Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive

I am pleased to announce a new website in honor of my grandfather, the Rev. Louis A. Dole. He was born 130 years ago today on January 30, 1885.

Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive

Sermons by the Rev. Louis A. Dole (1885-1964)

There are already over 80 sermons posted on the site. I am adding more almost every day. These classic sermons, written and delivered more than half a century ago, are full of practical wisdom based on the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

For the text of the About page from the Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Books and Literature

Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?

Is Jesus Christ the only way to heaven?

Yes . . . but it’s not what you’re thinking!

Here’s the deal. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is God. There’s nothing in the Bible about him being the second Person of a Trinity. That was a purely human invention. (See “‘Christian Beliefs’ that the Bible Doesn’t Teach.”)

Isaiah 44:6 says:

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

Guess who the New Testament says is the first and the last?

If you guessed Jesus Christ, you get a gold star!

Just take a look at Revelation 1:17–18; 2:8; and 22:12–13. The context makes it clear that the one who says in Revelation, “I am the first and the last” is none other than the risen and glorified Jesus Christ.

When Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied,” Jesus replied:

Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)

And in John 10:30, he said plainly, “I and the Father are one.”

The message of the Bible is clear: There is one God, and Jesus Christ is that God. So according to the Bible, all people who believe in God believe in Jesus Christ, even if they do not call God Jesus Christ. There is no other God to believe in. “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”

In other words, according to the Bible, saying that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven is the same thing as saying that God is the only way to heaven.

Is there any religious person, of any faith, who would really disagree that God is the only way to heaven? Obviously, God, the Creator of the universe, who has all power in heaven and earth, is the only way to heaven. If it weren’t for God, there wouldn’t be a heaven. And if God didn’t give us life and the ability to choose heaven over hell, not a single one of us could go to heaven.

So Christians who think that anywhere from 68% to 99.99% of the world’s population is going to hell because they’re not Christian, or because they’re not the right kind of Christian, are really denying that Jesus Christ is God.

Let’s look at a few of the Bible passages these Christians quote to support the mistaken and non-Biblical idea that only Christians go to heaven.

For more on Jesus Christ and the way to heaven, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed

Islam, Christianity, or No Religion at All?

In a recent comment on the article, “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?” a reader named Zabi said:

Thank you for writing this article, it has helped me a lot. Right now I’m having a struggle between which faith to choose. My friend says that I’m going to hell because I’m not I don’t believe in Christianity and my mum says that I can’t leave Islam because I have to be in a religion but I don’t trust religion. I pray to God by talking to him every night and apparently I sit on the fence and have to choose but in your insight

Do I have to choose a religion?

Apparently I have to and my heart and just me does not trust it so what would you think?

First, thanks again for your comment and questions, Zabi. I’m glad the article was helpful to you. As I said in my brief response to your comment there, these are very personal issues. You’ll have to make up your own mind. However, since you asked, I would be happy to offer you some of my thoughts, which I hope will be helpful to you.

Here is the quick version:

  • The most important thing is your relationship with God
  • Religion is about seeking to know God and to do God’s will.
  • Islam and Christianity at their best are both beautiful religions.
  • I would suggest avoiding the fundamentalist wings of both religions.
  • Belonging to a religion offers a community of people who share your faith.
  • Not belonging to an organized religious group is an alternative if you are self-motivated and strong in your faith.

Let’s look at these issues more closely.

For more on Islam, Christianity, or no religion, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, Spiritual Growth

Tommy Gilbert: The Curse of Free Money and Easy Living

Thomas Gilbert, Jr.

Thomas Gilbert, Jr.

Thomas Gilbert, Jr., 30, had everything. His father was a Wall Street multimillionaire. He grew up amid wealth and luxury. He had attended the best private schools, and graduated from Princeton University in 2009 with a degree in economics. He was 6’3″ tall, healthy, good-looking, and flitted about the high-class society scenes with beautiful women on his arm.

Just one problem.

He didn’t have a job.

Why should he, when his $3,000 a month allowance from his wealthy father paid his rent and gave him some pocket money? He preferred to hang around his father’s multimillion-dollar mansion in East Hampton, NY, hit the gym, do some yoga, and then go surfing.

He did try to start a hedge fund like his father, but it didn’t get very far. He was in debt. And he had no income of his own to match his high-end lifestyle.

Thomas Gilbert, Sr.

Thomas Gilbert, Sr.

After months of tension with his father over the monthly allowance, which his father was starting to cut off, Tommy Gilbert finally took matters into his own hands. He headed over to his parents’ New York City apartment and told his mother, Shelley Gilbert, to go out and get him a sandwich and soda. Once she was gone, he put a bullet in his father’s head and left.

That, anyway, is what all the evidence points to. For more on the story, see these articles at ABC News, the U.K. Daily Mail, and the New York Post.

What went wrong?

Like any story about human beings, this one is complex and many-sided. But one thing seems clear enough: free money and easy living were not a blessing, but a curse in the life of Tommy Gilbert.

For more on the curse of free money and easy living, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Current Events, Money and Business, Spiritual Growth

Think No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Way of the Angels

Leviticus 19:17–18 says:

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In the Gospels of Matthew (22:34–40) and Mark (12:28–34) Jesus quotes that final line as the second of the two Great Commandments. In the Gospel of Luke, it is Jesus’ questioner who quotes it, leading to the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. We’ll get to that shortly.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) picks up on these Bible themes with this statement in Secrets of Heaven #1088:

People lacking in kindness think nothing but evil and speak nothing but evil of their neighbor. If they have anything good to say, it is only for their own benefit, or else it is an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the person, under the guise of friendship. People who love their neighbor think nothing but good and speak nothing but good of others. They do so not for their own sake or to curry favor with others but because it is what results when the Lord stirs their sense of kindness.

He goes on to say that thinking and speaking evil about other people is what evil spirits prompt us to do; but thinking and speaking good of others is what angels prompt us to do.

In the previous post, “Our New Year’s Resolution Idea for You: Look for the Good in 2015,” Annette and I suggested this as a collective New Year’s Resolution:

Look for the good in the people around us, in our communities, and in the world.

Maybe this sounds like just another of those nice but not so practical warm and fuzzy feel-good notions.

In fact, it is the way of the angels. And for us, it is not only the way we become angels, but also the way we help others to become angels.

Let’s take a closer look.

For more on the way of the angels, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Spiritual Growth

Our New Year’s Resolution Idea for You: Look for the Good in 2015!

We get plenty of bad news. It’s all over the media, and all over the Internet.

So here’s a suggested New Year’s Resolution: Look for the good in 2015!

Yes, we do have to pay some attention to the bad things that happen. If we don’t, we’ll never be able to fix them. But it’s just as important—if not more important—to look for the good in the people around us, in our communities, and in the world.

When we look for the good, not only does it give us some happiness and joy, but it inspires us to do good things for others, and give them happiness and joy. And that means we’re growing into angels.

Here are some good news stories that happened in 2014, compiled by BuzzFeed:

Librarian donates all his earnings to the poor

"Paalam" Kalyanasundaram

“Paalam” Kalyanasundaram

73 year old librarian “Paalam” Kalyanasundaram donated his entire librarian’s salary every month for thirty years to help the poor—especially children—in his home country of India. He took on odd jobs to support himself. Even after he retired, he continued donating his pension to help the poor and needy.

Kalyanasundaram also founded a charitable organization in order to receive donations and use them to help those in need. This man, a devout Hindu, has devoted his entire life to helping others.

For more on this story, see:
The 73-Year Old Librarian Who Has Been Donating Every Rupee He Earned To The Poor For 30 Years!

For more good news stories of 2014, please click here.

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Posted in Current Events, Spiritual Growth

If Non-Christians can Go to Heaven, Why should Christians Evangelize?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named SeunAlaba:

In 1 of your articles-“If there is one God, why so many religions; & is it only Christians that go to heaven“, you revealed some very enlightening points, but then, there’s just 1 question which seems irreconcilable to the things you wrote. From what I was able to gather, it seems to me as though there would be no point of evangelizing any longer; so my question is are Christians still supposed to evangelize; if yes, to who, & for what end & to what purpose?

SeunAlaba went on to say in a recent comment on the same article:

Thanks for this article Sir. I just have an observation & a question. if it is just as this article suggests it is, it then means we are not supposed to evangelize. Perhaps, my deduction could be wrong, hence the question- what exactly is evangelism? To whom is it to be directed? who should do it? How is it to be done? & to what end & for what purpose should it be done?

These are all excellent questions. Thanks for asking!

The commandment to evangelize comes straight from Jesus Christ himself. Here are Jesus’ final words to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew:

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18–20)

Christians have been following this “Great Commission” ever since—leading to the great spread of Christianity throughout much of the world.

One of the driving forces behind the Christian compulsion to evangelize has been the belief that non-Christians go to hell. Many Christians put tremendous energy into converting non-Christians because they believe that they are doing an eternal favor to all the people they manage to “save” by inducing them to believe in Jesus. That is why they are so persistent.

On the other hand, Christians who believe that non-Christians can go to heaven don’t have that driving force compelling them to convert everyone from the corner grocer to major pop stars and sports heroes. And quite frankly, it’s made many of them lazy and complacent about “making disciples of all nations” as Jesus commanded his followers to do.

Perhaps that’s one reason why, under God’s providence, so many Christians are allowed to believe that only Christians can be saved. While they are missing the greater point, at least someone is following the Great Commission and spreading Christianity to all the nations!

But there are better reasons for evangelizing. Let’s dig into your questions, and tease out some of those reasons.

For more on Christians, non-Christians, and evangelization, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, Spiritual Growth

The Song of Mary: My Soul Magnifies the Lord

Reading: Luke 1:39–55 The Song of Mary

 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

These words begin the poetic speech by Mary traditionally called “The Magnificat,” from the first word of the Latin version. In English it is often called “The Song of Mary.”

Skeptical scholars will point out the unlikelihood that Mary would spontaneously burst into polished poetry on the occasion of her meeting with her relative Elizabeth. Believers would say it was the Holy Spirit inspiring her and speaking through her.

For us today, does it really matter exactly what happened two thousand years ago in an unknown house in a small town in the Judean hill country? What matters is not an obscure bit of history, but what the spirit says to each one of us through these inspired words.

For more about the Song of Mary, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Spiritual Growth, The Bible Re-Viewed

The Birth Announcement of Jesus Christ: Do Not Be Afraid

Reading: Luke 1:26–38 The angel speaks to Mary

Mary’s Fears

“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary.’”

What was Mary afraid of?

For one thing, a powerful angel had just appeared to her. That was a little unsettling for a young woman of humble position.

But what the angel said to her was even more unsettling. He said that she was going to have a baby boy. And judging by her response after the angel finished his speech, I suspect that her eyes glazed over right there. A baby? She wasn’t even married yet, and she had not slept with a man. How was she going to have a baby? The angel seemed unfazed by her question, and went on to say a lot more strange things.

At this point, all sorts of things must have been racing through Mary’s mind. Unwed mothers did not fare well in those days. In fact, it could be a death sentence. And what would her fiancé Joseph say? Most likely he would reject her, she would be disgraced, and her life would be as good as over.

And what was all that stuff the angel said about the power of the Most High overshadowing her, and her son being called Son of God? Even if that wasn’t the craziest thing she’d ever heard, why would God pick her, of all people?

For more on Jesus’ birth announcement, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed

Organized Acts of Pasta

Recently we posted a story about Matt Tribe, of Ogden, Utah, engaging in Random Acts of Pasta.

Now we bring you a story about organized acts of pasta.

Ten years ago, Bruno Serato, the chef and owner of the Anaheim White House Restaurant, a fine Italian restaurant in Anaheim, California, visited the local Boys and Girls Club with his mother, Caterina. When he saw a young boy eating potato chips, the director of the club explained to him that this was the boy’s dinner.

Caterina’s response to the situation: “Bruno, you must give them pasta!”

In Serato’s words, “You better listen to Mama! Mama is always right!”

And so began an organized pasta charity that today feeds 1,200 motel kids every night. Serato named the charity after his mother: Caterina’s Club.

Bruno Serato with children and pasta!

Bruno Serato with children and pasta!

More recently, Serato began a new initiative.

Feeding motel kids was good. But even better would be to get their families into a real home. And so began a new initiative to pay first and last month rent for families who can afford the rent, but are stuck in hotels because they cannot pull together that much money all at once.

You can read all about it at Yahoo News: “New hope for motel kids

This is a charity that helps families to help themselves. And it was founded by a man who arrived in America from Italy in 1980 with just $200 in his pocket.

To watch the videos about Bruno Serato’s charitable work, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Current Events
Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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Earlier Posts
Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly, Fryeburg, Maine, August 2012

Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly

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