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Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell (Page 16)

The Reign of Christ

The Reign of Christ

Today is the day that the Church calls Christ the King Sunday, where we acknowledge the Reign of Christ. On Christ the King Sunday the church announces that it bows only to Christ, and doesn’t give allegiance to any other person. It sounds good, yet too often fear gets in our way. (John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4-8)

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Our world is full of troubles, but it is also filled with things to be thankful for, if we take the time to look. One leper sees what has happened, and returns to Jesus to offer thanks. The nine lepers did what Jesus told them to do, but they missed out on an opportunity to be made whole. Let us not miss out ourselves. What do we see here? What are we thankful for? Let’s return to Jesus and give thanks. (Luke 17:11-19)

One Small Step

One Small Step

In our modern world we might not believe in storm gods and battles between gods. Yet we still find it hard to believe that it is the Lord our God who brings us abundant life. We push God out and pin our hopes on other things. Trusting is hard. Sometimes all we can do is to take one step. When problems seem insurmountable one small step of faith can make all the difference. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

Making All Things New

Making All Things New

United Methodists call people “saints” because they exemplified the Christian life. In this sense, every Christian can be considered a saint. Who brought you to faith? Who prayed with you or visited when you were sick or going through a crisis? Who told you Jesus loved you? Who helped you out practically when you were struggling? Who challenged you to go deeper in faith? Retelling these stories grounds us in our history. (Revelation 21:1-6a)

Stewardship Advice

Stewardship Advice

Borrowers of a loan are obliged to return the loan, but in the meantime can use the money as they see fit. However, stewards are not at liberty to use what is entrusted to them as they please, but instead as their master pleases. We are invited to share in God’s own life and mission by being stewards. (Proverbs 3:13-20)

Philanthropic Advice

Philanthropic Advice

The last part of Wesley’s three-fold statement gives meaning to the other two. Wesley’s advice to ‘give all you can’ is radical, inspiring and deeply frightening to many. It is the same thing as Jesus told the rich man in the scripture we read, and it frightened him too. Wesley’s rules were not about fund raising for the church, nor about making each of us feel bad. Wesley saw generosity as a spiritual issue, as a way of having a right relationship with money. (Mark 10:17-22)

Conservation Advice

Conservation Advice

It is very easy for us to hear Wesley’s statement of “save all you can” and think in modern terms. For us saving using means maximizing our savings accounts and putting away as much as we can in our 401Ks. For Wesley it was a call to a simplified lifestyle a warning against extravagance, opulence, self-gratification and hoarding. Wesley reminds us that change really begins with us and the choices we make every day. It is a matter of differentiating between need and want as a first step. (Leviticus 19:9-10, Luke 12:13-21)

Career Advice

Career Advice

John Wesley’s career or vocational advice is to ‘earn all you can.’ When he said this, he wasn’t talking about a rational for us to aggressively acquire as much money as we can. It is not about being greedy and crushing others and living one way during the week and another for an hour on Sunday. What he spoke about in his sermon of 1760 on “The Use of Money” was how to earn an income in a way that is integral to whom we are as Christians. How we earn our money is just as important as what we do with our money after we earn it. (Luke 13:6-9)

Trapped

Trapped

This week I have felt trapped as I have wrestled with this scripture. It’s a difficult scripture. It seems to have been made up of some separate and possibly unrelated strands of teaching. Yet Mark has put them together and clearly intends us to make some connections between them. These verses are built around the Greek word ‘skandalon’ which was translated into English in our translation today as ‘stumbling block.’ It can also mean scandal or trap.(Mark 9:38-50)

What Were You Arguing About?

What Were You Arguing About?

Today the disciples find themselves dangling or squirming around on the end of a hook in a rather uncomfortable position and challenged by Jesus to see the world in a different way. The disciples were arguing about who was the greatest? Who would be sitting next to Jesus in this Kingdom that he was talking about? Who was going to be #1, Jesus’ right hand man? A fun conversation perhaps, but not one they wanted Jesus to be privy too.(Mark 9:30-37)