Our guest preacher today is Reverend Gwen Thomas, an avowed Liberation Theologian and Womanist. She is ordained by the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and licensed in United Church of Christ. Gwen serves as an associate minister at Rehoboth Fellowship Atlanta UCC. At Rehoboth, Gwen is a part of the Worship Planning Team. She also facilitates leadership development training. Additionally, Gwen is the former Conference Moderator and ONA (Open and Affirming) consultant for the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Sermon Audio Downloads
This morning we're taking a quick break from our series on Philippians to explore the passage that goes with today's celebration of Pentecost. We're heading back to the book of Acts where we spent a few weeks considering how we can be the church in the world now. All of those great stories that we heard a few weeks ago were sparked by the story we are going to hear this morning. It's the story of when the followers of Jesus are filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
We continue this week with a series on the apostle Paul's letter to the church in the very Roman city of Philippi. We think this church was mostly made of Gentile converts because this letter really doesn't contain any Jewish imagery or Old Testament references. This is a letter of consolation, written to help the church learn how to have joy in all circumstances. Last week we talked about how the healthiest practice of our faith is a practice of interdependence.
This week we begin a six week series on the short book of Philippians. Sometime in the next week, I encourage you to sit down and read this book for yourselves as a refresher, and then bring your Bibles with you on Sunday morning. This is a letter written by the traveling evangelist Paul to the Christians in the city of Philippi. If you remember from a few weeks ago that church was founded by a woman named Lydia who heard Paul and his companion Silas sharing the good news of God's love.
BIG IDEA: When we live as part of the Body of Christ, there is no difference between our worship and our service. While our worship may feel deeply personal and meaningful, what I believe the text is suggesting to us this morning is that our service can be equally as life-giving as our worship.
Here’s a little pop quiz to get us started: I’m going to give you a list of people and you can guess what they have in common. Ready? Babe Ruth, Larry Bird, President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mozart, Bill Gates, Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, Mark Twain. They were all left-handed!Where are my lefties in the room this morning? Come on, southpaws. Left hands up and proud. I’m so glad you came to church today, because this is your day. Usually phrases having to do with leftiness are not compliments. You have two left feet means you’re clumsy.
This morning we continue with a new series we started last week. We're going to spend the rest of the summer studying Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Last week we looked at the salt and light passage, but this week we are going back to the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Now let's put this in context. This is the very beginning of Jesus's teaching in the book of Matthew. Before this Jesus gets baptized, he is tempted in the desert, and after John the Baptist is arrested, Jesus continues to proclaim John's message: Repent for the Kingdom of the heavens is at hand. But we don't yet hear any of his preaching: Matthew just says that's what Jesus is saying. Next he calls the disciples and then the gospel tells us that he begins teaching in the Jewish synagogues, which means he would have been interpreting the Old Testament, also preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing people. And this begins to catch people's attention.