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Mel Gibson's powerful new movie has grossed over $180 Million dollars, on target to be the biggest movie of all time. No preacher should miss addressing this important film. The new Lenten Series from eSermons.com "The Passion of the Christ" follows the movie's themes complementing the current events and topics that will be in the press these next two months. Here is the series:

     THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

     Lent 1: His Triumphal Entry

     Lent 2: His Clearing of the Temple

     Lent 3: His Teachings

     Lent 4: His Last Supper & Betrayal

     Lent 5: His Trial

     Lent 6: His Death

     Easter: His Resurrection

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Sermon for Lent 2:

              Luke 13:31-35  -  Who Lives In You...
             
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Who lives in you? That's the question that comes to mind as we read those words of Jesus this morning when he tells the Pharisees, "Go tell that fox (Herod) that I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow and on the third day reach my goal." I will do what I must. For God lives in me. I am a citizen of heaven. Let him do what he must!

Let your imagination run free for a moment and picture yourself, your personality, who you are really, as a house. Any kind of house will do -- just so it's yours. For some it may be a huge castle, with lofty turrets and banners waving in the breeze, a place that is safe and secure. For others it may be a rustic cabin, tucked away in the woods, a peaceful and quiet refuge. For others still, it might be a nice little retirement home, with a rocking chair on the front porch, a shade tree in front and a nice warm breeze stirring flowers blooming in front.

Now, move in closer and imagine the front door of that house. Picture someone pushing the doorbell, clanking the knocker, or rapping on the door. If someone came to the door of your house, who would they find inside? Who lives in you?

I'm not sure about you, but I've met people who gave me the distinct impression that if I went inside the "houses" of their lives, I wouldn't find anyone home. Or if I went inside their houses, they would be so cluttered with junk that there wouldn't be any room for anyone. Or some whose houses are great and impressive on the outside, but once I entered everything would be artificial.

Who lives in you? That's the question for us to address this Second Sunday in Lent. Who lives in you? What guides your decisions? What sets the course of your life? What determines the way you think and treat others around you? Most of us would like to say that it is our Christian faith that determines who we are. But is that so? For there are two kinds of people who can be home -- citizens of the world and citizens of heaven.

Who lives in you? Think back over the decisions you've made this past week. Who made them -- a citizen of this world or a citizen of heaven? Recall the way you spoke to those around you and the way you treated others. Who was present then? What about the offering you bring this morning, what kind of relationship with God does it reflect? Is it a citizen of heaven, the child of God, who is present in us? Or is it a stranger of this world, one who cares little about others, who thinks first of him or herself, whose actions fail to give witness to the allegiance we claim to have with God?

Who lives in you? What stirs you each day of your life? We'd like to...

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This Week's Sunday Sermon:

      Luke 4:1-13 - Would You Take The Crown Without The Cross?
                            
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The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, and one of the applicants - who was not known to be the brightest academically, was called in for an interview. "Okay," began the sheriff, "What is 1 and 1?" "Eleven," came the reply. The sheriff thought to himself, "That's not what I meant, but he's right."

Then the sheriff asked, "What two days of the week start with the letter 'T'?" "Today & tomorrow." Replied the applicant. The sheriff was again surprised over the answer, one that he had never thought of himself.

"Now, listen carefully, who killed Abraham Lincoln?", asked the sheriff. The job seeker seemed a little surprised, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, "I don't know." The sheriff replied, "Well, why don't you go home and work on that one for a while?" The applicant left and wandered over to his pals who were waiting to hear the results of the interview. He greeted them with a cheery smile, "The job is mine! The interview went great! First day on the job and I'm already working on a murder case!"

In our Gospel reading this morning in Mark 1 it is Jesus' first day on the job. Immediately he is confronted with three major temptations. And he is confronted with this basic question: Would he take the crown without the cross?

These are basic temptations in life. These three temptations form the foundation for all other temptations. And I would propose that when temptations come our way; if we will pause and classify the temptations, identify them with one of the three temptations Jesus faced; we will be equipped to answer Satan with the words and obedience of Christ.

Let's look at the three temptations:

1. Stone into Bread: The temptation to use power for the wrong purposes.
2. Jump on the Rocks: The Temptation to gain popularity by performance.
3. Serve The Wrong Master: The temptation to idolatry.

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eSermons.com offers thousands of illustrations like the one below:

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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sermons.com presents Leonard Sweet