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I like a good courtroom drama. The tension of claim and counterclaim, of a lawyer leading a witness into a verbal trap: Just answer the question, yes or no, Mr Smith!  or of a witness springing a surprise piece of information which changes the whole tenor of the examination…it’s absorbing, deeply human stuff as those of us watching wonder what will happen? Who will come out on top? Will the truth win out, or will cleverness and deceit carry the day?

Our Gospel reading today is courtroom drama, with a hostile jury and much riding on the outcome of the cross examination. It’s set in the last week of Jesus life, with the stakes rising rapidly as the religious leaders try to find a way to trap and get rid of this pesky Galilean prophet who is eroding their power base  by calling for a heartfelt following of God in all of life, not just following their religious rules and rituals.

When Jesus is asked the question about paying taxes to the Roman emperor, his response is masterful, and unexpected, and contains great good news for us.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 22nd October 2017.

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

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In Philippians 3, Paul writes of what is of ultimate value to him. He had many things which he once thought made him 'right' with God and with which he attempted to fix the innate sense of wrongness that we all experience  - his identity, family connections, hard work, religiousness. But when he encountered Jesus, all of those things were shown up of little worth compared to the ultimate value of knowing Christ. It is intimacy with Christ, knowing Jesus and being known by him, which is both the ultimate value and motivating power for our life as Christians.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 8th October 2017. 

Enjoy!

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In Matthew 20, Jesus tells what is often known as 'the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.' It might be better named 'the Parable of the Generous Boss' as the employer is the main character - the one who shows deep compassion for those who haven't been hired, and is generous with his own money.

This parable has strong Christological links and shows us that the end of the day, God is just, God is gracious, God honours us and deals with our shame, and God is compassionate. At the end of the day, God is generous!

This sermon was preached on Sunday 24th September at Pakenham Lakeside Church.

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

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In Romans 13:14, St Paul writes 'Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ...'

This is about 'getting into the character of Christ' - and it happens in three main areas of our life: our believing, our behaving, and our belonging - or in our thoughts, our actions, and our community.

This sermon explores what it means to 'get into the character of Christ' and where the power for Christian living comes from. The sermon can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals at this link.

The sermon was preached on Sunday 10th September 2017 at Pakenham Lakeside Church.

Enjoy!

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'Don't let the world squeeze you into its mould': that's how JB Philips translates part of Romans 12:2. But rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind. In what ways does the world squeeze us into its mould? How does that twist our life out of shape and make us less than fully human? And how is God's will GOOD for us in the face of this pressure?

Romans 12 describes life in the body of Christ - as a result of the mercy of God which Paul has so eloquently presented in the previous chapters of the book of Romans. God has been merciful. His will for us is good. We have a place to belong. We each bring a gift. And the body-of-Christ-shaped life is a beautiful thing, a place of healing and transformation.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday August 27th.

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

 

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If you want to walk on water...

You'd better not get eaten by crocodiles!

You'd better understand who Jesus really is!

The passage about Jesus walking on water is not about Peter 'getting out of the boat' - it's all about the identity of Jesus. And if we don't understand this we can get into deep water (scuse the pun). This passage reveals the truth that Jesus is the 'I am' who is WITH US in grief, chaos and fear, and who overcomes all those powers through his presence and his identity.

You don't have to walk on water. You don't have to do something spectacular for God. Jesus has already done all that is necessary to save, comfort, and give you peace. Our faith, in the end, doesn't rest on miracles but on the presence and identity of Jesus, with us, in the midst of the stuff of everyday life.

This sermon was preached on Sunday 13th August, 2017 at Pakenham Lakeside Church.

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

 

 

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The sower in Jesus' parable in Matthew 13 doesn't strategically target 'the right soil' when he sows his seed. He scatters it everywhere. Just like God's grace - people don't have to live up to a certain standard to receive his love. 

How do we let the Word 'get in, get down, get out' and so have a fruitful life? Jesus says that it's all about how we respond (or not) to his word, which is the life-giving word of the good news of the Kingdom.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 23rd July 2017. It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

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The Jesus exchange goes like this:

Give up what you cannot keep, in order to gain what you cannot lose.

Jesus says 'Everyone who tries to save their own life will lose it, but everyone who gives up their life for me will find it.'

This is a hard sell in an individualistic, me-focussed culture! Jesus asks nothing less than 100% commitment. But what he gives in exchange for our selfish, fearful, dying life is his own resurrected, joyful, forever life.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 25th June 2017. 

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

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'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' These are some of the most famous words in all human literature. So begins the story of the Bible, God's interaction with the universe he created. As 21st century people our first question might be 'How?' or 'how long?' Did it really take seven days to create the universe? How did God do it, if he did?

And yet the text itself encourages us to ask a different question - 'Why?' Why did God create? What is the purpose of creation? 

This sermon proclaims the good news that love is at the very basis of the universe, that God delights in what he creates, and that God moves to redeem and restore his creation when it becomes 'not good.' 

The sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 11th June, 2017. It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

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Once upon a time a man bought a cheap air ratchet tool...which didn't work well for long. What did he do next?

When relationships don't quite work...when there is conflict...what is your response?

It's easy to say 'it's not worth it, it's not worth the effort to fix...'

Or to attack the other person

Or to escape and deny the problem

But what about peacemaking responses? Jesus says 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.' This means God himself is a peacemaker.

This sermon proclaims the good news of God's reconciliation for us...the repair of relationships through Jesus. God made us his friends. And he calls and equips us to be peacemakers in our relationships too.

This sermon was preached at Pakenham Lakeside Church on Sunday 28th May 2017.

It can be enhanced by viewing the Prezi zooming visuals found at this link.

Enjoy!

 

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