St. John's Franklin Podcast

Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “The Desert Experience in the Christian Life” based on Mark 1:9-15 for the First Sunday of Lent on February 25, 2012. Most often, desert experiences are not something we choose, but something chosen for us, a place God brings us to…The desert is a place of abandonment, of deprivation, hostile to living things, itself cutoff, a place that seems to threaten our sense of flourishing. The desert is the environment where idols are least likely to survive, a place where we need moral courage to survive.

“Unnatural changes in the most basic rhythms of life signal that God is rearranging structures in the deepest layers of existence.”

Direct download: The_Desert_Experience.mp3
Category:Sermons -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “The Journey of Lent” based on 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 at a joint Ash Wednesday with Christ UMC on February 22, 2012. We never lose sight of the Resurrection, His revealing himself to us, but in the journey of Lent, we acknowledge our human and spiritual weakness. The real question of the Lenten season is: Where in my life have I gotten away from God and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back? Lent is the embrace of humility, and the undertaking of spiritual practices that increase our spiritual awareness, preparing us to receive a fresh and joyous grace from God.

Sorrow for sin is indeed necessary, but it should not involve endless self-pre-occupation.  You should dwell also on the glad remembrance of the loving kindness of God--Bernard of Clairveaux.

Direct download: The_Journey_of_Lent.mp3
Category:Sermons -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “God's No, God's Yes in Jesus” based on Mark 8:31-9:9 on February 18, 2012. At the heart of the Christian faith is the paradigm of Cross and Resurrection. God’s No in Jesus—the ascetic dimension to the Christian life—trains us in self-denial, in learning to say no to our appetites, impulses, whims, and desires, and makes room for Father, Son, and Spirit. In God’s Yes in Jesus—the aesthetic dimension to the Christian life—God reveals His glory, His beauty to us.

Direct download: Gods_No_and_Yes_in_Jesus.mp3
Category:Sermons -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “Transformation in Everyday Life” on February 11, 2012, on the need for a theology of ordinary life.  Parenting, marriage, friendship, our work—all of these are all paths to God, not diversions or distractions to our devotional and spiritual life…Like the cell of the monk or nun, they are the context and framework of our journey to God. The main measure of our devotion to God is not our devotional life; the main measure of our devotion to God is simply our life.

Direct download: Transformation_in_Everyday_Life.mp3
Category:Sermons -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Kenny Benge preached a sermon entitled “The Gift and Paradox of Work” on February 4, 2012.  Work is a pervasive part of our everyday experience—a good part of our waking hours are given to it.  Theologians describe work as a creation ordinance, one of the fundamental aspects of God’s created order. He has made us to work…One the one hand, work is a gift and responsibility created and ordained by God at Creation; On the other hand, as a result of the Fall in Genesis 3, we know that work was cursed by God, thorns and thistles (literally and metaphorically) are promised to follow our work.

Direct download: The_Gift_and_Paradox_of_Work.mp3
Category:Sermons -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT