HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series January 14, 2024

Sunday Sermon Series January 14, 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 theme of decision-making and discernment using the analogy of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from his childhood. He describes the dilemma of making choices and the fear of missing out on something better. Fr. Mike addresses the common struggle with decision paralysis, especially for students facing choices about majors, internships, living arrangements, and more.

The homily delves into the existential question of whether the purpose of life is to be optimally happy. Fr. Mike shares an anecdote about comedian Shane Smith, who rejected God because acknowledging God’s existence would mean acknowledging a claim on his life. The homily emphasizes the tension between God’s claim on our lives and the desire for personal freedom and happiness.

Fr. Mike encourages the congregation to trust God, emphasizing that God knows and loves individuals better than they know and love themselves. He outlines four principles for decision-making: recognizing good and open doors, considering wisdom in choices, acknowledging freedom, and deciding based on personal desire. He likens the process to aligning a rifle’s scope or solving an algebra problem, emphasizing that faith is often a step rather than a leap.

The homily concludes with the idea that faith is rooted in trust, not necessarily clarity. Fr. Mike shares a story about Mother Teresa advising someone to seek trust over clarity, highlighting the importance of trusting God’s plan for one’s life. The overarching message is a call to surrender to God’s claim and trust His guidance, even in the face of uncertainty and the possibility of making wrong choices.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

A Better Question

In this sermon by Andy Stanley, the central question is, “What breaks your heart?” Stanley encourages listeners to identify the one thing that bothers them more than anything else, the issue that makes them sad and even mad. He emphasizes that this question is crucial for discovering purpose in life. Stanley argues that purpose is an essential ingredient for happiness, and without it, people become consumed with themselves, leading to insecurity and fear.

The sermon suggests that happiness is a result, not a goal, and pursuing happiness alone can create a cycle of self-focus. Stanley advises young adults to understand this concept early in life to save themselves from wasted time and regrets. He introduces the paradox that being consumed with oneself will ultimately consume the person. The sermon then delves into Jesus’ teachings about the counterintuitive nature of achieving fulfillment through self-denial, giving, and losing oneself for a greater purpose.

Stanley emphasizes that purpose is found in living for others and following Jesus’ example of selfless service. He challenges the audience to actively choose to give their lives away for a greater cause, connecting their actions to the love of God. The sermon concludes with an invitation to consider what truly breaks one’s heart and the importance of finding purpose beyond self-centered pursuits.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

In this homily by Fr. Joe Wagner, he reminisces about his childhood experiences in sports tryouts, where the emphasis was on individual evaluations to form teams. Drawing a parallel to the approach Jesus takes, Fr. Wagner contrasts the worldly evaluation process with the divine order of operations. He highlights that Jesus doesn’t assess individuals based on performance or qualifications but extends a direct invitation to companionship. Fr. Wagner reflects on the Gospel narrative where Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” and emphasizes that Jesus always starts with an invitation to be with Him, fostering a relationship.

Fr. Wagner delves into the crucial aspect of identity, cautioning against deriving it solely from external factors like accomplishments or roles. He asserts that our core identity, flowing from our relationship with Jesus, is that of beloved Sons and Daughters of the Father. He warns against the modern tendency to associate identity with secondary aspects, urging a return to the fundamental truth of being beloved by God.

The homily further explores the concept that mission flows from identity, emphasizing the importance of understanding one’s calling through a relationship with Jesus. Fr. Wagner encourages the congregation to discern their mission by first responding to Jesus’ invitation for companionship. He concludes by urging a reset in priorities, following the divine order of operations: responding to the invitation, understanding one’s identity, and then discerning one’s mission to serve in the Kingdom of God.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

Call On Heaven

Louie Giglio’s sermon discusses the four main aims of his church: for God, for people, for the city, and for the world. The focus of this particular week is on the aim for people. The sermon delves into the concept of prayer and emphasizes that prayer is not only about personal needs but also about interceding for others. Louie Giglio refers to a story from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 9) where a father brings his son, possessed by a spirit, to Jesus’ disciples for healing. However, the disciples couldn’t cast out the spirit.

The narrative involves Jesus rebuking the impure spirit, which causes the boy to convulse violently. Louie Giglio draws parallels between the spiritual warfare depicted in the biblical story and the challenges people face in the world today. He emphasizes the existence of a spiritual dimension affecting people’s lives and disrupting God’s plans. Jesus’ response to the situation is highlighted, and Giglio underscores the significance of earnest, devoted, and prolonged prayer.

The sermon also touches on the topic of fasting, citing a passage from Matthew 6 where Jesus talks about fasting. Louie Giglio discusses the sincerity, desperation, and contending nature of prayer and fasting. He mentions the importance of seeking God first before making plans and contrasts it with the common approach of making plans first and then praying for them to be blessed.

The sermon concludes with an invitation to open wide one’s mouth to let God fill it, using an anecdote about a hungry traveler being generously served by a host. Giglio acknowledges that sometimes people resist opening their mouths wide for God’s intervention due to a reluctance to embrace change or discomfort. The sermon encourages listeners to be desperate for a new attitude, altitude, and all-to-tune with God, emphasizing the need for genuine desperation and openness to God’s transformative work in their lives.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In Kris McDaniel’s sermon on John 1:39-51, he explores the encounter between Jesus, Philip, and Nathaniel. McDaniel begins by questioning why Philip and Nathaniel would follow Jesus when there were no miracles or preaching yet. He highlights the significance of Philip, an ordinary person sought out by Jesus, emphasizing that Jesus doesn’t fear doubt or skepticism. McDaniel encourages honesty and openness about doubts, emphasizing that doubt doesn’t disqualify anyone.

The sermon delves into Nathaniel’s skepticism, portraying him as willing to move forward despite his doubts. McDaniel challenges the notion of suppressing doubts, suggesting that acknowledging vulnerability can lead to a more durable faith. He suggests that Nathaniel, sitting under a fig tree, may have expressed genuine vulnerability and openness to God.

Jesus’ response to Nathaniel’s skepticism is seen as an affirmation of his honesty and a declaration that he is seen by God. McDaniel emphasizes the transformative power of being seen and known by God in moments of vulnerability. The sermon concludes by connecting the story to Jacob’s Ladder, with Jesus presenting himself as the new access point between heaven and earth, bringing God’s work into people’s lives.

Listen to the full version here.

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