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Recovering the WOW Factor

Luke 10:24-37

Jesus said and did some really horrifying things throughout his ministry.

You probably shutter at the very thought of that sentence, but it is true.  The problem is that many of us have heard the stories and teaching of Jesus so often that they simply don’t carry anymore the impact that they should.   

I wonder what would happen to us if we could hear Jesus’ words as if we’d never heard them before.  What kind of revolutionary impact might they have on our lives if we could hear Jesus again for the first time – without all the filters that familiarity brings. 

Jesus tells us not to worry about what we are going to eat or wear. 

Jesus tells us not to save for a rainy day but to trust God to supply our daily needs.

Jesus tells us that if somebody attacks, don’t fight back, but turn the other cheek.

Jesus says that if somebody robs us we should give them more than what they demand. 

If you want to be great, Jesus says become a servant.

In tough economic times, Jesus says we should give all our money to care for the poor.   

 “Turn the other cheek!”

 “Don’t return violence with violence.” 

 “Love your enemies and bless those who persecute you.”

 “Take up the cross!”

I know what’s going on in your mind right now.  I thought the same thing when I began preparing this message.  “Yes, but…” I thought to myself.  “Yes, Jesus said all those things…but he didn’t really mean it!” 

Next I started offering all the excuses, explanations, and rationalizations that I’ve collected from decades of sermons and Bible studies – the things I’ve learn to take the edge off.  Then I started thinking, “What if the excuses, explanations, and rationalizations are wrong?  What if Jesus really said what he meant and meant what he said?  What if we are not allowed to files away as irrelevant the things that Jesus said that we really don’t like or understand?”

What if we recovered the WOW-factor in Jesus teachings, stories, and actions?

Like with today’s story, for example.  The “parable of the Good Samaritan” is one of the most well-known stories in human literature.  Like you I have heard this story read, preached, and taught in so many sermons and Bible studies that it seemed rather trite to preach it all again.  How can I we get a fresh hearing of this story when we’ve heard it all so many times before?  How can we rediscover the WOW-factor in this story? 

…To hear the rest of this sermon, come to Patterson Avenue Baptist Church this Sunday, July 11th, 2010.  We conduct Bible Studies for all ages at 9:45am, followed by Family Praise worship at 11:00am.  See you then!

The full text and an audio of the sermon will be available online after July 11th

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