New sermon series titled; “ American Idolatry ” – Lenten Journey to Repentance

A 6 week series.

February 11 American Idolatry: “Family,” Matthew 10:34-37

The idol of family might take the form of your compelling vision of the “perfect family,” or the approval of children/spouse/parents, or even the affirmation of others because our children are “so talented” or “well behaved.”  But what if the reality of your family does not live up to your vision, or your family does not love and appreciate you the way they should, or others do not see your family as you think they should?  Are you devastated, angry, resentful, crushed?  Then your family is an idol.  “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”  (2 Peter 2:19)

February 18 American Idolatry: “Success,” Luke 14:7-11

“Life has meaning, or is good, only when …

“… I am highly productive and getting a lot done.” “… I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work.” “… a particular group recognizes my accomplishments and accepts me” (social group, professional group, etc.)

February 25 American Idolatry: “Patriotism,” Jonah 4

Patriotism becomes idolatry when American ideology becomes the narrative that defines our lives, when being a good American is no different than being a good Christian and vice versa.  What makes patriotism an idol in the Church is that the political ideology it brings with it can push out the need for Jesus and leave no space for the Gospel.   We have to choose which story we are going to be a part of.

March 4 Communion Meditation: American Idolatry: “Romance,” 1 John 4:19

“Life has meaning, or is good, only when … 

“Ms. “Right” is in love with me.”  or My boyfriend would propose to me / my girlfriend would say “yes!” or My wife/husband treats me like I am the light of their life …”  

Spoiler alert: when you make a relationship with someone else your god, it will eventually be marked with disappointment and bitterness. When you look to someone to be your god, they are going to let you down. When you say to someone, “I want you to satisfy me; I want you to save me; I want you to be my source of significance,” what you are really saying is, “I want you to be god to me.” Well, that’s a lot to ask of someone. That puts a lot of pressure on the relationship and give enough time that pressure will crush you.
Like all idols, the god of romantic love promises big and pays off in pain. The adrenaline rush of new love isn’t built to last. It passes. The honeymoon ends. The truth is, you and I were made for a love far deeper, far richer than what nay human relationship can offer. … The void in the human heart is God-shaped, not mate-shaped.” (Idelman, Gods at War, p. 200)

March 11 American Idolatry: “Politics,” Philippians 3:20; John 18:36

“ …we create an idol when we ascribe attributes or place hope in persons or things that should belong only to God. People of faith may be tempted to worship at the altar of politics, but make no mistake: The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of politics are never one and the same. Our worship of God rightly should shape our engagement with politics, but when politics shapes our religion it distorts our service (and worship) of the One True God.” (Jim Wallis, Sojourners)

Politics may be an idol when you look at the political leaders or issues and say,

“If so and so wins, America is done. It is all over.” or “If so and so wins, Jesus must be coming soon and we are living in the last days.” or “If so and so wins, God is bringing judgement to America.”

March 18  American Idolatry: “Self,” Ezekiel 28:2; Jeremiah 2:13

“The people (in ancient times) would have thought of Jeremiah’s metaphor as ridiculous.  No one would ever choose a cistern as their water source when a spring of crystal clear water was available.  But that captures the ridiculousness of idolatry.  … We look to something or someone to do for us what God was meant to do for us.”