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Lent Messages


March 08, 2020: Lent - The Less You Want, The Richer You Are:
  Overcoming Consumerism

Hebrews 13:5-6, Matthew 6:19-21
 PowerPoint: Consumerism PPT

 Video: Consumerism VIDEO

If I were to ask people about what Lent means, what answers would I get?
Sinfulness - Do a Fast or Give up something - Pray/Meditate - Wilderness - 7 deadly sins

Todayís message is about some of these themes. 1. Itís about sin, specifically the sin of gluttony or consumerism and 2. itís a bout giving up something for Lent, something we donít need to begin with, to help save the environment and for our own spiritual growth.

1. Sin - Most of us living in the first world, we are gluttons. We are committing the sin of consumerism every day. The Greeks fully grasped the high costs of passionate excess. The idea of avoiding excess was a prime ingredient in a life worth living...

Why is excessive living or "consumerism" so bad? Well, it means that relatively few people in this world are taking more than they need and waste the excess. Have you ever seen someone in line at the buffet in the cafeteria and put so much food on their plate that they couldnít eat it and then threw the excess in the trash? What a waste of perfectly good food in the face of world hunger. Did you know that consumerism is a major contributor to climate change? And yet we continue to buy and horde and waste. In the words of William Wallace: Our obsession with consumption means that we have become the future-eaters, swallowing up the future of generations yet unborn (2)....
[Show Video]

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Lent: Turning Weaknesses into Strength
by Frank Schaefer

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

What was St. Paulís Thorn in the Flesh?
Paul doesn't come clean about it. He keeps it a secret. However, one thing is sure, that he was really concerned about this issue. It continually distracted him. He begged God at least twice that we know of to take it away from him.

Some scholars say, it was a disease, sickness, which kept him from serving God, some say, it was a recurring sin or temptation he found himself giving into again and again. And some scholars have argued that Paul may have been gay, bisexual or transgender. Whatever it was this weakness was holding Paul back from complete devotion/commitment. There were so many things with which distracted him, as he mentioned in verse 10. But this weakness concerned Paul the most...

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Will My Faith Be Enough?
Luke 17:5-6 and Matthew 17:20
  PowerPoint:  EnoughFaith


Excerpt: The question that is raised by the Scriptures for today is: "Will my faith be enough?"  Isnít it true that we often feel like that? We question our faith. We wonder if our faith is adequate, if itís enough. Iím not just talking about religious faith here. When I worked as a hospital chaplain a few years ago I quickly learned that faith is a spiritual property that all humans possess, whether they are religious or not.

Faith is an important human property. We have to have faith in ourselves, in other people, in the future, etc. People that have lost their faith in themselves become depressed and anxious about life. Faith is important. But somehow, we all struggle with our faith.

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  The Trouble with Judging Others

  Scripture: Luke 6:37-42
Video Link: Watch the conclusion of this message on YouTube

Judging Others

> Excerpt: Our topic today is "judging others" so I thought I do some research on Christian books that deal with this issue. I came across a rather controversial book by Pastor Jason T. Berggren. His book is entitled "10 Things I Hate About Christianity"
The first point he makes in his book is about how judgmental Christianity is. He says: "If we must point fingers, let's point fingers at ourselves." [1] I wonder what it looks like to be non-judgmental. I think we are pretty good with not judging people as a local church, aren't we? We accept, welcome and support all people. Fact is, we are not known to try to convert those who think or believe differently from us. In fact, there are those among us this morning who would identify as Buddhist and Jewish this morning.

Of course, our evangelical brothers and sisters would challenge us: if you don't convert people, if you don't oppose "false" beliefs, how are you making disciples? Don't we need some degree of judgment in the process of disciple-making?...

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Karma  - Sowing Good Seeds

Scripture Readings: Proverbs 11:27, Job 4:8, Galatians 6:7, James 3:18
Download the PowerPoint Presentation
Video: A Story about Karma

This is what our conservative friends at have to say about karma:

Many people ask is karma biblical and the answer is no. Karma is a Hinduism and Buddhism belief that says your actions determine the good and the bad that happens to you in this life and the afterlife. Karma is associated with reincarnation, which basically says what you do today will determine your next life."

With Karma you get what you deserve. In Christianity Jesus got what you deserve." "Grace is the opposite of Karma."....

...However, the biblical metaphors for reaping what you have sown are virtually a description of Karma! The verses they list following this description are the ones we just heard read. It's amazing to me to see how these conservative evangelicals are so narrowly focused on their particular theology that they don't even make sense anymore....


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Ashes to Beauty
by Frank Schaefer
Scripture Reading: John 9:1-9
Download the PowerPoint Presentation
Song Link: Beautiful Things

Close your eyes with me if you will and letís imagine what his life must have been like for a moment. You sit in the all so familiar dirt once again, you listen to the hustling and bustling of people around you. As you hear people shuffling by you may stretch out your hand and say something like: ďSir, maíam, can you spare a penny for a blind beggar?Ē

Suddenly you hear a group of people having a theological discussion about you. Has this man been born blind as punishment for his own sins or his parents sins. Youíve heard this discussion before. You want to scream:  ďWhat did my family or I ever do to deserve this?Ē But you donít dare do that because instinctively...and from know that this is not a safe thing to do. There could be terrible repercussions. And then you hear someone spitting....

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  Will I Be Alright?

Romans 5:1-5
  PowerPoint:  Alright

  Song Link: I'm Alright FFH
("Trouble may find me, but it's not going to keep me down")

Excerpt: At the beginning of a new year, we look ahead to the new possibilities, but we often also start to worry about the dark clouds we perceive in the future. We worry and we ask ourselves, will I be alright?

Just recently I read a Psychology Today article that taught me something new. I didnít realize that a negative outlook on life can be the result of a victim mentality. It was written by a minister/psychologist by the name of Nancy Colier. It was one of those ďaha-momentsĒ in my life which helped me to grow spiritually. As a definition, those with a victim mentality are always being victimized, at least in their own mind. They maintain a consistent victim identity and see life through perpetually victim-tinted glasses.

We all know people who seem to be constantly commenting on some injustice done to them ó how others are denying them what they need, want, and deserve, controlling them against their will...

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