Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sermon Starters: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Date: 3/31/19
Location: Three Rivers Wesleyan Church
Text: Luke 7:36-50

I. Introduction
  • Family dinners can be awkward
  • I hadn't seen the movie, so I looked it up...
  • I don't mean to suggest that Jesus is an annoying dinner companion. Let's just say he sees right through us. 
  • And I don't mean to reinforce those personalities among us that think they are being like Jesus when they are as annoying as possible.
  • It's no use trying to be on your best behavior when Jesus comes to dinner. You just have to submit and let him reveal you to yourself. 
  • Dinners with Jesus can be like a house call from a doctor (e.g., my father, my friend).
  • You can't afford not to invite Jesus to dinner.
II. The Body of the Sermon
     A. The Pharisee asks Jesus to dinner.
  • Seems odd. Why would he do that?
  • Not all Pharisees were bad. Luke aligns them with "the righteous" and "the healthy" (e.g, Luke 5:31-32). At the starting line, they were much closer to the kingdom than the "sinners."
  • One big take away: Let people surprise you. Leave room for change.
     B. We live by stereotypes.
  • They help simplify the world for us--but they also skew the world.
  • The immediate context in Luke 7 - John the Baptist is demon-possessed, Jesus is a drunk.
  • We skew "out-group" individuals toward the bad.
  • All Baptists are... All Catholics are... All Democrats are... All Republicans are... All illegal immigrants are...
  • Jesus defies our stereotypes.
  • There is hope for a Pharisee. Who is your Pharisee--the religious person you think is not on the same page with God? The liberal? The conservative?
     C. There is hope for a sinner.
  • She is one. 
  • [We should ignore the parallels. Luke does not identify this woman with Mary nor a woman just before Jesus' arrest.]
  • Luke does not use "sinner" in the way we do ("We're all sinners.").
  • Luke neither justifies sin nor expects it of God's people. 
  • We all come with a debt, but we all must leave righteous--Jesus' words to the Pharisee.
  • Always leave room for a sinner to change. (Hitler?)
     D. Jesus sees things about ourselves we don't see.
  • The Pharisee didn't realize he was a debtor.
  • He didn't realize Jesus was his king. He didn't wash his feet.
  • He didn't realize Jesus was his family. He didn't kiss him.
  • So often we think we have everything figured out when we don't.
  • Harry Potter and Snape, my social media temptations
     E. Submission brings freedom.
  • She finds forgiveness.
  • They didn't realize he could forgive sins. 
  • They got stuck speck hunting--looking for the specks in the woman's eyes. They didn't see the logs in their own. 
  • Jesus always blows up our boxes and stereotypes.
  • Her faith saved her. It is the strange combination of Jesus' power and our submission.
III. Conclusion
  • Have you invited Jesus to dinner lately?
  • Who are the Pharisees and sinners in your life? Have you given them room to change?
  • What has Jesus been trying to show you, but you haven't been listening? It's often right below our conscious mind. It's like a gnawing that we don't acknowledge. It makes us lash out. It makes us angry. 
  • Submit to the doctor's prescription!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Self-Published: A Horse Strangely Warmed

I decided to try to write a crowd sourced novella of about 100 pages over spring break. One thing led to another and, voila, here it is: A Horse Strangely Warmed: The Life of John Wesley as Told by His Horses. A. J. Thomas had the winning idea and I ran with it.

Here are some quotes:
  • "If your hoof is as my hoof, then give me some hoof."
  • "The best of all is, God likes horses."
  • "You have nothing to do but save soles."
And the lost verse of All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
     Horses and cows and tiny cats
          In holey triumph join!
     Saved is the horse that doth believe
          From glue and bows of twine.

I read a couple books while doing research: