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Sermon for this week:

Matthew 5:1-12  - "The True Meaning Of Happiness"
Various Text     -    "Lenten Sermon Series"

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Matthew 5: Some years ago the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer published an article entitled: "How Do You Measure Up As A Man? The article stated that some extensive research had been conducted on the 20th century standards for measuring a man. The criteria were quite interesting and I thought that I might list them for the men here this morning just to see how they measure up.


1. His ability to make and conserve money (That lets me out already).

2. The cost, style and age of his car.

3. (This is my favorite) How much hair he has.

4. His strength and size.

5. The job he holds and how successful he is at it.

6. What sports he likes

7. How many clubs he belongs to.

8. His aggressiveness and reliability.


Jesus Christ also once set down eight principles for the measure of a person. His standards stand in stark contrast to the aforementioned. There would appear to be a wide gulf between the popular image of the successful person and what God sees as the successful person.


Here’s what happened: Jesus had just started his ministry and was gaining in popularity. Large crowds were gathering. He had just picked out his disciples. And in the quiet of the rolling grassy hills of northern Israel by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus delivered a sermon to a multitude. Acres and acres of human faces. The crowd represented a cross section of humanity.


There were rich and poor, young and old, doubtless varied races, those who were astute businessmen and those who were failures. In fact, the crowd that Jesus spoke to that day represented the world in miniature.


Yet, as different as they all were, Jesus understood that they were all on the same quest. They were all after the same thing. They all wanted happiness. Well, we are just like them aren’t we? Isn’t that what we want for ourselves. Isn’t that what we ultimately want for our children: Happiness.


The problem is that we really don’t grasp the true nature of happiness, and because of that it so often seems to elude us. You see, we think that happiness deals with our outer circumstances. We think that the truly happy man is one who has achieved outer success. Thus our beatitudes read:


1. Blessed is the man who makes a fortune.
2. Blessed is he who earns six figures.

3. Happy is the man who has a palace in the city and a summer home in the mountains.

4. Blessed is he who has won the applause of his pears.

5. Blessed is the woman who is recognized as a darling of society.


But on this special day Jesus shared with disciples and, indeed, with all of history, that the concept of happiness is…


1. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

2. Blessed are those who Mourn.

3. Blessed are the Meek


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Sermon Series for Lent: 

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Lenten: A Sight For Blind Eyes
                        David E. Leininger


1.   Lent - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 

2.   The Devil Made Me Do It  -  Matthew 4:1-11 

3.   Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-15 

4.   Excuses (Alternate Lent 2)  -  Luke 14:16-23 

5.   Unexpected Evangelists  -  John 4:5-42 

6.   Sight for Blind Eyes  -  John 9: 

7.   The Grief Grinch  -  John 11:17-36 

8.   Sometimes Youve Got to Shout!  -  John 12:12-16
9.   The Imperatives of the Resurrection  -  Matthew 28:1-10

Lenten: They Heard Him Gladly
                        James W. Moore

1.   The Common People Heard Him Gladly  -  Mark 12:35-37

2.   Jesus and Andrew  -  John 1:35-42

3.   Jesus and Zacchaeus  -  Luke 19:1-10

4.   Jesus and Bartimaeus  -  Mark 10:46-52

5.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42 

6.   Jesus and Mary Magdalene  -  John 20:11-18

7.   When The Risen Christ Comes Looking For Us  -  John 21:15-19

Lenten: The Passion Of The Christ
                        Brett Blair

1.   His Triumphal Entry  -  Luke 19:28-40

2.   His Cleansing Of The Temple  -  Luke 19:45-48

3.   His Teachings  -  Luke 20:27-38
4.   His Last Supper  -  Luke 22:14-23

5.   His Trial  -  Luke 23:13-25

6.   His Death  -  Luke 23:33-43

7.   His Resurrection  -  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10



Lenten: The Healing Power Of The Christ
                        James W. Moore

1.   The Healing Of Simons Mother-in-Law  -  Mark 1:21-28

2.   The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand  -  Mark 3:1-6

3.   The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

4.   The Healing of Jairus Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

5.   The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus  -  Mark 10:46-52

6.   The Healing Power of the Cross  -  Mark 15:33-41

7.   The Healing Power of the Resurrection  -  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10

Lenten: Encounters With Christ
                        James W. Moore

1.   Jesus & the Man Born Blind  -  John 9:1-12

2.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42

3.   Jesus and Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-10

4.   Jesus and the Woman at the Well  -  John 4:7-15

5.   Jesus and James and John  -  Matthew 20:20-28

6.   Jesus and Caiaphas  -  Matthew 26:58-68

7.   Jesus & Mary Magdalene  -  Mark 16:1-7

Lenten: Journey To The Cross
                        James W. Moore

1.   Jesus And The Demon-Possessed Man  -  Mark 5:1-20

2.   Jesus And The Hemorrhaging Woman  -  Mark 5:21-43

3.   Jesus And The Extravagant Woman  -  Mark 14:1-9

4.   Jesus and Judas  -  Mark 14:43-51

5.   Jesus and Simon Peter  -  Mark 14:66-72

6.   Jesus And Pontius Pilate  -  Matthew 27:15-26

7.   Jesus And The Women At The Tomb  -  Mark 16:1-8

Lenten: The Man From Galilee
                        Thomas A. Pilgrim

1.   The Temptation Of His Life  -  Matthew 4:1-11

2.   The Transformation Of His Call  -  Matthew 4:18-22

3.   The Touch Of His Hand  -  Matthew 8:14-17

4.   The Treasure Of His Kingdom  -  Matthew 13:44

5.   The Test Of His Courage  -  Matthew 20:17-19

6.   The Tragedy Of His Victory  -  Luke 19:28-40

7.   The Triumph Of His Defeat  -  Matthew 28:1-10


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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....


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