Category Archives: Sermon

Sermon Cast – The World’s Strangest Stewardship Sermon

Date: 1/11/2015
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Matthew 2:1-11
Description: Stewardship is that one great topic, that one great spiritual discipline that no one in the church enjoys addressing. While Jesus arguably talk more about finances in the Gospels than any other topic, his followers have had a poor track record on the subject. Many of us are familiar with either churches, institutions, or sermons that beg a little too much, pile the guilt a little too thickly, or simply come off as way too greedy that whenever the pulpit mentions the dollar sign, we close our ears. It’s Epiphany, and stewardship has been one of my own wake-up calls and ‘ah-hah’ moments  recently.

The essence of stewardship is cheerful giving (2 Corinthians 9).

Paul writes that giving should be a cheerful affair! Giving should come from an overflowing heart. Yet, if this is true, I also believe that receiving the prayers, gifts, talents, and tithes of a congregation should also be done with joy! Here is where the institutional church does a poor job: we do not say “Thank You” well or often enough. I encourage you to listen to this message and hear a very heart-felt “Thank You.”

-Pastor Ryan

Sermon Cast – Home for Christmas: You Can Count On Me

Date: 12/7/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Isaiah 40: 1-11, Mark 1:1-8
Description: In the second week of our Advent Sermon Series, we consider the topic of commitment. The iconic song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” brings to mind the hope of trustworthiness with the lyrics “You can count on me.” In this respect, every decision of family or friends to travel great distances during the holidays is an act of commitment. Purchasing plane tickets, driving for great lengths and hours are all evidence of our connection to and support of those we love. At Christmas time, the message of the Christ Child is one of God’s unwavering commitment to us.

Sermon Cast – Home for Christmas: The Last One In

Date: November 30, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
Description: One of my favorite Christmas songs is a rendition of I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Vince Gill. Whether in grade school, college, grad school, and even now in the ministry, I always want to be home for the Christmas holiday. I know that not everyone has the same experience, but home for me is safe, nostalgic, and filled with the ones I love most.

As we begin to celebrate Advent in 2014, we remember that a central piece of the Christian story is that Jesus, who once made his home with us (John 1:14), will also one day return ‘home’ to us again. This is commonly called the Second Coming. Jesus asks us to ‘be alert’ and ‘be awake’ not out of fear but out of hope. A child waits at the window sill for mom or dad to come home from swing-shift out of the simple joy of being brought back together again.

So Jesus calls us this Advent to come home for Christmas. Our true, heavenly home. While we wait, we live in the hopeful expectation of being reunited with our great Savior, in spirit now but in the flesh on a great day to come.

Sermon Cast – Collaborate with God

Date: October 19, 2014
Preacher: William Marshall

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-7
Description: Lay Preacher Jack Marshall provides the final message to the fall series “In Progress,” a look at the development of our spiritual journeys in God’s hands, under God’s guidance, and as co-laborers for God’s heavenly rule on earth.

Sermon Cast – All You Need, Ever

Date: 10/12/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:1-7, 1 John 4:7-16
Description: Today was a special day in worship at WUMC. In honor, recognition, and thanks to community First-Responders, we hosted a service and luncheon, inviting many local fire fighters, police officers, emergency workers, and dispatchers to join us. Johnny Jolin offered several special music selections, and a memorial wreath was purchased in memory of those who are no longer with us.

The Scripture passage from our In Progress sermon series is apt for such a day as this. In the ‘road map’ of 2 Peter 1:5-7, the pinnacle and goal of the Christian journey is sacrificial love.

The entire service for 10/12 is recorded on CD; if anyone would like a copy, please contact the church office.

Sermon Cast – Undercover Glory

Date: 10/5/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:1-7, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

 

Sermon Cast – In Progress: XXX Files

Date: September 28, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-7, Mark 7:14-23
Description: ‘Discipline’ and ‘self-control’ are unpleasant words. For a culture that values excess and my pleasure at the expense of others (just take a look at advertising slogans like Burger King’s “Have It Your Way”), curbing our appetites is neither stylish nor desirable. Yet, as 2 Peter 1:5-7 elaborates on the qualities of a maturing believer, self-control holds a prominent place.

In religious vocabulary, self-control seems confining. If our hearts are liable to all of the things Jesus warns about in Mark 7:21-22–sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly–is it really my responsibility to contain and resist all of those things? What dreadful and taxing tasks! I thought the life of faith was about hope and freedom (Galatians 5:1) rather than creating a new list of things I cannot do!

In reality, self-control is no via negative. Self-control is more than choosing what not to do. The athlete who spends hours training, rests well, and follows good nutrition is exercising self-control. Discipline–and consequently the life of faith–is all about instituting good and life-giving practices in ourselves. And if our hearts or full of these things, full of God (2 Peter 1:3), then we will simply have little room for damaging indulgence or excess.

Sermon Cast – In Progress: Holy Know-It-All

Date: September 21, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-7, James 4:13-17
Description: According to the spiritual progression found in 2 Peter 1:1-7, ‘knowledge’ builds on the foundation of faith and good works (2 Peter 1:5). Business and political culture often inform us that success comes not through what someone knows but by who someone knows. The Christian life seeks a very similar ideal to know Jesus Christ in our inner being.

Sermon Cast – In Progress: Faith First

Date: 9/7/2013
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:1-9 and Mark 9:14-29
Description: We are beginning a new sermon series with the begin of a new school year. For teachers and students, the beginning of another semester is met with a cadre of emotions. Some are ecstatic to begin learning/teaching again. Others loathe the experience, waiting agonizingly until summer rolls around again. Whatever one’s feeling on the subject, school is ‘back in session.’ Of course, one of the undergirding hopes of our educational system is growth in our students, physically, emotionally, academically.

Growth is also key to the life of faith. Our new series is called “In Progress,” because all of us are a holy and purposeful project under God’s direction. For six weeks we will be studying 2 Peter 1:1-9 in depth, looking intently at the process of spiritual development described in verses 5-7. These virtues and traits–faith, goodness, knowledge, love–are both seed and fruit of what God grows in us through Christ Jesus; and by the same token, these are the seeds and fruits for which we should strive in our journey to follow Jesus  more and more closely.

This morning, we discuss the foundation of it all: Faith. Faith is not simply an assertion without evidence. Faith is not some external commodity that I try to find or that God takes form elsewhere and puts inside of me. Faith is foremost an action–like love–whereby I TRUST God. Faith is trust. Trust in God’s promises. Trust that there is something and someone bigger than you or I who has a design behind the chaos we call life. It should go without saying that if we want the other godly traits to grow in us–love, virtue, godliness, affection, knowledge–that process will be severely hindered if we do not actually TRUST (i.e. have faith) that God is working those things in us.

Sermon Cast – Love, Never Let It Go!

Date: August 31, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: John 13:31-35, 15:12-17
Description: Disney offers a marvelous treatise of practical advice. When hungry in an abandoned building, make good with the silverware; when confronted with a scheming lion of an uncle, do not trust him. The company, however, offers less sound advice in the realms of love and affection. Some films suggest that the ‘fast track’ to finding true love lies in falling asleep and waiting for love to find us (cf. Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White). Thankfully, Frozen offers a more tempered and tactful approach to love that–to me–is much more in line with Scripture.

In a brilliant scene, the snowman Olaf addresses his friend Anna on the nature of true love. She, of course, must find an act of true love to prevent her heart from freezing forever. She confesses to not knowing what true love is. Olaf offers this concise and Biblical definition: “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” Done! Sermon preached. As Jesus taught his own disciples: “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, CEV). Love is not a commodity to search for outside of ourselves. Love begins inside as a reflection of Jesus’ sacrificial love given to all of us.