HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series April 7, 2024

Sunday Sermon Series April 7, 2024

Whether you call them homilies, sermons, or talks, there’s a lot you can learn from the spiritual leaders in our community. While in a perfect world, you’d have time to listen to everyone, that simply isn’t possible for most with limited time to spare. To help, we’ve surfaced and summarized the teachings from the audio sermons of some of the most influential priests and pastors from around town and in the Christian sphere.

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Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz reflects on the concept of fairness, particularly in the context of Easter egg hunts and children’s desire for everything to be fair. He delves into the deeper human desire of wanting to get what one deserves, which he sees as inherent in people’s nature. Drawing from his recent pilgrimage to Auschwitz, he narrates the horrors of the death camp and the atrocities committed there, including the story of Rudolf Hess, the commandant of Auschwitz. Despite Hess’s actions and responsibility for the deaths of millions, Fr. Mike questions what he deserved and whether justice could ever be meted out in such extreme cases. He emphasizes the importance of justice as a virtue and the idea that our decisions have consequences.

Fr. Mike explores the notion of God’s justice, distinguishing between arbitrary and intrinsic justice. He highlights that while God’s justice is intrinsic, it may not always be obvious or immediate, leading to challenges and questions about the fairness of life’s circumstances. He reflects on the human tendency to interpret suffering as punishment, noting the deep wound of distrust that originated from the first sin in Genesis. However, he also emphasizes the message of divine mercy, as exemplified by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and the invitation to trust in God’s mercy.

Delving into the theology of divine mercy, Fr. Mike discusses the messages conveyed through the visions of St. Faustina, particularly the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. He emphasizes that mercy is not an arbitrary concept but an intrinsic aspect of God’s love, offering salvation and forgiveness to all who seek it. Fr. Mike underscores the transformative power of mercy, recounting the story of Rudolf Hess’s eventual conversion and reception of the sacraments. He challenges the notion that mercy should have limits, arguing that the depth of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross extends to all humanity, offering the choice between justice and mercy.

In conclusion, Fr. Mike calls for a life rooted in trust and mercy, characterized by praise, thanksgiving, confession, and acts of mercy towards others. He encourages listeners to embrace God’s mercy as the greatest attribute of divine love, extending it to those in need and believing in its transformative power to heal even the most wounded hearts. Through prayer, reflection, and the sacraments, he invites believers to choose mercy over deserved justice, echoing the message of hope and redemption found in the Easter story.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

What Our World Needs Now

The sermon by Andy Stanley delves into the concept of faith framework and its relationship with maturity. Stanley emphasizes the importance of revising one’s faith framework when it becomes inadequate to incorporate new experiences or realities. He argues that a faith framework that remains stagnant cannot withstand the challenges of adulthood. Instead of focusing on spirituality, Stanley suggests pursuing maturity, which he believes Jesus advocated for in his teachings. He contrasts spirituality with maturity, asserting that Jesus never invited people into a realm of spirituality but encouraged them to grow up and mature.

Stanley criticizes the trend of emphasizing spirituality over maturity within Christianity, pointing out instances of hypocrisy and self-righteousness among religious individuals. He warns against falling into the trap of camouflaging immaturity with spiritual practices and highlights the need for Christians to exhibit maturity in their actions. Drawing from the teachings of the apostle Paul, Stanley underscores the importance of maturity over spirituality, emphasizing the need for Christians to win the respect of outsiders through their conduct.

Furthermore, Stanley discusses Paul’s concept of being led by the Holy Spirit and emphasizes the distinction between spirituality and maturity. He encourages Christians to allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in their lives, which he defines as the outcome of submission to God’s Spirit rather than personal effort or discipline. Stanley concludes by asserting that what the world needs are mature Jesus followers who reflect Christ-likeness through their actions and attitudes. He announces his intention to explore Paul’s description of maturity in future sermons, focusing on the fruit of the Spirit as evidence of spiritual maturity.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

Fr. Juan Carlos delivers a powerful homily centered on the theme of forgiveness as illuminated in the day’s Gospel reading, where Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit upon his disciples for the remission of sins. Drawing attention to Thomas’s doubt and subsequent encounter with Jesus, Fr. Juan Carlos underscores forgiveness as the key to experiencing the resurrection of Christ. He outlines a three-step process to embrace the joy of forgiveness, beginning with the acknowledgment and acceptance of past wounds, mirroring Jesus’ acceptance of his crucifixion wounds post-resurrection. Fr. Juan Carlos emphasizes the transformative power of forgiveness, urging listeners to emulate Jesus by turning their past hurts into opportunities for growth and learning.

Continuing his discourse, Fr. Juan Carlos highlights Jesus’ empathetic response to Thomas’s doubt, emphasizing the importance of empathy and compassion in the journey towards forgiveness. He stresses that forgiveness is a gift available to all, regardless of their past actions, and encourages listeners to allow empathy and compassion to permeate their lives, just as Thomas touched the wounded side of Jesus. Fr. Juan Carlos concludes by underscoring the liberating experience of forgiveness, which not only brings peace and joy but also offers physical healing and strengthens relationships. He offers practical guidance on embracing forgiveness, urging listeners to accept past hurts, approach offenders with empathy and compassion, and seek divine guidance to release resentment and embrace the love and peace of Christ. Finally, he calls upon the congregation to allow the Holy Spirit to heal their hearts from fear and resentment, celebrating God’s enduring mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

All Consuming Fire

Louie Giglio delivered a powerful sermon on the importance of embracing the Word of God, particularly focusing on the Book of Revelation. He emphasized that the Book of Revelation is not merely a study but a revelation of Jesus Christ Himself. Giglio stressed the urgency of understanding the message of Revelation, which unveils what is to soon take place.

He encouraged the congregation to embrace the awe-inspiring nature of Revelation, recognizing it as a glimpse into the throne room of Almighty God and the culmination of the age-long battle between good and evil. Despite the intimidation that may come with such profound revelations, Giglio emphasized the need to treasure and read the Word of God without fear.

The sermon delved into the opening of Revelation, highlighting how John, exiled on the island of Patmos, received a divine vision of Jesus Christ. Giglio described the majestic image of Christ portrayed in Revelation, with eyes like blazing fire, feet like glowing bronze, and a voice like rushing waters. John’s encounter with the glorified Christ left him trembling and in awe, falling at His feet as though dead.

Giglio further explained the significance of Jesus as the central figure of Revelation, the Alpha and Omega, the faithful witness, and the ruler of all. He emphasized that Jesus is not just the humble man from Galilee but the triumphant and reigning King of Kings. Despite the challenges and darkness of the end times, Giglio reminded the congregation that Jesus remains victorious and brilliant, both now and forever. He concluded by urging believers to keep their focus on the risen Christ, seeking to understand and embrace His majesty revealed in the Book of Revelation.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In Kris McDaniel’s sermon, he challenges the common tendency to identify with the best, smartest, or holiest characters in stories, especially in biblical narratives. Instead, he advocates for identifying with the most vulnerable and confused individuals, like Thomas after the resurrection. McDaniel emphasizes that doubt is a valid theme even in the context of Easter, encouraging the congregation to engage in a prolonged period of reflection on the resurrection’s reality and power. He reassures those struggling with doubt or feeling out of step with others, urging them to find solace in Thomas’s story as Jesus treats him with compassion and understanding.

McDaniel delves into the scene of the disciples locked behind doors, consumed by fear and uncertainty after Jesus’ resurrection. He highlights Jesus’s ability to bypass barriers, both physical and emotional, to reach his disciples with a message of peace and empowerment through the Holy Spirit. Emphasizing the transformative power of Jesus’s presence, McDaniel invites the congregation to embrace their brokenness and allow Jesus to breathe new life into their dead parts, fostering a deeper experience of God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s presence.

The sermon continues by focusing on Thomas’s absence during Jesus’s initial appearance to the disciples, likening it to moments of confusion and doubt in one’s life. Despite feeling lost and out of step, Thomas perseveres and ultimately receives Jesus’s affirmation, demonstrating the importance of resilience and faithfulness during periods of uncertainty. McDaniel acknowledges the discomfort of waiting, drawing parallels to his own struggles with impatience and the broader societal trend of instant gratification. He encourages the congregation to emulate Thomas’s perseverance and openness to Jesus’s unexpected arrival, recognizing that God is present even in moments of doubt and dissonance.

Listen to the full version here.

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