Advent 2016 Sermon 2

12/11/2017

Hi friends,

Attached is the next in this year's sermon series on advent.

In this one, we look at how for all of us - at any given time - two stories are set before us. 

One story is the one we can see with our eyes - a story that goes up and down with our own life experiences, our own feelings, and with the ebbs and flows of the news cycle. This story is filled with many things that are dark and even downright evil, and it holds within itself no promises and no certain future.

The other story is the story of the Gospel. This is a story rooted in ancient promises made by God culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son which in the end point to a powerful and glorious future not only for us as individuals, but for our world as a whole.

Abraham (the father of the Christian faith) was faced with many factors in his own life that appeared to argue against the truth of God's promises. Yet at the same time he was presented with a far more hopeful story from the mouth of God. And so he had to choose which story he would trust in and live according to. Today, Abraham's many descendants are faced with the same choice.

In many ways, our choice to believe the Gospel story in the face of the many dark stories we see in our world is most fundamentally a practice of hope. Hope is actually something that exists only when the things around us remain unresolved. This is because no one hopes for what has already has - he simply rejoices that is has become his reality. 

Hope, therefore, is inherently a practice of waiting. It requires patience. And in the end, this is what Advent is all about. Advent is about standing, living, persevering, and even being joyful in an unresolved world that remains full of evil because we are hoping that the story we are living in is not what it often appears to be. It is, really and truly, the story of the Gospel - a story rooted in God's promises and made irreversible through the resurrection of Christ and the giving of his Spirit. And so we continue to walk forward, love, and serve in God's Kingdom movement - trusting that our labor is not in vain.

I hope this is helpful to you - and that this season of Advent is filled with hope in God's amazingly good news for us and for our world.


Blessings,


Allen

Pre-Thanksgiving Sermon 2016

11/20/16

Hi all,

This sermon looks at the Thanksgiving challenge before us.

This Thursday, many of us will be gathering together with family members who voted in the opposite direction as we did. Many of us will be entering into family realities that reflect the polarization of our nation as a whole. 

How would Jesus have us live with people who we may feel have a vision for our society that is fundamentally opposed to ours - or who we may even feel have betrayed us? What is the way forward for us as families split over the election? What is the way forward for us as a nation?

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to pass it along anywhere you want if you find it a useful addition to the ongoing conversation.


Blessings,

Allen

2016 Post-Election Sermon

11/15/16

Hi friends,

It's me, Allen. My sabbatical is over, I'm back to preaching at MACC, and there is a lot going on in our country right now. 

The sermon I preached this past Sunday is a response to what has been going on in our nation since the election last Tuesday. At MACC, the sermon was followed by a long period of discussion. 

Please take a listen to these thoughts. And if you feel they are helpful, feel free to share them with anyone.


Blessings to you all,


Allen