2013 Sermon Audio

Advent Cleaning: What does it mean to prepare

Kevin K. Baxter 08 Dec 2013

Advent is a season of preparation. We often want to the result without doing the work. But, if we are not willing to proper preparation, the work we do is simply superficial and glosses over the real issues and problems. This is as true in home decorating as in spiritual development. We need to do the proper preparation and not just paper over the gaping holes in our spiritual life. (18:29 minutes)

Giving is the True Thanks: A True Thanksgiving Offering

Kevin K. Baxter 24 Nov 2013

On Thanksgiving, families sit around a table and celebrate a feast in honor of what they are grateful for. Often, people will cite friends, family, work, and things they have received. What if we turn that on its head ever so slightly? What if we say, we should not give thanks for what brings us comfort or feelings of family closeness, but instead give thanks for the opportunities we have to love our neighbor and do good from the things we have? It is still giving thanks for the things we care about, but having those things not end in ourselves, but reflect to the greater world. (13:33 minutes)

Axis Mundi: Where God Meets Earth

Kevin K. Baxter 17 Nov 2013

Most people have times in their lives where they struggle between two different competing ideas. One part of us seeks to be loving children of God and another part of us looks at this world is doing what we can to survive. God gives us an opportunity to assist the divine effort seeking to transform our lives if we are willing to work and prepare. This place where God meets us is essential if we are to grow our spiritual life. (19:25 minutes)

The Gates: Entering the Holy City

Kevin K. Baxter 10 Nov 2013

The Holy City New Jerusalem that is depicted in the book of Revelation is a larger than life and is pretty unbelievable. If we understand this story to be a metaphorical portrayal of heaven, then we can begin to work on becoming the people who are allowed to enter it. We need a starting place if we are going to begin the process of transforming our lives, and that starting place is the gate of the city. (18:43 minutes)

The Tax Collector:ActivityEngaging the Lord

Kevin K. Baxter 03 Nov 2013

The story of Zacchaeus is about more than living a good life. It is a story about how an outsider is welcomed by the Lord. Each of has a spiritual journey. Parts of our lives are divided to the “religious” and into “worldly.” If we are going to become the people the Lord created us to be, we need to integrate all the parts of our being that we might be the people God created us to be. (16:46 minutes)

Decisions of Faith: Meeting the Challenges of Life

Kevin K. Baxter 27 Oct 2013

There are several places in the Bible that have a rather grim outlook. These passages are not about a distant time, but are about the temptation and difficulties we face. To make decisions often means leaning into the tough and difficult choices. Life cannot be easy if we are are truly working on spiritual growth. (14:58 minutes)

PersistentLove: The Widow Inside

Kevin K. Baxter 20 Oct 2013

The parable of the widow who pesters the judge as she seeks justice is more than a property claim. It is about our spiritual transformation. It is about our desire and drive to see goodness and love (or our faith) brought more fully into the world. Where do we look for our answers to fear? Do we look to the world or to God’s truth? (19:06 minutes)

The Appellation of Father: Read by Cliff S

John Clowes 13 Oct 2013

This sermon, read by a member of the church, was originally given by Rev. John Clowes, an Anglican Clergyman in England during the 18th Century. He details the importance of addressing a visible and knowable God. (15:32 minutes)

If We Do Not Listen: What it takes for transformation

Kevin K. Baxter 29 Sep 2013

This sermon about the rich man and Lazarus focuses on how our lives are a struggle to not only to be good, but to understand it and grow in what good might be. We are called to grow from the innocent child through a materialistic world, and into a new innocence of understanding. A life where we understand that the things of this world are tools of love. But, that takes the work of shedding selfishness. (20:45 minutes)

The Bad Manager: Selfishness Never Finds A Home

Kevin K. Baxter 22 Sep 2013

This passage is more than a passage about integrity and honest dealing. It is a message to us that if we want to be disciples, if we want to be the people that God created us to be, it takes effort and work. The root of disciple is not follower, but student. We have to work to understand and we have to be willing to ask, each of us who seeks to be a disciple must go to the Lord and ask for guidance and be willing to go to the Word and the teachings of the church and dig for truth. Then, and only then will we have the spiritual home that the servant was seeking, but we will do it without undercutting ourselves. (18:52 minutes)

The Other Son Elevate ourselves above others

Kevin K. Baxter 15 Sep 2013

The story of the prodigal son is about more than a concept of forgiveness, it is about us realizing what is behind foreignness... It is about our sense of worth and a sense of justice that is beyond the earthly goods of this world. Next time we seek to forgive,or next time we think we deserve more praise or credit for something we have done, let us remember that the true sense of justice is found in unlimited love and opportunity to share it. (19:21 minutes)

Gaining Perspective: TheFundamentalShifts of Growth

Kevin K. Baxter 08 Sep 2013

We need foundational inner truths as we read about in our passage from Luke today. When we stand atop that tower that brings us closer to God, we do more than see things, we get perspective. The first inner truth is about God, and if we can really incorporate that into our being, the rest of our deeper truths about theological, social, and political truths fall into place. I would rather find out that I made a wrong choice because of love, than hurt some one in the name of righteousness. (18:18 minutes)

The Rev. Holland Weeks: A story of humility, transformation, and faith

Kevin K. Baxter 01 Sep 2013

This sermon uses the story of Rev. Holland Weeks as an example of a humble faith that chased him from his home. Through his trials, especially a three day heresy trial, Rev. Weeks stays calm, resolute, and facilities one of the most public discourses on the writings of the New Church. His story is an example of life dedicated toward the service of the Lord, not of worldly success. (17:10 minutes)

Maintaining the Sabbath: Rejuvenating your soul is more than rest.

Kevin K. Baxter 25 Aug 2013

Many people take time to rest on the Sabbath or they might follow an obligation to go to a worship service; however, the Sabbath is more than this. It is not through routine or through rest we find sabbath, it is about rejuvenating ourself so that we can further our spiritual journey. The Sabbath is about refreshing what we have learned and experienced to a place of spiritual truth for a larger perspective. (17:23 minutes)

What Do I Love?: The Question of Life

Kevin K. Baxter 18 Aug 2013

Our entire life is spent asking the same question over and over again; however, the context each time the question is asked is different. Life is a series of conflicts and struggles, which if we face them properly, we will grow spiritually. The real question is, how do we ask ourself this question? How do we know if we are giving the proper answer. (16:12 minutes)

Decision Making Proper Priorities

Kevin K. Baxter 11 Aug 2013

We are people who live in a world of material that we navigate through the use of our senses. At the same time, we are spirits that get life from the Lord, who is beyond this physical world. When we make choices, we need to find a way to embrace the Lord’s love and truth, but we are often limited by the physical world. (17:56 minutes)

Asking The Right Question The First Step to Spiritual Growth

Kevin K. Baxter 04 Aug 2013

We live in a world where we cannot always tell the reasons behind actions. As we contemplate our year, if we do not ask the proper questions when reflecting and planning our lives, we will hinder our spiritual growth. The what we do is not as important as they why. If we want to grow in love, we must ask the question of why we do what it is we do. As Christians, we must look to love to the Lord for the answer. (18:17 minutes)

The Two Denarii What does it mean for us to have charity toward the neighbor.

Kevin K. Baxter 17 Jul 2013

We are constantly faced with opportunities to give money or assistance to those who are around us, so much so that it can be overwhelming. As Christians, we are told that we are to help our neighbor, but what if helping our neighbor is more than responding to people’s desires? What if, loving the neighbor is about how we truly desire to respond? (21:03 minutes)

Sending Disciples to Our Soul Shifting Our Intentions

Kevin K. Baxter 07 Jul 2013

We often hear about disciples going to teach and heal. Before we can be a true follower of the Lord, we need to conquer the holy land of our Soul. We do that by sending out disciples of the Lord, simple truths. These simple messages of truth and love need to search out and reform our intentions. Do we play games because we like the people or is it because we want to feel conquest? (17:05 minutes)

Washing the Lord's Feet Living and Loving the Lord's teachings.

Kevin K. Baxter 16 Jun 2013

We can all fall victim to talking about church and faith, but not actually enganging with faith is a deepr sense. To understand and know about the Lord and faith is different than having a love for how ti transforms our lives. To have a love or affection for putting the Lord's lessons into action is the only way to truly understand the Lord's teaching. (16:18 minutes)

The Heart of the Matter What Our Desire is Matters

Kevin K. Baxter 09 Jun 2013

When we look to our desires, we have the ability to justify them through manipulating the external forms of truth. We can do this with scripture or any other truths that we have learned. This is why our first step needs to be reframing our desires through examining our own selfishness. Only to the degree that we can remove the desire for power and control can we open our hearts and minds to the Lord’s truth. (17:13 minutes)

Ask, Seek, and Knock: Living Mindfully

Kevin K. Baxter 02 Jun 2013

(SoM9) The passage in The Bible about asking, seeking and knocking has been used to focus on prayer, but what if it is also about focusing on how it is we are to live? Our hearts need to be focused on the proper desire, our understanding needs to be set on the proper things, and we must live out what it is we love and understand. This verse holds within it more than directions for a Christian prayer, it holds within instruction on what it means to live a good life. (18:35 minutes)

Judge Not: Exploration of spiritual and wordly judgement

Anna Woofenden 26 May 2013

(SoM8) Anna Woofenden explores the spiritual issues surrounding judgment. It is not as simple as simply not to judge, we have people and things in our lives we have to make judgments about. What does it mean for us to look to scripture and live in this world? (18:48 minutes)

A Healthy Eye: Looking to God and Love as our core

Kevin K. Baxter 19 May 2013

(SoM7) We can take the Lord's comment about a heathly eye as being a divine command to visit the eye doctor, but I think most readers udnerstand it in terms of questioning our spiritual vision. Do we have a right heart and a clear mind that helps us live as disciples of the Lord? Clear vision symbolizes a very simple desire to love God. (18:26 minutes)

Pray Like This: Intention and Action is Prayer

Kevin K. Baxter 12 May 2013

(SoM6) Prayer is a personal and can be somewhat controvertial. There are theories about how, why, and when to pray, but the Lord makes certain elements of prayer clear in the Sermon on the Mount. Prayer can be about opening ourselves up to the Lord and seeking what the Lord would have us do, not making God do the work for us. (15:42 minutes)

Living Silently: Only you and God know your mind.

Kevin K. Baxter 05 May 2013

(SoM 5) In the Sermon on the Mount, as well as other places, there is a command we are given to do good acts in secret, whether it be charity or prayer. Some take this comment literally, and while that is fine understanding of the text, a deeper read shows the larger issues is one of true action and intention. The things we do in secret or in private reflect our self when not viewed by others. Being loving and given when no reward will be given shows a person who truly wishes to perform loving acts. (16:48 minutes)

Be Perfect…: Living with a loving attitude.

Kevin K. Baxter 28 Apr 2013

(SoM 4) In the Sermon on the Mount, we are charged with being perfect as the “Father” is perfect. Many understand this to mean being without error, but it can also mean that we should aim to perfect ourselves each day. Or, each day we should strive to live a life of love as the Lord did on the earth, which means that we should love those who do not love us. (16:24 minutes)

Uniting Good and Truth: We are not called to do what is lawful, but what is right.

Kevin K. Baxter 21 Apr 2013

(SoM 3) One might call it human entropy, but over time and in certain circumstances, people can lose sight of the reason behind the rule. In other words, we might forget the good in the truth… which makes the rule neither good nor true. We are called to re-commit ourselves to the fundamental and basic questions of life and faith if we are grow. We must routinely reconnect to a sense of humility and love that assists us in opening up the meaning of the laws of life and faith. (17:20 minutes)

Not Losing Our Saltiness: Fostering Inner Transformation

Kevin K. Baxter 14 Apr 2013

(SoM 2) As Kevin Baxter continues his series on the Sermon on the Mount, he explore what it means for us not lose our saltiness. He argues it is through fostering an inner faith and inner strength that will not be used or manipulated by the material world. This inner spiritual journey takes work, but it brings about a feeling of heavenly joy. (19:00 minutes)

The Blessings: Looking to the Good

Kevin K. Baxter 07 Apr 2013

(SoM 1) Rev. Baxter begins a series on the Sermon on the Mount by exploring the blessings. The blessings, in contrast to the 10 commandments illustraite a shift in thinking. Rather than looking at the line between right and wrong, the blessings look only to the good. This approach helps us focus on the right attitude instead of the right action. (19:06 minutes)

Easter 2013 : Recommitting Ourselves to Love

Kevin K. Baxter 31 Mar 2013

Easter is a time where Christian examine the love that the creator has shown them in the crucifixion and the resurrection of the Lord. We must keep in mind that this is not a day where we just look to God, this is a time to covenant with our creator and recommit to a life of love and service. (15:53 minutes)

Quiet Suffering: Love Means Putting Others Before Yourself

Kevin K. Baxter 24 Mar 2013

The Lord gave his life for all of humanity, not so sin can be transferred to him, but that we can be transformed by Him. Sacrifice is the most important aspect of love. It is the temptation and trial that proves love to be truly love, it is the battlefield upon which our spiritual growth is tested and proved. (18:58 minutes)

Judah's Responsibility and the Blessings: Admiting when we are wrong is New Life

Kevin K. Baxter 17 Mar 2013

We end a series on Joseph by looking at the story of Judah taking responsibility for his promise to his father. This act is symbolic of a transformation that we go through when we realize our true place as receivers of life from God. The blessing Ephraim gets is this new understanding and love leading our new life. (17:35 minutes)

Spies: Commitment is how we grow

Kevin K. Baxter 10 Mar 2013

After famine strikes Israel, Joseph's brothers travel to Egypt for help, but they are accused of being spies. To test them, Joseph takes Simeon as a prisoner and tells the other brothers to return with Benjamin. This story is about us testing the water and not being willing to commit. (18:12 minutes)

Pharaoh's Dream: Storing Grains of Love

Kevin K. Baxter 03 Mar 2013

We continue a series on Joseph's life. Joseph is called by Pharaoh to interpret his dreams. He does this without an expectation of return or reward. We all have the ability to save a simple truth for the low times in our lives. We can all choose to find a way to do something good for someone near us. True importance is in serving God and loving our neighbor. We are not fed by the things of this world. (17:44 minutes)

Holding Joseph's Clothes: The Subtle Lies We Tell Ourselves

Kevin K. Baxter 24 Feb 2013

We all have a call to specific gifts, but sometimes putting those gifts into practice takes a leap of faith. There are all sorts of things in this world that distract us from achieving our dreams. These are the externals that imprison us from becoming the person we are meant to be. (17:40 minutes)

Integrity: The Story of Joseph

Kevin K. Baxter 03 Feb 2013

The story of Joseph can be viewed as a story of comming into the fullness of who God created us to be. This does not happen over night, the first step we must take is to dream about who it is we want to be. But this dream can appear as hubris or rudeness if we do not properly nurture it. (17:22 minutes)

Swedenborg's Revelation: Our View and How it Transforms Us.

Kevin K. Baxter 27 Jan 2013

This sermon, celebrating Swedenborg's birth talks about the Swedenborgian Church of North America's view of Swedenborgs writtings. The essential element of our spiritual growth is the individual's abuility to raise our understanding into the light of heaven. (17:11 minutes)

The Wedding Reception at Cana: the Joy of faith

Kevin K. Baxter 20 Jan 2013

The story of the Wedding at Cana is a popular one, but the story is not as much about the wedding as it is the reception. While it is the Lord's first miracle, it is a story about a miracle at a party. This holds within it a truth about faith, faith should be joyous. (15:11 minutes)

Looking for Jesus: Finding the Lord Doing His Work in the Temple

Kevin K. Baxter 13 Jan 2013

The iconic story of Jesus staying behind in the temple is more than a story about the 12 year old Jesus being left behind by his parents. It is a story about us searching for God and finding God doing his business at the intersection of love and wisdom. (18:06 minutes)

Proclaiming a Name: Bringing what we know into life

Kevin K. Baxter 06 Jan 2013

Each of us has to find a way to give the Lord or the truths of the Lord we have learned a life in this world. Giving a name, proclaiming what it is we believe and know is an essential part of our spiritual life. This sermon explores Mary's presentation of Jesus at the temple. (14:01 minutes)

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