HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series August 13, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series August 13, 2023

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 begins by reflecting on the concept of focus and distraction. He begins by reminiscing about his childhood experience with report cards, where both academic grades and behavior were assessed. He relates his desire to excel in focusing while avoiding becoming a distraction to others. Fr. Mike delves into the idea that focus is a skill and an ability that can be developed.

He discusses the prevalence of distractions in modern life, from phones and social media to mundane tasks. Fr. Mike emphasizes the importance of consciously deciding where to direct one’s attention and shares a story about Warren Buffett coaching his pilot on goal-setting and the power of focusing on top priorities.

Fr. Mike then turns to the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the story of Peter walking on water toward Jesus. He highlights that being a disciple means embracing the supernatural life, doing what seems impossible through faith. He notes that distractions, symbolized by the wind and waves, can divert one’s focus from Jesus and cause them to sink.

Fr. Mike offers four simple steps: deciding on the goal, taking action to focus, noticing distractions and their underlying messages, and creating space for silence to hear God’s voice. He stresses that silence and listening are essential for growth in faith and calls on all Christians to step out of their comfort zones, following Peter’s example of living supernaturally by staying focused on Jesus despite life’s distractions.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Icon: Empowering the Invitation of the Cross

Andy Stanley discusses a specific temptation that many people, especially followers of Jesus, face. He highlights how Jesus himself was tempted when he was physically worn out and alone, facing a direct temptation from the devil. This temptation relates to the allure of the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. The devil tempts Jesus with the offer of authority over all the kingdoms if he would acknowledge the devil’s authority.

Stanley emphasizes that this specific temptation remains relevant today. He draws a parallel between Jesus’ encounter with the devil and the daily struggles people face with the desire for success, achievement, and advancement in the world. The allure of power, wealth, and influence is a subtle temptation that often goes unnoticed, but it’s a significant challenge for those striving to follow Jesus’ teachings.

He discusses how following the way of Jesus can be difficult, as it goes against the grain of societal norms and cultural expectations. Stanley suggests that the way of Jesus is a better way, not a lesser one. It’s not about being less ambitious, less productive, or less successful. Instead, it’s about embracing a different set of values and redefining success based on Jesus’ teachings.

Stanley highlights the Apostle Paul’s transformation from a persecutor of Christians to a follower of Jesus. Paul’s journey illustrates the radical shift in thinking required to adopt the way of the cross – a way that may seem counterintuitive and weak but ultimately holds a different kind of power. He concludes by encouraging listeners to embrace the way of Jesus and daily deny their natural inclinations to pursue the kingdoms of this world.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

Above + Beyond

Louie Giglio shares his experience of visiting Milan, Italy, and seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. He highlights the historical significance and symbolism of the painting and the importance of preparing a space for meaningful moments. He relates this concept to Passion City Church and its efforts to provide spaces for discipleship and worship.

Giglio discusses the renovation and expansion projects at different church locations, such as Trilith and the Lincoln Theater in DC. He emphasizes the idea of providing “upper rooms,” fully furnished spaces where people can gather and experience life transformation. He connects this idea to biblical narratives, particularly the Last Supper, where Jesus gathered with his disciples before his crucifixion. He explains how the Last Supper marked the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant through Jesus’ sacrifice.

The sermon highlights the importance of generosity and investing in eternal things. Giglio encourages listeners to give not just to Passion City Church, but to invest in the kingdom of God. He emphasizes that being a follower of Jesus involves being generous and supporting endeavors that lead to lasting impact. Giglio draws parallels between the physical spaces being prepared for church activities and the spiritual spaces being prepared for believers to experience the ultimate “marriage supper of the Lamb” in heaven. The sermon concludes with an invitation to invest in the eternal kingdom by providing spaces for people to encounter Jesus and have their lives changed.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In this sermon by Katie Wilson, she addresses a congregation and reflects on the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter’s attempt to walk towards him. She begins by acknowledging the challenging act of following a previous sermon and introduces herself as a ministry coordinator at Trinity. Katie expresses gratitude for the opportunity to be present with the congregation, sharing in the centuries-old tradition of Christian belief.

The sermon centers around the story from Matthew 14, where Jesus walks on water and Peter initially walks towards him but then begins to sink due to fear and doubt. Katie highlights the significance of the word “immediately” at the beginning of the passage, connecting it to the previous story of the feeding of the 5,000. She emphasizes that this story is not just a historical event but also holds deeper spiritual meanings for individuals today.

Katie explores the themes in the story, such as Jesus’ presence in chaos, his power over chaos, and his invitation to move closer to him. She highlights Peter’s audacious request to walk on water and how Jesus responds by inviting him to come. She discusses how Peter’s failure to maintain his focus on Jesus and his subsequent sinking is not the primary focus of the story. Rather, it’s about Jesus’ immediate rescue and his statement “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Throughout the sermon, Katie encourages the congregation to reflect on their own lives. She asks them where in their lives they need Jesus to invite them to move toward him, encouraging them to boldly ask for such invitations. She also prompts them to recognize that their failures are not the defining aspects of their relationship with Jesus. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ faithfulness and his ability to rescue and guide them through challenges.

Katie concludes by emphasizing that even a little faith can lead to worship and that Jesus is worthy of worship. She encourages the congregation to spend time in reflection, considering where they need to move towards Jesus and embracing the reality that his rescue is more powerful than their failures. The sermon provides a message of hope, emphasizing the significance of Jesus’ presence and faithfulness in the midst of life’s trials and uncertainties.

Listen to the full version here.

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