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Sermons

Copies of the weekly John Knox Sunday Sermons are posted below in chronological order.

YOU ARE SPECIAL!

Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

I Peter 4:7-11

Rev. Dr. Al Hart

"...we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us."
Romans 12:8
Yankee magazine ran a fascinating article some years ago entitled "Sensitive Specialists." It described persons who make their living making extraordinary use of their natural senses. They mentioned the eye of a diamond inspector, the sense of feel of a wool inspector, the developed ear of a cymbal tester (wouldn't you love to live in his house!), the sense of smell of a fresh fish inspector (living with her might be even worse!), the sense of taste of a milk taster. All these folks acknowledged that they had no special gift in the area of their senses. They had simply trained themselves to use what they had to a high degree.

The Holy Spirit at Work

Acts 2

June 4, 2017

Joel 2:18

"In the last days, it will be, God declares, that I pour out my Spirit upon all flesh."

If you've been watching the Cavs, then most likely you've seen the most recent commercial from Samsung.  One ostrich leaves the flock and makes his way to a nearby house.  He picks at a remaining lunch on the patio and then fiddles around with a Samsung Gear VR that promptly ends up over his eyes.  At that point a flight simulator takes over and Elton John's Rocket Man begins to play.  Suddenly the flightless bird is inspired by flight and motivated to practice.  Day and night, before curious onlookers.  And then eventually, it happens, he takes flight, soaring above his comrades running below on the plains.

The Story

Today is the Day of Pentecost, the day when the church first took flight.  When a mighty wind blew through a house in Jerusalem and God's breath blew on the disciples gathered, young and old, male and female about 120 of them. The Day of Pentecost was when the disciples received the Holy Spirit.

So imagine the scene. The town of Jerusalem bustling with people from lands near and far to celebrate Pentecost, an ancient festival first rooted in the harvest and later in the giving of the law. The disciples were waiting on his parting promise, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth," (Acts 1:8).

"One"

John 17

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

In the classic film Casablanca there is a telling scene of courage.  Bogie owns Rick's Café American bar in Casablanca, Morroco during World War II. Casablanca was then a French territory under German occupation. The scene of courage occurs when a group of Nazi soldiers gathered at Rick's start singing German songs loudly and without consideration.
In occupied territory, a conquering army taunts the French citizens with their boisterous songs. The down-cast French sit in sadness until Victor Laszlo, a brave resistance fighter, stands, walks over to the band and says, "Play La Marseilles" the French National anthem. The band members are tentative, they fear the German officers.
But Bogie nods his approval and Laszlo begins to sing at the top of his lungs. The band comes to their feet, playing with gusto. The music soars, and the crowd comes to life. They do not protest the Nazis. They do not shout them down in anger. They just sing so loudly this song of their hearts, that they drown out the German soldiers who then close the bar in disgust. With their shared song and national pride, they drowned out the Nazi occupation if only for a moment. 

You ever been brought in to that kind of song?  Maybe you've come to a high school game with a heavy heart.  Too much going on and then, before the game begins, you are asked to stand for the National Anthem.  There is something in you that is grateful for the chance to stand and sing out.  There is something about Home team and Visiting team sharing a common song, with national pride.  Others songs and worries seem to fade away, if only for a moment.

Ever hear someone pray for you?  Ever been in a group and have someone lift up your name in prayer.  Ever have someone say, "I've been praying for you and will keep at it."  It's incredibly empowering.  Suddenly in that experience you are brought into a community that cares; a community that is bold enough to summon the powers of God on your behalf.  And for a moment, your insecurities seem to fade away.

Done With Anxiety

Philippians 4:4-8

May 21, 2017

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse," (Philippians 4:4-8 Message).

Done with Timidity
II Timothy 1:1-7
May 14, 2017
1. My Child
Every four years the world watches an ancient ritual unfold: the passing of the Olympic torch. The opening ceremonies cannot begin until the final carrier of the torch arrives in the stadium after a long procession. The torch symbolically links modern Olympic Games to their 2,700 year history. We're familiar with the phrase, "passing the torch", when an esteemed orchestra conductor hands over his baton or a great sports figure tutors her replacement, or company CEO hands the over responsibility to the next in line. A farewell speech might be given, he or she has finished the work, the time has come to pass the torch to another.
A few years back with Brogan on a canoeing venture along the French River in Canada, 2 guides had taken our crew of 10 along channels of the French River for 4 days. We knew that near the end of our trip we would orient ourselves during the final days back to base. There were not a whole lot of final instructions. We had the maps and for the most part we had followed their counsel. Funny how you listen a little more closely to instruction when you know that soon you will be responsible for it.