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Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
Brian La Croix
A few years ago there was a series of commercials featuring a man wearing a flannel shirt and jeans who would be telling people how much he cared for them, often getting teary-eyed as he said with all the emotion he could muster, “I love you, man!”
And the person he was speaking to in that particular commercial, whether it was a girl, his dad, or whoever, would say, “You’re not getting my Bud Light.”
The commercials were funny, but they serve to illustrate the fact that these people could see through this guy’s self-serving talk.
He wasn’t interested in love, he was only interested in their beer, but he was willing to say anything to get it.
Opening Illustration: Video Clip of Let it Rain song from Michael W. Smith’s video Worship.
This is what we are praying for in 2004. In this video I feel more of His presence when they sing this song. It always opens my heart toward God. I listen to this CD pretty much every time I work out at the gym and every time I get to this point in the CD I feel a surge of the presence of the Lord. It inspires me and always moves me closer to the heartbeat of the Lord.
Michael says, “Let it rain Lord, open the floodgates of Heaven, this is our prayer!” This is my prayer for you in 2004. I sincerely am praying for the Lord to open the floodgates of Heaven into your hearts and lives. Why? Because I know if this happens it will change renew you and transform you.
Video Illustration: From DVD Worship “Growing To Be Like Christ” Track 7 “I’m Amazed” This song and video reminds us about how amazing God’s love is for us. It ties in with what Malachi is saying about what the love of the Lord has done for us.
There is a wonderful moment near the end of “The Return of the King” when the four hobbits are stunned that the newly crowned king of men, Aragorn, kneels to honour them. I take this as an illustration of the literal meaning...
Jars of Clay sings about how we should be in love with the One who we praise – Listen to their song “Love Song for a Savior” and note some of their words and the heartbeat of this song. Catch these phrases in the song
i. He is as close as a heart beat.
ii. We must learn how to see Him
iii. We must run and fall into His arms
iv. Do you want to fall in love with Him?
v. It is your choice!
vi. But you may be thinking it that it seems too easy to call Him Savior!
1. But it is that simple!
2. How can we show Him proper devotion? Give Him your heart and your life!
3. Do you want to? Then do it as this song is played!
Play Song: “Love Song for a Savior”
Action point: Do you want to fall in love with Him then open up you heart?
Remember the show, “To Tell the Truth?” There would be one person who did something strange or different perhaps for a living while two others would try to pretend to be that person. The object was to try and fool the panel of stars and the audience. Sometimes the person would be something strange like a “professional nose picker.” At the end the real person would stand up.
As I thought about this passage from Matthew 6:24, I thought about loving one master and hating another. And I thought about some alcoholics that I know both practicing and recovered. I thought about the effect that addictions have upon people. They end of hating this “master” because they are enslaved and can’t get out. Usually end up hating themselves and everyone around them.
Jesus talks about the master of Mammon. I like the word “mammon” as a translation rather than money. For mammon is more than just money. It is greed. It is desire. In fact, the connotation is that this greed for money goes beyond just money but includes the power and privilege. It gives us the sense that this mammon is almost alive. That this particular sin because alive and begins to devour us. Paul uses the same type of imagery. Thus the darkness within us because exceedingly great! Just a little more. Gambling has that affect. Deal or No Deal is a great example. The show is about gambling. How far can you push it and what is the most that you can walk away with.
Runaway desires. Tithing and fasting are ways to work against these desires. To train them. Tame them! Tithing, fasting, and even baptism act out a different reality. A new reality of God’s Kingdom. Baptism is a symbolic way to act out the new reality of being a follower of Jesus--that God is now the Lord and King of our lives not mammon. By being baptized we align our lives toward the Kingdom life and Kingdom values, which are opposed to the values of mammon. The memory of one’s baptism (one Lord, one baptism) can then become a marker to "tame" our struggles with rampant materialism. It can become a sort of litmus test.
All these actions are revealing a change of masters.
Alcoholics know that one of the most effective way to maintain sobriety and recovery is to tell on their disease. Take ownership of their difficulties, their character defects, their sins. To tell the truth.
To Tell the Truth
• On our masters
Who are your masters? Jesus says we can only have one. Anything but God will consume you. Job, business (e-myth), health care system, money, shopping, gambling, drugs (prescription and illegal). Tell on the truth. This is what I struggle with.
• On ourselves
This is me. I’m not perfect. This is who I want to be. In terms of the specifics of the passage, admitting that I am not as generous as I should be. There can be only one.
In one of readings for today from Luke 12:13-21, Jesus is first asked to make a judgment. It is a cry for justice. Tell the story.
Generosity towards others is generosity towards God.
As much as some of us struggle to please two masters and we try, we cannot. “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.”
Col. 3 talks about putting to death things that want to rule us and as I translate can become or are our masters: fornication, impurity, evil desires, greed, anger wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth, lying. Put on these clothes: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, forbearance, love, gratitude.
How? Daily examination. Teaching others. Admonish which means to encourage while gently correcting. Being thankful not condemnation. To tell the truth of first ourselves. Confession.
Van Gogh. The use of yellow in his later paintings were a sign of hope: of starting over with a new master. We can start over with a new master. We all need that hope. We need that assurance that we can start over.
This is what worship is about. A new start. To a new creation. To a new week. To a new life. No matter who or what is your old master: stress at work, conflict with a boss, conflict with a family member, divorce and struggling to glue pieces back together, overwhelming bills maybe because of overspending, illness that never seems to end, the joys and trials of raising children, death of a friend or family member, houses and cars and other stuffs that “never end,” a family member that is in the throes of addiction. To tell the truth is to say I don’t have the answers so I resolve to start afresh in trusting God. Some of us constantly need that hope that I can start again today and that these trials and such will not last forever (even when we can see no end in sight). God can.
Play Michael W. Smith Worship CD track 7 “Breathe”: Listen and hear God is speaking to you about what He wants you to do with your life in 2004.
i. Open your hearts and l...
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, “The king is dead - long live the king!”? It is an historical phrase coined in France and said after the death of a monarch through the streets and the countryside of their realm.
Phil Morgan recalls:
"Not too long ago I watched part of a documentary on ABC Television which traced the history of the Royal Family - the House of Windsor. In that program they recounted the passing away of King George VI. In 1952 the sad word went forth from London . . . 'THE KING IS DEAD.' King George VI had died in his sleep at the age of 56. He was somewhat of a private man, in comparison with others who’ve held the throne, but he was greatly respected and admired. His reign had carried him through the rigours of World War 2, the election of a socialist government, and the dissolution of much of the British Empire. His tired heart gave way. All across Britain, people flocked to churches to worship, to pray, and to seek comfort and hope."
I guess as I think about this phrase “The King is Dead” I think of Elvis Presley’s death: I still recall the day that it was announced on August 16, 1977 that the king of rock and roll was dead.
It stopped everyone in there tracks that day. It was my first summer after graduating. I was working as a laborer in Pittsburgh, Pa. hanging out with the crazy five plus one. The news hit that morning and everyone seemed stunned many in shock and grief. The King was dead. We talked about that night at the place we all hung out at “The old ice cream parlor.” I think for some of us teen in the prime of life we realized that living legends could die. There was the discussion about death and life after death and living your mark in history around the tables. The king was dead but we were all full of life and vigor.
What was Elvis legacy? Did he die a Christian? Many knew that he grew up in an AG Church his mom was an active member at her Assembly of God church. What about Elvis?
Article on the life of Elvis:
Elvis knew that God was God and he wasn't. 'He didn't like being called 'The King', says Ray Walker of the Gospel group The Jordanaires that backed Elvis up on many of his hit songs. "The 'king of rock 'n' roll' was one thing, but not 'The King'." He said one time, 'There's only one king, and that's Jesus Christ.' He'd be appalled by the Church of Elvis. He knew who he was. He wasn't fooled." (click here to listen the Jordanaires singing Gospel.)
There are other accounts from the colleagues of Elvis where he would say, "Im not the king, Jesus Christ is the king." He also said it in Vegas.
Elvis has a step brother that became a Christian and he reports that Elvis believed in Jesus. His step brother, David Stanley said, "Elvis read a lot of books, The Impersonal Life, the Shroud of Turin, endless, but he always went back to the Bible."
Elvis had another step-brother, Rick Stanley, who today is a Baptist Evangelist that has spoken in over 4,000 churches. Rick Stanley has written a book, Caught in the Trap where he highlights many of the spiritual events and struggles in Elvis' life. Stanley recalls when Elvis was in Las Vegas, he asked Evangelist Rex Humbard and his wife to be backstage with him. Elvis dedicated "How Great Thou Art" to Humbard that night. It was then that Elvis knelt down to pray with Humbard and recommitted his life to Christ. Elvis was talking about Jesus being the Truth the night before he died. It was Rex Humbard that conducted Elvis' funeral.
David Stanley says that fame caused Elvis to be conflicted abo...