“Stay Up and Fight” August 12, 2018

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Sermon Archives

“Stay Up and Fight” 1 Kings 19:4-8/ Psalm 130 Ephesians 4:25-5:2/ John 6:35, 41-51   You know, there are some expressions of advice that just never die, and because they won’t die we have found ways to tweak them because, after all, we can’t be serious all the time. It was Ogden Nash that wrote, “You’re only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.”  And then there is, “When life gives you lemons, ask about their exchange policy.” And how about, “Learn from the mistakes of others.” Sound advice, I admit, especially if you add, “you can’t live long enough to make them all by yourself.” And so it is that when we read the Apostle Paul’s advice of “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” we are reminded of the advice given to newly weds, “Never go to bed angry.” That being said, I couldn’t help but chuckle remembering what the comic Phyllis Diller used to say, “Never go to bed angry. Stay up and fight.” At first glance, our text from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians seems to be nothing more than a list: a list of things that the church needs to put away – things like bitterness, wrath, lies and deceit. (vs 25) Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (vs 29)  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up. (vs 31) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. See what I mean? This is nothing more than words of guidance and encouragement to the church at Ephesus from the founder of the church. Paul was good for that. But there was something about it that caused me to speak about it today. Something about it seemed to flick a little switch in my head and caused my imagination to run wild. That “something” was Paul’s view on this thing called anger. Now it’s safe to say that in some highly sentimental versions of the Christian faith it is taught that any form of anger is a sin. I’ve always struggled with this. I struggle because even though I am well aware of the damage that anger taken to the nth degree can cause, I am also painfully aware of the damage it can do if we keep it bottled up inside. So when Paul recognizes here that anger has its place, it came as a bit of a surprise. He also stressed that it has its limits. (vs 26 MSG)  Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge....

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“The Interview” August 5, 2018

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Sermon Archives

“The Interview” 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a Ephesians 4:1-16 John 6:24-35   I’m going to make an assumption here that everyone in this room who has ever held a job in the open market has went through that nerve-racking process known as the job interview. You know the drill. You’ve submitted your resume or answered the ad and now you find yourself in the hot seat of an office you have never seen before. In front of you are a panel of folks whose primary purpose, it seems, is to make you as nervous as possible. And then it begins. Now for those of us who have been on the other side of the fence as the interviewers, we know the importance of the questions that we ask of those poor bundles of nerves known as the interviewees. There are a standard set of questions that seem to be asked every time, the first one being, “So tell us a little bit about yourself.” This is meant to break the ice a bit and also to get a basic idea of how cool this person will be while sitting in that hot seat. The next set of questions gets tricky. They are usually something like, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” which is followed by, “What are your biggest strengths?” Now in my experience as an interviewer, the answer you get for this question is not as important as how quickly you get it. But the list goes on: “How did you learn about this opening? Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?” and my favorite pair ~ “Why do you want to leave your current job?” coupled with “Describe your dream job.” If you’re lucky, you may find yourself interviewing at a place that’s not so plugged into the corporate mentality. They might ask more off the wall questions; questions like, “You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?” Or how about, “We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10million. What would you do?” And the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is always fun. The vote for my favorite whacky interview question, however, was a toss up between “Would you rather fight one horse sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?” and “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?” Tough questions, and folks in the business of hiring people have made a science of them. Now at this point, I imagine you are all wondering what the heck this has to do with anything anyhow. No, I have not been out looking for another job – I’m quite satisfied where I am, thanks to all of you. Truth be told:...

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