HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series October 8, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series October 8, 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


In his homily, Fr. Mike Schmitz shares a personal anecdote about his reputation for being directionally challenged within his family. Despite the teasing, he explains that he did have a period in his life where he genuinely didn’t know where he was going, both literally and metaphorically. He attributes this partly to being the middle child in a large family and having the luxury of not needing to pay attention during car rides. However, as he grew older and had to make decisions for himself, his lack of direction led to moments of getting lost.

Fr. Mike then transitions from his personal story to a broader discussion about life’s journey. He highlights that many aspects of life involve simply following the path laid out in front of us without questioning where we are, where we’re going, or how to get there. This changes when we take our faith seriously and feel called by God, as we suddenly grapple with the fear of missing out on God’s plan. The central question becomes, “What if I stay lost?”

To address this question and ease the anxiety that often accompanies it, Fr. Mike offers a three-question framework. First, he advises maintaining a state of grace through confession, ensuring that the line of communication with God remains open. Second, he encourages people to focus on their daily tasks and obligations, which provide a sense of direction in the present moment. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of prayer, as it allows individuals to seek guidance and discern God’s will for their lives.

Fr. Mike’s homily ultimately emphasizes the importance of shifting from “What if?” questions, which foster anxiety about the future, to “What is?” questions, which help individuals appreciate and act upon their present circumstances. He reminds listeners that God knows and loves them intimately, and by maintaining a state of grace, attending to daily tasks, and engaging in prayer, they can trust in His guidance and find peace in their journey.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Fatal Distractions

Joel Thomas’s sermon begins his sermon by addressing the issue of distractions in today’s world. He asks the congregation if they believe there are more distractions now than there were ten years ago, and the response is a unanimous agreement that distractions have increased. He highlights the challenges of navigating a world filled with distractions and the potential consequences of getting distracted in critical situations.

Thomas then delves into the nature of distractions and their impact on our focus and intentions. He emphasizes that while some distractions are not fatal, they can still have significant implications in various aspects of our lives. He discusses workplace distractions, particularly those related to technology, and the impact they have on productivity and progress.

The central theme of the sermon is the concept of a “terrifying longing” or a burden that drives individuals to pursue a great work. Thomas draws inspiration from the biblical story of Nehemiah, who had a deep longing to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore his people. He explains that a terrifying longing involves recognizing a problem, envisioning a different possibility, and feeling a passionate desire to make a positive change.

Thomas encourages the audience to reflect on their own terrifying longings and great works. He suggests that everyone has a unique purpose and that staying focused on this calling can help resist distractions and lead to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life. The sermon concludes with the idea that great work can be found on the other side of a terrifying longing and emphasizes the importance of staying true to one’s calling.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

In Archbishop Hartmayer’s homily, he shares a Native American legend about an old tribal chief with three sons. The chief, nearing the end of his life, instructs his sons to climb a holy mountain and bring back something beautiful. The one with the most precious gift will succeed him as chief. While two sons return with tangible treasures, the third returns empty-handed, having been captivated by a vision of a land of promise and prosperity on the other side of the mountain. The chief chooses the third son as his successor, recognizing the value of the vision for a better future.

Drawing from this parable, the Archbishop highlights how God, too, had a vision for the world – a place of beauty, harmony, peace, and justice, where all life is honored and respected. However, the world we live in falls short of this divine vision due to the influence of sin, manifesting in greed, intolerance, selfishness, hatred, and violence. He emphasizes that we are called to be stewards of creation and caretakers of the vineyard, and the gift of life, at every stage, is sacred.

The Archbishop reflects on the pressing issues of our time, including environmental degradation, violence, and the devaluation of human life. He urges us to recognize that all life is a gift from God, and compromising it is akin to accusing God of making a mistake. He questions why some individuals choose death over life and calls for a deeper understanding of the sanctity of all human life. Finally, he encourages Christians to promote a lifestyle rooted in justice, respect for life from conception to natural death, and a commitment to a more just and honorable world.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

All on the Altar

Louie Giglio’s sermon focuses on the concept of worship. He begins by expressing excitement about the growth of worship in their community and the importance of worship not being limited to just Sunday services. He emphasizes that worship is not merely a 20-minute music segment but a holistic, life-long response to the glory and grace of God, encompassing both personal and corporate aspects.

Giglio delves into the meaning of worship, highlighting that worship is a verb, an action, something people do. He explores the original Hebrew and Greek words used for worship in the Bible. In Hebrew, worship is described as “shaka,” meaning to bow down. In Greek, the word is “proscuneo,” meaning to come towards and bow down, as if to kiss the hand of. Worship is an active response, not just a state of mind.

He emphasizes that worship is a response to God’s worthiness and calls for people to be mirrors reflecting the glory of God. Giglio provides a comprehensive definition of worship: “singing fresh new songs to bless the eternal and unchanging God as we kneel before him, to testify and bear tidings of good news as we recount and relate to others who he is and what he has done, boasting and shining the light of our praise on his greatness, sometimes foolishly so, with fear and reverence as we come bringing gifts and tributes fitting for the almighty giver of life and bow down before him.”

Giglio concludes that the key to experiencing this definition of worship is to have a new sight, to truly see God’s glory and grace. Worship is moved by mercy, not just music or melody. He encourages worshippers to throw up their hands in praise, not just during the songs but during every aspect of their lives as an expression of worship.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

Kris McDaniel focuses on a passage from Matthew, specifically Matthew 21:33-46. McDaniel sets the stage by acknowledging that the teachings of Jesus in this passage are challenging and have been discussed over several weeks. He emphasizes the importance of following a structured teaching plan, like the lectionary in the Anglican tradition, rather than selectively choosing passages from the Bible.

The passage from Matthew tells a parable in which a landowner plants a vineyard, leases it to tenants, and sends servants to collect the fruit. However, the tenants mistreat and kill the servants, even the landowner’s son. The message of the parable becomes clear: the tenants represent the religious leaders of the day, and they have failed to fulfill their responsibilities. Jesus uses references to stones, highlighting himself as the cornerstone and the rock that can break or crush, signifying his role as the one who brings coherence and accountability.

McDaniel highlights several key points from the sermon:

  • Unorthodox Choices: The landowner’s decision to entrust the vineyard to the tenants is unusual and risky. McDaniel draws parallels between this choice and the responsibility and influence given to religious leaders and individuals in our lives.
  • Wicked Behavior of the Tenants: The tenants abuse their authority, symbolizing the failure to bear fruit and fulfill their responsibilities. McDaniel reflects on how individuals can sometimes behave similarly, ignoring their duties and responsibilities.
  • The Master’s Pursuit: Despite the tenants’ mistreatment of his servants, the landowner continues to send more servants, showing his persistent pursuit. McDaniel emphasizes the importance of recognizing seasons of accountability in our lives and acknowledging when we are expected to bear fruit.
  • Rocks Break Things: McDaniel interprets the references to stones as a reminder that, in life, we will inevitably encounter moments of brokenness and accountability. He suggests that how we respond to these moments determines our growth and spiritual journey.

The sermon concludes by inviting the congregation to reflect on their own lives and consider where they might be experiencing moments of reckoning or accountability before God. McDaniel encourages self-examination and emphasizes God’s pursuit of individuals, even in their brokenness. The sermon ultimately calls for a deeper understanding of personal responsibility and accountability in one’s faith journey.

Listen to the full version here.

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