Mathew 7: 13-29 • November 13, 2016 • Léonce B Crump Jr.
No one says, “I want to be as miserable as possible.” Quite the opposite. Whether we use the language of fulfillment, purpose, or meaning, we all want a life that is rich and full. We all want to know that we’ve invested our lives in something that will satisfy us now and last forever. However, the rich and full life is not an add-on to, or a subculture of, the world we live in. The kingdom of God is signaled by a hostile takeover of one’s heart by Jesus, accompanied by a cataclysmic shift in one’s priorities. It is in essence a choice, a choice to live in a completely different way, one that looks crazy to the world but one that Jesus promises will be blessed. To humanity’s eternal quest for the rich and full life, Jesus authoritatively declares that the countercultural kingdom is what you’ve been looking for. Kingdom | Counterculture | Mathew 7: 13-29
Only God Can Judge Me
Matthew 7:1-12 • November 6, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Christian or not, most are familiar with Jesus’ words found in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Typically we hear it reiterated as, “Only God can judge me” (thank you, Mr. Shakur) or “Christians aren’t supposed to judge!” exclaimed in defense to some criticism, deserved or not. What these misappropriations of Jesus’ words touch on is a deep desire in all of us to be treated better than we deserve. When it comes down to it, the truth is none of us really want to receive what we deserve. Kingdom | Only God Can Judge Me | Matthew 7:1-12
On My Grind
Matthew 6:19-34 • October 30, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Whether it’s fear of rejection, being overwhelmed with too many things to do, or worrying about what the future holds for us, every one of us is anxious about something. What many of us don’t realize is that anxiety is a result of desiring and seeking after things that ultimately don’t matter (at least not as much as we may think they do). We desire to be accepted by others, so we fear rejection. For the same reason, we say yes to too many things and then become irritated when it all becomes too much. When our success at work or our kids’ success at school doesn’t come fast enough, we stress over future opportunities. This same anxiety sets in with the acquisition of material possessions, as Randy Alcorn insightfully notes, “Every item we buy is one more thing to think about, talk about, clean, repair, arrange, fret over, and replace when it goes bad” (The Treasure Principle, pg. 54). So, whether it’s possessions, success, approval from others, or some other form of achievement, every one of us is anxious about something. Kingdom | On My Grind | Matthew 6:19-34
Matthew 6:1-18 • October 23, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
The first line of a 2010 Forbes article reads, “Like a good tax advisor, a charitable connection is now considered essential for a celebrity building, a brand.” That’s pretty much true for most sectors of society, isn’t it? Good works are often a means of brightening up a company or person’s public image and a vehicle for greater success rather than an actual expression of heartfelt love and service. Oftentimes, the same is true for devotion to God (e.g. giving, praying and fasting). These gifts of grace, given to the follower of Jesus to cultivate a heart more like God’s and reap heavenly rewards, instead are often used for selfish ends. If we’re honest, we all drift toward performing acts of devotion to be esteemed by people rather than God. We all enjoy being recognized and rewarded for doing good. Kingdom | PDA | Matthew 6:1-18
Matthew 5:38-48 • October 16, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
When someone wrongs us, our instinct is to get immediate payback. When we’re treated unfairly, everything in us lurches forward to demand our rights and justify our dignity. Our human nature loves the idea of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” What’s funny is, when we offend someone, we don’t seem to want this system of payback any more, do we? Instead, we want the o ended party to extend some patience and understanding, maybe even grace. For some reason, it seems so much easier to justify or explain away our actions when we’re the o ending party. When we hurt others, we want grace and mercy, not justice. Though we know that we are in the wrong, we don’t want others to treat us the way we know we deserve. In other words, everyone wants to be loved in spite of themselves. Kingdom | Crazy Love | Matthew 5:38-48
Matthew 5:31-37 • October 9, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” “An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.” “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” These phrases and others like them indicate that God has wired humanity to practice infidelity and honesty. If a person says they’ll do something, we expect them to follow through. Everyone wants honesty—we all do. If we’re honest though, none of us keep this standard perfectly, resulting in a world full of broken promises. This rampant infidelity brings pain to both those making promises and those expecting them to be fulfilled. Kingdom | Fidelity | Matthew 5:31-37
Good, Better, Best
Matthew 5:17-30 • October 2, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
On a scale of one to ten, chances are you think you’re a seven. You’re not alone! Truth is, we all tend to think pretty highly of ourselves. For example, in a classic 1977 study, 94% of professors rated themselves above average relative to their peers. Another study found that 30% of software employees believe their performance is better than 95% of their colleagues. Likewise, drivers consistently rate themselves above average, even when a hazard perception test shows them to be, in reality, quite awful. These data point to a startling, yet pervasive, reality: when compared with others, we all think we’re pretty good people. Kingdom | Good, Better, Best | Matthew 5:17-30
Matthew 5:1-16 • September 25, 2016 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician and Christian philosopher gave us keen insight into the deepest longing of humanity when he said the following: All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves (Pensées, #425). No matter the way we go about achieving it, the basis of every one of our actions is the desire to increase our happiness, whether that is pleasing others (because it increases our happiness) or causing harm to ourselves (we believe the harm will ultimately make us happier). But while it is true that we all want to be happy, the question we must honestly answer is, Do we ever really find it? Kingdom | Counterintuitive Blessing | Matthew 5:1-16