If you look at the world around us, there is lots that’s not right. There’s a great deal of unhappiness in the world. A great deal of aggression. And in increasing amount of anxiety.
From time to time I put sermons I give up here. Not because I think they are particularly good, even less that they are model sermons. I can't even guarantee that I agree with everything I said then - I am (of course) learning all the time. But someone may be interested.
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“Surely we don’t need a sermon on how to spend money! That’s easy!”. So someone said to me last week.
But step back a bit, and ask how we are to use our money, and the Bible has a great deal to say.
If you missed either of the past two sermons on money, they’re both on our website. We’ve asked what money is, and we looked at earning money.
And now reach the third instalment. Spending money. Using money. And as you look at the Bible on this topic, it warns us of the three dangers. They come up again and again.
This week, a couple called David and Carol Martin from Scotland attended a news conference to be given a cheque for just over 33 million pounds. The National Lottery had rolled over 14 times in a row, bringing the jackpot to a record 66 million pounds. The Martins only won half of it, but I doubt they were complaining.
I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain't it sad. And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me. That's too bad. In my dreams I have a plan: If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball
Money, money, money; Must be funny in the rich man's world. Money, money, money; always sunny in the rich man's world. Aha-ahaaa. All the things I could do if I had a little money: It's a rich man's world
It’s easy to feel sorry for Joseph. He finds the girl of his dreams. They get engaged to be married. And then he discovers she’s pregnant.
What is Joseph to do? Most people would react in one of two ways. Some would simply forgive. Everyone makes mistakes, and this is Mary’s. Let draw a line on under it. We won’t speak of this again. For others, that would be too hard. They could never forgive unfaithfulness like this. The wedding’s off, and if Mary is humiliated in the process it’s no more than she deserved.
Well, wasn't that reading boring?!
Some bits of the Bible leave you wondering why they're there. And this is one of them.
In fact, it's worse than that! This is how Matthew chose to open his gospel. It's even how the New Testament begins. Plenty of people attempt to read the whole Old Testament, and give up when they get bogged down in long lists of names and obscure laws. But surely you should be able to read the New Testament without getting stuck on page one!
This morning, we’re going to be talking about joy.
I don’t know whether the thought of talking about joy fills you with joy, or not!
We are at the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. For a while, we worked our way through this letter, during our quarterly combined services. We had a break last year for our Bible tour, and we’ve done other things so far this year. But it’s time to return to the letter, so we don’t miss the closing sections.
As Paul wraps up, he gives the Philippians some general instructions that he wants to leave them with.
“… and they all lived happily ever after.”
So ends the fairy tale. We all love a story that ends well. It’s heart-warming. More importantly, we’d all like to be living in a story that ends well. Living where we do, with the story of life, the universe and everything still unfolding, there is much that is not good. So we need the reassurance that, for all the current struggles we face, we are at least living in a story that ends well. Do we get to live happily ever after?
I want us to talk about two things this morning: Terror and trust. What do you fear? And what do you rely on in life?
We’re baptising three children this morning. I don’t need to tell you that they will grow up in a world that can be a frightening place. To be honest, adults can find it frightening, too.
And against that backdrop, the Bible passage we just heard asks us those two questions: What do we find frightening? And in a world with much to frighten us, what will we lean on for support?
(A sermon for Remembrance Sunday)
I have a momentous and important announcement to make.
We are at war!
No, I’m not speaking about Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan.
Those are wars we can see. I’m talking about another war. This one, you can’t see. But it’s just as real, and even more important.
Because as well as the world you can see, there’s a whole world you can’t. Angels are real. The devil is real, and so are bad angels that we call demons.