Sermons

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April 26th, 2015                          

“Let us love…”                                   

1 John 3:16-24

Rev. John Fitzgerald 

   I will begin with John’s definition of love: “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”  This sermon will focus on the principle that the life Christ lived is to be lived out by us among one another.  This will then naturally move to Stephen Ministers who are being recognized that day.  Living out our faith through love is the theme for this Sunday.

 

April 19th, 2015                      

“The Widow’s Mites”                          

Luke 20:45- 21:4

Rev. John Fitzgerald 

   When Jesus wanted to teach his disciples about giving, he pointed out the Widow who gave two mites to the Temple.   This sermon will start off with this beloved story, then move into the overall teachings about giving in the Bible.  We are stewards of what God provides.  We will talk about tithing and our financial stewardship.  Then the sermon will conclude by pointing out that the Widow gave from her heart, she gave proportionately more than the others, and she gave her all for her Lord.  May we do the same at Providence UMC.

 

April 12th, 2015

"Easter Doubt"

Rev. William Jeffries

 

April 5th ,2015

“Celebrating Easter”

Rev. John Fitzgerald

 

March 29th ,2015

“Defining Moments”

Palm Sunday

Rev. John Fitzgerald

 

March 22nd ,2015

“A Grain of Wheat”

John 12:20-33

Rev. John Fitzgerald

   Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain.  But if it dies it bears much fruit.”  This sermon will move with the text through our passage, beginning with the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus – how Jesus said “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” – to instructions that Jesus gives us as we await the coming of the cross.”  This sermon will set the stage for Palm Sunday and the resurrection of Easter.”  

 

March 15th, 2015

“Saved by Grace through Faith”

Ephesians 2:1-10

Rev. John Fitzgerald

   Fredric Bechner said: “Being saved by grace through faith is like algebra: x +y=z.  If you know the value of one letter then you know something.  If you know the value of two letters then you can probably figure the whole thing out.  But if you don’t know the value of any of the letters then this is gibberish.  Likewise, people who are outside the church have no idea of what we are talking about when we say that we are saved by grace through faith.  What does it mean to be saved?  What is grace?  What is faith?  This sermon will break down Paul’s theological position in ways that people today can identify.  

 

March 8th,2015  

"The Touch of Faith"

UMW Sunday

Rev. Leigh Anne Hagerman 

 

March 1st, 2015

 “Get Behind Me…”

Mark 8:31-38

Rev. John Fitzgerald

   Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.”  This comes in the context of Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.”  Immediately Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things.  Peter’s response was to say, “No Lord, you are not going to suffer.  You are the Messiah.”  That was a temptation to be the militant Messiah that everyone expected and to take the easy path that would allow him to side step God’s plans.  But Jesus knew what he had to do and he resisted temptation.  This sermon will deal with resisting temptation in our lives as we prepare our hearts for the coming cross.


 

February 22th, 2015

"Youth Sunday"

 

February 15th, 2015

"Transfiguration Sunday"

Mark 9:2-9

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  Shakespere had Hamlet say, “There is more in heaven and on earth than we can dream of.”  In this passage Jesus and his disciples received a vision from heaven on earth.  This sermon will talk about experiences with God that are beyond the routine of our daily lives.  There are times when we need God in powerful ways.  In our passage, Elijah and Moses were talking with Jesus. What were they talking about?  They were talking about the cross.  This sermon will move toward the Lent theme of preparing our hearts for the cross.

 

February 8th, 2015

“Healed to Serve”

Mark 1:29-39

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  This sermon will be based on the story of the healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law. We will talk about miracles and healing in general. Healing is for a purpose – to reflect the renewing (“Behold I make all things new”) nature of the kingdom of heaven and to empower us to service. The sermon will then move toward the concept of a healing service. This sermon will conclude with James chapter 5 which tells us to do this.

 

February 1st, 2015

“What Have You to Do with Us?”

Mark 1:21-28

Rev. John Fitzgerald

    In this passage Jesus entered the synagogue of Capernaum and encountered a man with an unclean spirit.  The man cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth…”  This is a good question because we today can keep Christ at a distance.  C.S. Lewis said that Christ does not want merely part of us – He wants all of us.  What would Jesus do with us if he had all of us?  The man with the unclean spirit wanted to know if Jesus had come to destroy him.  The answer is yes.  But if we die to our old self we can be made new in Christ.  Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man and the people were amazed.  This sermon will encourage us to surrender our lives to Him.

 

January 25th

“A Whale of a Tale”

Jonah 3:1-5,10

Rev. John Fitzgerald

    The story of Jonah and the great fish (the Bible does not say that it was a whale) is a favorite since childhood.  But this story is more than a fish tale.  The Ninivites were the enemies of the Hebrews and could be best described as the Nazis of the Old Testament.  This would be like God asking me or you to go to Syria and to tell the ISIL terrorists to repent from their evil ways.  Jonah responded the way you or I would respond – he got on a ship to go to the other direction.  This sermon will talk about running away from God, it will talk about how God reaches out to us, and how God works in the context of our reluctance to move us toward loving our enemies.

 

January 18th, 2015

"Being Known"

Rev. Nina Wynn

 

January 11th, 2015

"Baptizing Jesus"

Mark 1:4-11

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  This is the Sunday when we discuss the meaning of baptism and remember our vows as we remember that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. This sermon will focus on

(1) baptism as a sacrament which cleanses us of our sin,

(2) where we are claimed by God and initiated into the universal Church, and

(3) commissioned as His disciples to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ and to make disciples of all nations.

This sermon will move toward a service of baptismal reaffirmation.

 

January 4th, 2015

“What Child Is This?”

Rev. William Jeffries


 

December 28th

“My Eyes have Seen Your Salvation”

Luke 2:25-35

Rev. John Fitzgerald

    It was revealed to Simeon that he would not experience death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  It may seem strange to talk about death in the midst of birth, but that is what Simeon does.  This sermon will explore how we often prepare for anything and everything except death.  When Simeon saw the Christ Child, he said, “Lord, let your servant now depart in peace for my eyes have seen the coming of your salvation.” In this passage Luke is telling us about witnesses to the birth of the Messiah, he is urging us to see this experience as the fulfillment of a life time, and he is preparing us for the life and death that our Lord would lead.  Simeon’s final comment about “a sword piercing her soul” foreshadows the coming of the cross

 

December 24th

"On This Night"

Rev. John Fitzgerald


 

December 14th, 2014

3rd Advent            

“Conspiracy Mission”               

Isaiah 61:1-4.8-11

Rev. John Fitzgerald

    This sermon will explore the mission of the Messiah and will encourage us to give more to fulfilling His mission today. 

(1) To proclaim good news to the oppressed/poor.  We will talk about ways to give more to helping the poor through Providence UMC missions. 

(2) To bind up the broken hearted. 

(3) To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners. 

(4) To proclaim the year of our Lord’s favor for all who will receive Him.  This sermon will focus on specific ways that we can give more to missions through Providence UMC. 

 

December 7th,  2014

2nd Advent          

“It is Not Your Birthday”                     

Isaiah 40:1-11

Rev. John Fitzgerald

    My friend from Israel asked me “What is the deal with Christmas?” There is no question that our culture has turned Advent into marketing madness.  I tried to defend it by saying “It’s Jesus’s birthday.”  But Mike Slaughter from Gingamsburg UMC said, “It is not your birthday.” The Advent Conspiracy theme for this Sunday is “spend less.”  Advent is more than mountains of gifts to each other.  The prophet Isaiah saw this as a time to comfort those who have walked in darkness.  It is a time to get our lives in order so that the glory of God might be revealed to us.  Most of all, Isaiah saw hope that God would reveal himself to us as the shepherd of His people.

 

November 30th, 2014

1st  Advent 

"The Great Storyteller"

Rev. Leigh Anne Hagerman

 

November 23rd, 2014

“Christ the King”

Ephesians1:15:23

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  In his letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul lifts Christ to immeasurable greatness and seats him at God’s right hand in the heavenly places.  Acknowledging that Christ is the head of all things will lead us to giving thanks to Him during this season of Thanksgiving, and will focus on Christ as the rightful recipient of tithes, offerings, and pledges.  This sermon will move from Christ the King to our commitment to generosity.

 

November 16th, 2014

“Audience of One”

1 Thess. 2:1-8

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  Paul said to the Thessalonians, “We did not come seeking praise from others, but to please God who tests our hearts.”  This sermon will delve into the disease to please and our need to gain the approval of others.  Paul, however, is motivated by the desire to please God.  When we place high value on the approval of others we are enslaved by the fallen perspective of the world, but when our sole desire is to live for God we are empowered to face all circumstances of life for Him.  This will tie into our Stewardship theme of committed to service.

 

November 9th, 2014

"How to Pray"

Luke 11:1:13

Rev. John Fitzgerald

   When Jesus wanted to teach us what to pray, he gave us the example of the Lord’s prayer.  When he wanted to teach us how to pray, he gave us the parable of the knock at midnight.  We are called to pray consistently, persistently, and urgently.   This sermon will move toward our stewardship theme of being committed to prayer as a church.  

 

November 2nd, 2014

All Saints Sunday

"Together with the Lord”

1 Thess. 4:13-18

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  I know that this is the lectionary text for November 9th, but I think that it fits All Saints Sunday better.  The Thessalonians have asked about loved ones who have died.  Paul is telling them that the day will come when we will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven with our Lord forever.  This sermon will talk about the meaning of All Saints Day and we will rejoice with Saints on earth and Saints in heaven.  To tie this into our Stewardship theme, the saints who have gone before us were committed to God and with the saints in heaven we join that commitment today. 

 

October 26th, 2014

"To Be or To Have"

Rev. William Jeffries

 

October 19th, 2014

"Works of Faith, Labors of Love and Steadfast Hope"

1Thess. 1:1-10

Rev. John Fitzgerald 

   Saint Paul is thankful for the faith, love, and hope of the Thessalonians.  This sermon will explore how these three attributes lifted the Thessalonians as an example to believers in Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere.  How can we be a model church of faith, love, and hope today?  

 

October 12th, 2014"

"Parting Thoughts"

Philippians 4:1-9

Rev. John Fitzgerald

  Paul concludes his letter with random thoughts and advice for the Philippian Church.  This sermon will also touch on the Children’s Sabbath in giving advice on a children’s level for growing up in the church. Paul tells Euodia and Syntyche to get along with each other and playing with others is something we learned in kindergarten.Giving thanks to God in all circumstances is also a childhood teaching that adults need to be reminded of.   Focusing on good thing that are honorable, just, pure, and commendable is a life-long pursuit.  

 

October 5th, 2014

"Behold, I am Doing A New Thing!"

Rev. William Jeffries

 

September 28, 2014 

“Attitude Adjustment”

Philippians 2:1-13

Rev. John Fitzgerald

TRANSCRIPT 

   In last week’s sermon we saw how Paul gained insights from his prison experience in Rome.  This week Paul urges the Philippians to a new mindset: 

(1)  Do nothing from selfish ambition, but in humility regard others as better than yourself, 

(2) look to the interests of others, 

(3)  Let your attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus.  

In the remainder of 2:6-11 Paul quotes a hymn that the earliest Christians sang telling us that Christ emptied himself, gave his life for us, and that God exalted Him.  Therefore, let us be like Him for our world today.

 

September 21, 2014

"Paul's Prison Ponderings"

Rev. John Fitzgerald

TRANSCRIPT 

The book of Philippians is a thank you note of sorts. Paul was in prison in Rome and the Philippians had sent a care package and Paul responds by saying: I really didn't need this but thank you anyway. Paul has learned the secrete to being content in all circumstances. In our passage he says that “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Suspecting that his life would soon be over, Paul 

(1) looks to the life to come, 

(2) urges the Philippians to live a life worthy of the gospel, and 

(3) he counts it as a privilege to share the sufferings of Christ. 

This sermon will explore how those three insights can play out if our lives as well.

 

September 14, 2014

"Loving Like Jesus Loves Me"

Rev. Leigh Anne Hagerman