Sermons

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/20130901sermon.mp3

Text: Luke 16:1-13

When’s the last time you were at work and found yourself in the middle of a parable?

Jesus, famously, uses parable as one of his main forms of teaching, and many of his parables occur in the workplace.  A shepherd is out at work in the fields watching over his 100 sheep.  One wanders off.  He leaves the 99 and seeks after the one who is lost, and when he finds it, hoists it up onto his shoulders, rejoicing, and calls together all of his friends to celebrate.

A parable that happens while at work.

A farmer goes out to spread seed, flinging it generously over the field.  Some falls on poor soil, some on the hardened pathway, some falls where weeds are already growing, and some falls on good soil and that seed grows and multiplies and produces an abundant harvest.  Another work parable.

The kindom of God is like a new pastor who is hired to help give care for a congregation.  But in his first two months finds that it’s he and his family who are receiving all sorts of care from this congregation – help with painting the house and moving...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/2013-08-25-whose-will-they-be.mp3

Text: Luke 12:13-21

Last weekend about 20 people gathered at the seminary in Elkhart, Indiana to talk about what the church needs to be talking about over the next decade.  One of the questions each of us was asked to speak to was What is the church most afraid to talk about?   As we went around the circle, the first five answers went something like this: Affluence, wealth, upsetting the seminary donor base, class, how embedded we are in a capitalist system that goes against ­so many of our values.  Do you sense a theme emerging here?

Marriage therapists often comment that typically the most difficult and contentious topic for couples to talk about is not sex, but money – finances.

Lucky for us, the weekend after it was determined that money is not just difficult for couples to talk about, but also the thing that the church is perhaps most afraid to confront, CMC is having a stewardship Sunday in which we talk about that very thing.

Maybe you’ve heard these numbers before, but they bear repeating.  Everence, the stewardship agency of Mennonite Church USA, estimates that in the Hebrew prophets and New Testament teachings, there...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/2013-08-04-phoenix-2013-in-six-slices1.mp3

A month ago twelve of us from Columbus Mennonite attended the ­­­Mennonite Church USA Convention in Phoenix.

I’ll give a taste of the Phoenix experience by sharing six different slices from the week.  I guess you could think of this as Phoenix pizza, or a Phoenix pie, sliced six ways, hopefully containing some kind of nutritional value for the mind and soul.

Each slice is introduced with a verse of Scripture.

So the first slice is just to get a sense of the atmosphere of the gathering.  The scene.

1. The scene – Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as we are in the habit of doing.”

These national conventions happen every two years and are a combination of business, continuing education, fellowship, worship, and fun.  For those of us who have attended a number of them as well as various Mennonite institutions, it pretty much amounts to a sea of half familiar faces, making one at least a partial believer in the idea of previous lives.  Someone comes up and greets you, and you do a quick search through your memory...

http://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2013-07-28-would-you-like-some-simkha-with-your-hevel.mp3

Text: Ecclesiastes

I am holding in my hand an Illinois Lottery All Jackpot Report slip from a couple years ago.  On the back of it is handwritten ECC Chap 4:9-11.  This ticket was a gift to me, and I’ve kept it as a way of remembering the experience that went along with it.

The handwriting belongs to someone that I knew only as Troy, and he gave me this slip of paper at the gas station where I had taken him to fill up his gas can.  I had been driving from Kansas back to Ohio after spending some time with Abbie’s family and Abbie and the girls had stayed back for an extra week.  I was in the middle of Illinois and saw a guy on the side of the interstate beside his car, holding up a gas can.  It’s not real often that I’m driving by myself, without having to be at the destination at any particular time, so I decided to stop.  Troy got in the car, cursed at himself for running out of gas and asked for a ride to the nearest gas station.  After I asked him his name he asked me what...

http://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2013-07-21-two-sisters-and-the-one-thing.mp3

Main Text: Luke 10:38-42

Whenever I hear this story of Martha and Mary hosting Jesus in their home, I always have this gut reaction of wanting to defend Martha.  Having a guest takes work, hosting is not a passive activity, and yet Martha’s attention to these practical details gets trumped by Mary’s sitting and listening to Jesus.  Jesus points out that Mary has chosen the better part, and Martha is left pulling the roast out of the oven wondering where she went wrong.  So I feel like Martha deserves some props that.

Part of my motivation here no doubt comes out of my own experience.  Growing up I always wondered how it was that most of us got to read in the living room while Mom was getting Sunday dinner around.  I liked to read and wasn’t overly enthusiastic about being in the kitchen, but I had a great appreciation for the work Mom was doing, which I openly expressed by eating large quantities of food at every meal.  If it would have been left to me, we all probably would have sat around reading until we were unbearably hungry and then eventually scrounged for some peanut butter...

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