The Foolishness of the Cross

8/26/18

Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5

Hi friends,

This sermon takes a look at Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians 1 about the seeming foolishness of the path of the cross. It's a strange path, one drenched in pain, suffering, weakness, humiliation, and failure as we typically see these things - and yet it is the path that is the heart of our greatest hope.

What is the wisdom of this foolish path of the cross, and what does that mean for us?  That's what we explore in this sermon.

Blessings,

Allen

Vocation Series - Stewardship

8/5/18

Matthew 25:14-30

Hi friends,

Stewardship is the next topic in our series on vocation.  In this sermon, we take a look at Jesus' Parable of the Talents and ask what the signs of healthy stewardship of our gifts and abilities are - as we as what gets in the way and holds back our potential.   

I hope this is helpful to you.

Blessings,

Allen

Vocation Series - Evangelism

7/15/18

Passage: Acts 4:1-22

Hi friends,

In this next sermon in our series on vocation, we look at the call of evangelism.  This is a loaded word, for many reasons - and it is practiced in many unhealthy ways.  However, at its heart, it is the sharing of good news - something no one needs any training in if the news is good enough to them.  (Think of France right now after their recent World Cup victory.)

I hope this is meets you in some way.

Blessings,

Allen

Taking on the Yoke of Jesus - Guest Preacher Rev Charlie Drew

6/17/18

Passage: Matthew 11:1-19, 25-30

Hi friends,

This Sunday, we had a guest preacher for Father's Day - my father, Charlie Drew.  My dad has been a pastor for as long as I have memory and just retired from full time ministry last year.  He still preaches (quite a bit) at different churches, and on this Sunday, he came down to Philly to preach for MACC, after preaching for another church in Manhattan, after leaving a 50th high school reunion in Connecticut at 5am.  Thank you, mom and dad, for spending so much time on the road this Sunday in order to minister to us in this way.  

Charlie's sermon is about what the yoke of Jesus is - and what it is not.  There are many yokes that we place on ourselves or others that wear us down and stress us out that are not actually yokes that Jesus calls us to bear.  The yoke he does call us to bear is a challenging one - but it is also at the heart of where we find our peace.  

I hope you are all blessed the way we were by this message - particularly if you are a person who ever experiences the stress of bearing false yokes ...

Allen

Vocation Series - Creation

6/3/18

Passage: Matthew 6:19-21

Hi friends,

As we continue in our series on vocation, we take a look at the fundamentally human calling to create.  We are made in the image of a creator - and we are invited to participate in the family business. 

In particular, we are called to be invested in the building up the Kingdom of God - which is an eternal reality all around us that has been initiated through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Yet everything around us still spoils, perishes, and fades.  So how can we build things that last with materials that don't?  We take a look at this question in this sermon.

I hope this meets you in some way.

Allen

Vocation Series - Worship

5/20/18

Passage: Psalm 100:1-5

Hi friends,

Today, we continue our series on vocation.  In this one, we look at the calling of worship. 

Worship is often understood in terms of church services, singing, and prayers - but it's much deeper and broader than that.  Worship is a whole-life Copernican Revolution where we move from having God revolve around us and our stories, to having our lives revolve around God and His story.  There's a lot to this - it's much more than just thinking in a different way.  And in the end, it's at the heart of our whole calling in this world.

I hope this is helpful to whoever listens to it.

Blessings,

Allen

Vocation Series - Friendship

4/29/18

Passage: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Hi friends,

Here is the next sermon in our series on vocation.  When people think of the word "vocation," they often think about their jobs.  Our jobs are certainly part of our vocation, but In the introductory sermon in this series, we talked about how our vocation, in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is actually a much broader calling - it is the calling to live out our whole, holistic lives, in a way that is rooted in the new kind of life found in Jesus.  Our vocation is life.

In this particular sermon, we look at the centrality and priority of friendship in the vocation of the Kingdom of God.  I hope this is helpful.

Blessings to you all,

Allen 

Vocation Series Intro

4/15/18

Passage: John 2:1-12

Hi friends,

We're beginning a new sermon series on vocation.  At the center of the this topic is the question of what the church is called to be.  In this sermon we look at how Jesus came not to offer us a new religion, but to offer us a new life.  The heart of the vocation of the church, then, is not to do religion well, but to live a new kind of life.  This paradigm shift has all sorts of implications for our lives.

I hope the beginning of this exploration of vocation is helpful.

Blessings,

Allen

Easter 2018 Sermon

4/1/18

Passage:  Romans 8:18-25

Hi friends,

Take a moment and think of a situation in your life that feels hopeless to you.  It could be a physical illness, a mental health issue, a relationship struggle, a financial challenge, or something else.  The resurrection is often celebrated for its vast and sweeping hope for the future of our world - but what hope, if any, does it have to offer the hopeless present realities that we are living in?  This sermon engages this question.

Blessings, friends, and Happy Easter.

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 3

3/18/18

Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

Hi friends,

This 3rd sermon in our Lent series is actually a short story.  This occasionally happens when I'm sermon prepping.  As we've been focused during Lent on realignment, this story falls into a similar category.  I hope you enjoy it, and that it is meaningful to you as you process it.

Blessings,

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 2

3/4/18

Passages: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 2:9, Hebrews 10:23-25

Hi friends,

One of the things my late pastor and mentor, Manny Ortiz, used to say was that the church exists for the world.  It doesn't exist merely to care for itself and create a healthy spiritual environment for its own people (though that is certainly part of its role) - rather, it exists to be at the center of God's movement to bring His blessings, healing, and justice (i.e. his kingdom) to our world.

When the church is tapped into this mission, it becomes part of something much bigger than itself - something that draws it beyond its own internal conversations and fills it with life and purpose.  When the church forgets its mission, it can start to become ingrown, unhealthy, and uninspired.  

During the season of Lent, as we continue to meditate on realignment, this sermon engages what it would look like to realign our individuals lives - and the lives of our local church communities - with God's amazing mission to the world.

I hope this is helpful.  Blessings to you all.

Allen

Lent 2018 Sermon 1

2/18/18

Passage: Genesis 9:1-17

Hi friends,

The season of Lent is upon us.  Lent is practiced by the church for the 6 weeks leading up to Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday each year.  It is meant to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the wilderness before his ministry began.  The church has used it over the years as a time to focus in a special way on recalibrating our lives and their skewed alignments with the way of Jesus and his Kingdom.  

In this sermon, we will be looking at the Biblical concept of sin - what it is, what it isn't, and how we can engage it in a healthy manner as we walk forward in our lives.

As always, I hope this is helpful.  

Blessings,

Allen

 

Laughter

2/4/18

Passage: Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7

Hi friends,

This week's sermon is on laughter.  Sometimes we can approach our religion in a way that is characterized mostly by seriousness, somberness, and the crushing weight of spiritual burden.  Yet the God of the Bible is a God of joy - so much so that his Kingdom is regularly compared by Jesus to a wedding celebration.

While the brokenness and suffering of our world remain very real, the hope of the Gospel is that the joy and fulfillment of the Kingdom of God is also real - and is in fact a deeper and more powerful reality than the darkness we see around us.  Navigating the dissonance between these two realities can be challenging, but laughter, it turns out, is a powerful tool that God has given us to help us do so.

Blessings,

Allen

Climate Change

1/21/18

Passage: Genesis 1

Hi friends,

In Christian circles, the issue of climate change can sometimes not be given the priority it deserves.  Climate change is one of the greatest current challenges to humankind - and (I would argue) Christians should be at the heart of the movement to engage it and bring healing to our world.

This sermon takes a look at the Christian calling with respect to climate change through the Biblical lenses of Creation stewardship, prioritization of the poor, investment in children, trajectory of the Gospel, and pursuit of truth.

I hope this is helpful as you think through your own engagement with the challenge of climate change.

Blessings,

Allen

Epiphany Sermon 2018

1/7/18

Passage: Matthew 2:1-12

Hi friends,

This past Sunday was Epiphany Sunday and so the sermon was on the visit of the Magi.  It strikes me as very interesting that while a powerful dictator (Herod) could not find the Messiah in his own back yard, and the religious authorities of Jesus' culture (the scribes and Pharisees) could not find the Messiah either, astrologers of an entirely different religion and culture found the Messiah by looking at the stars.  What does this say about what makes a search for God fruitful?  

Blessings,

Allen

Advent 2017 Sermon 2

12/17/17

Passage: Luke 1:46-55  (Mary's Song - "The Magnificat")

Hi friends,

This is the second sermon in our Advent series.  As we remember the coming of the Light into our world, we look to Mary's Song to find out what that light actually looks like.  

A Blessed Advent, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you all.

 

Allen

Advent 2017 Sermon 1

12/3/17

Passage: Luke 2:21-35

Hi friends,

We have entered the season of Advent.  Advent is the season each year where we remember the coming of Jesus into our past, anticipate his return in our future, and attune ourselves towards his breaking into our present.

This sermon looks at the daily reality of the ongoing Christ event in our lives, and the nature of the hope it brings to us.

Blessings to you all this Advent.

Allen

Discipleship Series - Church as Life

11/12/17

Passage: Acts 2:42-47

Hi friends,

This sermon takes a look at the tension between the church's call towards deepening discipleship, spiritual growth, and service/mission to the world around us - and the seemingly increasing busyness of our day to day lives.  Jesus' answer to this tension is very striking - and it plays out in ways that are both radical and profoundly life giving.  

I hope this is helpful.

Blessings,

Allen

Discipleship Series - Real Life and Hypothetical Life

10/22/17

Passage: Matthew 16:24-27

Hi friends,

This is the next sermon in our series on discipleship.  In this one, we take a look at the two lives we live in - our real lives (the lives we actually exist in), and our hypothetical lives (the lives we picture when we imagine what the "good life" is, or what our lives "should" look like).  The hypothetical lives we imagine can often blind us to the movement of God in our real lives, which can in turn stunt our growth as his disciples.  But if we can be open to the twists and turns of Jesus' path (which regularly do not fit our designs), we can be shaped by the King in ever deepening and often unexpected ways.

I hope this is helpful.  Blessings,

 

Allen