Mercy for Us, Justice for Others
Septl 17, 2023 — Sometimes we want mercy for ourselves and justice for others. We look at what Jesus taught Peter and the example of a Catholic priest during and after World War II for inspiration.
Sept. 10, 2023 — Before and After — We measure time in many ways, but one we all use from time to time is the concept of “before” and “after” some kind of event. The Israelites have something like that with a major event: the Passover.
Sept. 3, 2023 — We conclude our sermon series on asking “Why” with a more declarative statement. We can feel comfort in good times and bad because God’s love prevails.
Aug. 27, 2023 — We apologize, but our memory card failed, so we do not have the recording from our message about asking “Why doesn’t God share His wil for our lives?”
Aug. 13, 2023 — We start a new sermon series centered on the question we often as of God: Why? In this opening sermon, we look at why bad things happen to innocent people.
You Are Wonderfully Made for Service — As we near the end of our “New Reality” series, we use the story of Jacob to show that God does great thing with people who make mistakes. They aren’t imposters but, like us, are wonderfully made for the task of serving for Christ.
Planting Seeds of Anti-Racism — July 23, 2023 — Using a trip to historic civil rights sites in Alabama, we talk about planting seeds and cultivating soils of faith that include speaking out against discrimination and acting to prevent racism.
Tell in the Light — July 2. 2023 — Using the Michael Jackson hit “Man in the Mirror,” we talk about the path of discipleship starts with a look in the mirror. Whether in ways big or small, are you ready to change your ways?
Is Anything Too Wonderful? — June 25, 2023 — We start our journey toward understanding how to be better disciples of Jesus Christ by exploring why we’re doing this in the first place. Two metaphors come to mind: Introducing people to the Good Shepherd and planting seeds for the Holy Spirit to harvest.
Trust the Unknown — June 18, 2023 — We start a summer of understanding what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ with a lesson in learning to “Trust the Unknown.” Faith requires us to be brave — and maybe we even will need to be a little uncomfortable.
Hidden and Mixed In — We wrap up our summer-long sermon series about learning to be better disciples by exploring why we should do so. We are to share with others about the Kingdom of Heaven — which means we should fight for justice in the here and now while helping others prepare for the hereafter.
June 11, 2023 — Pastor Todd provided a slightly different version of this sermon for worship at Centenary UMC. This version is one he recorded as an option for pastors to use on June 11, 2023, the day after conclusion of the 2023 Great Plains Annual Conference session. He encourages people to move beyond lament over loss and to embrace the possibilities that come with our new normal as United Methodists.
June 4, 2023 — On Trinity Sunday, we talk about how some things really are difficult to understand — like rocket science! That’s where faith and trust come into play, such as our trust in God to guide us as we continue to try to learn about how the Trinity works.
May 28, 2023 — On Pentecost Sunday, we talk about the way the Holy Spirit has been present since the first day of the earth’s existence — and what that means for us as followers of Christ.
May 21, 2023 — Using Tools at Our Disposal — We conclude our sermon series on lessons from the book of Acts for the church today by studying how Paul used the tools at his disposal to share the message of good news through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
May 14, 2023 — Accepting All People — The story of Cornelius helps us understand that we are to be accepting of all people.
May 7, 2023 — Acts: Trusting God — Through the story of Saul’s conversion, we learn the importance of not just speaking our faith, but living it out and showing trust in God. Ananias provides us with a great example of doing both.
April 30, 2023 — Acts: Staying Curious — We experienced a problem with or camera recording. This link takes you to a special podcast featuring St. Paul School of Theology student Josh Seifert.
April 23, 2023 — Acts: Speak Boldly — We look at people through history — including Peter in Acts chapter 2 — to better understand how we can speak boldly about our faith.
April 16 — Acts: The Sequel — We start a sermon series on the book of Acts with a look at three lessons Jesus taught as he ascended to Heaven.
Easter Sunday — The Crucified and Resurrected Life
April 9 — In this Easter message, we explore the significance of not only the women coming to the tomb that Sunday morning, but also the way Jesus taught two followers on the road to Emmaus.
What can you do to ensure you don’t miss an encounter with Jesus Christ? And what words of comfort can we find when we face the most difficult of times.
Lenten Sermon Series: the Gospel of Luke
Feb. 26 Lifting Up the Lowly — The central theme of Luke’s Gospel is evident: Jesus came to lift up the lowly. In this opening to the Lenten series on Luke, we explore how God chooses and uses the “very old” and young people to fulfill the mission on earth.
March 5 God Values Women — Luke shows us the way Jesus valued women, ministered with them, taught them, and lifted them up. It calls us to strive for equality for women today, and highlights how Jesus sees all of us as dearly loved children of God.
March 12 Parables of and for the Outcasts — Jesus used parables to teach lessons, especially about how we should repent, forgive, show mercy and provide kindness. That is especially true for how we should interact with the outcast and the outlaws of our society.
March 19 Journey to Jerusalem — This sermon introduces Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem, which highlights the way these stories increase the urgency of Jesus’s ministry and mission. They demonstrate an ongoing commitment to lifting up the lowly.
March 26 The Final Week — We explore four scenes from Jesus’ final week as a human being on earth. He teaches about redemption, dignity, justice and humility as key parts of being a disciple of Christ.
April 2 Crucified with Outlaws — Even amid the anguish of the cross, Jesus shows mercy to those torturing him, to us despite our sinful nature, and he teaches yet again the importance of lifting up the lowly.
Embracing the Kin-Dom of God
Prior to Lent, we are exploring famous Bible passages that teach us what it’s like to be part of the family of faith through Jesus Christ.
Feb. 19 — Transformation — We conclude our sermon series on the “Kin-dom” of God be taking a look at what Peter got wrong — and so very right — when Jesus was transfigured on a mountain before heading toward Jerusalem, and the cross.
Feb. 12 — Above & Beyond — We continue our look at the Sermon on the Mount by exploring how Jesus calls us to do more than mere minimum standards for loving our neighbors.
Feb. 5 — Salt & Light — We are expected to be salt and light, meaning we add to others’ lives, we sustain others, we boost others, and we do so openly as we live out our faith.
Jan. 29 — Blessed Are … — Jesus gives the foundation for future teachings with the Beatitudes.
Jan. 22 — Being of One Mind — What could we, as Christians, do if we were all “on the same page”?
Jan. 15: Living in Abundance — We explore how we should strive for unity and embrace the abundance given to us by God as we work to fulfill our duty as Christians.
Jan. 8: Come On In, The Water’s Fine — We explore baptism and how Jesus may have insisted on being baptized as a means of turning toward a new existence for fellow believers in God.
Advent Week 1: Hope — We start our Advent series on “Angels Among Us” with a look at how the priest Zechariah went from being visited by a messenger of God to becoming a messenger of God. May we all be messengers of hope for someone who needs such a message in the days and weeks ahead.
Advent Week 2: Peace — Using the story of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary, we continue our sermon series on the angel visits documented in the Christmas story by studying how Mary “Just said Yes!” to the call from God. How are you prepared to answer?
Advent Week 3: Joy — We continue our Advent series on angels in the Christmas story by looking at Joseph’s response — both to Mary before a visit from the angel and then after he was visited in a dream. He was willing to listen and then responded to what God asked of him.
Advent Week 4: Love — We wrap up our sermon series on “Angels Among Us” by reviewing the angelic visit to the shepherds. God showed love for all people by first sharing the good news with the marginalized in society. Unlike the nativities on display at our Festival of Nativities, it wasn’t pretty then, but God’s cleansing power has been at work ever since.
We explored the Ten Commandments by grouping some of them by subject. Unfortunately, we had some camera issues for some of these, so in those cases a PDF of the sermon manuscript is shared.
Stories of Our Faith
In June 2022, we started a yearlong look at the amazing stories in the Bible and are discussing what the lessons within those stories have to teach us in the 21st century.
On Pentecost, Pastor Todd challenged the congregation to do three things over the next two weeks: Pray that the Holy Spirit would envelope the people of Centenary UMC as it did for the early disciples, invite at least three people to worship, and live out our faith with such fervor that people will question whether we are drunk, as happened to the early disciples in Acts 2.
A celebration of life was conducted for Dale Kring on June 25, 2022, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home in Lawrence, Kansas. Arte “Chubb” Bolling Jr. provided the message, and Pastor Todd Seifert officiated.
Songs of Faith
For this sermon series, the congregation was polled about their favorite hymns, so for the month of May, we are digging into the favorites they identified and exploring how those songs came to be and what they have to teach us.
We start our series with the amazing story of Horatio Spafford. If ever a man of faith had a reason to doubt or to show anger at God, it was Spafford. But he teaches a lesson in belief in the almighty God and a humbleness that reminds us all that God is, indeed, in control. See how you, too, can respond “It is well with my soul.”
Please note that because of an issue with our video camea, this week’s sermon is provided as a podcast episode.
We experimented with one fix to our camera this week, and it didn’t work as well as we had hoped. So we’ll post Pastor Todd’s podcast again this week with the second installment of our sermon series on Songs of Faith. This week’e episode features “Be Thou My Vision” as a component of an overall message about mothers and the sacrifices they make for us.
We continue our Songs of Faith sermon series with a look at racial justice, using the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” and Micah 6:8 as our framework. The hymns writer, John Newton, was once a slave ship captain who eventually repented of his sin and spoke out against the evil institution he once supported. We once again had some camera problems. The stormy weather this day in Lawrence dimmed light in the sanctuary at times, but those images don’t last long in this recording.
We continue our Songs of Faith sermon series with a look at the beloved hymn “How Great Thou Art.” The lyrics praising God’s creation gives us a chance to celebrate mountains, oceans, deserts, forests, all of the animals on the planet, people — and even dinosaurs!
After a tough week, we explore the hope and joy found in knowing that even amid another school shooting tragedy, Jesus Christ is a constant in our lives. We conclude our Songs of Faith sermon series with “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Admittedly, the song is only a small part of a sermon that focuses on guns, mental health, and the lack of hope people who pull the trigger in these situations seem to have.
Poor Thomas was really no different than any of the other disciples. He needed to see the wounds on Jesus’ body before he believed. Using the story of Thomas and the creative tales from Robert Ripley — of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” fame, we explore how we have seen the risen Christ in action in our lives and how we can help others see Jesus in the world today. Please note that a mishap with the camera’s memory card prompted the use of the podcast version for this link.
EASTER 2022 — Life can change in an instant, and we face many such instances throughout our lives. On this Resurrection Sunday, we explore two stories: One of an abandoned boy, and the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb. Together they show us how live change in an instant — and how we can help change the lives of others.
Final Sayings from Christ on the Cross
Each Sunday during Lent, we will explore the words recorded as being said by Jesus as he agonized on the cross. Through His words, we can find wisdom from what He said in the first century and apply it to our complicated lives here in the 21st century.
We start our Lenten sermon series on the seven recorded sayings of Christ while he hung on the cross. First, Jesus says, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Who do you need to forgive today? Relieve yourself of the yoke of bitterness by providing forgiveness.
In the second saying of Jesus from the cross, we hear, ” I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” We explore together the power of one criminal using the word “if” and the other using the word “when” to address Jesus.
As we continue our exploration of the final words of Jesus from the cross, we look at how Jesus’ cry of “My God, why have you forsaken me” may have been less a question and more a teaching moment from Psalm 22 and how God never truly leaves us, especially in our worst moments.
Our series on the final sayings of Christ from the cross continues with our guest preacher — the Rev. Maria Penrod of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wichita — sharing how Jesus showed his humanity even while completing his divine mission as he said, “I am thirst” and “It is finished.”
We conclude our Lenten journey toward the cross with the final words recorded from Jesus on the cross. He commits his spirit — his life — to God.
Due to an issue with our camera’s memory card, this link is to a PDF of the manuscript used for the message.
On Ash Wednesday, Pastor Todd challenges us not to take something away during this Lenten season, but instead figure out what we want to add to bolster our relationship with God. Using a lesson from Isaiah, we contemplate how we not only talk about serving God, but act on those words and our faith over these six weeks of Lent.
Jesus teaches us to turn the other cheek, not to judge unless we want to be judged, and to love our enemies. Together, we explore what those phrases mean as we strive to love all people — even people with whom we don’t agree.
Using the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, we talk about five lessons we can learn from Jesus, Peter, John, James, Moses and Elijah as we climb our own metaphorical mountains. When we face life’s many challenges — big and small — we can use what we learn from these men to climb or help others to climb.
In a sermon about spiritual gifts — and with the backdrop of a potential school closing in North Lawrence, Pastor Todd talks about spiritual gifts and the importance of building and preserving community. Just as spiritual gifts build the church, different pieces of the community work together to build a town.
Using the story of Jesus being thrown out of his hometown of Nazareth, we explore the concept of jealousy and how we instead need to share, especially the story of who Jesus is and the relationship anyone can have with the risen savior.
Using the Luke 5 text about Jesus telling his first disciples to cast into the deep water, we look at how we love independence, but we need to understand that we accomplish so much more when we open ourselves to letting Jesus lead the way.
On a day when worship was canceled due to ice and snow, Pastor Todd shares a sermon from his basement, reflecting on family. Specifically, he shares thoughts of how we, as followers of Christ, are adopted into God’s extended family through our belief in Jesus.
Using the story of John the Baptist to remember our baptism, the message on this day talks about how we can pave the way for others to get to know Jesus Christ.
On Christmas Eve 2021, Pastor Todd shares some facts he learned about light and ties those facts to the lesson from John chapter 1, which shares that Jesus came as the light to a dark world and that He came as a person to draw the marginalized out of the shadows. We apologize that the image is blurry at times. We learned our sancatuary does not have lighting conducive to recording after dark.
Our Advent 2021 series uses the story of Ebenezer Scrooge — mixed with scripture — to remind us that we all need redemption and that the coming birth of Jesus provides us with hope for that redemption. Though each stand alone, they are linked and may best be watched in sequence. Click the images below to play the video. The sermon series below goes in the following order:
- Hope — Nov. 25, 2021
- Peace — Dec. 5, 2021
- Love — Dec. 12, 2021
- Joy — Dec. 19, 2021