“Now the Way I See It” Sept. 29, 2019

Posted by on Nov 4, 2019 in Sermon Archives

“Now, the Way I See It…” Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 1 Timothy 6:6-19/ Luke 16:19-31   I remember well the day that someone explained to me how to accumulate wealth. “It’s all about multiplication,” he said. “Sure, you need to work hard and work smart; sure, you need to be frugal with your money. A lot of folks do that, and they do well. But if you want to make gobs of money, you have to multiply yourself. You can’t do it all alone.” I told him, “Sure you can. You can always win the lottery,” and I think he said something to the effect that I didn’t have the brains that God gave a goose. “Let’s say you want to get in the widget business,” he explained. “You get the tools and materials and if you put your back into it, you can manufacture 100 widgets a day. At 5 bucks apiece, you can make a living, but just barely. But imagine what happens if you were to hire some folks to help you make those widgets. Now, you’re making 500, or even 5000, widgets a day and if your labor costs aren’t too bad you’ll be rolling in it. That’s how it works,” he said. “You got to multiply yourself.” As the years went by I worked all kinds of jobs and witnessed some nasty labor strikes at the General Motors plant where my dad worked and I figured out that this whole get rich thing is not so simple as “Multiply yourself.” In fact, it’s pretty doggoned complicated. I did hold onto one piece of the advice from long ago, though. I’ve found that it is indeed true: you can’t do it all alone. Our scripture readings for today are interesting to say the least. First, we find Jeremiah in the process of buying a piece of land while he is in prison. Maybe not a good idea. What’s more, it looks like Judah is about to be besieged by the Babylonians and things don’t look good. If Judah falls, the land sale isn’t going to be worth much – not what you would call a good investment. But Jeremiah is obedient to the Lord who commanded him to get into this real estate business in the first place. So you might say that Jeremiah was investing in his God, not his bank account. Then in the 6th chapter of Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy there are repeated warnings about the dangers and temptations of wealth, topped off by the 10th verse which famously states, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. We’ve all heard that one before. But it’s the story that Jesus tells about the rich man and the beggar that really takes the cake. This story is told in front of the Pharisees, who were great lovers of...

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“Jesus Is Da Balm” Sept. 22, 2019

Posted by on Nov 4, 2019 in Sermon Archives

“Jesus Is Da Balm” Jeremiah 8:18-9:1/ 1 Timothy 2:1-7/ Luke 16:1-13      There is nothing more exciting (and frustrating) for a 5 year old kid that waiting for Christmas morning: the lights, the decorations, and they even bring a real tree into the house. But the real kicker is that under this tree are toys wrapped up so that you can’t see what they are and the agony of your existence is amplified more with every day that you have to wait to rip them open. There’s a rumor going around that a certain Kenny once got up way before anyone else and opened all the presents – all of them – in the dark, and probably very quietly. I don’t remember doing such a thing. I was far too young to remember such a trivial thing, but there was one Christmas morning that I do remember when I must have been around 5 years old. There was a large box under (or rather, beside) the tree. It was so big that it wasn’t even wrapped and it was addressed to my mother. “What a lucky duck,” I thought to myself, “I’ll never get a present that big.” Seriously, this box was the size of a small refrigerator! Needless to say, us kids couldn’t wait to watch our mom open up this monster of a present. Well, the moment finally arrived and everyone held their breath when she cut the tape to open the top of this ginormous, spectacular, and incredible present. The flaps opened up and the look on my mother’s face… was probably the same as the look on ours. It was a look of “What the…”  because all we could see in this giant box was newspaper – lots and lots of ripped up newspaper. I looked at my dad and he had kind of a smirky grin on his face and for just a moment I had the feeling that some kind of dirty trick was going on here. But that couldn’t be: not on Christmas morning, not with the biggest present in the whole world. But then, my mom started digging. She dug and she fished around; she even pushed her arm all the way down into this box. Paper. Nothing but paper. “There’s nothing here,” she said. “I don’t get it – there’s nothing here,” she said again, only this time she gave my dad a real funny look. “O, there’s something there, alright,” he said, “Keep looking.” Finally she ended up dumping the whole works out on the floor. There was shredded paper everywhere, and I was starting to feel bad for my mom when she let out a little yelp. There is the middle of that huge pile of ripped up paper was a little, teeny box all wrapped in shiny paper with a little bow tied onto it. “This...

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