HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series November 5, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series November 5, 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

Fr. Mike Schmitz begins his homily by asking the audience what a list of movies, such as “The Sound of Music,” “Braveheart,” “The 300,” “The Revenant,” and others, have in common. He reveals that they are all movies based on a true story, but often very loosely based. These movies, while claiming to be based on true events, take artistic liberties that may deviate significantly from the actual historical facts. Fr. Mike emphasizes that people are drawn to stories based on a true story, even if they are not entirely accurate because there is something compelling about the idea that these events could have happened.

Fr. Mike then introduces the theme of his upcoming sermon series, “Based on a True Story.” He suggests that just as movies are based on true stories, our lives are also based on some kind of story. He asks the audience to consider whether their lives are based on a true story or a false one. He explains that people often live according to a particular worldview or story, shaping their beliefs about God, life, miracles, suffering, and more. The key question is whether this story is based on truth or falsehood.

Fr. Mike contrasts the false stories prevalent in society with the true story of the Gospel. He mentions that false stories can lead to despair and troubling trends like increased suicide rates, cirrhosis of the liver, and opioid addiction. He highlights the importance of basing our lives on the true story, which includes the belief that God is good, the world is good, and people are made in God’s image and likeness.

Fr. Mike cites the example of William Wilberforce, who was transformed by the Gospel and worked for the abolition of the slave trade and the reform of manners in England. Wilberforce’s life serves as an example of how living based on the true story can lead to meaningful change in the world.

In conclusion, Fr. Mike emphasizes that the Gospel is the power of God, capable of transforming hearts and changing the world. He encourages the audience to reflect on the story they are living and to consider embracing the true story of the Gospel, which offers hope, purpose, and the power to change lives for the better. The sermon series will continue to explore the depths of this true story in the following weeks.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Under the Circumstances

Andy Stanley’s sermon focuses on the theme of doubt and how it can arise in the face of challenging circumstances, particularly when it seems that God is not responding to our prayers or is absent. Stanley begins by highlighting the common human experience of turning to God for help when facing adversity, regardless of one’s faith background. He also touches on the frustration that arises when it appears that others around us are receiving blessings and answered prayers while we are still struggling.

Stanley acknowledges the common Christian practice of attributing God’s blessings and answered prayers to positivity, saying “God is good all the time.” However, he highlights the challenge this can present to those who are going through difficult times and the feeling of isolation when it seems like God is not responding to their earnest prayers. He also mentions the well-intentioned but sometimes unhelpful platitudes or explanations that Christians often offer when comforting those in pain, such as “everything happens for a reason” or “God must be trying to teach you something.”

The sermon uses the story of John the Baptist to illustrate the struggle with doubt in the face of adversity. Despite being Jesus’ cousin and having a close relationship with him, John finds himself in prison, and his circumstances lead him to doubt. He questions whether Jesus is truly the Messiah and whether he has misunderstood everything. Stanley emphasizes that doubt is a natural part of the faith journey and that even the greatest figures in the Bible experienced doubt. He underscores that doubt does not have to be a reason to abandon one’s faith.

In conclusion, Andy Stanley’s sermon emphasizes that doubt is a normal part of the faith experience, especially when faced with challenging circumstances. He uses the story of John the Baptist to show that even the most faithful can grapple with doubt when God’s actions do not align with their expectations. The sermon encourages listeners to continue following Jesus, even in the face of doubt, and not to stumble away from their faith due to unanswered prayers or difficult circumstances.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

In Monsignor Francis McNamee’s homily, he shares a story about a conversation between a well-worn $1 bill and a distressed $20 bill as they are about to be retired and burnt at the Federal Reserve Bank. The $12 bill reminisces about its exciting travels, from Las Vegas to Broadway, while the $1 bill lists its journey through various churches. The $20 bill, perplexed, asks about the concept of a church, leading to a reflection on stewardship and the mission of the Church.

Monsignor McNamee highlights the importance of recognizing that all individuals, both ordained and lay, play a crucial role in continuing the mission of Christ through their time, talents, and treasure. He emphasizes that the mission is not about individuals but about Christ, calling for a commitment to embrace this mission. The homily draws inspiration from the growth and development of the Church, exemplified by the story of St. Peter Chanel and Christ the King Cathedral.

The Monsignor reminds the congregation that they are all leaders in faith and that faith leadership carries a significant responsibility. He emphasizes the need to be both a model of a well-lived life and a reliable mediator of God’s message of Mercy to the people. The message underscores the importance of nurturing the spirit of gentleness, goodness, and cooperation in building the Church and reflects on the twofold approach to ministry.

Monsignor McNamee expresses gratitude for the congregation’s generosity and dedication to Christ the King Cathedral. He encourages each individual to reflect on their partnership in the mission of the Church and calls for continued success in the work of the Church’s hands. The homily ultimately urges all members to consider their role as leaders in faith and to fulfill their commitment to Christ’s mission in the world.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

All On The Altar

Louie Giglio begins by focusing on the word “altar” and how it is present wherever there is worship. He highlights the idea that worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is and what He has done. In essence, worship is our gift to God.

He shares a personal story about buying a diamond for his future wife as an example of giving a gift with thought and care. He encourages the audience to think about what kind of gift they will bring to God in their worship.

Giglio draws inspiration from Hebrews 13, which mentions the need for a “sacrifice of praise.” He explains that all worship involves sacrifice and that there is no worship without an offering. He highlights the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in making people holy and changing their identity.

The sermon delves into the types of sacrifices that God desires. Giglio references Amos 5, stating that God does not want religious festivals and empty rituals but desires justice and righteousness. He stresses that God wants our hearts fully surrendered to Him, and true worship involves bringing our lives, gifts, goals, and highs and lows to the altar as sacrifices to God.

In conclusion, Louie Giglio’s sermon emphasizes that true worship is a sacrificial offering of our lives, gifts, goals, and emotions to God. It calls upon believers to approach worship with a humble heart, open to God’s transformation and His will, and to remember that God desires justice and righteousness more than empty rituals and ceremonies.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

Dave McCune’s sermon focuses on the Beatitudes from the book of Matthew, particularly Matthew 5:1-12. He begins by highlighting the disorienting transition from an earlier context to a message. The sermon discusses how these verses meet people where they are, emphasizing the significance of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount.

The Beatitudes are a series of blessings given by Jesus. They represent a new vision of God’s Kingdom and reveal an inverted understanding of who is valued. The term “Beatitude” is derived from the Latin word for “blessing” and also implies being favored. McCune encourages the audience to keep the word “favored” in mind as they explore the Beatitudes.

The sermon highlights that Jesus, in the Beatitudes, values people who are often overlooked or marginalized, such as the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness’ sake. These values are revolutionary and challenge the world’s conventional understanding of who is favored or blessed.

McCune introduces the audience to a literary device called “chiasm” or “chiasmus,” showing how the structure of the Beatitudes mirrors a journey, symbolized as climbing a mountain. The Beatitudes of lack, such as being poor in spirit and mourning, represent the ascent of the mountain, emphasizing emptiness and anticipation. On the other side, the Beatitudes of fullness, like being merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness, represent the descent of the mountain, symbolizing fullness, and being called children of God.

The sermon underscores the importance of embracing grief, mourning, and vulnerability, as these are essential steps to experience the blessings of the Beatitudes. It encourages the audience to rewire their appetites, transforming their desires to align with the Kingdom of God. McCune explains that true purity of heart is not cynical but trusting, and true peacemaking involves standing between opposing parties, seeking God’s fullness of peace. The sermon also acknowledges that following Jesus may lead to resistance and persecution, but the blessing remains that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who endure.

Listen to the full version here.

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