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APRIL 14, 2019

Today is Palm Sunday and we continue our sermon series
Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

"Able to Save Completely"   Luke 22:14-65

Hebrews 7:25 conveys the teaching exemplified in this passage. Peter rushes headlong into rash behavior--at one hour bravely fighting Jesus' arrest by striking the servant of the high priest (not named in Luke but in John 18:10), at another, cowering in denial to a servant girl (also a servant of the high priest?). The problem, each time, is a failure to take up his cross in following Jesus. Christ holds Peter in prayer and by his word, correcting him and warning him and pointing him to ways he will keep him "in the fold". Jesus works to preserve and restore Peter, showing himself to be the high priest who saves us completely, even though we fail his call.



APRIL 7, 2019

Today is the 5th Sunday in LENT and we continue our sermon series
Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

"Extravagant Love"   John 12:1-8

Motives are at the forefront of this sermon. The setting of the story is a dinner inhonor of Jesus who is reclining with Lazarus: the "recently deceased" Lazarus (John 11:1-44) is reclining with the guest of honor who was recently featured in a "wanted dead or alive" discussion at the Sanhedrin (John 11:47-57). As Scott Hoezee suggests, "the smell of death is in the air." The lavish gift of love from mary, the formerly deceased's sister and devoted follower of Jesus, both relieved and accented the smell. But during the act of devotion, Judas objects. "Judas displays a certain unitarianism that pits pragmatic compassion, concern for the poor, against extravagant, unqualified devotion," DA Carson writes. Judas' concern for the poor is thinly disguised greed; Nietzsche would have been proud. Judas' criticism of Mary's extravagant love reflects little awareness of worship and adoration. Jesus' response is not about the poor, but about his death which forgives and brings new life. Such a gift from Jesus is worth more than any amount of money can buy. Mary shows the basic, Spirit led motive we may have in response to Jesus' sacrifice: gratitude expressed in extravagant love.



MARCH 31, 2019

Today is the 4th Sunday in LENT and we continue our sermon series
Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

"What's Your Motive?"   Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The prodigal son's older brother depicts the ways the Pharisees lost sight of God's grace; it highlights how their dark motives were covered over by their appearance of respectability. The older brother always did the right thing, but to him it was like slaving away. He claimed that he never disobeyed any (of his father's) orders; but was his "service" not because you must but because you are willing (I Peter 5:2). His claim of devotion seems all about him, about the rewards he deserved (you never gave me even a goat...) and not about mirroring the extravagant generosity of his father. Nietzsche claimed that even "virtuous" actions are just ways to gain power, mastery, and fame. Yet what if the Elder Son was like the Younger Brother and he believed that he was a debtor to his father? What if he believed he wasn't owed anything but that all he had was a gift? He would not be performing this powerplay of shaming his father but join in the celebration.  The sermon will ponder what motivates us: is it grace or self-help? Is it love or fear? Is it being a child of God or is it slavery? Is it self-sacrificing or self-serving?



MARCH 24, 2019

Today is the 3rd Sunday in LENT and we continue our sermon series
Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

"The Gap Between Sunday and Monday"   Luke 13:1-9

Karl Marx called religion "an opiate for the masses." He meant that religion can have a numbing affect, keeping people from seeing and addressing the injustice around them. With a focus on the world to come, worshippers may neglect making this world a better place. This text focuses on the need to bear fruit - for one's repentance to take concrete shape in how one lives. The disciples are debating whether an accident or a disaster is an instnace of divine judgment on particular people; Jesus stresses the need for everyone to repent, to bear the fruit of new life lived in response to the gospel of grace.  Scott Hoezee pointedly writes: "ON Sunday we sing that "Jesus loves the little children of the world", but during the rest of the week we don't do much to improve the lot of this world's children."  The sermon will raise the wuestion of 'How does a persons' worship on Sunday impact their business practices or the way they work or how they volunteer on Monday?

Lent addresses our need for repentance; but repentance needs to flow into a life that expresses the sacrificial love of Christ. We will aim at closing the Sunday to Monday gap by connecting our words on Sunday to our ordinary speech and actions during the week.



MARCH 17, 2019

Today is the 2nd Sunday in LENT and we continue our sermon series
Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

"When Fear Drives You"  Luke 13:31-35

The Pharisees coming to "help" Jesus escape from Herod is actually a manipulation based on fear of death. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem (13:22) saying, "I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day - for surely no prophet can die outside of Jerusalem" (13:33). The threat of death is not something that will send Jesus packing - he is walking toward it, knowing full well that Jerusalem is where he will be put to death. His death becomes the avenue through which he brings us redemption. However, Jesus us also filled with compassion and heartfelt longing to extend the gift of salvation - to people like the Pharisees! He laments over Jerusalem, longing for them to take shelter under his wings. Nietzsche saw religion as a manipulation - a power move. But Jesus says, your power doesn't scare me, your threat of death isn't stopping me. In fact, my dying and rising is the way I am overcoming the threat of death. Jesus' followers have not wavered from their commitment to him, no matter how many faced death! Religion is not a manipulative power but an inner power that enables us to live out our faith - even against the threat of death.



MARCH 10, 2019

Today is the 1st Sunday in LENT and the start of a new sermon series:
"Are We Faking It?  Lenten Reflections in Luke."

Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche did not advance philosophical, logical arguments against Christian beliefs. Rather, they became atheists because they suspected that religious practices were usually motivated by very non-religious desires.
In short, they suspected that Christians are shams.
While claiming to be inspired and motivated by God, these atheists maintained, Christians are driven by more common desires. "God" is the religious persons excuse to justify self-serving lifestyles and convenient belief systems.
LENT is a time to reflect on our life and our faith--and see Jesus' self-sacrifice at the center of his life.
In these five Sundays of LENT, we nail our sins to the cross, being crucified with Christ that we might also live for him in a purer practice of that most precious of gifts: our faith. We read these texts in light of Jesus' call to us to follow him,
following him in our life of faith and obedience.

Luke 4:1-13
"Which God Will You Trust?"

The Devil tempts Jesus using a distorted view of God. In effect, he challenges the word God had just spoken at the Jordan, that Jesus was God's son, dearly loved, with whom he is pleased (Luke 3:22). If this is true, Jesus ought to be living better (make bread from these stones) or have an easier road to glory (worship me and all authority and splendor of the nations will be yours). Jesus' responses are that he will trust the Lord at his word. Then the Devil tempts him to go further and, literally, take a jump in trusting God at his word.  This sermon will focus on how we distort God and end up worshipping a God of convenience. 



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    10415 S. Kedvale Avenue
    Oak Lawn, IL  60453
    Phone: (708) 636-2848
    Fax: (708) 636-2847

    Office Hours: 9:00am-1:00pm  M thru F

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