HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series September 3, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series September 3, 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 Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily, he reflects on the importance of learning to say “no” in our lives. He begins by describing the context of students returning to campus and the challenges of navigating various commitments and invitations. He observes that many people find it difficult to say “no” because they fear missing out or hurting someone’s feelings. Fr. Mike highlights the significance of the ability to say “no” as a means to establish healthy boundaries in our lives.

He emphasizes that saying “no” is a fundamental skill in personal growth and maturity, likening it to a toddler’s favorite word when they start realizing their sense of self. Fr. Mike points out that one of the most challenging “no”s we must learn to say is to ourselves, renouncing our own claims on our lives. He underscores that saying “no” is not a rejection of the self but a recognition that our lives are meant for something greater.

Fr. Mike references a study on quitting smoking, illustrating that learning to say “no” is about acknowledging and riding through discomfort rather than ignoring or suppressing desires. He argues that the self is valuable, and Christianity recognizes the goodness and dignity of the individual. However, he warns against making an idol out of the self, emphasizing the need to renounce self-ownership for the sake of something greater.

He then delves into Saint Paul’s teachings from Romans 12:1-2, where Paul calls believers to offer themselves as living sacrifices, an act of worship. Fr. Mike explains that offering ourselves as living sacrifices means surrendering our lives to God in every moment, regardless of our circumstances. This continuous act of self-offering becomes an act of spiritual worship, a way of saying “yes” to God.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Icon: Empowering the Invitation of the Cross

Andy Stanley’s sermon is the conclusion of a four-part series called “Icon: The Empowering Invitation of the Cross.” In this sermon, he emphasizes the significance of the cross as the central symbol of Christianity, representing not just a way of believing but a way of living.

Stanley begins by highlighting that in the 1st century, people understood the cross as an invitation to an alternative way of life, even though it seemed foolish and counter-cultural. He stresses that the invitation of the cross is not just an invitation to live differently but also an empowering invitation to experience and demonstrate the power of God through one’s life.

He discusses how many Christians today may not fully grasp this invitation, as they often view faith as a one-time event rather than a lifestyle. He highlights the counter-natural aspect of living according to the way of the cross, which challenges selfishness and self-centeredness.

Stanley then delves into a specific biblical passage where James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, seek positions of power and prominence in His kingdom. Jesus responds by teaching them that greatness in His Kingdom comes through servanthood. He emphasizes that even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

The sermon concludes with a call to embrace the invitation of the cross by living a life of humility and service, both in everyday interactions and in the broader world. Stanley encourages listeners to consider what it would mean to say “yes” to this invitation in various aspects of their lives, ultimately reflecting the way of Jesus and manifesting the power of God through their actions.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

In Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer’s homily, he begins by extending a warm welcome to visitors attending Mass on Labor Day and wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday. He reflects on recent natural disasters, such as the wildfires in Hawaii and Hurricane Idalia in Florida, highlighting the suffering experienced by those affected. The Archbishop acknowledges that suffering, whether caused by nature or personal circumstances, is a challenging aspect of life that has puzzled humanity since the beginning of time.

Archbishop Hartmayer shares his experiences as a priest and bishop, noting that witnessing and being part of others’ suffering has been both difficult and rewarding in his ministry. He emphasizes that suffering, while painful, can lead to personal growth, transformation, and a deeper dependence on God. He discusses the readings from Jeremiah, Saint Paul, and the Gospel of Matthew, all of which touch upon the theme of suffering and the mystery it holds.

The Archbishop encourages the congregation to reflect on their own experiences of suffering, emphasizing that while suffering is not enjoyable and should not be sought after, it can teach valuable lessons. He speaks about the power of prayer and the support of the parish community in alleviating suffering and enabling growth. Archbishop Hartmayer concludes by highlighting that suffering can lead to personal maturity and transformation, and it is through faith, prayer, and the support of the community that individuals can find solace and meaning in the midst of suffering.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In Kris McDaniel’s sermon, he begins by humorously suggesting that cooler weather may be a sign of God’s enthusiasm for college football season, setting a lighthearted tone for the message. He welcomes newcomers to the church, hinting at his occasional habit of “talking trash” in front of the congregation.

The core of the sermon revolves around a passage from the Bible, specifically from the book of Matthew, where Jesus starts to reveal his destiny of suffering, betrayal, and death to his disciples. McDaniel emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of this revelation, which comes right after Peter correctly identifies Jesus as the Messiah. This moment of clarity sets the stage for Jesus to introduce the idea of suffering as an inherent part of life for his followers.

The sermon highlights Peter’s reaction to this revelation, where he rebukes Jesus out of fear and confusion, leading to a discussion about the nature of suffering and the importance of aligning one’s will with God’s. McDaniel emphasizes that suffering is an inescapable part of life, but the way one responds to it can deepen their faith and relationship with God. He challenges the congregation to practice saying “yes” to God, even when it means saying “no” to their own desires and expectations.

McDaniel closes the sermon by emphasizing that our lives matter to God, and how we navigate the challenges of confusion, unmet expectations, and fear shapes our character. He invites the congregation to reflect on where they might be experiencing turbulence in these areas and encourages them to confess, meditate, and seek obedience to God in those moments.

Listen to the full version here.

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