10/23/2016 Sermon: Love Your Neighbor

Luke 10:25-37 Clarifying questions are important. Like the one the lawyer puts to Jesus.  Sure, the “Greatest Commandment” is to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.  But he wants to know:  who, exactly, counts as our neighbor? After spending the better part of my life trying to live into this command, I’d like to have the chance to ask some clarifying questions of my own.  What if my neighbor is making bad choices?  What if my neighbor doesn’t want to be loved? What, exactly, does it mean to love my neighbor as myself? Jesus has a story for that. --- CHARACTERS MAN:          An average, every-day dude or gal ROBBERS:      2-3 ruffians [start crouched down by altar rail] BISHOP:       The (loose) modern-day equivalent of a priest PASTOR:       The (loose) modern-day equivalent of a Levite SAMARITAN:    Of a race that is hated by the MAN’s people SETTING A patch of downtown sidewalk. TIME A Sunday afternoon, following church. NARRATOR: There was once a man traveling from one end of town to the other, through a notoriously bad neighborhood.             (MAN walks across stage) On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead.           (ROBBERS pretend to beat MAN, and leave him behind) Luckily, a bishop was walking down the same road, but when she saw him she angled across to the other side. (BISHOP walks near man, is disgusted, changes direction to avoid him.) Then a pastor showed up; he also avoided the injured man.           (PASTOR walks near MAN, considers helping, turns away) A Samaritan...

10/16/2016 Sermon: Loving God through Gifts

Matthew 22:34-40 Have you ever noticed how the greatest commandments – to love God and love neighbor – are really simple… and also really, really complicated? That’s because love is complicated.  I’ll give you five reasons why.  Actually – Gary Chapman will give you five reasons why:  the five love languages. Chapman came up with this idea that we all demonstrate and understand love in different ways.  It’s helpful to be aware of these in relationships (especially married ones) because one might “speak” a love language that their spouse doesn’t “hear.”  To test the truth of this, take a look at Chapman’s list and see if there’s one in particular that you prefer to use or receive: Words of affirmation Acts of service Quality time Physical touch Receiving gifts For me, I know I’m all about some quality time.  Love is going on a dayhike, sitting on the back porch and having a good conversation, even just going out and picking up walnuts – as long as we’re doing it together.  When someone takes the time to spend time with me, I feel loved. That’s not my only love language, though.  I’m a preacher, a word-smith, so take a guess at the one I like to “speak” the most… Yep, words of affirmation.  I like to write notes.  I make mental note of good things I see people do so I can compliment them later.  When I use my words in that way, it’s me trying to tell people that I love them. Since you’re reading this sermon and expecting a God-related point, you might already be connecting the...