A new summer series starts this Sunday! Jesus just switches things up. He tells crowds, “You have heard that it was said, but I say…” Not small things, but colossal things! The world says this, but I say that. The paths diverge and lead to different outcomes. This week, we drill down on how to extinguish the sources of anger in our lives. We are tackling a huge human condition and showing the path forward for all of us. Come on out and let’s get this series started – together.
John, one of the disciples of Jesus, declared that Jesus dwelt among us full of “grace and truth.” It’s a good thing He was full of grace because often times we can’t handle the truth. This Sunday, as we continue our series on conventional wisdom vs. Jesus’ teachings, we come upon a pretty controversial one: marriage. In fact, it’s so controversial that after Jesus spoke on it, He got all “Jack Nicholson-like” and essentially said, “You can’t handle the truth.” The truth about two becoming one – this Summer Sunday at Mendham Hills.
Living life seems like a mad dash. Racing the clock, looking over your shoulder, and trying to make time-sensitive turns can leave us gasping for air. We jump into the fray Sunday morning in our talk, unpacking what “they” say and what Jesus says. How do I keep my soul from being shattered in the process of just doing life? They say, but I say – this Sunday at Mendham Hills.
…but money talks and actions speak louder than words. So, as good cynics, when someone tells us they’ll do something, we wait to see if they follow through. And, we love to lay the blame for this particular transgression at the feet of lawyers and politicians. But the truth is that the human race as a whole has a tenuous relationship with the truth. Jesus has a new challenge: Say what you mean and mean what you say – this Sunday at Mendham Hills.
I had a friend last week who, while in Guatemala, went to visit a ministry that serves children who are born both blind and deaf. All of us can certainly understand the desperate nature of their conditions. Yet, my friend told me his understanding paled in comparison to their reality – a reality that became his for a morning as they blindfolded him and placed earplugs in his ears. That reality changed his perspective. His eyes became dark and he could not see. Jesus warns us of such a condition, one He insisted was common: eyes that do not see. This Sunday, all of our teams are home from Guatemala but the question each of us must answer is…what are you looking at?
Rewards are powerful things. Lose your wedding ring…I feel bad. Lose your wedding ring and post a reward…I start looking! Our ability to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances is often directly related to our perception of the reward to come. Rewards matter. The Scriptures teach that the “ancients” understood this and it fueled faith and transformation. Have we “moderns” forgotten that a reward has been posted?
In a world that is sometimes upside down, people say rewards are based on impressing people that you can see in real-time and in real space. In our summer series, Jesus goes the other way: focusing on the reality of the unseen. Lots of things are unseen, but we know they exist. Air. Internet. Wind. Gravity. In the land of mirages, what isn’t seen turns out to be real; what seems to be real can be a mirage. Open your eyes…this Sunday at Mendham Hills.
Few words in the Bible have provoked as much anger and debate as these: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The Lex Talionis. The Law of Retribution. Atheists claim it proves the Bible contains internal contradictions. Gandhi said it would leave the whole world blind. For the Pharisees, it was a loophole allowing them to serve up cold-hearted revenge. Jesus acknowledges that many have weighed in on these much-debated words. And once again, as his sermon crescendos, he repeats, “but I say to you,” this Sunday at Mendham Hills.
Yes we are. Well, at least Jesus is. Some of you may be familiar with basketball great Allen Iverson’s aversion to practice. Spoiler alert – he didn’t see much value in it. Truth is that not many of us do, either. Have you ever had to try and convince your kids to practice less? Yet, Jesus sums up his famous Sermon on the Mount with one final counter-cultural teaching: It’s not what you know, it’s how you practice.
This summer, we heard Jesus say some pretty challenging and counter-cultural things. This Sunday, we hear him say something downright offensive. “They” seem to say all roads of religion lead to the same place. Jesus begs to differ and makes a pretty exclusive claim. Are all religions really the same? How small is the gate, how narrow is the road that leads to life? And how do I find it? Gates and roads – this September Sunday at Mendham Hills.