HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series January 21, 2024

Sunday Sermon Series January 21, 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 challenges the notion that holiness is reserved for extraordinary individuals or grand gestures. He uses the example of St. Juan Diego, a humble peasant, to illustrate that sainthood is attainable through embracing God in our everyday moments. Holiness, he emphasizes, is not about seeking monumental experiences, but about infusing our daily lives with a deep awareness of God’s presence.

The homily delves deeper, questioning whether the ultimate purpose of life lies in maximizing happiness. Fr. Mike shares the story of comedian Shane Smith, who rejected God because acknowledging His existence meant accepting a claim on his life. This anecdote highlights the tension between our desire for personal freedom and the surrender required for faith.

Fr. Mike equips the congregation with practical tools for navigating life’s crossroads. He outlines four pillars for making holy decisions:

  1. Recognizing Open Doors: Discerning God’s leading through open doors and opportunities.
  2. Seeking Wisdom: Grounding choices in wisdom and guidance from trusted sources.
  3. Embracing Freedom: Acknowledging the inherent freedom we have in shaping our paths.
  4. Following Personal Desire: Aligning decisions with our deepest desires and aspirations.

Fr. Mike likens this process to aligning a rifle’s scope or solving an algebra equation, emphasizing that faith is often a measured step, not a blind leap.

The homily culminates with the powerful notion that faith thrives on trust, not always clarity. Fr. Mike recounts Mother Teresa’s advice to seek trust over clarity, urging us to surrender to God’s plan even amidst uncertainties. The message is one of stepping into faith, embracing holy decision-making, and trusting God’s claim on our lives, one ordinary moment at a time.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

A Better Question

In this sermon by Andy Stanley, he explores the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel of Luke. The focus is on a unique interchange between Jesus and a large crowd, where thousands gathered, trampling one another to get close to him. Stanley emphasizes the unexpected nature of this scenario, challenging the conventional image of Jesus as isolated and peaceful.

The sermon delves into a specific incident where a person in the crowd shouts out to Jesus, asking him to intervene in a family dispute over inheritance. Jesus responds by refusing to be a mediator in the family matter and instead uses the opportunity to address the broader issue of greed or pleonexia.

Stanley breaks down the Greek term “pleonexia,” describing it as the disease of insatiableness, the constant desire for more, comparing it to a relentless pursuit of possessions and discontentment. Jesus warns the crowd to be on guard against this subtle and sinister form of greed.

The sermon then transitions into a parable told by Jesus, illustrating the meaning-depleting power of pleonexia. The parable features a rich man who, upon experiencing an abundant harvest, plans to build bigger barns to store his surplus. However, he is labeled a fool by God because he presumes the future, not realizing the uncertainty of life.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

Archbishop Hartmayer recounts a dialogue between two brothers discussing their commitment to following Jesus. The older brother challenges the younger one, questioning if he would follow Jesus to the cross, to which the younger brother hesitates, expressing a reluctance to be crucified. The Archbishop emphasizes the distinction between being an admirer of Jesus and a true disciple, highlighting the call to discipleship extended to everyone, regardless of their profession.

The sermon delves into the challenge of discipleship, urging individuals to find fulfillment in using their skills for the common good rather than personal gain. The Archbishop draws parallels with the fishermen in the Gospel, who abandoned their nets to follow Jesus, emphasizing the need to break free from the entanglements of routine. He encourages reflection on one’s purpose and the impact of decisions on others, emphasizing the importance of aligning choices with God’s will.

The Archbishop explores the concept of free will, discussing how choices can affect not only one’s life but also others. He stresses the significance of bringing God into decision-making through prayer, reflection, and seeking advice from others. Drawing lessons from the story of Jonah and the apostles, he underscores the transformative power of working with God’s grace. The sermon concludes with a call to answer God’s call, even when faced with reluctance or fear, trusting in His guidance and seeking to fulfill one’s mission in life.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

In Brad Jones’ sermon, he unpacks the meaning of this powerful declaration, weaving together personal anecdotes, biblical references, and a message of hope for those facing struggles. Here’s a 4-paragraph summary:

Brad delves into the internal conflicts we experience when grappling with challenges. He acknowledges the questions that arise – “Why am I still up against this?” or “Does God even hear my prayers?” – and encourages listeners to confront these doubts with faith, not surrender. He emphasizes that God’s presence isn’t diminished by our struggles but remains constant, even amidst uncertainties.

Brad reminds us of powerful instances in the Bible where God intervened and fought for his people. He cites the story of David and Goliath, highlighting how God empowers the seemingly powerless to overcome impossible odds. This serves as a reminder that God’s promise to fight for us isn’t empty rhetoric; it’s a tested and proven truth.

The sermon emphasizes the importance of letting go of control and fully relying on God’s strength. Brad acknowledges the difficulty of this surrender, especially when facing seemingly insurmountable problems. However, he encourages listeners to trust in God’s plan and timing, remembering that His power surpasses any earthly obstacle.

The message concludes with a note of hope and assurance. Brad emphasizes that while struggles are inevitable, we are not alone in facing them. He reminds us that God is on our side, actively engaged in our battles, and ultimately the victor. This leaves the listener with a sense of strength and a renewed faith in the promise of God’s unwavering support.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In this sermon by Dave McCune, the focus is on the theme of Epiphany and John the Baptizer. McCune begins by highlighting John’s role in pointing people towards Jesus and the clear message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. The sermon explores the concept of repentance, challenging common misconceptions and emphasizing that it involves a transformative change of mind and heart rather than just feeling guilty. McCune delves into the idea of time, distinguishing between Chronos and Chairos, where Chairos represents divine moments and ripeness. The historical context of the Roman Empire and the Jewish diaspora is discussed, emphasizing the significant Kairos moment when Jesus arrives on the scene.

The sermon then shifts to the story of Jesus calling the fishermen to follow him, drawing parallels between the fishermen’s letting go of their nets and the process of repentance. McCune discusses the disorientation that occurs in the middle of this process and the importance of recognizing what needs to be let go for the sake of God’s kingdom. The sermon encourages self-reflection on what individuals may be subconsciously holding onto as their vision of the good life.

The concept of letting go is further explored through personal anecdotes, and McCune emphasizes that letting go doesn’t always require extreme measures but can involve small, significant changes in various aspects of life. The sermon concludes with practical steps, including the suggestion of a simple prayer – asking God to hold oneself and what is dear before letting go. Overall, the sermon encourages listeners to embrace moments of divine significance, let go of preconceived notions of the good life, and follow Jesus in faith.

Listen to the full version here.

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