Sermon: Our Lenten Creed

Sermon Text: Mark 12:28-31 Sermon Excerpt I have one Christian education activity I use more than any other to help Christians work through what Christianity is all about.  I have facilitated it in many churches with youth and also with adults. This is how it works.  Those gathered are divided into small groups of five to eight people.  Each small group is asked to create a list of what it is one must believe to be labeled a Christian.  The only rule is that for any item to make the Read More …

Sermon: The Jesus Creed

Sermon Text - Mark 12:28-31 Sermon Excerpt Every semester I teach a survey course in world religions at Hodges University.  While most students are fascinated to learn about a new religion every week, they tend to find the pace challenging.  When we reach the eleventh week of the term, many breathe a sigh of relief since it is the week we consider Christianity. Many of my students, perhaps like most of you, feel confident they know Christianity better than any other religion.  We know Read More …

Faith & Voting

Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, recently wrote about how being a disciple of Jesus leads him to vote and shapes how he votes. For me voting is love in action.  It is about loving God, neighbor and about self.  Therefore, I vote for candidates who are likely to enact policies that honor God and are in the best interest of my neighbors.  Of course, I also vote in my own self-interest and that too is an act of love.  However, I want to be clear voting Read More …

Rethinking Religious Rules

This morning I am preaching at Naples United Church of Christ in Naples, FL.  You can read the full text of my sermon, Rethinking Religious Rules, here. For more information about the books referenced visit my review of One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow and my thoughts on The Jesus Creed, which was a part of my Who is Jesus? series. So What? In his recent book, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow, Scot McKnight writes these words: “Every religious culture multiplies rules (except Jesus’ Read More …

From Loving God to . . .

John Jensen blogs about a number of topics and relates each of them to "what Jesus has to do with it all." Recently, he wrote a post titled "Ten Things I would say to the Church (if they listened to me)" featuring the following items:  Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, everyone is your neighbor . . . What you do (orthopraxy) is as important, if not more important as what you believe (orthodoxy) . . . Stop trying to get the world to come into your church, and get your Read More …

Questions Worth Answering

Established in 1999, the Spirituality Book Club is "an on-line global community of kindred spirits who explore spirituality through books, music, discussion, and ways to get involved in doing good things globally."  Yesterday, I was featured on their Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality blog.  A copy of my interview follows: Name: Greg Smith Where you live: Naples, FL What you do as a vocation or avocation? Research, speak and write about education, especially relating to technology and Read More …

New Testament Reading for Sunday, February 20

Most of us have heard hundreds of sermons, yet would have a hard time constructing a list of even a dozen sermon titles.  However, if we compared lists I suspect three would rise to the top as the most frequently cited: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” – Jonathan Edwards “I Have a Dream” – Martin Luther King, Jr. “Sermon on the Mount” – Jesus More than centuries and geography separate the two American sermons from that of the Galilean sermon.  The American preachers wrote and Read More …