Sermon: Prayer, Part 4 of 5: Personal Relationships – 8/28/16

August 29, 2016 by  
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Sermon: Prayer, Part 3 of 5: What We Need Most – 8/21/16

August 25, 2016 by  
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Sermon: Prayer, Part 2 of 5: God’s Priorities – 8/14/16

August 15, 2016 by  
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Sermon: Prayer, Part 1 of 5: Approaching God – 8/7/16

August 8, 2016 by  
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VisioNotes: What Are We To Say About These Things? – August 2016

August 3, 2016 by  
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Download Now: These Things

What Are We To Say About These Things?

(A Response to Recent Tragedies)

15th in a series of big questions

You probably know something about these things to which I am referring. Orlando. Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights. Dallas. Nice, France. Then Baton Rouge again. In the time between my writing and your reading, we might be able to add another city, another tragedy to the list.

Guns and violence, hatred and terrorism, “us” versus “them” language. Even a truck was turned into a weapon. What are we to say about these things? Black lives matter, no doubt. Blue lives (police officers) matter, absolutely. We believe all lives matter to God, but does our world live out this truth in reality? Racism, classism, and sexism taint the ways we see each other and assign value. Fear too often keeps us from knowing each other and reaching out with love.

We are overwhelmed. It can easily seem like the world is spinning out of control, that things have never been so bad. Statistics over the years give us one objective measure of these things. According to researcher Karl Vick, violent crime was twice as high in the 1990’s as it is today, and murders in U.S. cities were three times higher. But with smartphones, social media, and the 24/7 news cycle, we know about these things instantly and can receive minute by minute updates. This constant awareness of violence and tragedy causes us great stress. We have to limit our intake of such events in order to keep living for today.

The world might not be getting worse, but it’s still plenty horrifying at times. These acts of violence have no excuse or rationale. There’s no understanding of hatred and vengeance. Our hearts break for the victim’s friends and family who grieve. Our minds tremble to consider the possibility that it could happen to us or those we love. Our souls are tempted to pull back and seek safety.

As Christians we are offended and grieved by this violence, but we shouldn’t be surprised. We know all too well about the disease of sin that runs through our lives. Sin is the human condition that causes us to judge each other, evaluating ourselves by our best intentions while assessing others by their worst actions. Sin is selfishness, a failure to care about others, an unwillingness to understand those who are different from you. Sin is treating others as objects and not as beloved children of God.

We live in a world of sin. The kingdom of God is not yet here. But it IS on the way. The kingdom of God is breaking into our world, little by little. We’ve come a long way in our country in the last 50 years, by way of tolerance, understanding, and equality. In contrast to a few extreme individuals, the remaining 320 million Americans have not committed violent crimes or mass murder this year. Quite the opposite, many of us are building friendships, choosing kindness, and opening our arms. Protesters with Black Lives Matter have largely chosen non-violence to effect change, and this approach has achieved results. Random of acts of kindness don’t make the news, so we must look for them, celebrate them, and create them. We’ve come far, and we will go further.

The kingdom of God is on its way into this world through us. In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will be done. In that prayer we submit ourselves to God’s will being done through us. We pray for God’s kingdom to come in us, and then we go out and love our neighbors and our enemies. We love the people right around us who are black and white and brown, male and female, straight and gay, republican and democrat, and loud-mouthed and soft-spoken, and Catholic and Muslim and atheist, blue collar and white collar. God has chosen to use us to bring the kingdom and love the world.

Yes, indeed, we believe that all lives matter, and we confess that as a human community we have not valued all lives. But there is one life that matters above all. In all of these things, we needJesus. Jesus’ life matters for the world. Jesus lives in us today. Jesus is our peace. Because Jesus lives, these things are not the end of us. We have hope for tomorrow.
In Christ,

Pastor Matthew Poock

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
-Romans 8:31

Sermon: A Happy Ending? – 7/31/16

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Pastor's Corner, Sermons

Instructions to View

This sermon is presented on YouTube. Click on the first link below to open the introductory presentation. If you would like to view it in full screen mode –  move your cursor to the lower right hand corner of the video to see a roll over menu. Click on the icon furthest to the right to transform the presentation to the entire screen. When the video is done press the “escape” button on your keyboard. Close the tab and  you will move back to the website. Read the scripture if you like. Then proceed to the next YouTube video for the sermon. Use the same procedure to see the full screen mode and subsequently close it out.

Watch the introduction now:

Click First: https://youtu.be/3imbTBWiv0Y

Read the scripture here, Job 42:7-17.

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the trouble that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.

Watch the sermon here:

Click second: https://youtu.be/pb0WqFAd1_w

Sermon: Lessons From Creation – 7/24/16

July 27, 2016 by  
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Sermon: The Reality of Suffering – 6/26/16

July 5, 2016 by  
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Sermon: Innocent Suffering – Losing Everything – 6/19/16

June 20, 2016 by  
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Sermon: WORDS TO LIVE BY: Never Forget…”Purpose” – 6/12/16

June 20, 2016 by  
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