Sermon: Making the Neighborhood
Theme: God’s people take joy in growing healthy relationships and reflecting God’s love in the way they treat others.
Purpose: The congregation will reflect upon their attitude towards people who are close to them.
Scriptures: Romans 13:8-14 Owe no one anything but to love one another, and be live honorably.
Mark 4:26-34 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, what we sow is what will be produced.
What is our role in shaping the community around us? What is Jesus’ call on us for how we build relationships? What should we be doing to intentionally assist our community and our nation in growing to be wise and healthy in relationships? How do we develop skills to that enable us to be thoughtful in how we build up the healthy elements of relationship in the world around us?
Sermon: Neighbors and Politics
Theme: Those who are mature in Christ are able to be confident in their own politics without attacking other people’s points of view.
Purpose: The congregation will learn to be healthy and wise in disagreement.
Scriptures: Philippians 2:12-18 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, rejoice in relationship.
John 6:25-34 The people want a sign and want to eat their fill of bread without commitment.
How do we maintain a healthy ability to hold our points of view and opinions while allowing others to disagree with us? What are the traits needed to disagree and discuss as mature and authentic people? Why are some so easily upset by political disputes? What is the cause of discussions deteriorating into personal attacks and disrespectful language? Why are some unable to interact with the issues or concerns without feeling personally attacked? How as Christians (especially as Presbyterians) are we to teach others to engage in healthy discussion?
Sermon: Salty Neighbors
Theme: We are called to focus on being Christ’s loving presence in the world.
Purpose: The congregation will seek to find ways that they can be active, making a difference in the world.
Scriptures: Colossians 2:8-17 Do not get caught up in philosophies or arguments, but know that you are forgiven through the death of Christ.
Matthew 5:13-16 You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth.
How can we be the “salt” that preserves and prevents decay in the community? What do we need to do in order to not become caught up in ideology or debates, but instead focus on doing things that bring hope and healing in the world? What causes neighbors to become divided or hostile towards each other? What are the vulnerabilities that cause people to become focused on insignificant differences rather than finding places of common hope and concern? How do we focus on developing the fullness of Christ’s wisdom?
Sermon: “Do Not Judge the Neighbors”
Theme: We are called to be people who practice love and acceptance, showing the grace and mercy of God.
Purpose: The congregation will focus on acceptance of those who are different.
Scriptures: Colossians 3:1-11 There is no longer Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, set your mind on the things that are above.
Matthew 7:1-5 Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
What does holding grudges and prejudices end up costing us emotionally and spiritually? What happens to our relationship with God If we hold onto thoughts of judgment and condemnation? What is the cost to our fellowship together if we support suspicion, hostility, and bitterness? How do we learn to be people who are free from intolerance and condemnation of others? What leads us to practicing “wrath, malice and slander?” What leads us to focus on the things that divide us? In what ways can we be healed as we serve to bring healing to our communities?
Sermon: “But My Neighbor is a …..”
Theme: Faithfulness to Christ calls us to see Christ in our neighbor’s heart rather than judge his or her behaviors.
Purpose: The congregation will seek to let go of judgments of others.
Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-17 Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
John 4:5-42 Jesus and the woman of Samaria at the well.
How does God call us to relate to those who have suffered humiliation and discrimination in their community? How do we find ways to show Christ’s love to people who have been condemned or suffered shame? In what ways does God call us to be people of grace and acceptance? What difference will it make to the world when we practice this Christ-like love and compassion? How do we become people who stand out in the world for our ability to bring healing and hope?