HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series November 12, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series November 12, 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

Based On A True Story

In Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily, he explores the theme of good news and bad news, drawing from the common question of whether one prefers to hear the good or bad news first. Fr. Mike discusses the human tendency to lean towards bad news but presents humorous anecdotes to illustrate the balance of good and bad news. Transitioning from this light-hearted perspective, he delves into a deeper discussion about the ultimate good news—the Gospel.

Fr. Mike emphasizes the core of the Christian faith—the story of Jesus Christ conquering death. He refers to St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, where Paul addresses the tension faced by believers who have encountered death despite their faith in Christ’s victory. The homily unfolds the narrative of the Gospel, highlighting Act 1, where God creates humanity for labor, leisure, and love. Fr. Mike reflects on the original purpose of human existence before the entry of sin.

The homily then delves into Act 2, exploring the bad news—sin, brokenness, and the domination of evil. Fr. Mike vividly describes the distortion of labor, leisure, and love in a fallen world, drawing attention to the subtle but powerful lies that accompany sin. He emphasizes the profound consequences of sin, leading to enslavement and a sense of powerlessness, drawing parallels to real-world instances of human trafficking.

Despite the bleak picture painted by the bad news, Fr. Mike introduces the proto-evangelion from Genesis 3:15—the first glimmer of good news within the narrative. He highlights the promise of a future confrontation between the offspring of the woman (Mary) and the serpent (evil), ultimately leading to the defeat of evil. Fr. Mike underscores that even in the midst of the kakangalion (bad news), God hasn’t abandoned humanity.

The homily concludes with a powerful reminder that Christ’s entry into the world initiates the beginning of the end of evil’s domination. Fr. Mike draws attention to the importance of exorcism during the early missionary days of the Church, as the gospel encountered areas dominated by evil. He notes a resurgence in exorcisms today, emphasizing the need for people to turn to Christ, who fights for their freedom.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Check Your Heart

In this sermon by Joel Thomas, the speaker explores the impact of words on our lives, challenging the notion that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” He reflects on the power of words, acknowledging that many of us have experienced the lasting effects of hurtful or damaging words throughout our lives.

The speaker shares a personal story from his childhood where a seemingly harmless comment from his father had a profound impact on his self-perception. He emphasizes that words have the potential to hurt, wound, and break something on the inside, often coming from those we look up to or value.

The sermon delves into the idea that the commonly held belief that words can’t hurt is a lie and that words can have a significant impact on individuals, even unintentionally. The speaker connects this insight to the biblical perspective found in Proverbs, which highlights the power of words to either heal or harm.

The core question posed is, “What makes the difference when it comes to the nature of our words?” The speaker then turns to a biblical passage in Matthew 15, where Jesus addresses the Pharisees about the true defilement coming from words, not external factors like food or unwashed hands.

The sermon emphasizes Jesus’ teaching that what comes out of the mouth is an overflow of the heart, drawing attention to the significance of the condition of our hearts in shaping the nature of our words. The speaker argues that understanding and addressing the root issues in our hearts is crucial for transforming our words and, consequently, our lives.

Drawing parallels with cognitive behavioral therapy, the sermon proposes a three-step process: hearing oneself, looking inside to identify emotions and underlying issues, and actively seeking restoration by renewing one’s thoughts. The speaker encourages listeners to consider how God might want to transform their hearts by changing their perspectives on past hurts and experiences.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

Fr. Joe Wagner begins by introducing the Latin phrase “Memento Mori,” which translates to “remember that you must die.” He explores how this phrase historically served as a reminder of the transient nature of life and the inevitability of passing away. Some saints, like St. Jerome, even incorporated physical reminders, such as keeping a skull on their desks.

Fr. Joe reflects on the Gospel reading about the maidservants and the virgins awaiting the bridegroom, emphasizing the importance of being prepared for the afterlife. He expresses a personal connection to this Gospel as his own “Memento Mori,” envisioning the scenario and contemplating the potential response of Jesus when meeting individuals face to face.

The homily delves into themes of life after death, encouraging the congregation to reflect on their readiness and watchfulness. Fr. Joe emphasizes the need to avoid being unprepared, drawing inspiration from St. Paul’s assurance about those who have died before the second coming.

The homily then transitions to a practical application of the virtue of prudence, described as the “charioteer of all virtues.” Fr. Joe outlines five ways to cultivate prudence, including analysis and action, self-scrutiny, seeking counsel, custody of the tongue, and evaluating the balance between virtues. He underscores how prudence helps regulate emotions and align actions with the ultimate destination—Heaven.

In conclusion, Fr. Joe urges the congregation to consider the potential response of Jesus when they meet Him and emphasizes the importance of growing in the virtue of prudence as a guide to living a virtuous life.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

All On The Altar

Louie Giglio expresses his passion for the subject of worship, mentioning that despite planning to conclude the current sermon series, he has more messages on worship to share. The central theme of this particular sermon is the personal and corporate aspects of worship. Giglio emphasizes that worship is both personal and corporate, rejecting the notion that it is exclusively private or public.

He draws attention to the symbiotic relationship between personal worship and corporate expression, highlighting that they are inseparably connected in the life of a worshiper. Giglio explores the personal dimension of worship, emphasizing the depth and connection formed in the individual’s relationship with God. Using Psalm 27, he illustrates how personal worship provides a foundation for navigating life’s seasons with God.

The sermon delves into the importance of the word “gaze” in Psalm 27:4, where David expresses his desire to dwell in the house of the Lord, gaze upon His beauty, and seek Him in His temple. Giglio interprets “gaze” as beholding and meditating on God, creating a personal connection that fosters conviction. He encourages the congregation to make beholding God the central focus of their worship, underscoring the transformative power of personal worship.

Giglio shares personal anecdotes, including a challenging season when his father faced health issues. Despite the difficult circumstances, he emphasizes the durability of true worship centered on God, citing Psalm 16:7-8. He recounts praising God even in the midst of uncertainty, reinforcing the idea that worship is a powerful response rooted in conviction.

The sermon concludes with Giglio emphasizing the public nature of true worship. He encourages individuals to lift their voices in the sanctuary, asserting that God desires to hear their praises. Giglio addresses the diversity of voices in a congregation, acknowledging the importance of each person’s unique expression in creating a vibrant worship atmosphere.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

Nate Smith’s sermon on Matthew 25:1-13 focuses on the parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom. He begins by emphasizing that the parable addresses the end of the world, highlighting Jesus’ frequent discussions on this topic. Smith acknowledges the discomfort associated with contemplating the end of the world but emphasizes its importance in Jesus’ teachings.

The sermon delves into the parable’s narrative, emphasizing the bridegroom’s delay and the contrast between the foolish and wise virgins. Smith explores potentially distracting elements, such as the bridegroom’s delay, the wise virgins’ refusal to share oil, and the harsh response to the foolish virgins. He provides cultural context for the delay and justifies the actions within the narrative’s context.

The speaker draws parallels between the parable and our readiness for Christ’s return. He likens the lamps to God’s word and the oil to the Holy Spirit, highlighting the need for a genuine spiritual connection to Jesus. Smith encourages introspection on individual and collective spiritual preparedness, relating it to the marathon of faith rather than a sprint.

The sermon concludes with reflections on limitations, acknowledging the challenges of time, resources, and knowledge. Smith invites listeners to embrace their limitations, focus on priorities, build margin into their lives, and experience God’s limitlessness in the midst of constraints. The message ends with two reflective questions on spiritual readiness and embracing life’s limitations.

Listen to the full version here.

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