HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series November 19, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series November 19, 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

Father Mike Schmitz reflects on the theme of stories based on true events. He expresses his fascination with such stories, emphasizing their inspirational and triumphant nature. Father Mike points out that these narratives, often depicted in movies, contain moments of tragedy and devastation. He references films like “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Unbroken,” and “The Revenant,” noting that if paused at certain points, these stories could be perceived as tragedies.

Father Mike delves into the concept of tragedy, suggesting that what makes a story tragic is the awareness that things could have been different. He relates this idea to the various seasons and challenges in life, acknowledging that it is not always a linear progression of improvement. Drawing parallels to the biblical narrative, he highlights the moments of tragedy in characters like Louis Zamperini and relates them to the universal experience of facing overwhelming and crushing circumstances.

The homily shifts to a biblical perspective, specifically focusing on St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Father Mike highlights the challenges faced by the Thessalonians, who, despite accepting the gospel, grapple with sickness, suffering, and death. St. Paul reassures them that despite the hardships, the day of the Lord will come, emphasizing the enduring truth of the gospel and the promise of a triumphant conclusion.

Father Mike then introduces the concept of the Rescue Project, inspired by Father John Ricardo. He breaks down the gospel into four parts: creation, captivity, rescue, and adoption. He likens Jesus to an “Ambush Predator,” explaining that on the cross, Jesus allowed himself to be taken to triumph over sin, death, and the evil one. The homily concludes with the profound idea that, despite life’s tragedies, the gospel offers a new beginning, a new family, and a home where one has been adopted by God, echoing the theme that it could have been otherwise but for the redemptive work of Christ.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Check Your Heart

In Joel Thomas’s sermon, he addresses the human tendency to set our hearts on immediate desires and the consequences of succumbing to instant gratification. Drawing on his experience as a pastor, Thomas observes a specific curve in satisfying desires, emphasizing the importance of timing and the potential for significant personal problems when trying to fulfill desires hastily.

The core of Thomas’s message revolves around the dangers of instant gratification, particularly in the context of financial decisions. He highlights Jesus’s extensive teachings on money, emphasizing that Jesus wasn’t concerned about needing or wanting money but was focused on the impact of money on people’s lives. Thomas delves into a pivotal passage in Matthew 6, where Jesus advises against storing up treasures on earth but instead encourages investing in heavenly treasures, aligning with the overarching theme of prioritizing later over now.

The sermon addresses the prevalent cultural messages encouraging living in the moment, instant satisfaction, and the pursuit of earthly pleasures. Thomas contrasts this with Jesus’s teachings, urging the audience to consider a different perspective—investing in eternal and lasting treasures. He introduces the idea that one’s heart follows their treasure, and he encourages listeners to evaluate their priorities by examining where their treasures, attention, and devotion lie.

Thomas emphasizes the significance of passion, attention, and devotion as indicators of one’s heart’s condition. Passion, tied to sacrifice, is reflected in financial decisions, attention is focused on what captures one’s eyes and desires, and devotion reveals whom or what a person is truly serving. He illustrates these concepts with personal anecdotes and biblical references, emphasizing the transformative power of aligning one’s treasures with eternal values. The sermon concludes with a call to seek God’s kingdom above all else, linking this pursuit to the safeguarding of the heart, echoing a proverbial wisdom that underlines the importance of prioritizing the eternal over the temporary.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

Deacon Bruce Goodwin reflects on three recent parables from the Gospel of Matthew. Two weeks ago, the congregation heard about two servants entrusted with their master’s estate, one of whom was diligent while the other squandered his responsibilities. Last week, the parable of the ten virgins emphasized the importance of being prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival. Now, the focus is on the parable of the talents, where three servants are given varying amounts based on their abilities before their master goes on a journey.

Deacon Goodwin draws attention to the mystery involved in these parables, emphasizing the uncertainty of the master’s return. He explores the concept of talents, traditionally interpreted as currency or money, with one talent being valued at twenty years’ wages. The uneven distribution of talents is explained by the master’s understanding of each servant’s abilities. Drawing parallels to managing a workgroup, the speaker highlights the importance of recognizing and utilizing individual strengths.

The central theme revolves around using the gifts and abilities bestowed by God. Deacon Goodwin shares a personal revelation, expressing his realization that God wants him to do more with the abilities granted to him. He challenges the congregation to consider their own talents, whether they be in various professions or roles, and to reflect on how they are utilizing these gifts for the betterment of themselves, their families, and their communities. The speaker encourages stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, becoming actively involved in the parish and community, and not being afraid to use one’s abilities for the greater good. The message concludes with a call to action and a reminder that small contributions matter, echoing the sentiment that “the mass is not a spectator’s sport,” and active involvement in both faith and community is crucial.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

Wide Awake

In this sermon by Grant Patrick, the central theme revolves around the idea of spiritual drift and the call to wake up from a gradual distancing from God. Patrick emphasizes that this drifting often results from seemingly small decisions, such as prioritizing worldly activities over spiritual practices. He draws inspiration from Ephesians chapters four and five, urging the congregation to understand the context of the Ephesian church’s foundation and the subsequent need for Paul’s urgent wake-up call.

The historical background of Ephesus, a thriving city where the early church faced challenges and triumphs, is explored. Patrick highlights the initial fervor of the Ephesian church’s growth, and how the gospel spread like wildfire, even causing a decline in idol-making businesses. However, he points out that over time, the church began to drift, prompting Paul’s plea to wake up and return to their initial zeal.

The sermon then delves into the core message of Ephesians chapters one through three, emphasizing the transformative power of the gospel. Patrick stresses the importance of understanding one’s identity in Christ before delving into the practical aspects of Christian living outlined in Ephesians chapters four and five. He likens the Christian journey to a cleared deck, where old habits and practices must be discarded to embrace the new life offered through Christ.

The practical exhortations in Ephesians 4:1-32 are unpacked, addressing humility, patience, unity, and the renewal of the mind. Patrick emphasizes the need to shed the old self and embrace the new creation in Christ. The sermon concludes with a call to rely on the power of Christ within, encouraging listeners to overcome the gravitational pull of a broken world.

Two distinct groups are highlighted in the closing prayer: those who need to accept Christ to experience this transformative power, and those who, as believers, need the strength to let go of lingering aspects of their old selves. Overall, the sermon serves as a passionate call to spiritual awakening and a challenge to live a life aligned with one’s identity in Christ.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

Kris McDaniel begins by dispelling the notion that Jesus’s parable about talents is a warning of hell for those who don’t accomplish something impressive with their gifts. McDaniel asserts that the third person in the parable wasn’t condemned for lack of return but for a breach of trust and a fundamental distrust of the master’s character. The sermon then explores the concept of talents, with scholars debating their monetary value, ranging from years of a day laborer’s wage to a substantial sum like $28,000. McDaniel emphasizes that, regardless of the amount, the key is recognizing God’s abundance and understanding that everyone is given more than enough to put their unique gifts into play.

The sermon contrasts the competitive mindset fueled by anxiety and comparison in the world with Jesus’s message of abundance. McDaniel stresses that God rewards faithfulness, regardless of the scale of one’s actions, and encourages listeners to focus on using their gifts rather than comparing themselves to others. He addresses the pervasive influence of scarcity, which he defines as the belief of not having enough, and how it leads to hoarding and fear of failure. McDaniel connects the parable to the feeding of the 5,000, illustrating how scarcity robs individuals of the willingness to share. He urges the audience to confront scarcity in their lives and reflect on places where fear of failure hinders them, emphasizing that God’s character and motives are trustworthy. The sermon concludes with an invitation to reflect on these ideas and a call to approach the communion table as a community.

Listen to the full version here.

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