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Showing posts from October, 2012

Sermon on Mark 10:23-31, for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, "The Impossible? That's God's Job!"

·Do you think you’ll have difficulty entering the kingdom of God? Thought about it? For many, this question is way off their radar. A hard place to enter? American confidence—assume we’re all virtually guaranteed a spot. A study by George Barna in 2003: 81% believed in an afterlife, 76% believe there is a heaven, 71% there is a hell. However, only one half of 1% believe they will go to hell, while 64% believe they will go to heaven. Not convinced of Jesus’ words? Way to heaven is narrow, path to destruction is broad and easy? Of course polls and statistics will never tell us whether 50 % will actually go to heaven, and 50% to hell, or 40/60, 20/80, or anything like that. Only God knows. But we’re not that different from the disciples—surprised at the difficulty of getting into heaven—first for the rich, then for anyone—then plain impossible! ·Jesus’ conversation—after the rich young man’s encounter. Wealth is a hindrance, a hardship, for entering the kingdom. Jews thought the opposite—…

Sermon on Amos 5:6-7, 10-15, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, "Justice in the Gate"

·Amos, a shepherd living about 750 years BC—sent by God to Israel to call them from their sin. Warns that time is running out for them to turn, seek the Lord and live. 722 BC, the whole northern kingdom of Israel would be wiped out by the Assyrian armies. ·Should never surprise us that Biblical times even 2700 years ago were not far from the way things are today. Customs, technology and fashion might be different, but the problems and the sins are much the same. Just like King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” In today’s passage, listen for parallels to today. ·The prophets’ main focus was usually on idolatry—leaving the true God for any other—or trying to worship the true God alongside any other. God does not allow divided loyalties to Him. v.6 reads: “Seek the LORD and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel.” God’s anger was rising against Israel’s idolatry. The town of Bethel had become a shrine f…

Sermon on Mark 10:2-16, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, "Marriage and Family in God's Plan"

Sermon Outline: ·Simple question: What is the state of marriage today? How would we answer? Divorce rates are very high (inside or outside the church), domestic abuse hotline at Women Helping Women fields an average of 60 calls a month on Maui alone. Same sex unions are already legal in Hawaii and several other states, with the promise of more to come, and the redefinition of marriage is aggressively underway. Same-sex advocates are vigorously promoting a change in public opinion and want the abandonment of the natural and Biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Of course, if you think that marriage is between a man and a woman, you’re now portrayed by the TV and media as a hateful bigot. Apparently one cannot have thinking, reasonable objections to redefining marriage to include same-sex unions, without being hateful and discriminatory. Or so we’re told. Increasingly, people just reject marriage altogether, freely choosing relationships without responsibility or …