Sermons

Fast and Furious

Sermon for the Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
July 30, 2017
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Texts: 1 Kings 3:5-12; Romans 8:31b-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
July 2, 2017
“Prophet Wars!”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13, Matthew 10:40-42

Sermon for the Third Sunday After Pentecost

Sermon for the Third Sunday After Pentecost
June 25, 2017
“Not as Easy as it Looks”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13, Romans 6:1-118, Matthew 10:24-39

Sermon for the 3rd Sunday After the Epiphany

Sermon for the Third Sunday After the Epiphany
January 22, 2017
“Follow Me”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Texts: Isaiah 9:1-4, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23

Sermon for Christ the King

Sermon for Christ the King, November 20, 2016
“King of What?”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scriptures: Luke 23:33-43

High Summer at The HilThen he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

What kind of a king is this? Stripped of all dignity and power, executed in the most shameful possible way, betrayed by one of his own.

Yet, this is not a king who condemns, but one who forgives, even a criminal who is executed alongside of him.

He welcomes a common criminal into paradise.

This is not a king in the sense that we would understand a leader today, especially in the context of our recent election.
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Sermon–Back to Basics

Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 7, 2016
“Back to Basics”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scripture: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

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Sermon–How Much Is Enough?

Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 31, 2016
“How Much Is Enough?”
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

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Sermon — Who’s In Charge Here?

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
July 24, 2016
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scriptures: Genesis 18:20-32, Psalm 138, Luke 11:1-13

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Who is My Neighbor?

Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
July 10th, 2016
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scriptures: Amos 7:7-17; Luke 10:25-37

High Summer at The HilJust then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

God be in my head, in my heart, and upon my lips.

The lawyer here in this morning’s Gospel is one smart fella. He’s studied the scriptures backwards and forwards, knows all the rules and regulations, and can probably quote chapter and verse as to their origin.

We might imagine Sam Waterston as Assistant AG Jack McCoy in Law and Order, arguing at a motion hearing in front of a judge, being able to effortlessly spit out citations of the applicable case law to support his position.

His only desire is to get the decision he wants—not necessarily thinking about its righteousness.

This lawyer guy in our reading is wanting to test Jesus, to see how much Jesus really knows about the law.

Beyond that, however, he probably never really thought about the practical demands that the law requires, so taken up was he in winning his case.

This guy in the story knows all the words of the law; however, his question to Jesus indicates that he really doesn’t understand the personal demands that the law makes upon him individually.
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Sermon — The Whole Enchilada

Sermon for the First Sunday in Lent
February 14th, 2016
Preached by Pastor Gregory Sakal
Scriptures: Isaiah 58:1-12, Romans 10:8b-13, Luke 4:1-13

“If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

God be in my head, in my heart, and upon my lips.

Not a week goes by that I don’t find stuffed in my mailbox, taped to my door, or in some other manner attached, a flyer from one cable company urging me to forsake my relationship with my current provider, and instead form a relationship with them. More channels! Faster download speeds! Lower prices! Well, at least for the first twenty minutes of the contract, if you read the teeny-tiny print at the bottom of the flyer.

And that’s pretty much where Jesus finds himself today. He’s being asked to change sides, tempted by things that every human desires. Jesus is fasting in the wilderness for forty days. Now, in Bible-speak, this just means a good long time–more than a month, but not a year.

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, tell of Jesus in the wilderness contending with the Evil One. While Mark gives us the “Cliffs Notes” version in 1:12:

“And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”

In Mark, Jesus is “Driven” into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, and I don’t think Mark means in stretch limo. Like much of Mark’s narrative, the temptation of Jesus is described to us in short, urgent phrases.

But in Matthew and Luke, Jesus is “Led” by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasts for forty days. And during that time, Satan comes courting. Both Matthew and Luke provide a lot more detail about the encounter.
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