"Featured" Tagged Sermons

"Featured" Tagged Sermons

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God in the Furnace

Where is God when we go into the furnace? Babylon, in some ways, was similar to many pluralistic nations today. Its leaders recognized the wisdom of tolerating all sorts of different deities in the private sphere, as long as everyone’s allegiance in public–at least nominally–was to the Babylonian gods. In other words, “Worship whatever God or gods you want to on your own time and in your own place, but when you’re in public, be willing to give homage to…

Forgive

Jesus said a lot about his expectations that his followers forgive people who sin against us, seemingly going so far as to say that God’s forgiveness of us hinges on our forgiving others. It’s embedded in the Lord’s Prayer (“Forgive us, as we forgive those who sin against us.”), and in the story above, the forgiven servant who withholds forgiveness from his servant finds himself being punished severely. And yet many people–even Christians–still harbor bitterness in their hearts from offenses…

Free Servants: How Christians Relate to Political Powers

We’re in the middle of a sermon series on 1 Peter, a letter the apostle wrote to Christians who were struggling to figure out how they were supposed to relate to an increasingly hostile world. Like them, we sense a change in the cultural tides against the practice of historic, orthodox Christianity, and sometimes we’re confused about who we are and how we’re supposed to live. After laying the theological groundwork and encouraging his readers to remember the importance of…

That I May Know Him

met a friend for lunch yesterday at 11:30, and at around noon it struck me that at that moment almost 2,000 years ago, the sun went dark in Judea, and three hours later Jesus cried out and took his last breath. It’s called Good Friday because of the sacrifice he made for us. But of course, many people died of crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, including many other Jewish men in the years before and after Jesus’ death.…

Living as Christians in an Unbelieving World

We’re in the middle of a sermon series on 1 Peter, a letter the apostle wrote to Christians who were struggling to figure out how they were supposed to relate to an increasingly hostile world. Like them, we sense a change in the cultural tides against the practice of historic, orthodox Christianity, and sometimes we’re confused about who we are and how we’re supposed to live. What does the world think when they think of Christianity? Their opinions might be…

The Exiled Community: Love One Another

Peter wrote this letter to Christians who felt that the world was turning against them, and he wanted to help them think more clearly about how Christians can live in a world whose values are antithetical to theirs. So we’re taking several Sundays to walk through this important letter together. In the first two verses Peter introduces a theme that he’ll return to repeatedly: Christians live as exiles in a strange land. Yet, the apostle suggests, God will help us live…

Exiled but Living With Hope

Peter wrote this letter to Christians who felt that the world was turning against them, and he wanted to help them think more clearly about how Christians can live in a world whose values are antithetical to theirs. So we’re taking several Sundays to walk through this important letter together. In the first two verses Peter introduces a theme that he’ll return to repeatedly: Christians live as exiles in a strange land. Yet, the apostle suggests, God will help us live…

Renew a Right Spirit Within Me

Our theme for 2021 is RENEW, and on the first Sunday of each month, I plan to address a different aspect of renewal. This Sunday we’ll focus our attention on a famous psalm of David. The background of Psalm 51 is his sin with Bathsheba and his being convicted of his sin by Nathan the prophet. [To appreciate the context and to get a feel for David’s remorse, you might read the whole psalm.] David is devastated by what he’s…

Exiled: Being Christians Right Now

Christianity’s role in American culture is changing. Regardless of our political leanings, I suspect that we all agree that our society is on a trajectory that is inconsistent with the teachings of orthodox, biblical Christianity. It’s confusing for many of us, and probably alarming. We fear that God might abandon us, and we’re scared of what our society will look like when our children or grandchildren are grown. Those are real concerns. America is not and never has been “God’s…

Who Do You Say that He is?

Mark begins his gospel by making it clear who the subject of his narrative is: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1). Near the end he includes this confession–from the mouth of a calloused, pagan centurion: “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (15:39). And in all the chapters in between, he’s concerned about…

God’s Broken Heroes

Many folks in our congregation are reading through the Bible again this year, and most reading plans–including the one we invited people to join–spend much of January in Genesis. One thing that jumps out at me every time I read through Genesis is this: these people God called aren’t particularly good people. I don’t mean that they weren’t at times characterized by faith or that they didn’t grow in their faith. I’m just always surprised again at some of the things…

Renew

A year ago we had just announced our theme for 2020, which was, “Focus On What Matters,” using Philippians 3:13 as our theme text: “This one thing I do.” Little did we know what 2020 was going to hold for us and for the world. Many of us probably have mixed feelings as we begin another year. There’s some hopefulness in us, I think, as we anticipate the vaccines’ distribution and subsequent slowing down (we hope) of the virus. At…