Gratitude Overflows into Peace

This sermon is based on Philippians 4:4-7. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Gratitude makes all the difference. It increases our happiness, provides a deep sense of contentment, and fills us with all sorts of positive emotions. And that is why everyone tells us to work hard to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and promises that we won’t regret doing so. But gratitude produces much more than great emotions. Cicero knew the secret: “Gratitude is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all others.” And what a parent! Gratitude produces all sorts of significant spiritual fruit. This Thanksgiving season, join us as we explore the fruit produced by an overflow of gratitude. Trust me: you will thank me that you came. In fact, you’ll be more grateful for everything!  

A Bonhoeffer Thanksgiving 2023

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for and to rejoice in all of God’s good gifts to us.  And for me, whenever I think of God’s gifts, I pause to give thanks for all of my teachers, both those who stood physically in front of me and for all those who wrote great books that shaped me in ways I can’t begin to enumerate. And so today, I thought it would be good for us to read a section from one of my book-writing teachers. The following two paragraphs are from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book, Life Together: A Discussion of Christian Fellowship.   Since Thanksgiving is upon us, and since the main theses of these paragraphs is thanksgiving, I invite you to feast on what Bonhoeffer says here. He writes:  “Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship and because God has bound us together in one

Gratitude Overflows into Worship

This sermon is based on Psalm 100. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Gratitude makes all the difference. It increases our happiness, provides a deep sense of contentment, and fills us with all sorts of positive emotions. And that is why everyone tells us to work hard to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and promises that we won’t regret doing so. But gratitude produces much more than great emotions. Cicero knew the secret: “Gratitude is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all others.” And what a parent! Gratitude produces all sorts of significant spiritual fruit. This Thanksgiving season, join us as we explore the fruit produced by an overflow of gratitude. Trust me: you will thank me that you came. In fact, you’ll be more grateful for everything!  

Gratitude Overflows into Generosity

This sermon is based on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Gratitude makes all the difference. It increases our happiness, provides a deep sense of contentment, and fills us with all sorts of positive emotions. And that is why everyone tells us to work hard to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and promises that we won’t regret doing so. But gratitude produces much more than great emotions. Cicero knew the secret: “Gratitude is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all others.” And what a parent! Gratitude produces all sorts of significant spiritual fruit. This Thanksgiving season, join us as we explore the fruit produced by an overflow of gratitude. Trust me: you will thank me that you came. In fact, you’ll be more grateful for everything!  

Gratitude Overflows into Humility

This sermon introduces our new series and is based on Romans 1:18-25. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: Gratitude makes all the difference. It increases our happiness, provides a deep sense of contentment, and fills us with all sorts of positive emotions. And that is why everyone tells us to work hard to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and promises that we won’t regret doing so. But gratitude produces much more than great emotions. Cicero knew the secret: “Gratitude is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all others.” And what a parent! Gratitude produces all sorts of significant spiritual fruit. This Thanksgiving season, join us as we explore the fruit produced by an overflow of gratitude. Trust me: you will thank me that you came. In fact, you’ll be more grateful for everything!  

On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity, Part 2

There’s nothing like a good hike, except when you get lost. One of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was going to Camp Cedar Lake (not really, but lies aren’t lies if they are in a blog).  Camp Cedar Lake was a Christian camp with all the normal camp things—shooting rifles, making cheap crafts, swimming, canoeing (which often turned into swimming) and a hike up a mountain. Thinking about it now, I doubt it was much of a hike or a mountain; but as a 9-year-old, both were epic. Our guide up the mountain was our cabin counselor. Now generally, one would not entrust one’s life to a 17-year old who couldn’t find any better paying summer job than at a church camp, but entrust ourselves we did. And so, up the mountain we went; and before we knew it, we arrived at the top. As advertised,

Who Are We Supposed to Be?

This sermon is based on Colossians 3:15-17. You can also view each week's sermon/worship service on our YouTube Channel during the weeks we cannot meet due to Covid-19 restrictions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ncsq_QNvCv61bIwKUpP5A SERIES OVERVIEW: “The Who” (yeah, “The Who” from way back when) had a song with these great lyrics, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Oh, I really want to know. . . . Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” (I always liked the “who, who, who, who” part).” Now, I used to think that was an easy question to answer. I don’t know much, but at least, I knew who I was. I’m me. But now, I’m not so sure. Some want to say I am just chemicals operating in a Dane head. Some want to say I am a pleasure-seeking animal. Some want to say I am a rational mind (that can’t be right). And others want

On the Trail of Gratitude and Generosity

Please forgive me, but I am going a little crazy. There are two trails in Patapsco State Park near our house. Let’s start at the Thru Trail. You turn left, go between the roots of two gigantic fallen trees, go left at the intersection, take the ridge path overseeing the river, walk over this rocky area, wander a bit in the woods and then turn left at the marked tree. Easy. I’ve done it many, many times. Now, let’s do it backwards. Start off at the same marked tree, follow the trail, take the rock steps (which, yes, is different from the rocky area), go up the hill to the right, zig zag a bit, get a little lost, turn right, and bingo, bango you’re walking between the two huge roots.  Same starting points. Same ending points. But for the life of me, I don’t know where they connect. Somehow,

A Community of Gratitude

This sermon is based on Colossians 3:12-17. SERIES OVERVIEW: There’s a lot of talk out there about what the purpose of the church truly is. Some say mission. Some say worship. Some say justice. Some say teaching. Some say this and some say that. But enough talk. Let’s listen. Years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote: “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” And there it is: The purpose of the church is to form people into little Christs. But how does that happen? It begins in community, and it begins with the cross. Here’s the hope of the church, even if it wasn’t said by a theologian. Dr. Seuss said: “It’s not about what

The Thanksgiving Perspective

This sermon is based on Matthew 10:5-8. SERIES OVERVIEW: I think we would all agree that Thanksgiving is a great once-a-year holiday. I think we would also all agree that it would be a terrible thing if it became an every-week occurrence. Think of all those turkeys, the relatives you would have to see every single week and all the weight you would gain week after week after week (but it may be worth it for an apple pie a week). Now, think if thanksgiving were a daily occurrence. What a headache that would be! But that’s Paul’s dream. In Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:18) he says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” And when Paul says “All circumstances,” he really means even more than every day; he means multiples times each day! But nothing would make Paul happier, because he knows what Robert Thomas says: “The true victories in life are won by Christ followers who

The Thanksgiving Circumstance

This sermon is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. SERIES OVERVIEW: I think we would all agree that Thanksgiving is a great once-a-year holiday. I think we would also all agree that it would be a terrible thing if it became an every-week occurrence. Think of all those turkeys, the relatives you would have to see every single week and all the weight you would gain week after week after week (but it may be worth it for an apple pie a week). Now, think if thanksgiving were a daily occurrence. What a headache that would be! But that’s Paul’s dream. In Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:18) he says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” And when Paul says “All circumstances,” he really means even more than every day; he means multiples times each day! But nothing would make Paul happier, because he knows what Robert Thomas says: “The true victories in life are won by Christ followers who

The Peace of Gratitude

This sermon is based on Colossians 3:15-17. Series Overview: Stanley Beamish didn’t have anything going for him. He was weak, afraid and rather pathetic. But all that changed when he took the “power pill” and he became, “Mr. Terrific,” a superhero with the strength of a thousand men (if you don’t remember this show, there may be good reason: it wasn’t so terrific). The Greatest American Hero was basically a nobody until he put on the suit; and then he became, well, the Greatest American Hero (and a great answering machine message). The “Limitless” guy was just plain and ordinary until he gained access to his brain’s full capacity (and semi-superhero status). How? By taking a secret pill. Here’s my question: what could we do to be transformed into something rather extraordinary? The answer is rather startling: It’s gratitude. See, gratitude changes us. It not only gives us a “super” perspective on life, but it also gives us a

The Gratitude Initiative

This sermon is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Series Overview: Stanley Beamish didn’t have anything going for him. He was weak, afraid and rather pathetic. But all that changed when he took the “power pill” and he became, “Mr. Terrific,” a superhero with the strength of a thousand men (if you don’t remember this show, there may be good reason: it wasn’t so terrific). The Greatest American Hero was basically a nobody until he put on the suit; and then he became, well, the Greatest American Hero (and a great answering machine message). The “Limitless” guy was just plain and ordinary until he gained access to his brain’s full capacity (and semi-superhero status). How? By taking a secret pill. Here’s my question: what could we do to be transformed into something rather extraordinary? The answer is rather startling: It’s gratitude. See, gratitude changes us. It not only gives us a “super” perspective on life, but it also gives us

State of the Ministry Message 2017

As we celebrate our church's 15th anniversary, it is a good time to reflect on all that God has done in our midst as well as consider the challenge from God's Word for the year ahead. This sermon is our annual "State of the Ministry Message 2017" based on 1 Corinthians 15:58. Series Overview: Stanley Beamish didn’t have anything going for him. He was weak, afraid and rather pathetic. But all that changed when he took the “power pill” and he became, “Mr. Terrific,” a superhero with the strength of a thousand men (if you don’t remember this show, there may be good reason: it wasn’t so terrific). The Greatest American Hero was basically a nobody until he put on the suit; and then he became, well, the Greatest American Hero (and a great answering machine message). The “Limitless” guy was just plain and ordinary until he gained access to his brain’s full

Gratitude and Peace Together

  This introductory sermon sets the stage for seeing the connection between gratitude and peace based on Philippians 4:6-7. Series Overview: Stanley Beamish didn’t have anything going for him. He was weak, afraid and rather pathetic. But all that changed when he took the “power pill” and he became, “Mr. Terrific,” a superhero with the strength of a thousand men (if you don’t remember this show, there may be good reason: it wasn’t so terrific). The Greatest American Hero was basically a nobody until he put on the suit; and then he became, well, the Greatest American Hero (and a great answering machine message). The “Limitless” guy was just plain and ordinary until he gained access to his brain’s full capacity (and semi-superhero status). How? By taking a secret pill. Here’s my question: what could we do to be transformed into something rather extraordinary? The answer is rather startling: It’s gratitude. See, gratitude changes us. It not only gives us

“Magnificent Seven” River’s Edge Style

I didn’t see the remake.  I don’t know if I want to see the remake.  In fact, some things shouldn’t be remade.  But I loved the original.  Growing up, The Magnificent Seven was my western of choice.    Seven gunfighters are hired to defend a small Mexican village from an entire army of bandits.  They know the odds are against them going in, but odds don’t matter.  They have a job to do.   Now, to achieve the proper effect, play the theme music loudly in your head and then reread those last three sentences.  It kind of gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it?  Keep the music playing and then listen intently as Steve McQueen says, “We deal in lead, friend.”   Let it play some more and listen in as Cavera (the head of the bad guys) mocks all the new walls the villagers have made saying, “These won’t keep me out.”  Only

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