I’m Sorry to be a Pest, Lord, but …”

Today’s message is about prayer. So my first question for you is this: Is Your Prayer Life Where You Want It to Be?

My second question is: Do You Believe that Your Life Would Improve in Some Way – or the Lives of the People You Care About Would Improve in Some Way – if Your Prayer Life Improved?

Most Christians would admit that their prayer-life is not where it should be. And most would agree that their lives would improve in some way, spiritually, physically, emotionally, if their prayer life were stronger.

So if you believe that prayer makes a difference, if you believe that God answers prayer, if you believe that your life would improve or the lives of the people you care about would improve in some way if your prayer life were stronger, then what is stopping us?

I think there are three basic reasons why Christians do not have stronger prayer lives. 1) Because we don’t feel like we have enough time to pray. 2) Because we are not convinced that prayer will make a difference. 3) Because we do not really know how to pray.

I can’t adequately address all of these reasons in a single sermon. So I’ve decided what my next series of Tuesday night Bible classes will be about. Prayer.

The first problem is that we don’t feel like we have time to pray. Here are the Top Four occasions when you have to make time to pray:


September 26, 2010 
Text: Revelation 12
Title: Angels: Myth & Fact

One time each year, I preach a sermon about angels. Today is that day. September 29th is the date on the church calendar designated to commemorate St. Michael the Archangel. That’s this coming Wednesday, but since we don’t have church on Wednesday, I thought I’d transfer the observance to today.

There is a tremendous interest in angels in our society today. I Googled the word “angel” the other day and got something like 22,795,000 hits, everything from the Anaheim Angels, Charlie’s Angels, City of Angels, angel figurines, Touched By An Angel and much much more.

For a lot of people, their fascination with angels is like their fascination with UFOs, unseen mysterious creatures who may or may not be responsible for those crop circles in Pennsylvania and other unexplained phenomena. In one poll, 55% of American adults say they have been protected from harm by their guardian angel. That’s more than half. Not just that they believe in the existence of angels, but that they have been individually and really helped by one or more actual angels.

But why is this important? What does it matter what we think about angels? Our doctrine of angels is not our most central teaching, but it is nonetheless important for several reasons.

October 3, 2010
Text: Luke 17:1-10
Title: Forgive and Forget . . . huh?

Four years ago, USA Today published the results of a survey where people were asked which superpower they most wished to possess.

  • According to the survey, 28% said they want the power to read minds. I don’t know about you, but that one does not sound appealing to me. Do you really want to know what people are thinking?
  • 15% said they would want to fly.
  • 11% want to be invisible. (Those people are up to no good. ☺ )
  • Only 9% want super strength.
  • And a bewildering 1% wish they had the power to walk through walls. To them, I say, we have this marvelous new invention that truly allows anyone to walk through walls. It’s called a door.

Do you know which superpower I wish I had? I wish I had the power to forgive. Have any of you ever had a friend betray you, lie about you, or stab you in the back? One of the most difficult things you may ever have to do is forgive someone who has hurt you. C. S. Lewis, once wrote, “We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it.”

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus gives us some pretty straight talk about the Christian life, but particularly I want to focus on these words: If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him.

September 19, 2010
Text: Luke 16:1-15
Title: It’s Only Money

How important is money to you? Several years ago, people were asked what they would be willing to do for $10 million. The results were tabulated in a book entitled The Day America Told the Truth. 25% said they would totally abandon their family. 23% said they would become a prostitute for a week. 16% indicated they would leave their spouse. 3% said they would put their children up for adoption.

Money is a touchy subject for the church to talk about publicly. I’m writing a little booklet called, What’s In It for Me? The 8 Top Reasons People Give for Not Going to Church. As part of my research, I asked a lot of you to tell me what reasons you have heard people give and some of you said because the church is always after my money. Whether that’s true or not, that is definitely the perception of some people out there. Or they feel that the Church takes their offerings and then uses it not in the best of ways.

Yes, money is a touchy subject for the Church, but it’s still a subject which cannot and should not be avoided. In today’s lesson, Jesus told a parable about money. This isn’t surprising when you realize that of the 38 parables Jesus told 19 of them dealt with money and possessions and our attitudes toward those things.

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Proclaiming to our community in word and deed the empowering love of God as demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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